Sovereign Grace Pastor Nathan Smith Deletes Inconvenient Truths

By | September 27, 2016

Sovereign Grace Pastor Nathan Smith

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I am sorry to have to inform you that the toxic tentacles of what Bojinar Marinov refers to as the “ministry-industrial complex,” have stretched across the pond, from the USA to the UK.

Marinov, in his excellent article “Kevin DeYoung’s Gorbachevian Perestruvka Will Fail,” has rightly described this “complex” as “a conglomerate of denominations, publishing houses, mission boards, local churches, seminaries, ministries, lobbyist and lawyers’ guilds, all devoted to the task of taking advantage of the market of donations, that is, the market of millions of Christians who want to see some godly leadership and teaching, and are willing to donate money to see it happen.”  

Marinov states that the ministry-industrial complex will ultimately fail because  “the institutional system DeYoung defends is a fake, and it has been designed as a fake from the very beginning when it replaced the church. It was designed to destroy the real church, and it was designed to destroy the victories of the church in the West in the last several centuries.”

While I can generally laud the Evangelical Christians in the UK for their serious demeanor and disdain for the “Christian Celebrity Culture,” which is so rampant in the USA (see this video by UK pastor Stephen Holland, made in response to Mark Driscoll’s controversial visit to his country), I must report that the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination is attempting to spread their “fake” brand of the gospel in the UK.  Unfortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of those who see the pastorate, in the role perpetrated by the “ministry-industrial complex,” as a quick road to fame, wealth, and power. Such, in my opinion, is Nathan Smith, lead pastor of Grace Church Bristol

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Last week The Wartburg Watch shined their spotlight on C.J. Mahaney and two of his assistant pastors, Bob Kauflin and Jeff Purswell.  This threesome were recipients of an all expenses paid trip to the United Kingdom. Once there,  they were undoubtedly richly rewarded in British Pounds for speaking at a couple of conferences.

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Mahaney, a blind guide of the blind (Matthew 15:14), served his usual gruel of regurgitated sermons. His blind admirers, in a ritual not unlike Wayne and Garth’s “we’re not worthy” obeisance, obligingly Tweeted out the Humble One’s pearls of wisdom,  an action of questionable purpose which has come to be expected at these “love-ins.”

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Mahaney has recited all the sermons listed below numerous times. He has his lines down so well that one might think he is lip synching if he didn’t know better.  With “minimal effort” you can verify this for yourself, but let me offer you a little help.  Check out my blog article titled “C.J. Mahaney Once Again Displays Minimal Effort.

I guess I should give the guy credit for being a good little capitalist, he has learned how to maximize profits while minimizing effort. Unfortunately, I am unable to find that model in the Bible, but then I can’t find where blackmail, covering up the sexual abuse of children, and the misappropriation of church funds to establish a hush fund are sanctioned activities for gospel preachers either. But hey, what do I know? I have never had the advantage of attending Sovereign Grace’s nine-month Pastor’s “College.”  Perhaps the “college,” in addition to teaching you how to successfully use brown-nosing to climb the corporate ladder, also teaches that the above list of activities are all gospel-centered and gospel-sanctioned.

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Nathan Smith has close ties to Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville and C.J. Mahaney. His bio is below.  Smith has attended the nine-month “Pastor’s College,” apparently the only formal “theological” training he has had.

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Smith has also hosted Mahaney & Company in past conferences. Below is a letter of thanks he wrote to Sovereign Grace Louisville.

If the document below is hard to read on a mobile phone, please click on the following link to open up a PDF of the full webpage. Thanks! SGM Louisville Partnership With the U.K.

 

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This past summer, Ben Shaw, a student at SBTS and a member of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, served as an intern at Smith’s Grace Church of Bristol.

 

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You can undoubtedly see that Nathan Smith drinks deeply from the Sovereign Grace Kool-Aid pitcher.  It’s tough for me to understand why a guy would want to hitch his wagon to a denomination as toxic as Sovereign Grace, but then, the crowd that followed the Pharisees’ lead during the Passover observance so many years ago screamed to crucify Christ and release Barabas.

Not wanting to give any free publicity to the Sovereign Grace conference, I refrained from writing about it, but I was monitoring social media. Leading up to the conference, Nathan Smith’s Twitter account was primarily a running promotional piece for the conference.  After the conference, Smith’s tweets basked in the afterglow of the glorious event.  One of the many tweets is pictured below.

