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Recent Developments

A week ago today, Sovereign Grace Ministries announced its new Board of Directors.  Despite the fact that several SGM churches had expressed concern over the selection process of the new board – particularly the tight time constraints placed upon pastors to provide feedback – Dave Harvey nonetheless said, in his announcement about the new board,

Each of these men was nominated by the interim Board, approved for service by their local pastoral teams, and then affirmed through a feedback process open to all ordained pastors of Sovereign Grace churches. 

A day or two later, the pastors of Covenant Life Church announced to members that the church was suspending its contributions to the Sovereign Grace Ministries organization:

Dear Covenant Life members,

Our prayer for you today is one offered many times by the Apostle Paul in his letters: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are writing briefly to let you know that the elders have decided, with the input of our Financial Advisory Committee (FAC), to suspend Covenant Life Church’s financial giving to Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM).

The background is that the FAC and its subcommittee have requested more time to ask further questions and to weigh the upcoming Ambassadors of Reconciliation (AOR) report before giving the elders a final recommendation about our church’s financial giving to SGM. The committees have recommended that Covenant Life suspend its giving at this time, while their evaluation continues. We believe this recommendation is wise, and we will continue to work with the FAC to determine the best long-term course of action.

We’ve communicated this decision in person to the leadership of Sovereign Grace who were very gracious in their response. We communicated that we are still committed to funding our shared mission in North Africa and have asked them to make us aware of other projects that we could specifically fund.

We will update you when we receive the FAC’s final recommendation. Moreover, when we present the 2013 Fiscal Year budget to the congregation this summer, we will include a plan for allocating any funds that are uncommitted as a result of the suspension.

Please continue to pray for the pastors and others involved in this decision. We take the stewardship of the resources of our church very seriously and need God’s help. And as always, we invite your perspective and wisdom and encourage you to speak with your pastor about any questions you may have.

In Christ,

Your pastors

Although it seems obvious that CLC’s contributions to the SGM organization would comprise a significant portion of SGM’s budget, the suspension of funds will apparently not have an immediate effect on SGM’s operations, according to this statement from a member of CLC’s Financial Advisory Committee:

I think it is important for our church family to be aware of a critical finding of the subcommittee, namely that CLC’s decision to suspend its monthly contributions should not result in any SGM employee losing their job due to financial considerations in the near term. As a subcommittee, we spent a significant amount of time reviewing the financial position of SGM, including its balance sheet reserves, cash flows, budgeted expense projections and income expectations. According to SGM’s audited financial statements for its fiscal year ended August 31, 2011, the organization had net assets of $5.9 million and only $300,000 in current liabilities. We reviewed more recent financial information and concluded that SGM has sufficient financial resources to continue to pay its current employees. No one should be under the impression that our pastors have cost anyone their job. That simply isn’t the case.

On Friday, Sovereign Grace Ministries shared on the “Plant & Build” blog some additional information about the upcoming activities of the new Board of Directors.  Among other things, there’s this:

First, we decided to create a polity committee to consist of two members of the Board, two members of the Leadership Team (including C.J. Mahaney, who will chair the committee), and at least three Sovereign Grace pastors not on the Board. This committee will pick up the work that has already been done on polity and develop it to give better definition to the ministry, to how SGM as a ministry relates to pastors and their churches, and to policies and procedures for making decisions and selecting leaders.

Then there was this update about how the report from the Ambassadors of Reconciliation will be handled:

Second, we expect to receive the Ambassadors of Reconciliation report in the coming two weeks. We plan to begin discussing the report on a retreat in Louisville April 9 & 10 and then to make plans for responding.

As reader “Ozymandias” points out, in response to this announcement,

And, as T4G begins on 10 April, can we assume that there will be no public release and/or public discussion (including public discussion among non-SGM conservative evangelicals) of the report prior to the start of T4G? And, by “make plans for responding,” one means “public release,” correct? Because, if it doesn’t mean public release on SGM’s website, then #7 on this timeline is now incorrect.

I thought this, from reader “B.R. Clifton,” was a succinct summation of the reality of what can be expected, with respect to the AoR report:

It must be remembered, as I understand it, the report was bought and paid for by SGM. As such it is their sole property to do with as they see fit. Another though is the SGM board now in place is not the same board that purchased or made arrangements for the AOR investigation and report. They may or may not feel any obligation to honor promises or implied promises made by the previous board. The have a number of options they can pursue at their own choosing:

1. Ignore the report altogether.
2. Release their own version of what the report says.
3. Release only their reply or response to the report.
4. Release only certain parts of the report as they see fit.
5. Release the report in its entirety along with their response.

