"Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me ..."

13043 reads

There are 78 Comments

BryanBice's picture

I may disagree with some of CJ's theology, but I greatly respect the man. I find his transparency & humility refreshing.

Donn R Arms's picture

Perhaps this the result of his bad theology. This is a man who believes he is an Apostle (upper case A) who has Apostolic authority in the lives of his followers.

Donn R Arms

Ken Woodard's picture

BryanBice wrote:
I may disagree with some of CJ's theology, but I greatly respect the man. I find his transparency & humility refreshing.

But he didn't say anything other than he offended some pastors and he is taking a year off. But it wasn't "immoral".

I'll be the first in line to offend someone so I can get a year off. I probably already have done that with this post.

Questions unanswered by the press release:
1. How has the leader of Sovereign Grace been less than gracious?
2. Why does repentance take a year to accomplish?
3. Why does it take an outside pannel of people they don't usually get along with to help them become more gracious?
4. Why does he expect to have the right to come back to the same position?
5. Why make a big production of this? He should just go to the ones he has offended, ask forgiveness, offer restitution and announce to those who know about it that it is gone.

Color me cynical.

BryanBice's picture

Ken Woodard wrote:
Color me cynical.

OK

BryanBice's picture

Donn R Arms wrote:
Perhaps this the result of his bad theology. This is a man who believes he is an Apostle (upper case A) who has Apostolic authority in the lives of his followers.

I'm not so sure the things he's mentioned as sin problems are a result of his bad theology. Maybe, but more likely they're the result of his sin nature. What I find disconcerting in fundamentalism (and the reason I find CJ's statement refreshing) is the preponderance of fundamentalist "men of God" who act like they have apostolic authority (without owning the title with a capital "A"), but one dare not suggest they might be guilty of "pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, [or ] hypocrisy."

Lee's picture

BryanBice wrote:

...What I find disconcerting in fundamentalism (and the reason I find CJ's statement refreshing) is the preponderance of fundamentalist "men of God" who act like they have apostolic authority (without owning the title with a capital "A"), but one dare not suggest they might be guilty of "pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, [or ] hypocrisy."


What disconcerts me is that they are so stinking judgmental. :~

Lee

Shaynus's picture

CJ Mahaney is a great communicator and teacher of the Bible. I've heard him speak a few times, and his speaking gifts are evident. However I don't think his ecclesiology was developed enough to catch up with his huge personality. Here's a video of some impersonation of CJ at his church.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ZOfeeTwVc

When I saw this video, I thought, you know that's funny because it's true. But then you have a feeling that something about the exchange shows that the culture of the church is just too concentrated on one man. This would bury even the strongest Christian in pride.

He would be the first to say he struggles with humility. Here's a relevant sermon by CJ on this subject that may be edifying.

http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/audio/2007/03/deflating-the-puffed-up-...

Unfortunately, the SGM system concentrated too much power in "the Apostles" over churches. I hope they'll change their ecclesiology after this event. I don't think anyone would be able handle the cocktail of power and acclaim his church gave to him.

This is a relatively young movement that is seeing a course correction, and this will be healthy for them. Pray for them to be more healthy instead of casting stones.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

SGM (formerly PDI/People of Destiny International) is basically a neo-Purtian, neo-Charistmatic, and neo-Calvinistic/Reformed sect/organization whose history provides a backdrop to why "we" (since Mahaney makes this public then "we" is appropriate here) find so many problems and objections concerning its leadership and operations. As well, Mahaney's complete lack of formal theological matriculation, no doubt, has contributed to his rise and maintenance as a novice with the Scriptures.

But these are all, really, his concern and the concern of those who are gullible enough to choose to yield themselves to such leadership and teachings. But what is striking is the emphatic allegiance by Dever and the like within the Reformed community to SGM and Mahaney over the past decade. Did they not do their due diligence or is this simply another case of so-called Conservative Evangelicals in the Reformed sect sycophantically revolving around Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinist (ARC) theology and not the Scriptures so that they ignore their very own teachings on the qualifications required for leadership that when a rising group or personality comes along that has had their own ARC epiphany, they welcome them with opened arms without requiring them to scrub themselves of their many errors before being embraced and promoted within their ranks?