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Following the conference. Smith tweeted a similar photo with the words “This. Today.” Or maybe it was “This. Yesterday.” I can’t recall. I would post the tweet, but it has been deleted.

Why was it deleted? Because guys like me can’t stomach guys like him promoting a corrupt organization like Sovereign Grace.  I’m sorry, I just have a primal instinct to speak out against people and organizations who sexually abuse children, or are complicit in the action by covering it up and not reporting the abuser to law enforcement. I refuse to remain silent as the Mahaneyites attempt to lure the unsuspecting into their trap.

So what did I do? I replied to Smith’s tweet with one word – “This,” and a link to one of my blog articles – “Mahaney Has No Clothes!”

Smith reacted as most cowards in the ministry-industrial complex react when confronted with an inconvenient truth – he deleted his post and my response. Within ten minutes of publishing my response it was gone, and I was blocked from yet another gospelly boy’s Twitter account! By the way, if you want to keep him busy and could care less if he blocks you on Twitter, you could tweet a link to this article:  @nathansmith_

A couple of other suggestions you may wish to Tweet Smith’s way, in an attempt to enlighten our gospelly preacher boy to the corruption of the organization he supports:

“Unpacking the Web of the Sovereign Grace Ministries Scandal”

Brent Detwiler’s Compilation of the Lawsuit Documents

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I mentioned to some friends that due to the rapidity with which Smith deleted my tweet and blocked me, he must be a 9Marxist! And sure enough, as I did some research for this article it is clear he is a 9Marx supporter, as well as a supporter of CBMW and TGC. He definitely knows who a guy in his club needs to support if they hope to get to “a whole nutha level!”

A few weeks ago Smith tweeted this out for public consumption:

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Mack Stiles is a definitely a 9Marx man.  He is a good friend of Mark Dever’s and, until recently, lived in Dubai. He was instrumental in bringing John Folmar in to pastor UCCD, the church I quit over three years ago. Stiles left UCCD and planted Redeemer Church of Dubai, along with Dave Furman. Furman is a rising star in 9Marx, having recently written an article for their website.  Stiles has recently moved to Louisville and is a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church, a church pastored by Gregg Gilbert and Matt Smethhurst, both formerly on staff at Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

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Of course, Smith pays the obligatory homage to 9Marx leader Mark Dever. Question for Dever and Smith: Are the numerous sexual abuse victims and their families from Sovereign Grace Churches included in the people you should be loving? Because I have seen a whole lot of love from both of you for C.J. Mahaney but none for the victims.

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Smith has also had Kevin DeYoung at his church. DeYoung, mentioned at the top of this article, is a firmly entrenched member of the Celebrity Gospel Club, frequently speaking at conferences for T4G and 9Marx.

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Smith, making certain to check all the necessary boxes if one hopes to obtain fame in the Celebrity Gospel Club, places himself firmly in the patriarchal movement.

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Scott Shaver

Hilarious how social media has become the proverbial “tiger out of the cage that cares not who he eats” for religious hucksters who have to control content.in religious discussion as if variant viewpoints are somehow “dangerous”.

Poor misunderstood puppies.

I agree that social media, overall, has not been a good development for authoritarian organizations around the world, not just 9Marks. What amazes me about 9Marks and their fellow authoritarian cults/Churches is the naivete about erasing things on the internet. They don’t seem to understand that deleting whatever embarrassing exchange they had on the internet is not likely to make it go away forever.

Thanks!

Max

“… social media has become the proverbial ‘tiger out of the cage that cares not who he eats’ …”

New Calvinists have used social media effectively to advance the new reformation. The YRR movement would have run out of steam years ago if they were not encouraged and networked via a social media web designed to trap and ensnare young minds. The New Calvinist generals used this strategy very well to mobilize the YRR … I’ll give them that. The young rebels wake each morning to discover new Tweets from their idols to re-tweet to multiplied others. Piper Points, Mohler Moments, Dever Drivel, and Mahaney Malarkey fly across cyberspace to influence and indoctrinate. Indeed, the watchblogs exist to counter social media with social media in an effort to stay the proliferation of New Calvinist aberrations in belief and practice. It’s a strange new world as genuine Christianity moves to the endangered list in the American church.

