RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse;
-A Resolution from the Southern Baptist National Convention in Houston, TX, 2013.
“This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord have spoken!””
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.”
The men pictured below are scheduled to be the “Plenary Speakers” at the Together 4 the Gospel Conference in April of 2016. You will notice that C.J. Mahaney, (6th from the left) who was not a speaker in the 2014 conference, is now slated to resume his spot in the limelight.
Mahaney dropped out of the 2014 conference due to the public outcry opposing his speaking because of his role in conspiring to cover up the sexual abuse of children in several of his denomination’s churches. A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of many of the victims of sexual abuse. The lawsuit was dismissed due to statute of limitations constrictions, the merits of the lawsuit were never ruled on. However, Nathaniel Morales, one of the pedeophiles who attended Covenant Life Church and worked with youth of the church, on May 15, 2014 was convicted on 5 counts of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Mahaney was serving as Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church when the abuse occurred. He has steadfastly claimed that he had no knowledge of the abuse. Here is a statement he released:
A couple of things to point out. During the trial of Nathaniel Morales the defense called Grant Layman to the witness stand. Layman is the brother-in-law of C.J. Mahaney and was an assistant pastor at Covenant Life Church. Under oath Layman testified that church leaders knew of the Morales sexual abuse, knew that they should have reported the facts to law enforcement, but chose not to. While he did not directly name C.J. Mahaney as one of the leaders with knowledge of the abuse several individuals with intimate knowledge of how things operated in Sovereign Grace Ministries said Mahaney would have undoubtedly known about this.
The second item of note is Mahaney, in his statement above, said, “I look forward to the day when I can speak freely” but was unable to do so at the time because of the ongoing civil lawsuit. The lawsuit was dismissed May 24, 2014. Sixteen months later Mahaney has yet to speak freely about the facts of the case. Why the continuing silence Mr. Mahaney?
Boz Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham and noted expert in the field of sexual abuse of children, especially abuse in churches, stated that the lawsuit was “one of the most disturbing accounts of child sexual abuse and institutional ‘cover up’ I have read in my almost 20 years of addressing this issue.”
That C.J. Mahaney is still pastoring a church is shameful, that he has now returned to the conference circuit is a travesty, that these national Christian celebrities willingly share the stage with Mahaney is scandalous and points to a very serious lack of discernment on their part. While many of the men who will be sharing the stage with Mahaney are gifted and intelligent, the mantle of leadership bestowed upon them by their adoring fans deserves to be seriously questioned.
Again I quote Boz Tchividjian:
“These leaders (who are supporting C.J. Mahaney) have once again, and perhaps unwittingly, demonstrated the art of marginalizing souls for the sake of reputation and friendships.”
Carl Truman, in “Risking the Truth – Interviews on Handling Truth and Error in the Church,” by Martin Downes, pages 30-31, had this to say:
“One of the secrets of great leadership in any walk of life is to place those close to you who are not simply yes-men but who are prepared to be honest with you when they see you making a mistake. This is absolutely critical in the church: having true friends who speak the truth in love is vital.
I think of church leaders who simply became such objects of adulation by their people and by the wider evangelical world that, when they fell, it was clear that they had simply come to be regarded as too big to be held accountable. Nobody dared call them to account; nobody ever even suspected they needed to be held to account. I can think of others who started to believe their own propaganda and saw any and every criticism as a personal attack. Such people were disasters waiting to happen; and their problem was that they lost sight of the basics of the Christian life and made themselves accountable to no one. And I am always amazed at the cronies such people manage to gather around themselves: there is always someone willing to stroke the ego of such types, to tell them how wonderful they are whatever shenanigans they get up to; yet a true friend knows the necessity of speaking the truth out of love in all circumstances.”
None of the leaders pictured above can claim ignorance as it relates to C.J. Mahaney and the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up which took place within Sovereign Grace Ministries. Brent Detwiler, who at one point was number two in command at Sovereign Grace Ministries, wrote a letter detailing the case against C.J. Mahaney. In this letter he stated in part:
“Gentlemen, I’ve worked with C.J. since I graduated from seminary in 1979. I wrote the Statement of Faith, founded the Pastors College, oversaw 23 churches in the southeastern United States, directed our outreaches in Asia and the Caribbean, served on the Board of Directors for 25 years, and was one of four men who started Sovereign Grace Ministries in 1982. I say none of this to impress you, only to establish some credibility with you.
