The Authority Of Leaders

A couple of days ago, a reader (“Local Church Fan”) posted a comment that discussed the need to trust our God-ordained leaders and know that if they are men of integrity, and God is indeed sovereign, we don’t need to concern ourselves with their decisions.

LCF’s comment provoked a considerable amount of discussion, as you might imagine.  One of the things it brought to my mind is a question I’ve had for as long as I’ve understood the way that Sovereign Grace Ministries operates, and what Sovereign Grace Ministries believes and teaches about the authority of its leaders and pastors.  And that question is this:

How do we know a particular leader (or group of leaders) is God’s ordained authority over us?

Or, to put it another way,

Where does a leader’s authority come from?

As I thought about this yesterday, I wrote the following comment.  It’s not very well-organized, but I was thinking it might be interesting for discussion purposes.  Here it is:


You know, the whole “Trust God by trusting your leaders” admonition is worthy of more analysis.

The truth is that ultimately, in the modern Western world that we live in, we are the ones tasked with choosing our own leaders. Unless one is Roman Catholic, it’s not like “the church” is this monolithic entity ordained by God from the time of our birth until our death. The reality is that in our mobile society, there are all sorts of situations that require us to go out and select a new church from a myriad of Bible-believing, gospel-proclaiming options that are all “doing church right” to one degree or another.  (Unless, of course, we harbor a secret belief that our own particular church is the only one that gets it exactly right.  But that sort of belief would reveal an exclusionary, cultic mindset, so let’s assume that nobody secretly feels that way.)

We can look to the Bible to show us some basic principles. But Christians in the Bible were Christians in a different era, when there weren’t a dozen (or a hundred, or a thousand) choices. It’s different now. The Apostle Paul did not show up in my city (or yours) and evangelize and start a church…which is then THE church, the only option.

When you get right down to it, YOU make the choice about where you place your membership. And, contrary to how Josh Harris would like to portray things (in his Stop Dating The Church book), becoming a member of a particular church is NOT on par with getting married. There’s nothing in the Bible that portrays church membership as it exists today, in our 21st-century world, as a lifelong commitment akin to the marriage commitment, where we are somehow commanded to stick around “in sickness and in health,” through dysfunction or abuse.

Sure, there are those who believe that “God called them” to one church or another. But that’s highly subjective. People sense all the time that “God is calling them” to all sorts of things, and sometimes their “sensors” are not accurate – sometimes it’s NOT God. And of course, if you put enough stock into your sensors that you feel comfortable saying “God called” you to a particular church, you are almost forced to acknowledge that there can be occasions where God might be calling you somewhere else.

So ultimately, what church we end up in still boils down to subjectivity and personal preferences…AND, we have to say that there is nothing in the Bible that would demand that we remain at a church no matter what the leaders do and no matter what course the church takes.

(I mean, I think even CJ Mahaney himself would have to agree with that statement. Otherwise, he would have been in sin for leaving his Roman Catholic upbringing to start his own thing…and the entire premise of what eventually became SGM would be wrong.  And, he’d be wrong now for running away from Covenant Life Church and joining up with Capitol Hill Baptist during his “season of reflection.”)

So, after certain doctrinal considerations, our church commitment is one that we control. We are in charge of where we park our loyalties. And there are no direct instructions in the Bible that demand that we remain loyal to a particular church no matter what happens or what the church’s leaders do.

Connected with this, of course, is the question of where pastors – particularly SGM pastors, since the SGM system provides no formal accountability to the congregation – obtain THEIR authority. Within SGM, although it’s not discussed in so many words, the assumption has been that authority is conferred upon pastors by other pastors above them in the leadership pyramid. This leadership pyramid goes all the way up to where CJ resides at the top.

I think a lot of SGMers assumed, without actually thinking about it in so many words, that CJ’s authority was bestowed upon him by God Himself through the Charismatic/Pentecostal concept of “anointing,” which works out to mean something like the guy was a dynamic speaker whom people wanted to follow…a guy who made them feel like he was God’s ordained leader over them.

So in SGM, you have these guys who expect to be regarded and trusted as God’s ordained authorities…but the reality is that their authority was ultimately bestowed upon them by a man who pretty much ordained himself, through his ability to attract followers…which in the end hinged upon decisions made by his followers.

I don’t feel like I’m laying this out as clearly and as logically as I’d like to, but what I’m trying to get at is that the admonition to “Trust your leaders, and thus demonstrate your trust in God” doesn’t actually have any real traction, because the reality is that anyone can be your leader, if YOU decide he is.

