Asking Questions

January 30, 2012 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

[Kris says:  A reader – “Nickname” – posted the following observations about the questions the panels explored prior to issuing their reports about C.J. Mahaney’s fitness for ministry.  I thought “Nickname’s” analysis was quite good and didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle.  Here it is.]

From “Nickname’s” comment –

Question #1: Was CJ Mahaney’s participation in fellowship in 2003-2004, including the giving and receiving of correction, in keeping with the teaching of scripture?

The answer to this one is an easy “YES”, but that wasn’t the right question. The question should’ve been “Was CJ Mahaney’s participation in fellowship in 2003-2004, including the giving and receiving of correction, in keeping with his own teaching and personal/corporate expectations of participation by members of SGM churches?

The answer to THAT question is NO. Because SGM taught extra-biblical requirements for participation in fellowship (i.e., homegroup attendance and an extra-biblical definition of fellowship found in CJ’s own book, “Why Small Groups.”

Question #2: Did CJ Mahaney wrongly influence Brent Detwiler’s dismissal from his church in Mooresville, NC?

The answer to THAT question is also NO, and if you want to get technical, the church in Mooresville did not belong to Brent, so the term “his church” makes it impossible to answer the question in the affirmative.

A better question would have been: Did CJ Mahaney have prior or ongoing knowledge of Brent Detwiler’s dismissal, reinstatement, and subsequent final dismissal from the Mooresville church, and what was his role in instructing, discussing, and/or approving Gene Emerson’s advice to the Mooresville church?

Reality check needed here. Can any one imagine a scenario, ecclesiastical, political, miltary or corporate, where the #3 guy gets booted without the #1 guys knowledge or approval? Sure, Brent was no longer #3 — but he had been for a long time, and his presence and influence in SGM was huge. Does anyone think for one second that CJ did not have veto power over these shenanigans?

The board admits that GE was wrong in conveying faulty information to the Mooresville church. At the time, GE answered to CJ. CJ had the responsibility of supervising GE, and instructing his decisions regarding Brent. So, YES, CJ wrongly influenced the firing of Brent Detwiler, whether or not Brent’s performance justified his dismissal. It was poorly done.

Question #3: Was Larry Tomczak’s departure from Sovereign Grace ministries handled properly?

Hmmm. The panel danced around a straight answer by saying they weren’t lawyers and therefore couldn’t determine whether or not Larry was coerced or blackmailed.

Hmmm. The panel continued to sidestep by saying that since SGM had no policy in place, they had no way to know if it was handled properly — they don’t know what properly means. What — were these guys raised by wolves? Does it take a steel-trap legal mind to know that coercion, blackmail, and the willful and deliberate betrayal of a minor parishioner’s confidence is NOT PROPER under anybody’s definition?

Hmmm. Notice that in Question #1, they wanted to determine if an action was in keeping with the teaching of scripture. But in this question, they only wanted to know if an action was handled properly.

So, the better question would’ve been: Was Larry Tomczak’s departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled in keeping with the teaching of scripture? Not hardly.

They recommended that SGM make some kind of monetary gift to Larry, carefully noting that severance packages are not customary when someone resigns rather than gets terminated. HELLO???? So, what definition do they give to the golden parachutes that the resigning Mahaney sons-in-law just received from CLC? Hey — I LIKE it that they recommended some kind of cash restitution to Larry. And I’d like to see them extend that same courtesy to every other pastor who ‘resigned’ under coercive circumstances, and even more importantly, make financial restitution to the families who’ve suffered major financial ramifications due to long-term hardships caused by covered-up molestation cases — EXCLC’ers Mom, Happymom and Wallace, Noel and Grizzly, SGMnot, and any others. But don’t go trying to look all benevolent and generous by pointing out that severance packages aren’t customary — when the precedent was just set by giving severance in the nepotistic situation. I realize that the sons-in-law were given their severance by CLC, not by SGM. But I wonder whose idea was that in the first place?

Closing Remarks on Brent Detwiler: “…(Brent) continues to unfairly criticize…we renew our appeal to have his pastor contact us so that we might take the next steps toward this goal….”

The board negates any claim to objectivity with the use of the word “unfairly” in regard to Brent’s criticisms.

And then, the condescending idea that Brent needs to “have his pastor contact us” is beyond rude. Where do they get the idea that Brent’s pastor needs to talk to them? Brent’s a big boy — he can contact them himself. And where do they get the idea that they are somehow ecclesiastical royalty that can only be approached by a pastor? I don’t see any tearing down of the dividing walls of hostility here, and this statement exhibits their ignorance of the priesthood of all believers. This statement in itself is worth asking Question #1 of the Board. Are you participating in fellowship with Brent in keeping with the teaching of scripture?

[Kris again:  Something else that I wanted to highlight comes from Brent Detwiler’s response to the reports.  Here it is:]

By Brent Detwiler –

Here’s the harsh reality people must accept!  The overwhelming vast majority of my charges have not been presented, heard or judged in a hearing by anyone.  Like the O.J. Simpson trial, C.J. is getting away with murder (a little hyperbole folks).  Here is what Dave promised two months ago.

“How is Sovereign Grace’s board handling the allegations that Brent Detwiler has brought against C.J. Mahaney?  We know that you care about this a lot.  We also care about this a lot, and we are taking Brent’s allegations seriously.  We don’t want to ignore the many accusations that now sit in the public mind.  We want to get this right.  Brent’s documents require impartial examination and C.J. deserves a fair hearing.” (Dave Harvey, “What are we doing about the allegations against C.J.,” November 28, 2011)

Dave is full of it.  The SGM Board has never taken my allegations seriously.  No siree!  They came up with the three panel approach so they could purposely ignore “the many accusations” I’ve documented in over 1,200 pages of evidence.  This wasn’t a “fair hearing” for C.J.  It was a rigged hearing.  Soft ball questions.  Biased jury.  Misdemeanor charges for a felon.  The suppression of evidence in the verdict.  No cross examination.  C.J. was not held accountable for his sins.  Very little was investigated and all the terms and conditions were favorable to C.J.  The three panel approach was an ostentatious show of righteousness – a pretense for justice.  It was all image and no substance.  People should be outraged.

This statement from Dave on Wednesday is also terribly deceptive.

“To further protect the integrity of the process, the interim Board sought the counsel and affirmation of an outside conciliation ministry, Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AOR).  With C.J. on leave and AOR involved, the review process took the following form:  We [the SGM Board and AOR] commissioned three outside ministers to review Brent’s documents in light of C.J.’s confessions and render their judgment on his fitness to serve in ministry.  In light of their evaluation, they found him to be completely fit to serve.  We [the SGM Board and AOR] then commissioned three panels—each consisting of three SGM pastors—to evaluate C.J.’s involvement in the three central events of Brent’s allegations.” (Dave Harvey, “An announcement regarding C.J. Mahaney,” January 25, 2012)

Dave says Ambassadors of Reconciliation “commissioned three panels-each consisting of three SGM pastors.”  This is a lie!  Three days ago, I talked to Ted Kober about this very subject in detail.  I asked him if AOR helped create the three panel approach.  He said no.  I asked if he commended the approach.  He said no.  I asked him if he supported the approach.  He said he never expressed support or a lack of support.  He remained neutral because he did not feel it was his place to take a position since the SGM Board devised the plan entirely on their own.

Ted Kober did not help to create this plan and he did not in any way “commission” the three panel approach.  This fabrication by Dave is just like his lie that Bryce Thomas came up with the questions for the three panels.  SGM acted independent of AOR but the SGM Board wants you to believe otherwise.