Washingtonian Magazine Spotlights C.J. Mahaney, CLC, SGM

"Do you think that cover-up of sex abuse would happen over and over again if women were involved in policy?"

Pam Palmer quoted in The Fall of a Megachurch, Washingtonian Magazine

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4031&picture=holy-bibleHoly Bible

It's hard to believe that it's been almost seven years since Dee and I went to hear C.J. Mahaney speak at a Sovereign Grace Church in our area. That was on January 25, 2009. For five months prior we had been researching Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries on the internet. We were in absolute shock at the testimonies we were reading over at SGM Survivors (and SGM Refuge – which is no longer online). How in the world could such horrific abuse take place without a huge outcry from congregants in this 'family of churches'?

We hoped that seeing C.J. Mahaney in action and attending a Sovereign Grace church might shed some light on this conundrum. The day before, Mahaney, his son, and son-in-law were treated to a sporting event event in our area. This was not just any college basketball game – it was Duke (my alma mater) hosting Mahaney's favorite college team, the University of Maryland. While Duke has had its setbacks in recent days, Coach K's team slaughtered the Terrapins that day. Dee and I could not believe how C.J. spent 15 to 20 minutes of his sermon time regaling his audience about the game. He finally got around to delivering his message Cravings and Conflict (one of those canned sermons he preached from church to church), and we were very disappointed. We just couldn't understand the appeal. As an aside, the church never posted this sermon online. Instead, they substituted the same message delivered by Mahaney at another Sovereign Grace church. At least it wasn't just us who felt the sermon wasn't up to par. 

When the 'meeting' concluded, we spent some time talking with parents of the youth in the church. Our children were teenagers at the time, and we were dismayed at how the youth meetings are conducted at the church (and probably throughout this 'family of churches'). The parents are collectively in charge of the youth meetings, and when they do one-on-one activities, the church kids meet with their own parents. It appeared to be extremely 'controlled". Not only that, a good number of the youth are homeschooled.

What shocked us the most was the church bookstore. It was the focal point as you entered the front door of the church. It should come as no surprise that the books being offered for sale were authored by those in the Neo-Cal camp. Crossway books are high and lifted up in the Sovereign Grace 'family of churches'. Funny thing, some churches have libraries filled with books that can be borrowed, but not Sovereign Grace churches (as far as we can tell).

As we have emphasized here at TWW, C.J. Mahaney has been embraced and endorsed by high-profile leaders in the Neo-Cal movement. Perhaps he bought his way into their hearts with his generous contributions. After all, money talks… Because these leaders have promoted Mahaney so extensively, conservative pastors just love him! For example, a few years ago Mahaney was the guest preacher at a Southern Baptist church in our area. The pastor of that church (who has since retired) is a council member of The Gospel Coalition. Not only that, Mahaney addressed my daughter's Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) group while he was here. She was not impressed. Then a couple days ago I was listening to an Assemblies of God pastor featured on the Truth radio network, and I almost passed out when he recommended that members of his congregation read The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, a book stocked in their church bookstore. Not only that, at least three Calvinista pastors in our area recommend Mahaney's books on their websites. And of course C.J. Mahaney will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Together for the Gospel (T4G) event. Will the hero worship ever end?

We contend it is in God's sovereignty that a lengthy article in the Washingtonian Magazine has just been published focusing on Mahaney, the church he pastored for 27 years (Covenant Life Church), and other churches in what used to be known as Sovereign Grace Ministries (now called Sovereign Grace Churches). The article, featured in the February issue, is entitled THE FALL OF A MEGACHURCH. Tiffany Stanley, who has a masters in divinity from Harvard, is a Washington-based contributor to the New Republic, National Journal, and the Daily Beast. She spent about ten months conducting interviews and researching the story. I have read it in its entirety, and I believe she has provided a comprehensive look at a ministry that appears to have covered up child sex abuse.

The article provides a look at some of those who have been hurt in Sovereign Grace Churches. It begins with a long-time member of Covenant Life Church, Pam Palmer, whom Dee and I have met on several occasions. Pam had been involved with CLC since the 1980s and decided to leave after 22 years. She shared with us that her three year old daughter was molested by a teenage CLC member who had been hired to babysit, according to police records. (page 165 of article). She recounted for us and for Tiffany Stanley that she will never forget her "three-year-old Renee cowering under a chair, frightened at the sight of her molester, during a reconciliation meeting that she says Pastor John Loftness convened."

It wasn't until C.J. Mahaney stepped down as SGM president in 2011 that Pam's life changed forever. Prior to that, she had occasionally read a blog called SGM Survivors, but it was only after Mahaney temporarily resigned his post that she began to read more testimonies by parents that their children had been sexually abused by others in the church. These parents revealed that they had been mistreated by their church leaders when they spoke up. According to the article: "Until that moment, Pam had no idea there were other families out there just like hers." (page 58)

The first person to speak out over at SGM Survivors was Noel, whom the Washingtonian Magazine article identifies as 'Kate'. Dee and I have also had the pleasure of meeting her. The article goes into quite a bit of detail about how Kate's three-year-old daughter was sexually abused. In a nutshell, the fifteen-year-old son of a couple at the Sovereign Grace Church in Fairfax was entrusted to babysit other children from the church while their parents met in someone's home. Apparently, this was a common occurrence among Sovereign Grace families. The toddler began having 'night terrors' and found the bathroom frightening. The article explains that the teenage boy's mother confided to Kate that her son was acting out so intensely that she was worried about him. The article states: (page 59)

Eventually, he did what the church had taught him: He confessed an awful transgression.  According to Kate, he told his mother he had been "inappropriate" with Ann who was three when the abuse occurred…

The teenage boy's mother was so distressed that she contacted the church pastors to confess her son's sin. A meeting between the three-year-old's parents and the teenage boy's mother was arranged so the sin could be confessed. The article further states: (pages 59-60)

At the meeting, the parents recall, one of the pastors paraphrased the Bible, telling them, "You shouldn't bring a Christian to court."  The church leaders, they say, wanted to mediate.  Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax denies discouraging the family from going to the authorities and says they recommended reporting the matter.

My first thought upon reading this was – did the Fairfax pastors report this crime to the authorities?

Something didn't feel right to Kate, and she consulted a doctor and social services, who found evidence of sexual abuse, which led to a police investigation. Court documents reveal that the teenage boy was charged with 'object penetration' and 'aggravated sexual battery'. In the end, the perpetrator pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery for which he received probation and counseling. 

The article goes on to explain how poorly the Fairfax pastors treated Kate and her husband and how this drug on for years. In the end, the family moved beyond the world of SGM at which time they finally began to thrive. 

After describing the horrific experience of Kate's young daughter, Tiffany Stanley made this important point: (page 60)

It's all too common, these days, to see an organization caught up in a sex-abuse scandal.  Whether it's the military, a school, or a church, there tend to be some parallels:  a culture that's at least somewhat separate from the outside world, a self-policing elite, a rank-and-file conditioned to revere its leaders.

In the ministry Mahaney built, some of these features were readily apparent.  SGM represented a society unto itself, one that functioned parallel to manstream culture and that distrusted that wider, secular world.

THE FALL OF A MEGACHURCH goes on to describe how some of Mahaney's subordinates began to express their dissatisfaction with his leadership. He appeared to turn a deaf ear to their contentions that he had serious character flaws, specifically: pride and stubbornness. All of this was kept quiet as Mahaney anointed his successor (Joshua Harris) and assumed the role of president of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Brent Detwiler, one of Mahaney's colleagues, was de-gifted in 2009 and two years later he sent 600 pages of documentation demonstrating Mahaney's character flaws to various pastors and leaders in SGM. The distribution of these e-mails and documents seemed to make little difference, and after some time had passed they were posted online for anyone to read. Just before "The Documents" were made public, Mahaney announced his leave of absence.

Stanley goes on to explain that the board of Sovereign Grace Ministries appointed an independent panel to determine whether Mahaney was 'fit for ministry'. It is important to point out that the individuals on this panel were not identified until they had rendered their decision affirming their buddy C.J. In our post Is C.J. Fit for Ministry?, we discussed these three panelists (once they had been identified) and their connection to Mahaney and SGM. The independent panel was a complete JOKE! And let's not forget the travesty done by the Ambassadors of Reconciliation.

The Washingtonian Magazine article discussed a couple other abuse stories including one that we featured here at TWW – The Gospel Coalition:  C.J. Mahaney is Adored While Pain Continues in Sovereign Grace Ministries. This post includes the story of Wallace and Happymom, whose children were also abused in yet another Sovereign Grace church.

Stanley then discusses the class action suit filed by Susan Burke in Montgomery County, Nate Morales – his crime and conviction, and the recent changes in SGM from their move to Kentucky to their financial setback to the withdrawal of more than 30 churches from SGM to the departure of Joshua Harris from CLC. We have covered most of these developments here at TWW. 

Kudos to Tiffany Stanley for traveling to Kentucky in an attempt to meet with Mahaney and his lieutenants. She explains how she was 'swiftly turned away'. Mahaney's brother-in-law Gary Ricucci responded to her e-mail stating that there would be no interview with either of them. She goes on to describe in considerable detail the church's third anniversary celebration which took place the following morning. The climax of that 'church meeting' was Mahaney's sermon from the book of Job. I am familiar with what Tiffany described because I took the time to listen to the sermon audio shortly after it was made available on the church website. Here is what she wrote: (page 167)

Removing his glasses, Mahaney wiped a tear away with his sleeve and pulled out a tissue.  "They turn on him and they attack him and its's relentless," he said in a near whisper, hunched over the podium.

As hes preaching reached a crescendo, Mahaney raised his hands and flapped his arms as if conducting an orchestra.  He shouted, "Job's friends were wrong!  Job was right!"

He lowered his voice again, telling his congregation they wouldn't make such a big mistake.  "This is a church," he said without irony, "where those suffering wll be truly comforted."

