Why Does Mahaney Get More Slack Than Nevin?

The answer appears to be that if you I have spoken at conferences with C.J., shared a meal with him after one of those sessions, or sung Sovereign Grace Music songs on stage with him, then it is possible to stand in the gap with C.J. in the current difficulty that SGM is experiencing. But if you have not done any of those relationship-building things with J.W., then it is not possible to give Nevin the benefit of the doubt.

This is another way of saying that personal knowledge and friendship appear to be significant elements in the reactions from famous evangelical Reformed figures to the news about C. J. Mahaney and the difficulties besetting SGM. Al Mohler has issued a statement of full confidence in Mahaney and so Ligon Duncan has recently issued a statement over at Reformation 21 which includes this:

It is clear that far from a scandalous cover up, our brothers at Sovereign Grace are taking these matters with utter seriousness and are endeavoring to walk in Gospel repentance and humility and fidelity. C.J. knows of my complete love and respect for him. And my brethren at Sovereign Grace know of my support and prayers for them. . . . I want to emphasize that we fully respect the process that SGM is taking to review the entire situation and that we have no intention whatsoever of joining in the adjudicating of this case in the realm of the internet – a practice as ugly as it is unbiblical.

Here’s the problem. For schlubs like me, who have had no personal interaction with Mahaney, the only information I have to go on are those formal statements that describe SGM’s work. And when I go to the website of SGM I discover that Sovereign Grace churches are weak on the sacraments, have no presbyterian polity, and also include statements friendly to charismatic views of the Holy Spirit. These official teachings and practices have nothing to do (as far as any of us know) with the current difficulties at SGM. C.J. may be guilty or innocent no matter what SGM teaches and does.

But those formal statements would be enough for me not to have personal knowledge of C.J., at least the kind that comes from parachurch conferences, networks, and alliances. All serious Reformed church members and officers, of course, may and do participate with non-Reformed in a host of voluntary organizations. You cannot exist in civil society and not participate with Baptists, Mormons, or Roman Catholics at the Parent Teachers Association, or at the committee for expanding the local library, or on the Chamber of Commerce. You might even participate with non-Reformed in religious endeavors like a college or a magazine.

But if an association or organization calls itself a ministry, I am not sure how such cooperation can exist. The reason has to do with the word “ministry” itself. It invariably goes with “the word” as in minister the word of God (except for the neo-Calvinist/evangelical clutter of “every member ministry”). And when we talk about ministry in this way, we are in the ballpark of ordination, ecclesiology, sacraments, worship, and doctrine. Ministry as such should be confessional. Cross-confessional ministries undermine confessionalism. (And if an organization has the word “gospel” in its name and does not call itself a ministry then it should cease its activities because ministering the gospel is of the essence of ministry.)

So again, I am in a dilemma regarding the current situation at SGM. I have a knowledge of C.J. that only comes from formal statements that would prevent me from entering into ministry relationships with him. And not having those ministry relationships I have no personal knowledge that he is a worthwhile friend and colleague. At the same time, I have friends and acquaintances who are assuring me that everything is basically okay with C.J. and this advice stems from personal knowledge that is grounded in a cross-confessional ministry. Reassurances about C.J. would not be coming from evangelical Reformed types if those Reformed and Baptist figures were as particular in their understanding of ministry as anyone who takes seriously the visible church should be.

Of course, it is commendable for people to stand by their friends and I commend Duncan and Mohler for not doing the self-righteous thing of throwing Mahaney under the bus simply at the accusation of misconduct. Innocent until proven guilty works in both kingdoms.

But if friendship is really a function of fellowship and such fellowship is misbegotten on confessional grounds, then standing by one’s friend may really be a form of standing by a fellow minister while having no ecclesiastical basis or status for doing so.

So I remain ignorant of C.J.’s personal charms because I remain separate from Sovereign Grace Ministries.

This entry was posted in Jure Divino Presbyterianism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Great write-up. I’d consider crediting your source for the graphic that goes with it, though.

