Archives

Interesting Thoughts From Ozymandias Over At sgmnation Blog, “Praise Warrior’s” Thoughts About CJ’s T4G Contributions

The sgmnation blog features a guest post from “Ozymandias,” who ponders the question of what has been driving the leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries to respond to their denomination’s problems the way they have responded over the past 10 months or so.  Ozymandias suggests that the leaders’ primary concern is not so much about what would best serve the people of SGM’s churches but instead is about what the rest of the “Young, Restless, & Reformed” Christian world will think of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Ozymandias says,

It [the focus of leaders' concerns] isn’t first and foremost about who is at the denomination’s helm, or how a new Partnership Agreement will define HQ-to-field operations, but about how public discussion affects the denomination’s reputation in conservative evangelical circles. As has been referenced here and there on “the blogs,” the center of gravity revolves around the (psychological) fear of what the public airing of SGM’s systemic problems would mean for its reputation in the YRR world, or in social science and business terms, the public diminution of the denomination’s overall brand among co-religionists.

Ozymandias then goes on to demonstrate how his hypothesis – that SGM leaders are mostly concerned about the organization’s image and reputation with the larger Christian world – makes perfect sense in light of SGM leaders’ actions and statements. 

For the sake of a working hypothesis, let’s see how this particular way of defining center of gravity might explain just a few of the decisions since last July:

– It can explain why the interim board’s first order of business was the establishment of the fitness panel, involving three well-known conservative evangelical personalities: Kevin DeYoung, Carl Trueman and Ray Ortland. It also helps to explain the rapid turnaround and public release of the report’s findings.

– It can explain the overarching theme of SGMHQ’s November 2011 denominational letter, written in the wake of Covenant Life Church’s internet release of its 30 October 2011 Family Meeting. Note the sheer number of times the letter repeats the words “public” vs. “private,” as well as the highlighting of Josh Harris’ influence and CLC’s public example [emphasis added]:

“we have taken the approach of privately engaging with CLC…”

“It has been our hope from the beginning that these disagreements could get worked out privately…”

“we would not engage in critiquing each other beyond the private realm”

“Our goal has been to interact privately and through conversation, withholding public critique.”

“…the CLC pastors have chosen to broadcast their differences and disagreements in public meetings and through the internet

CLC has always functioned as something of a model of SGM belief and practice. Pastors throughout our churches could assume CLC and SGM are on the same page, and look to CLC to observe the direction and positions of SGM.”

public statements continue to be made from CLC pastors that seem to us to significantly misrepresent SGM and have the potential to implicate and cast suspicion upon you and the churches you serve.”

“CLC pastors have publicly voiced their concerns and criticisms for SGM broadly..”

“In their most recent family meeting, made public through Josh’s Facebook and on their website, CLC openly shared their negative assessment of SGM leadership.”

“…the sweeping and pejorative assessments he is making of SGM…”

“…because of the public nature of Josh’s comments and our concerns for how SGM is being portrayed.” “Our disagreement lies with aspects of their assessment, their presentation of these issues, and the impression their public statements can have.”

“We have communicated to Josh that his broad critique of Sovereign Grace in public forums, while identifying certain weaknesses with which we all agree, is having the effect of raising suspicions in local churches against local church pastoral teams”

“Our request to them at this point is to confine their public pronouncements concerning reform to issues CLC is facing, although we have urged them to please continue to share concerns for SGM privately with the board, just as we have sought to share our concerns for them privately.”

– It can help to explain, following CJ’s reinstatement, the discernible move away from regular posts about the denomination’s issues on SGM’s Plant and Build blog. Related to this, it can also explain why, recently, all of the previous comments to older posts at the Plant and Build blog have been deleted and are no longer available for public review. It can also help to explain why earlier statements by denominational leaders have also been removed, and why, in the new board’s first public statement, it made itself clear that, among other things, it would not involve itself in “day-to-day communication.”

– It may explain why there has been no specific response to Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax’s 7 March 2012 letter to the interim board – a letter signed by multiple SGM churches and subsequently made public.

– It may help to explain the rush to affirm and seat a new board, as SGM’s 13 March 2012 letter describes, “[in the] small window of time before the release of the [Ambassadors of Reconciliation] report.” If – and I emphasize if – the goal is to lessen the impact of the report’s findings among the conservative evangelical crowd by releasing it simultaneously with some statement about “how the denomination has already addressed AoR’s more salient points,” then it is understandable how, as the 13 March letter continues, “it was important to get a new board in place in order to respond promptly to [AoR’s] report.”

– It could also explain the decision to hold off any public release of the AoR report until after this week’s Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference in Louisville, rather than release it in the run-up to the event.

I think Ozymandias is absolutely correct in his assertion that if his hypothesis is true – which seems rather obvious, especially in light of the multitude of statements from SGM that show such nonsensical determination to frame up the organization’s problems as primarily interpersonal conflicts that have to be dealt with privately – then SGM’s issues will never really be addressed without input from those whose opinions matter so much to SGM’s leaders.  Ozymandias says,

I would argue that significant reform is just not possible without public YRR discussion of the denomination’s historical, systemic problems. And unfortunately, there has been a noticeable unwillingness on the part of YRR outlets to engage in any such discussion. If you regularly read conservative evangelical bloggers or personally interact with conservative evangelical publishers, you may wish to bring this up with them. Shying away completely from the conflict’s immediate proximate cause (i.e. the Mahaney/Detwiler conflict) I might recommend a polite letter, especially to those who have historically highlighted SGM, its books and its music to their audiences, asking if they are aware of how the denomination is currently facing division, and if they have any concerns that they have – either through commission or omission – perpetuated the conflict rather than helped to ameliorate it.

Check out the full post over at sgmnation.  It’s a good one.

———————————

Also, in light of the fact that C.J. Mahaney is a featured speaker, several people have written to ask for a specific post about T4G (the “Together for the Gospel” conference taking place right now).  I thought “Praise Warrior” said it well when he wrote,

We find it ironic that CJ Mahaney will preach a session called “When A Pastor Loses Heart” at the T4G (Together For The Gospel) conference soon. Perhaps before stepping up to the plate to hit his homerun, CJ might consider interviewing the many pastors and church members who have lost heart and left Sovereign Grace Ministries. 

It might surprise the many that will be gathered to hear the strength of the arguments that CJ might not be the best choice to deliver a message on this topic. In fact, many of us would call it downright rude – an ‘in-your-face’ blow to those who are convinced that CJ charging ahead in his public ministry poses a significant lack of integrity on his part and the part of those around him. 

Let the discussion panels be comprised of just 4 pastors who have lost heart under CJ’s leadership and the conversation would become quite lively. 

CJ, would you please consider recusing yourself from speaking at this conference? Don’t you think you might have a slight conflict of interest here? Here is a suggestion: rather than taking your cues from your buddies Mohler, Duncan and Dever, why don’t you simply ask all the remaining pastors in your family of churches if they think it is wise for you to continue in public ministry at this time? 

No one is out to destroy you. Most of us feel sorrow for you. It might be time for you to consider the following: 

1) Have you failed to both teach about AND PRACTICE meaningful membership at Covenant Life Church? 

2) Doesn’t the nature of a church covenant require the church’s consent to both enter and leave the membership of the church?

3) Do you have unresolved conflicts with your family of churches and their leaders?

4) Are you aware your flock (the one you pastored for so many years) is studying you?

5) How many people are struggling with you because your teaching does not line up with your practice? 

Answer these questions and we will be happy to not walk out when you begin to speak at T4G. If you get around to answering these, maybe clue us in as to why Dave Harvey is continuing in his ministry as well. Not that you owe us anything. You might have already forgotten about us.

 

220 comments to Interesting Thoughts From Ozymandias Over At sgmnation Blog, “Praise Warrior’s” Thoughts About CJ’s T4G Contributions

  • Just saw this

    Just looked at my Facebook and saw this: I will not be attending T4G this week. Here’s why:

    C.J. Mahaney should not be speaking at any conference right now. C.J. left his local church Covenant Life church in Gaithersburg, MD just weeks ago before reconciling with many of the leaders and members there. I don’t claim to know all of C.J.’s reasons for leaving, and I am not making a judgment as to whether or not any of C.J.’s grievances with CLC have merit. What I do know is that C.J. left the only church he has ever known without first making every effort to reconcile to the people there. C.J. is not being consistent with decades of his own teaching on God glorifying conflict resolution and submitting to the authority of the local church.
    Why would men who purport to hold the local church in such high esteem (like Mohler, Duncan, Dever, et al) allow C.J. to speak about the “underestimated” gospel when he is making a loud statement to all of Sovereign Grace that the gospel isn’t sufficient to reconcile him with those whom he has claimed to “love the most”? Shouldn’t C.J. try to be “together for the gospel” with those in his own local church before expanding his relationships with the greater body of Christ?
    At the very least, I hope that there will be some explanation from either C.J., or the previously mentioned leaders as to why it is appropriate for C.J. to be speaking at this year’s T4G conference.
    Since no explanation was given, this year, I am staying home.

  • 2confused

    I totally agree with this post. I wonder if they (SGM) ripped 1Cor and Galatians from their bibles? In both of these books Paul publically rebukes them for their wrong doings. He doesn’t privately smack them around. Even more interesting is it is recorded for generations and generations to see, read and learn from. SGM is more concerned about what the world thinks not what God is doing in their midst. It is sad, but true. I stay with CLC because I see great changes happening. I pray SGM pulls their head out of…the ground and sees what is really going on. As for the AoR report. I don’t believe it will change much within SGM. I am glad all this happened because now CLC sees where it got things wrong and is moving forward to make changes.

  • Lee

    I noticed on JD Greear’s Twitter feed that he ate lunch with Joshua Harris yesterday. I just can’t imagine that these guys don’t ask Josh “what is really going on at SGM”? I know Josh has to tread carefully but I really hope he shares.

    I do agree that a lot of SGM’s reactions are totally due to fear of losing their image, which is really “funny” when you think about it because the same people who preach constantly to not give into “fear of man” are totally giving into fear of man.

  • Muckraker

    Just saw this @1 :clap :clap :clap

    Is there a way to post this comment on the T4G website? They should see it too! :scratch

  • As I was perusing the sgmnation blog, I happened upon this comment (from “Annie”), which isn’t exactly about our topic here, but I thought it was really good:

    One thing that seems nearly impossible in all this is to open the eyes of those who have been sgm favorites. At my church, there’s not a one of these pastors’s pets that I don’t also love with admiration and affection. But I’m almost certain they can’t “get” what it’s like for the many of us who aren’t loved and cared for (ie liked by the pastors) as they are. In other words, they don’t get how we don’t “feel the love” that they are always surrounded by. And the whole dynamic is wrong anyway- both the favoritism, the provocation we feel as “lowlife members,” the whole class system. It stinks to high heaven. Shame on me for wanting to “be somebody,” but how has it not been a temptation in such a strange atmosphere where a pastor’s frown or smile can seem as if it is from God Himself?

    I hadn’t ever thought of the description “Pastor’s Pet,” but it really is a perfect way to describe what can make the difference between believing SGM is the closest thing to heaven on earth and realizing that it’s not.

  • Just saw this

    Muckraker,
    It’s from an Eric Grover. Just look him up on fb. Not sure who he is.

  • yentl

    #5 – Annie totally nailed that one.

    I can’t believe SGM churches could so consistently exhibit this behavior unless it is TAUGHT to them. There must be a teaching somewhere on it.

    1. Exalt the valuable.
    2. Court the promising.
    3. Dispose of those who fail.
    4. Ignore the common man.
    5. Shun the troublemakers.

    Nowhere else in the body of Christ do pastors view their parishioners in this way.

    I believe this methodology is the root of much of the spiritual abuse. Everyone is covetously striving to be acknowledged by the spiritual leaders. Then, they feel discarded by God when they are found unworthy.

    God is so not that way.

  • facedown2000

    Eric Grover is someone I respect deeply — I met him a few times, but I’m more familiar with some of the songs he wrote than Eric himself. Those who’ve followed SGM worship releases sometime will be familiar with his songs, including “Your Great Renown.” He’s not one of the muckety mucks in SGM, but he’s no slouch, either.

    While I wish the state of things were such that Eric’s comments weren’t needed, folks in SGM may be more likely to listen to him than any of us.

  • KAZ

    YENTL #7

    :goodpost

    I definately experianced 3 + 4 + 5

  • For those having trouble “connecting the dots” (it took me some time myself).

    Eric Grover who is the worship leader at the SGM Cleveland Church wrote what is quoted in comment 1. The SGM Cleveland Church doesn’t show that Eric is on paid staff but still it is quite a gutsy comment. I hope Eric isn’t routed from SGM for posting this as C.J. Mahaney indicated needed to be done with divisive people when Mahaney spoke at the SGM Pastors’ Conference late last year.

    Here is the Facebook link:

    http://www.facebook.com/chuckgrover

    This is what Eric shows posted on his Facebook page:

    I will not be attending T4G this week. Here’s why:

    C.J. Mahaney should not be speaking at any conference right now. C.J. left his local church Covenant Life church in Gaithersburg, MD just weeks ago before reconciling with many of the leaders and members there. I don’t claim to know all of C.J.’s reasons for leaving, and I am not making a judgment as to whether or not any of C.J.’s grievances with CLC have merit. What I do know is that C.J. left the only church he has ever known without first making every effort to reconcile to the people there. C.J. is not being consistent with decades of his own teaching on God glorifying conflict resolution and submitting to the authority of the local church.
    Why would men who purport to hold the local church in such high esteem (like Mohler, Duncan, Dever, et al) allow C.J. to speak about the “underestimated” gospel when he is making a loud statement to all of Sovereign Grace that the gospel isn’t sufficient to reconcile him with those whom he has claimed to “love the most”? Shouldn’t C.J. try to be “together for the gospel” with those in his own local church before expanding his relationships with the greater body of Christ?
    At the very least, I hope that there will be some explanation from either C.J., or the previously mentioned leaders as to why it is appropriate for C.J. to be speaking at this year’s T4G conference.
    Since no explanation was given, this year, I am staying home.

    It would be good if more SGM members especially those in leadership made this type of statement.

  • Persona

    I am glad Eric Grover and his wife are speaking-up. Their observations are astute. I am not sure CJ and Bob are listening but then, not many popes or priest listened to Luther, either.

    Even if we don’t get blanket repentance in SGM- affiliated churches, we can hope and pray for a decisive victory in the heavens, for a gradual reduction of SGM influence on the church, over time.

    It sickens me to see Bob Kauflin and his band leading worship at T4G. Bob and his family left CLC with nary a word of farewell. So, it’s okay for them to leave their home church but, not their son-in-law?

  • I tend to think that CJ’s presence on the T4G stage simply serves to further validate the charges against him made by people like Brent. I know CJ’s fans would like to believe otherwise – they’d like to think that his being a speaker at T4G is a sign that all is actually well (or well enough) with CJ – but the exact opposite is true.

    Yes, CJ is a popular speaker. And yes, there’s probably some sort of demand for him to be there. Maybe it’s even the case that the roster of presenters was put together a long time ago, before SGM’s own ruckus became public. Maybe the T4G brand would take a hit if CJ were to have stepped away and asked them to find someone else.

    But even if all that is true, you just have to ask yourself what sort of person would believe that his presence on the T4G stage was so vital that he could not have recused himself for a year, at least until everything within SGM is more settled. If you think about that question at all, it becomes obvious that only a really self-important person would think what he might have to say at T4G could really be THAT vital, that he needed to press on and put himself out there anyway, even as his own longtime church doesn’t know what to make of his recent actions, and the denomination that he presided over for decades is in the midst of turbulance.

    CJ’s either really self-important, or perhaps there’s really no one out there who can speak the truth to him and tell him what he does not apparently want to hear – that he should have kept himself off the stage.

    And of course, both of those options dovetail very well with what Brent has said about CJ’s lack of accountability and difficulties submitting to the authority of others.

    So CJ’s fans can believe what they want to believe, I guess. But honestly, I’m pretty sure none of them would have such hubris, if they were in the same position CJ’s in right now. Most of CJ’s fans actually are “local church fans” and wouldn’t dream of blowing off their local churches the way that CJ has.