What a shame that those who suffered so much at Covenant Life Church, Sovereign Grace Church Fairfax, KingsWay, and other churches in Sovereign Grace Ministries were not comforted in their time of desperate need. As their testimonies are communicated far and wide through articles such as this one, we pray that their faith in God and mankind will be restored. We are grateful that the Washingtonian Magazine saw fit to publish this article, and we appreciate the tremendous effort by Tiffany Stanley to cover such a complicated saga. 

Finally, we love Tiffany's wrap-up as she explains what has become of those she mentions throughout the article. And we especially appreciate her glowing conclusion, which focuses on our dear friend Pam Palmer (page 167).  (see below)

Pam Palmer's life, meanwhile, has indeed been transformed.  She has become an activist.  Last March, she testified before a Maryland Senate Committee to support a bill that would lengthen the civil statute of limitations in child-sex-abuse cases by 13 years.  The ordeal prompted her to go back to school to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology, and she hopes to become a therapist for abuse survivors.

Over dinner last summer, Pam marveled at what a homeschooling, "stay-at-home Christian mom" managed to do — bring a group of people together to stand up against a denomination led by men.

"I don't believe now that that's the way Jesus meant the church to be set up," she says.  "Do you think that cover-up of sex abuse would happen over and over again if women were involved in policy?"

Way to go Pam! Thanks for your care and concern for those hurt in the SGM 'family of churches' and for your tireless effort to try and change the laws regarding child sex abuse in Maryland. You are such a hero to us!

Comments

Washingtonian Magazine Spotlights C.J. Mahaney, CLC, SGM — 172 Comments

  1. I have one question. It’s been on my mind for a while, now. It’s really not a nice question, but I’ll ask it anyway.
    Of all of the men who have protected the abusers and shamed the abused, CJM among them, why haven’t any of these men had to have surgery to remove some mad mama’s high-heeled boot from their colon?

    I think it is commendable that the mothers of the victims maintained their self-control. But, if my daughter had been a victim, I can assure you, self-control would have been the last thing on my mind.

  2. Thank you to Tiffany Stanley for this exposé. Now buckle up and wait for the attacks on your integrity. 🙁

  3. I can’t wait to read the article in the Washingtonian. I am so grateful for all the people who stick with these stories and dedicate so much of their lives to telling the truth and supporting victims. The people at the top seem to have a limitless capacity for blame-shifting at best but usually completely ignoring the situation even when 600 pages of evidence and toddlers cowering in utter fear from under chairs are staring them right in the face.
    .
    There seem to be fewer and fewer thorough journalists like Ms Stanley. Fewer dedicated bloggers like the Deebs. Fewer selfless moms like Pam. The men like CJ and Joshua Harris seem to be closing ranks tighter, slapping their own backs a bit harder and above all else, taking care of each other financially at all costs.
    .
    I think the truest source of evil at the center of all this is the money and the power which has grown out of control. People are, in the end, unwittingly funding this destruction by allowing pastors to profiteer at such obscene rates in the name of Jesus. If shepherds were dedicated to truly SERVING the flock instead of building their private empires this empire preserving behavior might become a thing of the past. Am I the only one wondering where this will take us with the next generation when the good guys are shrinking and the bad guys are multiplying?

  4. I, too, look forward to reading this article.

    Do you know when it will be available on the web?

  5. I have a sense that CJM’s star has fallen significantly and is not rising.

    After the revelations in the Morales trial, there was a sense that the truth had finally been revealed.

    The ensuing months have brought a quiet and an absence of Mahaney from the spotlight for a time.

    Whether he is making a comeback or he is just continuing to exist in a permanently reduced profile is unclear to me. I suppose it is unclear to CJM and his supporters, and they will just move forward and see what happens.

    The thing that many in the broader church are missing is this. Many will read what happened to SGM and CJM in regards to sexual abuse and think ‘that by the grace of God go I’. Many churches and ministries and other organizations could have, and did, botch the handling is sexual abuse.

    But what is being missed here in my view is not just bad theology and a lack of understanding regarding the nature and handling of sexual abuse.

    There appears to be a high degree of malevolence toward people when it is necessary to protect the institution or its leader. And when that is pointed out, there is an oversized claim of being persecuted.

    These characteristics do not qualify or recommend one to spiritual leadership of any local church, let alone a denomination.

    Whether this article in the Washingtonian will help educate people is yet to be seen.

  6. Pam just rocks! I’d love to see Pam put C.J. Mahaney through a “Gospel Centered” deposition. One day that will come…one day Mahaney will be deposed. 😉

  7. Nice article Deb. The Washingtonian article was good. Those asking about how to read it – you will have to pay to read it. After the current monthly edition is replaced by next month’s edition they place some of the old articles on line for free viewing. This one may or may not be made available to the public. $10 will get you a one year subscription to the e-version which can be read on an IPad.

    One thing I was thrilled to read in the article is that Susan Burke, the outstanding attorney who took on the SGM lawsuit, is still intent on pressing the case through the Virginia courts.

    I hope we all continue to remember the victims and pray for them and their families.

    Nancy2 asked an interesting question above. In the summer of 2014 the Deebs organized a dinner in the Washington D.C. area for SGM victims, their families, and anyone interested in showing their support. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I was so blessed to be able to meet these outstanding people. Every one I talked to was an awesome person. At the dinner I asked the same question Nancy2 did of Wallace. (Wallace and Happy Mom had three of their children abused.) I prefaced my question by stating that I don’t think I would be able to refrain from physical violence if I were in his place. He gave some wise, well reasoned answer, which I don’t exactly recall, but I do remember him saying it was a tough struggle to keep his emotions in check. These people have all been through hell. I am certain those of us who have not been through what they have are incapable of fully understanding what they have suffered. The least we can do is continue to support them. How we do this is an individual thing, driven by the passion for justice that God has placed in our hearts.

    One thing I will continue to do is speak out against the heartless celebrities who continue to prop-up Mahaney by sharing the conference stage with him. These pulpit profiteers should all be defrocked, de-gifted and de-supported.

  8. I wrote an open letter to Mark Mitchell at my blog. Mark Mitchell is the Executive Pastor at Covenant Life. Last Sunday he said that CLC is under “satanic” attack in the form of this Washingtonian article. My blood pressure went through the roof, and I wrote this no holds barred open letter to him. I emailed it to him as well.

  9. Anonymous wrote:

    There appears to be a high degree of malevolence toward people when it is necessary to protect the institution or its leader. And when that is pointed out, there is an oversized claim of being persecuted.

    Very good points.

  10. Nancy2 wrote:

    I have one question. It’s been on my mind for a while, now. It’s really not a nice question, but I’ll ask it anyway.
    Of all of the men who have protected the abusers and shamed the abused, CJM among them, why haven’t any of these men had to have surgery to remove some mad mama’s high-heeled boot from their colon?

    I think it is commendable that the mothers of the victims maintained their self-control. But, if my daughter had been a victim, I can assure you, self-control would have been the last thing on my mind.

    If it were me, I would say the Law would have an easier time prosecuting me for punching someone in the face than prosecuting a well-protected pastor for a coverup. And I would need to stay out of prison for my child.

  11. I personally think everyone should keep a pair of those ridiculously high heels at home for purposes of defense. A woman in Houston, a few years ago, killed her "husband" with one. Those shoes are good for a lot of things beyond breaking your ankle in. Like in, as the other person said here, shoving it way up their colon, or throwing the shoe at certain body parts of men like CJM or the abusers.

  12. The heat continues to be turned up on Mahaney. When will the TGC, SBC, and Al Mohler collectively decide he is a potato too hot to handle? If not now, when?! These New Calvinists appear to stick together to the death, a blood pact with a sworn loyalty and mutual admiration among NC leaders that defies common sense. It just doesn’t resemble church any longer! As Todd Wilhelm comments upstream “These pulpit profiteers should all be defrocked, de-gifted and de-supported.” Unfortunately, their sins don’t seem to bother the huge following of gullible YRRDs (young, restless, reformed & deceived).

  13. Anonymous wrote:

    I have a sense that CJM’s star has fallen significantly and is not rising.
    After the revelations in the Morales trial, there was a sense that the truth had finally been revealed.
    The ensuing months have brought a quiet and an absence of Mahaney from the spotlight for a time.
    Whether he is making a comeback or he is just continuing to exist in a permanently reduced profile is unclear to me. I suppose it is unclear to CJM and his supporters, and they will just move forward and see what happens.

    Truth revealed and yet Mohler and Dever continued to protect Mahaney. Mahaneys Louisville church is now SBC. That does make tuition breaks ar SBTS legal according to the charter. After trying to set up credits for the unaccredited SGM pastors college classes by the brilliant “academic” Mohler and the blowback on that when it became public…the move makes total sense. In their world of smoke and mirrors.

    I think looking for a C.J. comeback misses the point. A lot of resources at SBTS have gone toward the CJ entourage who fled to Louisville. Kauflin is practically worshipped there. The jobs and perks handed out to CJ loyalists and family are hard to pin down but now and then dots are connected with an internship here and job there. Mohler runs that place like a tyrant and the lemmings fall in. No questions asked by the loyalist.

    The question is why would a guy like Mohler spend so much political capital and unethical gravitas on a former head Apostle for the People of Destiny?

    The real truth is that the leaders are true believers in the shepherding cult structure.

  14. I”m too lazy to look it up, but think there’s a scripture in Hebrews that says the time has come for judgement for the house of God. It’s hitting the fan. Pray for me in my discussions with my friends at CLC!

  15. Max wrote:

    The heat continues to be turned up on Mahaney. When will the TGC, SBC, and Al Mohler collectively decide he is a potato too hot to handle? If not now, when?! These New Calvinists appear to stick together to the death, a blood pact with a sworn loyalty and mutual admiration among NC leaders that defies common sense.

