Hypocrite Thy Name is Ryan Fullerton

By | February 4, 2018

Rachael Denhollander is a true hero of mine. As a victim who was sexually abused by Larry Nasser she was the first indidual to file a police complaint against him. More than 260 other women have since come forward to confront Nassar.  Rachael was also the last victim to make a statement against Nassar at his recently concluded trial.

The judge sentenced Nassar to 175 years in prison. You can read more about this story at The Wartburg Watch in an article titled “Rachael Denhollander, the First Victim to Report Larry Nassar, Goes After Mahaney/SGM in an Interview with Christianity Today.”Rachael, along with her husband, Jacob, are former members of  Immanuel Baptist Church of Louisville. They have not mentioned their former church or pastor by name and have requested others not to do so. I trust after reading this article you will understand why I have not complied with their request.

Rachael, a lawyer by trade, was distressed over the fact that Immanuel Baptist leaders had invited Mahaney to speak at their church and Immanuel pastor Ryan Fullerton has spoken twice at C.J. Mahaney’s church in Louisville. I wrote an article about this two years ago which may be viewed here.

Rachael conducted much research on C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries and presented the results of her work to Immanuel Baptist Church leadership, hoping to persuade the men in leadership that supporting Mahaney was not compatible with Scripture.

The result: Denhollanders left the church “because we were told by individual elders that it wasn’t the place for us.”

Below is a lengthy excerpt taken from the Christianity Today interview of Rachael Denholander. The article is titled “My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral, But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness.” You can read the full interview here.

My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness.

Image: Jeff Kowalsky / AFP /Getty Images

In your impact statement, you mention that it took you a long time to reveal your own abuse with other people. Was church included in that?
 

Yes. Church is one of the least safe places to acknowledge abuse because the way it is counseled is, more often than not, damaging to the victim. There is an abhorrent lack of knowledge for the damage and devastation that sexual assault brings. It is with deep regret that I say the church is one of the worst places to go for help. That’s a hard thing to say, because I am a very conservative evangelical, but that is the truth. There are very, very few who have ever found true help in the church.
 

In your impact statement, you say, “My advocacy for sexual assault victims … cost me my church.” Can you share about when you decided to share with your church that you were going to speak up about this and what happened?
 

The reason I lost my church was not specifically because I spoke up. It was because we were advocating for other victims of sexual assault within the evangelical community, crimes which had been perpetrated by people in the church and whose abuse had been enabled, very clearly, by prominent leaders in the evangelical community. That is not a message that evangelical leaders want to hear, because it would cost to speak out about the community. It would cost to take a stand against these very prominent leaders, despite the fact that the situation we were dealing with is widely recognized as one of the worst, if not the worst, instances of evangelical cover-up of sexual abuse. Because I had taken that position, and because we were not in agreement with our church’s support of this organization and these leaders, it cost us dearly. When I did come forward as an abuse victim, this part of my past was wielded like a weapon by some of the elders to further discredit my concern, essentially saying that I was imposing my own perspective or that my judgment was too clouded. One of them accused me of sitting around reading angry blog posts all day, which is not the way I do research. That’s never been the way I do research. But my status as a victim was used against my advocacy. Church leaders thought that your own experiences made you biased? Correct. So rather than engaging with the mountains of evidence that I brought, because this situation was one of the most well-documented cases of institutional cover-up I have ever seen, ever, there was a complete refusal to engage with the evidence.
 

Was this the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) scandal?
 

Yes, it was.
 

[Editor’s note: Denhollander clarified that she and her husband did not attend a SGM church, but a Louisville, Kentucky, church “directly involved in restoring” former SGM president C. J. Mahaney. She said that she and her husband “left because we were told by individual elders that it wasn’t the place for us.”]
 

After you had confronted church leaders and you decided that you were going public with your own abuse, you realized that your church would never take this seriously?
 