    Maybe they’ll see the irony someday. In the meantime, at least they can cackle with CJ as he laughs at his own jokes.

  • JeffB

    At Pyromaniacs, in comments to a post about T4G by Frank Turk (which doesn’t mention Mahaney), several people, including myself, have criticized Mahaney’s presence there. (Link below.) Turk wrote early yesterday that he will delete those comments when he gets to “a real Internet connection.” As of now, they are still there (I wish I’d known about this yesterday).

    This is a good opportunity to write about Mahaney at a blog where it is unlikely to find criticism of him. (Although comments to a post by Phil Johnson [also not about Mahaney] a while ago that were critical of Mahaney were not deleted, and Johnson interacted with them.)

    Sorry to sound like a nanny, but if you are polite and concentrate on Mahaney and not Calvinism, you will be taken more seriously. And sorry if the deletions have begun.

    http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2012/04/t4g-day-1-band-of-bloggers.html

  • JeffB

    Oops. It was early today, not yesterday, when Turk wrote that he planned to delete the comments.

  • FSGP

    CJ on “When a Pastor Loses Heart” as ironic? Paradoxically, I’m not so sure.

    CJ on “When a Pastor Loses Heart” as appropriate? Indeed, he’s an expert on the issue; he has caused many of us to do so.

    Glad that the RBDs have matched CJ with his strength,
    Former SG Pastor

  • Interesting, about Pyro Frank’s threats to delete discussion of CJ and SGM’s issues.

    Although I can see the appeal of breaking through the Reformed Blogger Shield Of Protection that surrounds CJ and SGM, I would strongly discourage anyone here from going against the Pyro guys’ requests not to talk about CJ on their site. As incredible as I find those guys’ refusal to take a long, hard, honest look at SGM, I think it’s important to respect their rules for discussion and moderation…even if Frank is doing nothing to quell the very conspiarcy theories he just pooh-poohed.

  • Mike Cole

    Hey Persona,

    FYI – Eric and Jenn are siblings not spouses. :wink:

    Mike

  • Persona

    Ha! Thanks, Mike 18. I have never met them but, I am slowly becoming big fans of their ministry.

  • Guy

    FSGP – glad to see you around these parts. I’ve missed you brother!!

  • ExClcer'sMom

    Persona,post #19, I feel the same way.

  • Fried Fish

    LOL almost snorting stuff out my nose at “Reformed Blogger Sheild Of Protection.”

    Ozy and Kris – Do you think that CJ and SGM really care very much about what conservative Evangelicals or the larger Christian world think? I mean, if you include folks like the Assemblies of God or the Wesleyans, Nazarenes, CMA and Salvation Army, all sorts of non-YRR Baptists (Southern, Conservative, General, etc.), all the nondenominational Bible believing churches that don’t identify as Reformed, the Missouri Synod Lutherans – I could go on and on, and if we totaled them all up I think they would outnumber the Calvinistas’ following quite handily.

    It really seems to me that the Calvinista world is like a bubble, with an air of exclusivity and superiority that acts like a vacuum to suck in folks from outside and for lack of a better word, insulate them from the wider world, Christian or otherwise. An intellectual respite that provides a formulaic solution to the mess that is a normal life, as it were. CJ’s antics may provide some comic relief there, but his skill at brandishing the large, dark, brooding “T” in TULIP and how well he has wielded it for so long has, I’m sure, cemented his place In the Together For The Extended ExtraBiblical Gospel Hall Of Fame.

    The NeoReformed crowd is CJ’s Peoria, and imo as long as he gets to play there, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

  • B.R. Clifton

    Yentl #7:
    The tendency to show favoritism to the more influential citizens in the congragation is far more prevelant than you would think. No denomination is free from that blight. Many “pastors” depend on these civic and congregational movers and shakers to help them in realizing their “vision”. Those with the fatest check books tend to getthe most attention from the leadership and are “schmoozed” to the hilt. The average congregants are left mostly to fend for themselves. Their only interchange with the “man on the pedestal” comes from a 40-45 minute diatribe on Sunday morning that may or may not have any real spiritual substance to it.

    Many ministers shun the ones on the lower rungs of the ecclesiastical pecking order simply because they don’t have a clue how to address their needs other than the usual “be warmed and filled” blessing as they nervously move on to the next parishoner to repeat the empty greeting.
    :beat

  • Fried Fish said,

    Do you think that CJ and SGM really care very much about what conservative Evangelicals or the larger Christian world think?

    and

    The NeoReformed crowd is CJ’s Peoria, and imo as long as he gets to play there, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

    No, I don’t think CJ and SGM care much about the organization’s image among “conservative Evangelicals.” But I do believe they care greatly about the opinions of the movers and shakers within the “NeoReformed” world. I’d agree with you that it is a much smaller subset of Bible-believing Christianity…but right now, it’s the one with the loudest voice, the one getting the most attention through conferences and bloggers and – most importantly – celebrity names. SGM and CJ have for years wanted to align themselves with those celebrities and have worked very deliberately to do so, through CJ’s contributions to Al Mohler’s seminary, through careful machinations to make himself part of T4G, through the celebrities he goes after to endorse his books, and through the careful marketing of the SGM brand as being a good place for bookworms with a continuationist bent.

    You’re right in that there are thousands more conservative Evangelicals among the groups you listed. BUT, can you name one celebrity preacher/author from, say, the Salvation Army who has any sort of following? One Nazarene guy who would be a household name? One Assemblies of God person with more than a thousand Twitter followers?

    The fact is, it’s not really about numbers. It’s about influence. The loudest voices with the most celebrity star power have the most influence. I believe Ozymandias is right in his hypothesis that whatever CJ and SGM’s leaders choose to do is firstly and foremostly about what will best help to preserve their image and enable CJ to retain his star power in that specific select little YRR world.

  • TomH

    Well, Frank shut down the blog after calling those who think CJ is in sin “conspiracy theorists” which is typical control tactics. Marginalize, demonize and silence. Here’s what I posted at sgmnation which 2confused eluded to in #2. Forgive me for popping in and posting occasionally. I’ve posted under a different name but decided to stop hiding. I am not concerned if the leaders know how I view all this. They should know and actually they do know. I certainly don’t mind being corrected where appropriate because of wrongful thinking as proven by Scripture but I won’t be silenced by fear any longer.

    “The spiral effect is in SGM’s attempt to “save face” they expose more of their desire for reputation instead of a desire to please God and walk in the light. I am frankly astounded at the silence of YRRs and “Reformed Big Dogs”. It would seem obvious to the majority of the Church (capital C) that fear of man is the driving force (aka love of reputation) behind the decisions of the SGM leadership. In the name of Christ, how do the leaders outside SGM let this go, and in fact attend conferences with these (SGM) leaders actively engaged in sin as if everything is pleasing to God? Is the eventual church split pleasing to God? Is the massive divide created by a few leader’s decisions pleasing to God? How does this affect the Gospel message to the world? And lastly, are they protecting the Gospel as Paul did in Gal 2:11-14 “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
    (Galatians 2:11-14 ESV)

    Where’s the call to be “in step with the truth of the gospel”????

  • Somewhereintime

    Too bad CJ doesn’t really care about the one and only opinion that really matters!

    Not to worry … the Lord will not be mocked and we have front row seats watching what He will do. Not to cheer it when it occurs, but to fear Him so that we don’t do the same.

  • Lee

    I listened to most of CJ’s talk at T4G about “When a Pastor Loses Heart”.

    Maybe it’s because I am a bit cynical to start with, but I got no warm fuzzies listening to it. It seemed to me that CJ was going through the motions, and definitely purposely turning on emotion at key times. It didn’t feel genuine to me.

    At first I thought people here were wrong that CJ was referring to specific people/events in SGM as I didn’t sense he was doing that. But definitely when he got to the point were he kept saying “STRUCK down” in a certain way over and over again…he sounded totally angry.

    I’m a little disappointed in the Team Pyro guys for shutting down converstaion about CJ, but I think in time they’ll see. They are critical of Mark Driscoll at times so I know they are honest when they see the facts. They are sticking their head in the sand about it for now because they’ve been told it’s gossip and slander.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    The fact that the Pyro guys won’t allow “CJ discussion” speaks volumes about what we’re up against.

    Kris’s #24 nails it.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    Has there been the slightest remark anywhere by anybody about the AoR report? They were supposed to have been discussing it before the conference, am I correctly recalling that? Has it been confirmed as released yet? Total silence?

    I am sure CJ and the SGM top tier must be glad to know that their former chronic leak took place among the lower pastoral ranks- if the report did come out- because there has been no leak yet. I wonder if even the pastors will see it….the implication from the last year is that if they do send it to pastors, it will get leaked.

    One would think that if the AoR report did come out already, and has been discussed before this conference, the SGM leader would make some allusion to it, in some way, however brief, if he is a man of integrity. Perhaps it has not come out yet? Has anybody heard anything?

  • Oswald

    5years #29 — The board was to have a retreat on Monday and Tuesday, 4/9,10 concerning the AoR report. If we hear anything, I would guess that it would be Friday or Monday, while T4G is still blooming in the hearts of all who attended or listened to the messages. (thinking)..how could anything be wrong when all these guys we really, really respect are not appalled in the slightest. I think SGM has managed to make it’s dirty laundry seem very small to the outside world. But as many have reminded us, God will not be mocked. We must pray and rest in Him, whatever happens. Our actions or reactions could also be interpreted as ways of mocking God, by not trusting Him and waiting on Him. We may never see things happen as we think they should.

  • JeffB

    Kris – I plead guilty to encouraging others to ignore Frank Turk’s warning to “lay off C.J. in these comments.” I respect your opinion, but I wonder if there are times when it is Biblical to ignore warnings such as these. I’m not sure in this specific case.

    One of Phil Johnson’s blog rules at Pyro is “Keep our friends and families out of it,” followed by some elaboration. “Families” I quite understand, but very influential “friends”? (First of all, we’d have to know for sure if they are friends.) As I mentioned, Johnson did not threaten to delete or ban when Mahaney’s name was mentioned negatively in comments to one of Johnson’s posts. He said he’d look into the matter (in summer of this year, when he would have time, I believe he said). As for Dan Phillips, I don’t recall any Mahaney/SGM comments.

    As has been mentioned, Turk did what he said he’d do, and remarks by me and some others were deleted. His charge of “conspiracy theorists” directly followed my comment (still there, as well as his) where I asked him not to follow in the footsteps of Challies and Justin Taylor in deleting negative Mahaney comments. Before he deleted it, I posted another comment providing evidence for my claim about Challies and Taylor. So his “conspiracy theorists” remark is, it seems to me, libelous against me, and, by implication, others who commented. I informed him of this by email. Of course, I don’t intend to pursue it legally.

    I referred him to a to a recent post by Taylor. Of all Taylor’s many posts about T4G, guess which one was closed after two innocuous comments? That’s right, the one concerning Mahaney (Apr. 10, 1:12 CT). He’s done this before.

  • JeffB,

    I actually got to see the full comment thread before PyroFrank performed his selective deletions. The way he snarked about conspiracy theorists even as his own moderating decisions further fueled those theories was disappointing to say the least. I don’t understand these guys’ allegiance to CJ. They’ve demonstrated no hesitations in going after any number of others, but for some reason they cannot seem to even entertain the notion that maybe they’d do well to exercise more discernment with respect to SGM and its present issues.

    I would still encourage people to honor the Pyro guys’ discussion guidelines, though. It’s their blog, and they get to make the rules. Fair is fair. If they don’t want to host a conversation about a particular topic, they don’t have to.

    (They’ll be held accountable, though, for whatever is driving their willful blindness…)

  • Todd Wilhelm

    From “The Reformed Pastor” by Richard Baxter

    Too many who have undertaken the work of the ministry do so obstinately proceed in self-seeking, negligence, pride, and other sins, that it is become our necessary duty to admonish them. If we saw that such would reform without reproof, we would gladly forbear the publishing of their faults. But when reproofs themselves prove so ineffectual, that they are more offended at the reproof than at the sin, and had rather that we should cease reproving than that themselves should cease sinning, I think it is time to sharpen the remedy. For what else should we do? To give up our brethren as incurable were cruelty, as long as there are further means to he used.
    We must not hate them, but plainly rebuke them, and not suffer sin upon them. To bear with the vices of the ministry is to promote the ruin of the Church; for what speedier way is there for the depraving and undoing of the people, than the depravity of their guides? And how can we more effectually further a reformation, than by endeavoring to reform the leaders of the Church? For my part, I have done as I would be done by; and it is for the safety of the Church, and in tender love to the brethren, whom I venture to reprehend — not to make them contemptible and odious, but to heal the evils that would make them so — that so no enemy may find this matter of reproach among us. But, especially, because our faithful endeavors are of so great necessity to the welfare of the Church, and the saving of men’s souls, that it will not consist with a love to either, to be negligent ourselves, or silently to connive at negligence in others. If thousands of you were in a leaking ship, and those that should pump out the water, and stop the leaks, should be sporting or asleep, or even but favoring themselves in their labors, to the hazarding of you all, would you not awaken them to their work and call on them to labor as for your lives? And if you used some sharpness and importunity with the slothful, would you think that man was in his wits who would take it ill of you, and accuse you of pride, self-conceitedness, or unmannerliness, to presume to talk so saucily to your fellow-workmen, or that should tell you that you wrong them by diminishing their reputation? Would you not say, ‘The work must be done, or we are all dead men. Is the ship ready to sink, and do you talk of reputation? Or had you rather hazard yourself and us, than hear of your slothfullness? This is our case, brethren, the work of God must needs be done! Souls must not perish, while you mind your worldly business or worldly pleasure, and take your ease, or quarrel with your brethren! Nor must we be silent while men are hastened by you to perdition, and the Church brought into greater danger and confusion, for fear of seeming too uncivil and unmannerly with you, or displeasing your impatient souls! Would you be but as impatient with your sins as with our reproofs, you should hear no more from us, but we should be all agreed! But, neither God nor good men will let you alone in such sins. Yet if you had betaken yourselves to another calling, and would sin to yourselves only, and would perish alone, we should not have so much necessity of molesting you, as now we have: but if you will enter into the office of the ministry, which is for the necessary preservation of us all, so that by letting you alone in your sin, we must give up the Church to loss and hazard, blame us not if we talk to you more freely than you would have us to do. If your own body were sick, and you will despise the remedy, or if your own house were on fire, and you will be singing or quarrelling in the streets, I could possibly bear it, and let you alone, (which yet, in charity, I should not easily do,) but, if you will undertake to be the physician of an hospital, or to a whole town that is infected with the plague, or will undertake to quench all the fires that shall be kindled in the town, there is no bearing with your remissness, how much soever it may displease you. Take it how you will, you must be told of it; and if that will not serve, you must be told of it yet more plainly; and, if that will not serve, if you be rejected as well as reprehended, you may thank yourselves. I speak all this to none but the guilty.
    And, thus, I have given you those reasons which forced me to publish, in plain English, so much of the sins of the ministry as in the following Treatise I have done. And I suppose the more penitent and humble any are, and the more desirous of the true reformation of the Church, the more easily and fully will they approve such free confessions and reprehensions. But I find it will be impossible to avoid offending those who are at once guilty and impenitent; for there is no way of avoiding this, but by our silence, or their patience: and silent we cannot be, because of God’s commands; and patient they will not be, because of their guilt and impenitence. But plain dealers will always be approved in the end; and the time is at hand when you will confess that they were your best friends. But my principal business is yet behind. I must now take the boldness, brethren, to become your monitor, concerning some of the necessary duties, of which I have spoken in the ensuing discourse. If any of you should charge me with arrogance or immodesty for this attempt, as if hereby I accused you of negligence, or judged myself sufficient to admonish you, I crave your candid interpretation of my boldness, assuring you that I obey not the counsel of my flesh herein, but displease myself as much as some of you; and would rather have the ease and peace of silence, if it would stand with my duty, and the churches’ good. But it is the mere necessity of the souls of men, and my desire of their salvation, and of the prosperity of the Church, which forceth me to this arrogance and immodesty, if so it must be called. For who, that hath a tongue, can be silent, when it is for the honor of God, the welfare of his Church, and the everlasting happiness of so many souls?