Whichever they choose to do, they will be within their legal right as sole owner of the report. Each of the choices has its own consequences which no doubt they are now or will be weighing before taking any action on the report. All of this may or may not be in consideration of any moral obligation to be forthcoming and release the report unabridged.

Counting on the report triggering any wide sweeping changes could turn out to be just another busted balloon.

Thoughts?

172 comments to Recent Developments

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  1. Let My People Go
    March 27th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Oops. Sorry. That should have been “We can’t forget about all the times in the Old AND New Testament…”

  2. BrokenHearted
    March 27th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    When I did my phone interview with AOR I was told at least 4 times “NOTHING YOU SAY WILL BE PASSED ON! NO ONE WILL KNOW YOU TALKED TO US!” and everytime I told him “If there is ANYTHNG I say that could help SGM to see ways they have been wrong and can do better PLEASE pass it on!” He also said that they have never had such a large number of people be so adamantly against their requirements – and for good reasons too! He sounded like based on all of the SGM stories he had heard SGM was gonna get an earful. :) I mean AOR can’t actually DO anything, but the impression I got was AOR was not going to be “kid gloving” it when it came to sharing insights with the SGM leadership.

  3. Lee
    March 27th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Just a thought…could some of the investments/assets that SGM owns be retirement monies?

  4. Defended
    March 27th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I have a question that I’ve wondered about for a long time.
    This is part of a quote from CLC regarding SGM:


    According to SGM’s audited financial statements for its fiscal year ended August 31, 2011, the organization had net assets of $5.9 million and only $300,000 in current liabilities. We reviewed more recent financial information and concluded that SGM has sufficient financial resources to continue to pay its current employees. No one should be under the impression that our pastors have cost anyone their job. That simply isn’t the case.

    So here’s my question: How is it that a “Non Profit” is allowed to have all these $Millions in assets, and still be considered a non-profit? I’ve actually wondered this about other organizations as well. It’s good to be free of, or have a low debt ratio. But being this far in the black, with assets and not considered a for-profit organization? Does anyone know what the law is or is anyone able to simply explain this, somehow?
    :barf:

  5. BrokenHearted
    March 27th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Defended – I could be wrong, but I would assume Non-profits like Concerned Women For America or Billy Graham’s ministry or TBN or… probably have a load of money…

  6. Fruit Filled
    March 27th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Kris and all -

    Please forgive me for changing the subject. I was reminded of something on my facebook news feed and hoped some of your readers and frequent posters might provide clarity. If you would rather post this later, please feel free to do so.

    SGM’s new music project “From Age to Age” is soon to be released. Pre-order sales on bandcamp.com are only $5. My first question, since SGM’s assets recently have been posted: How much income does SGM derive from music releases? Do they have a monetary goal for releases or are they simply viewed as a resource ministry with a break-even goal?

    When I saw the release today, something jumped out at me. I’ve noticed it for a number of years, but had tried not to assign motive. However, when I see the credits for the project, there in the first paragraph are the Producer, Assistant Producer and Executive Producer, (BK is the Executive Producer, the others are long-time beloved SGM members). Then the list continues with who recorded, mixed and engineered the project (again, beloved SGM members). What the release promo seems to be missing is who are the lead vocalists and musicians for the project. The musicians both vocal and instrumental are listed in the jacket copy, but are rarely mentioned in printed or electronic promotional material. Most releases outside SGM announce the singer/songwriter for the project. Even compilation disks are marketed by announcing who the recording artists are. SGM seems to make certain folks know who produced the project and the musicians seem to be negated.

    Does anyone know if the vocalists are paid for singing on a project? The disks would not sell without their talent. Are the musicians paid? My concern is that if they are not paid, SGM is using them (for free) to fill their coffers from sales and royalties. The songwriters may not make much on royalties, but these folks profit by the widest distribution of their music and its success is directly linked to the vocal and musical talents of others. Are the musicians simply being used?

