Five Questions Every Sovereign Grace Member Should Be Asking

Kris says:  A reader directed me to the following, from a new blog called “sgmnation.”  I thought it was really good.  PLEASE NOTE:  I did NOT write this post. 


The response letter from SGC Fairfax, affirmed by a growing list of churches (at current count – 16) may be the first, formal call for reform issued by any SGM church. Yes, there have been questions asked over the past two years by many churches but no one has taken their questions public. The response was not only reasonable, thoughtful and gracious, it was also firm and uncompromising in conviction.

Now that the call for reform is out in the open – now what? What should each “ordinary” member of each SGM church do in response? I would suggest that every member should be processing through 5 fundamental questions

  1. Where does my church stand with respect to SGM and in particular, the decisions of the SGM Board? Now that the call for reform is public, no pleas of ignorance will suffice, no “burying head in sand” will be acceptable. Get engaged in the discussion of how your church should be processing the issues related to SGM – the history of association, what the benefits are, how much your church is giving, what your pastors think. Ask your pastors for a response.
  2. What exactly is SGM? Is it a denominational body or a parachurch organization with a teaching and music ministry? How much authority/influence does it exercise over the local church? People – ask your pastors and if they don’t know, they need to find out.
  3. From where (theologically, not legally) does the SGM Board and the regional leadership derive its authority or influence over local churches? Chew on this controversial statement – the office of the Pope has more biblical justification than the apostolic ministry as historically defined by SGM. The implication of any answer to this question is important. Does the SGM Board have the right to define the polity for all the SGM churches? Not unless the churches grant it to them… the authority to do so doesn’t emerge magically from the thin, rarefied air that the SGM Board members breathe in. Should the churches have a representative opportunity to shape polity and direction from the movement? Most reasonable Christians would say so.
  4. How much does my church give to SGM and why? Giving 10% or any amount to SGM isn’t a biblically established right and is dependent on the answer to question #2. Financial stewardship is important and you need to weigh in on whether SGM has earned the trust of your church’s continued giving levels.
  5. Is my church focusing on getting its local polity in order? Surprise, surprise – if you haven’t figured it out yet, you will – SGM exercises NO formal authority over your local church. If that’s the case, who is holding your pastors accountable to their substance of their teaching, conduct and financial stewardship? What happens if your pastors can’t resolve differences (re: Ashburn SGM church)? It’s so easy to get caught up in the SGM drama that you forget that how your local church is governed will matter more to you than how SGM Board moves along. Ask your pastor what your church is doing to address local governance structures.

Most of all, I suggest you pray for your pastors. If they are off-course and blinded by ill-founded loyalty to CJ/SGM – they need a serious adjustment. If your pastors are still figuring out what to do – they need wisdom. If your pastors are among those who stepped out to call for reform – they need humble courage. May God bless us all.


KRIS SAYS:  Again, please note, this post is from the sgmnation blog.  I did NOT write it but thought it was very good, very discussion-worthy.

What do YOU think?


  1. Kris says:

    Again, in case anyone missed my disclaimers in blue above, I did NOT write this post. I don’t know who did – the “sgmnation” blog doesn’t show any information identifying the post’s author.

    Isn’t it thought-provoking?

  2. 2+2=4 again says:

    Thanks, Kris, for relaying this one to us. I think we need to individually, as believers in Christ, be holding all doctrines and their effects, up to the light of scripture. I think we need to trust God and His words, not the interpretation of them by man. Otherwise, what does it matter if SGM succeeds or fails, because we will get sucked into false teachings some other way. I just read a great post and comments on John Immel’s site, posted, pay no attention to that doctrine behind the curtain.

  3. Merlinus says:

    Agreed, good questions. Here is what I know so far about my church:
    1- Where does my church stand with respect to SGM and in particular, the decisions of the SGM Board?
    > To sum it up, watchful, prayerful, hopefuly wating to see what the results will be.
    2- What exactly is SGM? Is it a denominational body or a parachurch organization with a teaching and music ministry?
    > In between, both and neither. Clear as mud, but leaning further toward denomination in a cultish sort of way.
    3-From where (theologically, not legally) does the SGM Board and the regional leadership derive its authority or influence over local churches?
    > Examples of apostolic oversight – not actual teaching – from the scriptures.
    4-How much does my church give to SGM and why?
    > recently reduced from 10% to 5%, our church has lost many members and will be reducing staff.
    5-Is my church focusing on getting its local polity in order? Yes.

