“Every organization should be good stewards with the resources they have but the church needs to be held to an even higher standard since the resources they are given are from the sacrifice of their members. This is God’s money and we need to never lose sight of that fact.”
– Patricia Lotich, “5 Keys to Responsible Church Stewardship,” Smart Church Management blog.
“I want to argue that it is right to fire Christians who are staff members of churches based on this idea of stewardship. It is right to fire Christian employees who are poor stewards. A local church has been given many talents: time, money, buildings (in some cases), members, and opportunities to be faithful witnesses in the community in which they are situated. Stewardship calls the local church to seize these talents, manage them well, and bear fruit for the spread of the gospel, the strengthening of the local church, and ultimately the glory of God.
Let’s remember that members of our churches are voluntarily giving their money for the spread of the gospel. As stewards themselves, donors faithfully give so that more people may be won to and grown up in Christ. That transaction—a donor giving his money to a church—has the implied understanding that money won’t be wasted or misdirected, but that it will be stewarded well for the purposes for which it was given. The donor is implicitly saying, “I want to take the money God has given me to steward and set it aside, together with my fellow church members, to support the time of this particular Christian so that he can give more of his time and gifts to the spread of the gospel.” An unfaithful employee of the church undermines the trust which underlies a Christian’s giving.”
-Matt Schmucker, “You Have An Obligation to Fire Incompetent Staff,” 9Marks blog.
“We will contribute cheerfully, generously and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.”
-United Christian Church of Dubai Church Covenant
Redeemer Church of Dubai Church Covenant
Ras Al Khaimah Evangelical Church Covenant
Despite tight budgets for the 9Marks churches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and despite the need for continual appeals to Christians in the USA and the UK to finance a new church building inRas Al Khaimah (RAK), UAE 9Marks pastors apparently had no qualms traveling to Louisville, Kentucky in April to attend the T4G conference, courtesy of the church members who remained behind in the UAE, faithfully depositing their hard earned cash and checks in the offering plate. Who can blame the pastors – it’s not every day you can see such a line-up of superstar preachers, including the Michael Tyson of celebrity preachers, C.J. Mahaney.
Did I mention the entire event was live-streamed for free? That’s right, I tuned in to listen to Mahaney’s hour long speech from the comfort of my study in Dubai. I was curious to see whether he would have anything to say to the victims of sexual abuse protesting outside the arena. The victims were rightly upset that T4G leaders had no problems sharing the stage with Mahaney, the man who undoubtedly conspired to cover up the sexual abuse in his Sovereign Grace denomination. For the curious, Mahaney didn’t mention a word about the scandal in his denomination, choosing instead to share how he and Job have suffered.
I would think the UAE preachers who attended the T4G conference would have a tough time preaching on giving anytime in the near future, but these guys continually surprise me.
Christian churches in the United Arab Emirates have always had a tough time financially thus when an opportunity arose in 2012 to build an evangelical church in a compound that was home to seven other churches, evangelical Christians were excited but also wondered where the money would come from. United Christian Church of Dubai started a pledge drive and celebrity Christians such as John Piper and Mark Dever were enlisted to help raise funds from American donors. Four years later I am unsure of how much money has been raised, but as you can see above, construction has started.
Knowing how tough it was to raise funds for the construction of the RAK Evangelical Church, as well as the difficulty individual churches have in meeting their yearly budgets, I was shocked to discover that pastors from all of the 9Marks churches in the United Arab Emirates apparently had no problems traveling to Louisville, KY to attend the T4G Conference, courtesy of the sacrificial weekly giving of their church members.
I am not a member of any of these churches, but nevertheless, I find it outrageous that Christian pastors would be so careless with the Lord’s money. The conference itself was hugely controversial due to the fact that C.J. Mahaney, a man who has blackmailed his fellow co-founder of the Sovereign Grace denomination and covered up the sexual abuse of children in his church, was back on the stage with the other “Christian” celebrities after sitting out the 2014 conference. Additionally, the conference was live-streamed free of charge! All the usual suspects showed up to preach, but as Carl Trueman said, we rock throwing peasants are growing sick of cover-ups and sick of the self-serving rhetoric at the top.
Most T4G attendees didn’t pay any attention to the protesters; however, around 10 of them paused long enough to listen to the dissenters. One of those standing with the SGM victims lifted his voice and said: “We are protesting one of the main speakers. Do you want to know who?” Some standing in line had no idea. One woman in the crowd yelled: “It’s all lies!” and two young guys chanted: “We love CJ, We love CJ” as they passed by.