    That is so true, even among the younger YRR here in Texas….if one messes up, they rally behind the one who has ” fouled-up” even if the mistake is morally reprehensible….it’s disgusting…

  16. Nancy2 wrote:

    I think it is commendable that the mothers of the victims maintained their self-control. But, if my daughter had been a victim, I can assure you, self-control would have been the last thing on my mind.

    Nancy2,

    In defense of these mothers, they were instructed to behave in a certain way by leaders who had absolute control over their behavior. They were trained to trust those in authority over them. 🙁

  17. K.D. wrote:

    That is so true, even among the younger YRR here in Texas….if one messes up, they rally behind the one who has ” fouled-up” even if the mistake is morally reprehensible….it’s disgusting…

    For evidence of that, one has to look no further than Mark Driscoll! While Acts 29 might have slapped Pastor Mark’s hand and once-supportive SBC leaders distanced themselves from the potty-mouth … the majority of YRRs in the ranks wait anxiously for his resurrection. But, I just don’t get the connection between Intellectual Mohler and Goober Mahaney. You would think Mohler would be smart enough to exit the relationship at some point. Perhaps the good doctor likes the flattery he gets from Mahaney who talks about Mohler’s big stack of books, etc.

  18. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    One thing I will continue to do is speak out against the heartless celebrities who continue to prop-up Mahaney by sharing the conference stage with him. These pulpit profiteers should all be defrocked, de-gifted and de-supported.

    Ditto, Todd! We will continue to speak out as well.

    What a pleasure it was to meet you during your visit to the states back in 2014. You are definitely one of the GOOD GUYS!

  19. Max wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    That is so true, even among the younger YRR here in Texas….if one messes up, they rally behind the one who has ” fouled-up” even if the mistake is morally reprehensible….it’s disgusting…
    For evidence of that, one has to look no further than Mark Driscoll! While Acts 29 might have slapped Pastor Mark’s hand and once-supportive SBC leaders distanced themselves from the potty-mouth … the majority of YRRs in the ranks wait anxiously for his resurrection. But, I just don’t get the connection between Intellectual Mohler and Goober Mahaney. You would think Mohler would be smart enough to exit the relationship at some point. Perhaps the good doctor likes the flattery he gets from Mahaney who talks about Mohler’s big stack of books, etc.

    Like you said,” it defies common sense. ”
    One thing I found in seminary, a lot of stuff that makes sense it in the real world, doesn’t carry over to the theological world….

  20. Harley wrote:

    I personally think everyone should keep a pair of those ridiculously high heels at home for purposes of defense. A woman in Houston, a few years ago, killed her “husband” with one.

    Best use of a high-heel shoe was when the heroine gave the top Nazi his send-off to a well-deserved very hot (or very cold, historical reports on that differ) place in the movie “Iron Sky”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZnlJUXEAbI

  21. Max wrote:

    But, I just don’t get the connection between Intellectual Mohler and Goober Mahaney.

    I think it's as simple as this… Follow the $$$$$$$$$$$$

    Never forget that Mahaney gave a MIMIMUM of $100,000 to Mohler's seminary, and SGM also gave at least $100,000 to SBTS.

    Who knows how much money is involved with the T4G money machine. Bet Mohler gets a big cut.

  22. @ Max:

    But if we go back in time, the big mistake for Driscoll was taking them on in the Elephant room. The scandals did not bother them but the Elephant room made them mad. James McDonald had enough sense to do his mea culpa bit later to get back in and now his empire is SBC.

  23. Nancy2 wrote:

    Of all of the men who have protected the abusers and shamed the abused, CJM among them, why haven’t any of these men had to have surgery to remove some mad mama’s high-heeled boot from their colon?

    Because of (at least in their minds) the Holy Spirit’s Hedge of Protection against such a Jezebel Spirit(TM).

    “WOMAN, SUBMIT!” (Even when you’re puking your guts out from morning sickness when PASTOR hubby gets those Urrrges in His Arrreas and Wants Some NOW! HUMBLY, of course.)

  24. Gus wrote:

    @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    And a name like “People of Destiny, Intl.” has “cult” and/or “con” written all over it. At least for me.

    For me, a name like “People of Destiny(TM)” has “really full of themselves” written all over it. And them.

  25. Deb wrote:

    In defense of these mothers, they were instructed to behave in a certain way by leaders who had absolute control over their behavior. They were trained to trust those in authority over them. 🙁

    And threatened with J-Day and Eternal Hell if they got Uppity.

  26. K.D. wrote:

    That is so true, even among the younger YRR here in Texas….if one messes up, they rally behind the one who has ” fouled-up” even if the mistake is morally reprehensible….it’s disgusting…

    “ONE OF US!
    ONE OF US!
    GOOBLE! GOBBLE!
    ONE OF US!”
    — Todd Browning, Freaks

  27. Max wrote:

    As Todd Wilhelm comments upstream “These pulpit profiteers should all be defrocked, de-gifted and de-supported.” Unfortunately, their sins don’t seem to bother the huge following of gullible YRRDs (young, restless, reformed & deceived).

    The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrade.

  28. It is about ego… Disowning one of their “group” means admitting mistake in the values of the “group”… If you say there is something wrong with the values of the group, their identity falls… Their identify is defined by their “distinctives” of their theology which makes them “special” compared to us peons…. It has been my experience that most, if not all, “flavors” of Christainity think they are special since they have the ” best way”…

    K.D. wrote:

    Max wrote:
    K.D. wrote:
    That is so true, even among the younger YRR here in Texas….if one messes up, they rally behind the one who has ” fouled-up” even if the mistake is morally reprehensible….it’s disgusting…
    For evidence of that, one has to look no further than Mark Driscoll! While Acts 29 might have slapped Pastor Mark’s hand and once-supportive SBC leaders distanced themselves from the potty-mouth … the majority of YRRs in the ranks wait anxiously for his resurrection. But, I just don’t get the connection between Intellectual Mohler and Goober Mahaney. You would think Mohler would be smart enough to exit the relationship at some point. Perhaps the good doctor likes the flattery he gets from Mahaney who talks about Mohler’s big stack of books, etc.
    Like you said,” it defies common sense. ”
    One thing I found in seminary, a lot of stuff that makes sense it in the real world, doesn’t carry over to the theological world….

  29. Lydia wrote:

    taking them on in the Elephant room

    Ahhh yes, the infamous smoke-filled “Elephant Room.” Where the who’s-who meet to plot the destiny of Christendom … where the strategies of men supersede the purposes of God … where up-and-comer little guys are occasionally invited in to mingle with the big dogs … where God laughs as the elephant dung grows larger on the floor and the grunts and strain of mere men echo through the heavenlies as they do church without Him.

  30. @ numo:
    I abbreviated the name only because I am a lazy typist, but I realise I shouldn’t have abbreviated it if I wanted to comment on the name.

    That said, it’s the “People of Destiny” part that I objected to

  31. Eagle wrote:

    Last Sunday he said that CLC is under “satanic” attack in the form of this Washingtonian article

    Being held accountable and exposed for being negligent and indifferent in dealing with child abuse is being “under Satanic attack”? Oh please.

    So long as churches continue to mishandle abuse victims, if media exposure of what these clowns do is “Satanic attack,” I’d like to see more Satanic attack.

  32. Regarding Pam’s question about whether sex abuse coverups would still happen if women were involved with policy…I really think it depends on which women you’re talking about. Does anyone believe for a second that Carolyn Mahaney or any of the other prominent wives, are remotely interested in conducting a thorough investigation?

  33. Eagle wrote:

    Mark Mitchell is the Executive Pastor at Covenant Life. Last Sunday he said that CLC is under “satanic” attack in the form of this Washingtonian article.

    Darned shame when alleged Christian leaders are calling the exposure of uncomfortable truths an attack of Satan. The Bible is one long string of uncomfortable truths being exposed about God’s people, leaders and otherwise, and every word of it, so I believe, inspired by God.

  34. The Harvest Bible Fellowship churches led by James MacDonald are all churches of LifeGroups or small groups. These small groups are not a traditional bible study groups, but are facilitator-led dialectic sessions for the purpose of mind control. I once asked a Harvest Bible Chapel pastor if they used a training manual to train their Lifegroup facilitators…since group facilitation is a learned skill. This pastor told me that the training manual used for all the HBF churches was CJ Mahaney’s “Why Small Groups?” It was then I knew Mahaney could not be a Christian.

  35. Eagle wrote:

    I wrote an open letter to Mark Mitchell at my blog. Mark Mitchell is the Executive Pastor at Covenant Life. Last Sunday he said that CLC is under “satanic” attack in the form of this Washingtonian article.

    I guess he doesn’t believe those children who were sexually abused were under any kind of attack. Apparently, they don’t matter!

  36. Good point, Nancy2, I kind of thought “Satanic attack” might be a more apt description of one who, under the cover of a church institution, sexually abuses small children and the follow up actions of those who cover it up to protect the institution.

    If Mr. Mitchell thinks these are all lies, then out with it, Mark, tell us what the lies are and file your lawsuit against The Washingtonian for libel. Otherwise, sit down, shut up, and thank God that at least some people are willing to tell the painful truth, which is just exactly what Jesus always seemed to be doing.

  37. Amen….
    Law Prof wrote:

    Good point, Nancy2, I kind of thought “Satanic attack” might be a more apt description of one who, under the cover of a church institution, sexually abuses small children and the follow up actions of those who cover it up to protect the institution.
    If Mr. Mitchell thinks these are all lies, then out with it, Mark, tell us what the lies are and file your lawsuit against The Washingtonian for libel. Otherwise, sit down, shut up, and thank God that at least some people are willing to tell the painful truth, which is just exactly what Jesus always seemed to be doing.

  38. Off, the topic….just received my ” Southwestern News” magazine from the Baptist seminary in Ft. Worth….it is full of photos. Why does everyone look the same in the pictures?….and they all have the same smile and gleam in their eyes….almost cult-like…

  39. I have a sense that CJM’s star has fallen significantly and is not rising.

    I hope you’re correct, but the jury is still out on that question. We may know more after the upcoming Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville. C.J. Mahaney is scheduled to be a full participant this time after being a spectator, albeit a front-row spectator, two years earlier.