  4. MaryMelissa says:

    Good questions from whoever SGMNations is. Though, I wonder at times whether SGM can be reformed (sounds funny reforming the reformed) since they were built with some very basic misconceptions that somehow CJ regarded them as truths and biblical. Once a Christian organization whether this be a parachurch or a church, thinks that their theology is the “best”, that is a warning sign for me (that is the way a group of people become a cult). Every Christian movement over history had its flaws and there is not one organization even in the days where Apostle Paul was around that had no issues. I have serious questions with their concept of submission and the place that they give to women which is actually very close to what the mormon church philosophy is. In regards of their concept of authority over local churches, at least the Catholic church has a clearer definition of their hierarchical structure, the Cardinals have a vote of who the next Pope will be as compare to SGM that uplifts CJ’s narcisisctic ideologies and will follow whatever CJ thinks is right and somehow they are able to rationalize even blackmail (as they did with Larry T). How CJ has intelligent men like Purswell place emphasis in their theology to fit CJ believes, it is hard for me to understand.
    I am really doubtful that SGM can be reformed as it is now, unless there are courageous men that are able to expose the errors and I don’t think tha at this point there is anyone that would do that. They still call SGM leadership as “good people” and the Fairfax letter says they don’t want to break from SGM. What happened the other night when Josh publicly confessed his sin toward CJ did not really show humility to me since Josh has so many times mentioned that before and I really think that CJ and those around CJ got Josh to believe that he made a mistake just because he does something different that CJ would do it, please give me a break.
    Churches should be independent from SGM, take care of their own problem/issues or form a different type of association that would not require to “untrained” people from all the nonsense that they have taught for over 30 years.

  5. Wasabi says:

    Okay, call me bitter and slanderous, but here are some thoughts from my 8-year-experience-with-SGM-churches “cheap seat”. A review of SGM governance is a good step in the right direction, especially in light of the denominational infallibility promoted for the last several decades. BUT what is really needed is repentance, as many others here have also stated. To use their SGMese against them: are they confessing the sin of poor church polity? Keep in mind that many, if not all, of the senior pastors in the MD/VA/DC area served under CJ at CLC/SGM for at least 5 years prior to taking the helm at their present location. Yes, it appears that CJ is on his way out. Yes, SGM churches are realizing they need to re-evaluate their polity.

    Well done; kudos for that…but where is the heartfelt repentance? Throughout SGM-affiliated churches, the pastors/apostles have usurped the role of the Holy Spirit and inserted themselves and their pharisaical culture into the true gospel. This blog is filled with examples of SGM pastors taking spiritual liberties that are not granted in scripture; read them yourself. When SGM pastors state that individual spiritual gifts are not valid until evaluated by pastoral staff, when they tell congregations how to think and restrict sheeple from participating in non-SGM ministries – they presume an authority and role that is not theirs.

    Here’s the seriousness of this abuse. When Uzziah became arrogant and presumed a role of mediator (levitical priest) between God and man, he was not gently corrected to review his polity! Read about it in 2 Chron 26. The SGM movement needs a huge dose of ambassadors of discernment, not “reconciliation” — repentance, not polity.

  6. MaryMelissa says:

    I don’t think CJ is on his way out, not as long as SGM accepts the fact that they theology is wrong. Their dwelling in the “sin” theory, rather than the full concept of “cross and resurrection” which is what the gospel is based on. SGM’s change is as impossible as the Catholic church rejecting their concept of the “virgen Mary”. Can that be possible, no I don’t think so…

  7. Izze says:

    CJs house on the market as of yesterday, just interesting is all. He is allowed to do that :)

  8. Happymom says:

    Wasabi said in #5

    “and where is the heartfelt repentance?” EXACTLY. When will the pastors who are leading the charge start repenting for their own path of destruction? Perhaps removing the log from their own eye would be a better place to start.

  9. Roadwork says:


    I wonder if CJ sought counsel from his pastors and asked men in the church for input? We were counseled to do just that when we considered moving. Of course, at the time, we only considered moving to an area with an SGM church.

