The Gospel Coalition: Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit

14819 reads

There are 62 Comments

removed_jh's picture

but I am having a hard time finding anything to read on this posting. Is there a link missing?

 

Don Johnson's picture

Nothing more really need be said, the statement stands well on its own.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim's picture

jhowell wrote:

but I am having a hard time finding anything to read on this posting. Is there a link missing?

 

On behalf of the administration, I apologize. We have corrected the mistake. The slacker team member, whom we found in the corporate break room sleeping, has been dismissed

 

Update: A handful have PM'd me to ask if that is Tom Mount. Answer: No! He's the other slacker. We are keeping him for now!

 

 

Jay's picture

Jim - So SharperIron let you go?  hehehehe

 

Biggrin

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Dan Frank's picture

They also don't mention in this statement that CJ was the pastor of Covenant Life when Nate Morales, a children's ministry worker, was accused of molesting children and pastors under CJ admitted to a news agency that they did not report the abuse and Morales continued on at Covenant.

 

The victim's father told detectives that he talked with pastors about Morales, but there were "concerns of tarnished reputations," and no police report was made.

Police interviewed two pastors who confirmed that they talked to Morales about the allegations that he was abusing boys.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/former-christian-school-teacher-accused-of-molesting-boys/article/2520547

 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

The Gathering of Calvinists has a Biblically fatal flaw in their position. They readily admit that some of these allegations which were part of the lawsuit could be true (ah sweet charity). Their problem, they complain, is that they are not privy to this degree of discovery therefore they cannot make assumptions and hope and prayt the justice system is able to render appropriate justice for the sake of the victims, in essence.

Sorry TGC, you have formed a Christian body with a government which includes officers and disciplinary protocols, though elementary they be. You, of all people, those of the Kingdom of God for the sake of the banner of Christ know we are explicitly told to deal with such thing within the body and not relying upon governmental courts.

Some might object that SGM did do some of that and its inadequacy is demonstrated by your not knowing resulting in your ignorance on the matter rendering you impotent as Teachers and ecclesiastical leaders. You have an association with officers and a standard which has in place an accountability process. Do your due diligence so you can be privy to whether or not CJM indeed did reign over a system of abuse as was either too incompetent to know of such matters in such high volume or aided in their cover-up.

This is not a reason but an excuse.

Wayne Wilson's picture

The most telling lines in the article appear at the very end...

There are no comments yet. Be the first!

Comments are closed.

 

 

 

Julie Anne's picture

Together for the Gospel also issued a statement from Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler in support of C.J. Mahaney.  It was posted Thursday night and removed Friday morning.  It was initially published on T4G's Facebook page.  After over 100 comments (mostly negative) were posted, they pulled down the entire post without explanation.  

A couple hours later, they posted the article on their main T4G website and like TGC, did not allow comments.  Bill Kinnon grabbed a screen shot in which you can read the comments that were removed.  Unfortunately, some of the comments were long and the comment was not "expanded" when the screen shot was taken.  But you can get an idea of the quick response of people regarding this issue.  People are outraged and these men don't seem to care.

Jay's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

The most telling lines in the article appear at the very end...

There are no comments yet. Be the first!

Comments are closed.

Wayne -

What wisdom would there be in allowing comments on that thread anyway?  It's not like people that disagree are left without resource (as we've already seen from other posts here).  IIRC, there's some 200-300 pages of leaked emails, documents, charges, and countercharges posted on Scribd or somewhere like that - and that was as of a few years ago or whenever the last time I commented on this issue was. 

I understand it - SI deals with that kind of issue all the time here - but I honestly don't see any merit in TGC allowing comments on that particular post.  It's not like anyone will be able to convince the guys that wrote it to disassociate themselves from TGC, SGM, or Mahaney.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Rob Fall's picture

it's the juxtaposition of the two lines.  The first one invites comments.  The next line tells you that comments are closed.  Both I'd hazard to say are boilerplate. 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Wayne Wilson's picture

Jay wrote:

Wayne Wilson wrote:

The most telling lines in the article appear at the very end...

