Kris, I agree. It is hilarious though that CJ pulled that one off because everyone I talk to outside SGM knows Josh and very very few know CJ.
I remain disappointed that Josh and the rest of the pastors have not come out and publicly stated, what CJ did in leaving CLC was wrong. The CLC pastors have also not admitted their culpability in falling prey to the fear of man regarding CJ throughout their history together. They have not admitted that the reason they needed to change the polity was because the previous polity was WRONG. They have not confessed to the congregants at CLC that because they followed a wrong polity many people were hurt. The farewell letter the CLC pastors wrote to CJ and company is another example of presuming to speak for the entire membership at CLC. I can’t imagine that 75% of the congregants would have given CJ the free pass that Josh and company gave him.
Finally, Josh’s last message about Elijah was an excellent message and I can see where he, along with the members of CLC, could feel the dismay that Elijah felt. However, there is one huge difference…… Josh, nor the members of CLC, have ever confronted CJ and called him to account for his behavior according to Matthew 18… they stopped short when they should have brought him before the church to be publically rebuked. That never happened because the pastors at CLC never allowed the church to engage in this responsibility. They seem to selectively apply their new polity when it suits them and don’t apply it when it doesn’t.
I think on a cognitive (conscious-thinking) level, Josh has always known that he should follow Jesus through the Holy Spirit’s leading, and not blindly support CJ and SGM.
But on a subconscious instinctive level, so many years of the Gothardite mindset about “umbrellas of authority,” even if communicated in mostly unspoken ways, would be really hard to recognize, let alone ditch. Although Josh Harris was famous in his own right prior to his involvement with SGM, so much lip service has been paid to the idea that Josh was discipled by CJ and CJ made Josh who he is that Josh probably has little frame of reference to realize that that isn’t exactly true. And if Josh really believes – as I think he still believes – that he owes this HUGE debt to CJ and that CJ is in large part responsible for who Josh is today, then standing up to CJ and rejecting what he now stands for would be something like being at war with himself, and rejecting himself.
I’ve always said it was a neat trick that CJ pulled, to pluck up-and-coming Josh Harris off the homeschooling speaking circuit and build him from the ground up into CJ’s successor. In so doing, CJ not only gained access to a whole new audience – the people, particularly the young people, who had bought Josh’s book – but he also was able to look tremendously humble (“Look, everyone! I think so little of myself that I believe an uneducated and inexperienced kid can do what I do! I think I’m replaceable!”), all the while ensuring that he actually retained full control of everything, since Josh would be eternally indebted to CJ for the opportunity and the discipleship. CJ knew that his protegé would feel a tremendous obligation to always support him and temper any criticism with flowery statements of his undying gratitude.
CJ’s selection of Josh was a stroke of genius. Even now we are seeing just how cunning a move it actually was. Yes, Josh has proven over the past year that he is still somewhat his own person with his own thoughts and the ability to stick with his own convictions. But old habits die hard. Old training is VERY difficult to reject completely. Those Gothardite ideas about how submitting to one’s earthly authorities = submitting to Jesus are deeply embedded in Josh Harris’ mind. And there’s of course the gratitude element. It has been beaten into Josh that he owes his entire career to CJ. Like I said, doing battle with CJ and rejecting some of what CJ stands for would be like being at war with oneself and rejecting oneself.
Ozymandias @ 471,
thanks for the links–very interesting stuff!
Frank at TeamPyro links to another blog by a guy named David Kjos, and I find this interesting about what he said about the Band of Bloggers meeting at T4G “Bottom line: if you’re not on the inside, you’re not qualified to speak.
The arrogance is astounding. But arrogance isn’t the only offense. Equally shameful is the attempt to silence critics with faux moral superiority and sweep the whole matter under the rug. First, we were told that insiders only were the legitimate observers and commenters on the affair. Then we heard from Collin Hansen, formerly of Christianity Today, now of The Gospel Coalition, that, just as everyone at CT knew Billy Graham and family were off-limits, no one at The Gospel Coalition was ever going to publicly criticize co-founder James MacDonald. So outsiders were not allowed to speak, and insiders were unwilling to speak. (I reserve high praise for Thabiti Anyabwile for breaking omerta.)
