Follow the Money – Todd Wilhelm on Mahaney’s $10,000 Contribution to Dever’s Church

"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."

C.J. Mahaney

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=22268&picture=fan-of-dollarsFan of Dollars

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).

https://thouarttheman.org/2016/02/24/3658/

You can listen to Mahaney's hour long sermon The Transforming Effect of Divine Perspective here.  Todd has a short audio clip in his post that includes the above statement. 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.20.25 PM

http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/a-financial-update-on-sovereign-grace-churches-inc.html

http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/a-financial-update-on-sovereign-grace-churches-inc.html

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.

http://t4g.org/speakers/Sovereign Grace Churches have been in a downward spiral since 2011, and it will be interesting to see whether they are able to adopt churches and plant new ones.

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). 

Comments

Follow the Money – Todd Wilhelm on Mahaney’s $10,000 Contribution to Dever’s Church — 160 Comments

  1. To give credit where credit is due, I did not actually discover the fact that Mahaney gave money to Dever. It was another one of your faithful readers, Jeff. He pointed me to the sermon with a link in a comment he made on your article about Grudem getting money from Mahaney.

    So, thanks Jeff!

    The Deebs have some sharp readers!

    Jeff UNITED STATES on Sat Feb 20, 2016 at 06:03 PM said:
    Listen to this sermon, beginning around 10:40. Mahaney presents two checks with a total of $10,000 to Capitol Hill Baptist Church.
    http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/sermon/the-transforming-effect-of-divine-perspective/

  2. Capitol Hill Baptist:
    Bought and Paid For (chuckle chuckle).

    (And I’ve got to go to bed. I just read “Sovereign Grace Churches” as “Swamp Gas Churches”.)

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    (And I’ve got to go to bed. I just read “Sovereign Grace Churches” as “Swamp Gas Churches”.)

    HUG,
    I wouldn’t go to bed, it seems that in your tired state you are prone to brilliant insights!

  4. “Church adoption”……… I wonder …….. is that what we would call “stealth takeovers”?

  5. Could there have been even more money given to Mark Dever's Capitol Hill Church by CJ Mahaney? Perhaps Mark Dever could release his church donation records to show that suspicions are not in order? And yes, I am being purposely cryptic.

  6. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    (And I’ve got to go to bed. I just read “Sovereign Grace Churches” as “Swamp Gas Churches”.)

    HUG,
    I wouldn’t go to bed, it seems that in your tired state you are prone to brilliant insights!

    I know. There’s a certain level of sleep deprivation where I’m at my best in any creative work, but if I go much over that level things just melt down.

  7. I wonder how much $$$$$ it would take for The Gospel™ Dudes to support TWW? I bet we could get some action for $300,000? Thoughts?

  8. Why in the world would I give 10% of my money to some other church? Let their members pony up.

  9. I wish I could go to T4G, to see NeoCalvinist dysfunction at its finest. But it would have to be free… I’m not giving these guys any cash. What am I talking about, my wife would never let me go, because she would have to put up with my ranting afterwards.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Capitol Hill Baptist:
    Bought and Paid For (chuckle chuckle).

    (And I’ve got to go to bed. I just read “Sovereign Grace Churches” as “Swamp Gas Churches”.)

    Is there a difference????

  11. I don’t think any amount of $ would buy their support. As much as these guys like the shiny things money can buy, they are much more intoxicated by the power.
    dee wrote:

    I wonder how much $$$$$ it would take for The Gospel™ Dudes to support TWW? I bet we could get some action for $300,000? Thoughts?

  12. “… I come not only with encouraging words, but I come with dough as well; I come with money …” (C.J. Mahaney to his New Calvinist bud Mark Dever)

    The Apostle Paul talks about that sort of leaven: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9). C.J. knew exactly where that money would go … to support the fledgling New Calvinist movement, in which Dever was emerging as a leader. He was using the widow’s mite from SGM members to buy influence. Why else would intellectuals like Mohler, Duncan, and Dever put up with the likes of Mahaney and invite him into the “Fab 4” circle at Together for the Gospel (= together for Calvinism)? They have used him and his dough.

  13. Ruth wrote:

    they are much more intoxicated by the power

    The New Calvinist who’s-who place too much importance on position, intellect, and power. As I’ve seen the reformed movement and the reformed movers blossom, I’m comforted by the Scripture “Pride cometh before a fall.” I have a feeling when God brings this thing down, the who’s who will fall together. This amount of arrogance in one place can’t survive much longer without imploding.

  14. OK, it has been documented in various places that the Mahaney money trail leads to Dever, Mohler, and Grudem. Any scoop on Ligon Duncan benefiting from Mahaney’s generosity? (T4G’s Fab 4 = Mahaney, Mohler, Dever, Duncan). Do you reckon Mahaney dropped some money in Duncan’s plate, as well?

  15. Todd Wilhelm writes “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).”

    Even if they knew where the money trail leads, the average YRR would probably say “So what?!”. I don’t think the New Calvinist army really gives a big whoop what the generals are doing, as long as the revolution gains steam.

  16. @ GSD:

    my wife would never let me go, because she would have to put up with my ranting afterwards.

    My husband can relate. He's my sounding board when I get on the stump, which happens quite often. 🙂

  17. I don’t think Calvanism is the corrupting factor with the “Dude Bros”. They would drop that theological leaning like a hot rock if there was more power and money elsewhere.

  18. Ruth wrote:

    They would drop that theological leaning like a hot rock if there was more power and money elsewhere.

    That may be the very reason that once-vocal non-Calvinist SBC leaders have stopped challenging SBC Calvinization. They see the trend heading that way despite their weeping and gnashing of teeth. They may not share in the power, but can protect their retirement annuities if they don’t rock the boat. Western Christianity is so shallow.

  19. Nancy2 wrote:

    “Church adoption”……… I wonder …….. is that what we would call “stealth takeovers”?

    It’s either that or a form of sheep stealing, if the churches in question were part of another denomination.

  20. HUG said:

    (And I’ve got to go to bed. I just read “Sovereign Grace Churches” as “Swamp Gas Churches”.)

    Does that make CJ the Swamp Thing that escaped?

  21. Max wrote:

    This amount of arrogance in one place can’t survive much longer without imploding.

    So long as they can keep their serfs cowed (the underlying threat of unelection and eventual hell works quite nicely) they’ll hold their estates together and prosper. Meanwhile, TWW and others will continue an important work: Freeing one human being at a time.