Janna L. Chan (team member)

You certainly have a point, Max. I think that social media originally helped the New Calvinist movement but is, at best, showing signs of providing diminishing returns given all the negative publicity it now brings the people in question.

I also think that there are many great Christian organizations out there that just have lower profiles on social media because they actually go out into the world and care for people, as opposed to engaging in Twitter wars or creating ego-driven drama in other ways.

You have an excellent point regarding New Calvinism and the watchblogs that try to counter its influence, Max. The broader point I was trying to make is that transparent scrutiny is bad for authoritarian organizations, in general, in the long run. For example, some people argue that it’s not a coincidence that the Soviet Union collapsed at the exact same time that Lucent technologies invented the fax machine, and I think they have a point.

Certainly dictators had a much easier time implementing their agendas before social media existed. I’m sure that Putin wishes he could control the media in the way that Stalin and Lenin did, for example.

Thanks!

Max

“… transparent scrutiny is bad for authoritarian organizations, in general, in the long run …”

Agreed. While social media initially benefited the New Calvinist movement, it is now proving to be a liability as its rotten core is exposed for the world to see. A case in point is 9Marks’ purging of dissenting comments that were striking home. I have to think that the Generation Xers and Millennials ensnared by the new reformation are starting to get wise to the schemes of its leaders … they surely realize by now that they have been a targeted market to sell books to.

I agree, Max. 9Marks could have given credible reasons for not accepting comments going forward. However, their decision to erase comments that they had approved of years ago smacked of immaturity and cowardice.

Also, I like to think that this blog and others like it give a voice to people who are mistreated or simply marginalized by authoritarian Church organizations that try to shove their plight(s) under the carpet. For example, this blog and TWW have given a platform to child sexual abuse victims, whose stories would never appear in any New Calvinist social media feeds, even though the leaders of the relevant organizations are fully aware that their Churches seem to attract an inordinate number of pedophiles, whom their Pastors cover for instead of reporting to the police.

Prior to social media and the internet in general becoming so popular, lots of organizations, not just Churches, could easily suppress information about horrible instances of abuse as awful as covering up the gang rape of a child because it was easy to falsely claim that those incidents were “one-time” occurrences rather than patterns reflecting egregious un-Christian conduct.

Max

Thanks for posting the pictures of the New Calvinist who’s who – the church world needs to know who they are. Have you ever noticed they all look like the weird relative our mother advised us to stay away from?!

A lot of them do look outright sleazy. Not guys in whom I would entrust the physical or spiritual welfare of anyone under 18.

Max

“Not guys in whom I would entrust the physical or spiritual welfare of anyone under 18.”

Someone on another blog piece pertaining to the steady string of authoritarian abuse in the American church, said there were three things to consider in attending ‘any’ church these days (I paraphrase):

(1) Go into the church knowing that it is a business and not necessarily a holy enterprise

(2) Never leave your children alone with any church worker

(3) Never leave your wife alone with any church worker

Considering the mess the organized church is in, good advice. There is, of course, the ‘real’ Church out there, but finding where they gather is like looking for a rare and endangered species.

I agree, Max. It’s just that some of the people in what I call independent “fringe Churches” seem especially creepy.

Many of them would not pass muster in Churches that actually do background checks instead of just claiming they take that precaution.

It’s not just sexual abuse either. Someone who just got a DUI should not be driving the Church van.

Max

” … ‘fringe Churches’ seem especially creepy.”

New Calvinism, with its various aberrations in belief and practice, can be considered “fringe church.” I agree, “abuse” takes on various forms and church (with a little “c”) on the margins of Christendom seem to have a particular problem in this regard. The “independents” and “non-denominationals” don’t have as much accountability oversight that may come with a denominational hierarchy. However, in SBC life, individual member churches of the denomination operate autonomously and can get away with most things (e.g., YRR church plants with inexperienced “lead pastors” and “elders” in their 20s-20s) as long as they stay within reasonable theological boundaries. With the trusting hearts of most church members, abusers can sneak in easily and work their wickedness before they are spotted. American church congregations really need to pray for a new measure of discernment to keep the wolves out.