  7. Persona
    March 27th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Fruit Filled 56

    You are right to closely examine the credits. I did the same. From what I know, the contributing song-writers and artists are unpaid; at least not the ones I know. Bob usually takes other peoples’ work; tweaks it and put his name on it. Sometimes he shares credit with others but, he rarely composes words himself. He hand-picks all those involved. Sometimes musicians volunteer countless hours of work, only to be cut from an album, in the end. The Cooks just recently returned to MD, after founding their own company, with forays in FL and MN. Bob delegates work to them and others. Don’t know who is taking over the school of music at CLC. Perhaps Ken Boer? The Kauflins appear to be attending Solid Rock, before they relocate to KY.

  8. Unassimilated
    March 27th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    When SGM ‘talent’ is used, it is typically for free, or for a small amount, $75-125. Yet that $ is only for lead vocals. Backing vocals, choirs, etc, free
    use of members.

    When Sal Oliveri is the producer, he gets $20k or so, but uses a portion of those funds to pay the Nashville musicians who typically record the master tracks. Depends on the project.

    Some have been done completely in house, or are a mix of hired help, and SGM vocal talent.

    The songwriters get paid for each copy of the song sold.

    The music ministry is more about influence and image, rather than $$. According to Tommy Hill,
    that function has yet to turn a noticible financial return on the investment.

    CJ and Bob have both noted that it is an indespecible way to reach an audience with the SGM perspective and teaching. All SGM songs
    go through a review prices to ensure theological
    accuracy prior to recording.

    As far as credits go, they have bios on the SGM site for most of the vocalist. The digital age of distribution does not provide much for any individual in regards to credits, particularly when
    a release is a collective of various personel.

    These things come and go. The Beach Boys did not play their own instruments in the studio, can you name the guys who did? Same cats who did the Monkeeys, Nancy Sinatra, & Sonny &Cher’s records. Do a google search on the “wrecking crew.”

  9. Defended
    March 27th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    BrokenHearted- – agreed, on CWA, Billy Graham…or others… but my larger question is HOW does this work, with the status of non-profit? Can a “ministry” buy assets and thereby reduce their cash balance and thus be a non-profit?

  10. SMP
    March 27th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Fruit -filled #56. I know for a fact that singers are NEVER paid except transporatation to Nashville to record sometimes. There is a huge emphasis on serving…

    Res Ipsa #30-sorry for the delay in answering. Been out a bit. Looks like everyone answered your question though. I do think there are many others that either met or contacted AoR but may not want to post even that much. I know for me, I do not want to lose anymore family members so my “story” had to be carefully handled and still is. Some day, it won’t matter to me but for now my answers and especially my silence is due to trying to protect what little I have left. That said, I am sure there are others that can share better then I. I would not sign anything.

    We all must be patient and wait to see what happens and pray…pray…pray.
    Hope you are doing well.

  11. Roadwork
    March 27th, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    It’s not that a not-for-profit organization can’t earn a “profit”. In the not-for-profit world it’s called “operating reserves”. And quite frankly, reserves can be a good thing. Take a large not-for-profit such as a trade organization that derives most of its annual income from a trade show or a religious organization that puts on a conference. And for whatever reason (like a 9-11, for example), the event is cancelled. These reserves can be used to help the organization survive losing their biggest income event for the year. Or maybe they lose a large donor. It’s to protect against unforseen financial hits. Think of it as being self-insured.

  12. Sopwith
    March 27th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Da lit’l prayer dat could…”

    #32, intheNICKoftime,   (Your name in numbers, is the zip code 23424 for ‘Rescue’, Virginia…Hummm…)

    HowDee! 

    A ‘rescue’ is certainly required, at this point, huh? Last time I checked, Our Lord Jesus is good at dat?!?

    If you recall your history, Herod did a deal with Octavian, the same deal of service he made with Mark Anthony, thrusting his crown to Octavian’s feet, upon Anthony’s eventful demise.  It was to no avail.  The worms got him anyway during a partial eclipse on March 13, 4 BCE. Da Ceege can run, but he can not hide. The party ain’t over until da fat lady sings, huh?  

    Hmmm…

    Ize gotz advance tickets, box seats, wanna join me?

    Fella, when Jesus said: “Look what they are doing to my Church”, in ’08′, I don’t think He was intend’in ta sit on His (literal) hands.

    If “they don’t need no stinkin’ deniability”, then heck, it won’t be a problem discharging their legal retainer, peddle to d metal…stretch dat there five mil, huh, down dar in Kan tuck eee?!?

