“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”– Paulo Coelho
Most everyone who has read my blog for any amount of time, knows about Todd Wilhelm’s ridiculous treatment at the hands of none other than 9 Marks’ UCCD in Dubai. It is run by Mark Dever’s BFF, John Folmar. (Read 9 Marks on steroids.) Todd got disciplined for walking out of the church over their insistence on foisting CJ Mahaney’s books on the unsuspecting populace of Dubai. He refused to immediately join another church, wanting to take his time. That landed him on their *membership care list” which is 9 Marks’ doublespeak for *You are a naughty boy for not immediately joining a 9 Marks certified real church.”
I still remember what he said to me the first time we talked. He told me that first a member of a Sovereign Grace church in Arizona (his home state.) Then, he decided to join a 9 Marks church while in Dubai. He quipped that his track record for selecting churches was a bit weak so he wanted to carefully research his next church. The boys at 9 Marks consider this a serious offense. Their authority feelings get in a dither rather easily.
When Todd returned to Arizona, he picked up following the Tom Chantry case which was being tried in Arizona. He did a bang up job for which many people are grateful. As everyone knows, Chantry will be a guest of the state of Arizona for a couple of decades, having been convicted of abusing kids. This sort of thing is a felony. (Thank you, Arizona!)
His excellent coverage of the Tom Chantry trial also exposed Chantry’s denomination’s role in an alleged coverup. Chantry was well protected by some leaders of this poorly known, Reformed Baptist denomination, Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America (ARBCA.)
Tom has been covering both ARBCA and SGC and has posted an article and some tweets on developing news.
It looks like Sovereign Grace and ARBCA may be in decline.
I have been covering the scandals dogging Sovereign Grace Churches, aka Sovereign Grace Ministries, from almost the moment I began blogging. I got to know a number of the victims of that ministry and covered the lawsuit surrounding the coverup of child sex abuse. It is safe to say I am no fan of CJ Mahaney. Back in their good old days, when The Gospel Coalition, Mark Dever and Al Mohler were fawning over Mahaney, Joe Carter accused me of libel publicly which was picked up by the Christian Post.
Now that Mohler has thrown Mahaney under the bus, I’ve been waiting for a phone call from Carter to apologize for his poor choice of words. That is, of course, unless he still loves Mahaney. So, would that mean he would think that Al Mohler is also guilty of libel? These guys sure know how to make things tough for themselves.
Needless to say, Todd and I have a lot of common interests. He is kind to allow me to reprint some of his posts.
Sovereign Grace Churches sees some churches pulling out from this *happy family* of churches.
This is a fascinating post which clearly points out the crazy theology that infects this *happiest place on earth.” At least that is what Mahaney used to claim. He sure was happy. I’m not so sure others were.
The SGM Survivors blog had a comment posted today that highlights the continuing demise of the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination. (SGC, formerly known as SGM, formerly known as PDI, formerly known as GOB,) Sovereign Grace Churches has been plagued with the continual bleeding of members and churches in the face of their stubborn refusal to allow an independent investigation into what Christian talk show host, Janet Mefferd called, “American evangelicalism’s biggest sex scandal to date.”
Tiffany Stanley wrote an article for “The Washingtonian” about the sexual abuse scandal, titling her article, “The Sex-Abuse Scandal That Devastated a Suburban Megachurch: Inside the rise and fall of Sovereign Grace Ministries.”
Benjamin Sledge also wrote about the Sovereign Grace sexual abuse scandal in an article for “Medium” titled, “Together for the Go$pel.”
Todd points out how Rachel Denhollander threw a monkey wrench into the Sovereign Grace gravy train.
In February 2018 Rachael Denhollander wrote about the corruption in the Sovereign Grace denomination. Based on the official response of Sovereign Grace Churches, it became apparent to me that they intended to go on the offensive against the charges of sexual abuse and coverup in their denomination.
SGC published an official response to Rachael Denhollander’s article. Their response appears to have been purged from the SGC website, along with many other historical documents, but may be found on The Wayback Machine. In my opinion, SGC is attempting to rewrite their history as their response contains numerous inaccurate statements. (Read Rachael Denhollander’s response to the Sovereign Grace statement here.)