  2. David A Booth
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink


    I’m not sure that I follow your argument regarding our involvement in parachurch organizations:

    1. Can an OPC minister teach at Gordon-Conwell (e.g. M. Kline)?
    2. Can an OPC minister work on a Bible Translation Committee with those who don’t subscribe to the WFC & Catechisms or the Three Forms of Unity? If not, where is the NAPARC Bible translation committee?

    If it is o.k. for an OPC minister to teach at GCTS and to serve on a non-confessional Bible translation committee, it is hard to see why one could not also be a member of a group like T4G (NB: I didn’t simply say “speak at a T4G conference”).

    What am I missing?


  3. Jared
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    From the chart on the page, it seems SGM has discovered episcopal polity. So the question then would be what relationship does the Congregationalist Mohler or Presbyter Duncan have with Bishop Mahaney?

  4. Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    David, my remark about teaching at a college with a religious mission could extend to GCTS. As far as I know, Kline’s presbytery approved his call to teach there. In which case, employment with a calling from the church does seem to go well beyond the associations that prevail in most parachurch “ministries.”

    As for a NAPARC translation committee, I’m fine with that. I actually think it would be okay for the OPC to have its own approved translation. It might be a little pricey, though.

  5. DJ
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Stand by your friends is one things. Intentionally trying to sway the scandal to favor your friend is another. This is precisely what both men have attempted to do. Mohler stated CJ is fit for ministry and dismissed the documents. Really? When there is a current investigation by his ecclesiastical organization that is trying to determine that? Duncan said, in effect, “everything you need to know is written out by SGM. Don’t read the emails and transcribed phone calls, and whatever you do, don’t listen to the poor people hurt by SGM the past 20 years”. Whether you agree with SGM or not (and I no longer do) I see this as “evangelicalism” trumping and ignoring the local church. What else is new?

    if this was 2 months ago I would be in the middle of this, as I am learning now that many of my friends are contemplating leaving the SGM church (that has very close ties to CJ and the big wigs – they were always cycling though). Thank God I am not.

  6. Brad
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Mega dittos, Jared (they say that alot at Hillsdale). SGM is episcopal if they flow chart can be trusted.

  7. Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Brad, the drivers of cars in Hillsdale say megadittos, the pedestrians quietly contemplate providence.

  8. Brad
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink


  9. Ryan Davidson
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve known people who were part of SGM while it was still PDI, and my sense has always been that the whole enterprise is a well-intentioned mess that was going to come to grief sooner or later. You can’t run things by the seat of your pants forever, and when there aren’t any documents or procedures for handling dissent, discipline, or even really describing the the nature of church offices or how they are filled, that’s basically what you’re doing.

    I’ve heard rumors about Bad Stuff going on for a few years now. See here for more reading. For an insider’s take on SGM polity using internal documents, see here (posted Nov. 2009, updated June 2010).

    I think this is perhaps going to turn out to be the example of why confessionalism is important: this is what you get if you don’t have it or something like it. Reformed theology is not a buffet line where one can pick the dishes one likes (justification!) and leave the ones one does not (ecclesiology!).

    I doubt most SGM congregants will get the point. But I hope that some will.

  10. Paul
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Off topic alert: Darryl, I started reading your new book _From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of Conservatism_. To be honest, I was partly dreading it. Not due to content, but having read 4 or 5 other book you’ve read, I just haven’t jived with your writing style. Anyway, this book starts out captivating and the writing style is much smoother than any other book I’ve read by you (maybe that was intentional, I dunno). For the most part, I think I agree with the content and find there to be some interesting analysis I hadn’t thought about as well as spot-on criticism. If the books keeps up at this pace, I think I’ll thoroughly enjoy it, both in content and in style. Looks good! [/nice guy]

  11. Bill
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    What is the surces of the chart, I would like to chase it down. Thanks

  12. Richard L. Lindberg
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    All I know about the matter at SGM is what I’ve read on the web. After reading Duncan’s post on Ref 21, it seemed to me that the steps of Matthew 18 were not followed. C.J. was not directly confronted by those having issues with him. Rather, they send hundred page long tomes. Could much of this been handled in the way Jesus taught?