Wow, this describes a lot of what is going on when people try to describe CJ/SGM!
> What you’re talking about is imprisionment, I believe. Where culpability can also be transferred to those who refuse to report a witnessed felony. However, The statute of limitations on what transpired between leadership and Larry is done – so reporting what happened would be disregarded. Believe me though, if it was still in effect, and a federal prosecutor would look into it, I wouldn’t hesitate to report it. – Rom 13:1-7
> That is tragic about what you witnessed with the child. I pray the kid is okay. :(
btw..I know he is taking steps “inside” his own house…in the church….but there is a battle out here to. I don’t need anything from CLC or SGM but I am passionate about the Church as a whole. This has gone on a ridiculous amount of time. I know they are aware that they have not done all that God’s word says to do to be peacemakers themselves…but instead keep preaching to others about forgiveness and peacmaking like the burden is on the people here. That is why I liked what stunned said in #451…yes we will…but what will you do….
For any Christian to follow the way CJ or any leader said to do anything…over doing what you know your bible says to do…has to know they are not honoring God. If following leaders equals obeying God than all those sinners in Jesus’s day should not have followed Jesus they should have remained under the legalistic leaders of the day.
If Josh can’t put God’s word before CJ than he should step down. I think God’s word is very clear on what baby steps they could be taking and it is sin for him not to. He can’t win the battle by hiding in his house waiting.
Kris – I understand that because we all bought into that too. But, I would bet that somewhere in SGM is at least one leader that God is speaking to – for them to do something and they are too afraid. I also think that Josh should be able to figure out that he has to obey the Holy Spirit over CJ. Paul said to follow me as I follow Christ…CJ is following himself and not Christ. At some point Josh is going to have to choose the Holy Spirit over CJ. Plus Paul didn’t exactly follow the church leaders of his day! Thank God he didn’t or grace by faith would be a principle long gone!
RE Josh Harris –
One thing to keep in mind is that Josh has been thoroughly indoctrinated in the belief that following those in authority over him (i.e. his dad, and then CJ) is how he follows Jesus.
I’m thinking it would be difficult to recognize just how that mindset permeated everything, let alone ditch that mindset. I’ll bet Josh has been experiencing all sorts of internal conflict and confusion over the past couple of years, as he slowly comes to grips with the fact that the Gothardite ideas about authority – the assumption that it is always God’s will to accept and follow whatever one’s authorities do and say, and that to not do so is tantamount to rebellion, which is sin – are not actually right.
I think this is likely the reason that Josh has not spoken out as much or done as much to stand against CJ and SGM as some people would have liked. After a lifetime of believing that someone in CJ’s role is his God-ordained authority and therefore ultimately always right, even when he’s wrong, it would be extremely difficult to “just follow Jesus.” In the Gothardite mindset, following Jesus = following your authorities.
As far as reform?
Massive change overnight? No. When you are on a ship this ponderous you alter your heading in degrees overtime. But he’s standing his ground and reforming.”
I had high hopes for Josh but they are gone. Seeing the problem solved 100% that could take awhile. But, it seems like SGM has spent too much time counting the cost. The cost of possible lawsuits etc.
But, deal with it. You did it-you own it. Be men! At least start taking some biblical steps. There are no leaders at SGM that could have written an open letter to the people here and sent it to Kris to post. There is nothing that they are aware of that caused anyone here to stumble? There are no sins that they can repent of? Nothing. Wait. Everyone here just keep waiting. For what? Wait. Wait. Really! There is nothing in the bible that they can see they should do? No answers in there? So, we all wait…..a few more years maybe…and keep saying to the world our God is just not big enough. How do they tell people on Sundays to go to scripture when they are in conflict…when they don’t? Tell, me they have exhausted everything God’s word says that they could do. And, their actions will continue to say some problems are too big for God, the bible, and the church. Is it possible that there is nobody in SGM wise enough?
And this from Eph 5 “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church for we are members of his body.”