That’s exactly right. When you support an organization that has been embroiled in a horrific 30-year cover-up of sexual assault, you know what that communicates to the world and what it communicates to other enablers and abusers within your own church. It’s very obvious that they are not going to speak out against sexual assault when it’s in their own community. So that leaves me with the question: What happens when it’s a trusted person at this church? What happens when it’s a trusted person in these other evangelical organizations? The extent that one is willing to speak out against their own community is the bright line test for how much they care and how much they understand. We have failed abhorrently as Christians when it comes to that test. We are very happy to use sexual assault as a convenient whipping block when it’s outside our community. When the Penn State scandal broke, prominent evangelical leaders were very, very quick to call for accountability, to call for change. But when it was within our own community, the immediate response was to vilify the victims or to say things that were at times blatantly and demonstratively untrue about the organization and the leader of the organization. There was a complete refusal to engage with the evidence. It did not even matter.
 

The ultimate reality that I live with is that if my abuser had been Nathaniel Moralesinstead of Larry Nassar, if my enabler had been [an SGM pastor] instead of [MSU gymnastics coach] Kathie Klages, if the organization I was speaking out against was Sovereign Grace under the leadership of [Mahaney] instead of MSU under the leadership of Lou Anna Simon, I would not only not have evangelical support, I would be actively vilified and lied about by every single evangelical leader out there. The only reason I am able to have the support of these leaders now is because I am speaking out against an organization not within their community. Had I been so unfortunate so as to have been victimized by someone in their community, someone in the Sovereign Grace network, I would not only not have their support, I would be massively shunned. That’s the reality. …It’s devastating enough when money and medals are put against sexual assault victims. But when the gospel of Christ is wielded like a weapon against sexual assault victims, that’s wicked. There’s no other way to say it.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
 

First, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not need your protection. It defies the gospel of Christ when we do not call out abuse and enable abuse in our own church. Jesus Christ does not need your protection; he needs your obedience. Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth about the evil of sexual assault and the evil of covering it up. Second, that obedience costs. It means that you will have to speak out against your own community. It will cost to stand up for the oppressed, and it should. If we’re not speaking out when it costs, then it doesn’t matter to us enough.”

Now here is where the story takes an interesting turn and why I feel I am justified in naming names. You will recall that the Denhollanders were told by individual elders that Immanuel Baptist Church wasn’t the place for them. I am uncertain whether one of the elders that delivered this message was Ryan Fullerton, but you can be certain if Fullerton did not speak the actual words he was fully aware that the message would be conveyed and most likely it was conveyed at his behest. Typically a church fashioned after the 9Marx model, which Immanuel Baptist is, is “elder ruled.” Also typical is the ruler of the elders is an authoritarian senior pastor. Nothing happens in these types of churches without the knowledge and blessing of the top dog.  (9Marx leaders Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman continually point out that such church structures are not what they advocate, but simply a neophyte leader misapplying their principles. I disagree.  When you see churches continually “missapplying” the principles in the wrong way you can conclude that what you see in church after church is actually what was taught.)

So, fresh off giving the Denhollanders the official “right foot of fellowship” out the doors of Immanuel Baptist Church for Rachael’s advocacy for sexual abuse victims and daring to oppose Ryan Fullerton’s blossoming friendship with C.J. Mahaney, anyone care to guess what subject our wannabee celebrity Ryan Fullerton is now waxing eloquent on?
 

 
Shocked? You really shouldn’t be. These Calvinistas obviously have no shame. Their hypocrisy is boundless. They are experts at sensing what the culture around them is speaking about and then pontificating about it. It starts with a sermon to their church, then they start getting invitations to speak to other churches about their new-found area of expertise, next they write books about it and then, if they play their cards right, they worm their way into conference speaking engagements.

In comments of the tweet above somebody asked Pastor Croft if they had recorded Fullerton’s words of wisdom. Croft responded that they had not, but you could hear the same talk on Immanuel Baptist’s website. So I made my way over there and tracked down the relevant sermon.

I have once again subjected myself to listening to a Calvinsta drone on and on so that you, my faithful readers, do not have to endure such misery. Around the 30 minute mark is where my BS meter went off the charts. See if you don’t agree with me.