  13. Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Richard, Spiritual abuse (alleged as it is) can get complicated. Besides, how are those at the bottom of the SGM totem pole supposed to get a hearing with CJ when they have a strictly hierarchical structure? This type of set-up screams unhealthy if not cultic. Also, Mt. 18 applies within an ecclesiastical context. I don’t think CJ was within their church, he’s the leader at the top of a CEO-like organization. I’ve heard Mt. 18 used to cover up bad behavior before in similar contexts, in fact it’s one of the most abused Scriptures today. I would agree with you if it were a local church context. Are we to blindly believe one or two respected men, or hundreds/thousands of complaints that have gone unheeded for years? To me it’s a no-brainer. We venerate well-known pastors far too much imho….

  14. Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Bill, I got it from doing a google search for images of SGM.

  15. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Oy vey, Darryl:

    1. The cross-over from Mark Driscoll–earlier post–into inquiries about other Baptacostals, e.g. Piper, etc., led me straight into this morass. Monitoring this because the issue is larger than Mahaney the Enthusiast.

    2. There is a raft of issues at bar. Both Mohler and Duncan leaped far too prematurely–immaturely??–into the full-throated-defense. Dever and Mohler would prevent Duncan from attendance at His Majesty’s Table of the Gospel. Yep, while the converse would be true, to wit: the ana-Baptists are welcome.

    3. On a more cheery note for the ana-Baptist crowd. T4G, 10-12 Apri 2011. See t4g.org for the big names. Glad to see Dr. Carl Trueman has a break-out session. Also, an interesting and relevant, if not oddly timed post, at Ref21 today. About confessionalism circumscribing “power.” Carl’s one shortfalll was to miss the value of Lutheran and Anglican liturgy with the weekly confession of sin and absolution, but I digress–overall, a good article. Anticipated crowd for T4G is 10K. They had 6K four years ago according to my sources. Average registrant cost is $269. That’s $2.69 million in receipts. Confirmed this afternoon in a personal phonecon (by me) with the VP for sales of the Louisville, KY convention centre (quite splashy, modern, new). About $180K/day for 3 days, or, $560/K for three days. Estimate $300/K for contractors, lights, and setup crew. Estimate $500K for advertising. Bottomline: I see a $500K-$1 million dollar profit. Then the “Celebs” get to sell their books, CDs, videos, and other goodies. I’d like to see the financials on T4G and am working on it. Taking criminal law and forensic accounting next semester. Talked with a Federal Judge today about the “financials” of these non-profits. There are some wealthy men, truth be told. And let it be told.

    4. Keep the website up. A great service. More as the factaul pattern ripens. Again, commendable article by Carl.

  16. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Correction, T4G is 10-12 Apr 2012.

    Additionally, if 10K attend T4G. Low-balling this assumption of $300/attendee on travel, food, hotel. That is $3 million expended. In reviewing this with the VP of the Louisville Convention Centre, Louisville, KY, she observed–more rightly–that a better assumption might be $750/person for personal costs. I’ll stick with $300/person for travel, hotel and food for a total of $3 million in costs of travel, hotel, and food. She noted that the city is thankful for that. This lady was a real delight as we digested these issues.

    I’d like to FOIA the IRS-form 990 on the honorariums of those involved. Regrettably, according the Federal Judge, there are serious restrictions on the inquiry of financials.

  17. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Confirmed, C.J. Mahaney privately and personally donated $110K to Al Mohler’s Southern Seminary. Alot of money for a cleric. SGM donated over $100K to Al’s school as well. While Mr. Duncan advocated a wave-off, we believe a thoughtful, investigative, analytic, deliberative and careful review is warranted. If one wishes to be public, Presidential (of this or that), write books for a national constituency, and speak nationally and publicly, scrutiny comes with the territory. Ligon went public. Ligon can take a severe and meritorious drubbing for a premature reivew of “my friend” (his words). And why is a Baptacostal on the Board of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (ACE)? Or, is is the Alliance of Professing Evangelicals (APE)? Carl’s comments were more to the point and commendable too.