That’s how CJ obtained his authority and then went on to hand out authority to those whom he and his underlings believed should have it.

Additionally, your own obligation to SGM is NOT actually the same as your obligation to your husband or wife. The Bible never says that church membership is on par with the marriage relationship. To get to that place, one has to do a great deal of extrapolation.

So, it’s pretty weak to abdicate one’s responsibility to exercise discernment and ask questions of one’s leaders. One’s leaders are only one’s leaders because one has chosen them and one continues to choose to remain in that relationship with them.

One could just as easily take one’s church membership elsewhere…and not necessarily be out of God’s will or be sinning. There’s nothing actually keeping or holding you to a place or to a group of leaders, if those leaders are not proving worthy of your trust.

In the end, the responsibility of who (and what) your leaders are is – YOURS.


A little later, I added the following:

And, what’s so fascinating to me in all of this is that the concept of the priesthood of all believers, and the notion that ordinary members have the right and the responsiblity to discern truth for themselves and have a say in what their leaders do – well, that’s one of the foundational principles of the Reformation.

Isn’t it crazy that the guys who claim to be Reformed are now wanting to take on the very kind of unquestioned, unquestionable authority that the actual Reformers rejected?

213 comments to The Authority Of Leaders

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  1. Kris
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Just to clarify something, I’m not saying that I think the guys surround CJ should necessarily have been forced to criticize their boss outright or talk about his flaws or something.

    But they went so far the other way, with all the nonstop over-the-top praise and exaltation, to the point where they all were OK with participating in the 2006 tribute night, that they in essence were lying through the unbalanced picture they presented. No human being should ever be lifted up that high.

  2. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Kris and Muckraker, I so agree with you both! But, I continue with that concept, down the line…all of these men who bend to peer pressure cannot qualify as leaders, because to go with peer pressure, and lead are two opposites! But, lets say I was going to a job interview, and I had no idea of taste in appropriate dress..So I dress in jeans for an upscale job, and ask my teen daughters if I look ok..they all tell me I am ok, so off I go! I will not get the job, because I do not appear qualified! In other words, no matter what CJ, or any of the pastors say or think-if no one “followed them”, there would be no one to lead! We are each responsible to God for what we do with the information we are given..We are responsible on our own for times we are deceived when we take our eyes off of Jesus..Therefore, those who give their money to SGM are every bit as responsible as the men in charge, wouldn’t you think? :scratch

  3. Fried Fish
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Was thinking a little this morning about leadership/control in SGM and how it may or may not tie in to the dominionism/Christian Reconstruction positions that seem popular with a lot of the neo-Reformed crowd, and may also explain a little of why SGM feels the need to plant churches among the Evangelicals.

    CJ’s buddy Ligon Duncan ( ) wrote a really good paper on the viewpoint, its origins, how it fits in with the concept of theonomy (imposition of Biblical law on society), its juxtaposition against evangelicalism (of which Duncan takes a dim view, which leads me to believe that, though he doesn’t overtly support the Reconstructionist view in the paper, he’s in favor of it) – you can find a copy of the paper here:

    The thought did cross my mind, though… Under a theonomy, wouldn’t idolatry be punishable by death? Hmmm….

  4. Kris
    February 10th, 2012 at 10:37 am

    ExClcer’sMom said,

    Therefore, those who give their money to SGM are every bit as responsible as the men in charge, wouldn’t you think?

    In a way, yes – I would agree with this statement.

    But in a way, no.

    Implicit in the Christian world is the assumption that truth is always honored and that leaders are not going to lie outright, either by telling lies of commission or lies of omission (as in the case of the totally imbalanced image of CJ that was presented). It’s almost inconceivable that pretty much everyone – even Brent Detwiler, until he lost his own job – violated people’s trust by violating one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Who, honestly, would believe it?

    Think about the flak that this site used to get, before Brent’s documents went public and SGM officially admitted anything? So many people took us to task because to them it was unimaginable that so many seemingly admirable men of the highest character would affirm and participate in the SGM system if there were really anything wrong with it. These SGM defenders just could not believe that dozens of apparently great Christian leaders would in effect present a false image of SGM to them. The problem had to be with those who were criticizing SGM. They must be bitter, or in rebellion, or otherwise flawed in some way.