 
After all my years of keeping tabs on these charlatans I must say that this performance by Ryan Fullerton is truly award winning.  I bestow on him my first “Elmer Gantry of the month award.”

What I really wonder is how any human capable of critical thought can sit through a sermon by this clown, how they can donate money to support him, how they can continue to be a member of a church led by him?

But then, I am continually amazed by what people will accept in the name of Christianity.

 

“Information concerning the leaders, which the group defines as negative, is suppressed by demeaning those disciples who speak out. This humiliation frequently is done by:
 
– imposing a standard by which disciples are often caused to feel guilty or ashamed
 
– continual judging of members hearts or motives – threatening to rebuke the “offending” disciple, sometimes even in public
 
– arbitrarily dismissing disciples or causing them to want to leave when the disciple merely disagrees with opinions of the leaders.

 
When a person can’t freely share doubts about an important matter without the threat of expulsion or other negative repercussions, it can cause great inner struggles and leave one emotionally devastated.”
 
“Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse” by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, pages 20-21

26 thoughts on “Hypocrite Thy Name is Ryan Fullerton

  1. steve

    If you didn’t sound like an idiot people might take you more serious. To make this an Calvinist issue is absurd. There are many Calvinists, me included who are disgusted by SGM and CJ Mahaney’s responses and attitudes and those who are supporting him. So instead of painting everyone with your self-righteous, angry, hate-spewing brush, stop and think before you make stupid statements. Otherwise nobody will take you serious. Stop with foolishness and stick tot the facts.

    Reply
    1. 2samuel127 Post author

      Hi Steve,
      After reading your comment it appears to me that your reading comprehension skills are not very good. You stated that you are “disgusted by SGM and CJ Mahaney’s responses and attitudes and those who are supporting him. Great, I agree with your sentiments, but that is not what this article was about. The main theme of this article is the hypocrisy of Ryan Fullerton. He and his elders suggested Rachael Denhollander remove herself from their assembly because of her activism in speaking out for those who have been sexually abused. Fullerton then went on to preach at Immanuel Baptist and also at a pastor’s fellowship on the subject of “how to care better for the women in our church.” That seems just a bit hypocritical.

      You also stated that “to make this an Calvinist issue is absurd.” Again, this was not the theme of the article. For your information I do not consider Fullerton or his tribe Calvinists, and I know many agree with me. I refer to his type as neo-Calvinists or Calvinista’s. In my opinion it would be more accurate to call them 9Marxists or Deverites. I have written an article in response to Mark Dever in which he stated his friends who hold to padeobaptism are sinning (Is 9Marks View of Baptism Biblical). I am no expert on Calvinism but considering padeobaptism a sin would seem to place one outside the Calvinist camp. Sorry if I offended you.

      Regards,
      Todd Wilhelm

      Reply
  2. Deborah

    Ryan used to be my Pastor and I appreciate the time I had at Immanuel. I am saddened to read all of this. We were members when the church was small. While we were there a brother confessed to the elders that he had been looking at child porn…the elders did not waste time in their encouragement that he turn himself into the authorities (if I remember correctly, they went with him when he turned himself in). Also, the brother humbly came before the church in repentance and there was a very open and loving conversation about how we need to make sure he is never alone with children, etc. In my discernment at the time, it seemed God honoring, law abiding, healing for the offender, and also a call to action on how we need to always be prayerful and diligent lest we fall ourselves. I can see how this might have been easier with a member….not a respected Elder (CJ). Lord have mercy on us all.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks for your perspective, Deborah. It is appreciated.

      Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
    2. JLC

      Also, I sincerely don’t doubt your word, Deborah. I would love to believe that Ryan Fullerton started out as a good Pastor and was corrupted by Mahaney, who is a true sociopath,

      However, it would bring great credibility to your positive story if it could be confirmed somehow.

      Do you know of another witness to this event?