  22. purchasing ‘friendship’ (aka ‘influence’) is a very political activity . . .

    so is receiving ‘donation’ money and granting influence

    is it ethical . . . in this case, with the recent scandals at SGM, it smells of the guilty trying to cover themselves with the approval and acceptance of ‘big names’ . . .

    what happens in reality is that the ‘big names’ are now going to be tainted with the same sin that the SGM/SGChurches folks cannot unload anywhere but in confession before God and before those who have been so gravely injured

  23. Max wrote:

    “… I come not only with encouraging words, but I come with dough as well; I come with money …” (C.J. Mahaney to his New Calvinist bud Mark Dever)
    The Apostle Paul talks about that sort of leaven: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9). C.J. knew exactly where that money would go … to support the fledgling New Calvinist movement, in which Dever was emerging as a leader. He was using the widow’s mite from SGM members to buy influence. Why else would intellectuals like Mohler, Duncan, and Dever put up with the likes of Mahaney and invite him into the “Fab 4” circle at Together for the Gospel (= together for Calvinism)? They have used him and his dough.

    I agree with everything you say, except for one thing: I do not think that any of the above qualify as “intellectuals”, getting a few degrees from good universities no more makes you an intellectual than it makes you a tenured professor or a Nobel laureate.

  24. Btw..here is a post that I did on Mark Mitchell’s latest blog post about Covenant Life being committed to safely protecting children. More concern about image over substance but should we be surprised? On my blog here on out I will refer to Mark Mitchell as being the church lady of CLC

    /2016/02/24/mark-mitchell-clcs-church-lady-on-covenant-life-church-being-a-community-of-healing-and-hope/

  25. Also if you be interested I am starting a project that is looking at the rate of reformed theology in the Evangelical Free Church of America. There are 17 districts and I am working through them one by one. At the end of the year I can tell you how much of the denomination is Neo-Cal.

    /2016/02/22/analyzing-the-growth-of-reformed-theologyneo-calvinism-in-the-evangelical-free-church-of-america-the-eastern-district/

  26. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not think that any of the above qualify as “intellectuals”

    Agreed. They obviously ain’t that smart by falling for reformed doctrine! The whole of Scripture speaks to their error.

  27. Muff Potter wrote:

    TWW and others will continue an important work: Freeing one human being at a time.

    I praise God for any qroup which can snatch folks from the snare of New Calvinism, one soul at a time. Thank you TWW for sounding the alarm to those who have been deceived.

  28. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not think that any of the above qualify as “intellectuals”, getting a few degrees from good universities no more makes you an intellectual than it makes you a tenured professor or a Nobel laureate.

    You got that right!

  29. @ Eagle:
    Eagle I am very interested in your reformed E-Free project. Please let us know when you complete your study. Even the Assembly of God is being penetrated by Calvinism.

  30. O/T I finally saw the branding for Hillsong’s latest acquisition this morning as I was driving to work. I tried to figure out why it took until last Saturday for me to find out as I drive by that place several times a week. Except when I am working at home to avoid passing a wretched cold to the monitoring team. I’d never hear the end of that.

    Now, as for Mahaney and his buddie$$$, the thing that occurs to me is, like so many politicians, they are cheap and easily bought. I’m pretty sure I’d ask for more money if I was going for something as base as spreading money around to buy influence.

    As for the guy handing out the money, I can’t believe he thinks of himself as a man of God. Even my evil too big to fail employer has rules about offering/receiving payments. (In 99 percent of instances, it’s ixnay on offering or receiving funds goods or services for influence.) I would have lost my job several times over if I did what these guys had done.

  31. Max wrote:

    I praise God for any qroup which can snatch folks from the snare of New Calvinism, one soul at a time.

    When you take something away from somebody you have to give them something else in return, or it becomes like the returning demons who make the situation worse than before-the thing Jesus talked about. So if you take new calvinism away, and I surely think that needs to be done, what are you going to give them that answers the same needs that made them susceptible to new calvinism in the first place? If they needed answers and certainty and security and belonging to the group and being told what to think, or if they have learned to like the feel of thinking that they have those things, what will replace that for them?

    Don't look at me, I have no answers to my own question. When Mohler asked the rhetorical question of where else are they going to go, I have no good answer for that. Catholicism? Orthodoxy? Islam? Some other brand of protestant fundamentalism?

  32. Deb wrote:

    his take from the T4G booty

    Shake-shake-shake,
    Take-take-take,
    T4G booty!

    Here’s KC and the Sunshine band with the appropriate collection hymn. It’s from “Soul Train,” and I wish I had every single one of the excellent costumes the band is wearing: :)

    https://youtu.be/l3fZuW-aJsg

  33. One thing that I have noticed is that, if Mahaney wanted to be biblical about all this giving he could have done this in secret. Was he hoping that they would name a college building after him?

  34. mirele wrote:

    Now, as for Mahaney and his buddie$$$, the thing that occurs to me is, like so many politicians, they are cheap and easily bought. I’m pretty sure I’d ask for more money if I was going for something as base as spreading money around to buy influence.

    Like the former Governor of Illinois who in 2009 tried to auction off Obama’s Senate seat starting at a measly $10 grand, “He’s not just a crook, he’s a CHEAP crook. Here in Louisiana, we’d have started the bidding as a million.”

  35. dee wrote:

    I wonder how much $$$$$ it would take for The Gospel™ Dudes to support TWW? I bet we could get some action for $300,000? Thoughts?

    Sorry Dee, but NADA. The gospel dudes wouldn’t dare support a blog headed by females. You’re outta luck!

  36. GSD wrote:

    I wish I could go to T4G, to see NeoCalvinist dysfunction at its finest. But it would have to be free… I’m not giving these guys any cash. What am I talking about, my wife would never let me go, because she would have to put up with my ranting afterwards.

    GSD: And the Neo-Cals would rebuke you for not putting your wife in her place.

  37. Max wrote:

    Todd Wilhelm writes “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).”
    Even if they knew where the money trail leads, the average YRR would probably say “So what?!”. I don’t think the New Calvinist army really gives a big whoop what the generals are doing, as long as the revolution gains steam.

    Yep, the End Justifies the Means!

  38. Ruth wrote:

    I don’t think Calvanism is the corrupting factor with the “Dude Bros”. They would drop that theological leaning like a hot rock if there was more power and money elsewhere.

    Ruth, I have to disagree. These folks are totally convinced of Calvinism hook, line, and sinker. Otherwise if this were the case, they would gladly embrace Mark Driscoll at this point – who has the $$$potential$$$ to bring in the B$G Bucks. But alas, MD has abandoned Calvinism for the Word Faith racket that will no doubt make him rich.

  39. Max wrote:

    Ruth wrote:
    They would drop that theological leaning like a hot rock if there was more power and money elsewhere.
    That may be the very reason that once-vocal non-Calvinist SBC leaders have stopped challenging SBC Calvinization. They see the trend heading that way despite their weeping and gnashing of teeth. They may not share in the power, but can protect their retirement annuities if they don’t rock the boat. Western Christianity is so shallow.

    I hear ya, Max, but those are the Non-Calvinists in the SBC. They don’t have the Calvinist DNA that refuses to budge on TULIP and Doctrines of Grace.

