"Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."
THE SPIN CONTINUES…
Please read the ADDENDUM at the bottom of the post.
Since last summer, the Calvinista spinmeisters, or if you prefer, spin doctors, have been busy rehabilitating C.J. Mahaney's image in the aftermath of SGM Wikileaks. Why? Because they are "Together for the Gospel" and had to ensure that the loyal flock, which has been faithful to attend previous T4G conferences, would not scatter.
Booking the KFC Yum! Center was a daring undertaking, and if anything prevented the T$G crowd (OOPS! Why is the dollar sign atop the "4" and not some other number? 🙂 ) from materializing, there would be $OOO much at $TAKE! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise – IT$ all about the GO$PEL!!!
Last August I wrote a post about the 2012 T4G conference explaining how lucrative these mega-gatherings can be. Sure it costs quite a bit to rent the facility, but there's a lot of dough left over… Not only that, the bookstore is likely a huge money maker for someone – from the rented booth space to the tomes that will be scarfed up. The AMWAY kingpins figured this out decades ago, and the Fab Four are simply mimicking their marketing strategy. Look at it this way – the attendees are being trained to distribute the Calvinista gospel instead of soap. The mechanics are still the same, and the payday is HUGE! Does anyone besides the Fab Four know where the profits go? Would anyone dare ask?
Just in case you're wondering whether money matters to the Fab Four, you might want to take a look at this post: $$$ The Mahaney Money Machine $$$
Before we proceed with the rest of the SGM saga, it might be beneficial to theorize why T4G even exists. When the conference took place in 2010, we wrote Together on a Mission or Together for the Gospel
Here is how that post begins:
Are Christian conferences just an American phenomenon? Across the pond in jolly old England, Christian leaders can attend a conference that involves “teaching” and “worship”. This annual event held in Brighton is designed primarily for Christian leaders, but welcomes students and twenty-somethings. Incredibly, 5,000 delegates from 50 nations attend this annual conference.
According to the official website, the four-day event is comprised of two conferences which combine some sessions: Leadership International for those attendees with a leadership role in church and Mobilese for students and those in their twenties.
C.J. Mahaney knows all about this conference because he was the keynote speaker at Mobilese in 2005, which we believe is the year this event first began.
And the name of the conference is — drum roll please…TOGETHER ON A MISSION.
Wait a minute! That sounds an awful lot like TOGETHER FOR THE GOSPEL, which held its first conference in Louisville the following year (2006). Hmmm……
One of our commenters wrote in about how the old slogan "Take and Give (TAG)" may have inspired T4G since with a little imagination the "A" looks like a "4" at quick glance. Who of the Fab Four was in TAG? Mahaney
Here is our "theory" : C.J. Mahaney, who (1) spoke at Together on a Mission in 2005, (2) was one of the principal leaders in TAG and (3) worked the conference circuit, likely came up with the concept Together for the Gospel. He and Mark Dever have been friends for many (possibly 15) years. Of course, Mark Dever was highly involved with T4G from the iinception, but we believe it was actually Mahaney's idea. The T4G leaders are extremely indebted to him, and we believe that's why they have spoken out so forcefully on his behalf. T4G is "housed" at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (at least that's what the website indicates), and when ordering materials from T4G, it is done through SGM. Together for the Gospel is Mahaney and Dever's BABY, and they cannot divorce Mahaney from it!
Now let's get back to the drama that has been playing out in Sovereign Grace Ministries. As explained in the previous post, Mahaney stepped down from the presidency of Sovereign Grace Ministries in early July. Dave Harvey (who is a breakout speaker at the 2012 T4G) became SGM's acting president. He made quite a few missteps early on and had to change course a number of times due to protestations. The SGM Board appointed a preliminary panel of three men "independent" of SGM to answer this question: Is Mahaney Fit for Ministry? Here is an excerpt from that post:
“We invited several men to participate who had basic doctrinal agreement with Sovereign Grace Ministries, biblical/theological expertise, pastoral experience, and perspectives from a variety of evangelical traditions. Kevin DeYoung, Carl Trueman, and Ray Ortlund accepted.”
