Image by Ryan Ashton
A stiff apology is a second insult… The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt. Gilbert K. Chesterton
It official. This has been the busiest week for TWW in its almost 10 year history. I’m sorry for being a bit late in approving comments. Many abuse advocates, myself included, have been slammed with requests from the media for both interviews and background.
Yesterday morning I received a request for the audio of Al Mohler making a sick joke at the expense of SGM victims. Thankfully, I had put this into a post so I found it quickly. Al Mohler Extolls CJ Mahaney at T4G While Joking at the Expense of SGM Victims. Does Money Play a Role in the Relationship?
What was happening at the time of this despicable joke? SGM victims, families and supporters were protesting outside of the T4G 2016. One woman, walking into the conference, yelled “Liars” to the protestors. CJ Mahaney, a best friend of Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan (They are the 4 in T4G), was introduced on the stage by Al Mohler prior to Mahaney’s speech.
One more point is important. You will hear a number of people in the audience laughing at this joke by Mohler. All of those people are responsible for causing pain to the SGM victims. They should be ashamed of themselves but a quick “I’m sorry” to God at the end of the day means “never having to say you’re sorry to the victims, right?”
According to Al Mohler, his wife Mary refers to the 4 in T4G as Al’s little playgroup. It seems like the 4 boys are having lots of chuckles. In the audio below, you will hear Al joking about looking up CJ Mahaney on Google. Listen carefully and you will hear the laughs. Start listening at the 2:00 minute mark to hear the *joke*. However, it is worth listening to the section before this.
Much to my surprise, I was notified that an apology by Al Mohler was just minutes away. It appears this joke played a part in his apology. That is why documentation is necessary. You never know when it becomes critical. I never thought I would hear something like this. Don’t be alarmed. I’ve not gotten sucked into believing that this apology comes from pure motives. I believe that Mohler, along with other SBC leaders, have found themselves with their backs against a wall. The SBC is getting linked with the RCC and it isn’t pretty.
Once again, Robert Downen nails it in Leading Southern Baptist apologizes for supporting leader, church at center of sex abuse scandal. Let’s look at a few things.
The infamous statement vouching for CJ Mahaney.
Mohler regrets the infamous statement that he wrote with Mahaney’s other BFFs: Mark “Captain, O My Captain” Dever and Ligon Duncan. TWW’s good friend, Todd Wilhelm, posted the entire statement and has given me permission to post anything I wish from his wonderful website. So, here it is, winsomeness T4G style!
STATEMENT FROM MARK DEVER, LIGON DUNCAN, and ALBERT MOHLER
May 23, 2013
We are friends who have been brought together for the gospel. Over the last several months, we have wanted to speak publicly to the issues that have related to our friend C. J. Mahaney. A Maryland judge’s recent action to dismiss a lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries offers us the first opportunity, and responsibility, to speak to this issue. We could not speak to the issues involved so long as they were raised only in the context of an action in the civil courts. We have never made a public comment with regard to claims and counter-claims in a civil lawsuit, and we will not violate that principle now.
Claims presented in a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation are beyond the ability of the public to render judgment. Often, such claims are even beyond the ability of a court to deliberate. To comment on such claims is irresponsible, since no one apart from the court and the parties directly involved has any ability to evaluate the claims presented. If the filing of civil litigation against a Christian ministry or leader is in itself reason for separation and a rush to judgment, no ministry or minister is safe from destruction at any time. Furthermore, the effort to try such a case in the court of public opinion prior to any decision rendered by an authorized court is likewise irresponsible.
We have stood beside our friend, C. J. Mahaney, and we can speak to his personal integrity. We can make no judgment as to the truthfulness of the horrifying charges of sexual abuse made against some individuals who have been connected, in some way, to Sovereign Grace Ministries and its churches. Our hearts must go out to anyone, and especially to any child, who suffers abuse at the hand of anyone. In such a case the legal authorities must use the full power of the law to investigate and to prosecute any perpetrator of such crimes. We must take any responsible action to protect the vulnerable, and we must act immediately to inform legal authorities of any charge or claim of sexual abuse, and do so without delay. Our first response must be to call the police, to act to protect the child or young person, and then to proceed to biblical church discipline when the facts demand such a response.
If a Christian leader is accused of any wrongdoing, those to whom he is accountable must investigate the charges and then deal responsibly with the evidence. If a criminal accusation is made, Christians have a fundamental duty to inform law enforcement officials. This does not, however, preclude or mitigate the church’s responsibility for biblical church discipline.
A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people.
Our heart goes out to anyone who has ever suffered abuse of any kind. Our emphatic encouragement would be for anyone who has ever suffered such abuse or knows of anyone made vulnerable to such abuse to contact law enforcement officials without delay. We must then allow the law enforcement agencies and the courts to do their proper work. When criminal charges are filed, the public is then presented with evidence upon which it can draw a responsible judgment. On matters of protecting the vulnerable, Christians know what judgment must be made. We side with the victims.