There are no comments yet. Be the first!

Comments are closed.

Wayne -

What wisdom would there be in allowing comments on that thread anyway?  It's not like people that disagree are left without resource (as we've already seen from other posts here).  IIRC, there's some 200-300 pages of leaked emails, documents, charges, and countercharges posted on Scribd or somewhere like that - and that was as of a few years ago or whenever the last time I commented on this issue was. 

I understand it - SI deals with that kind of issue all the time here - but I honestly don't see any merit in TGC allowing comments on that particular post.  It's not like anyone will be able to convince the guys that wrote it to disassociate themselves from TGC, SGM, or Mahaney.

 

From a PR point of view, I think erasing, then disallowing comments is wise...worldly wise.  I would say letting people comment says you're position is so strong that it can take criticism.  They rarely deny commenters a chance to respond.  But they have a habit of shutting things down in defense of a celebrity pastor friend.   Personally I think they should let people comment on that thing the Bible calls being "above reproach."

 

Julie Anne, thanks for the screen shot link.  That says a lot about why they shut it down.  The voice of the sheep must not rise to the discomfort of shepherds.

Don Sailer's picture

It is apalling to see the double standard being applied toward C. J. Maheny versus what these groups wrote about Penn State. It is inexcusable.

Jay's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

From a PR point of view, I think erasing, then disallowing comments is wise...worldly wise.  I would say letting people comment says you're position is so strong that it can take criticism.  They rarely deny commenters a chance to respond.  But they have a habit of shutting things down in defense of a celebrity pastor friend.   Personally I think they should let people comment on that thing the Bible calls being "above reproach."

Julie Anne, thanks for the screen shot link.  That says a lot about why they shut it down.  The voice of the sheep must not rise to the discomfort of shepherds.

Hey Wayne -

I was talking about allowing comments on the TGC website, not the FB stuff.  You're right - they should have either left the comments on FB or turned them off - not erase them and then lock it down.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Greg Long's picture

A careful, thoughtful, and helpful statement.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Mark_Smith's picture

with groups like The Gospel Coalition and Together 4 the Gospel? They are thoroughly New Evangelical groups?

Greg Long's picture

No, its not so simple as calling them "thoroughly new evangelical." Some overlap between new evangelical and conservative evangelical. Although there are definitely some things to be cautious about, they are doing a great job contending for the Gospel in Christianity and the culture at large.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Julie Anne's picture

I think most of them would call themselves New Calvinist.  

 

Here is an excellent comment by Pastor Jeff Crippen with regard to the SGM situation.  

 

As the pastor of a very small church (55 people) for the past 20 years our here on the edge of the world at the Oregon coast, I wonder just how long I would be allowed to continue in my position if I were 1) charged with coverup of sexual abuse, 2) the charges came from, let’s see, 11 people is it? 3) numbers of the abuse perpetrators were or had been in my church, 4) a lawsuit was filed against me alleging coverup of horrific and shocking abuse….??? Would it be good enough for my congregation to continue to trust me if the case was dismissed only because the statute of limitations had run out?

So what is the difference? Why would I be packing up my books on a Monday morning and people like Mahaney not only continue in ministry but are even invited to come and speak at conferences, and to have their books published? Sorry, but I have to conclude that the reasons come down to money and power and hanging with cohorts who have money and power.

Even if I had ever known people like Dever and Piper and company, does anyone really think that they would keep standing with me like they have with Mahaney? Why not? Why would they distance themselves right quick from me? It is because I would be no loss to them.

It is long past time for genuine followers of Jesus Christ to heed His words about “it shall not be so with you” in regard to power and position in His kingdom. If the least are the greatest, then WHY do we keep oohing and aahing over the great ones of our day? There is only one best-selling Author we must look to, and in fact His Book is the all-time best seller in history anyway.
I wonder if we can get His autograph when we see Him?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Thanks Julie. More and more people are waking up to the realization that the continued support and promotion of a man and ministry which has as its hallmark a trail of spiritual and physical/sexual abuse claims and documentation is a tbreshhold they simply cannot cross.