  40. OT but of interest: I hope Dee and Deb have survived the ice storm. We’re buried under heavy snow in Northern Virginia. The lights flickered just as I was posting my last comment and I heard a transformer explode. I hope and pray the power stays on; it’s awfully cold to be without it.

  41. The Post Title brings to mind a recent film: Spotlight. It is a good film. This is a good post.

  42. K.D. wrote:

    Off, the topic….just received my ” Southwestern News” magazine from the Baptist seminary in Ft. Worth….it is full of photos. Why does everyone look the same in the pictures?….and they all have the same smile and gleam in their eyes….almost cult-like…

    I would suggest that it is because it most likely is cult-like.

  43. singleman wrote:

    I hope Dee and Deb have survived the ice storm.

    Nice and cozy here. Thank goodness we haven't lost our power at all. All the power lines in my neighborhood are underground; however, tens of thousands have lost power here in the Raleigh area. 🙁

    Thanks for your concern! 

    Everyone, please stay safe.

  44. One more thing I feel that also needs to be said. I appreciate and acknowledge the role that SGM Survivors has played in the SGM issue. However, that said Kris doesn't help or enhance the blog when she acts like C.J. Mahaney 2.0 and can be a control freak. You can't criticize an authoritarian organization and then turn around and be controlling as well. You undermine yourself, and with the people who have been hurt I would venture to say at times SGM Survivors can almost be an extension of Sovereign Grace.

    I posted my comment that was deleted in "My Comment was Deleted" for you guys to read. But that is no way to run an organization.

    Rant over, nuff said…

  45. Law Prof wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Off, the topic….just received my ” Southwestern News” magazine from the Baptist seminary in Ft. Worth….it is full of photos. Why does everyone look the same in the pictures?….and they all have the same smile and gleam in their eyes….almost cult-like…
    I would suggest that it is because it most likely is cult-like.

    And thus another reason why I am no longer SBC…

  46. @ Gus:
    Well, sure, but i think the “intetnational” part adds whole new dimensions of weirdness to the rest of it!

  47. Eagle wrote:

    One more thing I feel that also needs to be said. I appreciate and acknowledge the role that SGM Survivors has played in the SGM issue. However, that said Kris doesn’t help or enhance the blog when she acts like C.J. Mahaney 2.0 and can be a control freak. You can’t criticize an authoritarian organization and then turn around and be controlling as well. You undermine yourself, and with the people who have been hurt I would venture to say at times SGM Survivors can almost be an extension of Sovereign Grace.
    I posted my comment that was deleted in “My Comment was Deleted” for you guys to read. But that is no way to run an organization.
    Rant over, nuff said…

    One of the common attributes, unfortunately, of survivors of cults is that the ethos of the cult gets into their systems and can be terribly difficult to rid one’s self of.

  48. Lydia:

    When you wrote, “The question is why would a guy like Mohler spend so much political capital and unethical gravitas on a former head Apostle for the People of Destiny?”, you ask a very good question.

    Some have suggested that CJM has given to SBTS, and this has ingratiated him to Mohler.

    CJM has given to SBTS, and while the amount of the contributions are not insignificant, they would not put CJM in the high-giver class at Southern.

    I suspect that the answer may be this “people like their own ideas” or some variant of that.

    Mohler and Dever put T4G together years ago. Including a pastor from a Charismatic background who had a significant following, and was in agreement with other theological points probably seemed like a really good idea. And it worked for years. There is a “4” in T4G, so getting rid of CJM is a tough pill to swallow. It probably feels like an admission of some sort that they had bad judgment. So, letting go of CJM is a slam on Mohler and Dever. That is my guess as to why it was so hard to get them to say anything negative. The Morales trial got us there. But it also may explain why they would be quick to believe anything CJM or CJM’s lawyer says, and why they would do anything they could to get things back to normal.

    This year’s SBC could be interesting.

    I have wondered weather SGM’s credentials will be challenged because SGM is not a “Missionary Baptist Church” under the SBC Constitution and Bylaws.

  49. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Oh, come on. C.J. called himself “apostle”. Do you really expect someone with that level of insecurity and hubris to produce anything good?

    Dr. Fundystan:

    The “Apostle” label was all that it took for me.

    I never even knew who the guy was, but when I learned he called himself an “Apostle”, I knew there was a problem. That was before the problems became manifest to the rest of the world.

    I agree with you.

  50. Deb wrote:

    @ Anonymous:

    Wondering why you believe it was Mohler and Dever who put together T4G together. In all sincerity, did they know anything about how to organize a large conference? I beg to differ and wrote about it almost six years ago.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/03/01/together-on-a-mission-or-together-for-the-gospel/

    Of course, this post is pure speculation, but I still stand by it. Just food for thought…

    Great catch. I don’t really know that either.

    I made an assumption based on Mohler and Dever having a relationship that goes back decades. I don’t know that CJM and Duncan were known to these guys then. And the further assumption is that an idea like this would start with one, expand to two, etc. I just seemed likely that Mohler and Dever would be the catalyst.

    The locale of Louisville is also a factor for me. Someone who is the catalyst might suggest starting in the backyard.

    I confess that these are completely assumptions. But at lease you can see my thinking.

    I will make it a point to ask around about this, and will let you know what I find out.

    Of course, even if I interviewed all 4 of them, I might get 4 different answers.

    “Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan.”

  51. @ numo:

    I totally agree. I just think we need to be consistent. If we are going to talk about CJ Mahnaey being totalitarian and hung up on power, and then turn a blind eye to someone else like Kris then we are doing the same thing that Mark Dever and Al Mohler are doing – I would suggest.

  52. @ LT:

    “The men like CJ and Joshua Harris seem to be closing ranks tighter, slapping their own backs a bit harder and above all else, taking care of each other financially at all costs.
    .
    I think the truest source of evil at the center of all this is the money and the power which has grown out of control. People are, in the end, unwittingly funding this destruction by allowing pastors to profiteer at such obscene rates in the name of Jesus. If shepherds were dedicated to truly SERVING the flock instead of building their private empires this empire preserving behavior might become a thing of the past. Am I the only one wondering where this will take us with the next generation when the good guys are shrinking and the bad guys are multiplying?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i wonder about this: a trend of ekklesias with money taken out of the picture. done voluntarily, small-scale. no salaries. expressly not for career-building. no tax exemptions required. no burden to society, whether perceived or real.

    everything pared down, including so-called ‘doctrinal’ things. something which everyone who believes in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit can agree on. perhaps centered on one of the ancient creeds.

    people’s expectations for method and style also pared down. being flexible is a main idea. working together. the focus would be on the practical, for the purpose of using our energy not for ourselves individually or corporately but for our neighborhoods, cities, places of work.

    *i mean, isn’t this the point of our religion, afterall?*

    really, when you boil it all down, it’s what we would all do in a natural disaster situation, where we would have to come together, have to work together, luxuries (material and immaterial) are absent. in such a situation, amazing things are accomplished that impact human lives at ground zero. and it is very gratifying.

    the idea is to keep a mission of conscience lean, agile, & free from the distractions & compromises which the acquisition of money brings.

    if this became a trend, a popular one, a growing one, the scuzzy nonsense of this ‘christian’ empire-building would be highlighted by sheer contrast. how could it remain a viable way to do things?

  53. @ Julie Anne Smith:
    Thanks for your support, JA, Deb and others. I wanted to encourage everyone who attends a fellowship – whether denominational, independent, non-denom, mega or small, or even a house church – ask your pastor/elders for a copy of the sexual misconduct policy. Sex abuse cover-up in our religious institutions is in large part because there is an almost complete lack of appropriate sexual misconduct policy throughout the church, as a whole. Just because there is a written policy, it doesn’t mean that unethical leaders would FOLLOW it, but it would be much harder to snooker an aware congregation! Do they have it in black and white at YOUR church that ALL incidents of suspected sexual abuse will be reported to civil authorities? Many churches use vague language or hide behind “clergy confidentiality” clauses; some denominations have a “suggested” policy on a denom-wide level, but with no real weight. It is my impression that many (most?) churches have a policy to do background checks on children’s workers, however, that protects our kids for approx. 1 hr. per wk while at children’s ministry from KNOWN abusers (in theory) and is set up to protect the church business from liability. What would happen at your church if an adult, a leader, a teen is caught or suspected of sex abuse? Demand it in writing.

    [I would love it if folks do so and report their findings here, so the conversation on this can continue. Deb/Dee, if that is OK with you]

  54. @ Eagle:
    Look, she brings the hammer down on a lot of people. I’m one of them. She banned me several years ago. Lots of other people no longer commment there = whether they were banned, or whether they got fed up, I don’t know. Probably both.

    In my case, it just isn’t something I feel a need to make into an issue.

  55. Anonymous wrote:

    I made an assumption based on Mohler and Dever having a relationship that goes back decades. I don’t know that CJM and Duncan were known to these guys then. And the further assumption is that an idea like this would start with one, expand to two, etc. I just seemed likely that Mohler and Dever would be the catalyst.

    I have done some research into how the Fab Four came to be. Perhaps it was 2009 or 2010 (can't remember exactly when) that the T4G website had a blog. It was taken down several years ago. Anyway, Ligon Duncan wrote a short post explaining how the four of them became friends. Duncan explained that he, Dever, and Mohler had been friends for decades, and it was Dever who introduced Mahaney to him and Al Mohler.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the three – Dever, Duncan, and Mohler – got to know each other at an InterVarsity conference while they were in college. I believe they are all about the same age.

  56. numo wrote:

    @ Gus:
    Well, sure, but i think the “intetnational” part adds whole new dimensions of weirdness to the rest of it!

    “Today Sovereign Grace, TOMORROW THE WORLD!”?