      Thanks again. Janna L.Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Member

        I can confirm this is true. Though my husband and I became members shortly after that incident, it was mentioned in public at church meetings and privately by other members for years afterward. I can also confirm that the church stresses the importance of police involvement with anything illegal as we were coached through how to counsel some very difficult marital situations. One of them did become abusive and adult social services were called (the wife did not press charges). Can you explain what you mean by Ryan being corrupted by Mahaney, with evidential and not speculative support? I am trying to fully understand the grievances you have against him. Also, have you spoken with him about these issues to understand how the church (elders and body) were all involved with the Denhollander situation? I am withholding my name for privacy.

        Reply
        1. JLC

          Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m happy to hear that Ryan Fullerton appears to have responsibly addressed child sexual abuse in the past.

          Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s lying about and covering for people who are presently enabling pedophilia.

          I suggest you read the article above to understand why many people may not believe that Ryan Fullerton should be in charge of protecting children from pedophiles right now.

          No, I have not and am not planning to initiate contact with Mr. Fullerton directly. You imply that I should even though I am only responding to statements Mr. Fullerton has made publicly, not privately.

          I also strongly suspect that lawyers have advised Mr. Fullerton not to speak with anyone advocating for child sexual abuse victims, at this time.

          I am comfortable standing behind what I say about Mr. Fullerton with my real name.

          Mr. Fullerton is certainly welcome to contact me directly if he does not like my responses to his public statements.

          He should not need anonymous 3rd parties to advocate for him, in my view, in this case.

          Thanks again for your comment.

          Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          Reply
          1. Member

            Thank you very much for responding. I am not speaking on his behalf, nor would there be any reason to do so. Just trying to fully understand the situation, though for me it does not seem as cut and dry as what these articles have mentioned – but then, I’ve been a part of the church a long time, I hear the sermons in person, I know the families, so my viewpoint is personal and different from yours. And while I do not fully understand the reasoning behind having Mahaney on the pulpit in 2013, considering the controversy at the time, I will add that your previous article has an error re: listing Mahaney as a preacher. http://immanuelky.org/?s=mahaney. All the best to you and may you find true peace, joy, and contentment in Christ. I would post my email for you to contact me privately to verify who I am, but wasn’t sure if they posted publicly.

          2. JLC

            Thanks you for the kind message. I wish you peace and contentment in Christ, as well.

            Also I’d like to clarify that Todd Wilhelm owns this blog. I’m just his assistant. Both of us can look into any errors you and others find in this blog’s articles. Thank you for bringing one to our attention. E-mail addresses are not posted publicly, and neither one of us would publish something sent to us in a private e-mail unless there was a very good reason, such as a physical safety concern, for doing so. (Edit: I’ll amend this to say that I should only be speaking for myself, not Todd).

            Yes, our perspectives would be different for many reasons. I have been advocating for victims of CJ Mahaney’s corrupt Ministry for almost seven years. Based on much evidence, including extensive criminal case and civil case legal documentation, I believe that he has participated in and often instigated the cover-up of up heinous acts of child sexual abuse up to and including the ritualized gang rape of a young girl. I have interacted with that young girl as an adult. She bravely chose to file a lawsuit against CJ and his SGM cronies under her real name and has been publicly vilified, as a result. Notably, C.J. Mahaney declined to sue her for slander or libel, which he could easily have done if he truly believed that her criticism of and lawsuit against him were slanderous.

            Therefore, listening to Mr. Fullerton imply, based on faulty information he likely received from Mahaney’s lawyer, that this sexual abuse survivor is a liar and C.J. Mahaney is a hero makes me physically ill. Nor was this behavior a one-time incident. Mr. Fullerton has been supporting CJ Mahaney for some time, and he appears to be refusing to even review evidence that I believe proves that Mahaney has been covering up child sexual abuse in Churches he oversees/oversaw for decades. I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. I do appreciate your perspective and desire to protect a Church you have been a member of for many years.

            I hope you understand my concern about protecting children from the potentially misguided actions of a Pastor, Mr. Fullerton, whose judgment I presently perceive as being very poor, as it affects protecting children from the corrupt actions of Pastors like CJ Mahaney.