    And I can understand that reaction, to a degree. Who would imagine that at the same time Brent stood up there in 2006 and said all those affirming things about CJ, the wheels were already in motion for Brent’s documents and his own demise in the organization?

    The guys who become leaders in SGM all exude a certain charm and magnitude. They carry themselves with authority. They use a lot of lingo that implies constant groveling humility and accountability. Who would have the evil suspicious heart to wonder if any of that was an act, or a lie of omission? Especially when SGM has always gone out of its way to emphasize the humility of its leaders, CJ in particular?

    This whole thing is really one of the most bizarre hoaxes, if you think about it. Sometimes I just sit back and marvel that I’ve gotten to have a front-row seat and observe it all unfold.

    So I can understand why average people were taken in and snookered. Sure, they are responsible for supporting SGM and not asking questions and not going with their Holy Spirit-inspired gut instincts during times when they felt uncomfortable about what is now obviously wrong. But – who would imagine that the truth would be so dark? It’s just not something most of us would believe would be possible.

  5. A Kindred Spirit
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This whole thing is really one of the most bizarre hoaxes, if you think about it. Sometimes I just sit back and marvel that I’ve gotten to have a front-row seat and observe it all unfold.

    I’m sure you do, Kris.

  6. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Yes, Kris, I see what you mean…While those who continue to follow and tithe are responsible for their actions, the deception is really enforced by the duplicity of the leaders , making it more difficult for those outside the higher echelon to see the truth.

  7. Epaphras
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    While the RC view about venial/mortal sin goes way too far, scripture does support some differentiation in the relative gravity of specific sins. This includes acknowledgement of the difference between sin based on knowledge or ignorance. Strikingly, the O.T. sacrificial system itself only covered sins of ignorance.

    The most pertinent question for SGMers, high or low, is, “when did they/I know and what did they/I do about what we (came to) know and how long did it take us to do so”

    This is why it is so important, currently, for men like the dozens of degifted known to Irv share their specific testimonies. The more repetitively ‘boring’ they are, the better. It also shows why SGM churches speaking up (or not) about the report, regardless of AoR, remains such a solemn matter. CLC’s public silence after a small, but powerful witness in the fall, will hardly gain divine blessing.

    Soon, as far as the report goes, it will be too late to have gotten ahead of heaven’s discipline.

  8. Fried Fish
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    @Kris 154 -

    I’ve often wondered if one of the primary reasons the neo-Reformed crowd has latched onto CJ with such fascination is the way he’s managed to successfully (in terms of church and numerical growth) implement a system where unquestioning obedience to pastoral authority is the accepted norm.

    I also wonder if they already know it’s all based on social engineering and thought control.

    No wonder CJ wanted to keep everyone away from psychologists – they could have exposed his scam.

  9. STEVE240
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Is it any wonder that SGM Leaders had to take a face saving approach with Mahaney. With as much as SGM has almost deified Mahaney it would be too hard to admit what a hypocrite he was. The leaders don’t want to admit they were either duped or looked the other way.

    Hence they come up with a scenario where they don’t find Mahaney disqualified but just comes back temporarily. They get what they know really should be done but don’t admit their past sin.

  10. Lynn
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:41 am

    More Questions #77

    You said, “When looking at the Vimeo posting guides, it looks like SGM could have had Vimeo make the video private or take it down simply based on copyright law. There were images and music in there that the user would not have the right to, so the board may have been able to have Vimeo step in and do something.

    Also possible that the user found out the link was posted here and didn’t want to be part of all of this and made it private on his/her own.

    I don’t know how it happened, but jumping immediately to the board being involved, while tempting and in some ways fitting with past behavior, may not be right.”

    While that may be true, I doubt it. It was made private very quick. I could see if it was a few days or weeks, but within a few hours, I highly doubt that. Or maybe the SGM board did nothing and the person who did make it was made aware of it by a friend, so that is why it was made private, which is what you also said. I do highly doubt vimeo had anything to do with it IMO

  11. Bookhead
    February 10th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Just me #148
    Thank you for your kind words. (and thank you also to my other friend who welcomed me here- I forget your blog name.) Part of why I’ve remained at CLC is that I’ve been able to be a non-conformist, and haven’t experienced what others have.

