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

  1. 2+2=4 again says:

    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.

  2. Ellie says:

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

  3. 2+2=4 again says:

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

  4. JeffB says:

    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.”

  5. Moniker says:

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

  6. A Kindred Spirit says:

    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.

  7. 2+2=4 again says:

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

  8. A Kindred Spirit says:

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

  9. Persona says:

    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!

  10. 2+2=4 again says:

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

  11. Whirlwind says:

    @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.

  12. A Kindred Spirit says:

    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.

  13. 2+2=4 again says:

    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.

  14. 5yearsinPDI says:

    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.

  15. A Kindred Spirit says:

    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.

  16. A Kindred Spirit says:

    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.

  17. A Kindred Spirit says:

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

  18. Oswald says:

    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.

  19. Oswald says:

    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/

  20. Bridget says:

    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. :(

  21. 5yearsinPDI says:

    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.

  22. 5yearsinPDI says:

    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……

  23. 5yearsinPDI says:

    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.

  24. 2+2=4 again says:

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

  25. Oswald says:

    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/

  26. Defender says:

    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

  27. A Kindred Spirit says:

    5years,

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

  28. Persona says:

    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.

  29. ATC says:

    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.

  30. ATC says:

    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.

  31. A Kindred Spirit says:

    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.

  32. 5yearsinPDI says:

    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.

  33. Bridget says:

    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!

  34. musicman says:

    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…

  35. JeffB says:

    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.

  36. Steve240 says:

    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.

  37. Lost in (cyber) Space says:

    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

  38. Lee says:

    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.

  39. Oswald says:

    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.

  40. Lost in (cyber) Space says:

    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

  41. Persona says:

    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.

  42. Just Watching says:

    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.

  43. Oswald says:

    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.

  44. Oswald says:

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

  45. musicman says:

    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.

  46. MAK says:

    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.

  47. Lost in (cyber) Space says:

    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!

  48. ExClcer'sMom says:

    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.

  49. MAK says:

    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.