            I also apologize for what you likely and justifiably perceived as my rudeness. Your comments were considered and sincere. I completely understand your desire to keep your identity private.

            Unfortunately, Todd (who owns this blog) and I get many unpleasant and hostile anonymous comments, from pedophiles and people who support them, which make me grouchy and suspicious of people’s motives. Many Pastors do send members out to speak on their behalf. Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way.

            I understand that the issues at hand are complex and may be difficult to address in the comments section of a blog. You’re welcome to contact me directly at any time. Just go to the “about” section on this blog and ask Todd for my e-mail address. Please feel free to remain anonymous. I really would like to hear your perspective as a current member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

            Thank you. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          3. 2samuel127 Post author

            Hi Member,
            I don’t understand your statement about my previous article has an error. If you are referring to the fact that Immanuel Baptist is now listing Mahaney by name as a speaker I would submit that is only because Fullerton now feels it is acceptable to do so. I think he is wrong. At the time I wrote the article, about 2 years ago, Fullerton did not list Mahaney’s name. I think my screen shots show that quite clearly. Am I missing something?
            Thanks,
            Todd Wilhelm

          4. Member

            Thanks so much, Janna – your response was very kind. I completely understand your concerns. Rachael is a hero – I pray that her advocacy for change will make a permanent change in how every institution handles allegations of abuse. I wish I knew her personally (our paths never crossed) because I would like to learn more from her. And while I do understand your concern about Ryan being connected to SGM, there is no further connection between the two ministries other than a friendship. At our church, which is elder-led (17 of them) and not controlled by a head pastor, as mentioned, police reporting is insisted upon and has always been that way. Friends of mine left the church because they did not want to face public repentance of their grievous sin issues. But still, I see why you are troubled because of the connections between the 2 pastors, and I do not know enough to comment further on that. I can only speak to the practices at our church. I do have children, so all of these things hit close to home. I hope and pray the truth comes out regarding SGM. Transparency is best, even if painful.

            Todd – to my understanding, there was never any kind of hiding of CJ being a speaker in 2013. They listed him as a guest speaker intentionally since he was not a member of the church. If they were embarrassed about it, I suppose they probably would not have listed the sermon at all. The elders do seek to be transparent, and have a heart to reach our city and the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. They address hard, uncomfortable questions in public. They do make mistakes, as do I. They are constantly saying “Come to us with your concerns” so they can answer questions we may have. I asked questions about the Rachael situation – and while I won’t state anything here since the church has not made a public statement, I can say that there is more to the story. The first sermon I attended at the church was one in which Ryan repented of a sin, which I had never seen before. Hopefully that sheds some light and is in some way helpful as you consider these weighty matters.

            Thanks again and blessings to you both.

          5. JLC

            Thank you so much for your considered comments. I will certainly be praying for your Church members, elders, and Pastors.

            I, too, consider Mrs. Dennhollander a hero. And like her, I will happy to read about and consider both sides of any complicated issue. I do hope that your Church issues a public statement about Mrs. Dennhollander’s concerns soon.

            I also pray that Mr. Fullerton reviews and reads quality material about the reprehensible behavior of his friend CJ Mahaney. Since he’s endorsing Mahaney from the pulpit of a Church he leads, I believe that he has a responsibility to do that even if the relevant friendship is personal.

            I have not been in direct contact with Ryan Fulleryon, but know others who have been.

            They report that he is unwilling to look at both sides of the story regarding credible allegations that CJ Mahaney has covered up child sexual abuse.

            If Mr. Fullerton would demonstrate that he is willing to at least listen to victims of SGM and their supporters, that would enable me and many others to have more respect for him and better confidence in his judgment.

            Thanks again for interacting with us. I’ll let Todd address your concerns about factual issues in one of his post.