    “No one can stop them…”

    Blood O’ Jesus…Welllllllllll….Stay tuned…

    Sammmmme  Prayer time, Sammmmme Prayer channel…

    (You’de be surprised what a lit’t pray O’ ‘faith’ canz do…)

    …the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails mucho!

    Ascend to the north, to the throne of God’s grace in fervent prayer, sometime, and make an inquiry of Pastor Joshua Harris, …the answer will most certainly surprise you… 

    …dis lit’t lite O’ minez, Ize gonna letz it shine…

    Oh dis lit’t lite O’ mine…

    oh thank heaven…

    (grin)

    hahahahahahahaha

    Sopy ;~)
    ___
    Third Day – “Call My Name”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEXXUdU–Zg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  13. Kris
    March 27th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Someone emailed me the following about their AoR experience, and gave me permission to share it here:

    When I met with AoR via form, I skipped the SGM form and contacted them directly. There was never any mention of exchange of confidentiality agreements. But, I am guessing there is something like that between AoR and SGM.

    I would like to see the board reaffirm their commitment to publish the original, unedited report. Maybe people need to start asking their pastors to ask SGM for that.

  14. Patrick
    March 27th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    The Kauflins also left CLC for Solid Rock? (I don’t know why that surprised me, but it did.) So it’s not so much that many indications point to CLC leaving SGM in the future, it’s that SGM has already disassociated itself from CLC. When the going gets tough, the entitled run to safer ground.

    :scratch

  15. Kris
    March 27th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Roadwork makes a good point – it’s actually wise for a “not-for-profit” entity to have cash reserves.

    One aspect that raises some questions, though, is that I believe there have been at least a couple of situations where financially struggling SGM local churches were told to tough it out and make it on their own or else close – that SGM Corporate wasn’t going to offer them additional financial support. If that’s true, and if SGM believed enough in the original church plants to do them, and if SGM Corporate does indeed have some fairly significant cash reserves (enough to cover a couple of these smaller churches’ budgets for years), you sort of wonder why they went the whole “tough love” route. You know? Why not just take on some of these more challenging locations, where the usual SGM middle-class whitebread model wasn’t working so well, and know that they’d need to be supported for awhile by the denomination, since the denomination has the resources for that?

    I bet a lot of people were surprised to learn that SGM Corporate has that kind of cash lying around, from the way other situations have been portrayed over the years…

  16. glad i am out
    March 27th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Fruit-filled, persona, unassimilated:

    I was an instrumentalist on one PDI CD release and i was paid. Not a lot, but more than 125 if i remember… I thought it was nice, because i wasn’t expecting to be and was glad to play for free… I was there for 2 entire days at the studio so it was basically a stipend, but again, thought i was playing for free and Steve Cook surprised me w/ a check. I also was credited on the liner notes and all players, singers, and writers are definitely credited as far as i know…

  17. SMP
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Glad Im Out & Unassimilited
    I stand corrected. I was told that no one received compensation for singing but perhaps lead singers receive $ which is good news. Bummed that I was told that but I should know better. Guess it is best to never say “never.” Glad to hear you were compensated!

  18. Unassimilated
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    @ SMP – They used to have Sal come up and record the vocals in the SGM studio. Nice to hear that some got to travel to Nashville.

    @ Glad I’m out – Were your two days re-recording tracks for a “live” recording?
    Studio in the Dustin construction building full of foam & CD’s rather than the new digs @ CLC?
    They were always good about crediting, as I said though, the age of digital distribution make it difficult.
    Kris has my e-mail if you like.

  19. Bookhead
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Persona- #49 -CJ & company seem to have a rather immature view of suffering. It reminds me of when I hear one or more of my children moaning about their problems. (sufferings) They don’t see that their sometimes their problems are a direct consequence of their poor choices/behavior. Even when I attempt to explain the correlation, the child will sometimes look at me confused, unable to comprehend how their behavior/actions brought about their problems.

    There is a HUGE difference between suffering from consequences of your actions- and suffering from persecution or from following a righteous life. I pray that some day CJ & company will understand the difference.

  20. Greg
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    ExCLCerMom #8
    I was just thinking that The Island of Dr. Moreau is also a good analogy of SGM (ironically set in the year 2010).