Our hope and prayer is that Christ’s healing and health will come to all parties involved in this matter and that justice and righteousness will prevail for all. May every true victim of any injustice be vindicated. May every doer of wrong be exposed. And may all of us speak no further than we can responsibly speak.
Those who minister in the name of the Lord Christ bear an inescapable duty to live and to minister in a way that is above reproach. Those who teach, reminds James, will face a stricter judgment. [James 3:1] May everything we do, everything we teach, and all that we are be measured against that standard.
Together for the Gospel,
Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler
These supposed *gospel leaders*
- Vouched for Mahaney’s personal integrity.
- Claimed that no accusations of direct wrongdoing were ever made against CJ.
- Claimed he was simply charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.(!!!!)
- Refuse to step away from Mahaney.
- Do not mention the lawsuit was dismissed, not due to the merits of the case but due to an expired a statute of limitations.
Al Mohler apologizes for supporting CJ Mahaney
Al Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney, the former leader of the non-Southern Baptist group Sovereign Grace Ministries, now known as Sovereign Grace Churches.
Interestingly, Mohler did not apologize directly to the victims. He did not make an attempt to contact them. Instead, he made a generic apology thru the Houston Chronicle. To who? Those who subscribe to the Houston Chronicle? For what is he sorry? He said a lot of unkind things about the victims, about those who defended the victims, and about those who spoke against the leadership of CJ Mahaney. He alienated a lot of people and his actions led to The Gospel Coalition to block people on Twitter who supported SGM victims. His actions led to men like Joe Carter thinking it was appropriate to insult those who defended victims. Real apologies should be directed to those who we’re harmed by his actions. If he needs to meet an SGM victim, I can introduce him to one who could probably get a bunch of other victims to meet with him.
Mohler claims he didn’t really understand the charges against Mahaney. Is anyone buying this?
“I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges,” And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.”
Frankly, this is codswallop. Mohler was made well aware of the charges as were many other leaders in The Gospel Colaition and T4G. They simply did not want to hear them. Victims reached out to all of them. They saw the protestors. Remember, Mohler is a man who does a daily Briefing purporting to give an analysis of world events. He either is brilliant (as followers claim) or he is not. I believe he is making an unbelievable excuse.
The joke heard round the world.
I was shocked when I heard about this joke and documented it. (See above.) I believe the surfacing of this joke played a part in this apology.
Mohler also apologized for a joke he made while introducing Mahaney at a 2016 conference that was being protested by former Sovereign Grace members and others.
“What I did was wrong and caused hurt to the victims and survivors who felt that their experience had been trivialized and dismissed,” Mohler said. “And I grieve that, I apologize for that, it was wrong. I would never make such a comment again.”
Did Mohler ever denounce, even mildly, his friend Mahaney as he is attempting to claim?
Mohler said he should have been more forceful in his denunciation of Mahaney.
“Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,” he said. “I should have been very clear about insisting on an independent, credible third-party investigation.”
Mohler claims he should have made a more forceful denunciation. What denunciation? When? Mohler never denounced Mahaney and is not going to get away with pretending he even tried to do so *a little.* Mohler was in for Team Mahaney and never wavered until now.
Also, Mohler didn’t call for any sort of investigation against Mahaney. This is more baloney and appears to be attempting to downgrade the level of his utter lack of action and compassion.
Mohler claims he should have *heard from* victims and sought expert advice.
Once again, this is utter nonsense. Victims attempted to reach out to T4G, etc and got nothing but the left boot of fellowship. Essentially they were kicked in the pants. Is Al Mohler telling us that he only thought about getting advice from authorities this week? Sorry-not buying it.
“I should have said nothing until I had heard from those who were victims and who were making the allegations. I should have sought at that time the advice and counsel of agencies and authorities who were even then on the front lines of dealing with these kinds of allegations.”
Danny Akin, President of SEBTS, joins in with the “CJ, I hardly knew ye” club.
Read this statement
Akin said he has not had a close relationship with Mahaney since a speech Mahaney was slated to give at the seminary was cancelled.
On Thursday, he said he was wrong to support Mahaney without properly investigating the allegations. He also criticized how Mahaney and Sovereign Grace handled the allegations.
“Do I think that Sovereign Grace handled the accusations brought against them well?” Akins said. “No, I don’t. I think they could have been far more transparent. I think they could have been far more forthcoming. Even to this day, there’s still a lack of clarity.”
He added, “I absolutely think they’ve handled (the allegations) poorly and that they have not been as transparent as they should have been or could have been, and (that they) could have saved a lot of people a lot of grief,” Akin said.
Akin knew all about the claims of the victims in the SGM debacle. This is simply a case of rats deserting a sinking ship. However, I’m not going to let them get away with this. Read this again.