    I’ve spoken my mind frequently. I went on missions in a para-church organization in 1987 for a year. Care group friends sent money for Bibles, and letters which meant so much in difficult circumstances. Then, God led me to move out of state after that year. (No SGM church) The letters followed me there. When I married in 1990- in a town 2 1/2 hrs. from CLC, I was blown away by all the CLC friends who came. One flew from Texas. I moved back to CLC in 1994, expressed my concern about lack of missions and Bible studies to a pastor, (my husband did too) and that’s when he and I decided to attend Derwood’s Precept Bible Studies. We made no secret of it. I didn’t even know it was “forbidden” until recently. No one said anything about it to us the entire time we attended these studies. (for me, it was at least 3 yrs.- until I had an infant and a 1 1/2 yr. old, along with a child in school.) The 1hr./day homework just became too much, and with much regret, I had to quit the studies. Later, I became embroiled in a conflict with a pastor, and I repeatedly pursued him, because I believed his policy to be sinful. After he questioned my parenting, and asked my husband to have me stop sending my emails and letters, I appealed to another pastor. Not only did this other pastor receive my family with compassion, he helped resolve this situation, we received a heart-felt, sincere apology from the first pastor, and we were able to work toward resolution of the problem. (How Matthew 18:15-17 is supposed to work) So, I’ve done many of the so-called “no-no’s” within CLC, and have never experienced the shunning or problems others have spoken of. In light of recent events, I’ve wondered why- And all I’ve come up with is that God has wanted me here.

    I could continue, but until shortly before Brent’s documents came out, I was oblivious to any significant problems within CLC or SGM. I saw CLC as an imperfect church, working on its problems. I still see it that way, although I know that isn’t the mindset of the majority of the readers here. But, because of my personal experience, (not all of it stated above) I’m willing to be patient for now. I’ve been driven to hope by Josh’s response to this situation, as well as to another. (more personal)

    I’m less patient with SGM and CJ. I feel betrayed, and so much more. And what burns me up is that I find my thoughts wandering to SGM’s whitewashing of the whole situation far more than they ought. My thoughts SHOULD be focused on my Lord and Savior, and the God who has blessed me with so much. Another reason to pray…

  12. Another Joe
    February 10th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    WOW, I did not realize Mr Duncan had gotten into the mix, here is part of what he said on his web site ( )( but 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. Ligon Duncan ) Thank you fried fish for the links.

    Secondly, I would like to say to Mr Duncan. The internet is a modern day town square. You cant silence the Truth. It is not a matter of being biblical or unbiblical. When a person is wronged they go to a court for justice. The people wronged within SGM have no court to go to. So what should they do then. I say take it to the town square and scream it from the rooftops. Let God judge whether or not its unbiblical. By the i could throw out maybe twelve scriptures that would prove it is biblical to do what we are doing. But that would just be running down a rabbit hole that has been covered here plenty of times.

  13. Nickname
    February 10th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Just watched the video of the cross-centered life narrated by Josh, and the tribute song by BK. Lovely song, in BK ‘s signature style — but the lyrics attributed the character and work of the Holy Spirit to a mere man. This grieved me beyond words.

    I am all for thanking people. I’ve been to scads of retirement dinners and even Bible-study leader ‘roasts’ where people read lovely tributes, sang songs about the honoree, or recited poems and stories about the person. Lots of love, laughter, and remembrance. Some were more tasteful or appropriate than others. I’ve been to funerals where people’s lives were remembered and celebrated, but the focus was the worship of God.

    People often say that a friend led them to the Lord, and are eternally grateful for that, but in reality, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the work.

    Recently, I saw a video of some elementary school students singing a song of tribute written by their teacher that went something like, “Barack Hussein Obama – Umh, Umh, Umh!” and it occurred to me that I had never heard a tribute song to a living president, and rarely to a dead one.

    Same thought here. Never heard a tribute song to a pastor, living or dead. I guess these guys don’t know songs like “For ALL the saints, who from their labors rest, who Thee, by faith, before the world confessed! THY NAME, O JESUS, be forever blest! ALLELUIA!” Or Andre Crouch’s lyric: “…should I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary…to GOD be the glory for the things HE has done.”

    Oh, well. One of my long-standing (ahem ) observations is that being PDI-cally correct does not necessarily correspond with being tasteful or mannerly.

  14. musicman
    February 10th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    “To all the pastors we loved before, who we ever saw come through those doors,
    we’re glad you came along, we dedicate this song, to all the pastors we loved before…”

    The theme song for SGM members and survivors should be:
    ” I Fought the Law and the Law Won”

  15. WiseAsSerpentsMeekAsDoves
    February 10th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    After reading Kris’ original post and the first string of comments on this thread, I could only think of one thing.