  21. Bridget
    March 27th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Bookhead -

    Don’t you think that CJ believes that he is living a righteous life and that he does everything with good intentions for the sake of the Gospel? He believes that he has made a few mistakes that are common (lessor) sins, as he stated at the PC. Therefore, he feels that he IS suffering a righteous suffering and not suffering for anything that he brought on himself. He has acknowledged very little of the wrongs committed against others and nothing specific to SGM at large. His actions speek VOLUMES about what he believes.

  22. musicman
    March 28th, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Speaking of studio time for a “live” worship recording….does anyone remember the Celebration that they recorded a “live” worship CD?

    I remember being disappointed, because Bob Kauflin had us all do crowd reactions under his direction, so that they could mix it into the live recording…I remember thinking it was kind of phony to make us act like we were worshiping…He spent like over 10 minutes doing this, if I remember correctly.

  23. Defended
    March 28th, 2012 at 2:38 am

    hey Musicman…. it was 1995. “Passion for His Presence”
    sigh. If only that was their passion today. (or then?)

  24. Fruit Filled
    March 28th, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Unassimilated, Persona, SMP, glad i am out,

    Thanks for your responses. I’m glad that at least the lead vocalists are/may receive some payment. I think about one person in particular who has been on the last several projects and how much time this person volunteers to serve. There is obvious sacrifice in serving.

    Thanks for the info that SGM music is not a big money maker. It would add more questions to the discussion about SGM being a non-profit.

    As for crediting the vocalists & musicians, I have known they are credited in the printed material. It’s just that each time I see info about a release, the information is always about SGM and BK. I’m guessing SGM is touting a brand – like McDonalds – the musicians and vocalists are just items on the menu.

  25. PhillyInDC
    March 28th, 2012 at 6:39 am

    About non-profit versus for-profit:

    The main difference is that in a non-profit, there are no individual people who profit or take a loss from the success or failure of a company. Meaning: no shareholders or stock. People can be paid, bonuses can be given, but there are not people who are profiting purely from the success. Obviously, there are a ton of other requirements (mission, having governing boards, publishing by-laws, etc…) but it really comes down to that. Also there is no “ownership” of the company by individuals. So, yes, SGM can have millions in the bank and still be considered a non-profit. As long as at the end of the year people are getting profit sharing checks.

  26. Jayson
    March 28th, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Wow, CJ and gang invade SRC, CLC must be feeling a bit of fresh air now. I wonder how the people at SRC feel about being put in the spotlight now. BW started SRC, SRC joins PDI(SGM), Brent removes BW (right after a 2+year building project) and installs Mickey, CJ with Mickey playing Darth Vader- trashes the reputation of Brent and removes Brent. Brent shines the light of the documents. Mickey gets nominated for Scripture Twisting of the Year Award a.k.a “gag order”. CJ gets out as the kitchen as it is too hot. CJ cools down in DC and then runs to Solid Rock. People at SRC would do well to learn from their not too distant past.

    Had Brent keept BW at SRC, we may have never seen the “documents” and Brent may as well still be in good with SGM.

    As for the AofR report, it would not surprise me if SGM decided not to release it completely. Perhaps the will say it did not contain any new revelations from what was already known.

  27. CLCya
    March 28th, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Remnant #48

    I was thinking the same exact thing! Use that money to actually help people…

  28. Fried Fish
    March 28th, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I currently work for a nonprofit organization (non-religious in nature), and previously worked for a faith-based nonprofit for just over 10 years. For an organization like SGM to have 6 million (or whatever was quoted) in assets is actually pretty trivial, and I can’t see anything to criticize in the fact itself. 6 million in assets most likely includes their portion of the CLC complex, any other buildings or vehicles they might own, any furniture or equipment (including expensive electronics such as in a recording studio) that hasn’t been totally depreciated yet, etc. etc., and yes, cash reserves – which are a necessity in a fluctuating economy, an endeavor where giving is seasonal, or an organization that needs to fund startup costs for new locations.

    I just don’t see a problem with SGM having the 6 mil in assets – if they are totally transparent with their givers about their mission and how they are using the gifts they are given. Then it’s up to the giver to decide if they want to invest in the mission. Like my old college religion prof used to say, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

    I personally wouldn’t choose SGM…

  29. intheNickoftime
    March 28th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Bridget #71 –

    What ever happened to following his own teaching about “his view of himself is like a funhouse mirror”…or what about that cream cheese in the corner of his mouth?

    He talks the talk but can’t/won’t walk the walk. Too sad. :scratch

  30. Kris
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:23 am

    It is apparent from CJ’s recent message and from a couple of Carolyn’s rather cryptic Girltalk posts that they believe themselves to be hapless innocent victims, suffering for the sake of the gospel.