Anyone that is no longer a member of SGM is still a member of Christ’s body. How can you all hate these blogs and not see that the blog is not cyberspace – it is people – and not just people – but member’s of Christ body. Can you really say to Jesus…Lord, they were just too sinful for us feed “these” sheep, surely Jesus, you didn’t mean these sheep, but only the holy ones right? Really, you could say that to the One that said leave the 99 and go after the one. How Holy you are! Jesus must be very impressed with your holiness. I am sure he would understand you not caring for some sheep that didn’t met your standards. Afterall, He didn’t expect the pharisees to love prostitues and tax collector, and other untouchables. No, I am sure he understands that you have higher standards than He did. It’s ok. You can just ignore them, like Jesus did. You can hang out with the Pharisses, like Jesus did. You can love only those that love you, like Jesus did. You can wait for everyone to come to you, like Jesus did.
And, you all can say Kris is wrong but I think Jesus would disagree. No, she is busy doing your job, feeding and caring for the members of Christ’s body that you hate. If you love…. you feed, you clothe, you care, if you love you are the Good Samaratian and not the priest that walks on by. Stop examing the hearts of people here and examine your own.
Why do you need to get a report from AoR in the first place? Jesus made it simple, you hurt someone…repent…and ask for forgiveness..really, you needed to pay someone? So, what you are saying is that your Bible has no answer for this problem. So you had to go find it elsewhere. You haven’t even taken a baby step yet. You haven’t come on here and said, we are terribly sorry,…. nothing. Because you are too good for that? There is only one good and you aren’t it.
Is there no peacemaker at SGM? No leader? How long will Kris have to lead for you? How can you keep telling people that male leadership is a blessing when there isn’t even one of you strong enough to lead in reconciliation? Hear my cry..I am crying out for just one of you to be a david. Step out and face this giant mess you created. Or, does your Bible have no answers? Or, is your God not big enough. Where is the man that God will send? Where?
Persona, #469, a lot fo wisdom in your post! I do hope the CLC readers here take to heart what you have said. WE can all pray for Josh, and the members of that church.
Persona#469: GREAT POST! I think you address exactly what the problems are at CLC. I think that Josh Harris does want to advocate for change at CLC, but not so quick or radically (in his opinion) that it offends anyone. He knows right now, for example, that his congregation is divided on the SGM-funding issue and he is trying to find the “middle ground” that satisfies everyone. Personally Josh strikes me as a genuine nice guy but a people-pleaser nonetheless that is trying to appease all. I don’t know what kind of opposition he’s faced from other pastors on his new proposed way of doing things either, so this could definitely be a factor on the changes at CLC not being (IMHO) as transparent with the congregation as they should (though he is definitely a step-up from CJ). I too think he is gifted but he has a lot to learn. He seems to be growing a lot in the right direction but I personally think he needs to get over his trying to make everyone happy and just follow Jesus 100%. I think the impetus to change is apparent at CLC but the implementation of that change is mild and very slow. Hopefully with SGM gone and (I’m hoping) CLC no longer becoming part of SGM’s “family of churches” this may change. It will still take some time as the culture at CLC is used to this kind of non-transparency and behind-closed doors dealings of those in leadership.
Stunned said # 451 “I am all about forgetting what happened in the past. ONCE the person has repented. (Actually, if I weren’t worried for those who I believe will be abused in the future, I’d be happy to forget ALL of the past.) But saying that things are in the past, is only useful once the person has repented or changed or at least can no longer abuse.”
I so agree with that. Here is just one of the things that bother me. SGM and AoR is quick to shout out verses of forgiveness…while neglecting the rest of the law. such as this verse, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
They have no responsibility to bear with anyone here? Also, what about Luke 17:2, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” and the word there is σκανδαλίσῃ (skandalisē)….
I am so perplexed that a group of people that I loved and admired could think they could hurt people, ignore their pleas for them to care that they hurt them, tell them to get out, and then accuse them of sin…as if they had no role whatsoever.
