Addendum To The Previous Post

With respect to the previous post:

Ok, here’s the deal…

As Guy said, I’m presently out of town with limited internet access.  (As I type this, I’m sitting in Starbucks, feeling kinda like all those CLC pastors who have to hit “the blogs” while sipping their $5 lattes or enjoying lunch at Panera. :D )  Consequently, I have not been able to comment and clarify until just now.

I heard about Josh’s message from three different people, two of whom have been absolutely accurate in everything they’ve ever shared with me.  All three folks said they’d been at CLC on Sunday morning and took away essentially the same message from Josh Harris’ remarks – that Josh expressed regret for having urged people to read online.  All three folks also shared – in one way or another – that they suspected our traffic here would slow down now, because Josh’s teaching would have a dampening effect on people’s open-mindedness about “the blogs.”

I haven’t listened for myself to the recording of the teaching.  This is, first of all, due to my lack of internet access.  But it’s also due to the fact that Guy and I are aware that Covenant Life Church has edited out portions of teachings before they are posted online…which (in my thinking) makes sound files less trustworthy than accounts from people who were actually there.

That being said, though, I will amend the post to reflect the clarification so many of you provided.

I have noticed, however, that no one is disputing the part about how CLCers can look forward to further teachings on “gossip” and “slander.” Or the fact that Ken Sande is on the roster as a guest speaker. Those two (thus far) undisputed aspects of the original post would indicate that even if Josh Harris is all over the map with his “precise” instructions about, “Read the documents for yourselves, but don’t read them, but read them with discernment, but be careful about gossip and slander, which we will teach you about soon,” it seems to me that SGM/CLC is still trying to control how Brent’s documents (and by extension, the “blogs”) are perceived and understood.

Is “discernment” really such a weak area for SGMers, that they cannot be trusted to read Brent’s documents for themselves without all that special tutoring about what to think and how to think?  Are CLCers so stupid that they would forget that Brent’s documents represent the perspective of “one man”?


If so, then I would think CLC pastors would have bigger fish to fry, even, than CJ’s problems right now.  What they’d have on their hands, if they’re REALLY so worried about their members’ discernment and reading ability, is a case of a weak-minded congregation.

Since I do NOT think that CLCers are actually that dumb, and since I think most CLCers have enough discernment to be trusted to read for themselves and draw correct conclusions without a bunch of special training, I think all this chatter about “read with discernment, and don’t gossip” is unnecessary and an insult to the congregation.


  1. Phoenix says:

    I have just asked Guy to delete my Post #10 from a previous thread. I’m not at all sure that I’m doing the right thing. I thank those who expressed support for me and ask that you understand that I’m acting according to my conscience even if you disagree.

    I don’t think that I can yet honestly thank those who reacted so negatively to the post. I would ask that you be at least as zealous for the truth and for the protection of children as you are for the feelings of productive SGM members in good standing. And take a moment to reflect on the cruel machinations of SGM leadership that got us all into this mess. And remember those they hurt, including me.

    That family needs real help. Real help in truth and light. Please help.

  2. A Kindred Spirit says:


    It was the “gossip and slander” reference that illicited my first comment.

    Poor Josh has had a steady diet of Gothard’s “gossip and slander” teaching since he was a young boy in his dad’s church.

  3. sgmnot says:

    “Is “discernment” really such a weak area for SGMers, that they cannot be trusted to read Brent’s documents for themselves without all that special tutoring about what to think and how to think? Are CLCers so stupid that they would forget that Brent’s documents represent the perspective of “one man”?”

    :word I “checked my mind out” for far too long as a CLC member, scared to think for myself. I’m an adult and have been a Christian for 30 years, Umm, Gentlemen, I can discern what and when and how to read what I want. Thank you very much!

    Current SGM members, here’s a challenge: Where does it say in the Bible that Leaders are supposed to regulate what YOU read or hear OR think?

  4. Roadwork says:

    In the last post anSGMmember quotes Josh: “But the overwhelming majority of the people who have the most grieving stories are not from the most recent years (except perhaps the situation at Fairfax).”

    I’ll be sure to tell that to my 17 year-old daughter who was in tears and visibly shaking as we discussed where we were going to church this past Sunday. (We left our SGM church a few months ago and we’ve been visiting other churches since. This was to be our second Sunday at this new church). She feels she can’t trust the church because of how she was treated over the past few years at the local SGM franchise.

    Thanks SGM for leaving me to pick up the pieces from your legalism concerning gender roles (seared into the minds of the young men in her youth group).

    Thanks for treating my daughter like crap.

  5. A Kindred Spirit says:


    There are probably quite a few folks reading and commenting now that are unfamiliar with the story of your father being a pedophile.

    I was always moved by your passion and heart for both your father and the innocent in your comments on the “Noel posts.” It would be impossible for me to find all those old comments, but I sure wish I could. I would copy and paste them here for others to read.

  6. Remnant says:

    I’m carrying this over from the last thread because SGMNOT #3, raises the very same question I sought to address to A Friend.

