"Well, I don’t want to just encourage you this morning, I want to make a statement to you from Covenant Life Church and from all the churches I represent in Sovereign Grace Ministries. So, I come not only with encouraging words, but I come with dough as well; I come with money as well. We want to make a statement this morning to you, we want to invest in this church."
Follow the money, a catchphrase made popular by that unforgettable movie All the President's Men, is true not only of business and politics, but of religion. We were shocked when we discovered how much money C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries had given to Southern Seminary. They had donated at least $100,000 each over a period of about seven years! When we published our post The Mahaney Money Machine over six years ago, SGMers expressed their utter shock that their 'family of churches' was giving money to a Southern Baptist seminary.
At the time, it just didn't make sense. Who could have imagined back then what would befall C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church, and Sovereign Grace Ministries?
Mahaney now pastors a Southern Baptist church, CLC (the church Mahaney co-founded) is no longer affiliated with him, and Sovereign Grace Ministries has become Sovereign Grace Churches.
Recently, we found concrete proof that Sovereign Grace Ministries financially supported Wayne Grudem while he took a sabbatical to pursue some writing projects for the Neo-Cal movement.
And now Todd Wilhelm has discovered that on the 125th anniversary of the founding of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), Mahaney presented two checks to Mark Dever amounting to $10,000. The date was March 30, 2003. Here is what Mahaney had to say as he presented those two checks (see screen shot from Todd's post entitled Mahaney Freely Gives Denomination Funds).
Here's the $10,000 question… Did the members of Covenant Life Church and other SGM churches know that this money was being given to Mark Dever/Capitol Hill Baptist Church??? If you attended an SGM church, would you please let us know if you were aware of this back in 2003?
In his post, Todd goes on to state the following:
Mahaney has shown himself to an expert at self-promotion and ingratiating himself to the powerful Christian celebrities. His throwing $10,000 Mark Dever’s way had, in my opinion, nothing to do with what he claimed, rather, it had everything to do with purchasing Dever’s friendship. Why does a man from a wealthy church donate the church’s money to another wealthy church that is not even in his denomination? I wonder who approved this use of funds? Was Mahaney able to freely throw Sovereign Grace’s money at whomever he wanted or was their a board that had to approve it? We know that a few years later Mahaney donated $100,000 of Sovereign Grace and Covenant Life Church funds to Al Mohler’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Meanwhile there are numerous stories on the Survivor blogs of Sovereign Grace members taking extreme measures to tighten their personal budgets so they could sacrificially donate more money to their church.
Additionally, I am certain there were numerous churches in the Sovereign Grace family of churches who really could have used that money. I was once a member of the Sovereign Grace in Gilbert, AZ. We had a paved parking lot in the front of the church, but the parking lot in the rear of the church was, and still is, gravel. I recall the church discussing, on at least two occassions, the desire to pave the rear lot. Ultimately it was never done because of lack of funds. I am certain that $110,000 could have paved that gravel lot several times over. Instead it was used to propel Mahaney into celebrity status. We will probably never know how much money Mahaney gave to increase his stature. We know that he also gave money to Wayne Grudem, although we have no idea of the amount.
It is certainly worth pointing out that Mahaney stepped down as pastor of Covenant Life Church a little over a year after he made these donations to CHBC. Was this seed money to get 9Marks off the ground?
In case you're wondering about the financial status of Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries), Brent Detwiler recently put together a post which compares the financials for 2011 (when SGM was soaring high) and 2015. Here are screen shots of information from that post that we found interesting.
No wonder Sovereign Grace Churches will be holding a break-out session at the upcoming Together for the Gospel gathering to try and recruit new churches. See screen shot from the T4G website below.
Looking back over the recent history of Sovereign Grace
Ministries Churches, we can't help but wonder what would have happened if Mahaney hadn't been so generous with his friends outside of SGM. That's right, Neo-Cals don't ask questions like that. It was all predestined….
No doubt, Mahaney and his cohorts are now making bank off the T4G conference and bookstore, but attendees wouldn't dare ask what happens to all that dough (as Mahaney calls it).