    Or at least, Carolyn believes herself and CJ to be like that. CJ is portraying himself in that light…but it’s impossible to tell just how much of his own self-preserving spin he now believes, versus how much he knows, deep in his heart of hearts, to be less than honest.

    In other words, it seems to me like CJ is really really good at creating and sustaining delusions about himself, to the point where his supporters – including his wife, kids, and sons-in-law – might actually believe in the victimhood status he has spun for himself. But who knows, really, just how badly CJ has lost touch with reality? Does he know very well that his current problems are the result of decades of his own poor choices, even as he weaves this alternate reality of himself as innocent victim for his supporters? Or has he actually bought into his own deception and now believes this delusion (of himself as victim) to be true?

  31. Kris
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’ve often thought that CJ has a unique ability to spin a reality for others that is the actual opposite of what their senses are telling them.

    Like, for years, CJ would have been many SGMers’ go-to role model for “Biblical Manhood.” CJ loved to refer to himself as a “pastor athlete,” and he apparently had no qualms about portraying himself as some love stud so inflamed with manly passion that he and Carolyn had a sex life so flamin’ hot that sometimes they would even have to stop off at hotels, because they could not wait the hour’s drive to get to their home.

    CJ was very careful to create an image for himself of über manly-man, what with all the sports talk and the way he portrayed his marriage.

    And yet, if you actually listen to CJ’s speech cadences and observe his mannerisms and his actual physical appearance, he does not fit the traditional he-man cliché at all. I’ve said this before, but hearing CJ work so hard at sounding all masculine is kind of like watching a cat try to bark.

    It’s always been puzzling to me, how someone who is so flamboyant and NOT traditionally “masculine” could have been so successful at convincing his followers that he was the summation of all things manly and having to do with “Biblical Manhood.” Sure, every once in awhile his metrosexual side would peek out, like when he’d talk about how he functioned as Carolyn’s fashion police. But even that was conveyed in a way where he was set up as some sort of de facto expert on precisely what would inflame a hetero man to lust.

    Or – forget the “Biblical Manhood” thing, if that makes you uncomfortable, and just consider for a moment how CJ managed to build an entire career around the notion of his own humility…even though he presided over a church organization that had absolutely no checks and balances for his own power, something a truly humble person would never dare to do. CJ writes a book about humility and goes around weeping over his own sin and pride…and somehow along the way he convinces everyone that he actually IS humble.

    It’s uncanny.

    I think this skill that CJ has, of snookering those around him into buying into whatever he wants them to believe him to be, is what we’re seeing on display right now, when people are feeling sorry for CJ and seeing him as a poor innocent victim. I don’t understand HOW he does it, but I do marvel at the knack that he has for doing it.

  32. Defended
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:57 am

    first of all, thank you to all who have explained about profit vs. non-profit, especially PhillyDC, and Fried Fish. I just wondered about the difference, that’s all.

    Kris – #80, :word I think that a self-delusion would go hand-in-hand with a narcissistic personality disorder. It’s all about you and of course there is NO responsibility for your choices but what is happening TO you, not because of you. I might be tempted to feel sorry for Carolyn and “the girls” because their love and loyalty is understandable but of course she has conveniently forgotten the blackmail, or possibly was never told, right? Carolyn has to have made a choice, tho, with people she formerly trusted saying otherwise about her husband. I mean that board, those leaders always bonded together as one, in my experience. So a feeling of persecution or being picked on, was what I picked up on, in earlier GT posts.

    And, has CJ “bought into his own deception”? Very likely. I think it just goes along with his narcissism.

  33. musicman
    March 28th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Defended-

    Yes-Passion for His Presence-I couldn’t for the life of me, remember the title.

    Kris-

    You said
    “but hearing CJ work so hard at sounding all masculine is kind of like watching a cat try to bark.”

    That has got to be one of the funniest descriptions I’ve ever read on this site! Maybe some would think it mean, but I think you have nailed how odd it is to hear CJ talk about himself in his “Delusions of Grandeur” mode.

  34. Bridget
    March 28th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I have not listened to any of CJ’s recent messages, nor been over to Girltalk in some time. Have CJ and Carolyn actually articulated verbatim that they are suffering “for the sake of the gospel,” or is that just the essence of their messages?