The identities of these men were not disclosed until after they rendered their finding on whether Mahaney was fit for ministry. And here is the preliminary panel's conclusion (drum roll please)…
“We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. Or to put it positively, from all that we have seen, heard, and read, we believe C.J. Mahaney is, at this moment in time and based on those sins which he has acknowledged, still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”
GUESS WHAT… Kevin DeYoung and Carl Trueman are speakers at the 2012 T4G! And Ray Orlund has close ties to these guys. Please consult the Fit for Ministry post for our commentary. We did our best to spell it out for our readers:
Another important development was that the Ambassadors of Reconciliation were hired to interview those who have been spiritually abused as a result of the hyper-authoritarian leadership in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Dave Harvey, as acting president of SGM, promised that this report would be released before now. More on that momentarily…
Obviously, entrenchment continues to be a chronic problem among the Calvinstas. Little did we know that we would be writing enough on the matter to comprise a book! Here are those posts we have written since August 2011 that pertain to Sovereign Grace Ministries:
Salsa Dancing Our Way to Complementarianism (thrown in for good measure)
Let's see if I can recap what has happened. Mahaney's sons-in-law resigned from Covenant Life Church and C.J. and Carolyn left CLC (where Mahaney had pastored for 27 years) and began attending Capitol Hill Baptist Church. The third son-in-law resigned from the pastorate, and he and his wife headed to Louisville so he could begin earning his M.Div. at Southern Seminary. From what we understand the other sons-in-law are doing internships with Mark Dever. C.J. was reinstated as president of SGM, and shortly thereafter Dave Harvey resigned from the Board to take care of some pressing "family matters". C.J. and Carolyn moved their church membership from CLC to Solid Rock Church. It appears that the Mahaneys will be relocating to Kentucky and that SGM will be moving to Louisville.
In the meantime, EVERYONE IS AWAITING THE AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION REPORT!!! WHERE IS IT?
I have done a poor job of keeping up with what is going on at T4G, but I do have a couple of things to report.
(1) Crossway sent out this tweet which might give us some idea about the subject matter of Mahaney's upcoming book: "The call of the pastor is not only to proclaim, but to suffer and serve." –Mahaney
You know, the name of the game is SELL, SELL, SELL! Where would Crossway be without the Calvinistas?
(2) The Pryo guys have been exhibiting the behavior that has gotten these Calvinistas in trouble. Here are some comments posted on their blog during the T4G conference:
Frank Turk said…
Lay off CJ in these comments. When I get to a real Internet connection, I'll be deleting them.
Not kidding. Don't get banned.
7:41 AM, April 11, 2012
Jeremiah Greenwell said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
7:45 AM, April 11, 2012
Frank, I am so disappointed that you are planning to join Tim Challies and Justin Taylor in deleting negative comments about CJ Mahaney. There is so much evidence demonstrating the harm that his leadership has done to so many that it is a serious issue when he appears at T4G as if nothing happened. Please don't join the Big Shots who are protecting him for one reason or another, or just because he talks a good game.
1:22 PM, April 11, 2012
Frank Turk said…
I'm disappointed that the readers of TeamPyro are conspiracy theorists.
2:15 PM, April 11, 2012
As you can see, the Pyromaniac guys, along with Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, and others are SPINMEISTERS. They spin things to make their movement look good, and when opposition comes they remove the evidence!
Whether you like us or not, at least we have the integrity to allow criticism on our blog. If you find any of these Calvinista bloggers deleting your comments, just let us know and we will be more than happy to post them (as we have done in the past – e.g. Tim Challies).
It's time to "RAP" things up, and as I do so I feel kinda bad because I've slighted Ligon Duncan by not giving him more attention in these posts on T4G. In order to remedy that, here is Duncan demonstrating one of his hidden talents with his brother.