Todd reports that one of the current grand poobahs of Sovereign Grace, Rich Richardson, besides pushing some incorrect info on the abuse scandal, also believes that we must never keep a record of wrongs…Good night!
Of course, so-called facts that Rich was relaying, such as convicted pedophile Nate Morales never worked for CLC/SGM; unlike the Catholic Church, no SGM pastors were ever relocated; and there was no hush fund were easily refuted.
But when presented with primary documents, guys such as the Sovereign Grace Gilbert Worship leader, Zach Boomsma said he would rather believe pastor Rich, a man he knew and trusted for years, over redacted emails. Hard to argue with logic like that!
It appears these guys want to get a pass on their past!
I could be wrong, but Rich seems to be conducting a thinly-veiled attack on Brent Detwiler.
When Rich states “why do we record” what is he talking about? I do not believe it is meant for members in his church, but rather Brent Detwiler, who, over the years, has maintained a thorough record of all the evil deeds which have transpired in Sovereign Grace Churches. After all, I do not know anyone who actually “records” the sins of others. I would add that if someone has sinned against you and then asks your forgiveness, you are to forgive that person and it would be wrong to hold that against the person. Rich leaves that important bit out of the equation.
But I don’t believe this is what Rich is referring to. In my opinion, Rich is upset that Brent has kept detailed records of institutional abuse and cover-up by Sovereign Grace Churches. These abuses have never been admitted or repented of. Brent has every right to keep these records and I for one, am thankful that he has kept them. Without individuals keeping records of things, there would be very few pedophiles convicted of their crimes.
I wonder how many of the deep thinkers in the congregation of Sovereign Grace, Gilbert connected what Rich stated with Brent Detwiler
You’ve got to love Todd’s ending on this post.
Below is a quote from Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius was a “historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD.” Based on number 2 of the quote below, it would seem the bishop disagrees with Rich’s sermon.
1. It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy apostles, as well as of the times which have elapsed from the days of our Saviour to our own; and to relate the many important events which are said to have occurred in the history of the Church; and to mention those who have governed and presided over the Church in the most prominent parishes, and those who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing.
2. It is my purpose also to give the names and number and times of those who through love of innovation have run into the greatest errors, and, proclaiming themselves discoverers of knowledge falsely so-called [1 Timothy 6:20] have like fierce wolves unmercifully devastated the flock of Christ.
-Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius of Caesarea: Ecclesiastical History . Kindle Edition.
Over time, this once *fastest growing church planting organization* will continue to dwindle. As I said to one church leader this week, “Todd was a prophet. You guys disciplined him for his righteous stand. He has been proven correct.” So who’s the real problem here?
ARBCA continues to lose churches
Here is a tweet from Todd.
This was posted 7/2019. Here is the link.
It is my opinion that ARBCA should dissolve completely. It should cease to be. ARBCA as an organization has few assets. It is not a denomination. It is an association only. It does not own any seminaries or real estate. For that reason, if victims of Chantry’s crimes sue ARBCA for damages there are no assets to liquidate in order to pay a judgment. ARBCA leaders who participated in the cover-up may face lawsuits. It would be a responsible decision for former ARBCA-affiliated churches* and currently affiliated churches to establish a victims fund. Each church could give to the fund and the fund can be used solely for Chantry’s victims. This alone will not be enough to heal the hurt Chantry and the ARBCA leaders inflicted on the victims, but it will be a step in the right direction.
The Chantry-ARBCA scandal is a warning to all Baptists. The Chantry name is a foundational one within the American Reformed Baptist movement. The good-old-boy network within the ARBCA association (and affiliated churches) created a sort of oligarchy. There is no such thing as a royal class in the church. The only royalty in the Christian faith is found in the King of Kings. Do not think this cannot happen in your church or any association your church may be affiliated with. This is not a theological issue it is a sin issue and sin can rear its ugly head anywhere.
Now, their lone seminary is in financial trouble.
Todd and Douglas were referring to this announcement.
It’s my opinion that the last guy standing should turn off the lights and not let the door slap him on his backside as he runs out of the building, hopefully with his head bowed in shame.
Please pray for the boys, now men, who were abused by Tom Chantry. There is still much pain.