  • El Pastor

    #33 Todd, what an amazing quote from one of the truly great men in the Puritan movement…so perfectly balanced and biblical. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Praise Warrior

    #33 Spot on!

  • JeffB

    Kris,

    Thanks for your reply (#32). You summed it up well, as usual.

    Frank and I have exchanged some emails today. He’s giving his patented cutesy replies which say nothing. In my last one, which I just sent, I told him that I wondered why he is so sure that there’s nothing to all of this. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a substantial comment from him.

  • Beautiful Lies

    I’m trying to watch a clip of Mark Dever from T4G but he looks too much like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley so I am cracking myself up! (no offense to Mark Dever – Squiggy is just so funny) You be the judge:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kozXmXBuJHE

    http://t4g.org/media/2012/04/false-conversions-the-suicide-of-the-church-2/

  • Contentious Jones

    Back in February, World Magazine mentioned that CeeJay had been reinstated as SGM’s el presidente. In the April 21, 2012 print issue (and here; look for the “Human Race” entry), someone from Wisconsin wrote the following letter to the editor:

    “Thank you for reporting that C.J. Mahaney has been reinstated to ministry. Our family has turned away from legalism largely through his message that the gospel is everything and Jesus is enough. We have never met him, but we are grateful to him.”

    There’s no SGM franchise in the land o’ the cheeseheads, so I guess more than just the Big Dogs are being/have been hoodwinked and/or willfully blind.

    (BTW, T4G and other SGM-associated organizations have purchased quite a bit of ad space from World Magazine in the past. World is a fave of the US Reformed crowd. Perhaps the editors should investigate SGM…)

  • BrokenHearted

    CJ :) – there isnt a SGM church, but a guy from WI used to fly out here to give talks on how to study the bible more effectively and he was very friendly with SGM… i think he wrote the preface to the gospel primer…or put together the gospel primer or something

  • Just now, I had what sort of felt like a flash of insight. You guys will have to tell me what you think of this…

    I was pondering the missing AoR report and wondering how SGM leaders might reconcile sitting on the report and not releasing it to the general public as Dave Harvey had originally promised. As someone else pointed out, they were supposed to meet before T4G to discuss the report and come up with their response. So the report must be out there…but it’s apparently not being released, unedited, and the board seems to feel that they have to “respond” to it in some way before the general public can read what AoR had to say.

    I think there’s the distinct possibility that they will use Dave Harvey’s “stepping away” as some sort of rationale for not sticking with what Mr. Harvey had said would happen with the report – that the new SGM board members will portray Mr. Harvey’s promise as a rash and unwise statement made by someone who wasn’t actually qualified to lead back then…and thus, the promise doesn’t actually count.

    That is one way the board might try to rationalize hunkering down and abandoning any move toward genuine openness by not releasing the full and unedited AoR report.

    And I was thinking, they will also try to soothe their consciences by telling themselves that they had no choice – that the contents of the AoR report would have “harmed the gospel,” particularly during the T4G season, with CJ in the midst of such a positive limelight.

    So here was my flash of insight: in his piece over at the sgmnation blog (parts of which were quoted in this post), Ozymandias lays out quite a good case for how the decisions made by SGM’s leaders over the past 10 months or so would seem to be motivated primarily by the desire to protect the organization’s reputation and image in the eyes of those in the non-SGM Reformed world. We’ve talked many times before about how SGM has blurred the lines between the actual gospel – the good news of Jesus – and its own particular way of “doing church,” to the point where SGM has historically equated missions work with planting more SGM churches. Also, we’ve discussed how almost all of SGM’s new members are NOT new Christians but instead are “converted” to SGM churches from other Christian (Bible-believing gospel-proclaiming) churches.

    So I’m thinking (and finally, this is my flash of insight) that the way the SGM board might handle the AoR report is yet another symptom of SGM’s twisted gospel…and how SGM’s “unreached people groups” are actually NOT unbelievers but are instead Christians from non-SGM churches. The board feels compelled to sit on the AoR report until after T4G because T4G’s target audience is SGM’s real mission field. And SGM’s/CJ’s reputation is completely tangled up with SGM’s gospel, to the point that the board will reconcile breaking a promise it made just a few months ago (about the full and unedited release of the AoR report) by telling themselves that something so embarrassing to the SGM organization would “harm the gospel.”

  • concerned for the kids

    Kris said: “the board will reconcile breaking a promise it made just a few months ago (about the full and unedited release of the AoR report) by telling themselves that something so embarrassing to the SGM organization would “harm the gospel.””

    The behavior we see from this bunch has more to do with keeping the target market of purchasers going than the gospel. From only picking locations in strong financial suburbs to treating big donors/tithers differently to sharing the sheep among each other so they can all sell more stuff to more people, it’s all about the money. It’s never been more clear than in the past 6 months.

  • Lee

    I noticed yesterday that CJ is speaking at a conference called “Resolved” with John MacArthur in CA in June.

    That might explain Team Pyro’s reaction to criticism about CJ.

    I like what SGM Nation had to say yesterday on his blog in response to a comment made about the latest post by Ozymandias:

    “I’m disappointed that the YRR/T4G group hasn’t been more helpful but I take that in stride. It’s a lot to ask someone to criticize a fellow minister of the gospel, especially in the reformed ranks. It’s an even higher bar to ask them to “break fellowship” by refusing to participate in a conference where one speaker is having problems w his own denomination. Unless it’s a morally observable fault/failure, it’s unlikely that other leaders will break fellowship w CJ over SGM related issues…nor am I suggesting that they should.

    I honestly think that the YRR group watches on with puzzlement – like “what’s the big deal?” – while many of the SGM church members are up in arms. It’s not coherent to them because they see someone who is publicly charming, gospel confessing and a gifted speaker – what’s not to like and overlook?”

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Lee,

    Kinda like the way leaders look the other way at the oppression of the people of a particular leader when it’s a leader they’re trying to be all diplomatic with.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    In the past, it was the church that came to the aid of those oppressed. How sad.

  • Oswald

    Over at SGM’s Plant and Build, there is a post titled “A final update on Disaster Relief Funds for Haiti”. I guess they saw all the comments on the blogs and felt they should respond.
    I keep watching for the AoR Report to be posted, unedited.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    It would be different if the YRR groups didn’t know the blogs or Brent’s docs existed. There’s a lot of incriminating stuff on the internet now.

    If “one sheep” can get God’s attention, you would think that somebody in the YRR group would feel a tug at their heart that there was probably some truth to some of the survivor stories floating around and have that same concern. :scratch

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Lord, raise up godly pastors among us that aren’t influenced by or dependent upon the “religious leaders” of our day.

    Those with a heart like Jesus when He walked the earth and encountered the “religious leaders” of His day.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Here’s one “non-YRR” pastor’s take on “Together for the Gospel.”

    TOGETHER FOR WHAT GOSPEL?

    Please allow me to say some things about myself at the very outset of this article. I am not closely aligned with those who are sometimes (and often) pejoratively referred to as separatists, of either the fundamentalist and the holiness variety. While I think I understand some of their concerns and recognize and respect some of those concerns as legitimate, I am neither scripturally nor theologically persuaded that “separatism” is the way forward for the church of Jesus Christ.

    Still, some doctrines and practices ought to be avoided as the spiritual and practical plagues they are. By extension, I also believe that this sometimes requires a separation from those teaching unbiblical doctrines or engaging in ungodly practices. Nevertheless, I am not convinced that many advocates of separatism are as discerning as they should be in what needs to be separated from. Sometimes it seems to me that separatists have absolutized the culturals in their well-meant, yet misguided efforts to walk in the light in what can be a very dark and wicked world. For example, I unashamedly like good “Christian rock” as I do good Christian “Country-Western” music and do not see an oxymoron in any of this. For these reasons most of my fundamentalist and holiness friends believe that I went terribly wayward.

    That being said, I am not ready to join in with many contemporary forms of Ecumenicalism. Unity yes. Compromise no. In the name of unity many Christians are evidently willing to engage in biblical, theological, and even moral reductionism, just so that we can all hold hands and sing “we are the Christian world”. Unity is good until it is polluted with bad teaching or bad practices. There is simply too much of the “world” in much of the Christian world. I think modern but conservative Evangelicals need to be very and perhaps more discerning in this regard. I neither want to “throw the baby out with the bath water”, nor do I want the bath water to become my source of drinking water. Absolutizing the culturals is bad. Culturalizing the absolutes is worse. This is not (or should not be) a “to separate or not to separate” question. Rather it is (or should be) a “what should we separate from?” In like manner, the issue is not ”should we ever come together with people we may have some serious disagreements with?” Rather, “what should we be willing to come together over?”

    There is a contemporary effort represented in a certain conference called “Together For The Gospel”. It is lead by the well-known Evangelicals, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney and Albert Mohler. These men minister in very different settings and come from very different ecclesiastical and theological traditions. Now who could be against coming together for the Gospel? But it is not in their differences that we should focus our attention if we wish to discern their purpose or goal in coming “Together”. It is on what they already believe in common. More importantly, it is not what they believe in common that is so crucial in understating what they have come “Together” to accomplish. Rather, it is what they desire others to believe (in common with them) as well. Others that presently do not believe what they believe. It is not that it is a bad thing to want everyone to believe the Gospel, and agree on what the Bible says is the Gospel. That would be a very good thing. It is that they want others (that presently do not believe what they believe about the Gospel) to believe that the Gospel is Reformed. A Reformed Gospel is represented in the five points of Calvinism and only in the five points of Calvinism.

    These men want others to believe, as they do, that the Gospel is a shorter name for the Reformed or Calvinist doctrines of grace, otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism. If they were to refer to their conference as “Together For the Calvinist or Reformed Gospel” it would not be much of a concern to me. But if they were so transparent, they might not attract as many non-Calvinists as they are hoping to. They would (most likely) end up preaching to other Calvinists (kind of like they do in their respective churches) that already believe what they believe. That would defeat one of their objectives for coming “Together”.

    To truly reach a lost person with the saving message of Jesus Christ you need to preach, proclaim, or explain the Gospel as it is found and declared in Scripture. We call that (or used to) Evangelism. When believers of one theological persuasion try to convince believers of another theological persuasion to change their mind about something theologically and doctrinally important, that is not Evangelism. There is of course a time, place and proper way to try and persuade other believers of your particular view or out of theirs. The way this conference is promoted is not the proper time and place for such an effort. The way they are doing it is not the right way to do it, unless the measure of rightness is judged by how effective it is. Do we judge something to be right simply because it may work?

    If this “Together” effort is over a matter that would cause a person to leave his present church or association of churches (and it is) to join another church or association of churches (or to take a stand against his own church or association of churches), that is called proselytizing and is in fact not about coming “Together” as advertized. I am not against all forms of proselytizing. I happily proselytize a Mormon every chance I get. But let us not be fooled. This coming “Together” is about “Coming Over” to Reformed theology or Calvinism. As it is, this particular kind of effort may successfully result in new converts to Calvinism but few non-Christians to Christ. Rather than promote unity among believers of very different theological convictions, it will undoubtedly result in greater division in the already very divided and very contentious Calvinist and non-Calvinist camps.
    I will happily work with a Calvinist on issues we agree on. But I appreciate honesty and openness concerning the agenda we are coming “Together” about. The “Together For The Gospel” conference seems anything but honest and open and it certainly is not going to lead to more unity among Evangelicals but less unity. It is no accident that all three special guests announced for the first “Together For The Gospel” conference included John MacArthur Jr., R.C. Sproul Sr., and John Piper, all very vocal advocates of the Reformed or Calvinist “Gospel”. They have strong differences on other issues, but on whether or not the Gospel is Reformed or Calvinist, they are united. Because of their popularity, unity for them, can easily become the source of division for others. There are a lot of well-known and respected non-Reformed Evangelicals (such as a Norman Geisler) that are conspicuously absent from the list of invitees. For the sake of transparency, tell all the non-Calvinist Evangelicals that you want them to come “Together For The Reformed Gospel”. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. But at least they will know what they are really coming “Together” for.

    If the Gospel is what Calvinists say it is (i.e., the five points of Calvinism) and not what non-Calvinists say, then coming “Together” could mean one of several things. (1) Let’s not discuss our understanding of the Gospel when come together. (2) Or let’s discuss our differences, and let the best understanding and view of the Gospel win. (3) Or it could mean, forget about what you believe (if you are not a Calvinist) and agree with us because Calvinism is the Gospel. My money is on the third option.

  • Fried Fish

    Lee 42, AKS 43/46 –

    It’s probably tough for these guys not to measure each other’s go$pel value by the number of conference attendees they draw and the number of books they sell. Well-meaning good Christian people spend millions of dollars making these guys into celebrities – and the customer is always right, right? :spin

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Unfortunately, that pastor’s right. “Evangelism” for the YRR crowd has come to mean converting non-reformed christians into reformed/calvinist christians.

    The RBD’s can’t afford to hold CJ accountable because it would hurt the reformed/calvinist gospel. A “reformed Jim Bakker” would hurt their cause.

    Plus, most of these guys pride themselves on their scholarship and intellect. What a blow it would be to admit they were conned by the likes of a CJ.

  • 2+2=4 again

    A Kindred Spirit 48, Thank you so much in our Lord and Savior! Your 3rd option at the very end of the post, also allows for much $ to change hands, believers who are unaware of this mess, to be drawn to these churches, resulting in even more money and power, once the books have been read and new members brought on board, and, those “stolen sheep” just may end up as 5 point Calvinists down the road. The SGM church we went to used the tack at first with us of having grace and agreeing on essential doctrine, but most gatherings of all sorts included pushing Calvinism. Yes, we heard the gospel and I am thankful for that, but looking back, I realize that they also changed it, it was an arrogant one, which confined God and the definitions of grace, love and sanctification to their beliefs. I think they grieve the Holy Spirit, but viewed pragmatically, human nature tells outsiders that their fame and power are signs of the validity of their beliefs and practices. I am now a stronger and wiser Christian for the years of experience in a Calvinist environment, but would never refer anyone to it, although there are some good things in the doctrines.

  • Ellie

    AKS – #48 – EXCELLENT article – thanks for posting it!

  • 2+2=4 again

    A Kindred Spirit, do you have the author’s name on 48? Thanks.

  • JeffB

    Kris (#40) –

    That sounds plausible to me. It’s the way they think. And “harmful to the gospel” is their ultimate excuse. They expect that to shut everyone’s mouth.

    They often use “gospel” as a fetish. I posted the following a few days ago on another blog; I hope it’s okay to repeat it here:

    “The gospel audience will have the great gospel privilege of hearing gospel pastor C.J. Mahaney give his gospel message, ‘When A (Gospel) Pastor Loses Heart.’ I’m sure the gospel gospel will come through gospelly clear and all will have a gospel experience.

    It’s like the over-use of ‘Nazi’ to label everyone one doesn’t like. The word gets so watered-down that it loses its meaning.”

  • Moniker

    AKS #48 – That’s a very insightful post. Can you provide a link so we can pass it along to others? Thanks.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    We currently attend a reformed church.

    We like the pastor and we like people – good folks who love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and strength.

    The gospel preached is the “good news” of Jesus Christ and they regularly partner with surrounding “non-reformed” churches (their brothers and sisters-in-Christ whom they feel no superiority over) in evangelism – TRUE evangelism for lost souls.

    It’s a shame that so many within the reformed camp are adopting the mentality of the YRR/T4G crowd.

  • 2+2=4 again

    AKS, what sect of reformed is your church, unless it’s a non-denominational? Thanks for supplying the link.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    PCA. I think you’ll find most PCA churches to be more balanced. At least that’s been my experience.

  • Persona

    I can hardly believe about $300,000 was collected for the Haitian Relief Fund. People! Stop giving your money to SGM!

    It’s crazy to give to an organization that takes years to get back to you how they spend or invest your money and, absolutely NO way to ascertain their veracity 100%.

    Tommy Hill is likely the nicest of guys, but how do we know the left hand knows what the right hand is doing at SGM?

    Please follow this handy rule of thumb: If they can’t afford accountability, do NOT donate your money to them!

  • 2+2=4 again

    AKS, thanks for letting us know, balanced is good, and I’m not talking ying yang.