    Animal Farm.

  16. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    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. Ligon Duncan )

    The internet is unbiblical?? Or even discussing things on the internet is unbiblical?? Wow, I would LOVE to see what Scriptures he pulls THAT out from! Unbelievable! Does he give any Scriptural reference on his internet web site? :spin

  17. Epaphras
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    @Steve240 – “They get what they know really should be done but don’t admit their past sin” (you should add) even to themselves.

    @WiseAsSerpents – Animal Farm has been brought to my attention numerous times. All the animals wee equal, of course. That was the basis of the farm’s revolution. They weren’t like those other farms, where the poor animals were oppressed by their human overlords. Only, it fell out that “some pigs are more equal than others” …. and it took disastrously too long for the other animals to believe that the pigs had been so piggish.

  18. ExCler'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    The final paragraph in the article reads:

    If you read this, you will get a taste of the fruit of Gospel repentance that is already being borne in SGM. 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. But instead, the leadership of SGM has taken the high road, or rather they have chosen to go the way of self-examination, submission to outside review and correction, self-abasement and repentance. It just makes me love and respect them all the more.

    Take note: The “this” is a link to Larry’s letter back in July…So, obviously this guy thinks of Larry Tomczak as a person credible, but then why doesn’t he link Larry’s most recent letter to this article?? :bang

  19. Done Reconsidering
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I didn’t realize this site was an attempt to adjudicate anything – it seemed like a place where, for the most part, evil deeds were exposed.

    Rev. Duncan, is it unbiblical to publicize wrongs that have been mishandled and not responded to with repentance?

  20. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I blockquoted something from Mr. Duncan’s web page, but I think it is hung up in moderation..I truly am flabbergasted how he (Mr Duncan) can use his site to promote something that he says “should not be adjudicated on the internet”. Well, what did he just do in that article-really?? He declares people who share anything negative SGM as attack websites, and all of his links go right back to SGM..Does he REALLY not see how blind that is?? He dares to link Larry’s 1st letter as though he considers Larry someone who is close enough to leadership to be “credible”, but says nothing about Larry’s most recent letter?? I cant believe Mr Duncan doesn’t see what he just did?? It really is astounding! :spin :koolaid

  21. Oswald
    February 10th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Ex’sMom — I think the Duncan words in the link are from last summer, before Larry’s most recent letter was written. Also, I noticed that some of the things Duncan referenced in his post are now gone from view (taken down). It would be interesting to know if his thoughts have changed more recently. Probably not in view of the T4G promo video.

  22. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Oswald, thank you for pointing that out! I assumed it was a more recent post, and did not look at the date, A lesson learned for me! :spin

  23. Let My People Go
    February 10th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Music Man – thanks for the much needed comic relief. Appreciate your comments always.

  24. Bridget
    February 10th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    ExClcer’s Mom -

    The date of his post does not really matter. Mr. Duncan made many assumptions in his post without verifying anything. His biggest assumption is that CJ is a fine upstanding leader and this is based on HIS experience with CJ and SGM. He also feels free to voice this on his blog. HOWEVER, he also makes remarks that appear to tear down anyone who has had a different experience with CJ and SGM and seems to infer that they should just be quiet and go away because they are handling their grievances “unbiblically.” He makes a judgment without ever going to the offended parties to inquire about their experiences. He does not seem to want to hear anything but one side. That is not a neutral position. This is the problem that I have had with the RBD’s. They publicly make statements about what THEY don’t know about and then they accuse the very people WHO have been involved with CJ and SGM for years, and seen the problems, of speeking out of place (on blogs?). Does it not occur to him that people have gone this route for a reason? He doesn’t think they have tried the “high road?” He assumed way, way too much about people he knows nothing about. I am loosing respect for many of these RBD men! They do not appear to have the heart of a pastor for people.

  25. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I also think that since he published an article such as the one Mr. Duncan did back in July, quoting Larry Tomczak, in light of Larry’s most recent letter, I should think Mr. Duncan would feel obligated to at least mention the article with a correction, saying that while he has always cared for CJ, perhaps he is not closely involved enough to know all the facts either(he almost said that, but then linked entirely one-sided)..I suppose we shouldn’t be too quick to condemn or support publicly, eh, Mr. Duncan?
    We all have posted according to our relationships and experience within SGM, but you are correct, Bridget, that they want to give credence to “well wishes” and negate “problems”..