  40. “So I brought with me two checks, totaling ten thousand dollars; not to impress anybody, not to draw attention to me…”

    All the while he is impressing the audience and drawing attention to himself. Recently, I discovered a new word at another blog: apophasis. It means: A rhetorical term for the mention of something in disclaiming intention of mentioning it – or pretending to deny what is really affirmed. “a kind of Irony whereby we deny that we say or do that which we especially say or do.” – quote from The Oxford English Dictionary

    This is exactly what C.J. Mahaney is doing and he succeeded at it. He duped the pew sitters. He hoodwinked the crowd. He knows how to gaslight an audience without impunity.

  41. @ Max:

    “Even the Assembly of God is being penetrated by Calvinism.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    How? Where? truly want to understand this one.

  42. Darlene wrote:

    Ruth wrote:
    I don’t think Calvanism is the corrupting factor with the “Dude Bros”. They would drop that theological leaning like a hot rock if there was more power and money elsewhere.
    Ruth, I have to disagree. These folks are totally convinced of Calvinism hook, line, and sinker. Otherwise if this were the case, they would gladly embrace Mark Driscoll at this point – who has the $$$potential$$$ to bring in the B$G Bucks. But alas, MD has abandoned Calvinism for the Word Faith racket that will no doubt make him rich.

    Darlene, Interesting perspective to think about. I think these gospelly guys are struggling with the exact issues Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Greg Laurie, and the list goes on and on and on. I can’t see how it’s different than athletes or movie stars who start believing their own press that they are amazing and changing the world. They are wrapped up in power and greed and their heads are justifying what their hearts want.

  43. Due to personal experience, I can say that a main issue with these dynamics is the lack of good boundary between work, work relationships, friend relationships, family, church.

    For everyone else in society, there are natural boundaries between these functions with minimal overlap (maybe one of your close friends also happens to be a colleague.) But generally your work/business is separate from your social life and church life. God exists in all of them, but there are good natural boundaries in place.

    In THIS world they live in, everything runs together, the purpose of all them is conflated, there is no room for objectivity, and the status quo is more pressurized to stay as is. When your whole livelihood depends on all of these things running together, it gets dysfunctional really fast.

    These people mix friendship, work, and family, church, and business all under “God” in one big pot.

  44. @ elastigirl:
    I would agree with this statement from Max. I can only speak from my own experience but the church I last attended was AoG. It seemed pretty standard at the time (I wasn’t raised Evangelical, I was introduced through my wife). However over time between 2000 and 2004, membership contracts started, the services took on a more fundamentalist tone- I heard other religions/denominations disparaged (Jesus wasn’t an Anglican doncha know!), there was a sexist overtone, slightly racist overtones as well – particularly where muslims were concerned Combined with a young earth creationist outlook (our Christian ™ worldview) and general intolerance (big hate on for homosexuals), I quit going but my wife still does and now the pastor is also chairman of the board and his daughter is a pastor. Not a good governance model. Though apparently they’ve ditched the covenant.

  45. Eagle wrote:

    Also if you be interested I am starting a project that is looking at the rate of reformed theology in the Evangelical Free Church of America. There are 17 districts and I am working through them one by one. At the end of the year I can tell you how much of the denomination is Neo-Cal.
    /2016/02/22/analyzing-the-growth-of-reformed-theologyneo-calvinism-in-the-evangelical-free-church-of-america-the-eastern-district/

    You’ve got to be kidding…EFC becoming Calvinists? How is that happening? They weren’t Calvinists back in the 80’s.

  46. Max wrote:

    @ Eagle:
    Eagle I am very interested in your reformed E-Free project. Please let us know when you complete your study. Even the Assembly of God is being penetrated by Calvinism.

    No way! The Assembly of God? Max, do you have any links to prove this?

  47. Incredible…. And, thank goodness for the Internet and digital libraries these days!
    While these clowns can try to claim their “spiritual leadership credentials, bragging about giving other people’s money is pretty bad…

  48. Baller79 wrote:

    One thing that I have noticed is that, if Mahaney wanted to be biblical about all this giving he could have done this in secret. Was he hoping that they would name a college building after him?

    C.J. couldn’t help himself – he had to get that public recognition – even though all the while claiming that WASN’T what he was doing. It’s called: APOPHASIS. A new word I just learned. Denying what you’re doing all the while as you are doing it! “I’m not a crook” said Nixon. All the while his actions proved differently.

  49. Rose wrote:

    These people mix friendship, work, and family, church, and business all under “God” in one big pot.

    Yeah, like Doug Wilson’s sphere of government rhetoric except when it benefits him to know your business….then blast those boundaries!

  50. Darlene wrote:

    It’s called: APOPHASIS. A new word I just learned.

    Thanks, Darlene, I learned a new word today. I’m afraid I may get plenty of opportunity to use it, too, what with these goings on.

  51. @ Rose:
    Yes. They have no other perspective. And that means they cannot deal well with disagreement, etc. Disagreement goes to the heart of their identity. Great comment.

    I call it the bubble world.

  52. Jack wrote:

    @ elastigirl:
    I would agree with this statement from Max. I can only speak from my own experience but the church I last attended was AoG. It seemed pretty standard at the time (I wasn’t raised Evangelical, I was introduced through my wife). However over time between 2000 and 2004, membership contracts started, the services took on a more fundamentalist tone- I heard other religions/denominations disparaged (Jesus wasn’t an Anglican doncha know!), there was a sexist overtone, slightly racist overtones as well – particularly where muslims were concerned Combined with a young earth creationist outlook (our Christian ™ worldview) and general intolerance (big hate on for homosexuals), I quit going but my wife still does and now the pastor is also chairman of the board and his daughter is a pastor. Not a good governance model. Though apparently they’ve ditched the covenant.

    Most of the examples you gave just show that the church is becoming fundamentalist. New Calvinists are staunchly opposed to female pastors. And they’d have to start preaching the Reformed doctrine on Predestination, Regeneration precedes Faith, & TULIP to show their support of Calvinism. Doesn’t matter how many practices may mimic the NC’s, the doctrine has to change in order for the church to become Neo-Cal.

  53. Mahaney’s donation and the acceptance of it flies in the face of what was said prior to receiving the offering almost every time I was in an SGM church…’If you are a visitor, please don’t give anything…it’s the privilege of the members to support the work of the church.’ (To be theologically correct, I wrote ‘receiving,’ but in retrospect, ‘taking’ might fit.) Fund-raising is something old-style Presbyterians and other ‘reformed’ churches do not do — they believe the church should run on the funds provided by the congregation. This is a bit of a departure from the reformed way of doing things. It’s not always convenient to be reformed.

  54. “This” above, referred to giving/receiving the ten grand — sorry to be ambiguous. I need an ‘edit’ button!

  55. As I mentioned earlier, we the members at CLC were always told SGM and CLC gave 10% of their income to other ministries. It was never a secret.

    It was common for CJ to return from another church and commend the members of CLC for the huge check he was able to give the other church. No secret. No one objected.