    Darryl, by way of background. Old, very retired, quite comfortable. At my age, I attempt to count backwards on birthdays. No one pays me. No one endorses me. Not “owned,” except by my LORD, my family, and many friends in a liberal Episcopal church who are believers (we’re believers in exile). No need for endorsements on books. No need for honorariums. No need for visibility or notoriety. Just some facts. “Just the facts, Ma’am,” SGT Joe Friday.

  18. DJ
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Viking – I had problems figuring out why CJ coerced (at best) or blackmailed (at worst) Larry T in 97. Finally put the pieces together. In ’95 parts of PDI (now SGM) was off the rocker loony and even involved in the laughing “revivals” to some degree. Then, a more Calvinistic conviction started to arise. In ’97 they still were not hugely Calvinistic. Larry was not on board at all with Calvinism, so while under scrutiny he finally decided to be done with it and use the Calvinism as a way out and claimed doctrinal differences as the reason for leaving. It angered pope mahaney, because he knew if word of the Calvinism came out a lot of the real hardcore charismatic churches would bolt. That means a loss of $$$. That is what sent CJ over the edge to threaten to divulge very sensitive personal information about his Larry T’s son in public. Have you read the transcribed phone conversation? That’s enough right there to assume CJ’s ministry would be done… but I guess not.

  19. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Ligon is getting a drubbing at: http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/?p=2454&cp=3#comment-37969

    “From SGM Refuge:

    (If you don’t know, Ligon Duncan is a PCA pastor and national speaker in the T4G foursome who wrote a short defense of CJ immediately after the documents by Brent were posted as SGM wikileaks. I’ve heard him preach actually, at the PCRT, and he was an awesome teacher of God’s word. It grieves me deeply to see him deceived about CJ.)

    A Reponse to Dr. Duncan
    July 14th, 2011

    Here is what Ligon wrote on his July 12 post entitled, “A Word about C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.”

    “We have no intention whatsoever of joining in the adjudicating of this case in the realm of the internet – a practice as ugly as it is unbiblical…. It would have been very easy for the leadership of SGM to ignore and dismiss these charges, because so many of them are so evidently self-serving and spurious accusations.”

    I have the utmost respect for Ligon. Like Dr. Mohler, he is defending his friend, C.J. Mahaney. Nevertheless, I think these statements will come back to haunt him.

    First, Ligon states his intention not to adjudicate the case (i.e., make a formal judgment or decision about a problem or disputed matter) in any way, shape or form on the internet. But five sentences later he does the very thing he condemns. That’s called hypocrisy.

    Second, Ligon characterizes my documents (see sgmwikileaks) as “so evidently self-serving” and comprised of “spurious accusations.” I am afraid the good doctor has embarrassed himself in his locution.

    More importantly, he has judged my heart and unwisely dismissed my writings. In stark contrast, he commends the leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries for not ignoring and dismissing such ridiculous charges.

    Well, I hope Ligon has read my documents. To the best of my ability, I’ve written out of love and I’ve written accurately. I’ll allow readers to decide if they agree with the doctor’s diagnosis.”

    Ligon–defending “my friend”–just stepped on a public landmine. As Confessionalists, what is Mahaney doing on the Board of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals?

  20. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink
  21. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink


    Yes, have read the 600+ page data dump by Brent. While there was a soteriological shift in the late 1990s, as it would appear, there were also internal SGM complaints about “diminished charismata.” Nontheless, they used Baptacostalist language, e.g. “speaking into the situation” with authoritarian tones. Throughout the 1000+ responses that I’ve read, there are numerous complaints about “hyper-authoritarianism” of an almost cultic variety. That itself warrants closer review. One tentative conclusion: the very authoritarianism C.J. Mahaney fostered, taught, believed and imposed–at a loss to many Pastors who were “degifted” (their term)–one of his closest, Detwiler, turned the tables on Mahaney in terms of the “sin sniffing” and “belittlement.” He kept records and emails.