In 2007, I stepped down from the Board of Directors largely due to my loss of trust in C.J. In 2009, I left SGM because of the pride, deceit, hypocrisy, and heavy handedness that characterized the leadership culture. It became unconscionable. I could not stay.
I am not a lone wolf in my assessment. Over the last seven months, the majority of C.J.’s closest friends and colleagues have severed ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries for the same reasons. The entire ministry is convulsing and the problems are only worsening. More and more pastors and churches will be leaving in the coming months.
Nathaniel Morales is the alleged criminal pedophile cited in the article above, but he is not the only one whose activities were concealed. I’ve attached the [first] amended lawsuit. It is a must read. Evangelical leaders who protect sex abusers out of self-interest, fail to involve law enforcement, and obstruct justice must learn from the consequences SGM is about to experience. It could likely bankrupt the ministry and key leaders.
…Deceit, hypocrisy, self-preservation, love of reputation, lack of integrity, injustice, lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover up and partiality have only increased over the past three years. None have been acknowledged by C.J. Yet these sins are the source of the problems that exist in SGM and the reason for God’s providential discipline.
…Given all these developments, C.J. should not be a Council Member on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood or The Gospel Coalition. Nor should he be speaking in seminaries or at conferences around the nation and world. Those that know him best, know he is in need of private repentance and public confession.”
Brent Detwiler distributed this letter to 77 national Christian leaders. Every man in the photo above was included in that list. You can read the entire letter and also see the names of the recipients here.
John MacArthur, David Platt, Thabiti Anyabwile,Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, Matt Chandler, John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Mark Dever – I urge you to reconsider your participation in a conference with C.J. Mahaney. I believe allowing C.J. Mahaney to participate in this conference brings reproach on the name of Christ. As John MacArthur has said:
“But it is our duty to pursue integrity relentlessly nonetheless. Perfect ethical consistency is a vital aspect of that consummate goal — absolute Christlikeness — toward which every Christian should continually be striving (Phil. 3:12-14). No believer, therefore, should ever knowingly sacrifice his or her ethical integrity.
The person who neglects ethical integrity is telling a lie about God with his life and his attitude. If he calls himself a Christian and professes to be a child of God, he is in fact taking God’s name in vain at the most fundamental level. That puts the issue of ethical integrity in perspective, doesn’t it?
That’s what we need to call to mind whenever we are tempted to adapt our ethical principles for convenience’ sake. It isn’t worth the high cost to our reputation, our character, or our testimony.”
-John MacArthur, Above Reproach
“I think taking care of the victims is the first concern of the Spirit-filled church. Most fallen leaders already suffer from an exaggerated view of themselves and love being the center of attention. We generally think of “restoring” them first. I rarely hear people say let’s reach out to the victims. ”
“For me restoring those people is a much higher priority than helping a disgraced leader climb back onto center stage. I think we need a national movement to restore and heal the victims of church abuse. Our lack of concern for these people is killing our ability to reach the lost. ”
“Question Mark: Why the Church Welcomes Bullies and How To Stop It” by Jim Henderson and Doug Murren pages 111-112
For further information:
Controversial Preacher Returning to T4G Stage A great article at “Baptist News Global” by Bob Allen.
Together Again Deb from “The Wartburg Watch” reacts to the news that Mahaney will be rejoining his BFF’s.
“Blight In the Vineyard: Exposing the Roots, Myths, and Emotional Torment of Spiritual Tyranny” An outstanding book authored by John Immel, a former member of Covenant Life Church. Covenant Life Church was formerly the flagship church in the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination. They, along with about 40 other churches have withdrawn from the denomination.
“How To Stop Being a Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian” A must see video! David Packman interviews Frank Schaeffer. The first 2 minutes Schaeffer talks of the many “Popes” in Christian Evangelicalism and their adoring fans. From 9:00-11:00 Schaeffer speaks of the money and its corrupting influence on the leaders of Evangelical Christianity. I believe much of this applies to those in the group photo above.
Southern Baptist Resolution Urges Discretion in Associating With Those of Questionable Character This is an article I wrote which covered the concerns many within the Southern Baptist denomination had with Albert Mohler/SBTS’s close association with C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches. Obviously Mohler feels that after 2 years nobody will remember the resolution passed at the Southern Baptist Convention.
Do clergy have immunity to abuse their people? Nakedpastor David Hayward produced a great cartoon on this subject and also had some good comments to say concerning the Sovereign Grace Churches/C.J. Mahaney situation.