    Here’s one of the follow up emails I drafted after counsel from my pastor at the time (sent to five men and the pastor):


    You have had a package from us in your hands for a couple of weeks now. For some, the topic came as a complete surprise. Regardless of whether you have known us for some time or not, we solicit your prayers and consideration. Most of you have held, or are holding, leadership positions either here or at (edited – other SGM franchise), and I would consider your counsel as coming from wise men within the church. You may also certainly bring the package before your spouses as well for their additional thoughts.

    If you have any thoughts or concerns for us, either positively or otherwise, please let us know. You may “reply all” as your response may spark a thought for someone else.

    (Name removed) spoke with (my spouse) briefly after this past Sunday’s meeting. While I wasn’t privy to all that they discussed, I think (name removed) was inquiring regarding our motivations. I think she may have been concerned that we weren’t just looking for an easier lifestyle. (Name removed: Please feel free to offer correction here if I misunderstood you.) While it certainly will be a change of lifestyle (not necessarily an easier one), we’re taking all the people with us. The same people that mess up this house will mess up the house wherever we live. ;-)

    (Name removed) and I spoke briefly prior to Sunday’s meeting. He said he had looked at the numbers and certainly understood. I appreciate that, especially from a father that has multiple children of his own. We were talking about this and setting up at the same time so I don’t really think we had enough time to discuss the whole matter in depth.

    While the “numbers” are there, it’s only part of the story as you know. Please prayerfully look beyond the numbers and let us know what you believe the Holy Spirit may be saying.

    If after prayer, you don’t feel particularly impressed by the Holy Spirit one way or the other, that’s okay. We aren’t asking you to provide a “Thus sayeth the Lord”. This has been stirring for some time and we trust in His leading.

    Thank you!

    So, I wonder if CJ has an email like this floating around that we don’t know about? What has been submitted by him to other “wise men in the church” for consideration?

    I do not want to dismiss the idea that one should not seek wise counsel. (In a multitude of counselors there is safety – Proverbs.) But this was “normal” SGMing. Major decisions were always submitted to pastors and other leadership for “approval”. As I look back now, I must have been on crack.

    We were eventually “released” with their “blessing”.

  10. Defended says:

    oy, we (well, just Defender and I) have asked about a day of repentance or public, prepared sorrow and confession since the last so-called end to legalism, in 1998 when Benny was the bad guy! I was looked at sideways by a former-but-now-degifted pastor. As we know there was a coverup behind the tears in the last public “confession” at FCC concerning Happymom and Wallace’s family.

    Honestly, I don’t think they see (yet) the abuse of power and hypocrisy that is inherent in EVERY SGM church, by virtue of its polity – yet. So what’s to confess or repent from?

    Isn’t the veil of their so-called authority what they hide behind? Isn’t that how they maintain their veil of secrecy and privileged information and special treatment?

  11. SMP says:

    I totally agree with you Defended! It might be wise for us to not put the cart before the horse. While it appears to be a good choice for the 16 churches to come forward and ask questions of their leaders, it doesn’t mean they are not looking for a way to stay IN the koolaid. One of these pastors told his worship leader not to have anything to do with a baby he had outside his marriage with another woman. Another one allowed GRIEVING sin to take place in an entire family all for the sake of preserving what the “church” would look like. There is So Much Pain they really are respondsible for! I could go on and on as I am sure others could. These men are in fact only one step away from REPETANCE….one giant leap. These Pastors representing the 16 churches may be desiring answers with good intentions but it should not exonerate them from wrong doing. I would be more encouraged to see a repentive action then a formal letter saying “slow down” to SGM.

  12. SMP says:

    Wasabi- No calling you anything in this camp!! :goodpost :clap

  13. Perry Dontalist says:

    Here’s the link to C.J.’s house:

    [link removed]

    Pretty nice crib. I know it’s nothing outwardly extravagant but it’s obvious no expense was spared on the inside.

  14. Kris says:

    Perry said,

    Pretty nice crib. I know it’s nothing outwardly extravagant but it’s obvious no expense was spared on the inside.

    That was my first thought, too. There’s almost something weird about how low-key the house is from the outside compared to the sheer luxurious (though perfectly tasteful) perfection on the inside. No solid gold faucets or air-conditioned doghouses (a la Tammy Faye Bakker), but nonetheless very very nice.

  15. just saying... says:

    I thought when this came up before that all agreed not to post pictures of the inside of someone’s house. A little creepy.

  16. jd says:

    its a public site….