Now one might respond with, "But CJ Mahaney is being called out, isn't that enough that they are dealing with him"? Well that doesn't undo their lack of due diligence and having their eyes closed (and if they didn't have their eyes closed then either ignoring what was evident or worse, calling into question their judgment) before they ever embraced Mahaney and this group. But of course with the words "sovereign grace" in one's title, what's to be concerned with, right?

A little bit of research would shine a light on the many erring teachings of Mahaney. I know some of you want to retort, "but he teaches orthodoxy", right? To that I respond, "Evangelical orthodoxy is not an acceptable guise for the embodiment of error". Jack Hyles was orthodox. In fact, I tell you what I see with these groups, more of the same but under another name and the very same kinds of objections when anyone levels a concern about leadership abuses and doctrinal departures.

Shaynus's picture

Alex,

Dever isn't gullible. He just knows how to rank issues in order of importance. I'm sure he's been frank with CJ over their 20 year friendship on his concerns with the parts of doctrine they disagree on. He's spoken at Capitol Hill regularly, but on things CJ is strong in.

Also of note, CJ was deep into drugs before his conversion (in the same neighborhood of Capitol Hill). I'm sure that's effected some of his personality, so I think we can cut him some slack and be understanding with him and rejoice in how far God's grace has brought him.

Shayne

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I agree, Dever is far from gullible and he, particularly, is not those to whom I was referring. In fact Dever's association concerns me much more seeing that it is deliberate (the concern is not with respect to Dever's freedom to choose associations but its influence as a notable figure in Evangelicalism and what it models to those less informed).

And I am sure Mark Dever has his set of priorities, as do I and others and this is why many object. And as I alluded to, there is an observable pattern in the Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinistic circles to ignore fundamental errors or injurious and novel teachings (e.g.,Piper's Christian Hedonism) by certain personalities/Teachers in those circles for the preservation of the family verses the integrity of sound doctrine, hermeneutics and practice. Fortunately, now, one of Dever's priorities is to address, apparently, some ongoing egregious behavior and modeling by Mahaney that has, unfortunately, fallen on deaf ears with respect to Mahaney and those around him for some time.

I really do not care about someone's past whether it be drugs, religion and so on, as it relates to their theology or practical living and how such is modeled(if someone is going to quote me please make sure you include this qualifier). Let me refer to Martin Luther. I love many aspects of Luther's theology but in the end he is wrong on some things precisely because of his Roman Catholic past. For example, he imported into his theology a reduced Catholicism, but Catholicism nonetheless, on the sacraments.

While his past might explain his views it does not afford me or anyone the license to "cut him some slack". He is wrong and the Lutheran church remains wrong on this doctrine. The same principle applies to CJ Mahaney and all of us.

Wayne Wilson's picture

I am not very familiar with Mahaney, though I am currently reading his book on humility (not because of the controversy, just a happy coincidnence. It's quite good, by the way). What I have appreciated about the Sovereign Grace folks is their emphasis on the Gospel as relates to sanctification and holiness. The book Mahaney edited on Worldliness takes on a subject frighteningly ignored by most Evangelicals, while at the same time stands well above so much that Fundamentalism has to offer, especially regarding the believer and culture. They have also made significant efforts to raise the level of doctrinal content in contemporary Christian worship music, and that deserves credit as well. That's all I know.

Still, I am perplexed by the nature of these problems, and think it would be beneficial to know if these issues regarding Mahaney are simply his own short-comings, or something more deeply rooted in how they structure their church/movement, or something in their theology.

Shayne offered some brief thoughts on structure that led me to want to know more. (What sort of "Apostles" do they have?) Does anyone know more about the nature of these problems that would be genuinely helpful to consider?

Shaynus's picture

Wayne,

To briefly summarize the issues and Apostles thing: I would say he's probably dealing the types of pride we all face. However, that's exacerbated by the structure of SGM (at least until recently). It has been a very top down organization. From what I understand, "The Apostles" (by that they mean the very top few people in national leadership) could override pastors and congregations on just about any issue. From what I have heard, this is now changing, but I can't find much more information on that.