    A Friend you said #87:

    Have you been under his leadership?

    Here’s where I start pinging. :D
    Here’s where I disagree the theology of SGM.
    Here’s where I find the key issue of polity that has wrought these stories of abuse.

    Pastors are not meant to be our leaders. They are meant to walk alongside us, encouraging us, teaching us, building us up, co-submitting with us, helping us. They have a role but the role is to care for us. Not to be over us or to lead us.

    We are each members of one Body – the Body of Messiah. The greatest is the least. The least is the greatest.

    In the OT, the people (my people) wanted an earthly king which displeased the Lord for He was their King. He wanted to be their One, their Only Ruler for He is a jealous God. Besides, He is more than sufficient.

    Nor do we need a High Priest to stand in our stead. Hebrews 7:23 states that Jesus is our High Priest and there is no longer a need for a man to represent us before God.

    Sorry this is long, but please read it for my point…

    The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

    26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

    There is no talk here of earthly “leaders.”

    My pastor is not my leader. No way. No how.

    I did a quick word search for the word “pastor” in the New Testament. It appeared once, in Ephesians 4:11.

    11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

    There is not one note of anything close to “leader” in this passage.

    This passage describes us working together with CHRIST as our head. There is no king, no priest, no leader in the Body of Messiah save for Jesus alone.

    So, A Friend, asking if someone has been under Josh’s leadership right there sends flags of alarm – for Josh should not view himself as a leader, he should not strive to be a leader, he should not be acclaimed as a leader. He ought to be a lowly one of us, seeking God’s will with me. If he has set himself above me, he is not worthy of trust for he thinks he ought to be in a place where God, and God only, is to reside.

  7. Kris says:


    To clarify, we were contacted by an SGM pastor on behalf of the individual whom you referenced in that comment. According to this pastor, that individual was “devastated” by the implications of the phrase, “behaved seductively,” taking away from those words the idea that she’d somehow done something (as a child) to provoke the abuse that happened to her.

    When I’d originally read your comment, I took that phrase as indicating that you felt you had observed an inappropriately sexualized vibe between the girl and the perpetrator. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I didn’t think you were placing blame on the victim. Otherwise, I would have said something sooner.

    However, since the victim felt so strongly about that choice of words, Guy and I both thought the best thing to do would be to delete that portion of your remarks.

    We have NO desire, EVER, to revictimize victims.

  8. not going back either says:

    At one of the “Celebration” Conferences in years back I remember Josh as part of a drama dancing across the stage like a doll or puppet or something. All I can think of now, is a new vision of Josh as that character being pulled hard by each arm like tug-o-war.

    I heard it said that the pastors told Josh that he shouldn’t have encouraged people to read the blogs without giving teaching at the same time. Yuck, whatever.

    Anyway, I just keep feeling Josh is in for the fight of his life. Massive pressures from the other million (oh sorry, there is only like 19 or something)pastors at CLC on one side, and on the other side, he hears the people. And I think he is listening way more than the other pastors are, and that is the reason for the dichotomy. (Wish I had a tug-o-war icon, ha)

  9. Be Careful says:

    @Remnant: You’re absolutely right that the Bibles gives us a very unique kind of leader–one who does not serve as an intermediary between us and God, one who acts like a servant instead of a “Lord.” But the Bible does teach that churches should have leaders:

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

    Also, the Ephesians 4:11 reference to “pastor” is actually the Greek word “poimen,” which means “shepherd.” None of this needs to endorse a particular SGM policy or the specific actions or any SGM “poimen,” but it is important to know the full scope of what the Bible teaches on this topic.

  10. Ummm says:

    Abandon all hope ye who enter….

    Just when I was feeling really optimistic regarding Josh Harris’s courageous stand.

  11. Diane says:

    New here–not involved with SGM in any way. Just learning about it and was actually shocked to find out there are blogs dedicated to those injured by this brand of church ministry- if that is what it can be called. Thank God for these blogs.

    I have been reading them for about 2 weeks. Have been so blessed by the many stories and comments….saddened and grieved by the injustices and abuse so many have experienced. My heart goes out to all who have been injured and I have wept my share of tears upon reading some of your stories. I know God will one day avenge all for His children. I trust in that.

    As someone who, like I said, has no idea who CJ is except from reading about him since he stepped down and finding out what SGM teaches as much as I can…I just want thank you for this blog and for all who share their pain-filled experiences so that others like myself, who are ignorant of SGM, can learn and be educated and warn others.

    Remnant #6: beautiful comment. Amen to that.

  12. Not Again says:

    From Brent’s Facebook page now:

    A three man panel comprised of Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund Jr., and Carl Trueman just declared that “We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry” on the Sovereign Grace Ministries blog. In light of this development and others, I have decided there is a need to blog myself. Tomorrow in my first posting at, I will be addressing their pronouncement. Please pass the word onto your friend’s.

