Mahaney Leave

C.J. Mahaney, one of the leaders of the resurgence in Calvinism among some conservative evangelicals, is taking a leave of absence from his ministry due to unspecific but serious charges, he and his board have announced.

Mahaney has been president of the Maryland-based Sovereign Grace Ministries, a church-planting network that says it has 97 churches here and abroad. They are mainly clustered on the East Coast — none in Kentucky or Indiana — with others scattered throughout the country and abroad. But his influence extends beyond that church, as he is a popular author and speaker. He was one of the main speakers at a Together for the Gospel convention that drew thousands of attendees last year to the Kentucky International Convention Center. He appeared on a program that included Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Minnesota pastor John Piper and other A-list speakers from the New Calvinist movement, which promotes beliefs in such things as in male authority in churches and homes, the divine direction of events rather than human free will, and church discipline of its members.

via ‘Serious’ charges vs. popular pastor, author Mahaney | Faith & Works.


  • missional girl July 12, 2011 Reply

    Todd, there is more to this story than anyone can imagine. SGM is either going to allow God to completely clean house or the entire ministry is coming down like a house of cards. I know people who have personally been devastated by some of the leaders. I pray that God would have His way in a redemptive and restorative way.


    • Todd Rhoades July 12, 2011 Reply

      I know and agree. There’s a huge back story here. I’m hoping things are going in the right direction.


  • Testa-Mint July 12, 2011 Reply

    Having nearly skimmed all of the articles found at http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks , I am completely dumb-founded. I’m deeply saddened that this pastor has nearly gone broke, and his family deeply hurt, during the time since his forced departure from his SGM church.

    All I can do is shake my head . so much for accountability. This situation reminds me of the profound quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    I pray that C.J. repents along with the leadership that has sheltered this exemplary preacher.

  • steve miller July 13, 2011 Reply

    Brent’s account of what happened (is ongoing) at Grace Community Church is sad specifically because it sounds like it hurt a good man and also generally because I know it isn’t an isolated case in church leadership. I’ve seen similar stories play out at most churches I’ve been involved at.

    All Christian leadership is a reversal of the world’s understanding of leadership. You lead by serving and being submissive to others; this goes all the way up the leadership ladder, Christ is always the head. In the world you can lead and have your pride and ego fed. In the Church leading is sort of like your ego walking around with its pants around its ankles and a “kick me” sign taped to its back. You either learn humility or how to manipulate people, statements, and situations.

    Character is key. You don’t want the guy who has natural talent and seems to have it all together, the worldly successful man. Maybe he is successful because he has learned how to play the world’s game of pride-feeding leadership, maybe it is all about him. You want the man who has been tried by fire, who isn’t perfect, maybe even been wounded to a degree he walks with a limp (or a thorn in his side) and has thus learned to place his weight on Jesus.

    I think the internet blogs, podcasts, book deals, sermon mp3’s, conference speaking engagements, etc. have created a somewhat skewed view of being a pastor; it has begun to mirror celebrity status. It has become increasingly eye-catching and an alluring possibility to become a “name” or “that guy” others want to be like.

    The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life don’t exist just outside the church, they are real threats to the internal fidelity of leadership.

    For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

    I wish there was an easy resolution to Brent’s case and the C.J. Mahaney situation; all I can say is for other leaders to learn and be cautious. Also insist on times of prayer with all church leaders present, it is more difficult to harbor pain and resentment when you stand together as a unified body in God’s presence and experience His grace as you are lead by the Spirit.

    • steve miller July 13, 2011 Reply

      typo, last line:it is more difficult to harbor pain and resentment when you stand together as a unified body in God’s presence and experience His grace as you are led and lead by the Spirit.

  • Mark July 13, 2011 Reply

    >missional girl wrote:
    > “… SGM is either going to
    > allow God to completely
    > clean house or…”

    Did I read that right? You are going to “allow” God to do something? Really?

    The creator of the universe needs you to allow him to take action?