Jesus never chrushed anyone under the 10 commandments…He came to serve…He loved those that didn’t love back…He washed Judas’ feet….He came to show a servant love…a humble God that loves us…what is the story of Hosea about? God all thru the OT kept pursuing love as a husband to Isreal the wayward wife. But SGM divorces people. How is SGM as example of how Christ loved the church.
These are the big dogs. The church leaders. Telling people you lead. You lead in reconciliation. You forgive. You do it. And we will do nothing. Wow. That is a seriously gross idea of leadership. Get off your butts and stop trying to save face….people are more important than your reputation, risk of lawsuit, and your paycheck. Do what God is telling you instead of waiting for a green light from CJ or Josh. You say what God is telling you. Love one another. Give expecting nothing in return…leave your gift at the altar…do none of these verses apply to you unless CJ/Josh tells you they do? I dare one of you leaders to have the guts to love like Jesus and just say one word of care on here for those you hurt. Geez. LEAD already!
Just saying, that must have been awful. Is the child alright?
I am a long-time admirer of Joshua. I think he is a gifted and engaging teacher. But, that does not mean I don’t think he could be doing a WHOLE lot more to bring greater transparency between the leaders and members of CLC.
Church members still don’t have a clue what Josh and the other pastors are thinking, planning or doing, on a day to day basis. They are still only given infrequent, random crumbs of information about what is going on.
At the very least, the pastors should post the minutes of their many meetings and retreats in the lobby or, on the members’ blog, to keep everyone informed. But, they don’t. They never have. Why not? (Try asking your pastor, and let us know what he says. I hope it is more satisfactory than the answer I got.)
They could also allow FULL access to detailed information and tax records about their salaries and other uses of funds. But, they don’t. They never have. Why not?(Ask them about that too)
It continues to be exceedingly difficult to find out anything of substance about their current dealings with CJ and SGM. I find that shameful. Every member should have known long ago that CLC gave $60,000 a month to SGM, if that was true. Why are the pastors withholding this sort of valuable information from the congregation? What are they withholding now?
CLC members should also hear about pastoral candidates LONG before they are in the ‘final phase’ of their appointment. Why even bother to ask the congregation to ‘affirm’ a candidate AFTER they have already begun their duties? What sort of bizarre form of government is that? I would be almost as offended if I were the candidate, as I would be as a member of the congregation. Such a weird pretense of involvement!
Think what this says about the pastors’ view of themselves. And, think about their view of the congregation.
It appears to me that not much has really changed at CLC. Words and lame gestures are not the great reform that is needed. Worse, the congregation seems to be willing to transfer their adoration of CJ, to Joshua.
Josh spent half his life following his dad and half his life following CJ. He now needs to spend the rest of his life wholeheartedly following Jesus. I believe part of him wants to do that and part of him (self-proclaimed) wants to flee.
The way the congregation can best help him now is to refrain from pitying him or defending him on the blogs. You need to encourage him to follow Jesus 100% and pray for him and keep pointing him toward the truth.
The sleeping giant of a congregation also needs to step-up and share the burden of leadership. If the pastors aren’t willing to share this responsibility, insist upon it in the strongest of terms. Members need to be courageous and ask some very serious questions of the pastors right now.
If you are not willing to do that, then find another church where your full participation is welcomed and you don’t need to beg and plead for answers to valid questions. Believe me, there are plenty of churches that do this well.
Okay Rorschach – you convinced me. I’ve heard if you know about blackmail and don’t report it, you can be convicted of conspiracy to blackmail. In that case, we’re all guilty.
Be sure to attach the sgmwikileaks and the panel reports.
What if everyone does it.
I once sat and watched a crime in which a child almost died. We all sat and watched because it never registered that we were the ones who should respond. We just stared in disbelief, not totally believing what we were seeing. Sooner or later someone came to their senses and reported it.
I think we’ve stared in disbelief at this long enough…
Rorschach and Steve240 — I just listened again to Sunday’s CLC message and imo, it is prophetic and speaks metaphorically to bloggers and others who put time, effort and hope into the AoR report as well as to CLC pastors (including Josh, himself), and congregation, and to anyone listening with interest in the current events.