  22. DJ
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Viking – One of my pastors was “degifted”… happened about a year ago. Now he is going to a PCA church (although, it’s the kind of PCA church the confessional PCA folks keep an eye on, if you know what I mean!) Anyways, it was the beginning of the end with me and SGM. I was being considered for a pastoral position and a years trip to the prestigious pastors college (where is the barfing emoticon that is at the SGMsurvivors site?) would follow if accepted. I realized that could be me someday (being degifted), and the flimsy PC “diploma” didn’t mean a hill of beans outside of SGM. Dr Hart’s assault on T4G, TGC, Piper, etc, earlier this spring, along with covenant theology, finally did me in. Just in time to miss this mess. Word is not a few leaders in my old church are gonna leave soon.

  23. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Ligon wrote too prematurely. Carl wrote quite astutely at Ref21. I wish Scott were still in the game and writing. The latter is profoundly missed.

  24. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink


    1. PC, or the “Pastor’s College,” as I understand it, is a 9-month affair or event.

    2. “De-gifting” was an entirely new term to me. There have been many “Pastors” who have been “degifted” with loss of position, place, salary and benefits—things that should be evaluated and protected. As an old Episcopalian, our clerics are #2 in terms of pay. The Rabbis are #1. So, no stranger to caring for a cleric. A church needs to do that. A huge supporter of an honourable Churchman in the pulpit, at the Prayer desk and at the Table. That being said, there have been “immediate” ejections without congregational awareness or even consent. Driven from the top. There are ecclesiastical issues of governance that recur through the documents. Carl hinted at that in his careful review at Ref21.

    3. I am unaware of Darryl’s review of T4G, TGC, or Piper in the summer. This much: my attenae is up. As an old Mariner, am at “PD depth (periscope depth) at 8000 yards out with a 30-degree angle on the beam with a 3-knot speed with orders to `Maintain course and bearing.'”

    4. As usual, let us continue to be thoughtful, factual, evaluative, deliberative, most cautious, analytic and wise.

    5. Darryl’s earlier post about Mark (Driscoll) with subsequent research led me into this inquiry.

    6. What is your understanding of this unilateral “degifting?”

  25. DJ
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Basically it’s a way for them to get rid of you if they want to… The pastor that this happened to at my church: it was explained to us that the pastoral team decided that they felt he wasn’t gifted as a pastor after all. Even though they are the ones who said he was in the first place. Nice, huh? No sin issues were listed. Just didn’t have the “gift” after all.

  26. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink


    As to T4G, confirmed today with the Louisville, KY, Convention Centre, that it costs $560K/three days. A charming chat with an honourable and open VP of sales. Most minimally, a $500K profit is my estimate. I think it may be closer to $1 million. We need some records on this. Speakers sell their books, CDs, etc. I am really low-balling my estimates too.

    In the documents, there is an allegation that “CJ” was playing to the “Big Reformed” players for an audience. It has been asserted.

    I’d like to see the IRS form-990 for T4G, to wit, payment of honorariums. T4G IS NOT A RED INK OPERATION.

  27. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink


    Are you aware that Mr. Brent Detwiler, plank owner of SGM (formerly PDI) from decades backwards until 2009, an inside man, with all the “Shepherding” influences, sent this 600-page download and data dump to the 100+ SGM pastors? The nets are aghast! SGM put out two posts today.

    I doubt Mr. Mohler and Mr. Duncan are aware of the depth of concerns evinced through many, many years, including coverup of molestation cases? How would they know? Yes, the chatter is out there. Al and Lig should have held their fire, but they didn’t.

    Also, finding out that Mark Dever is on Al’s Board of Trustees at Southern, centre for revivalist, predestinarian ana-Baptism. I didn’t know Mark was that tight with Al. I know CJ was tight with Al. Al posted CJ’s $100K contribution on his SBTS magazine, reviewed last night.