  • Whirlwind

    @Kris #40 – If the AoR report is not released in full, the reasoning will most likely be that it included confidential information from individuals that met with AoR – not necessarily about the individuals – but possibly about others within SGM (pastors or members) who would be impacted by the release of that information.

    It would be similar to Josh’s rethought position on reading The Documents – they contained information about other SGM pastors besides CJ and were damaging to their reputations.

    Just a guess – not sure how much I would agree or disagree, but it would probably satisfy those who continue their strong support for CJ and SGM leadership.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    2+2=4 again,

    A church that does a good job distinguishing between the essentials and the non-essentials is one that I consider balanced. All the wacky stuff creeps in when the focus comes off the essentials and an emphasis is put on a non-essential.

  • 2+2=4 again

    AKS, I agree! I’m so glad your church partners with non-reformed, especially for evangelism purposes. From the Lord’s own words, I believe that’s the main reason we’re here. When churches teach that we should only share the gospel by our actions, we end up with the social gospel, and when churches focus on serving Christ by serving each other only, the result is a slow implosion. I understand the verse, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry”, to mean both, but mainly, to fulfill Christ’s commission to believers. Only the Holy Spirit can convict, save and sanctify, but it is still our calling to share the gospel in word and deed, in and outside of the Church.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    That anti Calvinism article is put out by Calvary Chapel, and based on their home page, what they are reacting to is more correctly termed “hyperCalvinism” and NOT what the general Reformed community (Piper, Duncan, and the dead guys like Spurgeon, Calvin himself, Edwards, Owen, confession writers like Rutherford) believe and teach. HyperCalvinism is certainly an error.

    True Calvinism ( well explained in a little book by Iain Murray titled Spurgeon versus HyperCalvinism, start around page 80) certainly admits and teaches the biblcal commands to repent and believe, to obey, and to evangelize and pray. It is NOT fatalism. Read Calvin- he was no fatalist, nor were the puritans or any of the great Reformed theologians.

    Yes, there is mystery here, to try and teach that we are “chosen before the foundation of the world” and that by grace and not our works. But that does not mean Calvinists are fatalists and deny our responsibility to obey God and biblical commands.

    Calvary Chapel has swallowed the Dave Hunt nasty descriptions of what Calvinism is, and they are dead wron for the most part. There ARE probably some people out there like that, but for the most part the YRR group is not so stupid and rigid. If anything, they are eager to evangelize and pray and do missions (well, maybe not SGM, but a lot of them.)

    If you want to read well reasoned Arminianism there is decent stuff out there. But Calvary Chapel is not it.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    5years,

    I always appreciate your input and have learned much about reformed theology through your comments.

    I’ve only read the article I posted from Calvary Chapel, I’ve never checked out the site. I agree with what the author wrote in the article. I wasn’t referencing it as well-reasoned Arminianism. I just liked what the guy said in that particular article, agreed with him, and shared it.

    Sorry if the site offended you or others.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    If the author of the article and this Dave Hunt dude have only experienced “hypercalvinism,” I can certainly understand their concerns.

    I’ve personally suffered at the hands of hypercalvinists and it’s not pretty. They’re a nasty bunch.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    Now you’ve piqued my curiosity. I’m going to look this Dave Hunt guy up.

  • Oswald

    5years #65 — You mentioned missions…at T4G foreign missions was a topic mentioned. Kevin DeYoung mentioned it as something that must be done along with personal holiness, which was his assigned topic for preaching.
    David Platt’s message was all about missions and it was a very strong message, worth listening to.
    Matt Chandler’s message was also very good. I like his style of preaching. No matter his topic, he always inter-weaves the true gospel. He preached from Rev.
    I listened to a little of Mohler’s message.
    Also, 5years, I agree with your reformed thinking. I hate to be labeled as anything but a Christian. I think my beliefs are from scripture and not from any one man, except Jesus. I like Piper’s teaching as he references scripture and not usually other people.
    Even though CJ was the first speaker it was mostly uphill from there.

  • Oswald

    This article about CJ, linked below, from The Christian Post is lacking in details, but the comments are good and seemingly,not edited. One commenter directs folks to the blogs, by name, to learn more.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/cj-mahaney-how-pastors-can-not-lose-heart-73151/

  • Bridget

    I listened to Devers message “False Conversions: Suicide of the Church.”
    It was awful. It was the most “splitting of the Church” message I’ve ever heard. I was not impressed with what he had to say. I won’t go into all the reasons.

    I listened to part of CJ’s. Had to turn it off. It was the same flavor as his sermons at Solid Rock of late and a rehash from the Pastors Conference.

    They are really pushing the importance of the pastor/high priest in the life of the believer. Both of these messages were depressing. Don’t know if I can look past all the support for CJ to listen to any other messages from the other men participating. :(

  • 5yearsinPDI

    AKS, I am not offended and didn’t mean to be so harsh. The guy who wrote it probably was picking up on some of the elitist and superior attitudes that do stalk the Reformed community. (Of course the worst superiority I ever saw was years ago with a group of word-faith people who looked down their nose at anybody with “negative confession”; I suppose pride can infect every group.) Pride should in theory infect Reformed people the least, since we say that our salvation and our perseverance to the end is all of grace.

    Some the nastiest, snottiest, most rigid and creepy guys we’ve ever met were rigidly Reformed in the most uptight and ungracious way. They went to little churches in little denominations (PCA and OPC would be beneath them) and had as much joy as a cement block.

    Oswald, thanks for the update. You would have loved the late John Murray who was a prof at Westminster seminary many years ago. He foreced his students to defend doctrine with scripture alone, and not quotes from confessions and dead theologians, as helpful as they can be. The students had to master the bible regarding sovereignty and many other subjects, not just parrot back men. Currently there are PCA missionaries in South America who are being forced into this, as the people they work with only want to hear the bible and nothing else. I love theology, but it is a good exercise for me to now and then think things through without appealing to anything but maybe a greek or hebrew help.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    by the way while I am thinking of it, I heard this from a Reformed Seminary professor once:

    “You can disgrace a good doctrine by bad behavior”.

    SGM fits that one :D……

  • 5yearsinPDI

    The Christian Post article makes me want to throw up.

    ( CJ speaking) “Look, pastoral ministry is a sacrificial call with unique challenges. We are called to take the Gospel to those with hard hearts and blind eyes. And we are called to proclaim and apply this message to those who have been regenerated, given sight, as well, for their hearts are prone to wander.”

    I wish I had been able to stand out front and picket with signs about sex abuse cases. Ugh.

  • 2+2=4 again

    Bridget 71, yes, the NT says that all believers are priests and Jesus Christ is THE high priest.

  • Oswald

    5years, Bridget, etc. Below is a link to T4G sermons, I think it’s going to link to Matt Chandlers message, but if not scroll down to it. It’s a really good message.
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/13/tgc-at-t4g-the-together-for-the-gospel-sermons/

  • Defender

    5 years, thank you for your post #72.
    You shed a light on something I have had a hard time putting my finger on.
    I’m not a “Calvinist” but I am Reformed. I believe Calvin had it mostly right.
    But these “New Calvinists” are of a rather smelly sort. They are too dogmatic in their beliefs and practices. They are what I might call “Theological A__holes”. “Jerks!” That is, they need to be taken out behind the barn and get the crap kicked out of them. (Like any neighborhood bully should have done.)
    They are too pompous and arrogant to have to listen to reason, so they need to have it handed to them in a more personal manner. Make ‘em walk with a limp for the rest of their lives.
    (I’m speaking figuratively here.)
    I am personally fed up with men who hand out legalism under the disguise of piety. It makes me sick and quite honestly,….Angry.
    :beat

  • A Kindred Spirit

    5years,

    The nastiest bunch I’ve ever met came from the “Federal Vision” crowd. They can breed some nasty, arrogant, superior-minded individuals.

  • Persona

    I just tried to verify some of the donations that the “SGM staff” disclosed on their ‘Plant and Build’ blog.

    I spent a good while but, I couldn’t find any organization named “Evangelistic Child and Family Resources”. The closest thing I found was the ‘Evangelical Child and Family Agency'; (ECFCA) 1530 N. Main Street, Wheaton, IL 60187.

    If so, the main focus of EFCA seems to be to be the support of local pro-life work, primarily providing homes for moms and babies. If they help Haiti at all, it may be a small presence.

    As difficult as it is, I think we should make an effort to investigate the donations allegedly made by SGM to Haiti.

  • ATC

    Re: Kris 32, talking about the pyromaniacs:

    “……but for some reason they cannot seem to even entertain the notion that maybe they’d do well to exercise more discernment with respect to SGM and its present issues….”

    Kris! How DARE you insinuate that the pyro guys need more discernment?!? They know EVERYTHING. They ARE ‘biblical Christianity’ and they have NEVER, no NEVER, been wrong about anything to do with anything to do with theology.

    Discernment is a SPIRITUAL GIFT. And apart from the ones that STOPPED WITH THE CANON (or was it the death of the last Apostle?) THEY’VE GOT THE REST.

    Humble yourself, Kris!

    Why would YOU or ANYONE ELSE who has actually spent time in an SGM church (whether that be 5 years or 10 years or – hey even as a ‘pastor/elder’ ) know better than the pyro guys?

    As Dan Phillips says in his blog entitled, BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY:

    ‘The most helpful and/or challenging to me [talks] were those by C. J. Mahaney, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Ligon Duncan. I spoke briefly with C. J. mainly to express appreciation… He has that George W. Bush gift for lowering expectations, then exceeding them…’

    CJ IS GOOD AT PREACHING FROM THE FRONT. AND WHAT HE SAYS IS BIBLICAL. AND THAT’S WHAT COUNTS.

    I WILL ALSO SIGN OFF IN CAPS TODAY,

    ATC, BRISTOL, UK.

  • ATC

    5Yearsin PDI – No. 65

    :goodpost

    I have an evangelistic heart (praise God) and I tick all the boxes of TULIP. (OK, so maybe my hand would shake a little before ticking the ‘L’….)

    I read ‘Spurgeon Versus the hyper-Calvinists’ years ago and it was really used of God. It still sits on my shelf and I often loan it to people.

    I recommend this slim volume to anyone who wants to be Reformed, evangelistic and gospel!

    And, if you don’t want to be ‘Reformed’ I’ll still shake your hand brother/sister as long as you’re the other two.

    ATC, Bristol, UK.

  • A Kindred Spirit

    ATC,

    I need a copy of that book.

    I struggle with reformed people because most of them fit the description you guys call “hyper-Calvinists” – the nasty, dogmatic types. Maybe I’ve been cursed to be surrounded by such types, I don’t know, but they honestly account for the majority of the reformed folks I know.

    I can’t imagine that Jesus would want us to conduct ourselves like these people. They do more to turn people off to the gospel than to attract them to it.
    I’ve actually had the “hyper-Calvinist” discussion with most of them and they all agree with you, totally clueless that their actions fit the very description of such. It’s so bizarre, and at times it drives me crazy. If I were a non-believer, they would leave me feeling like Gandhi, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    The sweet folks at our church and the reformed folks here have been my only positive experience.

    There is much about the reformed faith that attracts me, however I will probably never be a 5-pointer. If I do become one, I pray I’ll never turn into a “hyper-Calvinist” (in observing those around me it just seems so easy to do).

    Kris, forgive me for high-jacking the thread. It wasn’t my intention when I posted the article.

    Folks, please carry on with our SGM discussion.

  • 5yearsinPDI

    AKS….it is everywhere. The most annoying people I have ever known were pre trib rapture freaks who pushed their end time opinions constantly. I’ve know really pushy people in all sorts of doctrines.

    1 Tim 1:5 says “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Love is the goal of all this doctrinal instruction Paul is writing to Timothy and urging him to teach.

    I think, because of the wealth of study and theology in Reformed circles, you often get a focus on the instruction rather than the goal. But one of my kids is married to a social action type, where nothing matters but social action, and while it is nice that they care about the homeless and the poor, her church’s doctrinal grasp is rediculously low and bible study is minimized. So there are traps on all sides.

    SGM is not really reflective of the Reformed- honestly they are not well educated in theology, but they have a superior elitist attitude, which makes for a particularly bad combination. You find that the seasoned professors at a Reformed Seminary are usually much more gracious and mellow than the hot headed students who suddenly discovered sound doctrine and have it all together. SGM is like the latter, new and less learned but setting themselves up as the greatest thing in 2000 years. The blindness is remarkable, honestly. I can only hope that the RBDs are taken in by the fawning flattery and not cut from the same mold.

  • Bridget

    5yearsinPDI –

    PAUL SAID “FROM A PURE HEART” !!!

    Break out the band and scream it from the roof tops in DC and all the east! Let the pastors of SGM and CJ know THEY CAN have a pure heart and the goal is love BECAUSE Paul said so!

    Sorry . . . got carried away! But, seriously, will they believe it from the writings of Paul? Maybe there is hope!

  • Persona-

    I just checked up on “Evangelistic Child and Family Resources”, the only hits on Google come up on the SGM Plant & Build blog. I double checked with Charity Navigator and no such ministry comes up. As for the ministry with a similar name. Should be easy to verify, you could call SGM or the ministry directly to document the $300,000 in question.

    If it can’t be verified in a timely manner, then why not?

    It does seem a little fishy that they (SGM Plant & Build) do not provide contact information for the ministries they claim to have donated to…

  • JeffB

    To add to the book recommendations, I’d suggest “For Calvinism,” by Michael Horton. He’s a true scholar, who, I think, writes accurately about Reformed theology.

    I also read the companion volume, “Against Calvinism,” by Roger Olson. He makes some good points, but, like Dave Hunt, can’t resist becoming emotional when push comes to shove: “This can’t be true! God can’t be like this!” Emotions have their place, but they don’t cut it in a book of this type.

  • Jeff

    Thanks for the recommendation on some books on Calvinism.

    People should read and educate themselves to know what Calvinism stands for and make their own decision. It was sad how Mahaney surreptitiously moved the group toward Calvinism without being upfront. It wouldn’t surprise me if a number of people in SGM still don’t really understand what Calvinism teaches.

    As I have shared before, my understanding of Calvinism is that it teaches that man has no choice with regard to salvation. According to Calvinism, God gives some (who he chooses to) and “irresistible grace” and have no choice but to become a believer. Those not given this “irresistible grace” have no possible chance of becoming a believer again according to Calvinism.

    Thus no matter how you raise your child, Calvinism says it only matters if God decides to “elect” your child to become a believer.

    Even some of what SGM does indicates they really don’t believe in Calvinism. One example is holding pastors accountable and disqualifying them if their children don’t become believers. If you believe in Calvinism then you shouldn’t blame a pastor but accept that God hasn’t “chosen” some for salvation. If you blame the pastor then you are contradicting your supposed belief in Calvinism.

    Just realize what Calvinism teaches and stands for.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    SGM has a new blog post “Update from the Sovereign Grace Board” regarding the upcoming release of the AOR Report. Looks like John Loftness was rewarded for his faithfulness to CJ. :barf:

    http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Update-from-the-Sovereign-Grace-Board.aspx

  • Lee

    Another good book on Calvinism (it’s going to be pro as it is a rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s “Chosen But Free”) is called “The Potter’s Freedom” by James White.

  • Oswald

    Lost #88 —
    ‘SGM has a new blog post “Update from the Sovereign Grace Board” regarding the upcoming release of the AOR Report.’ and other BS. Nothing new, still waiting.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Oswald,

    Yeah, a whole lot of words with not much to say. And… what was the point in bringing up the CLC vs. SGM disagreement except to villianize CLC??? I am so done with SGM. I have no patience with all of this spin and self-promotion. :bang

  • Persona

    It is fitting for SGM to have both CJ and John at the helm. They deserve each other.

    I just hope everyone else in the organization jumps ship before they all go down together.

  • Just Watching

    Since last July, hundreds of people have dared hope that positive change would come to the leadership of SGM. Since last July, hundreds of people have said it wouldn’t happen. So here we are today reading this communique from newly-minted Chairman John: “The new is the same as the old! Isn’t that great? Aren’t you pleased with our hard work on your behalf?” :barf:

    I wonder how many members will actually leave. I wonder if the money will dry up.