–The Wartburg Watch
I think it is now necessary to point out the close ties all of these churches have with Mark Dever and his 9Marks parachurch organization. I say this because I resigned my membership at UCCD over issues of conscience dealing with the promotion of books authored by C.J. Mahaney, who once served as the senior pastor of Covenant Life Church and Executive President of the Sovereign Grace denomination. Mahaney blackmailed the co-founder of his denomination and covered up the sexual abuse of children in his church as well as other churches in the Sovereign Grace denomination. C.J. Mahaney is a close friend of Mark Dever’s and donated at least $10,000 of Sovereign Grace members tithes to Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Mark Dever is head of the parachurch 9Marks organization. John Folmar, the senior pastor of United Christian Church of Dubai, is a close personal friend of Mark Dever’s. Folmar served as an assistant pastor to Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church for two years. After I understood the relationship between these men it helped me understand why Folmar steadfastly refused to stop promoting Mahaney’s books! It is my belief that it also explains why these men have no qualms attending a conference prominently featuring a speaker who would not even meet the requirements for an elder in their church.
Additionally both John Folmar and Josh Manley are graduates of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Steve Jennings is presently taking courses from SBTS. Josh Manley worked as a staff assistant for Al Mohler. John Folmar was given an award by Al Mohler. Mohler is also a close friend of C.J. Mahaney’s. Mahaney has donated at least $215,000 to Al Mohler’s SBTS. The money came from Covenant Life Church, Sovereign Grace Ministries and Mahaney’s personal funds. Are you starting to understand why these pastors refuse to distance themselves from C.J. Mahaney?
If you are a fan of the 9Marks brand of Christianity then you would encounter no problem finding a church to attend in the United Arab Emirates. With the upcoming move of 9Marks pastor, Jeramie Rinne to the Evangelical Community Church of Abu Dhabi the 9Marks organization will have a formidable presence in the UAE. In the audio below John Folmar, senior pastor of UCCD, announces to his church that fellow 9Marks devotee Jeramie Rinne will be the new pastor at ECC of Abu Dhabi.
Below is a short interview by Ryan Townsend of 9Marks of Mack Stiles (Stiles has recently moved to Louisville, KY and is a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church.) and Dave Furman, the senior pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai. This will provide some history of the United Christian Church of Dubai and their ties to Mark Dever and his 9Marks parachurch organization. I believe it will be helpful to understanding my story.
To say that 9Marks has a formidable presence in the United Arab Emirates is not overstating the case. As you can see below Dave Furman, senior pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai, Josh Manley, pastor of the RAK Evangelical Church, Steve Jennings, pastor of Immanuel Church of Fujairah, and John Folmar, senior pastor of United Christian Church of Dubai have all been featured on the 9Marks web page.
So, as Todd Pruitt asked in the audio below, and Janet Mefferd tweeted, I wonder if any of the 9Marks pastors from the UAE stopped to speak with a victim of sexual abuse protesting outside the T4G conference?
“A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people.”
Official “Together For the Gospel” statement from Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler, May 23, 2013.
““The preaching event, being addressed by God through the reading and proclamation of His Word, is the most important event in the life of this church every week. – C.J. Mahaney”
That makes the preacher the most important person in the church according to C.J. I believe in preaching but less and less in celebrity preachers whose pride is so swelled they often act as though they’re above the Word they preach (Matt 23:3).
Some of the greatest preachers in America have enabled C.J. is his sin when they should have been confronting his sin and taking action. These men continuously promote one other’s books, conferences, ministries, and celebrity status. It looks like a mutual admiration society and it often leads to a double standard of living.
For example, I am concerned that Together for the Gospel is equally about together for Mohler, Mahaney, Dever, and Duncan. Joel Osteen promotes “health and wealth.” Too many Reformed leaders promote one another and thrive off the recognition (and money) they receive in return.
These are disillusioning times unless our affections are set upon the Perfect Savior who never deceives or disappoints. He plays no favorites and is wholly just. Jesus is our only firm foundation. All other ground is sinking sand. Therefore, fall in love with Him and build your life around a Person, not a personality with a preaching gift.”
Brent Detwiler; served as a member of Sovereign Grace Ministries Board of Directors for 25 years.
Source: The Babylon Bee