Show Me The Money

February 8, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

For our “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” file, here’s an excerpt from a post over at The Wartburg Watch (you can read the full article here):

When Joshua Harris assumed the position of Senior Pastor of CLC in 2004, C.J. Mahaney began an extensive campaign to advance SGM full-time.  Since 2004, Mahaney has formed some important alliances with leaders of the reformed movement.  Now C.J. shares the stage at various conferences with John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Driscoll, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and other Calvinists. 

How did this “success story” happen?  As far as we can determine, C.J. Mahaney was not well known until the release of his book Humility: True Greatness in 2005 and the re-release of Living the Cross Centered Life in 2006.  Mahaney seems to have become an overnight success, although it was at least 20 years in the making.

How did C.J. Mahaney become so popular among reformed Christians?  We believe C.J.’s secret to success is that he has friends in high places.  Here’s what we speculate… We believe his recognition among the “Reformed Big Dogs” began when he befriended Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C. (a church not far from Gaithersburg where CLC is located).  C.J. interviewed Mark Dever for 9Marks (a Mark Dever ministry) a couple years ago, and they established during that recorded conversation that they have known each other for 10 years.  We believe that conversation took place in 2008.  Ten years prior to that time would be have been 1998 — the year Mahaney and T parted ways.  Hmmm……..    

Mark Dever is directly connected with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) where he serves as a trustee.  Again, mere speculation on our part, but we believe Mark introduced C.J. to Al Mohler fairly early in the Mahaney/Dever friendship because we have discovered that C.J. began making contributions to Southern Seminary in 2002 at the Leaders Associate level (annual gifts of $5,000 to $9,999).  Both C.J. and Covenant Life Church (CLC) gave at the Leaders Associate level in 2003.  From 2004 to 2007, C.J. gave at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts over $10,000), while CLC gave at the Leaders Associate level in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  It appears the church did not make a contribution in 2007; however, C.J. contributed at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts over $10,000) once again in 2007.  We haven’t bothered to check C.J.’s contributions for subsequent years.  All of this information can be obtained from the SBTS Roll Call by following this link: 

http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf  (use the same website address but change the year accordingly going back to 2003 to verify the above information).  Remember that the Roll Call included in the Spring edition of the SBTS magazine is for the previous year.  For example, the 2007 Roll Call is published in the 2008 SBTS magazine.  The information is stored in a PDF file, so allow a few seconds for it to be retrieved.

In addition to the annual gift levels, the SBTS Roll Call includes the “Lifetime Cumulative Gift Levels”.  On the 2005 Roll Call, C.J. Mahaney was listed as a “Patron Member” (cumulative gifts of $25,000 to $49,999).  Check out page 45 at this link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2006Spring.pdf 

Incredibly, on the 2006 Roll Call, Mahaney has quickly risen to the level of “President’s Council” (cumulative gifts of $100,000 or more).  Check out page 43 at this link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2007Spring.pdf

That’s quite commendable, to go from being a Patron Member to a member of the President’s Council in JUST ONE YEAR!  In order to accomplish this feat, C.J. had to contribute a MINIMUM of $50,001.00 in 2006. 

Until the cumulative gift levels for the SBTS Roll Call are increased beyond the $100,000 mark, C.J. Mahaney will always be listed under “President’s Council”.  In 2007 he gave at the Distinguished Associate level (annual gifts of over $10,000), so we know that C.J. has given a MIMIMUM of $110,000 to Southern Seminary by year end 2007.  Here’s the link:  http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/magazine/2008Spring.pdf  (C.J. is listed on page 36 for the annual gift and on page 43 for the “President’s Council”.)

How did he do it?  Here’s our theory.  Books can be BIG BUSINESS with the right endorsements!  C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness  is copyrighted in 2005 and includes this endorsement:

“This is the right book from the right man at the right time.”  R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

When Mahaney’s book Living the Cross Centered Life was published in 2006, Al Mohler wrote the forward.  Dr. Mohler’s endorsement begins as follows:  “The book you now hold in your hands is nothing less than a manifesto for turning your world upside down . . .” 

By following the money trail, we believe we have discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When a rather obscure charismatic (C.J. Mahaney) receives a glowing endorsement from a well-respected Baptist leader (Al Mohler), the results can be extremely profitable for both Mahaney and Southern Seminary!