    I remember a $10,000 number. I don’t remember what church it was. I think it was CHBC.

    Does that mean he wasn’t using the money to suck up to important names? No. Sucking up was very important. I am a little sorry I thought most of the money was going to charities for the poor and overseas ministries, etc. We weren’t allowed to give to para-church organizations because they were selecting what ministries were worthy of our giving. So, we gave to them and they gave to other ministries.

    But, we were aware he would show-boat and give huge generous gifts to other big wigs. It was always troubling because he was show-boating and that conflicting with “when you give to the poor, don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing”. It was just one of the many things that left you cocking your head in the audience.

  56. @ Darlene:
    The Assembly of God leadership has been concerned that some of their younger ministers might be influenced by the New Calvinism movement. Last year they released a position paper on the matter entitled “An Assemblies of God Response to Reformed Theology” http://ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_response_to_reformed_theology_08_2015.pdf

    Also note the TWW post and comments about Mark Driscoll speaking at a leading mega Assembly of God church last year: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/06/12/hillsong-church-disinvites-mark-driscoll-while-james-river-church-embraces-him/

  57. Darlene wrote:

    EFC becoming Calvinists? How is that happening? They weren’t Calvinists back in the 80’s.

    New Calvinism is an aggressive movement. It has gained a foothold in most mainline denominations in the last 10-15 years.

  58. Darlene wrote:

    I hear ya, Max, but those are the Non-Calvinists in the SBC. They don’t have the Calvinist DNA that refuses to budge on TULIP and Doctrines of Grace.

    They are not True Believers in the One True Way.
    THOUGHTCRIME!

  59. okrapod wrote:

    When Mohler asked the rhetorical question of where else are they going to go, I have no good answer for that.

    Okrapod, you certainly pose a serious question here. I was young and now am old. There was a time in America that you could trust most Baptist churches to preach the Gospel – the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They were places where you could find folks who loved each other and extended that love to their communities. They were places that reached out to struggling people and perishing souls, pointing them to hope in Christ. In my long journey, I’ve witnessed a growing apathy in both pulpit and pew to pursue holiness, approaching apostasy. So an alternative comes along such as New Calvinism, and a new generation is attracted to it. Personally, I’ve had to dig my own spiritual well in the midst of this spiritual wilderness. America needs a revival and spiritual awakening, but I don’t see much movement in that direction … because the church of the living God does not pray and seek God as it ought.

  60. @ Yentl:

    “We weren’t allowed to give to para-church organizations because they were selecting what ministries were worthy of our giving. So, we gave to them and they gave to other ministries.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    why didn’t you use your money the way you wanted to?

    I’m sorry the question is blunt, direct.

  61. @ Yentl:

    Do you remember being told in 2003 that Covenant Life Church gave at least $5,000 tto the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?  CLC was listed in an SBTS publication as giving at the Associates Level ($5,000-$9,999) that year.

  62. Max wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    The Assembly of God leadership has been concerned that some of their younger ministers might be influenced by the New Calvinism movement. Last year they released a position paper on the matter entitled “An Assemblies of God Response to Reformed Theology” http://ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/pp_downloads/pp_response_to_reformed_theology_08_2015.pdf
    Also note the TWW post and comments about Mark Driscoll speaking at a leading mega Assembly of God church last year: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/06/12/hillsong-church-disinvites-mark-driscoll-while-james-river-church-embraces-him/

    I hear ya, Max, and I’ll look at those links when I have time. However, Driscoll speaking at an Assemblies of God last year is no big deal because Mars Hill had already dissolved and he was well on his way to re-inventing himself among the Charismatics and Word Faith crowd.

  63. Thanks Todd, unlike some potential readers, I find this a positive post.

    …40 churches and half the people in Sovereign Grace churches have left the denomination.

    It restores my faith in humanity, or at least “half the people”

  64. @ Max:

    ” In my long journey, I’ve witnessed a growing apathy in both pulpit and pew to pursue holiness, approaching apostasy”
    ++++++++++++

    Max, I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

    you mention ‘holiness’, and apathy to pursue it. Christian / christianese words no longer compute in my brain.

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘holiness’?

  65. Deb wrote:

    @ Yentl:
    Thanks for sharing that. So CLC was giving 10% to SGM and also 10% to other ministries?

    I do not remember or think I knew if they were giving 10% to SGM AND other ministries or just SGM and SGM gave it to other ministries. They bragged a lot about giving to worthwhile ministries they wanted to support.

    CLC had a problem off too much money.

  66. Deb wrote:

    @ Yentl:
    Do you remember being told in 2003 that Covenant Life Church gave at least $5,000 tto the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?  CLC was listed in an SBTS publication as giving at the Associates Level ($5,000-$9,999) that year.

    No. That would have shocked me in light of how CJ first built his ministry by bashing and splitting Baptist churches as well as other denominations. We never heard the name Baptist mentioned ever. No one was ever encouraged to go to Boyce College or seminary. When college age kids expressed an interest in seminary, they were told to get a degree and secular careers then wait to be identified for Pastors College. It was NEVER an option to go another college for spiritual training.

  67. Darlene wrote:

    And they’d have to start preaching the Reformed doctrine on Predestination, Regeneration precedes Faith, & TULIP to show their support of Calvinism.

    Thanks for the info. I have no idea what any of this is. I was looking at it from a control aspect only. Like most average church attendees (or former attendees) though raised in a Christian environment, I’m amazed at how much I really don’t know. One can see how churches can be “taken over” without the knowledge of the congregation. Harks back to the days when most in the congregation couldn’t even read the Bible for themselves. I certainly intend to educate myself.

  68. I don’t think there is a way to come out of the money thing looking good. If the approach is for a church/denomination to give to other ministries it could be and probably is buying favor. If they do not give it away then they accumulate wealth (think RCC and LDS) and become suspect because of that wealth. It is looks like * if you do and * if you don’t.

    If churches give it away to established charities they sometimes find themselves as financial partners with folks who are doing disreputable things, and that comes to light from time to time. This is where the old baptist system with its hospitals and colleges and giving to their own missions programs had the advantage IMO.

  69. 3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

  70. Darlene wrote:

    Driscoll speaking at an Assemblies of God last year is no big deal because Mars Hill had already dissolved and he was well on his way to re-inventing himself

    Driscoll also spoke at that same AoG church (James River) in 2013 on his “Real Marriage” tour (based on his disgusting potty-mouth book by the same title). James River is thought of as a model church within AoG. It’s mega visibility has turned the heads of a lot of young AoG ministers, looking for a way to be big, too. When I asked a young pastor in my area “Why reformed theology?”, he responded “It’s the reformed churches that are growing!” Some of these young pastors want to be given big assignments, before they develop spiritual character to handle mega … God doesn’t give big assignments to little characters.