If anyone is interested in a good book on how to relate and speak about/concerning other believers, I recommend If You Bite & Devour One Another by Alexander Strauch. Here is the link in Amazon:
I just finished reading it and was really convicted throughout the whole book. I honestly think it is a book that all believers would benefit from reading, including our pastors and leaders. It is powerful. Strauch does a great job outlining and illustrating the clear biblical principles.
Massive change overnight? No. When you are on a ship this ponderous you alter your heading in degrees overtime. But he’s standing his ground and reforming. I hope that this continues. We sure aint done changing. God redeem this!
One thought I have had about CLC and CLC leaving SGM is that it would be a big step.
They say one of the reasons people have a hard time leaving a cultish type group is that they personally have a lot invested in it. The investment includes both time (many times years) and money given over the years. When you have that much invested it is hard to easily walk about.
In a similar sense, CLC has a lot invested in SGM. This includes time and contributions the church and members have given SGM. Just like with individuals it can be hard to easily walk away.
Maybe one should “cut their losses” as the old phrase goes but that can be hard the more you have invested.
With regard to Josh Harris I hear what you are saying Rorschach. I can feel for Josh. I am sure he is being pulled in at least two directions by the two camps. I am also sure it must be hard on Josh in his position to have thought for a while C.J. Mahaney was sincere and practiced what he taught to find out that C.J. doesn’t practice a lot of what he taught nor follow what he imposed on others.
Amen, Oswald. I know there are a lot of folks that have taken umbrage to some of Josh’s past teaching and lit. Even his current actions and messages. I’d like to say I’m all for Josh.
He’s proven his quality – not that he’s perfect, but that he has the guts to at least own up to his faults publicly. There’s not very many leaders who have the balls to do that.
Those who may not know – he’s been under a fantastic amount of scrutiny, criticism, and stress. I can only see that the Lord is helping to sustain him. Really – he’s being raked over the coals from both sides (those who think he’s done the unconscionable to SGM and those who think he’s part of the problem or not doing enough).
It is my understanding that being in the same house as SGM and being the “model church” meant that if you chose to lead differently than what the holy father thought best, or if you did something he didn’t agree with, Josh would be taken behind the woodshed, getting his stripes. Privately of course. But yeah – this has been happening for a long time.
As far as reform?
Massive change overnight? No. When you are on a ship this ponderous you alter your heading in degrees overtime. But he’s standing his ground and reforming. I hope that this continues. We sure aint done changing. God redeem this!
5years #461 — Yesterday’s CLC message given by Josh was (imo) from God through Josh.
Blackmail, Coersion, intimidation, and other hardball tactics are not all that uncommon among the professional ecclesiastics. I have seen it quite often in my travels over the years. It usually occurs when someone comes up at odds with the “senior Pastor” (or whatever he may be called) over some issue that the big dog is committed to. The big dog will almost invariably consider such a difference as an attack against him personally and will counter attack accordingly. They usually go for the juggular in order to eliminate any such threat. (They see it as a threat against their “authority”). I a semi-democratic environment such as the Baptist community, such friction happens all the time. The reason can be as trivial as the color of the sancturary carpet (no kidding) or as serious as how the tithes and offerings are spent. If the big dog is not held in check by and active counter-balance such as elders and deacons, things can become nightmarish (ala SGM). On the other hand with a strong, firm, elder and deaconship, all out war insues resulting in either a church split or the big dog being “called of God” to go elsewhere. It all depends on how accountable to the elders, deacons, and congregation the big dog is. Of course, you are already aware of how devastated these things leave the poor sheep. The lucky congregations have the elders and deacons to pick up the pieces and effect healing. In the not so fortunate congregations the sheep are merely left to scatter dragging their wounds behind them. Healing for them can take years. All the while the big dogs view themselves as the victims. That’s why they are so quick to band together against the ungrateful laity.
(Beating the dead horse here)
I have been wondering about something.
You know all that stuff SGM came out with about preachers standing in the very stead of God and speaking the very word of God and how the congregation should listen to the preacher as if God was talking?