“I absolutely think they’ve handled (the allegations) poorly and that they have not been as transparent as they should have been or could have been, and (that they) could have saved a lot of people a lot of grief,
Danny Akin and Al Mohler-you handled this poorly. You refused to hear the victims. You bear responsibility for this years long devastating and disdainful silence towards the victims. You could have done something. Instead you played tribal games.
Mohler’s defense of Mahaney encouraged other members of the Gospel Coalition to accuse advocates for victims as having a Javert like obsession with Mahaney
Mohler is one of the leaders of this group of like minded Calvinist friends who adore Mahaney. His own friendship and advocacy for Mahaney led to A Statement from Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor: Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.
In this statement, they resorted to outright lies.The lawsuit was dismissed due to the statute of limitations, not anything else.
So the entire legal strategy was dependent on a theory of conspiracy that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability. As to the specific matter of C. J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted.
They attacked bloggers who cared about the victims and then minimized the thoughts of one young woman who claimed she had been raped at the age of 14 at an SGM event.
Reports on the lawsuit from Christianity Today and World Magazine (among others) explicitly and repeatedly drew attention to C. J., connecting the suit to recent changes within SGM. He has also been the object of libel and even a Javert-like obsession by some. One of the so-called discernment blogs—often trafficking more in speculation and gossip than edifying discernment—reprinted a comment from a woman who issued this ominous wish, “I hope [this lawsuit] ruins the entire organization [of SGM] and every single perpetrator and co-conspirator financially, mentally and physically.”
And they love CJ because they all got to laugh!
We are not ashamed to call C. J. a friend. Our relationship with C. J. is like that with any good friend—full of laughter and sober reflection, encouragement and mutual correction. He has regularly invited—even pursued—correction, and we have given him our perspective when it is warranted. While the admission of friendship may render this entire statement tainted in the eyes of some, we hope most Christians will understand that while friends should never cover for each others’ sins, neither do friends quickly accept the accusations of others when they run counter to everything they have come to see and know about their friend. We are grateful for C. J.’s friendship and his fruitful ministry of the gospel over many decades.
Obviously, these three Mahaney fanboys need to repent and apologize.
How this group of men could cause such pain to victims is beyond me. They sure know how to march lockstep and not one of them questioned their stance. How long will we need to wait for apologies from them?
Here is a list of other names who should apologize. All of these men were CJ gushers.
I bet our readers can add others.
- Denny Burk
- Matt Chandler
- Mark Dever
- Jonathan Leeman
- David Horner
- Carl Trueman
- Kevin DeYoung
- Joe Carter
- Tim Challies
- Matt Chandler
- Justin Taylor
- Jared Wilson
- JD Greear
- Wayne Grudem
- John Piper
- D.A. Carson
- Thabiti Anyabwile
Want to see what I had to put up with from these CJ fanboys?
Sometimes it was hard on me and I needed a stiff spine. These men were mean. I always believed that I was telling the truth when I advocated for SGM victims. However, Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition (senior editor) and the communication specialist (I’m not joking) for the ERLC decided to stick up for CJ. Demonstrating his loyalty to his clan, he called me, along with Julie Anne Smith and Zach Hoag, “pathologically dishonest.” His lack of winsome behavior to me on Twitter was so over the top, I got a call from The Christian Post which documented this despicable exchange.
Today, Carter went after the Denhollander’s who had a similar experience.
Then, he said this:
I then sent him this link.The Gospel Coalition, Christian Bloggers Spar Over Sovereign Grace Ministry, C.J. Mahaney on Twitter. Assuming he is taking a peek at this post, let’s go through his claims. Odds on me getting an apology?
- He accused me of being pathologically dishonest without giving one example of said dishonesty. Also, pathological dishonesty is a psychiatric diagnosis but I do not see where Carter went to medical school.
- “After Parsons asked him to clarify what “slander” he was referring to, Carter responded “Have you not intimated that CJM was involved in a coverup of sexual abuse?” linking to a recent post on her site where a guest blogger claimed that Mahaney was guilty.”
- Parsons defended herself, claiming that “everyone has a right to express their point of view. Also, I tend to believe the victims.”
- He accused me of defamation. “Carter challenged Parsons, arguing that by publishing posts which argued that the civil lawsuit was true, she was still defaming Mahaney and other SGM leaders’ reputations.” Carter demonstrates a serious knowledge gap when it comes to defamation.
- I offered to have him meet with some of the SGM victims but he refused to answer me. This is not a man, or an organization, that seeks after truth if they don’t like what the truth is.
I like this closing thought.
Parsons said she was disappointed with how the interaction with Carter transpired.
“I really wanted to build a bridge [with Joe] and that was my goal and my hope and that’s since been destroyed. And that’s where I stand,” said Parsons. “I had no animosity to Joe Carter in that exchange. I looked at it as the potential for positive opportunity to bring understanding in this whole mess and I’m actually very sad.”