    To promote Driscoll in 2013 was to promote reformed theology. Driscoll may be re-branding himself since his AoG debut at James River, but it is a non-repentant comeback and he will find a home in AoG ranks if churches like James River continue to give him a platform. AoG denominational leadership should be very concerned about the tentacles of reformed theology infiltrating its ranks.

  71. Jack wrote:

    Harks back to the days when most in the congregation couldn’t even read the Bible for themselves.

    Heck, most church members still don’t read it! The Southern Baptist Convention used to be called “A People of the Word” … but it’s been my experience with them (over 60 years) that not too many Southern Baptists have a disciplined study of Scripture. And, thus, open for error with no ability to discern it.

  72. elastigirl wrote:

    Can you explain what you mean by ‘holiness’?

    Elastigirl, there is more to Christianity than getting one’s ticket punched to heaven! When a person enters into a relationship with Christ by faith, there should be a natural (i.e., supernatural) desire to want to know Him more. And this is done through prayer and a disciplined study of His Word. As one does this, he finds that his “old man” is being transformed into a “new man” in Christ. Holiness does not mean that you are holy, but that you have developed an internal sense to desire more of the character of Jesus in your own life. Christlikeness becomes your goal, but it is not something that is achieved by a checklist of do’s and don’ts … it is a journey led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to help you overcome all that is not like Christ in your life, but you must yield to that leading. Holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life. It is a yielding to conform to God’s purpose and will for our lives … to live above what the world (and even the organized church sometimes) says we are to look like. Holiness is something to pursue – a desire that should accompany our salvation experience. Salvation doesn’t mean we have arrived; we are only just beginning a pursuit of holiness as God changes us day by day. The American church needs to preach more “transformed” theology, than reformed theology!

  73. dee wrote:

    Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason.

    What a crackpot. Why would anybody want to hide membership in the masons? It is not a criminal organization. I don’t agree with them, but for crying out loud they are not a criminal organization. We have some criminals in our town-gangs-but the masons are not that.

  74. Yentl wrote:

    No. That would have shocked me in light of how CJ first built his ministry by bashing and splitting Baptist churches as well as other denominations. We never heard the name Baptist mentioned ever. No one was ever encouraged to go to Boyce College or seminary. When college age kids expressed an interest in seminary, they were told to get a degree and secular careers then wait to be identified for Pastors College. It was NEVER an option to go another college for spiritual training.

    Wow! CJ believed all this? You would never know from his sons-in-laws’ pursuits.

  75. dee wrote:

    3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    I didn’t know you had an “in” with all the Mason’s. You must have been made an honorary member if you know who they are and are keeping it on the down low 😉

  76. dee wrote:

    Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason.

    I wish we could mobilize this guy’s passion to focus on the ails of New Calvinism instead of Freemasonry, without being a quack about it! There is no doubt that Masons, who also call themselves by the name of Christ, are dabbling in stuff that is incompatible with Christianity. But New Calvinism is poised to do more harm to the American Church, than Freemasonry has during its centuries of activity.

  77. dee wrote:

    3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    Which means YOU Must Be a Mason.
    “SHE’S ONE OF THEM!”

    Because in Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory, anyone who says “There is no Conspiracy” has proven themselves to be part of The Conspiracy.

  78. Max wrote:

    I wish we could mobilize this guy’s passion to focus on the ails of New Calvinism instead of Freemasonry, without being a quack about it!

    Problem is, Conspiracy Cranks have some of the most extreme cases of Tunnel Vision in existence. Anything outside their tunnel vision (like New Calvinism) literally Does Not Exist. At All.

    And any attempt to divert “this guy’s passion” onto another subject is PROOF that YOU’RE ONE OF THEM! A MASON!

    “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, INVENT A BIGGER CONSPIRACY.”
    — Kooks Magazine

  79. okrapod wrote:

    Why would anybody want to hide membership in the masons? It is not a criminal organization

    But That’s What The Masons WANT You to Think!

    Actually, Masonic Conspiracy Theories date back a couple centuries. For an overview, check out Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies sometime.

  80. I am thinking that Dee’s accuser there would not know an actual conspiracy if he saw one, and probably would not be interested. How can that be, when we are in the throes of an election year and accusations of chicanery abound in the media . So far the DNC and the RNC lead the pack for ‘conspiring’ to control the results of the primaries. I am thinking that Dee’s problem writer is not really about the lure of the conspiracy but rather the lure of secrecy, the great mystery novel or something.

    There is a guy here in town who has his own shop offering a service we sometimes use. He has all kinds of conspiracy theories which he shares with his customers, and other folks interested in all that have been know to come sit in his shop for talk. I am thinking it may be conspiracy central. But his ideas are far more colorful than who did whom in some genetic line for some antichrist. He is more into hidden military sites and underground storage of weapons and such. And of course there are such things, but I am thinking that it is excessive to think that our whole city is basically built on top of these secret military tunnels. Could be. They did develop the bomb under the bleachers in Chicago and who knew. But there is no for sale sign in my front yard.

  81. Lydia wrote:

    Wasn’t there a parallel secret org for women called the Eastern Star?

    THere was and is. Also Rainbow Girls (International Order of Rainbow Girls) for the girl children. The Eastern Star chapter in the county where we used to live was an active chapter.

  82. @ Max:
    Leonard Verduin in “Anatomy of a Hybrid” put it like this: there is an imbalance toward pardon but not renewal.

    Most evangelicals (ESP Reformed) view this as “works salvation” which is a big no no in their world. Luther wanted to ditch the book of James over it.

    In other words, renewal might be Christians that would never be more concerned about protecting child molesters and the image of an institution than they would be about protecting children and helping victims of such evil.

  83. @ okrapod:
    I remember it now. I dont remember Eastern Star being so secret but they did lots of charity work. ESP in the children’s hospital built by the Shriners. The Scottish Rite guys.

  84. Jack wrote:

    One can see how churches can be “taken over” without the knowledge of the congregation

    People are busy working. They are transient. They go and give and expect pastors and staff to be honest and trustworthy. In general, the pew sitters dont really want to be involved in the budget process, overseeing hiring, programs, etc. They don’t see the pastor as a servant or employee they pay but as their spiritual leader who knows best for them and they pay him to know best. Dangerous stuff.. This follows the pattern I see in the larger culture.

  85. @ Lydia:

    Well, I don’t know much about them except that they had some fancy ceremonies and made up part of the clientele for a formal wear shop in town. I only knew one person who was in the eastern star and she never talked about it. I kind of got the idea that they did not call attention to themselves, but that was about all.

  86. Lydia wrote:

    the children’s hospital built by the Shriners.

    If you mean Kosair Children’s Hospital a former roommate of mine from med school worked as a radiologist there at one time. An older cousin of mine developed rickets from poor nutrition during the depression and they were miserably impoverished at the time and Kosair treated him. They did a lot of good work.