  13. A Kindred Spirit says:

    In this day and age there’s no excuse for the continuation of the same mess that’s been going on for the last 30 or 40 years as a result of Gothard’s teachings, the shepherding movement, patriarchal teachings, etc.

    We all have internet access and we all know how to google.

    Nobody’s making this stuff up or exaggerating. Start researching it for yourself. Use that brain God gave you and trust that the Holy Spirit won’t let the boogieman get you if you read something that’s not “approved.”

    It’s pretty easy to trace where this stuff originated from…and it AIN’T the Bible!

  14. Patricia says:

    This is beyond absurdity. The three men who give their blessing to Mahaney’s reascension to the throne are either friends of Mahaney and his apostolic team, or they have spoken at Sovereign Grace churches/events.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    I can see them all smoking reefers together tonight. What a joke.

    They’ve made this entire debacle about C.J. when the whole SGM system is sick. Not a word about how sexual abuse cases have been mishandled.

    Are SGMers more excited than ever at the thought of standing before Christ for the first time with their minds focused on thanking the Lord for their pastor? (As stated in one of C.J.’s sermons)

    This smells really bad. :barf:

  15. A Kindred Spirit says:

    Thanks, Not Again.

    This should be interesting.

  16. Jayson says:

    I remember SGM’s teachings on “gossip and slander” when they removed our pastor in what seemed like a single day. Seemed more like a re-education training program or re-programming than anything else. I hope this will not be along the same lines as what we experienced, but I won’t hold my breath.

  17. Fried Fish says:

    @Kris said:

    If so, then I would think CLC pastors would have bigger fish to fry, even, than CJ’s problems right now. What they’d have on their hands, if they’re REALLY so worried about their members’ discernment and reading ability, is a case of a weak-minded congregation.

    “Bigger fish to fry”… gotta love it! And so true.

    Well, let’s see, SGM and predecessors have spent 30+ years building a system that is designed to make its members unquestioning, compliant, unconditionally supportive… Obviously there are rebels among the sheep, but for the most part aren’t they just reaping what they have sown? I’m sure they have plenty enough supporters that will fund and follow them quite willingly over the cliff, unless there’s divine intervention.

  18. anSGMmember says:

    @Roadwork (#4) – that was NOT quoting Josh. The only thing from my post that came from Josh was about 3 paragraphs back. That statement was my own and is based on what I’ve read here…

    Would you mind explaining what are the doctrines that were taught that caused your daughter so much trauma?

    Sorry she experienced so much difficulty.

  19. Matt says:

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

    Yep, it is important to know the full scope of what the bible teaches on this subject. Which is why I always get a kick out of the proof texting that goes on with the kool aid drinkers. Especially with this particular proof text. (Never read a bible verse. Read the whole book and the whole Testament for interpretation)

    First, we have to take Hebrews 13 in the entire pericope. When we do that, it becomes clear it cannot be proof texted and the translators (not inspired by the Holy Spirit, btw) chose the range of Greek word meanings in a very specific narrow way. We forget that translators were laboring under a church/state mentality.

    They are also the people who added the word “office” for some functions within the Body. The word in NOt in the Greek at all. They also added the words “symbol of” in 1 Corin 11. Gotta be vigilent when it does not match the entire pericope.

    That is why an interlinear can be helpful when one wants to proof text to use the bible as a club.

    So, how does Hebrews 13:17 fit in with ALL the one anothers, submit to each other, Not lording it over as the Gentiles do, and you have ONE teacher (Matt 23), all believers have anointing (1 John) etc, etc.

    And where do we see elders mentioned here? Leaders, in the Greek is better translated as ‘those who have gone before’ or those who stand before. As in, they have been through the grueling sanctfication process. It has nothing to do with man given titles in the body.

    Here is a better translation looking at the range of word meanings in the Greek and how they are used in other context within the same pericope:

    “Trust them that are your leaders and be yielding: for they watch in behalf of your souls….”


    Allow those that have gone before you to persuade you…

    These translations fit in with the entire pericope of what is taught in the New Covenant. After all, does Hebrews 13:17 apply to Diotrephes? He was a “leader” in the Body gaining followers after himself.

    “Also, the Ephesians 4:11 reference to “pastor” is actually the Greek word “poimen,” which means “shepherd.” None of this needs to endorse a particular SGM policy or the specific actions or any SGM “poimen,” but it is important to know the full scope of what the Bible teaches on this topic.

    Any believer so gifted can be a “shepherd”. I shepherd my child. My wife ‘shepherds” some new believers. What I think people miss is taht the Body can have quite a few functioning as “shepherds”. It is a verb. What I also think is that we have a tendancy to take metaphors too far or misunderstand them. The “shepherd” in the Body is also a sheep. There is no mediator between us and Christ. The veil/curtain was torn in two at the Cross.

    But I always get a kick out of the kool aid drinks using Hebrews 13:17 as club. I just wish they would study deeper.

  20. Patricia says:

    Links to SGM sexual abuse stories. Can others provide links to other people’s stories so they’ll be listed on this thread? Let’s keep this on the front burner.