    I used that phrase because I have heard it before and I can see CJ using it to frame his circumstances or “seeming” plight. He is either an actor by birth, or really believes it. Either way, it is not a good thing and there is a disconnect between what he says and what he does.

  35. Kris
    March 28th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    From March 21 on Girltalk:

    Ever ask this question about a difficult trial? How often do you assume that it will all end badly? Listen to this little sermonette by James Smith to hear how Scripture says every trial and difficulty will end for the Christian. Thanks to my good friend Lucy for sending this my way. I pray it will encourage your soul as it has mine.

    Then there’s this, from March 22:

    A text from my husband the other day: “The providence of God is like Hebrew words–it can be read only backwards.” ~John Flavel

    As I said earlier, these are rather cryptic quotes. But coupled with other posts, a picture begins to emerge. From January 30 came this, entitled When Life Is Hard:

    I love Scripture’s honesty. I love how the biblical authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, don’t hold back about despair, weakness, doubt, or fear. They don’t step gingerly around topics of pain or temptation or trouble. They are frank about the fact that life is hard.

    So when the biblical writers speak to us of hope and joy and peace, we know these are real too. And in our depths of despair, we can take their hand and follow them out of the pit.

    Take for example, the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3 that we are all so familiar with: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (v. 22-23). These words are spoken from the heights, a spectacular panorama. But how do we get there when we feel crippled by the trials of life?

    The same way Jeremiah did.

    Only a few verses earlier he writes from the deepest valley: “…my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’” (v. 17-18).

    Can you relate? Hope, gone. Peace, gone. Happiness, so far gone, you can’t even remember what it feels like. What do we say to someone who confesses this? Do we recoil at their lack of faith? And yet here is Jeremiah, prophet of God, confessing that in his trouble he feels bereft of all of the blessings of the people of God.

    Then Jeremiah shows us how he gets from the depths to the heights: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (v. 21).

    His soul, which had taken its last breath of hope, was resuscitated by calling to mind who God is and what He does. He is faithful. He shows mercy, He does love. He does not forget. He sent His only Son who endured the agony of the cross, in our place and for our sins, and rose again, victorious. This I call to mind.

    Notice that Jeremiah’s trial was unchanged. He didn’t get a phone call that the cancer was gone. He didn’t find his enemies on his front porch asking for forgiveness. He didn’t get hired. His child didn’t become a Christian. But he had something better.

    He had hope. Hope that one day, even if it wasn’t until heaven, he would know happiness again.

    That post was followed, on February 1, by this, entitled The Question God Always Answers:

    I love Scripture’s honesty. I love how the biblical authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, don’t hold back about despair, weakness, doubt, or fear. They don’t step gingerly around topics of pain or temptation or trouble. They are frank about the fact that life is hard.

    So when the biblical writers speak to us of hope and joy and peace, we know these are real too. And in our depths of despair, we can take their hand and follow them out of the pit.

    Take for example, the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3 that we are all so familiar with: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (v. 22-23). These words are spoken from the heights, a spectacular panorama. But how do we get there when we feel crippled by the trials of life?

    The same way Jeremiah did.

    Only a few verses earlier he writes from the deepest valley: “…my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’” (v. 17-18).

    Can you relate? Hope, gone. Peace, gone. Happiness, so far gone, you can’t even remember what it feels like. What do we say to someone who confesses this? Do we recoil at their lack of faith? And yet here is Jeremiah, prophet of God, confessing that in his trouble he feels bereft of all of the blessings of the people of God.

    Then Jeremiah shows us how he gets from the depths to the heights: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (v. 21).

    His soul, which had taken its last breath of hope, was resuscitated by calling to mind who God is and what He does. He is faithful. He shows mercy, He does love. He does not forget. He sent His only Son who endured the agony of the cross, in our place and for our sins, and rose again, victorious. This I call to mind.

    Notice that Jeremiah’s trial was unchanged. He didn’t get a phone call that the cancer was gone. He didn’t find his enemies on his front porch asking for forgiveness. He didn’t get hired. His child didn’t become a Christian. But he had something better.

    He had hope. Hope that one day, even if it wasn’t until heaven, he would know happiness again.

    If you go to the Girltalk blog and look at the category “Suffering,” you can find even more posts on the topic.

    And then, as someone else linked to above, CJ’s sermon this past Sunday at Solid Rock Church was on this very same topic.