  87. Lydia wrote:

    Most evangelicals (ESP Reformed) view this as “works salvation” which is a big no no in their world. Luther wanted to ditch the book of James over it.

    Then I would say that Luther didn’t comprehend what James was saying! When it comes to “works”, James stated the heart of God very clearly “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? … faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-26).

    Reformed folks try to divert us from the error of their soteriology by saying that non-Calvinists believe they are saved by their works. I’ve been a Southern Baptist for 60+ years and that has never been preached or taught in any SBC church I’ve been a member of! Scripture speaks about the sovereignty of God, coupled with human responsibility, to point us to the Way, the Truth, and the Life in Christ. If believing is “doing” a work, then I will believe in believing as necessary to enter the Kingdom of God, and then do good works as God leads me.

  88. Lydia wrote:

    Jack wrote:
    One can see how churches can be “taken over” without the knowledge of the congregation

    People are busy working. They are transient. They go and give and expect pastors and staff to be honest and trustworthy.

    You see a similar dynamic in Activism and Fandoms.

    It’s the “No-Lifes” who dominate The Cause. Any Cause. Because the rest of us have jobs and lives which take time and energy away from 24/7/365 Dedication to The Cause. We can’t match the No-Lifes’ time & energy investment, so They Win.

  89. okrapod wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Wasn’t there a parallel secret org for women called the Eastern Star?

    THere was and is. Also Rainbow Girls (International Order of Rainbow Girls) for the girl children. The Eastern Star chapter in the county where we used to live was an active chapter.

    Many fraternal organizations were men-only, but they had associated Women’s Auxiliaries under separate but connected organizations.

  90. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Actually, Masonic Conspiracy Theories date back a couple centuries. For an overview, check out Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies sometime.

    P.S. In the early 19th Century, there were actually Anti-Masonic political parties in the USA. And they actually named themselves “Anti-Masonic Party” or variants of same. One-issue parties whose Cause was to Save The Country from the Masonic Conspiracy. And some of them actually dominated several states’ politics, including playing a role in Pennsylvania’s “Buckshot War” (when the Anti-Masonic Party’s coalition rigged a second Anti-Masonic slate of “doctored” election results; each Assembly & Senate seat found itself with TWO winners trying to take office and The Fight Was On — spreading from the brawl in the State Capitol to the streets of Harrisburg).

  91. @ Max:

    Part of that is in reaction against the catholic doctrine of merit. On you tube I heard William Lane Craig saying why he is not a catholic and one of the things he mentioned was the doctrine of merit. The idea of merit plays into the issue of prayers to saints with some overlap into other catholic doctrines and practices, all of which got scorched off the scene by the reformers. Only thing was some of the reformers went too far, because the RCC does not say that people can be saved by works alone apart from grace while at the same time having a significantly different attitude to works from the protestant attitude.

    IMO it is a shame that some protestant groups did not find a way to disagree with the RCC in this area without going to extremes since work is indeed a four letter word to some of them.

  92. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    EFC becoming Calvinists? How is that happening? They weren’t Calvinists back in the 80’s.

    New Calvinism is an aggressive movement. It has gained a foothold in most mainline denominations in the last 10-15 years.

    Communism was also an aggressive movement, with many of the same ways to gain a foothold. Read up on how Stalin took over Eastern Europe after WW2 — a lot of these More-Calvinist-than-Calvin types operate right out of Comrade Stalin’s Stealth Takeover playbook.

    And the Communists also had their “Who is More Marxist” one-upmanships, PROVING to themselves by Purity of Ideology that THEY were the One True Communists.

    No wonder John Paul the Great treated Communism as a Christian Heresy. A lot of the dynamics were identical.

  93. Max wrote:

    Even if they knew where the money trail leads, the average YRR would probably say “So what?!”. I don’t think the New Calvinist army really gives a big whoop what the generals are doing, as long as the revolution gains steam.

    For the Rewolution, Comrades.

    At least until they go down in the post-Rewolution Purge after Purge.
    When there are no more Heathens, start on the Heretics.
    When there are no more Heretics, start on the Apostates.
    Just like ISIS.
    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

  94. dee wrote:

    Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    Not to mention muff potter being a seekrit muzzlim.

  95. But then of course if one is totally opposed to ‘works’ in any form it means you can keep more of your leisure time to yourself, keep more of your money in your pocket and keep more of your almost sins to boot.

  96. dee wrote:

    Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    All right, I’ve never been part of a conspiracy, that sounds like fun too. Amazing that we can continue to keep it secret.

  97. @ Max:

    Max I have the first district done. It represents the EFCA in Eastern PA, MD, NY, as well as VA, DC, and DE. Its on my blog. I am working through another district.

  98. @ Darlene:

    42% of the Evangelical Free Churches in D.C. and Virginia are Neo-Calvinist and reformed. For more read this post that I done. I studied close to 130 church websites.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/analyzing-the-growth-of-reformed-theologyneo-calvinism-in-the-evangelical-free-church-of-america-the-eastern-district/

    I am working through the SE District of the EFCA (AL, MS,TN, KY, FL, NC, SC, GA) I finished the state of Florida the other night. 32% of Florida is Neo-Cal. All the Evangelical Free in Gainesville are Neo-Cal. At the end of the year I will be able to give numbers. I worked through one district and am working the second.

  99. @ Darlene:

    The churches are being hijacked. The free associated is being exploited. The denomination was not set up to be like this. The roots of the denomination are in Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. The denomination was set up to be free to allow flexibility. Many Neo-Calvinists are using this freedom and exploiting it.

  100. dee wrote:

    3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    Well, you know all the readers of this blog are lizard people in disguise, descended from an ancient bloodline hell-bent on raising up Kanye West as the AntiChrist. Run an episode of the Kardashians backwards, and you’ll hear an analysis of Neo-Calvinism.

    Seriously, lizard people is a theme amongst the oh-so-strange conspiracy theorists. Is that redundant?

  101. dee wrote:

    we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason.

    Me too! Me too!

    I have stacks of Mason jars right downstairs. Heaven only knows what’s hiding inside them, pretending to be jam while secretly plotting the New Marmalade Order.

  102. Friend wrote:

    Heaven only knows what’s hiding inside them, pretending to be jam while secretly plotting the New Marmalade Order.

    And then there are the “preservists” who believe that the New Marmalades are doctrinally heretics.

  103. okrapod wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    the children’s hospital built by the Shriners.

    If you mean Kosair Children’s Hospital a former roommate of mine from med school worked as a radiologist there at one time. An older cousin of mine developed rickets from poor nutrition during the depression and they were miserably impoverished at the time and Kosair treated him. They did a lot of good work.

    They sure did. My dad was invoved in fundraising year after year from area businesses back in the day. It is now Owned by a conglomerate with several locations but they kept the Shriner statue theme.

  104. Bill M wrote:

    All right, I’ve never been part of a conspiracy, that sounds like fun too. Amazing that we can continue to keep it secret.