  17. Kris says:

    I removed the link. But as “jd” points out, it was from a public site, easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

  18. Kris says:

    Someone else emailed me CJ’s letter (dated January 27, 2012) informing CLC that he is transferring his membership to Solid Rock Church.

    It was not a request. It was a notification.

  19. Steve240 says:

    Not many can afford the $125,000 in upgrades the site says that CJ did to his house recently.. Another example of the money CJ has.

  20. A. Amos Love says:

    I’m NOT an SGM Survivor.
    But – I’ve endured a fair share of “Spiritual Abuse” over the years
    from Pastor/Reverends who had taken “Titles” and “Positions”
    NOT found in the Bible…

    These five questions certainly speak to the rampant “Abuse” in SGM.

    The author asks you to “Ask -Your Pastor” and “Pray for – Your Pastor”…
    Nine times in the five questions and the last paragraph…

    IMO – “The First Question” that needs to be answered – from the Bible is…

    Is the “Title” and “Position” “Pastor/Reverend/leader” – In the Bible?

    Because Jesus warned us in Mark 7:13…
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    In the Bible – Does anyone know where to find…

    A “Disciple of Christ” – called – to be a Pastor/Reverend – leading a church?
    A “Disciple of Christ” – called – to be hired, or fired, as a Pastor/Reverend?
    A “Disciple of Christ” – called – to have the “Title Pastor” – the “Title Reverend?”

    A “Disciple of Christ” – called – to be a “Leader?”
    A “Disciple of Christ” – called – “Leader?”

    A “Disciple of Christ” – calling – another “Disciple of Christ” – “Pastor?”
    A “Disciple of Christ” – calling – another “Disciple of Christ” – “Leader?”

    If the “Title” and “Position” – “Pastor/Reverend/Leader” – IS NOT In the Bible?

    Then the whole “SGM Abusive Religious System” is “Corrupt” – NOT biblical…
    And – these five questions are NO longer important, or needed. ;-)

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  21. Unassimilated says:

    Steve –

    Let’s not forget that CJ paid in cash for the house. Same goes for the improvements.

    This after gifting his previous residence to his Son in law.

    Nice gig if you ask me. I should have gone into the God ordained leader business.

    Donors instead of investors. I get to pick the board of directors. No taxes to pay.
    Lots of employment loopholes. I don’t even have to pay unemployment.

    Anything gets wonky, I point to my God given authority, my own personal interpretation of scripture, and my successful friends as proof of my righteousness.

    Bernie Madoff could have learned a few things from ol CJ.

  22. From Pembroke Pines con amor says:

    Ask your pastor if they still believe in the Shepherding tactics. As I see it the problems in SGM stem more from the shepherding tactics than from their supposed reformed theology. I was around when it started way back in Fort Lauderdale and was so surprised to witness it again at a SGM church in South Florida.

    Perhaps the RBDs have bought into shepherding and that is why they don’t speake out against CJ. When the RBDs don’t agree with someone or something that might hurt their brand they are quick to speak against it such as with TD Jakes/elephant room.

    No word from them though regarding the abuse stemming from the Shepherding tactics. I therefore believe that RBDs are in agreement with this practice.

  23. Fried Fish says:

    I can think of two slightly different questions that should be asked, based on elements of #2 and #3 above, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect a straight answer :)

    Not only should the members be asking their pastors this, but the pastors should be asking SGM this if they are questioning their relationship with SGM.

    In times past, SGM leadership, including a number of SGM-affiliated local pastors, by their actions and declarations, demonstrated their belief that they were bestowed with a God given Apostolic authority to control and direct the lives of SGM members, guide every major decision of their lives, and direct their attitudes and behaviors down to minute extra biblical detail.

    Have they renounced this belief? Not just “are they lightening up on the harshness, discipline, and overlording?”, due to exposure and pressure, but has that belief truly changed? And if so, are they willing to make a statement to that effect to all current and ex-SGM members and repent for usurping God’s authority?

    Just a thought…

  24. Izze says:

    That’s one “fact” I’ve always wondered about from this site…how do you know CJ paid cash? And gifted the old house to the kids?

  25. Unassimilated says:

    From Pembroke Pines con amor –

    Charles Simpson was a friend of CJ’s, and a speaker at many of their churches and
    Celebration conferences. Simpson met with Dave Harvey, and spoke at the Philly church at the same time Harvey was putting together his Polity reference for SGM.