    Noel’s Story

    exCLCer’s Story

  21. BrokenHearted says:

    Thank you for removing/asking for those comments to be removed!!!

    I did read it as she was seductive towards him and that encouraged his abuse of her, so thank you so much for wanting to protect her!!!

    I am sorry if I was hurtful towards you Phoenix – I wasn’t trying to be. Thank you for having them removed even though you are not in total agreement with us.

  22. Sidney says:


    Look back in April or May for Wallace’s story. It was right before “Josh’s non apology apology.”

    Wallace and Happymom’s story is so sad….


  23. Patricia says:

    Thank you Sidney.

    Wallace’s story:

    Here is the link to Noel’s story:

  24. Roadwork says:


    Thank you for the correction. My apologies to all for attributing that quote to Josh. (Maybe we should all take block quote classes.)

    It’s the whole gender role issue that is VERY entrenched in the local franchise. She has interests other than spending her teen years solely “preparing for motherhood”. She’s really hurting and trying to find acceptance because of the rejection. There’s more to the story that I can’t share now.

    While some franchises may have relaxed on some of the practices made doctrine, it’s alive and well here.

  25. MikePhila says:

    Just read the Preliminary Board’s overview of whether or not CJ if fit to minister the gospel.

    I only strongly object to one statement … “The most serious charge in the documents is that, over a decade ago, C.J. Mahaney, in an effort to do what he thought would protect Sovereign Grace, threatened to break a promise, an act which appears in context to have been an attempt at coercion. This serious sin looks to us like an unfortunate lack of judgment, rather than a protracted pattern of behavior. It was clearly wrong, but C.J. Mahaney never acted upon it and has since apologized.”

    I object to this for the following reasons:
    1) “over a decade ago” – Inference sounds as if that this was such a long time ago and not a recent issue. My point is that it took him a decade to repent to a charge of blackmail on Larry Tomczak!

    2) “in an effort to do what he thought would protect SG” – You are kidding right? Since when is any type of blackmail FOR ANY REASON softened because one would one to protect one’s organization???

    3) “an attempt at coercion” – So why the word coercion? Why not “blackmail”??? Is a threat coercion? Is the possibility of saying I am going to tell the world about your son’s sexual sin coercion???

    Here is the legal definition of coercion: The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats.

    Sounds bad enough to me that a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ should not be fit for ministry. Doesn’t it?

    4) “An unfortunate act of judgement” – Do you know how many people are in JAIL because of an unfortunate act of judgement? It doesn’t matter what your judgement was. You did it! You did it! You did it! Geez … let me go intimidate someone and go then go tell the judge it was an unfortunate act of judgement … sure was … 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine … case dismissed!

    5) “rather than a protracted pattern of behavior”. So it’s OK (or not as bad) if I do something just once? I’ll still be fit for minstry? Let me sleep with someone in the congregation … just once! What? That would find me unfit for minstry? Why? What’s the difference between adultry and blackmail in the eyes of the Lord?

    Pleae don’t lose the fact that CJ didn’t repent from this for 10 YEARS UNTIL Brent started releasing the documents to CJ!!! 10 years. If Brent didn’t come along he would have gone unconfessed until the day he died!

    6) “but CJ never acted upon it” – He sure wanted to though! He even had his LAWYERS look in to it! He definately wanted to do it!

    I’m not quite sure why this was softpedaled, but let me say this right now to everyone …

    1) This is just the beginning of the great cover-up of sin at SGM.
    2) Nobody will lose their job or position at SGM.
    3) Brent will remain an outcast and will never be apologized to.
    4) They will go on operating and tidy up a bit but will never really address the leadership issues nor the heart issues
    5) SGM leadership will continue to flee from the Holy Spirit
    6) The Lord will not be mocked.

  26. sgmnot says:

    AKS #14: “Use that brain God gave you and trust that the Holy Spirit won’t let the boogieman get you if you read something that’s not ‘approved.’” :clap

  27. Andy the picketer says:

    If the average SG defender was as concerned with what has been going on in their “cult” for the last twenty years as they are with catching Kris in a mistake SG would be rehabilitated and molester free in a month.

    CHS: I stand by my post. Every single attender of a Sovergn Grace church at this point has culpability in the attempted cover up of child molestation cases. Despite what you might like to dream, the cover up went right up to the blackmailer CJ himself. He gave a mediator a check for $5,000 before they performed services with one of the victims family & the pastors. If you are attending and supporting a Sovergn Grace church YOU ARE GUILTY. The offerings you give are funding the cover up and operation of a deceitful and dangerous cult. Get some sunlight Zombie.

    I’m getting it together, two large banners that is, What child will Sovergn Grace Molest next ?
    Then there are a bunch of great signs. Coming to a Sovergn Grace Cult near you soon.