    And Conspiracy Theorists have never been part of The Vast Conspiracy.
    That’s why they’re always so sour — they’re the only ones who are left out!

    Like Homer Simpson…

    “Who controls the British Crown?
    Who keeps the Metric System down?
    WE DO! WE DO! WE DO!
    Who keeps Atlantis off the maps?
    Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
    WE DO! WE DO! WE DO!
    WE DO! WE DO! WE DO!”
    — anthem of “The Stonecutters” from that Simpson’s episode

  105. okrapod wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    the children’s hospital built by the Shriners.

    If you mean Kosair Children’s Hospital a former roommate of mine from med school worked as a radiologist there at one time. An older cousin of mine developed rickets from poor nutrition during the depression and they were miserably impoverished at the time and Kosair treated him. They did a lot of good work.

    They sure did. My dad was invoved in fundraising year after year from area businesses back in the day. It is now Owned by a conglomerate with several locations but they kept the Shriner holding a child statue theme.

  106. @ Eagle:
    Thanks Eagle. I took a gander at your findings. You provide alarming statistics of the proliferation of New Calvinism in the Evangelical Free Church denomination. The 20s-40s age groups are falling for this theological aberration lock, stock and barrel. This is an aggressive movement with “lieutenants” laying a reformed groundwork in every denomination.

    As a side note, you might consider checking the Twitter postings of pastors at these churches. You can learn a lot about the theological leaning of these folks by noting who they re-tweet (Piper Points, Driscoll Drivel, Mohler Moments, etc.). They love to drop names, so the big boys will know they are part of the bunch, as well as directing their flocks to reformed resources for study. However, you may have already thought of this investigative angle for your project.

  107. Friend wrote:

    I have stacks of Mason jars right downstairs. Heaven only knows what’s hiding inside them, pretending to be jam while secretly plotting the New Marmalade Order.

    Me too, too! I have boxes of empty jars in the attic, full jars in the spare bedroom closet that we converted to a pantry, then a pantry in the den ….. Ball jars, Kerr jars, Atlas jars, Golden Harvest jars….. Water bath canners, a pressure canner …….
    Jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, butters, veggies, fruit, juices …..
    I have hundreds of Mason jars, and my Chinese Zodiac sign is the dragon! Oooooooh!

  108. @ Max:

    I have a total of 17 districts to examine. 1 (Eastern District) is complete, the second one is 50% complete and I intend to have that published in 2 and a half weeks. At the end of the year I intend to compile all the stats and know what the entire denomination is.

  109. mirele wrote:

    As for the guy handing out the money, I can’t believe he thinks of himself as a man of God. Even my evil too big to fail employer has rules about offering/receiving payments. (In 99 percent of instances, it’s ixnay on offering or receiving funds goods or services for influence.) I would have lost my job several times over if I did what these guys had done.

    This times 1000. In EVERY OTHER CONTEXT ON THE PLANET this is called graft; t is usually illegal and almost certainly unethical. But somehow if performed in church, it is gospelly.

  110. dee wrote:

    3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    I don’t always join secret societies to rule the world with an iron fist, but when I do, I join the Masons. Stay nefarious, my friends.

  111. @ Eagle:
    Good work, Eagle. When you get finished with the EFC project, I have a related one for you. SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) has a large budget ($60 million in 2015) to plant 1,000 new churches per year. NAMB doesn’t maintain data on whether or not the young pastors tapped for these plants are reformed or not. I suspect many (most) are, since NAMB is led by Al Mohler’s former pastor Kevin Ezell! It would be enlightening to know the theological affiliation of this army of church planters, but I’m not sure the apathetic millions of SBC non-Calvinists would believe this “conspiracy” or really give a big whoop about it.

  112. @ Max:

    Max…I don’t know if I have the manpower to take on the SBC. 1500 Evangelical Free churches are going to be tough!

  113. I tweeted a link to this at Dee earlier.

    Douglas Ell: how an MIT atheist found God through math
    https://boingboing.net/2016/02/25/douglas-ell-how-an-mit-atheis.html

    Snippet:

    This month, Examiner.com has been profiling “noted atheists who experienced dramatic shifts in their views, eventually becoming Christians.” This week, it has a story about Douglas Ell, a former atheist who has undergraduate degrees in math and chemistry, and an MA in theoretical mathematics from the University of Maryland.

  114. @ Eagle:
    Perhaps a future project for you post-EFC, or another reader will pick up on the idea who has the interest and time to do so. I know a long-time elder in an EFC church – I asked him about the extent of reformed theology in their denomination a few months ago. He didn’t “think” it was or would be a problem … another case of folks with their heads in the sand on New Calvinism.

  115. Max wrote:

    another case of folks with their heads in the sand on New Calvinism

    The problem with having your head in the sand is that you can get your behind kicked real good and not see it coming … for example, SBC millions in the pew.

  116. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    dee wrote:

    3 comments not approved. Writer believes we are in a conspiracy to hide who is a Mason. It’s so much fun to be the subject of a conspiracy theory.

    I’m a mason; I’m a mason! OOOOOh, pick me!!!!

    “I’M A MASON,
    HE’S A MASON,
    SHE’S A MASON,
    THEY’RE ALL MASONS,
    WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO BE A MASON TOO?”

  117. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Actually, Masonic Conspiracy Theories date back a couple centuries. For an overview, check out Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies sometime.
    P.S. In the early 19th Century, there were actually Anti-Masonic political parties in the USA. And they actually named themselves “Anti-Masonic Party” or variants of same. One-issue parties whose Cause was to Save The Country from the Masonic Conspiracy. And some of them actually dominated several states’ politics, including playing a role in Pennsylvania’s “Buckshot War” (when the Anti-Masonic Party’s coalition rigged a second Anti-Masonic slate of “doctored” election results; each Assembly & Senate seat found itself with TWO winners trying to take office and The Fight Was On — spreading from the brawl in the State Capitol to the streets of Harrisburg).

    When I did the history of political parties in America, the Anti-Masonic Party was included. One of the kids went home and told his dad who was a ” big shot” in the local Lodge. The next day the principal who was also a Lodge member came down to find out what I was teaching….

  118. Max wrote:

    AoG denominational leadership should be very concerned about the tentacles of reformed theology infiltrating its ranks.