David

DUI driving a bus do people know that at the church is there still something wrong with the church was thinking of going one sunday

That’s a great question. The last time I checked, most of the people at this Church are denying all the allegations of covering up abuse against it, including the ones that are now backed up by criminal convictions.

I’m not making that up.

I recommend avoiding the place completely, as there are many safe and reputable Churches in the area. In particular, please don’t take any children to Covenant Life Church.

I’d be happy to talk with you on the phone. I know the online material is a lot to sort through.

Thanks!

Janna

The Church has lost more than 2000 members so many people did know and care about the abuse.

Catch you tomorrow!

There is a copy of the comments pertaining to the original “Don’t Let Your People Resign” article from the 9 Marks site!

https://web.archive.org/web/20140704022241/http://www.9marks.org/blog/pastors-don%E2%80%99t-let-your-people-resign-thin-air

A. Amos Love

Janna

Thanks for this info…

My pleasure. Thanks for alerting us to deleted articles of interest!

Hi Everyone:

I’m getting some feedback that some of the screenshots in articles are hard to read on mobile devices. Therefore, I”m converting some of them into downloadable PDFs.

Please let me know if this is helpful. Thanks!

Max

“While I can generally laud the Evangelical Christians in the UK for their serious demeanor and disdain for the “Christian Celebrity Culture,” …”

Can the New Calvinists truly be referred to as “Evangelicals” as they court Evangelical Christians at any place on the globe?

According to an article in Christianity Today, you are an “Evangelical” if:

(1) The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

(2) It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

(3) Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

(4) Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

The New Calvinists talk very little about Jesus and the Cross. They are not actively encouraging non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. They cannot be considered “Evangelicals” by the above description.

The CT article goes on to say “Evangelicals are ‘Good News’ people.” The chosen elect message of God predestining some to be saved and most to be damned before they ever draw breath is not good news. The new reformers are not going forth to bring “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people.” They are not Good News people.

The CT article can be found at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/november/what-is-evangelical-new-definition-nae-lifeway-research.html

Thanks, Max. I have mixed feelings about Christianity Today, yet think their definition of “Evangelical” is good. “Evangelical” is increasingly a difficult term to wrap one’s head around.

Max

“… I have mixed feelings about Christianity Today …”

I’m not a fan of some of their regular contributors … and certainly no fan of LifeWay these days which provided info for the article cited. If the New Calvinist movement met the “Evangelical” criteria provided in that CT piece, I would not have come out of retirement to participate in the cyberspace battle against them. The new reformers are not on a Gospel mission … stealth, deception, arrogance, control, manipulation and intimidation are not spiritual gifts (at least Holy Spirit). I am a reluctant blog reviewer and commenter (I would rather be fly-fishing), but find it necessary to offer some input on this issue.

. I am a reluctant blog reviewer and commenter (I would rather be fly-fishing), but find it necessary to offer some input on this issue.

Thanks for doing so on this site!

Max

“While I can generally laud the Evangelical Christians in the UK for their serious demeanor and disdain for the “Christian Celebrity Culture,” … I must report that the Sovereign Grace Churches denomination is attempting to spread their “fake” brand of the gospel in the UK.”

Sad to hear of this development. As you note, I thought evangelicals in the UK had more spiritual sense than their US counterparts who have so easily fallen to New Calvinism. Mahaney et al. are no doubt targeting the same demographic that fell for the scheme in the US … Generation Xers and Millennials. At this point, I have to think that even these age groups in the US are starting to see through the hype – the “fake” gospel – and will look for something deeper in a spiritual walk. I pray that young adults in the UK will see the deception much earlier than those in the US and opt out of the new reformation before its tentacles envelop the church there.

Thanks, Max. Someone Todd and I both know used to attend one of the U.K. Churches in question. He/she (I’m trying to preserve privacy) has interacted directly with a prominent U.K. Pastor at one of the Churches who appears to have essentially said, “I know about the allegations of covering up sexual abuse against Mahaney and SGM but think the pros of being affiliated with SGM/Mahaney outweigh the cons of engaging in a partnership with them right now.”

So I think that folks in these U.K. Churches know who they’re dealing with as opposed to being naive. If nothing else, Googling Mahaney or SGM would give them insight into the true nature of the problem, not the lies Mahaney and SGM are telling folks.