  26. MagruderHighDays
    February 10th, 2012 at 3:29 pm


    Hey just trying to get your attention so you don’t miss my post. I spent alot of hours putting this together. Hopefully this will benefit many people debating to join a SGM church. Below is the link to the YouTube account with a full numerical playlist of the FULL VIDEO broken into many titled segments and descriptions so that they are easier to watch

    Just a suggestion, maybe you could make a new Front Page post with this link and many mention some of your quotes and points from earlier where you talked about how dumb of them it is to hide it instead of admitting the mistake. But just a suggestion, I’ll leave it up to your preference as it’s your blog.

    Here is the Link:

    Thanks & Regards

  27. MagruderHighDays
    February 10th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    *maybe mention

  28. justawife
    February 10th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    MHD #176: I’ve only watched two of your videos (the BobKauflin song and JH’s narration) and I am appalled. This should be solid evidence for SGM ‘on the fence’ churches, such as Fairfax and CLC, to leave this messed up organization. Although I’ve heard the term “cult” tossed around alot in reference to SGM I always thought it was an exaggeration, until now. Now I see that SGM’s purpose is less about the gospel and more about one man worshipping. How else do you think that 3 panel review of CJ’s fitness for ministry came out with no reason to find him “unfit for ministry” despite what CJ (and some of his friends) had done to Larry Tomczak and his family? There will never be any accountability for CJ in SGM because the organization is structured as the Catholic church and what Pope CJ says goes.

  29. Blues0080
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Hi bookhead…welcome :welcome

    i think we know each other well…we were both on chuck thompson’s follow up team at the same time and i was your care group leader when you were a single..

  30. De Gifted
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Kris said, “And you were supposed to accept the truth of that statement without question, as though Larry’s opinion…”

    I get your point, but it does not matter about the truth of Larry’s statement. We’re not necessarily dealing with truth at all times in that movement. Whether I challenged it or not did not matter. The writing was on the wall and when it goes up on the “wall,” it’s done.

    “So let it be written. So let it be done.” Pharaoh has spoken and there is nothing you can do about it. Ask Brent…though he is more stubborn than I am. (I mean that in a good way.)

    Rather than going through the rigmarole of SGM dysfunction, I needed to provide for my family. I was losing my job in a few months and it was very clear to me. I could fight for points vs. their counter points, but I “went pragmatic” and decided to figure out a way to make an income.

    I’ve seen SGM from the inside and I don’t have the stamina of Brent or the desire to spend my time with such things. God is a lot bigger than SGM…so I moved on. And to my surprise I did find that God does work outside of SGM. Who would have thunk it?

    I hope that helps to answer your question. Thanks for asking.

  31. MagruderHighDays
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Can somebody also post the Brent Detwiler clip honoring CJ on his Facebook Wall if you’re friends with him? I think it would be funny to get his response. Or maybe he’ll just find it here anyways since he reads here sometimes.

  32. Happymom
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:14 pm



    THANK YOU for the work that went into that….I only got through the first one and I am

    I hope it goes viral. They should all be ashamed of themselves and so should CJ for allowing them to worship him like that. I believe THAT is one of the main reasons God is allowing this ministry to be exposed for what it is. ok, maybe I’m not so speechless after all.

  33. Persona
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    The anniversary/transition production was organized by Josh Harris. The content would have been mostly unknown to CJ ahead of time. Josh used the drama, worship team and many, many volunteers (kitchen, serving, etc.) to pull off the week-end extravaganza. The elegant dinner was attended by family, pastors and out of town guests, not the average church members. As for the dinner, CJ alone got lobster. Everyone else got chicken or another entree.

    The only thing average church members got to do was serve and/or compose their admiration of CJ, in a hefty journal published for the event. It cost about $15.

    The production folks who put together the event were mostly old-time members, who remain die-hard CJ/SGM promoters. Some continue to work for SGM or CLC. In fact, they probably would have done more that weekend than they did to honor CJ, if given the opportunity.

    But, I doubt they would be able to give him the over-the-top adulation nowadays. Public flattery no longer seems commonplace at CLC (thanks to Kris). Anyway, CLC members may never see CJ face-to-face again.

    Isn’t it amazing that a man so highly esteemed just a few years ago, is now M.I.A.?

  34. Bookhead
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the welcome, Blues0080 #179. I’d wondered if that was you.