  57. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Oh, come on. C.J. called himself “apostle”. Do you really expect someone with that level of insecurity and hubris to produce anything good?

    Not just “apostle”, he titled himself “Head Apostle”.

    Title awarded the same way as Idi Amin’s Doctorate.

  58. Max wrote:

    You would think Mohler would be smart enough to exit the relationship at some point. Perhaps the good doctor likes the flattery he gets from Mahaney who talks about Mohler’s big stack of books, etc.

    “With a ruler, you can lay the flattery on with a trowel.”
    — Benjamin Disraeli

  59. Deb wrote:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the three – Dever, Duncan, and Mohler – got to know each other at an InterVarsity conference while they were in college. I believe they are all about the same age.

    Yes, they are all in their mid-50s and could have met at a conference during their college/seminary days … perhaps debating the fine points of reformed theology. Extremely arrogant folks have a way of finding each other. All three are equally struck on themselves and take turns flattering each other when sharing the same platform. I find such behavior nauseous, but the YRRs seem to like it for some weird reason. Mahaney is the odd man out … not as intellectual, cultured, or clean-cut as the Fab 3, but pours on the flattery when he’s around them. As you noted earlier, he once had some big bucks from SGM tithes to get in him in the door with Mohler.

  60. Anonymous wrote:

    Lydia:
    When you wrote, “The question is why would a guy like Mohler spend so much political capital and unethical gravitas on a former head Apostle for the People of Destiny?”, you ask a very good question.
    Some have suggested that CJM has given to SBTS, and this has ingratiated him to Mohler.
    CJM has given to SBTS, and while the amount of the contributions are not insignificant, they would not put CJM in the high-giver class at Southern

    So, no big deal? CJ hands over 100,000 of SGM tithe money. But that is the way a shepherding cult works. No discussion with members and no vote. Who knew except those reading the “level of giving” donor mentions in the SBTS publication back then. Evidently, 100,000 gift buys you into a pretty high category if I remember correctly. To try and play it down as “not that big of a gift’ says it all about stewardship and OPM thinking out there. Why would SGM be giving SBTS that much money? They had a mandatory pastors college.

  61. @ Eagle:
    It certainly served a good purpose to get the stories out. I was banned for simply not believing in ESS which shocked me. However, I tend to give folks who have been in a shepherding cult a big pass. It can take years to get ingrained thinking out and many tend to gravitate to other authoritarian groups who have “truth” and an authoritative governance structure. It can be a viscous cycle. I do remember that many commenters really believed that if they could just find “godly” “leaders”, all would be well. That is just not how it works.

  62. Deb,
    Excellent article. Thank you, Deb & Dee, once again.

    Pam,

    Those are great suggestions and it would be interesting and helpful to read the responses. Especially finding out what your church policy is in handling a known predator on and off church property.

  63. Anonymous wrote:

    I have wondered weather SGM’s credentials will be challenged because SGM is not a “Missionary Baptist Church” under the SBC Constitution and Bylaws.

    Who on earth has the gravitas or nerve to challenge that? They would end up a quivering puddle after Mohlers loyalists and mouthpieces got through with them. I can just hear it now. And, besides that, Platt had a “missionary” baptist church that barely acknowledged the CP. in his own words he said he “discovered” the beauty of the CP after he was appointed president of the IMB! How convenient but not exactly “Radical”. More like hypocritical. . So, things like that hardly matter anymore. Now, women preachers? That will get you booted! Celeb Charlatans who use Jesus for fame and/or fortune? They are welcome. Ask James McDonald, too.

  64. elastigirl wrote:

    i wonder about this: a trend of ekklesias with money taken out of the picture. done voluntarily, small-scale. no salaries. expressly not for career-building. no tax exemptions required. no burden to society, whether perceived

    I have a feeling there is a growing segment of people looking for something like this. I am one of them. 9Marks pastors know this, it explains the continual frantic pleas by pastors such as John Folmar of UCCD to formally join his church. Just being a regular attender is not good enough; it leaves you open to the attacks of Satan!

  65. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    It is interesting how our traditions become so ingrained. Not saying all of them are bad, either. It is just that I run across so many attenders who are frustrated and stay in their church or are church hopping trying to find the right fit. Why? Because so many of us are convinced we need to attend some formalized structure.

    I wondered what it would be like to just be a believer without the hindrance of a formal structure. It.is.glorious! I meet other believers in the course of life who bring many perspectives. Some believe going to church saves them or keeps them saved as a sort of duty. Outside the formal structure it is so much easier to have deeper and meaningful discussions and relationships with other believers if they are open to you not having to be part of their tribe first.

    And these days more and more churches won’t allow you to attend long term without pressure to become a member,

  66. @ JYJames:
    I took my teens to see this R rated picture. I thought the message was too important and showed how people become fixated on authority figures in the church. As the guy told the reporter, when the priest visited your home it was like God coming over.

  67. @ Lydia:

    “Because so many of us are convinced we need to attend some formalized structure”
    ++++++++++++++++

    I remember, after my time in 1st Church of Dysfunction, I was trying out different churches trying to find the one with the yin to my yang, certain that spiritual destiny was calling us to each other.

    During that time I had a conversation with a fellow Christian friend, sitting outside at a café in the sun. in chatting about my church-searching news, I made the comment “well, I’ll ‘wither and shrivel up unless I go to church” — it was just the customary thing to say in these circumstances.

    She said, “I don’t think so”.

    Immediately everything stopped… it was like breathing for the very first time. and all of a sudden I realized she was right. in fact, at that very moment I realized that I had stopped believing that for a number of years, but had never acknowledged it. I had been programmed to turn my thoughts off.

    it was an amazing moment. all in slow motion. I kind of stepped out of my body, walked up to myself, and turned off the automaton that had taken over me. and the whirring came to a stop. the buzzing stopped. and oh the blessed silence.

    since being extra-institution, I’m a butterfly, flying free, spiritually alive. God & I are ‘like this’ (2 fingers crossed).

  68. singleman wrote:

    I hope Dee and Deb have survived the ice storm. We’re buried under heavy snow in Northern Virginia. The lights flickered just as I was posting my last comment and I heard a transformer explode. I hope and pray the power stays on; it’s awfully cold to be without it.

    Sorry to hear about the anxious moments, Singleman. I’ve been praying about the weather situation in the States, and I hope you’ve been able to stay warm.

    Japan is having it’s own problems. The whole country has been hit by a nasty cold snap, and snow is falling heavily in a lot of places. Parts way down south are getting their biggest snowfall — in some places, their first snowfall — in over a century.

    In my part of the archipelago, it’s been nearly constant since late Saturday night, and more is predicted until Monday evening. We’ve had short breaks in the weather, and I’ve been able to get some shovelling done, but I’ll probably still have to get up an hour early just to tunnel my way out and then drive to work. (Assuming there is work — from what I’ve heard, most likely so.) Prayers and good thoughts for a safe drive would be much, much appreciated.

  69. “Brent Detwiler, one of Mahaney’s colleagues, was de-gifted in 2009”

    Does anyone else see how ridiculous this statement is?

    Who gives spiritual gifts? Men or God?

    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

  70. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

    If I remember from readings a few years back, the “gifting” being talked about is a sort of commendation, laying on of hands, public recognition of a leadership role in their system. So “de-gifting” pulling back the recommendation, recognition, and role. And IIRC, could include church discipline stuff as well.

  71. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Sallie Borrink wrote:
    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?
    If I remember from readings a few years back, the “gifting” being talked about is a sort of commendation, laying on of hands, public recognition of a leadership role in their system. So “de-gifting” pulling back the recommendation, recognition, and role. And IIRC, could include church discipline stuff as well.

    Right. I understand that. But it’s still absurd when you really think about it.

  72. @ Happymom:
    Thank you for posting this. I checked it out. One of the stats that jumped out at me was: “100% of interviewed offenders -> previously reported by children and the reports were
    ignored.”

  73. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    it explains the continual frantic pleas by pastors such as John Folmar of UCCD to formally join his church. Just being a regular attender is not good enough; it leaves you open to the attacks of Satan!

    Membership is simply a way to attempt to control people. What the people need to know is they can do what you did. Tell them to *bug off* and quit the church. And then laugh as they attempt the *care group* discipline scenario. The emperor has no clothes and they know it and an increasing number of church attendees are beginning to get the message.

    I know of one church which has experienced a significant drop in income which they are hiding from the membership. People are dropping like flies as the pastor implements Calvinista tactics. They are getting it.

  74. dee wrote:

    This was a group of theological crazies. That is the best explanation that I can give.

    That is what it looks like.

  75. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

    They hold the Keys to the Kingdom (at least in their own mind).

    “Whatsoever ye bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye loose on Earth shall be Loosed in Heaven.”

    “NO SALVATION FOR YOU!”
    — Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi after Seminary and Anointing/Gifting

  76. Lydia wrote:

    So, no big deal? CJ hands over 100,000 of SGM tithe money.

    And MONEY TALKS.

    Evidently, $100,000 gift buys you into a pretty high category if I remember correctly.

    Like your name on top of the Pyramid List in Heaven?

    (And $210,000 gift buys your book a spot on the NYT Best-Seller List for a week.)

  77. elastigirl wrote:

    She said, “I don’t think so”.

    Great story. It is interesting that your friend was openly disagreeing with you but inwardly validating you.

  78. ION:

    Got within one move of completing the relentlessly hard new 7a/+ route at the local climbing wall today. I’m both chuffed and annoyed at myself – I was rapidly running out of strength, but I still might have stuck the final dyno if I’d really gone for it.

    Likewise, Lesley was within one move of completing the 6b route in the corner; when once she does this one it’ll be the hardest-graded indoor route she’s done, and her first ground-up 6b.

    IHTIH

  79. @ Bill M:

    being disagreed with can be like the first sip of the world’s best cup of coffee ever nice & hot, the first pow of an overdue antibiotic,….