            Thanks.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

          6. 2samuel127 Post author

            Member,

            In my blog article Ryan Fullerton of Immanuel Baptist Church of Louisville Supports C.J. Mahaney I had a screen shot that showed “guest speaker.” This anonymous guest speaker was C.J. Mahaney. In your response to me you wrote “They listed him as a guest speaker intentionally since he was not a member of the church.” I am curious who the “they” is that listed Mahaney as a guest speaker. I am also curious how you arrived at your understanding that there was never any hiding or embarrassment over the fact that Mahaney spoke at your church.

            My screenshot captured a drop-down list of some, not all, of the speakers at Immanuel Baptist. Based on the information you have provided am I therefore to conclude that C.J. Mahaney was the only speaker in that list that was not a member of Immanuel Baptist Church? I readily admit that many of the names in the screen capture are individuals I do not recognize. However I did recognize two names – Bryan Croft and Russell Moore. Bryan Croft has been the pastor at Auburndale Baptist Church since 2003. I do not believe he was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church. Russell Moore is in charge of ERLC and to my knowledge has never been a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

            I submit that “They” gave you some bad information. I do not believe my blog article was in error and I stand by my hypothesis that “They” were in fact embarrassed with their association with C.J. Mahaney (rightly so). I would have liked to further investigate this but Immanuel Baptist has altered the way one searches for speakers on their website. No doubt “They” would tell you it is purely coincidence!

            Anyway, I do thank you for taking the time to comment here and for your obvious desire for truth.

            Kind Regards,
            Todd Wilhelm

          7. JLC

            I agree with everything Todd has said. I will only add that the following scenario may be possible.

            Initially, several elders of the Church objected to Mr. Fullerton’s support of CJ Mahaney, because unlike Mr. Fullerton, they did responsibly review the legal documentation indicating that Mahaney has covered up heinous acts of child sexual abuse.

            As a result, these elders did want to hide the fact that Mahaney was preaching at their Church.

            In subsequent years, Mr. Fullerton has asked elders who did not want to endorse Mahaney to leave and they have.

            I believe that Rachael Dennhollander was asked to find another Church, because she was appalled by its support and endorsement of a Pastor who covers up pedophilia and argued, in court, that the U.S. Constitution gave him the right to do so.

            The Church is presently not publicly disputing Mrs. Dennhollander’s statements to that effect.

            Does anyone believe that Mrs. Dennhollander was the only person forced out of this Church for objecting to Mr. Fullerton’s endorsement of a Pastor who enables pedophilia?

            I don’t.

            Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

  3. Bev Sterk

    Bless all your hearts! appreciate your responses…. I want to honor all of you and all the research and work you do helping bring transparency and light to these damaging and disturbing abuses that have been hidden far too long… keep up the good work! Stay strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!

    This is fascinating how things are coming around full circle here re SGM/SGC… I really encourage all to follow up with where your state is at regarding statute of limitations regarding child sex abuse… in WA, the statute was changed in 2013 to 30 years old if you were abused as a minor… and there is a house bill currently in progress now that will remove the SOL completely for all felony level sex crimes… which includes child sex abuse… help get the message out there to get these SOL’s repealed… whatever state you are in!
    Here’s WA:
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1155&Year=2017

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks for everything, Bev. SGM had the misfortune, from their perspective, to be originally located in Maryland.

      Maryland has no statute of limitations regarding major felonies of any kind.

      I wish that all states would follow Maryland’s example. Why should there be a statute of limitations for major crimes against society?

      Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  4. Sara WG

    Grateful to both Janna and Todd for your continued work and advocacy in lifting up voices, standing with and for the victims and survivors, and for calling the church to be the church of Jesus.

    Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks, Sara. You have an awesome, dad! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
  5. Bev Sterk

    Thanks Janna! really appreciate your response with your thoughts and perspectives!