  35. Bridget
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Oh, my! I just about lost it listening to the first words out of CJs mouth when he got up to respond to the evening . . . “I DON’T HAVE A CATEGORY FOR WHAT I JUST EXPERIENCED” :( (Me – Was it worship?)

    I’m beginning to wonder if that statement proceeds from the prompting of the HS bringing an uneasiness to CJs heart about what has just occurred and he shuts the HS down with that statement? This is just a thought.

  36. Mikephila
    February 10th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    CJ Mahaney worship is … :evil:

  37. Deuteronomy 32:35
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I have been reading Terry Virgo’s book, “The Spirit-Filled Church”, and have found it very encouraging. In chapter 13 entitled, “The Crucial Role of Leadership”, I think Terry makes the point that a leaders authority comes first from the Lord’s anointing, but like everything else in God’s Kingdom what God initiates for His glory it’s both recognized and established in the trust of God’s people.

    From 2 Samuel 5:1-3: “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said; “Behold we are your bone and your flesh. Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in and the Lord said to you, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel””. So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before the Lord at Hebron; then they anointed David king over Israel”.

    David was not a stranger or a professional outsider. He was a man of his people, known and loved by them (Terry’s words not mine). Terry continues into the New Testament and points out something I know we all know is lacking in many of our churches. Paul addresses the folks in his churches in very endearing terms, but it’s clear that his affection for the churches is real…”God builds churches by joining people together in love and trust and personal loyalty, as well as individual devotion to Jesus” (Terry’s words). My words, or question…when leaders behave the way SGM leaders have, it’s clear they have lost trust and loyalty, and it would follow the love of their people. They don’t really seem to care about that…but the Bible of course does.

    In the NT Paul uses familial terms like “Nursing mother, father, brother, children…sincerely…also, “my beloved”, “longed for”, “my joy”, and as Terry points out in a way I’ve never really noticed before, Paul actually spoke of the Corinthian church (yes incest, drunkeness during communion,divisiveness, carnality, pride!)as the proof of his apostleship! I know he doesn’t mince words with them regarding their “issues”, but he does use these other very endearing terms…an affectionate realtionship is clear…and he considered them with all their warts the certification of who God called him to be…

    Jesus would stop and say to someone…”Follow me” and they would…He was of course anointed of God, but those who followed obviously recognized it…lots of people could approach me in the street and say “Follow me”…and I wouldn’t take one step…so there was something compelling about his presence of course…beyond a bland command to “Follow me”. Jesus both established and maintained the grounds for someone who could be trusted, even when everyone else failed Him…

    Our founding fathers used the phrase that they found truth self-evident …I think true Biblical leadership is too…initiated and anointed by God, recognized and affirmed by His people.

    The first time I heard Larry Tomczak speak was at a Creation Festival in Pennsylvania…1988…45,000 campers on a huge farm…very noisy even when bands or speakers took the stage…Amy Grant, Mylon Lefevre were there…very fun…one evening Larry was the keynote speaker…I didn’t know…we were all milling around and talking…45,000 people talking is pretty noisy…not really paying too much attention to who or what was happening on stage…someone began to speak on stage…he wasn’t yelling or even speaking loudly…he just started to speak…and as he continued…the whole place just gradually fell silent…only other time it happened was during the communion service there one night…you could hear a pin drop the whole time Larry spoke…everyone could tell someone with a different kind of authority was speaking…and no one had to force us to quiet down or listen…

  38. Defended
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Apologies in advance – haven’t read all posts but I want to CHEER for your initial post, Kris.

    This unquestioned authority trickles down to wives, obviously.
    So the woman whose husband smacks her across the room, or just hits her when she’s sinful can’t question his behavior because of his superior authority.

    Or the woman who walk in on her husband with porn on the pc monitor has no where to go, because of course HE is her authority.

    How does a woman EVER go “over the head” of her husband when she is clearly at the bottom of the ladder? :bang

  39. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Creation ’76 was where I first heard Larry, and began going to TAG..I was only 20 years old then, and felt so “proud” that I went to church with Larry’s easy when you are young to fall into that, but as we age and mature, it would have been appropriate to be “re-directed” by the leaders, instead of “directed out” when we didn’t participate in blind following.
    I’ve mentioned earlier, I was really never impressed with CJ, really..his sermons were funny, and he joked a lot more..I thought he and Larry made a good team..When GOB grew so big, they started having two services at that building on Muncaster Mill Rd (before Einstein), Larry took the early service, and CJ had the later service..I was still glad to be in the group when Larry taught (yes, we were “assigned” which service to go to)..I honestly never saw what everyone else seemed to see in CJ..just musing..