  80. elastigirl wrote:

    it was an amazing moment. all in slow motion. I kind of stepped out of my body, walked up to myself, and turned off the automaton that had taken over me. and the whirring came to a stop. the buzzing stopped. and oh the blessed silence.

    since being extra-institution, I’m a butterfly, flying free, spiritually alive. God & I are ‘like this’ (2 fingers crossed).

    There’s no feeling like it. I’m with ya. Except I’ve turned into a red-tailed hawk wheeling on the thermals. The closest description I can think of would be the dueling oboes in the first movement of Beethoven’s 1st symphony.

  81. totally awesome, muff. actually, butterfly doesn’t do it. I feel powerful! don’t know what a red-tailed hawk is, so I think eagle is more like how I feel.

    it’s great to feel powerful.

  82. @ elastigirl:

    sorry to belabor the monologuing point here….

    it’s more than feeling powerful. I am powerful.

    to partner with God in administrating my abilities, skills, time, energy, faith — we work together, his power joining with my power in my actions and efforts.

    by all means, i’m no special case. this is all of us.

  83. elastigirl wrote:

    o partner with God in administrating my abilities, skills, time, energy, faith — we work together, his power joining with my power in my actions and efforts.

    Well, this sums it up nicely. Well done. Had this been understood over the millennium, there is no telling what believers could have accomplished for good, sooner. Cures for diseases that wiped out so many, full literacy sooner, driving cars around 16th century Geneva, etc, etc. Instead, authoritarianism became accepted doctrine and held people in bondage. Power and control of people in the Name of God.

  84. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    “Brent Detwiler, one of Mahaney’s colleagues, was de-gifted in 2009”
    Does anyone else see how ridiculous this statement is?
    Who gives spiritual gifts? Men or God?
    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

    Especially with Romans 11:29 stating

    for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

  85. nancyjane wrote:

    Okay–St.Ionesco? Who dat?

    I saintified Eugène Ionesco — premiere writer of “Theatre of the Absurd” plays.

    Be sure to check out *Rhinoceros*, where individuals turn into rhinoceroses (or is it rhinoceroti?)as they create and conform to a mass movement that gets destructive. Only a few seem unaffected and/or unwilling to transmogrify into a rhino. Somehow this seems to be an appropriate parable for heavy-handed (or -footed) cults….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros_%28play%29

  86. elastigirl wrote:

    it’s great to feel powerful.

    YES!
    We were made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor. And what’s more, the Creator has said that we are gods… (small ‘g’)

  87. How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

    Perhaps it’s SGM’s equivalent of defrocking or deposition. However, in most denominations a certain process must be followed before a minister’s credentials are revoked for disciplinary reasons. SGM apparently “de-gifts” over much less stringent criteria.

  88. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Sorry to hear about the anxious moments, Singleman. I’ve been praying about the weather situation in the States, and I hope you’ve been able to stay warm.
    Japan is having it’s own problems. The whole country has been hit by a nasty cold snap, and snow is falling heavily in a lot of places. Parts way down south are getting their biggest snowfall — in some places, their first snowfall — in over a century.
    In my part of the archipelago, it’s been nearly constant since late Saturday night, and more is predicted until Monday evening. We’ve had short breaks in the weather, and I’ve been able to get some shovelling done, but I’ll probably still have to get up an hour early just to tunnel my way out and then drive to work. (Assuming there is work — from what I’ve heard, most likely so.) Prayers and good thoughts for a safe drive would be much, much appreciated.

    Will do, and please do the same for us as well.

    I just came in following some more shoveling. I’m stiff and sore. This storm definitely reminded me I’m not getting any younger.

  89. @ Lydia:

    “Had this been understood over the millennium, there is no telling what believers could have accomplished for good, sooner. Cures…”
    ++++++++++++

    oh you are so right. all the unrealized accomplishment, as people languish in being managed for the sake of their masters/managers/’shepherds’/etc..

    in the current era at least, I feel that our (collectively) resources (energy, time, skills, abilities, knowledge, etc.) has largely gone to perpetuate the institution and pay salaries. to justify the job titles of professional Christians. to give them things to do. quite honestly, to make professional Christians feel good about themselves.

  90. @ lydia:
    My husband and I grew up in church where our fathers were elders visiting in pairs. And it would have felt like God coming over when it was the other kids’ dads visiting us, only we knew our Dads too well 🙂 so we certainly knew it wasn’t God visiting them when it was our dads’ months. We have never signed a membership since.

  91. Sallie Borrink wrote:

    “Brent Detwiler, one of Mahaney’s colleagues, was de-gifted in 2009”
    Does anyone else see how ridiculous this statement is?
    Who gives spiritual gifts? Men or God?
    How can mere men “de-gift” another person?

    Of all the characters in Christendom whom you might think considers themselves to possess God-like authority, who might consider it appropriate for themselves to stand in the position of our Savior, having the power to give or take away gifts from God, would you not put this group somewhere near the top of the list?

  92. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    nancyjane wrote:

    Okay–St.Ionesco? Who dat?

    I saintified Eugène Ionesco — premiere writer of “Theatre of the Absurd” plays.

    Actually, when it comes to extremely malignant leaders and their toxic systems, I find several different genres might be most befitting as overall descriptors:

    * The Absurd with St. Ionesco.

    * Horror with St. Hitchcock.

    * Soul-slashers with St. Freddie.

    Sadly, that’s what happens sometimes when we supposedly signed up for a Kingdom community of kindness and service — but end up in someone’s “visionary” social experiment that precipitates evil.

    Thank the Lord for survivors, bloggers, investigative reporters, and others who do the documentaries so that something more redemptive can happen with these scripts that turn out to be terrors …

  93. numo wrote:

    adds whole new dimensions of weirdness

    You’re right, but then again, can you be much weirder than “the humble one” already is, with his smirks, his giggles, his body language, his brownnosing sucking up to the powers in the YRR-SBC that be, you name it …

    Let’s not even talk about his “church plant” in KY, where the “pastors” and their families seem to make up a large part of the congregation – 5 pastors for what, 200 people

  94. I sent this to over 100 national leaders last Thursday. Hoping it will open a few more eyes. Thanks for your good work Dee and Deb.

    From: Brent Detwiler [mailto:abrentdetwiler@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 4:25 PM
    To: National Leaders
    Subject: Featured Story by Washingtonian Magazine about C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & Sovereign Grace Ministries Hits Newsstands Tomorrow

    For over 30 years, C.J. Mahaney and the pastors of Covenant Life Church conspired not to report allegations of child sexual abuse to law enforcement. It was their unwritten policy. As a result, abusers and predators were not stopped and families in harm’s way were not warned. Terrible destruction followed. I prove that in my most recent post. No leader in the Body of Christ should believe the deceitful denials put out by C.J. Mahaney to the contrary.

    No, they should study the evidence; something his enablers have been unwilling to do. Instead, these national leaders support Mahaney based on the talking points he supplies them. For example, those leaders participating in the upcoming Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, KY. Such support is reprehensible. C.J. should not be a featured speaker. He should not even be in ministry.

    Yesterday, I posted Long Story by Washingtonian Magazine about C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church, & Sovereign Grace Ministries Hits Newsstands Tomorrow on my blog. Please read the entire article if possible; and of course, read the long story when it is posted. Here are a few excepts from different parts of the article.

    Long Story by Washingtonian Magazine about C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church, & Sovereign Grace Ministries Hits Newsstands Tomorrow
    January 20, 2016
    Brent Detwiler

    For the last 10 months, Washingtonian Magazine has been working on a longform story (i.e., longer than an article, shorter than a novel) about C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries. It hits the newsstands tomorrow. In the next week or two, it will be posted on their website. The magazine is read by hundreds of thousands of people and will address the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children and other pertinent issues.

    The featured article is called “The Fall of a Mega Church.” It is written by Tiffany Stanley. Here’s her brief description is found in the table of contents.

    “Over four decades, a Gaithersburg church became a global evangelical empire—the center of a cloistered world many locals knew nothing about. Then things went terribly wrong.”

    http://www.washingtonian.com/2016/01/20/february-2016/

    Here’s a description of the magazine and its website.

    About Us

    Washingtonian, the magazine Washington lives by, is the region’s top source of information for dining, shopping, entertainment, and personalities. It has been Washington’s most trusted guide to living, working, and playing in the area for more than four decades thanks to features like “100 Very Best Restaurants,” “Top Doctors,” and “Great Places to Live.” The magazine is read each month by more than 400,000 people, who spend an average of 96 minutes with each issue and save each issue for an average of five months. The Washingtonian is a five-time National Magazine Award winner for its reporting and writing.

    Washingtonian.com, the online extension of the magazine, helps hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors explore and live in the nation’s capital. From planning a night out on the town to locating the best pediatrician or lining up a new hairstylist, Washingtonian.com is the region’s premier destination for lifestyle information. Through online chats with editors, online columns, events calendars, and blogs, the site helps readers keep up with everything happening around them. Whether you’re contemplating moving and want to know the area’s best places to live or contemplating switching jobs and want to know the region’s best places to work, Washingtonian.com is the national capital region’s one stop for trustworthy, dependable, and thoughtful advice.

    For over three years, I have worked with victims, child abuse experts, lawyers and law enforcement. I hoped to have completed a book length treatise on the conspiracy by now; but that was not possible given health challenges that arose over the past year. People need to hear the whole story because they have been ill-informed and misinformed – that includes the members of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD formerly led by C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris.

    http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/update-on-jennys-fight-against-breast-cancer.html

    Though I’ve not yet read the story in the Washingtonian, I am hopeful it will shed light on the conspiracy to commit and cover up child sexual abuse by leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) and Covenant Life Church (CLC).