Take a look at C.J. Mahaney's message at a previous Together for the Gospel conference. He's come a long way since then, but he's come the WRONG WAY!
We will obviously have more to say about all of this in upcoming posts. We leave you with a song that reminds us of a couple of important principles to always remember:
What goes up must come down.
What goes around comes around.
ADDENDUM – THE SPIN CONTINUES…
I could not believe my eyes when I read the following installment in The Christian Post.
Michelle A. Vu, May 12, 2012, 6:52 p.m.
"Prominent evangelical pastor C.J. Mahaney knows a thing or two about losing heart, having just returned earlier this year after temporarily stepping down from leading Sovereign Grace Ministries over allegations of character flaws by former SGM leaders. Mahaney delivered an emotional message on the opening day of the Together for the Gospel conference during which he immersed the attendees in studying the letter of Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth about not losing heart.
While Mahaney did not speak in detail or directly about his leave of absence and the drama surrounding that decision during his hour-long message on Tuesday, he did repeatedly talk about pastors being discouraged by opposition and at one point made a general statement that pastors can lose heart if the person that helped co-found the church leaves and slanders them, or if a staff member leaves and slanders them.
"Pastors, we can easily get discouraged. I find myself so easily discouraged. It is pathetic how easily I can be discouraged – easily discouraged by resistance, easily discouraged by opposition, easily discouraged by hardness of heart, easily discouraged by blindness," said Mahaney to some 8,000 pastors and church leaders gathered in Louisville, Ky., for the biennial event. "Look, pastoral ministry is a sacrificial call with unique challenges. We are called to take the Gospel to those with hard hearts and blind eyes…"
What follows is the portion of Mahaney's message to which Vu refers when she wrote: "he did repeatedly talk about pastors being discouraged by opposition and at one point made a general statement that pastors can lose heart if the person that helped co-found the church leaves and slanders them, or if a staff member leaves and slanders them".
(Beginning at the 37.28 mark)
"Persecuted. (Are) you familiar with that? Sure you are to differing degrees. It’s more subtle in this country, but it’s present. Perhaps an article appears in the local paper misrepresenting you, the church… And then perhaps the one we’re most familiar with – Struck down. Huh! That would appear Paul is referring to being stoned in Lystra, but there are many forms in which one can be struck down. There are many different ways you can be struck down. A friend who helps you start the church and has served in the church. A friend from pre-conversion days who was converted at similar times as you, that friend abruptly leaves the church and slanders you as he goes, and you are struck down. Or a staff member that you have served with for a number of years announces he’s leaving and misrepresents you as well as he makes his way for the door, and you are struck down…"
In this part of his message, I believe Mahaney is referring to:
(1) The Washington Post article – "the local paper misrepresenting you, your church"
(2) Brent Detwiler – "A friend who helped you start the church…"
(3) Larry Tomczak – "Or a staff member that you have served with for a number of years announces he's leaving and misrepresents you…"
The Christian Post published this article a few hours after we posted ours. The pushback against this SPIN began with the very first comment (see below).
6:47 AM on April 13, 2012
"Have you heard what Mahaney has admitted doing but still continues to “preach?” It looks like at best Mahaney is an example of do as I say vs. how he does. The worst thing is how Mahaney blackmailed the cofounder of their group Larry Tomczak and that Mahaney hid this sin for 13 years. http://larrytomczak.com/responce_sgm_tomczak.pdf A few blogs to look at are: www.sgmsurvivors.com www.sgmrefuge.com www.thewartburgwatch.com brentdetwiler.com Hope this helps."
Perhaps you would like to chime in over at The Christian Post and exercise your freedom of speech…
Once again . . .
WHERE IS THE AMBASSADORS OF RECONCILIATION REPORT???
Lydia's Corner: Ezekiel 7:1-9:11 Hebrews 5:1-14 Psalm 105:1-15 Proverbs 26:28