  28. Bethany says:

    It’s the whole gender role issue that is VERY entrenched in the local franchise. She has interests other than spending her teen years solely “preparing for motherhood”. She’s really hurting and trying to find acceptance because of the rejection. There’s more to the story that I can’t share now.

    @Roadwork, I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having such a hard time! I can totally relate. I didn’t leave my former SGM church until I was 20 and let me say being a woman who wanted to serve God through callings that weren’t wrapped around motherhood or being married made everything ten times more difficult. I struggled with finding ways to be “godly” in what I felt Him calling me to do, but I couldn’t correlate the teachings from SGM with the desires God put in my heart. Needless to say, there are still things I am trying to work through when it comes to this topic. Fortunately, God did place a few older women in my life who didn’t follow the SGM gender role which has helped me see that He does and can call us to serve in other facets besides motherhood.

    If you would like to contact me in a more private setting please feel free to ask Guy for my e-mail.

    I will be praying for your daughter!

  29. Ian says:


    Hey man. Interestingly enough, this same debate went on a while ago with Dennis over at sgmRefuge. It is of course a debate that has already happened and been settled in academia. I can put you in a touch with a Greek scholar if you’d like, and he can explain to you why Hebrews 13 means what it says it means. Unfortunately, etymology is not a definition. A butterfly is not made out of butter or flies.


    I recognize that this is probably pointless, but can I appeal to you that you have no idea how much your words hurt many within Sovereign Grace who love children and deplore those who violate their innocence. Your zeal, while commendable, should probably be fair. What do you think your words are accomplishing? If you’re looking to recruit people for your picket lines, I’m sure you can do that easily enough when you actually decide to picket. In the meantime, and this is totally to be taken with a grain of salt, but it appears as if they do more to unneccessarily insult people whom you don’t know, and assume on their perspectives towards those that Jesus loved, than they do to educate, encourage, build up, or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish with your words. For what it’s worth :spin

  30. 5yearsinPDI says:

    Mike 26……well said.

  31. anSGMmember says:

    @Roadwork #25 –

    Appreciate the gracious tone in your response. I was concerned my previous post could sounded like a coy ‘what problem?’/dismissive statement. We have kids growing up in CLC and are encouraged by the route the pastors are taking to separate practice from principal. I know:
    1) That doesn’t go back and fix things for your daughter.
    2) Things tend to emanate from CLC and ripple out to other SGM churches, especially since the pastor’s college is here and this is where they get their initial experience of SGM-world.


    So as others have complained that things should shut down and PC should be cancelled this year – I think this may be the best year for PC students, hard, but best. They are going to witness what its like to go through very difficult times in the church where there are people being quite vocal and criticisms being made. Hopefully this will better equip them for future leadership roles. (yes I did say leadership – sorry, a thorough systematic study of the NT would definitely put pastors/elders in a leadership position contrary to what has been expressed by others — they are not our EQUAL in their role in the Church. Are they in absolute authority – no, only the Lord/scripture play that part, but churches could not function without pastoral leadership).


    If we could take every complaint and turn it into a prayer for reform and revival, I think there would be lot more justification for the hope of the further of Christendom. I appreciate the need for people to have this forum to openly voice grievances, but maybe it could be suggested to speak truth in love? I’d be curious how many people want to just see SGM implode versus becoming the ministry that God would want it to be? What would glorify God more? A repentant fruitful ministry or another failed body of Christians?

  32. Matt says:

    ” I can put you in a touch with a Greek scholar if you’d like, and he can explain to you why Hebrews 13 means what it says it means. Unfortunately, etymology is not a definition. A butterfly is not made out of butter or flies.”

    Hey Ian,

    Scholars disagree all the time. And I have my own, thanks. And anyway, I prefer ancient language linguists. They are more objective that the indoctrinated “scholars” coming out of many seminary’s these days.

    And besides, you have the resources through your keyboard to check the range of Greek word meanings for free and how the same Greek word was used in other passages and then compare with the context. It takes some work but you can do, brother.

    One of the problems is that you replace the Holy Spirit with scholars.

    You want us to believe that John was wrong and you are to “obey” Dioptrephes because he was the “leader”.

    Lastly, the “scholars” make their living in ministry, too. And it is dog eat dog there. In fact, many have lost their jobs for daring to disagree with the “leaders” interpretations of scripture…even the secondary doctrines.

    You need the Holy Spirit, buddy. These humans are not it.

    Let’s use some logic, shall we? What if CJ one day decides to move you all to Guyana (I know people have moved to plant churches for sgm) and tells you to drink kool aid. I guess you have to obey him, right?

    If not, why? And when you tell me why, you will have admitted why the translation of that proof text is not a good one.