    For example, C.J. Mahaney’s lawyer told CLC’s lawyer, Lar Liebeler, that Mahaney knew absolutely nothing about the sexual abuse of boys by Nathaniel Morales even though at least seven of his CLC pastors (i.e., Grant Layman and Chris Glass in 1991; Robin Boisvert in 1992; Gary Ricucci in 1993; Joshua Harris, Kenneth Maresco, and Corby Megorden in 2007) were apprised of Morales’ sexual abuse as a matter of fact. These facts were established under oath in two separate trials and Morales was subsequently sentenced to 40 years in prison in August 2014.

    Mahaney oversaw these men as their senior pastor from 1980-2004 and as President/Chairman of SGM from 2005-2011. I believe he is lying when claiming complete ignorance about Morales’ crimes. Such extraordinary information would most certainly have been reported to him by his pastors. It is inconceivable he had no knowledge. No pastor employed by him would have dared withhold it from him. I know – I worked for Mahaney for 25 years. He micromanaged crises in the church and the larger ministry. Withholding that kind of information from him could get you fired – and in this case, understandably. Of course, you tell the senior pastor about children in the church who are being sexually abused!

    ##

    But worst of all is C.J. Mahaney. This longstanding policy was established by him when he became the senior pastor in 1980. At the time, there were allegations of sexual abuse by Charles Schmitt but Mahaney did not report them to law enforcement. This policy of not involving law enforcement was enforced by him and carried out by his staff for 25 years. Harris carried on the wretched tradition.

    And yet Mahaney continues to lie and cover his tracks. After the Morales trial in May 2014, he put out this statement.

    “Let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.”

    These words were posted by C.J. Mahaney on his church website a week after incriminating testimony was given at the Morales trial by his brother-in-law, Grant Layman and several other witnesses. In my opinion, this emphatic and universal denial constitutes Mahaney’s most serious lie to date.

    Listen carefully to these remarks by Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall in her opening statement at the first trial of Nathaniel Morales when he was found guilty on all five counts of child sex abuse and offense against Sam Bates, Jeremy Cook, and Brian Wolohan.

    Jessica Hall
    Assistant State’s Attorney
    Opening Statement
    Monday, May 12, 2014

    “The church covered it up. The church protected Mr. Morales. … The church would cover up for Mr. Morales. … The church would protect a man who molested children. … The church did nothing. … They ignored the fact that heinous crimes had been committed.”

    The State’s Attorney’s Office is well aware Mahaney is the mastermind behind the cover up they allege. When Hall says “the church would protect a man who molested children,” she has Mahaney primarily in mind and I believe she has the evidence to prove he is lying when he says “I have never conspired to protect a child predator.”

    God in his Providence has exposed spiritual abuse and sexual abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries in order to warn and educate the Body of Christ at large. This despite extensive efforts to cover up these abuses by its leaders.

    ##

    Tomorrow Washingtonian Magazine comes out. Mahaney knows it is coming and I’m sure he is prepared to send out talking points to national leaders and Christian publications. I expect executive director, Mark Prater, will do the same with Sovereign Grace pastors and churches. These men are masters of manipulation.

    In the past, Mahaney and his enablers have put him forward as the object of persecution by the liberal press who hate the gospel. That is what D.A. Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor said about Mahaney in May 2013 when the lawsuit came out claiming he covered-up child sex abuse by not reporting it to law enforcement in keeping with the law.

    “High-profile Christians [like C.J.] are sometimes targeted not because they are guilty, but because they are well known. … 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.”

    Tomorrow, I suspect C.J. will consider himself “unfairly attacked and diminished” by Washingtonian Magazine. He will not humble himself. He will not acknowledge wrong doing. He will not will not repair the past. He will claim he is being persecuted by the liberal press and false witnesses out to get him.

    Mahaney is a master of deceit. He will continue to lie about his role in the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Covenant Life Church and other churches in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Law enforcement may not go after him but they are not fooled by him. That includes Federal authorities. They know about his interstate role in not having SGM pastors report incidences of sex abuse to law enforcement. But in their world, C.J. is a small fish. They are focused on syndicated sex traffickers and the like.

    What I have included in this article represents a small portion of all the evidence in my possession. So much more needs to be said but that is not possible now.

    ##

    You can read the remainder of my blog post here: http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/long-story-by-washingtonian-magazine-about-cj-mahaney-covena.html. I provide far more evidence than what is excerpted above. I hope you will do so for the glory of God, the good of the gospel, the integrity of the ministry, and the well-being of children in the church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  95. Point 1 of 2

    Good to see you here again, Brent. I don’t know you (nor you me), but from little I do know, I think we – along with Deebs – are in the same battle. Keep going, all of you!

  96. Point 2 of 2

    On the plus side: my teenage son got an A in his engineering prelim today (that is, he got the result today; the exam was last week).

    On the down side:

    CRICKET ALERT

    Wartburgers who are sensitive to cricket are advised to skip the remainder of this comment.

    🙁

    END OF CRICKET ALERT

  97. @ Brent Detwiler:
    Ditto what Nick B. said!

    Tomorrow, I suspect C.J. will consider himself “unfairly attacked and diminished” by Washingtonian Magazine. He will not humble himself. He will not acknowledge wrong doing. He will not will not repair the past. He will claim he is being persecuted by the liberal press and false witnesses
    I assume CJM will grab a box of Kleenex, stand before his church and cry,”Father, forgive them. They know not what they do!”

  98. Gus wrote:

    You’re right, but then again, can you be much weirder than “the humble one” already is, with his smirks, his giggles, his body language, his brownnosing sucking up to the powers in the YRR-SBC that be, you name it …

    HUMBLY(TM), of course (chuckle chuckle)…

  99. Nancy2 wrote:

    @ Brent Detwiler:
    Ditto what Nick B. said!

    Tomorrow, I suspect C.J. will consider himself “unfairly attacked and diminished” by Washingtonian Magazine. He will not humble himself. He will not acknowledge wrong doing. He will not will not repair the past. He will claim he is being persecuted by the liberal press and false witnesses

    I assume CJM will grab a box of Kleenex, stand before his church and cry,”Father, forgive them. They know not what they do!”

    Can anyone get those 22 Copts to comment on this horrible example of PERSECUTION(TM)?

  100. Lydia wrote:

    Had this been understood over the millennium, there is no telling what believers could have accomplished for good, sooner. Cures for diseases that wiped out so many, full literacy sooner, driving cars around 16th century Geneva, etc, etc.

    I have noticed that in history, Jews are disproportionately in the forefront of such advances compared to their percentage of the population.

    Maybe Judaism’s emphasis on the here-and-now as opposed to the hereafter has something to do with it? If your basic position towards physical reality is Tikkun Olam (completing and healing an imperfect world) instead of It’s All Gonna Burn(TM)…

    I am more and more convinced that Christianity got sidetracked in its first few centuries from New Heavens and New Earth (renewed reality) to Fluffy Cloud Heaven (escape from that reality). JMJ over at Christian Monist credits this to cross-contamination from Platonic Dualism (Spiritual Good! Physical Baaaaaad!) involving St Augustine (who was accepted as a package deal, personal baggage and all).

  101. I was sure brought up with the “it is all going to burn” philosophy… A colleague that studies geology also gets that from some of his fundy family/friends.

    It is a pretty condenscending approach.. a way to put down anyone that is trying to understand this world better.. What I find interesting is that the people that put us scientist types down for wasting our life trying to understand something that will “all burn anyway” sure like do not complain from people that donate $$$ to their cause.. never mind that the people make their money to donate either being “scientist types” or using technology to make the money.. and as the WW blog shows, many of the people that spew the “it will all burn” mentality live quite well off the donations..

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Had this been understood over the millennium, there is no telling what believers could have accomplished for good, sooner. Cures for diseases that wiped out so many, full literacy sooner, driving cars around 16th century Geneva, etc, etc.
    I have noticed that in history, Jews are disproportionately in the forefront of such advances compared to their percentage of the population.
    Maybe Judaism’s emphasis on the here-and-now as opposed to the hereafter has something to do with it? If your basic position towards physical reality is Tikkun Olam (completing and healing an imperfect world) instead of It’s All Gonna Burn(TM)…
    I am more and more convinced that Christianity got sidetracked in its first few centuries from New Heavens and New Earth (renewed reality) to Fluffy Cloud Heaven (escape from that reality). JMJ over at Christian Monist credits this to cross-contamination from Platonic Dualism (Spiritual Good! Physical Baaaaaad!) involving St Augustine (who was accepted as a package deal, personal baggage and all).

  102. Brent Detwiler wrote:

    Mahaney is a master of deceit. He will continue to lie about his role in the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Covenant Life Church and other churches in Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    As a 60+ year Southern Baptist, I continue to be amazed at SBC’s support of C.J. Mahaney! In 2013 (with C.J. in mind), the annual convention passed a resolution “On Sexual Abuse of Children.” The resolution provided clear instruction to SBC leaders (including Al Mohler): “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.” http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1230/on-sexual-abuse-of-children

    Yet, in 2015, Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville affiliated with the SBC! http://www.sbc.net/church/2015064333/sovereign-grace-church-of-louisville

    Al Mohler’s protection of Mahaney and his influence over SBC regarding Mahaney’s activities within the denomination appear to be unstoppable. Mohler obviously ignored the 2013 resolution, which clearly addressed concerns about ministries such as SGM without naming them specifically. Mohler has become bullet-proof in SBC and is moving aggressively toward Calvinization of a once-great denomination along with his New Calvinist buddies. Teaming with just anybody to accomplish this mission is apparently OK for the good of the movement.

  103. K.D. wrote:

    just received my ” Southwestern News” magazine from the Baptist seminary in Ft. Worth….it is full of photos. Why does everyone look the same in the pictures?

    SBC seminaries have become cookie-cutters … that’s why they all look the same. They seem to have forgotten that while God called us to oneness, He did not mean sameness. Most of the seminarians will take years before they stop parroting their professors in sermons … if they ever do. Southwestern has not yet fallen victim to New Calvinist leadership … but it will post-Patterson … the pressure is too intense by SBC movers & shakers for it not to.

