Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.
102 Days of Shameful Silence
As pressure mounts for members of the NeoCalvinist community to acknowledge the terrible turmoil in Sovereign Grace Ministries, some members appear bound and determined to relegate this situation to the realm of "gossip." Yep-gossip, in the same category as "Matilda sure looks fat." TWW is coming to the conclusion that there is a collusion in this community to shore up SGM leaders and religiously ignore the many victims of abuse. That is saying a lot since Dee hates conspiracy theories. On the same day, Justin Taylor here and Frank Turk here (quite interesting bedfellows) republished the exact same article by Dan Phillips on the issue of "gossip." Taylor also quoted Ray Ortlund in his post who had this to say about gossip
- Gossip is our dark moral fervor eagerly seeking gratification.
- Gossip makes us feel important and needed as we declare our judgments.
- It makes us feel included to know the inside scoop.
- It makes us feel powerful to cut someone else down to size, especially someone we are jealous of.
- It makes us feel righteous, even responsible, to pronounce someone else guilty.
- Gossip can feel good in multiple ways. But it is of the flesh, not of the Spirit.
- . . . Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.
- Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube.
- It erodes trust and destroys morale.
- It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere.
- It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation.
- It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial.
- It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against.
- It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers.
- It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness.
- It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves.
- It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”
On Justin Taylor's blog, there ensued a discussion on whether this post was making a statement about the SGM debacle. In other words, it might appear that Taylor is implying that everyone needs to shut up. And why is that? Ray Ortlund was a member of a three man panel which exonerated CJ Mahaney a year ago. This is one move that he must live with for the rest of his life.
In August, 2011, TWW wrote a post Is CJ Mahaney Fit For Ministry? here
Dave Harvey, Acting President of Sovereign Grace Ministries, announced two weeks ago that the SGM Board established a preliminary panel to help them “evaluate CJ. Mahaney’s fitness for ministry”, as stated in this post. At the beginning of this update, Harvey wrote:
“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.”
This was written after CJ temporarily stepped down from ministry after embarrassing revelations on his reign as chief "apostle." It was the misplaced confidence of Trueman, DeYoung and Ortlund which exonerated him and gave him the boldness to come back and take off for greener pastures in Louisville. If you read the entire post, you will see that Ortlund started his "gossip shtick" way back then.
Obviously, these three men demonstrated their general lack of spiritual discernment in light of what has since been revealed. I also believe that their endorsement of Mahaney led directly to the victims realizing that they had to take bolder actions to get their cases heard by the public at large. Combine this atrocious support with the absolute uselessness of the Ambassadors of Reconciliation (a waste of money in my opinion) and I believe that they (along with Ambassadors of Reconciliation) are partially responsible for the necessity to file a class action lawsuit. Had they listened and acted accordingly, things might have been different today.
Instead, in my opinion, these three men threw the victims under the bus. They refused to hear the cries of the wounded in SGM and decided to emphasize the camaraderie of the good old patriarch boys club. By the way, it is important to point out that Ortlund got speaking gigs from SGM and, as we all know, speaking gigs help pay the bills.
So, OK, Ortlund is in the bag for Mahaney. So what? A pastor's gotta earn his speaking engagement money. As Matt Redmond said in his book, The God of the Mundane,
There are two types of pastors, those who speak at conferences and those who want to speak at conferences.
But, recently Ortlund made a statement that goes beyond the pale.
Let me set this up. Some commenters, responding to Taylor's "gossip" post were obviously of the opinion that the point of this post was to point fingers at the "gospelly" incorrect critics of SGM. If he denies this, then he is guilty of ignorance. There is rising concern on the SGM situation being expressed throughout the blogosphere, as far away as South Africa. This topic has become the elephant in the room and the Calvinista community is aware of it, even if they deny it. It appears to bubble beneath the surface of everything that they write and say, whether they like it or not.
Therefore, it appeared evident to the commenters that Taylor, along with Ortlund and Turk, are also supportive of the tomb-like silence on the part of the patriarchs of The Gospel Coalition. So, the "gossip" post did not go over well with some folks. A couple of commenters appeared to make the point that child sexual abuse accusations cannot be put in the same category as "Matilda eats too much."
Here are two comments.
“Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.”
"Really? More destructive than the sexual abuse of children and the subsequent cover up?"
Thank you Leila. This needs to be said continually until TGC speaks up. Their silence is their own condemnation.
This was not well received by Ortlund who upped the ante that the "holiness" of the "gossips" is now in question.
There are many wrongs in many churches. They should not be swept under the rug.
But leaping to conclusions doesn’t help. Foundational to justice is the difference between an accusation and a fact. The moment we overlook that distinction, we risk unleashing our own injustices, no matter how wrong anyone else might later prove to be.
May God be honored and his people holy.
Justin Taylor remains silent but the commenters do not.
Depending on the circumstances, sometimes ‘leaping to a conclusion’ is the correct response. When someone hears about child sexual abuse cover up in a church, that is a subject as important as if someone heard about a real ticking time bomb in a sanctuary. Oh, don’t gossip to anyone about it, no one will worship in there anymore. Hopefully the bomb is a dud. We need to find out that fact first.
She then comments (added at 7:00PM)
“Is that why you leaders are so silent? You are worried about ‘releasing your own injustices?’
Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean, I promise not to gossip about my assumptions of what I think you mean in case I am really jumping to conclusions before I understand.”