    And I wonder if contributors will question corporate SGM about where the $$ really goes — i.e., Haiti.

  • Oswald

    Lost #91 — I think they brought up CLC JUST to villianize them. They’re preparing a way for SGM to look good through all this. We must pray for CLC leadership to be humble and calm and patient throughout. The audience of One knows where there is honesty and where there is spin. And as so often mentioned, He will not be mocked.

  • Oswald

    Musicman #85 — Interesting concerning the Haiti Relief fund. They don’t need anything else to try to explain, do they.

  • Oswald-

    Not that it surprises me, but it is an odd post. It gives only minimal details, no links or references to the ministries it says funds went to. And it talks about investing money that isn’t used…???

    I’m guessing people didn’t think they were donating to an investment for Haiti fund, but an emergency relief fund. But why does this not surprise me….anyway, the other strange thing is that it does not encourage people to keep giving to the needs of folks in Haiti. It almost reads like a report someone was forced to write, but really had no heart in the matter…I might be reading into it, but that’s my take.

    If I have time Monday, I’ll try to verify the existence of the ministry they reference.

  • MAK

    And what ever happened to CJ planting a church and being a pastor?? Seems like he thinks he’s had a change of heart. They also don’t seem too worried about the AOR report. Yes, why did they think they needed to point out the CLC leadership team? They made it very clear that THEY wanted reconciliation but it was the CLC pastors that wanted to wait…give me a break. What happened to when CJ withdrew his membership and told the CLC pastors that there was no longer any need to have a third party reconciliation.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    MAK!

    That’s right! CJ pulled out of the reconcilliation process, not CLC! They really do think we are stupid! Sad thing is that many will read that update and believe their crap. Arg!

  • ExClcer'sMom

    I was not shocked when CJ went to Solid Rock, and am still not shocked at the latest promotion for John Loftness. I never had much personal contact directly with CJ. I was never interested to have any, but all people have written of CJ reminds me a lot of John Loftness, except that he is not funny. (Well, CJ isn’t REALLY so funny either, but people do laugh at him more than Loftness)> No, I mean they are similar in their narcissism, in their desire to control, and in their corruption=those are where I see the similarities. Is it no wonder they would scratch each others’ back at such a time as this? No surprise to me.
    Persona and Musicman, I pray your efforts for exposing that ‘relief fund’ serves to wake up many more people.

  • MAK

    Persona….I’m getting the feeling that there won’t be many who will jump ship. CLC and Fairfax have the greatest potential but I still wonder about them as well. At some point each church will have to sign the new agreement between them and SGM. At that point we’ll see how many churches stand up.

  • MAK

    Lost…yep…how insulting…I don’t know how the CLC pastors put up with this stuff. If I get a chance to talk with any tomorrow I’m going to ask them straight out…and for God’s sake why did they go to TFG??

  • Oswald

    MM #96 — I thought the update a strange thing, too. Also, it is titled as a ‘final’ update, as if that’s all they are going to say about it. And to make sure folks will trust them and not question them, they were careful to say that money was given to ‘trusted men’ and ‘christian organizations’, ‘churches’, ‘orphanages’, the typical kind of words used by a kid asking to use the family car to go to ‘youth group’. Yeah, right. We’ve all been there, done that at some point.
    I’m very suspicious now that I’ve read the ‘final update’ and I gave to that fund.

  • Oswald

    In #102 — I was referring to the Haiti Disaster Relief fund update from 4/13, not the board’s latest update from 4/14. Sorry for any confusion.

  • MAK

    Couldn’t resist the real estate update…CJ’s home reduced to $599K (from $659K) and the Kauflin’s home is on the market for $575K.

  • Persona

    MAK 104 I hear the Kauflins’ home sold in just two days.

  • 2confused

    So we know that Kauflins and Mahaney(Chesemore/Bradshaw), Purswell and Rucicci’s houses are up for sale. Wonder when or if SGM is gonna put the PC houses on the market. Hey at least they are giving their buddy Chip Ward some busisness.

  • 2+2=4 again

    Steve240-87, those are some of the points of Calvinism I have problems with.

    RE: the Haiti RELIEF Fund which disappeared after the Haitians declined the church plant, they could “invest” that money in a more needy area, say, an upscale suburb in WI.

  • newbie

    #106: i see the kauflins and mahaneys have active real estate listings, but the purswell and ricucci homes show as not for sale. where did you find that info?

  • Persona

    108 Inside information.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Persona 109,

    Are they all definitely relocating to KY? Or are some moving to PG County?

  • Fried Fish

    Not sure if it would help connect the dots on Haiti, but there is a Lutheran mission in Haiti run by a Pastor Daniel which has a school and a girls’ orphanage – http://www.nehlm.com

  • MAK

    Lost..good question. I don’t think anyone really knows right now for sure (except them of course).

  • MAK

    newbie…I know that the Ricucci’s and Purswell’s are both getting their homes ready…not sure when they will list.

    2confused…yep, you’re right…Chip Ward is getting a lot of potential listings out of this.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    MAK,

    Were you at CLC today? I heard Josh’s message was very good and that he very compassionately addressed people who were really struggling with their faith with all of the SGM stuff. What was your take on it?

  • Persona

    Some CLC folks are saying good-bye to CLC or SGM altogether. Some families are transferring their membership to Solid Rock or other SGM churches. Those who choose to attend Solid Rock do not necessarily need to move to PG County.

    SGM is relocating to Louisville, allegedly, by July. It will carry Mahaney, Purswell, Ricucci, Kauflin and others in its wake. The Cooks, Hills and others will likely follow. Of course, other SGM employees have received pink slips.

    This relocation means that many children, spouses, sons and daughters-in-law will be making KY home, voting with their feet against Joshua Harris and, aligning themselves with CJ Mahaney.

    What this mass maneuver says to me, is that CJ decided months ago, not to reconcile with CLC Pastors. There also seems to be no genuine desire on the part of CJ, for help from the AoR, no matter how many words John Loftness writes to that effect.

    I saw evidence that CJ had turned his back on Joshua during the first two weeks of his ‘time of reflection’, when he and his band began their infamous exodus from CLC. The ensuing months have only cemented that opinion.

    I see the plays being made by each party in this conflict as one big game of chicken. The definition for,’The game of chicken, is an influential model of conflict for two players in game theory. The principle of the game is that while each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.’

    I try not think about ‘the worst possible outcome’ to this game of chicken. But, if anyone is going to yield, it will likely be Joshua Harris, not CJ Mahaney.

  • MAK

    lost….yes, I was CLC today. Part of the message was very moving regarding hurting people. Could Josh have had a preview of the AOR report which is due to be published this week? I was also moved by his personal expression of how he has “felt” during the past year. This was a long time in coming. I’m curios to know what moved him to preach this message? This is a three week mini-series entitled “Never Give Up”. This was an unplanned series. He mentioned also about being at T4G and how many folks came up to him and said they are praying for CLC and Josh wanted the congregation to know this.

    For those who have the time, please listen and discuss.

  • MAK

    Persona, I too try not to think of your last statement.

  • MAK

    Persona…another thing…I’ve heard a lot of “so-and-so have left” but then today I saw a lot of the “so-and-so’s” there. I kept thinking “hey, I heard they left”. Go figure. There’s a lot of rumors afloat.

  • Oswald

    MAK and Persona #15 thru 18 — Don’t forget about that hope-filled statement in scripture; “but God”. He is surely able and will not be mocked.
    I began listening to Josh’s message but got interrupted but will return to it shortly. I noticed that he used the words ‘losing heart’.
    I’m so glad he had time with his dad at the T4G conference. I’m sure that was encouraging to him.

  • Oswald

    M & P #115-118, sorry.

  • Stunned

    Oswald, great word in number 119! Thank you for ministering that to us.

  • CLC member....for now

    Firt time posting here. Yes, it was a very interesting morning at CLC. Josh’s message was solid and we had a wonderful time of ministry and singing that carried well after the service was over. All of those were encouraging signs.

    However, there were many signs that discouraged me as a member at CLC. First, was the timing of Josh’s message. We were supposed to start a series on the book of Matthew this morning, and many were very excited about it. When he announced that he was doing this 3 week mini-series to minister to us as a church who has been hurting over the last 9 months…you could actually hear a collective groan fall over the congregation. Many were thinking like me, “Oh great, here we go again…can we not move forward?”

    Also, the reason for this message and the context that Josh framed it were a little unsettling. He mentioned that he was reminded at some conference he attended last week just how tough these last 9 months have been. He mentioned all the pastors that came up and said they were praying for CLC. He was very emotional in his introduction. None of these are necesarily bad, but here is what concerns me as a CLC member.

    I appreciate my pastor’s transparency, but he seems to be lacking emotional strength and stability to lead us as a congregation. I know many are hurting, but they are looking for someone to lead them out of the pit, not continue to crawl into it with them every few months when it finally seems we are making progress and beginning to move on. At this point, I don’t care if we leave SGM and I don’t really mind if all of the SGM staff leaves our church over this. But at some point, our pastors are going to have to begin moving forward. Otherwise, I think we are in danger of losing a lot of strong and longtime members who may begin believing what we’ve heard from families who have left our church b/c of “poor pastoral leadership.”

    I pray that the pastors would encourage Josh to start Matthew next week, rather than drag this out two more weeks. I fear the timing of this mini-series could end up backfiring on us…..but I hope not!

  • Ozymandias

    Mak #116 said re: Josh’s sermon today:

    He mentioned also about being at T4G and how many folks came up to him and said they are praying for CLC and Josh wanted the congregation to know this.

    And CLC member..for now #122 added:

    He mentioned that he was reminded at some conference he attended last week just how tough these last 9 months have been. He mentioned all the pastors that came up and said they were praying for CLC.

    And then you see the line near the end of yesterday’s board announcement:

    We’ve also been heartened by the many expressions of appreciation we have heard from leaders outside of our ministry for the works of grace in our midst.

    And I wonder how one should go about reconciling these statements.

  • Ozymandias

    In his quick reflections on T4G posted yesterday, Kevin DeYoung made the following comment:

    7. I can’t speak highly enough of the other eight plenary speakers. We shared every lunch and dinner together during the conference. The conversation was punctuated with laughter, but was weighty, encouraging, and provoking. It’s not always the case that you get to know eight men better and like every one of them even more.

    Perhaps this is where those “many expressions of appreciation” took place.

  • MAK

    clc member #122

    CLC cannot move forward until these current issues, the spiritual abuses, and all the hurting people are dealt with. Sure, go ahead and build a new church on top of a crumbling foundation and we’ll see how many years it will last. And next time a pastor becomes real and shares his heart, try to show a little compassion.

  • MAK

    Oh and one more thing…READ THE AOR REPORT. This is what the blogs are tying to save any future members from going through.

  • MaryMelissa

    To CLC member for now #120
    I kind of agree with you. It is time for Josh to stand up and take the lead at CLC, let CJ get a couple of punches once and for all. We know Josh is a good leader but at times it almost sounds as if he is walking on eggs, he wants to make up with CJ, why? This is almost like Saul and David, Josh being David. CJ and his crew are experienced deceivers and work for their reputation and image. I believe Josh wants to please the Lord and he is maturing by going through some tough times. The best thing Josh could do is take a lead and break from SGM, go forward and let the rest take its own course. God’s blessing will follow whoever walks humbly before God.
    I am soooo tired of this SGM/CJ and now want the rest of CJ’s crew to go on their way. Some of the SGM/CJ followers, I wish they would leave CLC and let us move on to receive the refreshing of the Holy Spirit. Why try to continue to walk with a organization and people that need their brains cleansed from all the legalism and error that were taught by CJ and his “regime”.

  • Oswald

    CLC member, etc #122 — I would say ‘Amen’ to what MAK said in #125.
    I found Josh’s message to be very encouraging and probably much needed by some, myself included. I need reminders of the importance of looking to Jesus and keeping myself focused on Him alone, trusting in Him alone and not becoming upset by what seems to be happening. In many ways Josh’s message was similar to CJ’s T4G message but with a focus on Jesus, and hope-filled, without self-pity.

  • MaryMelissa

    Persona #60
    Can you explain your comment? Are you saying that SGM claimed donations to an organization that might not exists?

  • Persona

    122

    I listened to the message by Joshua. And, he seems to be struggling as much with the anniversary of his mother’s death as the mess we know as SGM.

    It is good for him to give others a window into his humanity. I think he was attempting to lead others by first, empathizing with their pain.

    Listening to him admit that he sometimes wished he could run away and hide made me wish he could take a long break from ministry, to grieve all the loss in his life rather than continue to carry the significant weight of responsibility he does. I know God’s grace is available and, in truth, he is surrounded by more friends than enemies. But, it’s a lot of stress to bear for months on end. I don’t envy him.

    The best part of the message, in my opinion, was his exhortation to not forsake God even when pastors and churches fail you in this life. That may be the most important thing he wanted everyone to walk away with.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    I just finished listening to Josh’s sermon……I wish I would have heard this kind of heartfelt sermon from Josh last summer, but instead it was all about unity-this, unity-that, let’s-all-love-each-other sermons. And I was stuck in a scare group (oops, care group!) where ‘current events’ were not to be discussed.

    Greetings to all. I’m still reading here and still blessed. :)

  • Oswald

    Persona #130 — :word :goodpost :clap :clap

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    I am having trouble putting my finger on what didn’t sit right with me about his message, and here it is:

    I think Josh’s sermon in and of itself was Biblical, vulnerable and helpful. But what I struggle with is the speaker of the sermon. I struggle to see Josh as credible and vunerable when he clearly sides against the victims of sexual abuse as he did last summer in the members meeting.

    Josh is so careful with his words and can use the best legally viable language I’ve ever heard from a pastor. I just wish he could at some point show the same level of passion and vulnerability when talking about sexual abuse victims/families who were in need of real help back in the day….. as he did in his sermon today……

  • just saying...

    I’m sure he went for the mini-series because of the release of the AoR report. He’s seen what’s coming and he is emotional about it and trying to prepare the congregation.

    At the same time, he sounds mixed. Although compassionate, it drifted right into “You’re the Worst Sinner You Know” message. Very close to blaming the victims for falling away. I wonder if he thinks people’s complaints were trivial. I would imagine most every pastor will be angered at what they read…even Josh. I imagine there are false complaints that will be resented by the most compassionate pastors.

    It is frustrating that pastors and others cannot understand how people were spiritually affected. If the church mistreated you, the only way to be reconciled to the church was to embrace that what they did to you was right – when it was actually wrong. In the end, you came to believe God had done something to you that contradicted what you knew about him. It isn’t that easy to extract yourself, because that painful heresy has become truth to you.

    Although you remember the old Truth, it is a distant memory and you can barely grasp it.

    I am glad Josh is tackling these issues and concerned about helping his congregation put their lives back together, but it ISN’T that simple. Hope died. I have no hope that it can be reignited.

  • Oswald

    Yellow #133 — I felt that Josh was speaking to any and all who are hurting for whatever the reason, and feeling their pain. Each can plug himself in where he/she fits. I’m sure there are hurts that can never really be addressed and thereby achieve lasting healing. To expect anything else is unrealistic; the hurt comes back again and again. Can anything more be said that would bring real help now for those in need of help back in the day? Whatever our hurt, Jesus is enough. His blood covers it all.

  • Oswald

    just saying #134 — You say you have no hope that can be reignited.
    But what about the death and resurrection of Jesus. What about “my Hope is built of nothing less, that Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” That’s the ONLY hope we have and ALL we really need. Please don’t say you have NO hope!if you are a believer.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    I cannot assume to know what it is like at CLC with the constant “in your face” of all this, but from one whose church is not saying anything from the pulpit and where there has been no congregational care, I’m jealous! I would love to have my pastor bring comfort on a Sunday morning to all of those that have been hurt by all of this! Like I said, I know it is different because CLC is at the center of this tragedy, but I wish I could be there right now. I need the care Josh is trying to give! Maybe I’ll just make the trek to CLC next Sunday!

  • Oswald

    Lost #137 — Amen to that.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    In response to Oswald:

    You said……….”Can anything more be said that would bring real help now for those in need of help back in the day? Whatever our hurt, Jesus is enough. His blood covers it all.”