  28. DJ
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I knew about the pastors getting the documents. A good friend of mine spent 3 hours with our local SGM head pastor this week who is a close CJ friend. I am interested to see what the close friend is saying. It’s hard to think he wasn’t aware of some of this stuff? But who knows…

  29. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Keep us posted on factual developments. Just the facts so that a factual pattern can be discerned. My sense is that these folks are ana-Baptacostals or ana-Baptaholics. No Confessions. No sensible liturgy. No competent form of church government with appellate and supreme courts of adjudicature. Mahaney, himself, didn’t have the decency, ahem, or humility, or even fear of God, to submit to learning. He has a high school degree. Some feared “handling His Majesty’s Word” in public–as a consequence, they submitted to years of caution, learning and inquiry. Not CJ! Hubris!

  30. robin
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I was a part of group very similar to SGM over ten years ago. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. The constant questioning if we were really saved enough (it was in college) was absolutely terrifying. I am in my 30’s now and am still trying to recover. Of course my friends had it worse than me. One girl who worked on staff was called to the carpet concerning her attitude and was forced to have a meeting with the higher ups who told her that she had to present them with a “repentance plan.” These neo-calvinist unfortunately turned me away from reformed theology and almost Christianity. I know some will become angry for me saying so but, after reading this site for some time I decided to write. However, Dr. Hart you don’t present reformed theology in the same way… so why such a difference?

  31. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink


    Your story parallels many in the documents, so this scribe is not surprised. A “neo-Puritanical navel-gazing,”intense “sin-sniffing”by the authorities, imperious oversight, a Law-legalist dominion without any Gospel or assurances, as well as harsh judgmentalism appears in the 600-page data dump. Your report is not surprising.

    As to Darryl and his presentation of the Reformed faith, that’s his call.

    As to myself, the old Catechism, smaller and larger, as well as the old Prayer Book is in the DNA and bones. We have nothing, de nada, zippo, zero and triple-zero without Christ’s manifold mercies, righteousnesses, life, agony, sweat, death, and imputation of that righteousness to us. Again, de nada.

    Age 8, 18, 28 or 88, the rehearsal of this must again be heard again and again. I’m old enough to need it again after these many years. There is nothing without Him.

  32. Paul (UK)
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Whether folks agree or not with this post of Dr. Hart, and myself trying to avoid being an uncritical reader, I read the post and was blown by how good it was. Each sentence has a lot of thought, with a sharp and incisive tone and those of us who have been through the charismatic show have an even more personal interest in this post. The role of ACE is also exposed as NOT being confessional; as folks have pointed out, how the heck has Mahaney got on it’s board?

    I first heard CJ nearly 30 years ago in an odd place – in Yorkshire, England. With his erstwhile chum Larry T. they made about 6,000 charismatics laugh at the annual Dales Bible Week, that much I can remember. But maybe the heavy sheparding movement who invited them to speak (known as Bradford’s Harvest Time movement led by Bryn and Keri Jones) rubbed off on them and perhaps seeds were sown in CJ’s thinking of apostleship which Harvest Time were associated with.

    I was aware of CJ’s ‘gift’ of thousands of dollars to the Southern Baptists some time ago, and I still wonder if this helped to propel him to the inner circle of respectability. Also, the unabashed love of CJ by Kevin de Young, Ligon, Dever, and a host of others like Carl Trueman show a deference to a very different mindset to the Reformed, confessional faith, a deference which drives something like a coach and horses through the idea that de Young and other guiding lights are truly Reformed. I would argue that they want to redefine it and lead with an alliance with those like SGM, Driscoll, de Young and the such like which confuses, distorts, and ultimately undermines the Reformed, Biblical faith.

    The concept that the church often wants and sees theology through the prism of men (celebrities) is not a false one. Here in England we had the adulation of Driscoll by a para church set up called the Men’s Conventions in May. “We got him!” were the giddy words of the organisers of this annual event, such was their excitement of bagging Driscoll for the convention, drawing an odd parallel between booking Driscoll and Saddam Hussain’s arrest. Weird.