Here's an org chart that explains.

http://sgmrefuge.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/sgm-org-chart1.jpg

So I think the structure made it so that Mahaney wasn't as accountable as many ministry leaders, while having way more power than most. Really, who of us wouldn't feel the weight of that and not react badly at times.

I hope you enjoy the Humility book. It's great. My church did a small group study through it. In it, CJ has the humility to say he isn't humble.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

A source that might be of interest concerning the excesses and charges of abuse by SGM/Mahaney can be found at:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/ SGMSURVIVORS

Now I know that disaffected people exist everywhere but this site isn't alone and certainly dismissing them all as malcontents is just deliberate blindness. There are links there to other like sites but the site alone has a library of documented issues.

As to the "system" being at fault and not CJ Mahaney, well Mahaney is the one of its architects and its long time head so let's not blame "the system" or provide the "any one of us could have done this" excuse. Besides it is far more than pride issues that are at the crux of this controversy.

dmyers's picture

Alex Guggenheim: "injurious and novel teachings (e.g.,Piper's Christian Hedonism)"? Have you read the book, or are you just reacting to the term Christian Hedonism? I've read the book (and taught it as a multi-week series in an adult Sunday School class at an independent, fundamental Baptist church). It's neither injurious nor novel, but is instead the exact opposite -- very beneficial and as old as scripture itself.

JobK's picture

Consider the person who suddenly becomes very ill and it comes to light that he has ingested poison. Now not all people who ingest poison become ill. And not all illnesses are due to ingesting poison. But in these cases, it is prudent to strongly consider the possibility that there is some link between the poison and the illness - especially if the symptoms of the illness are consistent with one who has been poisoned - and provide medical treatment accordingly.

So, if this seems so sensible when it comes to medicine, why are we so reticent when it comes to theology? After all, it isn't our word, based on our human authority, that bad theology leads to bad practice. Instead, the Bible itself says so. Yes, lots of people with sound theology exhibit bad practice. It is equally true that lots of incidents of nausea and vomiting aren't caused by ingesting poison. If we are going to for all intents and purposes deny the link between bad theology and bad practice, then why bother with insisting on correct theology, so long as the doctrinal errors don't rise to the level of heresy/apostasy (i.e. denying the Holy Trinity or asserting salvation by works)?

And yes, the "new Calvinist" movement is disturbingly tolerant those exhibiting serious problems with their doctrines and practice within their ranks. However, in fairness, by doing so they are no little different from contemporary evangelicals in general.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

JobK wrote:
And yes, the "new Calvinist" movement is disturbingly tolerant those exhibiting serious problems with their doctrines and practice within their ranks. However, in fairness, by doing so they are no little different from contemporary evangelicals in general.

Nor much different from modern fundamentalists for that matter.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

dmyers wrote:
Alex Guggenheim: "injurious and novel teachings (e.g.,Piper's Christian Hedonism)"? Have you read the book, or are you just reacting to the term Christian Hedonism? I've read the book (and taught it as a multi-week series in an adult Sunday School class at an independent, fundamental Baptist church). It's neither injurious nor novel, but is instead the exact opposite -- very beneficial and as old as scripture itself.

No, it isn't as old as Scripture itself, it is about 25 years old. Now, the thread is not about Piper and I certainly am not going to get into a protracted debate about the what I am others believer are novel and injurious elements of Piper's teaching but I have considered doing a protracted series on many of the alarming statements and erring views of Piper along with his damaged hermeneutic at my own blog that is contained in his Christian Hedonism. However, it remains to be seen if time will be allotted for such an endeavor. My hope is this makes it clear as an answer to your inquiry as to whether or not I have read the book (in other words one cannot do a series on a book without ever having read it so need I state the obvious?).

But in the mean time you can read these critiques of CH which deal with some fundamenmentally errant teachings from the book:

http://limerickreformed.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id... ]A Critical Examination of John Piper's "Christian Hedonism"

http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2010/12/reasonable-christian.... Reasonable Christian: A Critique of John Piper's "Christian Hedonism" by Manuel Kuhs

Finally, while you may respond to this post, beyond this momentary sidebar, the OP is my interest and for further discussion if you wish to create a thread devoted to discussing the issue of Piper's Christian Hedonism, I will happily participate.