    They definitely have their roots in the movement, and in most ways,
    are the Shepherding Movement repackaged. Those roots have often been the subject of discussion, and main posts here for some time. Yet it is always worth repeating.

    More on the movement here –

  26. glad i am out says:

    Izze, 24

    The answer to both of those questions are in the public record – for instance any realtor could get the answers on the MLS easily at any time.. Maybe someone did get the answers, But i wondered, too, if these are just myths being thrown around..

  27. Persona says:

    Izze 24

    K. Chesmore wrote a post on GirlTalk about her parents giving them the old homestead.

    A Survivor contributor also dug up public records that showed the M’s bought their new home with cash.

  28. Unassimilated says:

    Izze –

    It is noted that their is no lien holder on the property via the Montgomery County Property tax site. It was also confirmed by SGM’s money guy.

    Since Kris took down the realtor link, I will simply point you to the tax site, rather than the exact document. Which I have posted here before in the past.

  29. yentl says:

    #21 – Unassimilated
    I believe the rumors that he bought his house with cash or gave his other house to his daughter have been put to rest numerous times.

  30. Kris says:

    Fried Fish,

    RE your #23, that’s a good question for SGMers to ask.

    I have heard quite a few reports from people who, for one reason or another, have had occasion to interact with their pastors about life decisions. And they’ve all relayed essentially the same thing, which is that their pastors now disavow the need to weigh in on things like moves, job changes, and spouse choices. Some pastors have even mentioned that they did indeed used to think this was their role, but now the thinking has changed.

    There’s been no explanation for why or when the thinking changed. There’s been no expression of regret for all the people over the years who were incorrectly micromanaged and controlled by the old practices.

    So if I were an SGM member, I’d ask for such an explanation. I’d also ask for a specific statement admitting wrongdoing, and an apology to all SGM members, past and present, who were subjected to the old incorrect practice of shepherding.

  31. sgmnation says:

    Kris – thanks for drawing attention to my blog post. It’s a pivotal moment for SGM and individual members have a meaningful part to play in this.

  32. Kris says:

    yentl said,

    I believe the rumors that he [CJ] bought his house with cash or gave his other house to his daughter have been put to rest numerous times.

    Not so.

    While it’s true that no one here is saying that CJ and Carolyn showed up with suitcases of literal cash when they bought their home, property records show that CJ and Carolyn own their present home (the one listed for sale now) free and clear. No bank has a lien against it, as is the case when a person gets a mortgage on (i.e. doesn’t “pay cash” for) a property and instead makes monthly payments on a loan.

    The documentation is a little bit fuzzier for the “gifted” house. Property records show CJ and Carolyn deeded that property over to their daughter and her husband – with no money officially changing hands. That doesn’t necessarily mean the younger people aren’t paying the parents something. But if the property transfer was indeed a sale, it was one that happened off the books, with CJ and Carolyn doing the financing rather than a traditional bank.

  33. Kris says:

    sgmnation –

    Thank you for writing such a good, succinct piece.

  34. ExClcer'sMom says:

    The 1st thing I noticed was the $125K in recent upgrades also, but I bet those upgrades, while valued at 125K, probably did not cost the Mahaneys $125K. When one is in the ‘royal court’, people fall over themselves to ‘serve you’, donating time and/or materials, to win your favor-just like any other celebrity. Not necessarily sinful, and not an obvious misuse of tithes necessarily. I would think, however, that a more ethical and pastoral response to such offers would be to use one’s gifts to serve ‘the lowest among us”…Oh, yeah, CJ IS ‘the worst sinner he knows’..

    A.Amos Love….very interesting…I am going to give more thought to that now! Thanks for posting!

  35. Kris says:

    ExClcer’sMom –

    To be fair to the Mahaneys, we don’t know that CJ and Carolyn paid less than the going rate for the improvements done to their home. With the way things have always been done at CLC, it wouldn’t be surprising if they caught a break from a contractor wanting to “bless” them. But no contractor has come around saying he gave anything to the Mahaneys.

  36. Kris says:

    The beauty and understated luxury we can see in the home the Mahaneys have listed for sale, as well as the fact that they own this home outright, are topics that will certainly strike some people as having nothing to do with SGM’s issues.

    I would tend to agree that there’s nothing necessary wrong with a pastor’s owning a lovely home or having expensive things.