    I think Todd might have read Rebecca’s post, as it looks like one of the comments is from him… I think it’s fascinating that RD posted this a month ago, several weeks before this all came out with Rachael’s testimony!

    so question, was the statute of limitations one of the technicalities that SG used? I’m curious, because using technicalities is one of the ways I’m confronting leaders in the Church to do what’s right, above and beyond the legal requirements… that we are called to a higher standard than the world and the (institutional) Church is failing when we use technicalities to “get out of jail free” to avoid consequences of abusive and immoral actions… and the statute is one I’m praying into having each state repeal on behalf of those who have been abused as children… sadly (but not surprising) the Catholic church and other churches are lobbying to oppose that repeal…

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Davis

      Yes, Todd’s information about Ryan Fullerton was helpful to me in my research for that article, and I linked to one of his articles and then alerted him about the post, which is why he commented on it. I appreciate the research Todd and others have put into this subject.

      One of the points Todd (and others) made was that Ryan said CJ Mahaney had been “exonerated by courts” when really the case was dismissed because of the statute of limitations. So yes, it seems like statute of limitations was one of the technicalities that has been “used.”

      Reply
      1. JLC

        Thanks, Rebecca. I will read your article and comment more, as time permits, yet want to say a few things now.

        One, Todd and I are big fans of Brent Detwiler, who advocates extensively for sexual abuse victims, especially those who have been affiliated with Evangelical Churches. Brent has publicly stated, on his Facebook page, that he has interacted extensively with Rachael Dennhollander, regarding her research of the Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse cases. He recently wrote an excellent article about Sovereign Grace Ministries’ (now called Sovereign Grace Churches) recent public contention that Rachael Dennhollander is a liar who does not have the right to an opinion about the way the SGM and its Pastors treat sexual abuse survivors.

        Please consider reading Brent’s article here: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/rachael-denhollander-speaks-out-against-cj-mahaney-in-interv.html

        Also, like most of Mahaney’s supporters, Ryan Fullerton appears to know shockingly little about how the U.S. court systems work. Mahaney has not been “exonerated by courts” because he has never been charged with a crime, pertaining to child sexual abuse, to my knowledge. The litigation Fullerton appears to be referencing pertains to a civil class action suit, brought against Mahaney and others, by many sexual abuse victims of the Churches Mahaney personally oversaw for decades, in some cases. Several of these victims have now had their claims about having SGM Pastors telling them not to report crimes to the police backed up by sworn testimony given in criminal trials, which resulted in convictions. However those criminal convictions and evidence of Mahaney’s long-standing policy of enabling pedophilia don’t seem to matter to Ryan Fullerton, despite his contention that people should be treated as though they’re guilty if they are indeed proven guilty in a court of law. (Edit at 11:08 MT) – Mahaney does not appear to be publicly claiming that the sworn testimony in question, which very arguably implicates him regarding criminal activity, is false).

        In my opinion, someone like Ryan Fullerton, who is running a non-profit/tax-exempt Church that is obligated to follow laws pertaining to preventing and reporting child sexual abuse, should also know the following. In the United States of America, criminal courts address crimes against society such as murder and conspiring to cover-up child sexual abuse. Civil cases, by contrast, pertain to disputes between individuals. So a jury on a civil court could not have pronounced Mahaney guilty or innocent of any crime for which he could face a criminal penalty such as going to jail. They could only decide whether they thought he had harmed the people who brought a civil suit against him and should or should not face civil penalties for doing so.

        Mahaney and the other SGM pedophilia enablers, to my knowledge, never formally made the simple legal argument “we didn’t conspire to cover up child sexual abuse.” Instead, they got the case dismissed based solely on several technicalities, all of which can all be read in this legal document, filed by the lawyers for the defendants (SGM Pastors, leaders, and other affected parties). (Edit at 10:59 MT:the document was written by the lawyers for the defendants, not the plaintiffs, as was initially stated. Many legal documents pertaining to the case can be found at this site: http://www.brentdetwiler.com/class-action-lawsuit/) Legal document showing the technicalities Mahaney and others employed to get a lawsuit against them dismissed. However, even if a jury had determined that Mahaney was liable for damages done to sexual abuse survivors, in a civil suit, that would not constitute declaring that he was criminally guilty or innocent of any crime.