They get what Jeff states, that no reasonable minister would not only not expect to stay but not expect to remain in ministry, never mind be rewarded with being lauded and promoted.not.

But such errant ministry figures will always have those who are too heavily invested egotistically and/or financially hence, their inability or refusal to see the elephant in the room, so it is not surprising.

Even if CJ Mahaney was at best ignorant of all forms of a abuse and malfeasance by subordinates such a level of incompetence itself not only disqualifies him but places him as one whom other good Teachers of the Word must not call upon for teaching of doctrine and general ecclesiastical leadership.

Ron Bean's picture

Even if CJ Mahaney was at best ignorant of all forms of a abuse and malfeasance by subordinates such a level of incompetence itself not only disqualifies him but places him as one whom other good Teachers of the Word must not call upon for teaching of doctrine and general ecclesiastical leadership.

 

I would hope you'd apply this standard to everyone whether they be Roman Catholic (fire the Pope?) or fundamentalist.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Even if CJ Mahaney was at best ignorant of all forms of a abuse and malfeasance by subordinates such a level of incompetence itself not only disqualifies him but places him as one whom other good Teachers of the Word must not call upon for teaching of doctrine and general ecclesiastical leadership.

 

I would hope you'd apply this standard to everyone whether they be Roman Catholic (fire the Pope?) or fundamentalist.

One would hope but for the moment we cannot get many to apply it to the immediate concern.

handerson's picture

Truthfully, I think the issues are deeper than whether or not SGM covered up the abuse--as heinous as that is--we're talking about a form of church government that has little historical precedent and is more a result of their roots in the charismatic Shepherding Movement than classically reformed doctrine.  SGM embraces a form of Calvinsim that emphasizes strong leadership paradigm without also embracing a strong understanding of the priesthood of the believer. 

I wonder if this contributes to other Calvinistic evangelicals misunderstanding their paradigm and assuming that they all mean the same thing when they talk about how church leadership plays out. There was a telling statement from Trueman, DeYoung, and Ortlund about two years ago when they investigated allegations against Mahaney for being intractable and proud. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Findings-from-our...

To varying degrees, the three of us have wondered at times whether this present controversy was made worse by well-meaning but unwise leadership structures, by the lack of an established disciplinary process, by a lack of communication, and by an over-emphasis on introspection and confession. We were not asked to render judgment on these matters, nor are we in a position to do so. But in our minds it is hard not to look at the task before us without noting the possibility that these broader factors may have played a role in this crisis.

I think that the leadership paradigm is also the very thing that makes the public outcry fall on deaf ears today.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

handerson wrote:

Truthfully, I think the issues are deeper than whether or not SGM covered up the abuse--as heinous as that is--we're talking about a form of church government that has little historical precedent and is more a result of their roots in the charismatic Shepherding Movement than classically reformed doctrine.  SGM embraces a form of Calvinsim that emphasizes strong leadership paradigm without also embracing a strong understanding of the priesthood of the believer. 

I wonder if this contributes to other Calvinistic evangelicals misunderstanding their paradigm and assuming that they all mean the same thing when they talk about how church leadership plays out. There was a telling statement from Trueman, DeYoung, and Ortlund about two years ago when they investigated allegations against Mahaney for being intractable and proud. http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Findings-from-our...

To varying degrees, the three of us have wondered at times whether this present controversy was made worse by well-meaning but unwise leadership structures, by the lack of an established disciplinary process, by a lack of communication, and by an over-emphasis on introspection and confession. We were not asked to render judgment on these matters, nor are we in a position to do so. But in our minds it is hard not to look at the task before us without noting the possibility that these broader factors may have played a role in this crisis.

I think that the leadership paradigm is also the very thing that makes the public outcry fall on deaf ears today.

While there is some truth to what you say there is also an inherent danger and I believe, flaw. To remove ourselves from the issue of the "cover up" by saying there is something deeper is to minimize its sin and offense but even more so, to de-personalize it and attribute it to a "form of government" is to further erase personal culpability.