    Have a good day. And drink Pepsi instead of kool aid. :o)

  33. Wina says:

    I listened to some of Josh’s message….it was pretty good….and I believe in his sincerity and humility. The scriptures he used were very good and timely, BUT

    My problem is that they brought this on themselves. And once you’ve done that you have no control over the chips falling where they may. You don’t get to control people’s reactions. People need to feel what they feel, think what they think and heaven forbid–discuss what they will discuss. The Holy Spirit is the one who brings conviction, and if you sin in what you say, He should be able to handle the situation and bring conviction. People have to process all of this in their own way, with the Lord at their side. It is not just about pointing out sin….it’s about sifting through things with a friend, with the Lord and keeping your heart and mind open before Him for whatever He may want to whisper to you. HE is capable of walking people through this time. And HE is just, HE is kind, HE is love…He cares about CJ and all the rest, but CLC’ers, SGM’ers, He cares about you as well. HE won’t lead you astray. It’s ok to be unsettled…you may feel like reading each and every document over and over again (ok, that may be an exaggeration) on some days, and you may feel like crying on other days, and then on some days you may feel like ignoring it all and pretending all is well and all is good. Then you may be really angry, on another day you may want to rail with your words, but just keep coming back to Him and He will help you sort it all out. Don’t just stop at “Oh this is sin” and never deal with where your heart is on the matter. Let Him walk you through it. He is able.

  34. Patti says:

    I got to sit under the teaching of Manfred T Brauch this last weekend at the CBEinternational conference. He was amazing to listen to. I bought his book Abusing Scripture. If you don’t know who he is or haven’t read his book I think you would LOVE it. He is a retired president of what was Eastern Baptist Seminary, now Palmer Seminary. I think he has the best interpretation of the what the authority structure of God is. Most regular people would find the book too intensive and theological but I know you would be all over it.

  35. Matt says:

    “. I appreciate the need for people to have this forum to openly voice grievances, but maybe it could be suggested to speak truth in love?”

    an SGM member,

    Who gets to define what is said in love and what isn’t? You, CJ? How about MY definition of loving words?

    How about whitewashed tombs? That describes CJ. And many of the Pharisees at SGM who put heavy burdens on victims.

    Hey guys, the campaign has begun. Have you all noticed? They don’t like HOW you guys say some things. Don’t fall for it. The sin sniffing continues…in love…of course.

    Think of the children violated and how sgm responded. All those years these guys had NO conviction from the Holy Spirit….until now! Then take a hard long look at how this whole Brent document thing was orchestrated from the get go by the wolves. All those years they ignored the stories from the blogs with no conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    Yes, they are wolves. Would anyone really trust CJ after reading what he did to Larry’s son? Seriously? Get a reality check if the little children don’t worry your conscious. You are supporting these wolves to continue.

    Not only that but can anyone tell me how people find Brent’s documents except through the blogs? Are they handing out wikileaks links in sgm churches? So, in effect, Josh WAS talking about the blogs. Did anyone catch that?

    These guys are slick. And the brainwashed show up to tell us what is loving. The hits just keep on coming. Anything so they can keep their idols.

  36. Melinda says:

    @Roadwork – if your daughter wanted to talk to someone about that, I’d be happy to share my experience with her and give her some encouragement. I felt very lonely in high school. Since then, I went on to a four year university, an MA and a great consulting career. I’m married and I adore children, but don’t have any of my own yet. It takes boldness and maturity to pursue those things and I can relate on being in an SGM environment while trying to follow God’s plan for my life. My email is listed on my blog.

  37. Matt says:


    Thanks for the heads up. I am real picky about “Christian” books. I say study the Word, first. I locked myself up for about 6 years studying begging God to remove the institutional filters I had. We are all so good at parroting what some preacher or scholar says the bible says, aren’t we?

    But then it is good to read scholars…after your own deep study. Because people tend to get into ‘my scholar is better than your scholar’. When it is the Holy Spirit who reveals the truth of the Word. Scripture never contradicts itself but so many teach contradictions for their pet doctrine. And if people really knew the Word with the indwelling Holy spirit, they would not be led astray so easily. Like I was.

    I would never have seen the error in Grudem’s books if I had not deeply studied on my own. His teaching on Ezer is downright scary. Right. God subordinates Himself to us when He helps us. This is what Grudem teaches.

    I will check Brauch out. I have been enjoying Kenneth Baily, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. Bailey grew up in the ME and taught at seminary there for years. He gives us so much insight into the cultural meaning in so many parables.

  38. Patti says:

    Regarding Josh Harris Sunday morning sermon 7/31/11

    Excelleant sermon up to 17:40. If Josh would have just ended the sermon there
    I think everyone and I mean everyone would have been able to apply God’s word to their own lives and grow spiritually from it and go home that Sunday with healthy serious reflection.

    Now that we are all lulled into the wonderful error free preaching, how dare we find any fault with the rest of Josh’s sermon or question that he has anything but pure motives for this particular speech?!?

    Well, I dare!