        Ryan Fullerton really should know all that. I wouldn’t trust someone with his moral standards and lack of knowledge about the legal system to protect a pet turtle, much less a child. But that’s just me.

        I hope the information above is helpful. More later. Thanks again to all the supporters of this blog. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

        Reply
    1. JLC

      Thanks so much for the link and the comment, Bev. I haven’t had a chance to read the “here’s the joy article” you posted, yet am familiar with the asinine arguments people make in saying that Christians are obligated to treat people as though they are innocent of sexually abusing children unless/until the government formally convicts them of that crime. In my experience, folks are not even consistent in applying the “innocent until guilty” standard.

      For example, the same person who says that C.J. Mahaney must be presumed innocent unless/until he is convicted of a crime will also claim that O.J. Simpson is guilt of murder, even though Simpson was acquitted (determined to be innocent because he was not proven guilty) of committing the alleged murders which made him famous.

      In addition, there’s copious evidence that Pastor C.J. Mahaney, whom Ryan Fullerton adores and endorses, went out of his way to discourage sexual abuse survivors and their families from reporting sexual abuse crimes to the police.

      Further, to my knowledge, Mahaney did not even formally, in legal documents, dispute the allegations of covering up child sexual abuse against him. Instead he tried and succeeded in having the case against him dismissed based on technicalities alone. One of those technicality arguments was that the First Amendment should give clergy the right to tell people in their Church not to report child abuse to the police. I’m not making that up.

      Morally speaking, should Mahaney be rewarded by a presumption of innocence, just because he hasn’t yet been convicted of a crime, when we know that he covered up heinous crimes against children and argues that the U.S. Constitution gave him the right to do that?

      Also, the “innocent until guilty” standard only tells us when the government can impose criminal penalties against an individual for breaking secular laws. It is not in the Bible, to my knowledge. It also does not pertain to protecting children from people who may be a danger to them, as far as other sectors of the government are concerned.

      For example, in many states, child protective services can take away a teacher’s license if they determine that sexual abuse allegations against that person are credible. They don’t need a criminal conviction to take a serious action against someone whom they believe is an immediate danger to children. For similar reasons, they remove children from potentially dangerous homes irrespective of whether the caretaker, in question, has been the subject of a criminal conviction. In other words, they social services prioritizes protecting children not adults.

      And there’s also the common sense argument. Would Ryan Fullerton put kids in a nursery with someone who had been charged and indicted for alleged crimes, pertaining to child sexual abuse, just because that person had not yet been to trial and pronounced innocent or guilty by a jury?

      I certainly hope not. Some Churches prevent members from working with children if they simply have a recent arrest pertaining to sexual abuse. Yes, that policy is hard on people who are falsely accused of terrible crimes. However, I think it’s better to err on the side of protecting children rather than endorsing adults who behave like C.J. Mahaney.

      Thanks again for the comment, Bev. Best, Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

      Reply
      1. Rebecca Davis

        These are good points, Janna. I made similar points in the “innocent until proven guilty” blog post, which transcribed the two (arguably) most significant minutes in Ryan Fullerton’s sermon.

        Reply
    2. Rebecca Davis

      Thank you for linking to that post, Bev, which has been retitled “Ryan Fullerton of Immanuel Baptist Church addresses that “innocent until proven guilty” question,” for emphasis. It was posted a month ago today.

      Reply
  6. JLC

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m Todd’s assistant and sometimes moderate comments on this blog.

    This is just a friendly reminder that the comment policies for this site clearly indicate that comment submissions must be backed up by intelligent reasoning or quality sources.

    Comments consisting of nothing but personal attacks will not be published.

    If directly or indirectly trashing sexual abuse survivors and their advocates is your goal, then there are plenty of other places on the web where you can behave like that.

    Also, there appear to an increasing number of hostile commenters who have clearly been sent here by their Pastors. If you fall into this category, please consider telling your Pastor(s) to “man up” instead of hiding behind Church members.

    Thank you.

    Janna L. Chan

    Reply

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