(Maybe originally well meant terminology for the illiterate masses back in the 1600s with no bible, hearing the actual bible for the first time in their own language instead of latin, and yeah there was a real sense that the preachers of the Reformation were bringing the very word of God to them, and they did load up the sermons with bible verses….)
Well anyway, did Josh Harris stand in the very stead of God too? I mean, how about when he said there were systemic problems and God was disciplining SGM? Do you only stand in the stead of God for Sunday sermons and not family meetings? Does Josh still stand in the very stead of God? I wonder how they can claim to believe that of SGM pastors and then give Josh the proverbial finger by moving to Kentucky. Did Josh lose that anointing when he spoke against the apostle above him? Does CJ stand more in the stead of God than Josh, so you can ignore Josh? Isn’t Josh the voice of God too?
It is all very odd really. I can’t quite figure this doctrine out.
QE2 – you rock! I’ve always loved your wit. You know that right?
stay outta the sun…. ;)
I miss ya! (Thanks! YOU are a sweet sister too.)
How’s Merlin & everybody?
Yeah. My wife is a heart breaker. (Breaks the hearts of sin sniffing SGM’ers every time.)
That’s why I love her!
To merely call it “unethical” is dishonest, you’re downplaying the seriousness of it…. and of all of us, you’d think the leader would already know this from the BIBLE.
Rorschach ~ EXACTLY!!
Excellent post – thank you!!
The fact that other leaders in T4G, TGC, and the AoR representatives DON’T SEE the blackmail as a major legal, moral, ethical and Biblical problem is way beyond my comprehension.
Bridget – I know what you mean. All any of the SGM people I have talked to can say is “we all sin”. ??????
Here’s something juicy that should set off CJ’s sin detector-each morning, I look west across the country, and I just know in my heart that Defended is over there gossipping!
Oh wait, they already tried that one on you. Dang.
(And by the way, you ARE one of the nicest guys I know!)
Either way the smell of burning sulfur in the air is awfully thick.
“two peas in a pod”?
Or perhaps an “Unholy Alliance”?
Don’t worry about Mohler. He is quite capable of taking care of himself. He and CJ can be viewed as “two peas in a pod”.
A little off topic, but as SGM tries to process the AoR Report and pack for Kentucky:
We could have communicated better.
So-and-so’s sins were just common ones.
We should have proclaimed grace and forgiveness in addition to the Doctrine of Sin.
Might as well say we may not always be 100% right, but we are NEVER wrong.
I’ve been trying to nail down what makes me so uncomfortable with SGM, the T4G guys, the Gospel Coalition and a lot of the YRR crowd… and have come to the conclusion that it’s not Calvinism, it’s not TULIP, It’s not complementarianism, it’s not really theology or even Biblical interpretation – although I’m sure I disagree on many points. More than anything else, it’s just plain ARROGANCE.
I just ran across a good blog article (is that an oxymoron? :) ) on Baptist professor Roger E. Olson’s blog (it’s a guest article, not by Dr. Olson himself), which articulates a lot of what I sense coming out of the Neo-Reformed camp better than I ever could…
If I weren’t such a “nice guy”, I’d think up a WHOPPER of a juicy story to “secretly confess” to CJ.
Then I’d “confront” him on something.
Let him try it….
I’m not “important” enough.
(Only in my own perfect little world would it work out. But a guy can dream can’t he?)
Whirlwind, I am all about forgetting what happened in the past. ONCE the person has repented. (Actually, if I weren’t worried for those who I believe will be abused in the future, I’d be happy to forget ALL of the past.) But saying that things are in the past, is only useful once the person has repented or changed or at least can no longer abuse. But boy, imagine ever trusting CJ Mahaney with vital information, once you know what kind of a thing he could do to his “best friend’s” son. No way. And I think others should be warned.
Btw, Al Mohler, Louisville and all others, this is your warning. Don’t trust CJ as far as you can throw him. Until he REPENTS publically to those he publically sinned against and privately to those he privately sinned against, then change, don’t think for a moment that you are going to get treated any better.
What’s the best way to know how someone will act in the future? Their past. (Without the repentance of God, that is.)