“The church of Jesus Christ is triumphant in heaven. American evangelicalism, though, is in a time of great peril.”
Last Saturday Russell Moore took to Twitter to chime in about the following Tweet by Christianity Today:
Here is Moore’s Tweet (see screen shot below):
When he posted this on Twitter, Moore was likely still relishing the accolades he received just a few days earlier as chapel speaker at Southern Seminary (March 20) and then at Wheaton College (March 21). Both of these institutions are headed by staunch Calvinists — Al Mohler at Southern Seminary and Philip Ryken at Wheaton College.
How interesting that just two days before the Chicago Tribune broke the story about Bill Hybels, Russell Moore had been in the vicinity of Willow Creek Community Church (Wheaton is approximately 20 miles from main campus of Hybel’s church).
Our friend Todd Wilhelm has written a thought-provoking post in response to Russell Moore’s Tweet, and he has graciously allowed us to share it with our readers. (see Todd’s post below)
Russell Moore Says Evangelicalism is in a Time of Great Peril Because of Bill Hybels – Still No Mention of CJ Mahaney (link)
Russell Moore is correct – American evangelicalism is in a time of great peril. Moore is a little late to the parade, it seems he hasn’t noticed any problems with Sovereign Grace Churches, nor the numerous other scandals in the evangelical world, but then Sovereign Grace Churches unexplainably continues to enjoy the approval of Mark Dever and Albert Mohler, two influential leaders in the Southern Baptist denomination. In the case of Mohler, Moore is beholden to him for his positions at both Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the ERLC; and Mohler and CJ Mahaney are gospelly buddies, so I don’t expect Moore to ever turn his spotlight on Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches. For an example of how tight Moore and Mohler are, watch this video. The way Mohler describes Moore you would think he was the second coming of Christ.
For further evidence of just how perilous the times are in the evangelical world, Moore needs to look no further than his own tribe. The list of distinguished celebrities who continue to support CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches is long, headed by the men in the photo below – all speaking at the T4G conference. Do these men totally lack discernment or have their principles been thrown aside in their chase for riches and fame?
If the brilliantly gifted Neo-Calvinist celebrities pictured above remain unwavering in their support for CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, can one reasonably expect the average man who has purchased a ticket to the T4G conference to exercise a modicum of discernment and refuse to support the T4G conference?
We could expect it, but it doesn’t appear likely to happen. The conference is sold out and you can bet the celebrity fanboys will once again be lining up for photos with the celebrities they idolize.
In spite of the fact that CJ Mahaney has now had to withdraw a second time from speaking at T4G; that there is an abundance of credible evidence showing that CJ Mahaney and his cohorts conspired to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Sovereign Grace Churches; that major media have published stories highlighting the scandal within Sovereign Grace Churches; and that Rachael Denhollander has recently made the case that there are major problems in Sovereign Grace Churches and called for an independent investigation there seems to be no shortage of evangelical pastors willing to open their pulpits to CJ Mahaney.
The latest Senior (or Lead) Pastor to demonstrate a lack of discernment is Brad Bigney. Brad pastors Grace Fellowship Church and approved of CJ Mahaney speaking to his congregation at three services on March 18, 2018.
Below is Lead Pastor Bigney’s introduction. Please watch this short video. It is a sickening display of over-the-top praise of Mahaney. Unfortunately, this type of behavior occurs nearly every time Mahaney speaks at a church.
Please note also how Pastor Bigney smoothly transitions into a hawker of Mahaney books.
(Here is a screen shot from this video)
I wonder if Pastor Bigney has actually read any of Carolyn Mahaney’s books? If he had I don’t think he could, in good conscience, recommend them to his congregants. What is actually taking place is shameless flattery of Mahaney coupled with an attempt to make a buck.
In an article titled “My People Are Destroyed – Lack of Discernment in Modern Christianity,” Peter Ditzel wrote, “It has become commonplace for today’s moguls of Christian media to air programs and print books that their predecessors of only a generation ago would have had the discernment to reject.”
Such is the case with “True Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions,” one of the books Pastor Bigney recommended.
One of the reviews I read online had this to say about the book:
“I was a bit disappointed in this book, the writing style is tedious and condescending.” “I had a hard enjoying the reading, as it dragged and I often felt like they were talking down to me. Each paragraph was just the same point repeated 4 or 6 times with slight changes in wording as if the authors thought the reader did not understand them the first time. At times, I felt like the authors were writing to children or teenagers.” “This book would have been much better if I felt like the authors were helping me to build on my own past experiences and understanding to process my present emotions and situations, rather than treating me like I must be completely ignorant about my own emotional life and past, and therefore need to learn everything from their expertise.” “Fortunately, that flaw was less overt and obvious compared to the condescending and repetitive tone, and I think even if you are not a woman or not a homemaker, there are still good principles here to glean if you are willing to read through redundant paragraphs and at times patronizing writing.”
–Review of “True Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions” by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre
With all the good books in print, this is the one Lead Pastor Bigney urged his congregants to spend their money on (once again demonstrating his lack of discernment), and the obedient pew-sitters did so; all the copies sold out after the first service, but not to worry, Pastor Bigney reminded the faithful in the second service that there is always Amazon Prime!
Next is a short introduction by CJ Mahaney. Nothing new here. He says nearly the same things at every church he speaks at.
(Here is a screen shot from this video)
At the end of the video, Mahaney states that he doesn’t know how Lead Pastor Bigney preaches the same message three times every Sunday. While Mahaney doesn’t preach the same message numerous times on the same day (since his church has only one service), I have documented how Mahaney preaches the same message time after time at different venues. His three sermons at GFC make my case. Below are the three subjects he preached on at GFC. Following that, you will see a screenshot of the exact same messages he had earlier preached at his own church!
Brent Detwiler was correct when he said Mahaney is a con man! Instead of reading books by Carolyn Mahaney I suggest you read “Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis. Your eyes may be opened!