    Max, that would be a HUGE leap for Reformed theology to infiltrate AOG ranks. There are just too many differences between the two camps. First off, AOG is Arminian through and through. AOG does not believe in Once Saved Always Saved, like the non-Calvinist Baptists, so the Calvinists would have a lot of work to do to convince them of the P in TULIP. AOG believes in the Sinner’s Prayer and making a decision to accept Christ so it would be a long walk from here to Regeneration precedes Faith theology. AOG understanding of free will is 180 degrees opposite to Calvinistic Monergism. AOG rejects Cessationism which almost all Reformed and Calvinist churches teach. (Yeah, I know, C.J. Mahaney is an exception. But I doubt he publicly speaks in tongues in the presence of his Calvinist buddies.) AOG is not Complementarian – they support female pastors. I doubt the Calvinists could make inroads in this area – they would have to depose a large percentage of female pastors and I don’t think that’s going to happen. Most Reformed and Calvinist churches hold either to mid-trib, post-trib, or amillennialism in their eschatology. (Yeah, I know John MacArthur is pre-trib but he is in the minority.) AOG are staunchly pre-tribulation dispensationalists. Reformed and Calvinist churches teach replacement theology when it comes to the nation of Israel and the role it plays under the New Covenant. AOG rejects replacement theology. All this to say there are just too many differences between the two camps in order for the Calvinists to take over the AOG denomination.

  119. okrapod wrote:

    But then of course if one is totally opposed to ‘works’ in any form it means you can keep more of your leisure time to yourself, keep more of your money in your pocket and keep more of your almost sins to boot.

    You got that right, Ocrapod. You can have your cake and eat it too. Get *saved* (or be regenerated as the Reformed folk like to say) – Do whatever you want – and slide into Heaven!

  120. Eagle wrote:

    @ Max:
    Max I have the first district done. It represents the EFCA in Eastern PA, MD, NY, as well as VA, DC, and DE. Its on my blog. I am working through another district.

    Eagle, I am really interested in this subject of the EF churches being infiltrated by the Neo-Cals. There is a huge mega Evangelical Free Church about 45 min. from where I live in the Lehigh Valley, PA and I know a number of people who attend. They’re not Calvinists and I have an inkling that they have little knowledge of Reformed theology.

  121. Eagle wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    The churches are being hijacked. The free associated is being exploited. The denomination was not set up to be like this. The roots of the denomination are in Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. The denomination was set up to be free to allow flexibility. Many Neo-Calvinists are using this freedom and exploiting it.

    This has perked up my curiosity so much that I’m inclined to sneak in on a service in the Evangelical Free church a few miles from my home.

  122. @ Darlene:
    Darlene, I agree with your premise that it would be a huge stretch for AoG to come alongside reformed theology. I’m just saying that the beginnings of that leap are being entertained at some AoG churches. AoG has already seen some theological changes in recent years … for example, glossolalia is not stressed as it once was as an “evidence” of salvation. Denominations are shifting belief and practice to attract Millennial and Generation X members, especially the mega-churches which depend on these age groups to bank roll their futures. Some AoG churches might go down the reformed avenue to accomplish this end, as far-stretched as it may sound. You note that “AOG believes in the Sinner’s Prayer and making a decision to accept Christ so it would be a long walk from here to Regeneration precedes Faith theology. AOG understanding of free will is 180 degrees opposite to Calvinistic Monergism.” The same can be said about mainline Southern Baptist belief and practice; however, Calvinism is sweeping through SBC ranks. There is no doubt that New Calvinists are targeting 20s-40s in every denomination; it is just a matter of time that we see the unthinkable also happen in AoG … Calvinization of the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America – the Southern Baptist Convention – was unthinkable just a few short years ago. I am praying that AoG is on top of this and will dis-fellowship churches promoting reformed theology; SBC won’t at this point.

  123. Darlene wrote:

    I’m inclined to sneak in on a service in the Evangelical Free church a few miles from my home

    Look for folks toting ESV Bibles while you are there and Piper quotes on the screen. If they have a bookstore in the foyer, look for titles by New Calvinist authors (Piper, Keller, Chandler, Platt, Driscoll, etc.). EFC, with about 1500 churches and 1/2 million members, is a smaller target than SBC’s 45,000 churches and 16 million members; probably the reason that the New Calvinists are dedicating so much energy to reform the SBC right now.

  124. I wonder if 50-60 years ago, these New Calvinist types would have been USSR fanboy-Communists. Whether the two attract the same personality types.

  125. As another Covenant Life Church member, I just want to affirm the things Yentl wrote above. I also want to mention that we the rank and file never found out about the generous gifts to other ministries until afterward (when CJ happened to mention them in public). It always felt inappropriate to me how CJ would commend us as a group for our generosity and friendship toward other ministries and churches at those times, even though we had no awareness or input into those gifts and little or no relationship with those people. He was in effect commending himself in disguise.

  126. Darlene wrote:

    that would be a HUGE leap for Reformed theology to infiltrate AOG ranks.

    The Truth Network broadcasts the messages of an AOG pastor here in our area. I sometimes listened to his messages, but when he recently mentioned C.J. Mahaney's book The Cross Centered Life as a go to resource, I was flabbergasted! I'm fairly sure he has mentioned Neo-Reformed leaders in his messages, so it sounds like he has joined ranks with this movement.

  127. I just want to say that my first exposure to CJ Mahaney was after moving to Louisville to attend SBTS in 2006(which I quit after the first semester). I attended chapel one day to hear the famed Mahaney. His sermon, I cannot remember at all, but what I do remember changed my opinion of him forever. Mohler introduced him on the stage as a friend, brother, etc. and Mahaney handed over a big check to SBTS from Sovereign Grace, saying with a chuckle, “This my friends is how you get invited back!” This was before any of the SGM problems came out, but I can tell you that his use of money to manipulate and “network” to his advantage has been going on for a long, long time. I found nothing Christlike or humble about his attitude. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING BACK. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” If these “ministers” treat each other with this sort of “strings attached” mentality– tit for tat– how will they treat their enemies?

    So thankful for the truth! Let’s remember to keep these men in our prayers. I am ashamed of so much of their behavior since so much of it is on a public level, but we cannot forget to pray and ask God for repentance where it is needed. How Spirit led revival of the church in America is needed!

  128. So…could I get Dever and Grudem’s loyalty for decades for a mere $10,000?

    Might be worth it, actually.

  129. TheGospelCoalition founder D.A. Carson is based at EFCA’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

    A number of current and former TGC Councilmembers are Evangelical Free (Mike Andrus, Gary Inrig, Bill Kynes, Tom Nelson, Colin Smith, Greg Waybright, etc.)

    Evangelical Free is one of the denominations targeted by T4G bigwig Ligon Duncan’s Reformed Theological Seminary’s Roger Nicole Institute:

    “The Nicole Institute equips its students for ministry, primarily through pastoral preparation….This preparation is designed for, but not limited to, those desiring to serve in any number of the various Baptist denominations, Independent churches, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Free, and Acts 29 network.”

    http://www.rts.edu/site/rtsnearyou/orlando/nibs/intro.aspx

  130. @ Jerome:

    Jerome can you please contact me through my blog? I am doing a lot of work on the EFCA and I would appreciate your knowledge. I am working through the EFCA denomination and working on the rate of Reformed theology growth. You can see them at my blog which Dee has listed on her blog roll. The Wondering Eagle, please shoot me an email. Thanks! 🙂

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