Greg Long's picture

Although I do not agree with him on certain aspects of doctrine, I have great respect for C. J. Mahaney and have benefited greatly from his sermons and books. Obviously there were some things going on behind the scenes of which we were all unaware. I think it takes tremendous courage and humility to take the steps C. J. outlines in his letter, and I hope and pray that there will be healing and reconciliation. I echo those who wish that more fundamentalist leaders had taken such action to deal with pride and sinful authoritarian leadership.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Grace and courage? Essentially CJ Mahaney's hand is being forced after years of unresponsiveness. I am sure the people whom he was essentially threatening with a form of blackmail didn't benefit from his book on humility as much as the rest of those that "didn't know what was going on". Feel free to read the documents at the Survivors website which has a link to them. They are shocking.

Remember, this isn't about anything CJ Mahaney may have said, whether by accident or deliberately, that was true or any of his actions that were either incidentally or by design to be good, but the numerous things he said and did that belie and betray his own words and teachings and his position(s) and were grievous offenses against many.

Here is an excerpt from an article on this that is worth reading at http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/07/08/c-j-mahaney%E2%80%99s-temporary-r... The Warburg Watch :

Quote:
6. Be prepared for all of the sycophants to declare that this temporary step down is just an example of Mahaney’s humility.

On Monday, we will discuss the role that cognitive dissonance plays in the denial of Mahaney’s real sin. But, for now, legends worthy of Lord of the Rings are being written. Here is one at Gospel Gripped. LINK

The blogger points out Mahaney’s wondrous response when confronted by these issues. He seems to say that Mahaney is a leader amongst leaders by taking this action.

“The fact is that C.J. was confronted regarding “pride, unentreatability (or being unapproachable), decit (sic), sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.” The world considers this par for the course among leaders. Yet, C.J. will have none of this.”

He is trying to paint Mahaney as this wonderful, godly man who is a leader among leaders. This is patently ridiculous. If the documents, along with the reports of abuse on such blogs as SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge, are to be believed, then Mahaney is among the most callous and self-absorbed individuals in today’s religious firmament. These concerns have existed for years, perhaps decades in some respects. This is not humility; it is hubris! And no amount of redefining will past muster. So can we cut out the fairy tales?

BTW for those of you interested in the Dever/Mohler/Mahaney connection and his odd ascension to partnership with these men at T4G via Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, here is another interesting article from the Wartburg Watch T http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/05/the-mahaney-money-machine/ he Mahaney Money Machine (the article does include some conjecture which should be taken just as that but does systematically document the rise of the Dever/Mohler/Mahaney relationship and T4G conferencing together as Mahaney's increased his contributions to SBTS).

Finally, for those of you who have the time and courage to read the documents a reflection at http://www.benedictionblogson.com/2011/07/08/cj-mahaney-and-the-sgm-wiki... Bene Diction Blogs On says a great deal about what is in them and what to expect:

Quote:
The title is funny, but the content is decidedly not. This is meticulously detailed and chilling information from a former SGM minister who was ousted.
It’s not a fun read, it’s a slog; full of inside language and syrupy spirituality in between incredible nit-picking about sin. The larger picture could be lost in the several hundred pages of minutia.

Fear. Hypocrisy. Leadership tiptoeing through an autocratic minefield. Self-absorption to the neglect of so many others being crushed, wounded and hurt. Wounded and frightened leaders who wound others.

And yet, the SGM wikileak documents give an amazingly detailed picture of years and years of problems in this troubled and toxic group of churches. A sick system is exposed.

I doubt the SGM wikileak documents will be online for long.
What strikes me, apart from the obsessive and meticulous documentation by Brent Detwiler is the dreary pattern of repeated behavior; years and years of spiritual abuse, neglect, punishment, hobbling, rules and fear. Years of empty, empty words.

Quote:
I think Mahaney fanboys will lash out online as news of Mahaney’s leave spreads, they are quick to do so for lesser evils.