Ortlund is now frustrated and says something that is one of the most stupid and spiritually abusive statements that I have read in a long time.
Thanks, Patti. I will not enter into an extended discussion in a comment thread. I will just say this.
Some years ago a friend came under intense accusation. The accusations were untrue. But he lost his ministry position.
Later in the very day when he left that ministry, my friend’s mom found his dad on the floor of the hallway in their home. He had collapsed. He was moaning, “My son, my son.” Five months later, the man was dead.
I wonder if my friend’s accusers thought through in advance what the full human impact of their pursuit would be.
Well, that made me determine that, for the rest of my life, I will try to be cautious when I don’t know all the facts. People can be badly hurt by false accusations. They can also be hurt by injustices that are never confronted. Both are harmful. And isn’t that what we all want — to protect all innocent people from harm?
Make sure you read this carefully. He is accusing people involved in an "unfair" church conflict for causing an elderly man's death. As many of you know, my husband is a cardiologist so I decided to ask him about this "medical diagnosis" on the part of Ray "Ducky" Ortlund who is now posing as a medical forensic pathologist.(Remember that commercial-"I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV? You get the drift). For those of you who are not fans of NCIS, "Ducky" is the name of the forensic pathologist played by David McCallum.(Gotta love that guy!)
I read him the statement without identifying who made it. My husband made a good point. He said that Christians have been subjected to all kinds of persecution, real persecution, throughout the centuries. They marched bravely into the Coliseum, served as torches for Nero's garden parties, stood up to repressive regimes and there does not appear to be any record of wholesale "sudden death" five-months after the beginning of such stressors.
He remarked that initial incident could have been a mini-stroke (TIA). The fact that he was "moaning, My son, my son," may not be pointing to the cause of the incident. Those words could have been on his mind prior to the initialization of the event. In other words, if the event affected his speech center, the repetition of words would be a possible indication of the area of the injury. One cannot diagnose cause and effect without extensive testing.
At this point, hubby stopped and asked me if this was a doctor who made that statement. When I said it was a pastor, he said that way too many people like to play doctor and do so dangerously. He said that such a statement is emotionally manipulative and not true in any provable way and the pastor should be downright ashamed of himself. I told him it was the latest in a series of CJ supporters who are trying to get people to shut up. He laughed but was angry at the same time.
He elaborated further. The death, five months later, cannot be positively linked to the "moaning" event, unless it was shown that a TIA had indeed transpired. If a TIA had occurred, and it was due to a slowly bleeding aneurysm, then further bleeds could have occurred, leading, eventually, to death. However, only an autopsy could have revealed this. Furthermore, one cannot assume that a bleeding aneurysm is caused by stress. We know of a 23-year-old young man, a family friend, who died peacefully in his sleep, due to an aneurysm and he was healthy and not under stress. Nor did he have any precursors that were recognized.
Justin Taylor must approve of this statement. How do I know? Well, we took a screen shot of comments that came in after this masterful display of Calvinista hubris, and they were deleted. Ducky's "Death by Church Conflict" statement stands as the parting shot comment of this post. Taylor, at the minimum, should have asked "Ducky" not to play doctor and should have removed the comment as irresponsible speculation meant to falsely accuse a group of people of causing the death of his friend's father.
Oh, I forgot. Taylor is allowing all "ping backs' to his post that came in after Ducky's folly . Why? Maybe because these show how many sensible people are positively quoting his blog. Bet the "ping back" to TWW from this post disappears, tout suite. By allowing this comment to stand, without disagreement, appears to mean that Taylor is implicitly implying that this assessment has a basis in reality. This does not speak to his discernment, does it?
This entire statement is manipulative and abusive. "Ducky" actively accuses his friend's "accusers" of killing this elderly man. Is that the sort of codswallop this man is preaching? Does he make ridiculous statements like this in his sermons without fact checking? This was the man called in to judge CJ Mahaney's fitness for leadership?! Oh good night! No wonder the "nones" are on the rise.
Let me end this on some talking points that "Ducky" must overlook in order to ignore the SGM mess.
- There are now 18 churches who have fled SGM oversight. This is unprecedented. TGC has remained silent on this "reality" as well which means that their silence has nothing to do with proof but with ideology. How sad.
- There is a class action lawsuit, outlining many horrible cases of child sexual abuse. Rumor has it that more are on the way. The Bible, according to one deleted commenter, say that 2-3 witnesses are necessary to take thing seriously. TGC is actively ignoring this "biblical" mandate.
- "Ducky" Ortlund, Justin Taylor, SEBTS, SBTS, John Piper and others have already made a decision to support Mahaney and SGM regardless of the well-documented extent of problems. They are actively choosing him over the many victims, and they know it. He is being allowed to address all of their money making conferences and is given glorious introductions. What would Jesus do? Not this.
I can assure you that the victims understand that these men are ignoring the cries of the afflicted. But CJ is taken care of and that is what this is all about. There is no more hiding. The agenda is exposed and "Ducky" Ortlund's comments show the length to which these men will go to prop up their buddies.
Let me end on this question. Those who are concerned about SGM are concerned for the cover up of child abuse with a number of well documented incidents. Ortlund accuses people, without cause, of killing a man. Who is guilty of gossip and bearing false witness here?
PS I have screen shots of all the deleted comments. I wonder why Taylor keeps up the obvious gossip comment by Ortlund?
102 days of shameful silence
Lydia's Corner:Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27 Luke 12:8-34 Psalm 78:32-55 Proverbs 12:21-23