    At 17:40 Josh takes a long pause. Then his tone changes and he starts with this:
    Brothers and sisters, we are in a season right now in which very real mistakes and sins committed by other people are being revealed and being talked about, and I believe that regardless of the good or bad intentions of the people who have revealed them I believe it is the grace of God that it’s being brought out into the open for us to deal with. God is in control of all this, God wants to cleanse His church He wants to work in all of our hearts and so I am not in any way saying that we shouldn’t take all of these issues very seriously and that there shouldn’t be repentance and appropriate consequences but the great danger for all of us, hear me in this, please hear me . The great danger when we are dealing with other people’s sin is that we would stop viewing ourselves as people who desperately need the mercy of God. The great danger is that we would forget that we are also the sick whom Jesus came to heal and rescue. And it’s so hard for all of us to distinguish between righteous indignation and self righteous indignation. That’s why Galations 6;1 warns us (and then he quotes the verse). And Jesus said in Matthew 2 (and then he quotes the verse) ………..

    Then he loses me for a while when he preaches about the fear of God. Then he uses the word of God to control. If you sense that he is condemning ‘revealers’ by his use of scripture then go with that feeling. Do not let yourself be confused of what is in your gut about what you are hearing him say. I grieve with you and I cry with you and I feel like having a group puke with you.

    And I’m still scared for Daughter because of the subtle brainwashing and satanic control that I’m hearing in this sermon. It tells me that nothing is changing, and personally only a condemnation upon a concerned parent who dares to ‘publicly’ ask for advice from people who have been there. I am shaking. I am crying. God, please help us.
    And if any of you who are still going to CLC for the purpose of helping people from the inside of this IMO half Christian half cult organization and you are completely on the side of the bloggers such as Stunned, Kindred, Matt, Happymom, Kerrin, NLR, etc. etc. please email me at my name plus j553 at hotmail. I promise not to reveal who you are but I do ask for a clue that would let me know you are for real as someone already trustworthy from this blog. I am hoping for some ‘guardian angels.’ I’m not asking for spies, I don’t need to know what my kid is ‘up to,’ I would just like to know that Daughter has an ‘in house’ ally should she need one.

    I know some people will have listened to this whole sermon and found absolutely nothing wrong with it. But if you need even just one more clue that Josh Harris himself is brainwashed and controlled just listen to the part where he laughingly (not jokingly) tells us that CJ himself likes to remind him (Josh) of all he (CJ) has taught him. That is after he praises the fact of all that his parents taught him and CJ has taught him. So again, CJ’s way and his parents way is so similar proves it is all Josh knows.

    A couple paragraphs back during this writing, Josh’s sermon recording came to an end. Immediately after I heard Josh’s last words music came on. I thought the recording was still running and that it was worship music from CLC. But it sounded so different.. and I was liking it which was confusing to me…and the voice sounded familiar but I wasn’t familiar with the song. And at the time I was typing I was also crying… the song was so fitting so I was so confused that it would be a worship song from CLC… then I looked at my computor. Well, I had downloaded the sermon I to my itunes library. The song playing was I Gave You All by Mumford And Sons. I wasn’t familiar with it because my son-n-law just gave the cd to me recently and I haven’t listened much to it. I really believe God meant that song to come on at the end of my listening. I Googled to see what the lyrics meant; I think you will all find it very fitting no matter what side of the fence you are on right now. Please go to and scroll down to read the commentary, I could hardly believe what I was reading in light of where I was just blogging!

  39. Steve240 says:

    I don’t have a lot of time but with regard to the preliminary “evaluation” and “coercion” I wonder what these 3 men think the definition of it is? They said “over a decade ago, C.J. Mahaney, in an effort to do what he thought would protect Sovereign Grace, threatened to break a promise, an act which appears in context to have been an attempt at coercion. ”

    Just because someone doesn’t follow through on act doesn’t mean it isn’t blackmail/coercion. It is the threat. One can blackmail someone, like Mahaney has admitted, and never follow through with the threat and it still be blackmail.

    If the blackmailer gets what he/she wants then the blackmailer wont’ follow through on the threat. That is what the blackmailer would prefer happen. They so intimidate the person being blackmailed that the blackmailer gets what they want.

    It just baffles me that “impartial” men don’t seem to understand what the true definition of blackmailing is. It isn’t whether he carried through on what he said he would do but was the threat. Of course if one doesn’t want to find something on Mahaney then they won’t.

    It only took Mahaney 13 years to admit that he did this. I guess that doesn’t disqualify a leader.

  40. Unassimilated says:

    Excerpts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew 23:13-33

    “Not for the glory of God and the good of souls, but that they might have the credit and advantage of making converts. Gain being their godliness, by a thousand devices they made religion give way to their worldly interests. They were very strict and precise in smaller matters of the law, but careless and loose in weightier matters.”

    “The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show.”

    Nothing new under the sun.

    Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund Jr., and Carl Trueman, :spin

  41. sgmnot says:

    Blackmail: “The crime involving a threat for purposes of compelling a person to do an act against his or her will…..
    In blackmail the threat might consist of physical injury to the threatened person or to someone loved by that person, or injury to a person’s reputation. In some cases the victim is told that an illegal act he or she had previously committed will be exposed if the victim fails to comply with the demand.” –The Free Dictionary, Legal

    Coercion: “The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats…disclosing any secret that would seriously impair the victim’s reputation in the community..” –The Free Dictionary, Legal

    “Neither extortion nor blackmail require a threat of a criminal act, such as violence, merely a threat used to elicit actions, money, or property from the [victim].” –Wikipedia

    He was guilty of blackmail and coercion. He and others pursued legal counsel on whether to follow through on it.
    Those involved all covered it up more than 10 years. He finally repented of it after more than 10 years. Is this a man you want to lead your family of churches? Think People!

    :worm I am not a worm. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus!

  42. Patti says:

    Hi Matt,
    It is so refreshing for me to hear you say you shut yourself away for six years. When I first began posting here and sharing some of my story, I also shared how after God changed my heart one day 20 years ago after I had been running from God. My heart changed in an instant when I told God I wanted to know Him. But I trusted no human “authority” because of my religious background. So I told God… Okay, if I am going to follow You it’s gotta be just You, me and the Bible. Now I really know what I myself meant when I said to you once before here that I think you and I had the same teacher : ) I started in John to Revelation, then Matthew to Revelation, then the O.T., mind you I also had been trained (indoctrinated) through high school. I knew the words on the pages of scripture. I could quote whole chapters. But this time I was constantly coming across passages where I would say “What?, “they’ told me it says somehing else.. wait a minute.. it doesn’t say THIS! or THAT! Everything from predestination to gifts of the Spirit today to hierarchy to sin, grace, confession.. etc etc etc… it was sooo exciting to have the Holy Spirit as my Teacher.! And then when I read that even Paul did NOT consult the Christians before him until he shut himself away with the Lord, and I’m sure re-examined all the OT scriptures he had known but studied now in the light of his conversion to Jesus Christ alone and instead of the Pharisee church.
    So now, when I bring other people’s works into my education I am able to examine it against the Word that I know. And never feel obligated to take even my most favorite theological types as 100 percent accurate, and my favorite ones would be appalled if I did. But after I shared that much even here someone implied I was re-inventing the wheel, at least that’s how I took it.
    The new wording though that I learned last weekend through Brauch was that God’s authority structure for us to live by is NEVER an over/under. Hmmm, so simple.
    And thank you, I will check out Kenneth Bailey.

  43. Jennifer says:


    “I’d like to recommend a new book by C.J. Mahaney (the patron saint of those of us who are Reformed but don’t like suits and neckties). Humility: True Greatness is a deceptively easy but devastating read. Counter-cultural and deeply Christian, it is perhaps the most important book I’ve read for a long time.” Carl Trueman

    One of the Reviews of Mahaney’s book “Humility” (I wonder how easy it is to be objective when you are asked to assess your “patron saint”?)

  44. jennifer says:

    Does anyone else find a disconnect between the way Trueman describes his relationship with Mahaney in the Preliminary Assessment findings to his description of him as a “pal” in this blog post?

  45. Alpologist says:

    I respect Kevin Deyoung, Carl Trueman, and Ray Ortlund and have benefited from their ministries. This saddens me, but overall they did mention issues that did contribute to this whole mess. Sgm has a private side that these men haven’t seen. We have from the inside. Will this PR machine ever break.

    I had some hope, but the news of the last few days has dashed it. Sad, so sad. May eyes be opened to the truth oh Lord, raise up men unafraid to speak the truth, amen.

  46. Alpologist says:

    wow, that is odd. I read Carl’s comments on the Sgm blog. When I read the link u posted I had to scratch my head. Time to put my tinfoil hat back on! I took it off when I left Sgm!

  47. Walking Wounded says:


    Yes, major disconnect between stating

    beyond that, and the fact that I have appreciated the writings of C.J. Mahaney and others in SGM, I have no personal connection with him


    CJ Mahaney is a pal

    Do these men have no integrity?

  48. Already Gone says:

    “I’m sorry Your Honor, it was just an unfortunate lapse of judgment!”
    “I’m sorry Dad, it was just an unfortunate lapse of judgment!”
    “I’m sorry Pastor, it was just an unfortunate lapse of judgment!”
    “I’m sorry Sweetheart, it was just an unfortunate lapse of judgment!”

    and then add, “And besides, it was so long ago!”
    :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh :huh

  49. former cov fel - 20 years says:

    Trueman not only calls CJ a “pal” but goes on to say how they communicate as friends and joke w/ one another – seems like they probably talk often to me, who knows?

    BUT… after seeing this disconnect as pointed out in the comments above – you can pretty much just throw out this entire review of Cj’s fitness to lead evaluation…

    Something really stinks here! I think they should appoint another group of men less attached to CJ (in addition to the other board already appointed)..

    I call for a do-over… The other 2 men also clearly had a vested interest in their friendship w/ Cj – or at least w/ their shared reviews of each other’s books and their financial success from those books….

    Yes, Walking Wounded, these 3 men apparently have no integrity…. And neither does SGM for appointing them.

    I feel sick – again!!!!