    I soooooo agree that Jesus blood is sufficient for our salvation, but I’m not sure His blood magically brings reconciliation when one party has never fessed up.

    You asked if anything more can be said that would bring real help now for those in need of help back in the day?……….Respectfully, Oswald, I say He** Yeah. It is never too late to come clean, and never too late to do the right thing. The pain that these families must be experiecing is right here and right now in the present, even if the pastoral “care” was in the past. These are cases where pastors told parents not to call the police, pastors took the side of the perpetrators, pastors made little children face their molestors across a church conference room table, pastors placed gag orders on parents, pastors let perpetrators run free in the church…

    A forthright acknowledgement of wrong from pastors would not take away all the pain and heartache, you are right. But it would be the right thing–and Biblical thing– to do for these families, and it is never too late to do the right thing.

    And what these families want more than an apology———-they just want to know that systems are in place so that no other sweet child will have to go through what theirs went through at CLC (and other SGM churches too)

  • JeffB

    Steve 240 (#87) and 2+2=4 again (#107) –

    In the book I recommended, “For Calvinism,” Michael Horton writes: “…the infelicitous term ‘irresistible grace’…contributes to…the caricature of Calvinism as teaching that God drags people into heaven kicking and screaming against their will, while denying grace to others who seek him but are not elect.” He goes on to say: “Traditionally, Reformed theology has referred to this inward work of the Spirit through the gospel as ‘effectual calling,’ not as ‘irresistible grace.’ ‘Irresistible’ suggests coercion, the sort of causal impact that is exercised when force is applied to someone or something. As we will see, Calvinism denies in explicit terms that God coerces people against their will, either toward belief or unbelief.” The argument that follows is too long for me to summarize, but he uses a lot of Scripture to support his claims.

    Mahaney’s “Calvinism” only touches the real thing here and there. I’ve had little formal training, so I’m not a snob about it, but reading some books, with maybe some feedback from qualified friends, is not enough preparation for a pastor. I may be wrong, but I think this is Mahaney’s experience. And it’s absurd to surreptitiously inject Reformed theology into one’s church literally overnight.

    One way the lack of training shows is in what Steve 240 mentioned, the disqualifying of a pastor (elder) if at least one of his “grown” children is an unbeliever. Though there are some Calvinists who believe that the children of believing parents must become believers, I don’t think it’s biblical or Calvinist. (Calvinists like Spurgeon would say that these are one and the same.) And I doubt that even they would force an elder to step down because of it.

    On a somewhat different subject, one of my pet peeves is the way SGM over-uses the word “gospel” to lend legitimacy to their arguments. Elsewhere in the comments, I wrote a parody of this. If I may plug Horton again, I wish every member of SGM would read his book, “Christless Christianity,” to find out what the gospel actually is.

  • Bookhead

    I was out of town this weekend for a family function, and met some relatives for the first time. I was surprised to find that one individual (from Texas) already knew where I went to church, (CLC) and that almost immediately after meeting me, said, “We’ve been praying for your church.” (Like what Josh experienced at T4G) I found his perspective of the situation interesting, particularly since he was described to me as “reformed.” (When I mentioned “Mark Dever,” he immediately said, “Capital Hill Baptist Church.” So, he’s well acquainted with that world.) He was aware of all the public support of CJ, and asked me what I thought about it. He also found it disturbing that so much attention was focused on the problem of slanderous documents being released on Wiki leaks- rather than dealing with the much more significant problem of the allegations contained within the documents. He seemed dumbfounded when I told him that SGM “cleared” CJ for ministry, and that CJ was back to being president of SGM. I also told him about CJ’s comments regarding his confession in Oct at the SGM pastors’ conference. Again, shock registered on this individual’s face.

    My impression is that this individual is well ensconced within the world that CJ and the other RBD’s frequent. Yet, even though he is asking good questions, and taking the time to pray for our situation, he had been given very few details about CJ’s situation and CJ’s response to the revealed sin. When I shared some of the details, he seemed genuinely upset at the actions of SGM, CJ’s refusal to return to CLC, CJ’s Oct. comments about his July confession, and CJ’s reinstatement to president of SGM.

    What a tremendous sense of validation! Here is someone who lives in the RBD’s world, and is doctrinally on SGM’s “side;” yet even he knows that what is going on is WRONG. It’s discouraging when I come across those who don’t see something wrong with CJ leaving CLC,- without first reconciling with those he wronged. Who fail to see that the 14yrs. of shunning/slandering the Tomczak family was NOT an “oopsie,” one-time sinful act; that it was a repeated and intentional series of sinful choices made over 14 years. (And CJ didn’t publicly retract his slanderous words against Larry, until his sin was revealed through Brent’s documents.) And so on…

  • Josh has been at clc since 1996 (?)….not to be a downer, but Josh is probably just as guilty as his mentor (CJ) in many pastoral failings. Maybe AOR touches on some of his and his fellow pastors failings, as well as CJ and the board (which Josh was a part of).

    How do you know Josh Harris is a man you can trust?

  • Stunned

    Yellow said, “It is never too late to come clean, and never too late to do the right thing. The pain that these families must be experiecing is right here and right now in the present, even if the pastoral “care” was in the past. These are cases where pastors told parents not to call the police, pastors took the side of the perpetrators, pastors made little children face their molestors across a church conference room table, pastors placed gag orders on parents, pastors let perpetrators run free in the church…

    A forthright acknowledgement of wrong from pastors would not take away all the pain and heartache, you are right. But it would be the right thing–and Biblical thing– to do for these families, and it is never too late to do the right thing.

    And what these families want more than an apology———-they just want to know that systems are in place so that no other sweet child will have to go through what theirs went through at CLC (and other SGM churches too)”

    Amen, Yellow!

  • Mr Stretch

    I take it since CJ is remaining President the board didn’t see any earth shattering news in the AOR reort to imeeadiately remove CJ from his position?

  • “just saying” said,

    It is frustrating that pastors and others cannot understand how people were spiritually affected. If the church mistreated you, the only way to be reconciled to the church was to embrace that what they did to you was right – when it was actually wrong. In the end, you came to believe God had done something to you that contradicted what you knew about him. It isn’t that easy to extract yourself, because that painful heresy has become truth to you.

    I’ve been doing this moderating thing here for what seems like a long time, and I think this is one of the most succinct summations I’ve ever heard about what it is that happened to the victims of SGM’s system. This line is particularly good:

    If the church mistreated you, the only way to be reconciled to the church was to embrace that what they did to you was right – when it was actually wrong.

    That’s exactly it. That’s exactly what so many people have described.

    In varying situations, to varying degrees, people have described reaching a point of conflict with their pastors, where their pastors’ assessments of their sins…or their pastors’ assessments of their problems…or their pastors’ positions in the conflict…were the only reality that mattered. In order to remain in their SGM churches in good standing, they had to agree with their pastors, even if they knew beyond a doubt that their pastors weren’t actually right in their assessments. There was no recourse, no other option besides leaving.

    I wish SGM’s defenders could understand what bizarre situations arose out of this mindset that in a conflict between a member and his pastor, the pastor always ultimately had to prevail. The pastor always had to be right. Anyone who could not come to terms with those terms simply left. Or (on rarer occasions, but it still happened) was kicked out.

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    Kris,

    Furthermore, if you were not directly hurt, but are aware of abuses, lies, cover-up and spin by your leaders, and the ones that you have assumed had a better understanding of Christian truth and scripture than you (RBD’s) willingly protect and defend the main offender(s), it seems like you have entered the Twilight Zone and things that were true, don’t necessarily seem true anymore. It seems other-wordly (and not in a good way). You begin to question what you have given nearly 30 years of your life to. You start having nightmares and wondering if Satan is going to sift you. The damage these guys have done to the body of Christ is staggering. Yes, God will prevail and He will not be mocked, but much damage has been done and continues every time one of them takes the stage and is praised for what a wonderful theologian he is. God have mercy! Father, set all things right in the body of Christ! Let not the wicked prosper!

  • 5yearsinPDI

    It is never too late to come clean, and never too late to do the right thing. The pain that these families must be experiecing is right here and right now in the present, even if the pastoral “care” was in the past. These are cases where pastors told parents not to call the police, pastors took the side of the perpetrators, pastors made little children face their molestors across a church conference room table, pastors placed gag orders on parents, pastors let perpetrators run free in the church…

    This has got to stay front and center on all the blogs. (That is, unless the AoR report is published in full and full repentance happens and all the blogs shut down :wink: )

  • Stunned

    5 Years said, “That is, unless the AoR report is published in full and full repentance happens and all the blogs shut down.”

    Oh, that that would happen! The happiest day for me on this blog is the day when it no longer needs to exist. Where we could all walk away and know that all is good for those who have suffered….errrr…. lived through SGM.

  • KMD

    Yellow #133 you said:
    “I struggle to see Josh as credible and vunerable when he clearly sides against the victims of sexual abuse as he did last summer in the members meeting.”

    That’s not how I remember it at all! Can you cite your source for this?

    I would agree that Josh has “walked on eggshells” in his attempt to avoid offending those who have pro-SGM sympathies – but he has also shown that his own sympathies are with the SGM victims.

    One of the things that struck me about his message was him recalling going from T4G two years ago to see his dying Mom. I recall that that was the incident which began a season of Josh leading CLC in prayer and seeking God. I was just reminiscing with another old timer how this marked a huge growth step for Josh as a leader, as this turned into a genuine season of Holy Spirit refreshing and revival in a way that hadn’t been seen at CLC for some time.

    I believe that him making the decision to interrupt the sermon schedule to speak from the heart in this way is more evidence that, whatever his flaws, Josh is open to the leading of the HS. Let’s pray for more of that in all of our churches!

  • Jeff B said:

    In the book I recommended, “For Calvinism,” Michael Horton writes: “…the infelicitous term ‘irresistible grace’…contributes to…the caricature of Calvinism as teaching that God drags people into heaven kicking and screaming against their will, while denying grace to others who seek him but are not elect.” He goes on to say: “Traditionally, Reformed theology has referred to this inward work of the Spirit through the gospel as ‘effectual calling,’ not as ‘irresistible grace.’ ‘Irresistible’ suggests coercion, the sort of causal impact that is exercised when force is applied to someone or something. As we will see, Calvinism denies in explicit terms that God coerces people against their will, either toward belief or unbelief.” The argument that follows is too long for me to summarize, but he uses a lot of Scripture to support his claims.

    Whether you want to characterize it as God dragging someone “kicking and screaming” or call it an effectual call both are saying the basic same thing. According to Calvinism God chooses some and thus only gives to some the ability to become believers. If you aren’t chosen or part of the “elect” according to Calvinism then you have no chance of becoming a believer.

    If the above is true then it is baffling that God would say he calls all men to repentance when he doesn’t give all men and only gives some what they need to be able to repent.

    JeffB also said:

    Mahaney’s “Calvinism” only touches the real thing here and there. I’ve had little formal training, so I’m not a snob about it, but reading some books, with maybe some feedback from qualified friends, is not enough preparation for a pastor. I may be wrong, but I think this is Mahaney’s experience. And it’s absurd to surreptitiously inject Reformed theology into one’s church literally overnight.

    One way the lack of training shows is in what Steve 240 mentioned, the disqualifying of a pastor (elder) if at least one of his “grown” children is an unbeliever. Though there are some Calvinists who believe that the children of believing parents must become believers, I don’t think it’s biblical or Calvinist. (Calvinists like Spurgeon would say that these are one and the same.) And I doubt that even they would force an elder to step down because of it.

    That Mahaney has had no formal training such as attending seminary or even being in theology classes where he has been under a teacher and an equal among a number of students is one of Mahaney’s real problems IMO. From all I have seen and heard, going back to the TAG days, Mahaney has always been either a “top dog” or one of two top dogs fighting for the top dog position. If nothing else, always being on top I am sure has given Mahaney delusions of grandeur.

    Being in a class where you are “under” a professor and where students such as Mahaney could give input but then to have your input and questions critiqued would have done Mahaney a lot of good IMO. If nothing else it would have taught C.J. Mahaney to think more and not miss the contradiction his group seems to have with their supposed belief in Calvinism. One can only get so much knowledge from the selective books you choose to read.

  • SGMOvercomer

    A big problem in all of this is our lack of understanding of the New Covenant. I hope this is as helpful to you as it has been for me. http://calltorevolution.blogspot.com/b/post-preview?token=xIlTvTYBAAA.1ZaSgeMGN8WkaZSr0KuyHw.3hHWrIw0Or9Q9KgtQE36Mg&postId=5546172108898093787&type=POST

  • Oswald

    KMD #149 — I’ll say ‘Amen to that. God is good to use every situation folks are in to show His love and care for us.
    Stunned #148 — You said, ‘Where we could all walk away and know that all is good for those who have suffered’. I think we all know that that won’t happen until Jesus returns, but, praise God, that day is coming.

  • Oswald

    Bookhead #141 — Your observations explain a lot of things we see in the christian world. Thanks for your report to your friend and then to us. It’s encouraging to hear, even validating, as you said.

  • Muckraker

    KMD @149 From a letter by JH to CLC Members about the purpose of the Aug. Family Meeting:

    2. Caring for Victims of Sexual Abuse: We’ll communicate how we’re seeking to reach out to people on the blogs who have shared heartbreaking stories of sexual abuse and also make you aware of our policies and practices.

    1. They did NOT reach out to the CLC sex abuse families, who posted on these blogs NOR did they communicate “how they were seeking to reach out” to these victims.
    2. In that meeting led by JH, those family members, who posted their stories on the blogs, were called by GS “sincere, but slandering” instead! (i.e. basically calling them liars)
    3. JH and the other pastors emphasized how sorry they were for offending GR and JL by posting on the blog before GR/JL cleared it. They did go over their sex abuse policies, but I thought the policies were communicated in a very confusing manner. :scratch

    I do not think that he has “shown his sympathies” are with the CLC sex abuse victims, at all! Actions are what speak — not carefully-crafted words with smooth speech and a gentle tone of voice. I think that folks often assume that JH is so nice because he sounds nice — he is part of the system and has perpetuated it. :(

  • musicman

    Fried Fish-

    Are you sure that is the ministry they (SGM) are talking about? Just trying to confirm…

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    KMD, I’m assuming you were at the August meeting, as was I. Go and listen to it again if you can. Josh spent more time on stage crying for the potential affront that blogs have brought to Riccuici and Loftness, and no apology was given to the 2 families they ‘worked’ with.

    Josh and others at that meeting also spent extensive time defending themselves (saying that sgmnot was wrong/not remembering/exaggerating when stating that a pastor told the family not to call the police, for example…)

    If they were serious about protecting “the least of these” from preditors, you’d think that they would at least have a Discover Land policy in place to protect chidren. But they don’t. Check it out for yourself. Discovery Land/CLC goes by the Penn State protocol of reporting: keep things in house and let institutional leaders (pastors) decide what to report or not. [Edit] continue to instruct volunteers to report any suspected abuse to CLC authority, and NOT to civil authority.

    In both the actions and words of [Edit], I can’t see anyone standing up and doing the right thing for abuse victims or their families…. In fact, [Edit] are consistent with the “care” or guidance of Ricuicci and Lofthouse decades ago: Let’s keep it all in house, let’s keep it hush hush, let’s not involve the outside authorities, let’s keep presenting CLC as a great place for families.

  • just saying...

    #136 – Oswald
    I once believed.

    Then, when the church discarded me, it was as if God threw me away for reasons I will never understand.

    I still believe in the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.

    But, maybe I just wasn’t called.

    I was hoping this whole situation would reveal truth. I was hoping it was God.
    But, it is all so messed up. I don’t know where God is in it all.

    I don’t really know if I’m a Christian.

    I wanted to be one.

  • Stunned

    just saying, if you want to be one, because you believe that God is perfect, that we are not and that for us to be reconciled with God we need to believe that Jesus’ blood was enough, then you ARE a Christian. (If you want that title. I don’t think God cares all that much for titles. He just wants to be reconciled to us, no matter what name we give ourselves.) You and I both believe that He has done this for us through pouring out all the punishment we deserve, onto Jesus. If you have ANY desire for that, I believe it comes from God. And I believe He is greatly pleased with our desire to be reconciled with Him.