Max

” … a prominent U.K. Pastor at one of the Churches who appears to have essentially said, “I know about the allegations of covering up sexual abuse against Mahaney and SGM but think the pros of being affiliated with SGM/Mahaney outweigh the cons of engaging in a partnership with them right now.”

Evidently, Al Mohler, President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and buds with Mahaney feels the same way! He essentially ignored an SBC resolution approved at its annual meeting in 2013 “On Sexual Abuse of Children.” At that meeting, Southern Baptists resolved “… 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.”

Aligning with SGM/Mahaney is not utilizing “the highest sense of discernment.” But, no one has accused New Calvinists of possessing spiritual discernment!

Thanks. You don’t even want to get me started on Mohler but I will say that I read he was formally criticized, in reports from groups affiliated with the SBC, for not taking sexual abuse seriously enough, long before his support of C.J. Mahaney became an issue.

Yes, I’d rather be fishing, too.

🙂

Max

“You don’t even want to get me started on Mohler …”

I keep waiting for Southern Baptists to get started on him! He is definitely the most powerful man in the SBC right now, but ruling with illegitimate authority. The man is untouchable, while leading a rebellion against belief and practice of the SBC majority … the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.

Mohler is certainly ruthless and very intelligent. He also has the gall to publicly call himself a congregationalist even though he reputedly runs the SBTS like a fascist regime. Mohler’s support of Mahaney has provided fuel for his enemies within the SBC, of which there are many, but he still has a powerful hold over the organization, it seems. I and others have long speculated that Al Mohler’s true goal was leaving the SBC and founding his own Neo-Calvinist group with C.J. Mahaney’s network of SGM Churches. That’s why he was so angry when Mahaney came under fire (metaphorically) initially and said a lot of things he shouldn’t have because they revealed that Mohler’s extremely authoritarian in a non-Protestant way.

With respect to the many wonderful Roman Catholics I know, I’ve always said that Al Mohler is a Roman Catholic Cardinal who had the misfortune to be born into a Southern Baptist family.

Thanks!

Max

“Mohler is certainly ruthless and very intelligent … I and others have long speculated that Al Mohler’s true goal was leaving the SBC and founding his own Neo-Calvinist group with C.J. Mahaney’s network of SGM Churches.”

Well, hanging out with Mahaney is no way to have an intelligent dialogue! I suppose the two buds can keep their conversations limited to less-intelligent topics like sports and methods for deceptive YRR church planting.

If Mohler had a vision to launch his own NeoCal group with Mahaney, he quickly abandoned that when he realized how easy it would be to just takeover the SBC! Why walk away from SBC’s vast resources (seminaries, mission agencies, publishing house, etc.) when they are there for the taking?! Carving out a new group and assembling the pieces of an empire would be a much tougher row to hoe. It is so much easier to kick the butts of millions of complacent Southern Baptists while their heads are stuck in the sand and take their stuff!

You raise a good point as to why Mohler might want to walk out on the SBC, Max. I could be wrong but think that being part of the SBC keeps him from doing extreme things, such as giving up any pretense at believing that people who believe in a congregationalist form of polity can be true Christians.

I used to listen to Al Mohler’s radio show and he feels the need to claim he holds traditional Baptist values and points of view even though he undermines them practically-speaking. Also, SGM is in the toilet now, but had lots of resources and was growing exponentially until Mahaney single-handedly destroyed it in less than a year.

“Carving out a new group and assembling the pieces of an empire would be a much tougher row to hoe. It is so much easier to kick the butts of millions of complacent Southern Baptists while their heads are stuck in the sand and take their stuff!”

Yes, yet a new empire would truly belong to Mohler and he’s an egomaniac.

😉

Max

“… yet a new empire would truly belong to Mohler …”

In lieu of that, he seems satisfied at this point to orchestrate SBC Calvinization by maneuvering New Calvinist colleagues into key SBC leadership position. Most SBC entities are now controlled by NC leaders with direct links to Mohler. I may not agree with his theology, nor his methods to advance his cause, but he is good strategist and general of his YRR troops. He’s already at Pope status in their eyes.

I agree!

David

What is new calvinism is that a church?

It’s more like an informal denomination. I really would love to chat with you by phone or email regarding any questions you have, David. Thanks!