    If you call yourself a Christian then I must be something else because the Bible I read says that God is in charge and not you.

    The “christian talk” of today is getting really bizarre.

    Are there any real Christians left or are all of today’s so-called Christians just playing a cute little game on sundays and passing the collection plate?

    Call me when you decide that God is the one who is in charge.

    • missional girl July 18, 2011 Reply

      Mark, I have no idea what you’re talking about. You lost me on your point. I am not “allowing” God to do anything, lol. My point was that the ministry will either allow God to do what HE wants, or it will suffer.

      Is it so far-fetched to believe that a ministry that rejects the discipline of God won’t eventually crumble in on itself? I think you completely misread part of my post. I absolutely agree that God is in charge. The point of Todd’s post is the issues SGM and the hosts of families they’ve hurt–some of whom I PERSONALLY know.

      That’s the issue and no one will wiggle around that. Peace, brother. 🙂

    • rbud July 18, 2011 Reply

      Mark, your attack on Missionary Girl is completely unnecessary. “Allowing” God to act in our lives us rather familiar religious lingo, even if euphemistic. What’s more, it stands to reason that if God really was in control at SGM then these things wouldn’t have happened in the first place, doesn’t it? It always puzzles me about you sovereign-tists, that if God is so all-powerful, why can’t you understand that God can, and does apparently, choose when and where to exert His influence? Which means, He is in control when and where He wants to be. In this case, apparently not so far at SGM. But then, that’s God’s choice, which He seems to make when we allow Him into our lives, euphemistically speaking, I suppose (free will? Hmmm.).

  • Justin July 14, 2011 Reply

    An attempt here to exercise moderation…

    I too have perused the documents at Scribd, and I’ve gone to some of the blogs both pro- and anti-SGM. I know leaders in SGM and know folks who are members of SGM churches.

    There needs to be some awareness that not everyone agrees with Brent’s perspective on this matter. There are clearly problems in SGM, and there is clearly a need for repentance from CJ and others. But Brent was a major factor in shaping the culture and polity that is SGM, and he’s had his fair share of critics accusing him of some of the same things he now claims were done to him.

    There also needs to be an admission that some of the folks at some of the anti-SGM blogs have legitimate grievances and have been sinned against. But there also needs to be an admission that some are simply angry and have problems with authority or Reformed theology or whatever it is that particularly nettles them.

    My reaction when reading the first leaked document was “This is awful.” Then the thought occurred to me, “Why has he kept all these emails, and why write over 100 pages?” Then I saw that CJ had responded with his own almost 20 page confession, to which Brent responded with another 100+ page rejoinder and a refusal to meet face-to-face. Something about this doesn’t sit right.

    Please hear what I am and what I am not saying. I am not saying that CJ and SGM are in the clear. I am saying that there is more to this situation than any of us knows yet. Let’s at least allow men such as Mark Dever and David Powlison to speak the gospel into CJ’s life, and let’s allow the third-party ministry to do its work, and let’s find some measure of hope in the reconciliation between Larry Tomczak and CJ. I hope our hearts are not so calloused and our attitudes so cynical to hope for God’s grace to prevail.

  • Daniel July 14, 2011 Reply

    Justin, I appreciate where you are coming from. I would be willing to bet that there is a lot more behind the scenes going on.

    I don’t have anything to do with these folks and ministry but am fairly surprised that so many emails and documents with the label of “confidential” are being aired on the internet.

    Am I the only one who views this as “airing dirty laundry” or am I missing something? I don’t have a horse in this race except that I follow the Lord too. I know it is not being fought out in a courtroom but it seems like some principles from 1 Cor 6 come into play here. Maybe it would be better if this correspondence were in a password secure site members only could access.

  • Casey Sabella July 18, 2011 Reply

    Hmmmmmm. I always felt uncomfortable with the way CJ’s former co-founder, Larry Tomczak was edged out their ministry. Seemed to lack redemptive components. Could be roosting chickens coming home.

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