  33. Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    ‘Schlub’…I’d never heard/read that wonderfully evocative word before (we don’t have many Yiddish speakers ‘down under’) and had to look it up. Many definitions, but one that caught my eye was ‘the opposite of metrosexual’. So then I had to look up ‘metrosexual’. I’ve also never heard of C.J. Mahaney before, so I had to look him up on Wiki (we don’t have many Reformed charismatics ‘down under’ either). Maybe I should get out more and spend less of my spare time reading blogs? I’m a real schlub!

  34. Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Viking, did you really think Trueman was writing about Mahaney?

  35. Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Robin, because I’m mean.

    Or it could be because I have been blessed to study with and hear preaching from Reformed pastors.

  36. Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Mark, glad to contribute to your education. Sounds like you’re a mensch.

  37. Ryan Davidson
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    However, Dr. Hart you don’t present reformed theology in the same way… so why such a difference?

    Not to speak for Hart here, who can do that for himself, but it probably has to do with the fact that the SGM crowd isn’t really Reformed. And I don’t mean that in a no-true-Scotsman or even a more-Reformed-than-thou sense. I mean that the SGM leadership has never really engaged all that successfully with the substance of Reformed theology. They aren’t “neo-Calvinist”–that’s a term with its own definition–they’re more “quasi-Calvinist.”

    Their main theologian is Wayne Grudem, who’s at least as much charismatic as he is anything else, and while he does advocate something like the Reformed doctrine of justification, on most other things–sacramentology, ecclesiology, sanctification, etc.–he’s not actually Reformed at all.

    The SGM leadership is basically making things up from scratch, and the group has no historical institutional connection whatsoever to any Reformed denomination. They were actually Charismatic Catholics back in the 1970s, but drifted away from Rome into the charismatic wilderness, then sort of discovered theology somewhere in the early 1990s.

    So before you conclude that SGM has driven you away from Reformed theology entirely… consider the suggestion that SGM isn’t actually representative of the tradition. Because it isn’t.

  38. Brad
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Paul, your comment reminds of the rather odd placement of Mark Driscoll’s picture on the cover of the Free Church of Scotland’s denominational magazine:
    Doesn’t get much weirder than that. I was visiting the Free Church congregation in London in ’08 and nearly choked on my Cornish pasty when I picked this up off the their book table.

  39. Sheena Strain
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Someone had talked about financial accountability with regards to T4G and other nonprofits, you can find some information on http://www2.guidestar.org/Home.aspx. You do need to sign up for an account in order to view the documents.

    While T4G does not appear to be listed there you can view the last few years of 990 Forms for other organisations such as Ligonier and some seminaries.

  40. Brad
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Sheena, I met you in London on the day described above. I suppose we had Robbo to thank for the Driscoll cover.

  41. Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Hart: ‘It [ministry] invariably goes with “the word” as in minister the word of God (except for the neo-Calvinist/evangelical clutter of “every member ministry”).’

    Peter Martyr Vermigli on Romans 13:6: “‘For they are the ministers of God.’ ‘Letourgoi.’ Here we see that ‘letourgein’ and ‘leitourgia’ pertain not (as some think) to holy services only. Yes, rather those words properly signify public offices and functions.”

    ‘Ministri enim Dei sunt.’ ‘Leitourgoi.’ Hic videmus ‘leitourgein,’ & ‘leitourgia’ non solum, ut quidam putant, ad sacra pertinere. Imo illae voce proprie publica munera significant.

  42. "Michael Mann"
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    The charismatic perspective has a built-in propensity to be censorious and authoritative. Think about it: there is continuing revelation that can transform what we call “hunches” into the very voice of the Holy Spirit. And who are we to question the Holy Spirit? Preachers are then perceived to have extra helpings of the charismata, hence greater access to gifts that enable them to see the unseen and know the unknowable. Who are we to question those with the keenest ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Over time, pastors may feel this very deeply and have the kind of confidence that leads to censoriousness and authoritarianism.