    But for those who get all defensive of CJ and prefer to think of him as totally above and beyond caring about material goods – and therefore above and beyond being motivated by financial incentives – I think it’s interesting to see that this isn’t actually the case.

  37. Unassimilated says:

    Yentl- They are not rumors, it is fact that is verifiable via public records.

    I do need to point out that the home that just sold for $395,000 on cross country lane
    was the Chesemore residence, not the Mahaneys.

    The Chesemores had no mortgage, but as Kris points out, we do not know what the personal financial arrangements are or were. Regardless, it is still a gift to
    end up in a home that at the time was assessed at 300k, while being a single income pastoral family. Particularly when “We went from losing most of our equity to being able to move into a single-family home” – K.Chesemore

    I am happy to re-post links to the public documents that support my statement.
    If you desire me to do so, simply post your State tax records, and publicly recorded statements that indicate otherwise.

    In the meantime –

    “Then we got one incredible phone call that I will never forget. My parents were finally able to move and they wanted to offer us their home at an amazing price, well below market value. We were simply amazed–not only by their generosity but the Lord’s gracious and kind provision for our family. We went from losing most of our equity to being able to move into a single-family home.”

  38. Unassimilated says:

    CJ paid $675,000 for the home on Lochaven BTW

  39. From Pembroke Pines con amor says:

    Another question to ask your church. Why are pastoral candidates sent to SGM Bible College instead of being encouraged to pursue higher education and then seminary? If seminary is not beneficial then why did SGM/CJ contribute such an exorbitant amount of money to a Baptist seminary. Would’t that money be better used to provide scholarships for our pastoral candidates to attend the SGM Bible college?

  40. ExClcer'sMom says:

    You are absolutely right, Kris! Actually, when I started typing that, I was trying to show another side “to be fair to the Mahaneys”, to try to say that maybe they were not using tithe money for $125K in upgrades, but that people may have ‘donated time”, but, really, either way is speculation. I think you said it best when you said that CJ is not beyond financial motivations. That is pretty obvious. I wonder how much CJ gave to the building fund, while he was encouraging everyone else to ‘give til it hurts, then give some more”, and personally donating to the other organizations? Does one ever ‘audit’ a pastor? How does that work in a “not for profit organization”? Just curious..All of that is just another symptom of the whole bigger, more serious issues to be dealt with.

  41. 5yearsinPDI says:

    Welcome PPines. You are absolutely correct about the shepherding movement and SGM.

  42. SGMsingle says:

    5 years,

    Before I joined CLC in the mid-1980s, I had been in a church that was openly in the Shepherding Movement under the ministry of one of the original “Fort Lauderdale 5”. My former church had completely disintegrated, leaving a big mess, so I asked a few questions when I joined CLC. At that time my CLC CGL assured me that CJ and Larry were not officially connected to the Shepherding Movement and had avoided the more extreme practices, such as tithing to small group leaders and asking permission to go on vacations. In the mid-1980s I heard a rumor that earlier CJ and Larry actually had met regularly with a leader in that movement near Philadelphia, but that the relationship did not work out and so PDI/SGM never “officially” joined.

    My view on this is that although SGM/PDI was never directly fully associated with the Shepherding Movement, Larry and CJ took many leadership practices from the “Fort Lauderdale 5”, Watchman Nee, and several British leaders. In the early days SGM/PDI leaders publicly denied practicing official “Shepherding”. Of course, it comes down to how you define “Shepherding”. It seems the SGM leaders did not define more subtle forms of persuasion as actual “Shepherding”.

    At CLC, no one directly told me to get a pastor’s permission for things like moving or changing jobs. Any possible overuse of authority was done with hints and indirect communication. Questions might be asked such as “Is there some reason you did not trust your pastor enough to “get counsel” before that decision?” This was not OVERTLY controlling.

    So, even it the 1980s CLC did not go to the extremes that the Shepherding Movement had. Of course, there were still issues.

  43. 5yearsinPDI says:

    At that time my CLC CGL assured me that CJ and Larry were not officially connected to the Shepherding Movement

    In the early days SGM/PDI leaders publicly denied practicing official “Shepherding”.

    They lie. Or maybe they were deluded. Or ignorant.