This is a sorry and shameful mess, and I do agree with Mahaney cheerleaders in part. Pray for every SGM member and former member, pray for safety for whistleblowers, families and for the outside conflict resolution team. I think this outside team will do their job, get paid; but I’m not optimistic what they offer be heeded.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
Grace and courage? Essentially CJ Mahaney's hand is being forced after years of unresponsiveness. I am sure the people whom he was essentially threatening with a form of blackmail didn't benefit from his book on humility as much as the rest of those that "didn't know what was going on".

Remember, this isn't about anything CJ Mahaney may have said, whether by accident or deliberately, that was true or any of his actions that were either incidentally or by design to be good, but the numerous things he said and did that belie and betray his own words and teachings and his position(s) and were grievous offenses against many.


I think we need to be careful here. Mr. Mahaney says:

Quote:
Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace. These charges are serious and they have been very grieving to read. These charges are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.

I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this. I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin, and I have been grieved by my sin and its effects on others. I have had the opportunity to confess my sin to some of those affected in various ways by my sin. And I am so very grateful for their forgiveness. But I want to perceive and confess any and all sin I have committed. Although my experience of conviction has already started—and this is an evidence of God’s mercy—I’m sure there is more for me to perceive and acknowledge. Even with the charges I disagree with it has been beneficial to examine my soul and ask for the observation of others. And I am resolved to take responsibility for my sin and every way my leadership has been deficient, and this would include making any appropriate confessions, public or private. Most importantly I want to please God during this season of examination and evaluation.

So here is what I am going to do. I’ve asked to take a leave of absence in order to give time to considering these charges, examine my heart, and receive the appropriate help from others.


So- are we going to put people into a corner, and castigate them for not repenting, but when they DO repent, dismiss it because we assume they are not sincere, or their hand was forced?

When was the last time anyone in IFB leadership stepped down because they were deemed unfit by others? Perhaps around the time the brontosaurus breathed its last?

The lesson learned will be "Don't bother repenting, no one is going to believe you anyway". I think what we must do when someone repents is accept it at face value until there is evidence to indicate some kind of deceit or manipulation. I certainly want my confessions and apologies treated that way, and I think how we react to someone else's efforts to repent says more about us than it does about them.

I agree that bad theology can and does lead to other problems in character, behavior, and even worse theology. The implications of Mr. Mahaney's theology should be examined along with everything else.

We must stop holding men in such high regard that both we and they forget that they put on their pants one leg at a time. Perhaps then, when someone is overtaken in a fault, it wouldn't seem like the sky is falling.

Matthew J's picture

I slogged through much of the first document (it was a book!) on the wiki leaks. Not because I delight in scandal, but I can honestly say I knew almost nothing of Sovereign Grace Ministries and CJ Mahaney. Only knowing that he has written some books, and that he seemed to lean toward charismatic practice. My comments have nothing to do with CJ Mahaney because I had a hard time following the language employed in the documents accusing him of such things. And the accusations seemed primarily about internal issues such as pride, lording, etc. Something that would be the situation for everyone. But there were a few things that really disturbed me and has even shaken my confidence in something that I did not even know was connected to CJ Mahaney--Sovereign Grace Music (which I enjoy the lyrics much).

  • The lingo employed in the wikkileaks documents. It seemed that the SGM organization was filled with its own specific language and vocabulary. It kind of reminds me of mormonism (not doctrinally, but in having their own way of saying things). Red flags pop up to me when a group all talks the same way. Maybe I am overly suspicious but they constantly talked about caring for one another, but they obviously had a specific action in mind, not just the general principle of being thoughtful. It seemed like the "care" for one another was another way of saying watching each other for the smallest of manifestations of sin.

  • The High control wielded by this board of "apostles" Not just over the churches but over each others every detail of their lives. It was kind of creepy simply reading their correspondence (sorry if that is offensive, it was just they way it appeared to me). I know that this was written by frustrated person (people), but I am not talking about the accusations, rather the word for word correspondence and meeting notes.
  • The personal pettiness within the leadership. Not that the sins of pride and anger are petty, but it seemed to me that the leaders spent more time "caring for one another" and offending and apologizing one another than for the flock's well-being. Granted, I don't really understand a non-independent setting, and I know that these are the "apostles" not the "pastors" but I guess I had no idea that this ministry was so "top-down" in its approach.
  • The blatant charismaticism. They aren't continuists, they are full blown charismatics. I read much in the documents speaking of leaders receiving "a word" waiting for "God to speak." Not sure how that can be connected to reformed theology. And Calvinism and Charismaticism seems so far from each other.