This "form of government" did not arise anecdotally or incidentally, rather it was an extension, a direct extension, of CJ Mahaney and others and was embraced, employed and defended as sound rather robustly.

But as I said, I believe there is truth to the fact that their form of government may have aided the context of abuse but it is far from the culprit.

Julie Anne's picture

When I hear all this talk about what caused this problem, taking a look at the doctrine is good and I definitely think that plays a big part in it (handerson mentioned priesthood of the believer which is an excellent point).  And yet it strikes me that all of this is mere talk, but still no action.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I get to hear what the plaintiffs are doing - how their lives are turned upside down because of the lawsuit.  It has affected schooling/work choices (because they need to be available to go to MD).  Many suffer PTSD, have difficulty trusting, have difficulty with their relationship with God and desiring to go to church.  And then there are many more who because they are in weak/vulnerable state, have elected to not join the civil lawsuit.  It is just too much for them.  

Has the abuse left these folks?  No, they are working through it each day.  Think of a bad car accident in which you are left with physical injuries.  You have scars to show, but there may be life-long residual effects.   They are the forgotten ones.  

I get that many of you say that you aren't connected to SGM, that you have no relationship with them.  But that's wrong.  You do.  You are part of the Body of Christ.  Look what happened with the Penn State case.  People outside of Penn State were outraged.  That outrage forced action.  Shouldn't Christians behave better than a secular university?  

 

handerson's picture

Alex,

I don't disagree with what you've said. And I certainly did not mean to minimize what the victims have endured or the ensuing cover-up. I was simply trying to explain how such a cover-up could occur. In my mind, the doctrinal novelties (which I agree were taught and put in place by Mahaney) don't absolve him of responsibility--they actually increase his responsibility. And make it all the more necessary to highlight the abnormalities of this type of culture. I know SGM is going through a time of intense reflection and several prominent churches have left over precisely these issues.

And to Julie Anne-- I appreciate the disconnect between talk and action, but apart from actual relationship with SGM, I'm not sure what the folks here could do. Public statements--even those condemning such actions--are only as meaningful and effective as the actual relationship. Which is precisely why those closest to the situation (TGC and T4G) had such an opportunity to speak truth while the rest of us do not. 

Jay's picture

I get that many of you say that you aren't connected to SGM, that you have no relationship with them.  But that's wrong.  You do.  You are part of the Body of Christ.  Look what happened with the Penn State case.  People outside of Penn State were outraged.  That outrage forced action.  Shouldn't Christians behave better than a secular university? 

I think that the disagreement between us is that I don't think that being a part of the body of Christ doesn't give me license to go to SGM and demand changes.  Do I hope they change it?  Yes.  Is this whole issue a mess?  Absolutely.  Should they institute changes so that abuse can never happen again?  Of course.  Now - Can I demand that they conform to what I believe is Scriptural - not until I actually know someone who is able to make that kind of change and I can actually approach them about it. 

Justice for being sinned against is a legitimate demand (Revelation 6:9-11) - but God is the one that brings that justice.  It's worth noting that Jesus did not downplay their deaths or excuse the crime.  He told the martyrs to continue to wait for God to act.  Abuse is a horrible thing, a crime, and a sin that brings very, very real ramifications on the victim.  I don't think anyone is minimizing that.

Furthermore, there is a real element of Proverbs 26:17 here, which tells me that "Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears." 

I can (should) get involved with the FBFI / Phelps / NIU issues of different kinds (to grab some random topics from SI) because those were / are the circles that I grew up in, went to school in, and am familiar with in the hopes of affecting real change.  SGM?  Well, I know a guy who goes to an SGM church.  That's it for personal contact between myself and any one individual at SGM.  

What I can do is look at how we can prevent it from happening in our churches.  That's where the discussion is good and helpful and I think we can learn from this.  But I'm not in favor of acting like the Holy Spirit's pararescue team for an organization that I have very little involvement with (unless you count reading a book or listening to their music as 'involvement' - which I don't).

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Pages