Matthew Hall has just become a member of my Hall of Shame. To become a member doesn’t require much, simply accept an invitation from Dr. Humility (C.J. Mahaney) to speak at Mahaney’s run-away church plant which meets at the Marriott Hotel in Louisville. It’s not that tough to garner an invitation to speak at Mahaney’s church as he is constantly searching for men willing to lighten the preaching load of the overworked pastoral staff of five.
Accepting the invitation to speak does require a few things. First and foremost is you must not have any concern for the many victims of sexual abuse; abuse which C.J. Mahaney covered-up. It would seem Mahaney delights in getting prominent men to speak at his church because it indirectly validates his ministry.
Second, you must not think that C.J. Mahaney blackmailing a fellow pastor disqualifies him from the ministry.
Third, you must be willing to engage in the obligatory brown-nosing of C.J. Mahaney in the first few moments of your sermon. The guest speaker ingratiates himself to Mahaney by telling the congregation how fortunate they are to have Mahaney as their pastor. Such a humble man, such a giving man, such a wise man; I find the praise to be repulsive and empty because in reality Mahaney is none of these things; well I guess you could call him generous, he has donated several hundred thousand dollars of money donated by the faithful SGM’ers to Al Mohler’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and, according to Mark Dever, he has also given money to Capitol Hill Baptist church. If you listen to Matthew Hall’s introduction below it sounds like Hall’s church may have also received some funds from the Humble one.
Fourth, if you are a member of a Southern Baptist church you must totally disregard the resolution passed at the 2013 Southern Baptist National Convention which stated in part that:
“… employees of the Southern Baptist Convention” to utilize the “highest sense of discernment” in their affiliations with “groups” or “individuals” that possess “questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.”
This resolution was passed because many Southern Baptist members were dismayed at the close relationship between C.J. Mahaney and Albert Mohler/Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For further information read this post.
Here is Matthew Hall’s opening remarks from his sermon at Mahaney’s church on 11-29-2015:
One note on Hall’s remarks – he mentioned how pleased he was to see the multiplication of gospel-centered churches in Louisville, stating there were not that many 14 years ago when he arrived. Hall remarked that it is the kindness of God to the city of Louisville to have Mahaney’s church in their city. (There are literally thousands of former Sovereign Grace church members across the country who would question Hall’s discernment based upon this statement!) I wrote an article in June 2013 in which I questioned why it was so vital for Mahaney to plant a church in Louisville; at the time I wrote the article Louisville had nearly 3,500 churches. Granted not all of them would meet the “Gospel-centered” tag as defined by Hall, but there are hundreds of Baptist churches to choose from. Clearly Mahaney had other motives for choosing to plant a church in Louisville as it obviously is not a city starved for “Gospel-centered” churches. I view Hall’s remarks to be disingenuous.
I do not see Southern Baptists exercising any discernment in their affiliations with Mahaney’s church. Quite the contrary. As seen below, Sovereign Grace will be performing at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Christmas program!
And then, of course, Mahaney is slated to rejoin his Southern Baptist friends Albert Mohler and Mark Dever for the Together for the Gospel conference in April. I seriously question why the SBC even bothers having National Conventions. It undoubtedly is an expensive venue where many issues are considered and resolutions passed, all of which are non-binding and, obviously, largely ignored. When two high profile leaders like Mohler and Dever thumb their noses at National Resolutions a very poor example is set for the rest of the denomination.
I am tired of these preachers infernally praising each other in front of the church members. This promotes idolatry. If you constantly have to tell everyone how humble a guy is, he probably isn’t all that humble. I read somewhere that narcissists are drawn to the preaching profession in much higher percentages than other lines of work. My experience verifies this. I want to be careful not to lump all preachers into this category; I have known some truly humble preachers. The truly humble ones would be embarrassed by the types of opening comments made by Matthew Hall. But in recent times these types of over-the-top praise the clergy class lavishes upon one another seems to be the norm. I seem to recall someone of importance saying that the greatest of all is the servant of all! Have you ever heard a preacher praise the parking lot attendant or the nursery worker from the pulpit? I suggest the humblest people in the local church are not the ones with the microphone in their hands. It all points to the sickening celebrity culture in American Evangelicalism.