My opinion as one who had no opinion but was intrigued because I have been blessed by various offshoots of Sovereign Grace Ministries (and I feel rather embarrassed that I never really realized there was even a connection between CJM and Sovereign Grace and Bob Kauflin before), was that the structure and organization is a dangerous feeder of pride and ego. When anyone is placed within an "untouchable" state their is bound to develop "cultish" tendencies within any group. My opinion, the best thing for SG churches is to hold to their reformed beliefs, become independent, and just stick with the Word instead of insisting upon being charismatics. Of course, my opinion is my opinion and anything but authoritative. I came away thanking God for a local church where I can minister the Word and the men of the church are truly my brothers and will keep me accountable. I don't have a governing board to keep me accountable I have a flock of sheep (really they are God's) who will not tolerate nonsense, dictatorship, and anything but the Word of God explained and expounded.

My two cents for what the pennies are worth.

Jay's picture

Susan R wrote:
When was the last time anyone in IFB leadership stepped down because they were deemed unfit by others? Perhaps around the time the brontosaurus breathed its last?

The lesson learned will be "Don't bother repenting, no one is going to believe you anyway". I think what we must do when someone repents is accept it at face value until there is evidence to indicate some kind of deceit or manipulation. I certainly want my confessions and apologies treated that way, and I think how we react to someone else's efforts to repent says more about us than it does about them.


Actually the lesson here is that if you aren't an IFB, then there's no need to be gracious or assume that the provided explanation by said CE is actually true...there must be something drastically wrong, esp. if you think their doctrine is wrong.

The reaction on this thread largely parallels the Piper leave of absence thread and is in stark contrast to the Phelps threads, where Phelps must be held innocent of all possible wrongdoing in the matter by his defenders.

@Everyone-
It should be noted that the information at SGMSurvivors appears to be comprised of numerous leaked personal and private letters and emails, so consider that if/when you read them.

"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

Shaynus's picture

And leakers tend to be selective in what they leak. So one thing can sound far worse without the context of another.

Matthew J's picture

Just for clarification. I do understand the nature of leakers (that sounds funny) and having faced false allegations, I can relate. My point is that after reading the documents (not the leaker's complaints, but the general tone of all the conversations), I tend to agree with those earlier that are not quick to jump on Brother Mahaney, but to point out that the SGM structure is possibly one of the major problems. I believe we ought to give people the benefit of the doubt whether they are Phelps or Mahaney, Evangelicals or Fundamentalists, or Christians or non-Christians even. That is genuine love. I guess I am just a little blown away having for the first time really sought to research the SGM movement. Interestingly they do call themselves a movement and they are very top down. I wonder what kind of counsel Pastor Dever will give when it seems his polity is so different. I hope that he and others can help CJ as well as the whole "movement." I know that we all need accountability and I am thankful for some other pastor friends within close proximity that will be unafraid to call me out if they see sinful behavior.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Susan R wrote:

I think we need to be careful here. Mr. Mahaney says:

Quote:
Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace. These charges are serious and they have been very grieving to read. These charges are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy.

I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this. I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin, and I have been grieved by my sin and its effects on others. I have had the opportunity to confess my sin to some of those affected in various ways by my sin. And I am so very grateful for their forgiveness. But I want to perceive and confess any and all sin I have committed. Although my experience of conviction has already started—and this is an evidence of God’s mercy—I’m sure there is more for me to perceive and acknowledge. Even with the charges I disagree with it has been beneficial to examine my soul and ask for the observation of others. And I am resolved to take responsibility for my sin and every way my leadership has been deficient, and this would include making any appropriate confessions, public or private. Most importantly I want to please God during this season of examination and evaluation.

So here is what I am going to do. I’ve asked to take a leave of absence in order to give time to considering these charges, examine my heart, and receive the appropriate help from others.