    Combine this with a lack of presbyterian structure and order, and you have problems waiting to happen. Any kind of alliance with charismatic churches has a bold-faced “caveat emptor” stamp on it.

  43. Brad
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    MM, thou speakest as a prophet. Spot on.

  44. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    @Darryl, re: Carl, not sure if Mahaney-oriented. However, intended or not, it was timely and with salutary application. After Ligon’s premature, if not full-throated support at Ref21 (which is getting blasted in the blogosphere), Carl’s comments came “very shortly” after Ligon’s comments. A few days later. Carl is too suave to address it publicly. Perhaps, Darryl, you might ask Carl, as a former and fellow colleague?

    This much, why, pray tell, is a Baptacostal like Mahaney on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals? One of the Brits above has raised the issue. “Houston, we have a problem” (NASA). For Marines, the standard response is…well, standard. “It’s a leadership problem.”

    The research goes on. Blogdom and internet has gone viral with the SGM-story. Fast-breaking. Two Christianity Today articles in last few days. Christian Post picked up the story. Also, the Courier, a KY paper.

  45. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    @Paul (UK).

    You said:

    “Whether folks agree or not with this post of Dr. Hart, and myself trying to avoid being an uncritical reader, I read the post and was blown by how good it was. Each sentence has a lot of thought, with a sharp and incisive tone and those of us who have been through the charismatic show have an even more personal interest in this post. The role of ACE is also exposed as NOT being confessional; as folks have pointed out, how the heck has Mahaney got on it’s board?”

    Concur. I’ve renamed them ACE as APE, the Alliance of Professing Evangelicals. There are few, if any, Confessional Churchmen on that Board.

    Paul, I reposted your comment because it warrants meditation.

  46. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    @Brad re: http://www.freechurch.org/pdf/monthlyrecord/january08.pdf. Eegads. Got Grandpa’s Free Church of Scotland Bible several feet from me. Old (Canadian) Gramps was a quiet speaking Sabbatarian…who ruined this scribe’s Sunday plans to play with pals. “Not on Sunday, lad,” he intoned. Scots Psalms in the back of the Bible, plus a few dozen metricalizations of other Bible texts from Genesis to Revelation. The family history of baptisms, marriages and deaths extends back to 1833 in Glasgow. And then, Mark Driscoll?

  47. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    @Sheena, my estimation is that T4G will net $500K-$1 million on 10-12 Apr 2012. I intend to test the estimate next week with some calls. I know it will cost roughly $560K/three days based on a phonecon with a Senior Sales rep.

  48. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    @Sheena, thanks for the lead on IRS Form 990. I’ve bookmarked it and will followup. I’ll be following up with a (ret.) Federal Judge and friend, with whom am much privileged to spend 3-4 hours/week in one-to-one lunches. He’s 81, but sharp and his bunny-rabbit trails abound with insights. The 990 Form is a federal IRS requirement to “attempt” to ensure that 503-organizations are not directing (and covering up for) profits to board members.

  49. Donald Philip "The Viking" Veitch
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    This much, there are “some wealthy men” in the “Celebrity Circuit Culture.” Mahaney privately donated $100,000 to Al Mohler’s Louisville school. As the son of a manse and as an ordained, but happily retired, Churchman, how, pray tell, does a cleric have $100,000 dollars to donate to Al’s school? Ask your local Pastor is he can do that?

  50. Michael T.
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink


    Why, pray tell, are you so hot and bothered by the Mahaney debacle? From where I sit, your interest borders on obsession. Honestly, who cares? A simple “I told you so”, although a bit self-congratulatory for adults, is sufficient, no? Why kick and man when he’s down and then audit his financial statements after wards?

    After all, is Christian celebrity hoopla to be ignored only when it’s (supposedly) positive and drooled over when it’s scandalous?

One Trackback

  • By Electing Mr. Reverend President « Catholic Exchange on January 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    […] at Hillsdale College, represents a more conservative strain of opposition to Fischer’s view, as he contends that ministry “invariably goes with ‘the word’ as in minister the word of God.” Hart points to “the […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>