    I hope I am not being too preachy. I just want you to be encouraged that if there is even a modicum of desire there, that it was put there by God and He isn’t busy walking away from you. Even the fact that you are posting here and said what you did shows that there is a desire there and that is so unbelievably pleasing to Him. Please know that He LOVES you so far beyond what any of us humans beings could hope or imagine. He cares for you. He watches over you daily.

    I can’t understand or answer much more in life, but this I know.

  • Stunned

    Oswald, I’m not really clear what you think I am saying. But I hardly think it’s going to take for Jesus to come back for SGM to be forgotten by all those who have been negatively effected by it.

    A million and one Christian organizations have come and gone. I hardly think SGM will be here until the return of Christ. And I hardly think God is so incompetent that He can’t bring healing to those who have been damaged by SGM.

  • Stunned

    just saying, have you shared your story here?

  • Jim

    just saying…

    I agree with Stunned. I’m thinking I’ll see you in Heaven.

  • Fried Fish

    MM #154 – no sir, I have no insider info. It just looked like a close match to the description given. Would suggest if y’all really want to know, someone tight in SGM ask someone in SGM leadership about it, and see if they give out info or if sparks fly.

  • Luna Moth

    dear “just saying”–

    A “church” may have thrown you away. God has not thrown you away.

    The “religious people” threw Jesus away too. They killed Him.

    But God made Him alive again.

    The Pharisees never did stand up as a group and publicly apologize for not recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. But the disciples didn’t care, because they saw Jesus. He cooked fish on the beach for them. Thomas got to touch the nail-prints in His hands.

  • Stunned

    Luna, I am tearing up thinking of Him cooking them fish. (How much He cares for us!)

    Thank you, also, for pointing out that the religious people threw Jesus away. I tend to think that that is what happens to the good people in religion. It’s the good people who kind of get in the way. ;-)

  • Luna Moth

    I too would love to see some sort of public recognition–to see the SGM guys realize, see them FINALLY get it, and not to hear all this varnishing over and over and over again. I would like that so much!!

    But–

    Jesus has been teaching me from the beginning of all this–since last June–that my hope can’t be in whether Josh gets it, or pastors in Fairfax or Pasadena get it. I have to turn away from it and turn again to Him. To take His hand and walk with Him.

    I would like to see these SGM leaders get it, I would like to see some of the pastors lead their churches away from SGM and into truth and freedom. But–

    “What is that to thee and me?”

    .

    He is nearer than you may know.

  • Luna Moth

    Stunned,

    ;-)

    Yes, just think. He came and gave them picnic breakfast on the beach. How un-stuffy, un-“churchy” (if you know what I mean).

    Just sort of simplicity. Never mind what the guys up in Jerusalem are saying.

    The Lord is so rich in kindness and humor and just being with us.

  • 2+2=4 again

    Steve 240, well said.
    JeffB 140, in reference to the last sentence of the post, I wish all people would read the Bible to see what the gospel really is, not man’s interpretation of it! Knowledge of Scripture is lacking in SGM as a whole, and currently, is subject to the one viewpoint of Calvinism. God says that His words are simple enough for a child to understand. Granted, it is much more clear to a believer, but one can become saved just by reading Romans. So very many verses in the OT and also in the NT speak of God calling the whole world to acknowledge, turn to Him and obey as a result of faith. Yes, faith is a gift, but a gift can be rejected by the intended recipient.

  • Defender

    Luna, Stunned, (& all)
    I’ll bet it was some “pretty good fish.”

    Can’t wait for “The Feast” when He cooks the whole thing for us.
    Hey just sayin…., YOU will be at that feast too!

    (I’m getting hungry right now…)

  • Persona

    I agree with the opinion that Joshua could do a lot more to bring a new era of transparency and truth to CLC.

    He’s been in a position of influence for quite a few years. Before that, he was an intern in the youth ministry and, attended the PC part-time. So, he has seen a lot and knows a lot of the back-stories. He is intimately familiar with all the face-cards involved in the current controversies.

    Joshua was also involved in a few of the spiritual and child abuse cases we were affected by so, I know how he handles cases like that. Although he sometimes sees process error, he tends to protect fellow pastors and unfortunately, he is susceptible to favoritism. Ha. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if we were one of the favored ones.

    But, he allowed pastors to do almost anything they wanted to us and, he never admitted that more than one of the parties was a liar. In my opinion, all of that reflects his exalted view of the role of the pastor. And, that needs to change if they expect to see a healthier church grow out of the ashes.

    This quote from Kris is so true of our experience:

    “In varying situations, to varying degrees, people have described reaching a point of conflict with their pastors, where their pastors’ assessments of their sins…or their pastors’ assessments of their problems…or their pastors’ positions in the conflict…were the only reality that mattered. In order to remain in their SGM churches in good standing, they had to agree with their pastors, even if they knew beyond a doubt that their pastors weren’t actually right in their assessments. There was no recourse, no other option besides leaving.”

    I think Joshua should insist that Mahaney, Ricucci and Loftness return to CLC to face charges for their misdeeds over the past 3 decades. He should not have excused them so readily and he certainly should not have praised them the way he did. While he’s at it he should include Boisvert, Layman, Maresco.. all ten of the original CLC pastors, to the gathering. None of them are innocent of hurting the sheep at various times in their careers. As Christians, they should be willing to confess their sins and ask forgiveness of the people whom they have offended.

  • Bridget

    just saying –

    You don’t need SGM walking uprightly for you to be a Christian. The desire you expressed in your comment is what God hears. He sees your heart’s desire and that is enough. God is the one who calls and justifies, not anyone in SGM.

    From what I’m hearing from you right now compared to what I hear and see from SGM, you’re heart is more seared by the work of the Holy Spirit and receptive to the work of God in your life than many of the leaders in SGM. This is the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work within you. :D

  • Unassimilated

    “I think Joshua should insist that Mahaney, Ricucci and Loftness return to CLC to face charges for their misdeeds over the past 3 decades. He should not have excused them so readily and he certainly should not have praised them the way he did. While he’s at it he should include Boisvert, Layman, Maresco.. all ten of the original CLC pastors, to the gathering. None of them are innocent of hurting the sheep at various times in their careers. As Christians, they should be willing to confess their sins and ask forgiveness of the people whom they have offended.”

    :word

  • Greg

    Persona,
    I don’t know if the fundamental changes we are all hoping for are happening, but I do know that some of the pastors at CLC are eager to hear from those they may have hurt. If anyone has an unresolved issue with a CLC pastor, now would be the time to get back in touch. I did, and the response I received was very healing and affirming.

  • Thanks Fried Fish….

  • Fruit Filled

    Greg #172 –

    I’m glad to hear that some of the CLC pastors are eager to hear from those they may have hurt. I’m very glad that your experience was positive. What bothers me is that they don’t seem to know whom they have hurt. They don’t seem to know how they have hurt. They don’t seem to know without being told by the offended parties.

    When these pastors keep files on every member and update that file after meeting with said members, the information to discern whom they have hurt should simply be in their file cabinets or better yet a troubled conscience, heart or soul. They simply should not wait for the offended to contact them.

    May God keep working in their hearts and lives to conform more to Christ’s likeness.

  • Stunned

    Fruit Filled,

    AMEN!!!!!!!

  • Persona

    172

    I am sure some pastors are very sorrowful behind closed doors, on a one-on-one basis. I have been the recipient of that a couple of times over the years.

    And the pastors in question, also likely behave in a very civil manner, in small groups, behind closed doors. Unfortunately, the ‘behind closed doors’ part needs to change.

    At times, the residual effects of abuse have had serious affects on large groups of people, even generations. I am thinking of times when groups were instructed to shun whistle-blowers. While pastors have scrambled to clear the names of fellow pastors, the slander of innocent members, has been left unchallenged for years. At times, outright lies have been shared with the church. This would be a great time for those stories to be retracted.

    In order to reach and include everyone who has been affected, begging forgiveness should be made publicly, similar to the Fairfax confessions. I cannot understand why the pastors of CLC have not done so.

  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    Regarding pastoral apologies or lack thereof:

    In some cases they probably should know whom they hurt, but in many situations, I can understand how they might not. Unless you’ve talked with them and they know you were hurt or the situation was the kind of major issue (think the sex abuse cases) which should be remembered years later, it’s quite possible that your situation would not stand out in their memory, even their notes (trauma that affects us personally tends to be remembered long term).

    In some, if not most, of these situations, the pastors believed they were doing the right thing / giving the right counsel at the time. Even if they would behave differently now, that understanding has likely come to them slowly over time. They probably aren’t aware of how many specific people they’ve hurt through poor assumptions, unwise counsel, unkind words, judgmental attitudes, an authoritarian posture, etc…

    Now I do believe that they should take the initiative to go to anyone they know they have hurt. Scripture teaches that. And where their past public teaching has contained elements which they would now disagree with, I believe they should renounce it, generally apologize for how individuals have been affected by their mistakes and errors, and clearly note where and why they have changed.

    But if you believe that an SGM pastor or care group leader (or even a former fellow member) needs to apologize to you – if you desire relational reconciliation and you are in a stable enough place to do so – I think you should consider whether the Lord would want you to go to them. Please don’t assume that they should remember your situation and come to you (unless you are exCLCer or in a similar situation where they have every reason to know who you are and why they should come to you). Perhaps the Lord will soften their heart and grant them repentance and give you and opportunity to be restored as siblings in his family.

    No one should hear this as an exhortation to walk into a situation where they feel unsafe (emotionally, spiritually or physically). You don’t need to go alone or even speak in person or on the phone if you feel more comfortable writing. You probably shouldn’t agree to pre-conditions. Be wise and don’t be intimidated or manipulated. But if legalism or bad counsel or some other offense from years ago still affects you, perhaps the Lord would have you bring it up. And, if the pastor or other person responds in a manipulative way, with denials, or self-justification, you can know that you’ve done your part and release them to the Lord, knowing that they hold NO power over you.

    BTW, I’m preparing to follow my own advice in this…

  • Stunned

    EmSol, let us know how it goes for you. And let us know when you’re going, if you’d like us to be praying for you.

  • Greg

    Fruit, ESDG,

    Yes, don’t assume they know that they wronged you or understand how deeply you were hurt. Pastors are sometimes like doctors in that once you leave their office, they assume you are OK unlses you tell them you are not. Also, many of us were taught to bear painful situations silently. I know for a fact that no one on staff knew all the consequences of the decisions they made about me.

    In my case, the pastor told me that recent events had made him more aware of how had mishandled the situation. When I shared more details of what I went through and how it affected me, he was really broken, and his appology was sincere.

    I had no inteest in talking to any CLC pastor if I was going to be treated in the same way I was in the past. However, an old friend who was a lurker on one of the blogs contacted me and asked me to reconsider, that the pastor in question had changed. I asked him to make contact with the pastor fist just to make sure I wasn’t going to end up in another hurtful situation.

    I have to say our conversation finally put to rest a very long ordeal for me. There are not a lot of happy endings on these blogs, but my the grace of God, mine was one of them.

  • Somewhereintime

    What is going to be fun to watch is when CJ starts his church and a member requires discipline. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when he explains the issue to the member and the member says “then why didn’t you do it?”

  • Greg

    Do you really think he’s going to start a church? It’s much easier to be President.

  • Bridget

    Somewhereintime –

    That would be a site! Unfortunately, even if CJ has a church, I don’t think he will be the pastor interacting with the peeps. He will be the preaching pastor, or some such thing, and others will do his bidding.

    I have noted from reading these blogs that CJ, in fact, is usually NOT personally in the conversation in a discipline issue. Even with Larry, it seemed others did the bidding. I do believe that he knows exactly what is going on and in most cases calls the shots, but does not interact on a personal level. He seems to abhor and flee conflict at all costs. He doesn’t seem to care what he asks others to do on his behalf. It is either calculated or cowardous. Look what Harvey carried out on CJ’s behalf since last Summer. It is beyond me why men would follow him AND do his bidding.

  • Bridget

    Greg –

    And that was my second thought!

  • MAK

    Maybe this was posted already but I noticed on the sgm website that the 2012 pastors conference will be held in Orlando this year. No longer at CLC.

  • Stunned

    Orlando? Is that now the happiest place on earth?

  • JeffB

    Steve 240

    Good points.

    Just so you know where I’m coming from. I believe –

    1) All of us inherited our sin nature from Adam. We would have made the same choice as he did.

    2) God is not obligated to save everyone. He doesn’t save everyone.

    3) Nevertheless, He saves some and allows others to die in their sins.

    For the moment, I’m assuming you agree with these. Our difference lies in the way we think God saves people. I believe God chooses people for salvation before they are even born. I assume that you believe that everyone has an equal chance to exercise saving faith, but some do, and some don’t. Is that correct?

    I’m happy to continue this way for at least a couple more exchanges, perhaps by email. If you’d rather wrap it up quickly, please let me know.

    2+2=4 again

    Yes, I see that I might have given the impression that someone can read definitively what the gospel is from someone’s book. No, a book can reflect it, more or less accurately, but one has to go to the Word to see it as it is.

    Concerning faith, it not only can be rejected, it HAS been rejected by an overwhelming majority of mankind.

  • Yellow is a Happy Color

    Stunned in #185——Good one. :clap

  • JeffB said (to me):

    For the moment, I’m assuming you agree with these. Our difference lies in the way we think God saves people. I believe God chooses people for salvation before they are even born. I assume that you believe that everyone has an equal chance to exercise saving faith, but some do, and some don’t. Is that correct?

    It sounds like you have down my beliefs in how I believe one gets saved. I believe in free will choice while you appear to believe in predestination.

    We certainly could debate the belief in Calvinism/sovereign grace vs. free will but that wasn’t my real intent. My biggest point was to know all of what you are believing and the consequences including what some call the dark side of Calvinism if you decide that is what you believe. I really don’t think a lot of people in SGM & CLC understand what Calvinism teaches and stands for.

    If you say you believe in Calvinism or a sovereign grace make sure you understand what it claims including that people have no choice with regard to salvation. If you choose to believe in Calvinism accept that your children may have no chance of becoming saved despite how you raise them if they aren’t part of the elect. Also don’t hold parents accountable (including pastors) for their children not coming to Christ since you claim God decides who comes to Christ. Also be willing to accept that God claims He calls all men to repent but only gives some the ability to repent. Consequently according to Calvinism any type of evangelism will only save those who God has predestined to be saved.

    Also, as I said before, it was quite sad that C.J. Mahaney wasn’t upfront in his moving his group towards Calvinism. C.J. should have been a whole lot more upfront about this change and even admitted that Calvinism isn’t the only accepted view. Larry Tomczak indicated that this was one of his reasons for wanting to leave PDI (now called SGM) was the group’s move towards Calvinism.

    A long time ago one person here indicated that she listed a number of scriptures she found from reading the bible. 1/2 of the passages supported Calvinism and predestination and 1/2 supported free will choice. When she shared this with I believe her care group leader it wasn’t well received. This care group leader didn’t like to even hear that what they claimed was so black and white there could be passages that contradicted this.

    Larry Tomzcak also a has small booklet he wrote titled “What Do You Believe About How People Get Saved?” It appears you can still purchase this on larrytomczak.com. It is a pretty easy to read primer that gives an explanation of the views though Larry doesn’t believe in Calvinism.

  • 2confused

    I know for fact that Rucicci and Purswell’s houses are for sale. SGM is moving to KY. There is a lot of things going on that in due time will come out. The new board meet and talked about a lot of things. 80% of what was talked about and decided was not (and probably never will be) shared in any letter ever. That’s not really a suprise though. I will say all those meals that were shared together at T4G were for the elite 8. Josh was not included in all, if any, of those meals.

  • glad i am out

    PLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSSSEEEEE!!!! STOP!!!!!!!!! Let it rest. For the past several months, the discussion of calvinism/Hyper Calvinism, Calvinism on steroids, Turbo-charged Calvinism, Dark calvinism, Pink Calvinism, Calvinism w/ a red eye, the life of Calvin, what he ate for breakfast, who he persecuted, etc etc etc, has dominated this blog, by far! This blog is not about me, i know, so i am sure no one really cares that i am going to puke. Is there anything left here on this topic that really needs to be said and argued… The posts on this subject are some of the longest snore-fest posts ever appearing on a blog. I’d rather watch the english patient 10 times in a row than spend 10 more minutes here. I can not stand it!!! Kris, is this really that important??? Maybe i am wrong, and discussing issues w/ SGM must include this.