    Larry and CJ were at all the East Coast conferences and everybody was into it. Don Milam’s group, Ray Ciervo and Harmon Johnson, Bob Wright, the Living Word Churches in Philly that stemmed from Gospel Temple under John Poole(Ft Lauderdale #6).( by the way Kauflin goes back to that one under Rob Klaus). Some group in NH, forget the name. Larry and CJ were there in the thick of it.

    Yes, I would agree that they were not as extreme as say Bob Weiner. But their understanding of authority and how far it goes ( way too far, certainly interfering with marriages and parenting) has been classic shepherding. The blind obedience to leaders is typical, as was the statement made to me- that by asking an innocent question once about a procedural manner, I implied that pastors were capable of making mistakes and I was not trusting them.

    I could go on and on. But they are shepherding all the way, recycled from the 70s, with Calvinism instead of Arminianism.

    This is how I saw it. I think a lot depends on which church you were in. I get the impression that it got worse after the PC grads started pastoring. I am sure that to some extent it is part of fallen human nature everywhere to try to run the show with an iron fist. Even two year olds try to live that way… :D

  44. Unassimilated says:

    Larry Tomczak had articles published in New Wine Magazine. Archives through 1984 can be found here –

    One such article cited here –

    Simpson was one of the “Fab Five” of that movement, New Wine was that movements chief publication. Although PDI remained it’s own organization, there was plenty of ‘Give and Take’ between them. Not unlike the Mahaney/Mohler RBD thing we see now.

  45. Lee says:

    I think the fact that CJ bought an expensive house and put a bunch of $$$ into upgrades really shows that he had no intention of moving. The decision to move to Kentucky was made in haste I bet.

    I can’t judge them on what they own, but I’ve always felt that pastors should probably avoid the appearance of living high off the hog. They probably really shouldn’t live better than the average members of their congregation. Again, can’t be the judge but to me it doesn’t seem truly humble. I think those SGM guys are paying themselves pretty darn well while the churches struggle to contribute 10%.

    I honestly live in a house that is comparible to that. About the same square feet, same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, finished basement, garage, inground pool, and a bigger lot in a very nice neighborhood. We paid less than half that because of where I live. There’s no way in heck my spouse would let me spend the amount of money on the interior like that. Real estate is an investment, (and a tax deduction!) so we can justify that, but to spend tons of money on furniture and decorations…there’s just no way! We have no desire to impress anyone.

  46. Sorry state says:

    I am one who does not enjoy the talk about the M’s house, mortgages and the like. To me, it seems the M’s could have afforded a much larger and nicer house, and didn’t. Their house is nice but definitely not over the top, especially for our culture.

    SGM has enough real problems and I don’t think this is one of them.

  47. Kris says:

    Lee said,

    I think the fact that CJ bought an expensive house and put a bunch of $$$ into upgrades really shows that he had no intention of moving. The decision to move to Kentucky was made in haste I bet.

    Good observation.

  48. Kris says:

    Sorry state said,

    To me, it seems the M’s could have afforded a much larger and nicer house, and didn’t. Their house is nice but definitely not over the top, especially for our culture.

    I guess it depends on one’s definition of “larger and nicer.”

    I’m one who doesn’t begrudge the Mahaneys nice things. I also think what they did – buy a “nice but not TOO nice” house, especially one that looks so jarringly low-key from the outside, and then rock out the inside – was VERY smart.

    They get the best of both worlds. People will defend them as good stewards, living well within their means, which is true. But no upper-middle class creature comfort is missing.

  49. MAK says:

    I don’t want to rain on the “wow the Mahaney’s live in a mansion” parade but we have friends who live right around the corner and our CG meets in the same neighborhood. Keep in mind this is Montgomery county md. For that neighborhood, CJ’s house is pretty modest. Another home in the neighborhood is listing for $749K. Sorry, Kris, I hardly think the dice coffee table in the living room falls under the category of luxurious. It seems nice but modest to me. These homes were build in the 70s and 80s so I’m sure when they moved in they had to tear out the mauve carpeting etc…and renovating kitchens aren’t cheap.

    I wonder how much SGM will pay out for location packages??

  50. Kris says:


    There’s no parade to rain on. At least not on my end. As I said, I think the Mahaneys’ house is “nice but not TOO nice.”

    But in what world is spending $125,000 (as per the listing details) on interior improvements NOT luxurious? No matter where they live, $125k is a nice chunk of change. In many parts of the country it could pay for a decent home for two empty-nesters.