  104. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I am more and more convinced that Christianity got sidetracked in its first few centuries from New Heavens and New Earth (renewed reality) to Fluffy Cloud Heaven (escape from that reality). JMJ over at Christian Monist credits this to cross-contamination from Platonic Dualism (Spiritual Good! Physical Baaaaaad!) involving St Augustine (who was accepted as a package deal, personal baggage and all).

    I am very much convinced of it and agree with you about the Jews in general. Paul Johnson’s “History of the Jews” is very interesting and shows the ability to assimilate in commerce and take care of one another historically. That is speaking generally, of course.

    The absolute worst thing about the earth will burn theology (how about be redeemed because it was good!) is that it leads too many Christians to eschew justice here and now. The focus becomes future justice. They run around saying nothing or no one is perfect. We all sin, blah blah when the truth is that it is not about perfection but very basic justice that values each person based upon their actions toward each other. We end up shooting our own innocents in the process.

    This is a huge topic. But my career advice to young believers is not ministry but the sciences, law, education and the arts. We need you there.

  105. @ Gus:

    200? Not unless Mohler dispatched a bunch of seminary students to fill seats. Which has been known to happen.

  106. Max wrote:

    Southwestern has not yet fallen victim to New Calvinist leadership … but it will post-Patterson … the pressure is too intense by SBC movers &

    Patterson is 73 years old. How much longer is he gonna last?
    I wonder if he realizes that he is one of those who helped opened the doors for the YRR take overs in the SBC?

  107. This part of the article made me angry more than anything for some reason. Probably because I consistently see these reformed and TGC leaders never take responsibility for anything. The goal is always to get people to feel sorry for them rather than the true victims. This is not “The Gospel” and this isn’t Jesus.

  108. Nancy2 wrote:

    I wonder if he realizes that he is one of those who helped opened the doors for the YRR take overs in the SBC?

    I’m sure Dr. Patterson now realizes that the Conservative Resurgence was really a Calvinist Resurgence. He probably still wakes up in a sweat in the middle of the night thinking about his indirect role in that. At the time, he probably thought the CR battles were only about the inerrancy of Scripture and getting all the “conservatives” on board to rout liberalism. But, it’s increasingly clear that it was all about swinging the Baptist pendulum back 500 years to resurrect Calvin. Mohler, on the other hand, wakes up smiling every morning at spearheading the deception which successfully fooled the ole boys like Patterson … and is still fooling the SBC non-Calvinist masses which don’t quite realize yet that their denomination is being taken over by belief and practice that is contrary to their tradition.

  109. Lydia wrote:

    This is a huge topic. But my career advice to young believers is not ministry but the sciences, law, education and the arts. We need you there.

    Now ya’ sound like that liberal apostate Muff Potter.

  110. @ Muff Potter:

    Is it classical liberalism, perhaps? I want a vibrant economy with people improving life with their inventions, discoveries, efficiencies, etc, etc.I would love to see more people independent and business owners. Less gov workers. I become more and more convinced that many of our street smart teens have serious potential that is going to waste with class warfare keeping them in bondage.

  111. THIS!

    elastigirl wrote:

    i wonder about this: a trend of ekklesias with money taken out of the picture. done voluntarily, small-scale. no salaries. expressly not for career-building. no tax exemptions required. no burden to society, whether perceived or real.

    everything pared down, including so-called ‘doctrinal’ things. something which everyone who believes in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit can agree on. perhaps centered on one of the ancient creeds.

    people’s expectations for method and style also pared down. being flexible is a main idea. working together. the focus would be on the practical, for the purpose of using our energy not for ourselves individually or corporately but for our neighborhoods, cities, places of work.

    *i mean, isn’t this the point of our religion, afterall?*

    really, when you boil it all down, it’s what we would all do in a natural disaster situation, where we would have to come together, have to work together, luxuries (material and immaterial) are absent. in such a situation, amazing things are accomplished that impact human lives at ground zero. and it is very gratifying.

    the idea is to keep a mission of conscience lean, agile, & free from the distractions & compromises which the acquisition of money brings.

    if this became a trend, a popular one, a growing one, the scuzzy nonsense of this ‘christian’ empire-building would be highlighted by sheer contrast. how could it remain a viable way to do things?

  112. I have a question which I’d like to see addressed in future stories. Is there something about this church which made it especially hospitable to child molesters, or is this happening at all churches? Is it only the response to it that is the issue or is there something more, even before that?

    If it is something in the structure of the church, is it possible to elaborate on what makes a church attractive to pedophiles?

  113. siteseer wrote:

    I have a question which I’d like to see addressed in future stories. Is there something about this church which made it especially hospitable to child molesters, or is this happening at all churches? Is it only the response to it that is the issue or is there something more, even before that?
    If it is something in the structure of the church, is it possible to elaborate on what makes a church attractive to pedophiles?

    More authoritative churches might make it easier for pedophiles to operate if they work their way into leadership. I do think pedophiles are attracted to any setting with large groups of children. Last year, I was in line at CVS and overheard two women talking. One said the someone from the Boys and Girls Club had told her that molesters were targeting church youth groups. An adult should never be alone with a child in church or in a youth outing.

  114. Patriciamc wrote:

    More authoritative churches might make it easier for pedophiles to operate if they work their way into leadership. I do think pedophiles are attracted to any setting with large groups of children.

    Where there are lots of easy prey, the Predators will swarm.

    And church kids are easy prey.

  115. @ Lydia:

    The liberal apostate crack had more to do with the stuff in Christianity beyond the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed which I don’t sign onto.
    But yeah, I’d like to see the same things you touched on; a vibrant economy, a strong manufacturing base, all that good stuff. The only disagreements we’d really have is on how to bring that about.
    I still say we could argue about it like two Jews in Tel Aviv.
    L’Chaim!

  116. Muff Potter wrote:

    But yeah, I’d like to see the same things you touched on

    Somewhere you had mentioned an affinity to Jefferson who I would put in the camp of classical liberalism. That Jefferson and Adams overcame political differences later in life and both shared a dislike for clergy may fit our acquired prejudices. If you and Lydia get together to argue can I sit in the bleachers?

  117. @ Bill M:
    Great illustration. Although we three may have to settle on a bench in WI. Although I would prefer Tel Aviv. Old Madison had some choice words for the powerful clergy class, too.

  118. Max wrote:

    The heat continues to be turned up on Mahaney. When will the TGC, SBC, and Al Mohler collectively decide he is a potato too hot to handle? If not now, when?.

    When they get their hands on the last remaining copy of whatever unsavory info on THEM that CJ has in his hot little hands. (Yes, this is speculation. But what other excuse do they have????)

  119. Deb wrote:

    singleman wrote:

    I hope Dee and Deb have survived the ice storm.

    Nice and cozy here. Thank goodness we haven’t lost our power at all. All the power lines in my neighborhood are underground; however, tens of thousands have lost power here in the Raleigh area.

    Thanks for your concern!

    Everyone, please stay safe.

    Up here in Upstate NY, we were told that we would miss the big storm. Fortunately, we are all mostly used to listening to that nonsense, so we have large stores of canned & freeze-dried food, etc, so we were able to stay in our houses whilst those who Trust In Weathermen were scrambling to Stock Up On the Inevitable [RAW) Bacon & Eggs.

  120. Nancy2 wrote:

    We have about a foot of snow on the ground – it drifted so it’s hard to really tell how much. I just learned from my daughter, moments ago, that a 44- year-old snowplow driver was found dead in his truck this morning on a road between my home and Ft. Campbell.
    http://www.lite987whop.com/news/local-news#bmb=1

    There is no one who needs our prayers more during a storm than these folks.

  121. Pam Palmer wrote:

    I wanted to encourage everyone who attends a fellowship – whether denominational, independent, non-denom, mega or small, or even a house church – ask your pastor/elders for a copy of the sexual misconduct policy.

    My church has this policy publicly displayed….alomg with the names & phone numbers of those persons to inform if such a horrid thing should happen.

  122. As a former step son of Nate Morales I can tell you they are all con men. They make you believe what they want you to believe. He had me fooled for years and worked as an associate pastor, youth pastor and music leader for him. Nate Morales is just the tip of the iceberg that is organized religion cover ups. Threw all this I have lost my faith and no longer trust organized religion due to what Morales did to my family and even kids in my own youth group. I never saw it and never heard one story until after his fall. But to all those effected by this I truly am sorry.

  123. Pingback: Injustice: an Open Letter to The Gospel Coalition – Sparking Conversation UNITED STATES

  124. Yes the desire to do harm is very strong, so strong I needed to see a therapist. But rage can eat ones soul from the inside out. My son was a victim of cover up in the Morales case. He needed a parent able to contain the rage and use all that pent up emotional storm to help the him and fight for his recovery. We also used that emotional energy to insure the church we attended later had a strong comprehensive child abuse prevention program in place.

  125. Pingback: The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Controversies As Voiced By Nate Sparks | Divorce Minister

  126. Ann wrote:

    Yes the desire to do harm is very strong, so strong I needed to see a therapist. But rage can eat ones soul from the inside out. My son was a victim of cover up in the Morales case. He needed a parent able to contain the rage and use all that pent up emotional storm to help the him and fight for his recovery. We also used that emotional energy to insure the church we attended later had a strong comprehensive child abuse prevention program in place.

    I am sorry for what you and your son have been through. I hope you are healing and at peace now. Thank you for sharing your story and a bit about what has helped you.

  127. @ Jeff Cole:

    This must have difficult for your family. I am sorry for what you were out through as well. I hope Morales didn’t prey on you. I hope you find Jesus without organized religion.

  128. @ Jeff Cole:
    I am so very sorry. The damage done by CJ’s cult continues today because Christian “leaders” and “followers” want to be willfully ignorant. Like Mohler, Dever, Piper and others. But some of us will never shut up reminding them and their followers of the damage done to real children- people like you and so many others.

  129. Pingback: SGM Scandals and What Ought To Go Without Saying… | Divorce Minister