    The Bible says preach to the world – so preach.. or share, or whatever… I never got this debate… who the freak cares! I don’t know and you don’t know who is or who may not be pre-destined, if there even is such a thing,, but Jesus’ commission is clear… If you believe that God elected us and there is nothing left to be done, then close your D**n laptop and leave. I mean, what is the point in continuing…. It’s all already been done, doesn’t matter what SGM is up to, doesn’t matter what CJ does, doesn’t matter what you do or say, you have no work left to do, go home… You all have the “free will” to continue this, but i for one will exercise my free will to stop reading here. I know you don’t care, but i can’t imagine i am the only one who feels this way – anyone? Kris and Guy????? Am i wrong here? I may be, i often am, but, Good Lord!!! is there anything else anyone can say besides arguing this point day after day after day after day after day after day….

  • Oswald

    glad #190 — :word
    Continuing to debate this is not going to change anything or anyone.

  • Unassimilated

    glad i am out – The Calvinism talk baffles me too. SGM was a heavy handed, controlling, shepherding movement ministry for many years before
    CJ discovered Calvin. It’s not Calvin’s fault, nor do I think it was Calvin’s intention to be paired with such an abusive ministry.
    Yet he did have a friend of his burned at the stake for Heresy, so I can understand the attraction.

    It is not a surprise that those who are so caught up in details of salvation & Calvin, would be attracted to a ministry like SGM who had it “all sewed up.”
    For many, that need for certainty in detail, the drive for absolute clarity is what makes something like SGM so attractive. SGM had the answers!

    I am content just knowing that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. That’s a mystery that I do not need to unravel to accept.
    (Not always the case for me though) Besides, I do not think I would ever love the world so much to do anything but complain at this point. God, he sees something I still don’t.

    However, you are on a board where many of it’s participants have not been able to talk about these things for years. You just can’t saunter
    up to a co-worker and ask, ‘So what are your thoughts on predestination as described by the reformed moment of the 21st century church.’

    Kris typically says to pass it over if it does not interest you, I know I’ve been passing it over for weeks. Odd thing is that
    CJ’s pause of leadership was not for the AOR report, but to see if the rest of his dirty laundry was going to get aired. It did not, so he is back in the saddle. It would be nice if some of those CLC pastors would do the right thing, perhaps try the old loving pursuit with CJ, then tell it to the church when he does not listen. Proves to me that they are not fit to be Pastors in any definition of the word.

    So whats on your mind?

  • Greg

    The debate over Calvinism will be over when God has ordained it will be over. or when we get sick of it and decide to stop.
    (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

  • Lost in (cyber) Space

    2Confused,

    Those meetings at T4G seem so clandestine, don’t they? I am beginning to realize that is the SGM way. Secret meetings are held, decisions are made, and the sheep are left in the dark, herded this way and that without any real explanation. “Just trust us. We know what is best for you”.

  • Stunned

    glad i am out,

    I had to laugh when I read your post. Yes, I often skip these posts, too.

    If one of us human beings thinks for a cotton pickin’ moment that our puny little brains can really begin to understand the whys and how of God, well, we are either the most arrogant or foolish of souls. “As far as the heavens are above the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

    What an utter waste of time in my book. We need to go get busy loving God and loving people with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds. Fighting over God’s ways and hows sure as heck doesn’t fulfill that greatest command. Once we have completed that task, maybe then we can worry about figthing over all the other ridiculous stuff we spend our time on in religion, instead of spending every drop of our being loving on creation.

    BTW, I’m pretty sure that it will take the rest of my life to even scratch the surface on loving people so I don’t expect I will ever complete that task. If you’re reading this today, maybe you can pray about taking this as a challenge to do the same?

    (As a PS., I have no idea who even brought up the last few post about theology, so please don’t think I have any ax to grind or look down on ya’ll at all. I’m also not going back up to see who it was. I’m just asking people to reconsider how they’re spending their time and energy. Following the greatest commandment or pursuing an intellectual argument that seems to only waste time and get people killed for many centuries. Frankly, I can’t think of a much more selfish and greater waste of time. And yes, every single man for a few generations who have married into my family are seminarians who studied theology for years. So I don’t hate theologians. Kinda.)

  • Fried Fish

    TFO #196 – gotta wonder if the chipmunk is bald under the Mickey Mouse hat….

  • Stunned

    Two Feet Out, :) I just clicked on the link and saw the title, “The Happiest Place on Earth is About to Get Happier” and for a second I thought it was an SGM article, letting people know that the Pastor’s Conference was going to be held in Orlando, and what a blessing the SGM pastors were going to be to Orlando. (As in, “Gee, isn’t Orlando lucky to have us.”)

    Thanks for the smile!

  • ExClcer'sMom

    I guess there is a place for it, but it seems to me that all of these nit picky details of theology are like kids arguing over ‘who knows who best’, or “who is who’s favorite, or ‘chosen ones’..”I am sure there are more important reasons for it, I guess, but it seems to me that the biggest ‘command’, and example Jesus left us with was to love one another, and share the Gospel of His Love and Salvation to all..He did not direct us to figure out ‘who He chose before birth”, or “who is living most righteously’, or who is His favorite, or anything else like that! We are to love! It seems to me that is is ‘human nature’ (sin) that wants us to uplift ourselves or another man-like anyone could ever really be more important other than God Himself!
    Just Sayin, if you want to get to know anyone, it seems to me that the best way is to spend time with them. If others says to you, “Oh, “So &So” does not like to meet new people, and if they don’t call you first, they dont want to talk to you-this is our clique, you might not belong”, but you REALLY DO WANT TO KNOW THAT PERSON, then go spend time with Him! I do not believe for one second that He will send you away! I dont care what theologian says what..God says, “Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”. The ONLY example I see in the Scriptures of Him turning anyone away is when they used ‘works’ instead of relationship. We are made in His image: Just as a Mother yearns to hold her baby, and the baby yearns to be held, so it is with us and our Father in Heaven. He yearns to be with us, He wants us.He loves us.

  • ExClcer'sMom

    I was thinking this morning, it really does seem to me that an unusually high percentage of children raised within SGM are extremely ‘anti-christ’..I really would love to know the statistical percentages..While I am sure SGM would like to direct those outcomes back to being the parents’ fault, I can look at my own family and see that only the ones who were NOT raised in SGM have a heart soft towards God. Once again, SGM could reason that those are the children NOT affected by sexual abuse, which is why I would love to know more..If I were an organization, something like that would make me want to reflect on what could be wrong..

  • Somewhereintime

    I vividly remember listening to a CJ sermon that talked about the Puritans and how their “reign” ended poorly and how important it was for all of us to end the race well.

    Unfortunately, CJ and company got caught up in the same snares that the Puritans did and are NOT ending their race to the finish line well.

    It truly is a sad tale of human sinfulness.

  • Somewhereintime

    Just my comment on Calvinism …

    I don’t believe it …

    It’s unbiblical …

    How’s that! :)

    P.S. – A note to my calvinistic friends … I’m not even an Arminianist either! How can that be?!?!

  • My philosophy as moderator has been to let the discussion go where it goes, unless I get the sense that people are trying to use this site to proselytize for points of view that violate my conscience in a big way. We’re not going to provide a forum for someone who wants, for example, to diss on Christianity and promote atheism. Or for someone to hijack every conversation and redirect it around to his own personal hobby horse of universalism. But most of the time, as long as a topic is somewhat related to SGM, I’d prefer to err on the side of freedom rather than control.

    I admit that these discussions about Calvinism vs. Arminianism are boring to me, too, but I do think they can be educational, particularly for those who have spent years accepting at face value SGM’s assertions about its “sound theology” without really digging deeper to trace how much that theology has morphed and changed over the years…with leaders displaying the same level of confidence over their absolute correctness, even though they’d promoted something quite different not that long before.

    I guess I’d suggest to those who find that type of comment boring to scroll past the stuff that bugs you. But at the same time, I’d ask those who find themselves commenting a lot about a particular theological point of view to rein it in a bit. Especially if you’re presenting information in such a way as to try and argue someone out of the opposing point of view, that’s a good sign that you’re probably going to bug some people who don’t come here to read theological debates.

  • Moniker

    Somewhereintime said: I vividly remember listening to a CJ sermon that talked about the Puritans and how their “reign” ended poorly and how important it was for all of us to end the race well.

    That reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere. Goes something like this: “Dead men make the best heroes because you know how they finished.” Isn’t that the truth?

  • sgmnot

    Greg #193 Thanks for giving me a good laugh this morning! :D

  • Ex CLCers Mom said

    I was thinking this morning, it really does seem to me that an unusually high percentage of children raised within SGM are extremely ‘anti-christ’..I really would love to know the statistical percentages..While I am sure SGM would like to direct those outcomes back to being the parents’ fault, I can look at my own family and see that only the ones who were NOT raised in SGM have a heart soft towards God.

    I know that there have been people questioning why Calvinism has been discussed recently on this blog but what you indicate above just might indicate why at least some knowledge of Calvinism and other beliefs is at least useful.

    Calvinism would teach that those children not receptive to God and hence not becoming saved is due to God not “electing” them to salvation or possibly their time of election isn’t here yet. SGM claims that they believe in Calvinism but if they seek to blame parents they aren’t being consistent in their beliefs in this area.

  • Somewhereintime

    Steve240,

    We often “snicker” (I know … ungodly) at those in SGM who believe in God’s complete sovereignty, but have to micromanage EVERYTHING. They say “Trust God” but end up trusting themselves.

    We’ve seen MANY MANY issues with legalism in SGM where the walk isn’t following what the heart believes.

  • exCLCer

    http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/

    John Loftness – promoted to Chairman of the board. How fitting. :barf:

  • just saying...

    #192 – Unassimilated-
    Calvin had someone burned at the stake??

    “CJ discovered Calvin. It’s not Calvin’s fault, nor do I think it was Calvin’s intention to be paired with such an abusive ministry.
    Yet he did have a friend of his burned at the stake for Heresy, so I can understand the attraction”.

  • just saying

    Google “Calvin burning at stake” and you will find a lot of information. Here is one piece of information:

    From: Evangelical Outreach, His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin by Dan Corner

    You are about to read an important part of church history from the Reformation period that has been so concealed in our day that very few people know the facts. Brace yourself for a shock.

    On October 27, 1553 John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, had Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, burned at the stake just outside of Geneva for his doctrinal heresies!(1) Hence, the originator of the popular doctrine of “once saved, always saved” (known in certain circles as “the perseverance of the saints”) violated the cry of the Reformation — “Sola Scriptura” — by murdering a doctrinal heretic without Scriptural justification. This event was something Calvin had considered long before Servetus was even captured, for Calvin wrote his friend, Farel, on February 13, 1546 (seven years prior to Servetus’ arrest) and went on record as saying:

    “If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight.”(2)

    Evidently, in that day Calvin’s authority in Geneva, Switzerland had ultimate “weight.” This is why some referred to Geneva as the “Rome of Protestantism”(3) and to Calvin as the “Protestant ‘Pope’ of Geneva.”(4)

    During Servetus’ trial, Calvin wrote:

    “I hope that the verdict will call for the death penalty.”(5)

    Sadly it appears that a lot of Christian History includes prominent figures that felt that the end justified the means. One would wonder just how much one believes in God’s sovereignty when Calvin felt he needed to resort to this type of tactic.

  • intheNickoftime

    Stunned in #195 –

    It would be nice if some of those CLC pastors would do the right thing, perhaps try the old loving pursuit with CJ, then tell it to the church when he does not listen.

    CJ is in a fortress now. A walled city. That encampment is run by JL and we all know which way he swings. He displayed his colors when he meddled in the Ashburn church and now he would take the same stand. As the leader of SRC he finds no problems with CJ and wont let anything be “told to the church” (not that they would listen…the effects of Kool-Aid being what they are).

    CLC’s only shot was when he was still, technically, a member of their church. Now at SRC CJ is a member in good standing. It doesnt matter what he did or when he did it. If SRC will not hold him accountable, how can any other church make him face the music?

    CJ is in a good place, for his own protection. And since he still pulls the strings, he is still steering the ship. As much as is seems wrong, he has maneuvered himself into a great position. I hate what he stands for but I have to admire his battlefield skills, his “Commanding General” intuition and observations. He is a formidable antagonist and will not go down easy! (Like Gen Lee of the confederacy, he will keep dodging and running and counterattacking. And it will take a Gen Grant type to force him out…the “assume the best” types will never ever ever get him to capitulate. CJ did not rise to his position through good works and he will certainly not lose his position through good works.

  • Oswald

    Steve240 #210 — Below is a link to a panel discussion about Calvin, and the situation with Servetus is discussed. The participants are men who would probably call themselves Calvinists. This discussion took place at a Desiring God conference in 2009. It’s worth hearing what they have to say, since we have quotes from others here.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/panel-discussion#/watch/full

  • Oswald

    intheNick #211 — Good observation and well articulated. Interesting that you should speak of Lee as compared to CJ because we’ve heard that CJ is quite the student of Civil War lore and fact. But as we remember, Lee was ultimately defeated. Once again, God will not be mocked.

  • Mr Stretch

    For me, it’s all about my relationship with God and hearing from the Holy Spirit for myself.

    I personally don’t care what anyone believes. Some day my mind will be open and I will understand what the scriptures were intended to mean.

    Mr Stretch

  • Sea change

    EmSoli. :clap I already knew you were a wise woman, but was freshly reminded with your post.

    My husband and I had some hurt from being “cared for” by our sgm pastors. A while ago one of them asked us if there was anything he did that needed to be apologized for, now that he had seen the light re sgm. When we told him how he had been responsible, we received a very sincere and healing apology. A lot of these pastors are probably having to do some mental and emotional sorting of their past actions. What they thought was right in the past, because they were trained to believe so, now is beginning to look wrong. The past isn’t going to reprocessed as well without the input of those who were hurt by them.

    Personally, I have been skipping the Calvinism debate too.

    I also think its ironic that SGM pastors have to micromanage everything, when sovereignty is pressed so hard when convenient. There is no part of church ministry or our lives that can operate without their wise oversight.

  • lily

    Wonder what about Civil War lore, etc. intrigues CJ. Anyone know?

  • El Pastor

    It appears the AOR report is now available.

    http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/

  • Oswald

    Thanks for the link. I listened to part of it, tt gives an interesting perspective on what has been reported about Calvin. I am sure we won’t know the real truth this side of eternity.

  • Ozymandias

    From SGM’s comments to the report:

    We were encouraged that from their study AOR did not find a broad pattern of failure and that from what they could see, these failings do not characterize Sovereign Grace churches as a whole.

  • Greg

    Sea change,
    The need to control, to micro-manage is exactly what attracted SGM to neo-Calvinism. In the late 80s, early 90s, SGM was, like many charismatic organizations, under some criticism for being doctrinally unsound. There were a number of topics that the pastors had differing views on, and I know that was a challenge for the A-Team.

    Also, around that time, a number of families faced tragic situations, and the pastoral staff was at a loss on how to counsel them. Brent was one of the few A-Team that had theological training and he steared them towards Reformed Theology. The one thing a controlling personality cannot tolerate is not knowing what to say or what to do. I personally think that not knowing is part of spirituality

    I did not have a problem with Reformed Theology per se, but that they adopted a rather strident form of Calvinism as dogma and number of core members in CLC were forced out for disagreeing or simply saying that it was not the only theological view. I was already familiar with Puritan writings, but always from a historical perspective. All systematic theologies are created by men in a historical context, usually as a reaction to social ills or philosophical challenges. They have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are never equal to scripture.

    With this perspective, I challenged a CLC pastor, “What makes you think we can adopt Puritan theology without committing all the same mistakes? Are we any better than they were?”

    I’m not arguing for or against the merits of Calvinism, but anwsering the heart question of why leaders with a controlling spririt are often attracted to it, and often abuse it. Like any dogma, it offers a coherent set of beliefs that cannot be questioned.