  40. Sue Anne
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Something else you have to see to believe –

    From TG4: Celebrity Pastors: Indecent Exposure

    Wow! They say that Madonna and Princess Diana were the two most famous women in the 80s, and the former’s ego was certainly displayed in all its glory during the Super Bowl. However, I’m not sure even Madonna’s ego could win a fight with C.J. Mahaney’s ego.

  41. 5yearsinPDI
    February 10th, 2012 at 5:59 pm


    I watched the Broadway skit and I was ready to fall over. I don’t even have a category for that piece. Talk about a jaw dropper.

    CJ led them into the promised land?? He did? Really?

    You did a lot of work on that and I think it is really important. I hope that skit goes viral. Anybody who sees that and can’t recognize a cult worshipping man is blind. Good job and thank you.

    I too would love to see Kris make this a main post, maybe the Broadway dance and the Kauflin song as the featured videos. I didn’t see all the rest but those two are certainly worth a spotlight.

  42. Steve240
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    One of the videos showed Mahaney with a crying towel. This was when he was recognizing all the men (some women) that helped with being able to get the building built.

    What would really be appropriate for Mahaney to get up at CLC and cry and need a crying towel for what his sin and hypocrisy has done including to CLC, SGM and the bod of Christ in general. I doub we will ever see it but that is what really should happen.

  43. Ellie
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you, Magruder, for putting up the videos for us to watch.

    Mom #189 – I agree, I liked listening to what Larry had to say when he visited our church. Didn’t particularly care for the sessions at Celebration when CJ spoke.

  44. Argo
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this for us all. This very disturbing display of fawning is very educational. Lends much light to the understanding of just why CJ is allowed to operate under a different set of rules. He is more than a man; he is almost deified. Do you hold a deity to the same standards as the rest of the flock? The pastors? Of course not.

  45. Argo
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Ligon Duncan’s opinions at this point mean nothing to anyone interested in justice and holding Christian leaders to the standards they set for others. He reminds me of a Pharisee to the Pharisees. He is another hyper-authoritarian neo-Calvinist as far as I’m concerned; I do not trust his words. He can speak all he wants; his words mean nothing and serve no purpose except to hold the abused and the concerned in utter contempt. He could pronounce CJ the Pope of all Protestantism; it would not surprise me.

  46. Argo
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I love the last part of Brent’s speech. I took that as totally passive aggressive; not in a bad way. I thought it was so awesome how Brent was going on about CJ’s example of “teamwork” and not acting as just “an individual”, and CJ’s own teaching of “what we do we do together”, when it was clear at that point to Brent and others that CJ was acting in a way that was precisely NOT that. I’m not sure if Brent intended this or not, but in light of everything, I’m wondering…

    …pretty awesome, Brent. We may not agree on some things; shoot, even doctrinally, but I got to say, I still really, really like you and appreciate you. I mean that.

  47. ExClcer'sMom
    February 10th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Yes, an appropriate “thank you” to Magruder for the work that went into that! I especially like the background.

  48. A Kindred Spirit
    February 10th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks Magruder!!

    I asked earlier if there was a way to download the videos (obviously, I’m technically challenged).

    You took it even further, putting them on youtube! :D

    Thanks, again!

  49. Sue Anne
    February 10th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @Regarding Ligon Duncan:

    but 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…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

    Yes, let me claim that adjudicating something on the internet is ugly and unbiblical, and then proceed to adjudicate/make judgments about the very case I’m talking about, by claiming that my opponent’s accusations are spurious and self-serving, in the form of a blog post uploaded to the internet.

    It would have been very easy for the leadership of SGM to ignore and dismiss these charges

    Almost as easy as it is for the non-leadership of SGM to stop funding the lifestyle to which the leadership is accustomed.


    I think someone needs to add a few courses (or even just hand out a $10 book) on logic to people in certain seminary programs. I know 3rd-graders who could run circles around some of the M. Divs sinfully expressing themselves on the internet.

  50. Fried Fish
    February 10th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hey y’all – this from my phone – I really didn’t mean any Duncan bashing, just to point out his connection to CJ. For all I know after all that’s transpired since then he may have rethought his position. I just thought the possible connection between reconstructionist thought and SGM might be worth looking at.

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