So- are we going to put people into a corner, and castigate them for not repenting, but when they DO repent, dismiss it because we assume they are not sincere, or their hand was forced?
No one has suggested that but the situation and the seriousness of the protracted offenses and refusal to acknowledge them and deal with them by Mahaney is marginalized, dare I say even more abuse heaped on those who have been abused, when we refer to his finally coming to some terms with what he has done as courage.

Susan R wrote:
When was the last time anyone in IFB leadership stepped down because they were deemed unfit by others? Perhaps around the time the brontosaurus breathed its last?
Perhaps but it has no bearing on how the situation by Mahaney should be viewed and fortunately I am not an IFB so any assumptions I may be prejudice on their behalf (not by you but by other readers) can be laid to rest.

Susan R wrote:
The lesson learned will be "Don't bother repenting, no one is going to believe you anyway". I think what we must do when someone repents is accept it at face value until there is evidence to indicate some kind of deceit or manipulation. I certainly want my confessions and apologies treated that way, and I think how we react to someone else's efforts to repent says more about us than it does about them.

I agree that bad theology can and does lead to other problems in character, behavior, and even worse theology. The implications of Mr. Mahaney's theology should be examined along with everything else.

We must stop holding men in such high regard that both we and they forget that they put on their pants one leg at a time. Perhaps then, when someone is overtaken in a fault, it wouldn't seem like the sky is falling.

No one is chastising Mahaney for his current limited acknowledgment of his gross offenses. However, and again, it is merely more abuse to act as if he, Mahaney, is doing something out of great personal sacrifice or integrity to make a generic admission of his shame, again his hand was forced.

We must have a thorough knowledge of these things as a Teacher at large and as we discover their highly aggravated level, then we, too, have a biblical right to voice our concerns for someone who has both personally and by men whose judgment should now be called into question, been elevated as an acceptable model and teacher for Evangelical Christians.

If these charges are true, and it appears Mahaney is, at least in part, admitting to them, then a "temporary leave of absence" is far from in order but a much longer one that is on the same scale of a Pastor or Teacher at large being caught in adultery, theft and so on.

The literature fully documents spiritual tyranny of the worst kind. I find it hard knowing all of what went on and the plethora of pastoral/apostolic abuses to find a cause for admiring Mahaney. But then he wrote a couple of books that people liked and were "edified by" so, hey what's the big deal, right?

dmyers's picture

Alex: I will look forward to your future series critiquing Desiring God. Hopefully, it will be more accurate and responsible than the critique you linked to in your post above (you included two links and described them as critiques, but in fact it's the same critique posted in two places). The referenced critique seemed to me to twist and distort beyond recognition selected statements from the book. There is simply no resemblance between the Christian Hedonism straw man of the critique and the Christian Hedonism actually set out in Desiring God and Desiring God Ministries' other writings.

Greg Long's picture

Please correct me if I am wrong, Alex, but didn't you urge caution and express concern about the views and allegations found on the IFB survivors page? But you take at face value those on the SGM survivors page?

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Greg Long wrote:
Please correct me if I am wrong, Alex, but didn't you urge caution and express concern about the views and allegations found on the IFB survivors page? But you take at face value those on the SGM survivors page?
Greg,
I invite you to cite and quote a specific statement by me and I will answer to them in their context (and remember, context is always the key to proper interpretation and understanding of what is being said) in the mean time subjective guessing of what I may or may not have said is something to which I cannot answer. I await your citation and quotation of any of my comments on the matter upon which such concerns may be made clear.

Now, back to the OP and the documented offenses by CJ Mahaney and his subsequent stepping down for an undetermined period of time. Feel free to wade through the material, Greg, and contact as many of the offended parties and discover if indeed what has been published is true. I realize cognitive dissonance can occur with those we elevate in our own minds but due diligence is never really something we should excuse, no matter how painful the discoveries might be about those we have held in esteem.

Greg Long's picture

No, no "elevation" here. I'm simply encouraged that some kind of step towards repentance seems to be taking place and wait to see the outcome without making predetermined judgments.

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

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Pages