It has been nearly two years since I wrote an article about seven celebrity pastors who made their way to C.J. Mahaney’s runaway church plant in Louisville, KY. These men all delivered sermons at Mahaney’s church – apparently happy to utilize their celebrity status in an attempt to bolster the severely listing ship of Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney. If you have been reading my blog you will know that C.J. Mahaney was the leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries during the time period that SGM leadership was doing their best to cover-up a purportedly large scandal of sexual abuse of children in their churches. Mahaney claimed, and still claims, ignorance of the whole situation, but a child of 3 could detect his Clintonesque lie.
Since the time I wrote my initial article on the shameful seven who preached at Mahaney’s runaway church plant much more evidence has come to light, all very damning to Mahaney and his group of sychophants. Included is the conviction and sentencing to 40 years in prison of Nathaniel Morales. Morales worked with the youth at Covenant Life Church and sexually abused numerous boys. His actions became known to church leadership, but they chose not to alert law enforcement, leaving Morales to continue abusing children. Grant Layman, brother in-law of C.J. Mahaney and a former pastor at Covenant Life Church, testified to this under oath at the Morales trial. Joshua Harris, who took over duties as senior pastor from Mahaney, also recently admitted this in an interview with the Washington Post. Harris has since resigned from his position of senior pastor at Covenant Life Church. He decided after 11 years of service it might be wise to get an education. The decision to step down may be driven by more than a need for education, but time will reveal whether that is the case!
There is now such a preponderance of evidence in this case that any individual with a lick of common sense would rightly wonder how a “man of God” could, with a clear conscience, accept an invitation to preach at C.J. Mahaney’s church. Yet there seems to be a handful of men with consciences sufficiently seared that are willing to make the trek to Louisville.
Rick Holland is one such preacher. One can only guess at Holland’s motives. He may say he is standing up for his friend, but I would suggest a true friend of Mahaney’s would advise him to resign from the ministry. My guess is Holland has a burning desire to become one of the big name celebrities – you can detect it in his tweets and the conferences he organizes and speaks at. Being a friend of Mahaney’s used to propel one to celebrity status on the conference circuit. Not anymore. Mahaney is damaged goods. It seems nobody has gotten the word out to Rick Holland though, and he apparently is not bright enough to figure it out. Celebrities like Mark Dever, Al Mohler, John Piper and John MacArthur all used to be vocal supporters of Mahaney, but even though they have never retracted their endorsements of the man, they seem to be doing all they can to distance themselves from him, at least publicly.
Back in June of 2014 Mahaney spoke at a conference organized by Rick Holland. I, along with numerous others, wrote the conference organizers urging them not to have Mahaney as one of the speakers. Below is my email. I never received a response or even an acknowledgment of receipt. As a matter of fact I have a friend, Steve, who managed to have a phone conversation with Holland prior to the Anchored Conference. He attempted to dissuade Holland from having Mahaney as a speaker. He was obviously unsuccessful. During the course of the conversation Holland told Steve he had never received an email from me, so Steve forwarded him a copy.
From: Todd Wilhelm <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: C.J. MahaneyDate: March 7, 2014 at 10:58:48 PM GMT+4
Dear Anchored Conference Organizers, I write to you in hopes that you will reconsider having C.J. Mahaney speak at your conference in June. The man has blackmailed the co-founder of his organization and covered up sexual abuse in his church. That he is still in the pulpit is a travesty, that he is allowed to speak at conferences even worse. Thank you for considering my request. A brother in Christ,
Todd Wilhelm“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” -Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT
“Despite what Baptist leaders may say publicly about “precious children,” when they leave predators in their pulpits and do nothing to help clergy victims, the message they send is the “you don’t matter” message. It is a terribly hateful lesson for religious leaders to teach and it betrays the very faith they purport to profess. If I had fully believed the lesson that Baptist leaders taught, I would surely be dead by now. But I was graced to have other people in my life – people who worked hard to counter Baptist teachings and to constantly remind me that my life mattered. Thank God for non-Baptists and non-believers.”…Besides, to the extent I feel something akin to a “calling,” it is a calling that comes with the mere fact of being human. It is a calling that comes with being a mother. In fact, it is a calling that sounds for every mother, every parent, and every adult. We are all called upon to protect the young, and I will never understand how so many Baptist leaders can close their ears to that calling.”
-Christa Brown, “This Little Light: Beyond A Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang,” pages 218-21
It came as no surprise that Mahaney was kept as a speaker at Holland’s conference. Listen to this glowing report of Mahaney by Holland in a promo for the conference:
The above recording can was taken from the video below, starting at the 5:00 mark. Listen to the additional glowing comments about C.J. Mahaney starting at the 9:45 mark.
Here are the opening comments from Mahaney at his speech at the Anchored Conference. A master at flattery, as I have documented elsewhere, Mahaney is in fine form:
Fast forward nine months and Rick Holland is letting the world know, via his social media accounts, that he will be a featured speaker at one of the seemingly endless conferences sponsored by the gospel glitterati, this one to be held at Boyce College, the college closely tied to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Holland seems proud, I guess justifiably, that he will be sharing the stage with Al Mohler.
Holland appears to have the proper pedigree to successfully climb the gospel glitterati celebrity ladder. He has graduated from both the Master’s Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and he pastors a growing church in Kansas.
Mahaney seems to keep abreast of all the men of God who make their way to Louisville for various functions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He does his best to persuade these men to make a side trip to his small church plant while in town. I can understand that as one of five pastors for a congregation of about 80 a guy can get worn out attempting to keep up with all the work, so roping a guest speaker to address your church on Sunday morning provides a much needed respite from the weekly grind of preparing a sermon.
So on March 15, 2015 Rick Holland, in spite of overwhelming evidence that his friend C.J. Mahaney has covered up sexual abuse in his denomination and blackmailed the co-founder of the ministry, chose to speak at Mahaney’s church. By doing so he sent a message loud and clear to victims of sexual abuse in SGM that they don’t matter. A twisted friendship with a pastor unworthy to be in the pulpit trumps any concern for the beaten, battered, bleating sheep who suffered so greatly in SGM under the leadership of C.J. Mahaney. Good luck to you Mr. Holland on your climb to celebrity status. Don’t think twice about those you are stepping on as you climb to the top.
Since Rick Holland spoke at Mahaney’s church Brent Detwiler has revealed further outrageous activity by C.J. Mahaney and his fellow leaders in SGM. They actually paid hush money to a pastor whose son was sexually abused by the son of another pastor. All involved were SGM members. The money was paid to keep the father of the abused boy from joining the class action lawsuit against SGM. Read the complete story here.
Yes sir, Mr. Holland. That rascally C.J. Mahaney is a real beacon of integrity! Oh, and in case you are wondering if Mahaney really did not know anything, let me present a few items from individuals who actually do have integrity.
Janet Mefferd interviews Bill O’neil, an attorney representing the plaintiffs of the sexual abuse lawsuit against Sovereign Grace.