The Mahaneys on Lance Armstrong…and Brent on SGM’s True Counseling Policy

January 25, 2013 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

It appears Chad Mahaney, C.J.’s young-adult son, has taken up the mantle of writing about sports.  In the same way that his dad cluck-clucked over Bill Belichick back in 2008 and tried to turn Tiger Woods’ woes into a sermon illustration in 2009, Chad himself pontificated Wednesday about Lance Armstrong’s sins.

I will never understand why these guys use the shortcomings and failings of professed non-believers as fodder for their own moralizing.  Also, does anyone else join me in wondering if either C.J. or Chad followed their organization’s own rigid Matthew 18 policy by first approaching Belichick or Armstrong with their concerns privately before calling these guys out publicly?

(Yes, I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek here.  I don’t actually wonder if Chad Mahaney rang up Lance Armstrong to try and approach him privately about his sins before writing about him on his blog.  I’d guess that Chad and his dad both assume that public figures are free game for their blogging.  But considering how big a deal a lot of C.J.’s followers often make about Matthew 18 when it came to this site and others like it, it’s still ironic that such high-profile SGMers don’t seem to hold themselves to the same standards they expect others to follow when commenting on their own public ministries.)

And what about the irony of Chad’s quoting C.J., and the irony of C.J.’s own remarks about “secret sins”?

Chad shared the following from something his dad wrote:

And this story should humble and sober us. It should make us ask: Are there any so-called “secret sins” in my life? Is there anything I have done that I hope nobody discovers? Is there anything right now in my life that I should confess to God and the appropriate individuals?

And this should leave us more amazed by grace because there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper” Proverbs promises, “but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (28.13).

Then Chad ends the post with this zinger:

If we lie, our story will seem perfect in the moment, but it will always end “bad and toxic.”

I wonder if C.J. reads his son’s (or his son’s ghost writer’s) blogging efforts?  Or even his own words?

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In other news, I was intrigued by something Brent Detwiler published yesterday.  In a post in which he discusses the possible legal tactics Sovereign Grace Ministries may take when defending itself against the recent lawsuit filed against the organization and several of its leaders, Brent – former apostle and former second-or-third-in-command within the organization – acknowledges something which many SGM defenders have tried to claim wasn’t actually true.

Over the years, we’ve often discussed SGM’s unspoken – though still very real – requirements for remaining in good standing with one’s church leaders.  One element many survivors have noted is that they were expected to seek and follow counsel from their pastors about anything remotely significant in their lives.  Many of the situations of spiritual abuse occurred when SGM members resisted their pastors’ counsel or disagreed with their pastors’ assessments of the members’ sins.

SGM defenders have tried to claim that such counsel was something sought willingly by the members and not actually any sort of requirement.

But now we have Brent Detwiler himself (and again, remember, up until just a few years ago, Brent was one of the top leaders in the SGM organization) acknowledging that of course members were expected to seek and follow counsel from their pastors.  He says:

Everyone knows SGM pastors expect, and people have been taught, that they must come to their overseers with their problems because they are the God ordained means of help.  To not come is sin.  To not follow their “biblical and spiritual direction” is also sin.  No member in a SGM church would consider it a voluntary to seek out their pastor if their child was sexually assaulted by a family or church member.  Such a pursuit is mandatory per SGM teaching.

I wonder what some of these SGM defenders are thinking about all this stuff nowadays.  Do they still want to argue that there are no unspoken rules, no unspoken yet binding expectations, that really did govern SGM’s culture?  If so, they’re going to find themselves at odds with what even one of C.J.’s former head honchos says about this practice.