    To be clear, I don’t know that the literal phrase “suffering for the gospel” has been used by either CJ or Carolyn in any of their recent materials. But they have spent years and years talking about how “the gospel” is central to all they do…that it is the foundation for everything…so it’s easy to infer that they believe this suffering is, at the very least, coming from the hand of God in His providence and NOT the result of their own poor choices and/or behavior.

  36. 5yearsinPDI
    March 28th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Kris- I think CJ has help. It is more than his own uncanny skills IMO. Seriously. By the time we left it was like this mesmerizing creepy stronghold when he talked and when people talked about him, like he was casting a spell, or people were under a spell.

    I don’t know where flesh and the sin nature ends and demonic entities begin to play a part. Galatians 5 lists sorcery as a work of the flesh, so maybe it is all just a very strong soulish thing. But I think he has outside help, I really do. The lies and denial of what they said and did in the past are so characteristic all over SGM that I wonder if it is just sinful flesh operating. You have to ask if the demonic kingdom is speaking and working through them. The perversions regarding what they said and did with the sex abuse cases are so dark and repulsive. Is all that just the fallen nature? I don’t know.

    I’ve known wicked people that mesmerized that had genius IQs and incredible quick wit and tremendous natural giftings, all used for their own selfish ends. But CJ just isn’t all that talented, really. He just isn’t. I think there is more operating. I could be wrong. But whatever it is is big…so pray. Only God can rip it down.

  37. Defender
    March 28th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    5 Years,
    You are seeing with “Eyes to see” what we have been told throughout scripture, that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against Spiritual Forces, and Imaginations (Ideologies).

    C.J. is not THE enemy. BUT he has given himself over to that enemy.
    Yah, he is not that smart, or he would have seen and understood what he has (and is) doing.

  38. Bridget
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Kris @85 -

    Totally agree with you. I only asked because I hadn’t listened to or read any of their teachings and comments lately.

  39. 5yearsinPDI
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    New Brent post up. http://www.brentdetwiler.com/

  40. 2+2=4 again
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    If CJ et al are truly Christians (funny how SGM makes such a big deal about who is one, while at the least, looking disdainfully on those believers outside of Reformed circles) then they can’t be demon possessed, but they can sure believe demonic lies and be influenced in their actions, which is what I see happening. Paul asked the Galatians who had bewitched them. I know I’ve believed and done some evil things over the years, only to have a very gentle, faithful Savior convict and redirect me. But I am truly sorry for those things and they have been addressed, apologized for and repented of, so things like the cover ups of sexual abuse, should raise real questions in people’s minds, even by those still in SGM.

  41. Deuteronomy 32:35
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Kris #85: Regarding your post here, I want to be careful about what I say, but it galls me to hear these folks talk about suffering. I know CJ had a disease that was physically debillitating for a while (can’t remember what it was), but suffering? Really? Can these folks speak authoritatively on suffering?

    How are you suffering when you have access to $5.9 Million worth of other peoples money? How are you suffering when you live in a very nice upper middle class house in metro DC (or Philly or Florida)? How are you suffering when your future, if for no other reason, appears financially secure because again you have access to $5.9 Million of OTHER PEOPLES MONEY. THAT MONEY IS OUR MONEY. God is not a money launderer. Oh of course they view Him like one. “The money was yours but God led you to give it to us and now it’s OURS…ALL OURS!!!” (Imagine Daffy Duck here having a manic moment).

    Are they suffering because people here are questioning their motives over the things they do? Really? They don’t give a RIP about what people think of them, as evidenced by their penchant for making promises and breaking them without flinching and acting as if YOUR NUTS for asking them to be logical and coherent, or to let their “yes be yes and their no, no”. They could care less about anything anyone is saying about them, and they won’t lose one D**n bit of sleep over stepping over your broken carcass in the middle of the road on their way to fulfilling THEIR MISSION. They are convinced they have the divine mandate and power and they are secure. It’s ABSURD to suggest that you are suffering when you live WITHOUT RESTRAINT or ACCOUNTABILITY on someone else’s DIME. They have been for decades and will continue to do exactly whatever the hell they want…and that’s suffering?

    I hope if nothing else we are all beginning to realise that it is an exercise in futility to expect these men to do anything Biblical, or to do anything based on the law of love. They love the law, because it can be twisted and manipulated to obtain their own ends.

    Someone who is also a former SGM’er recently sent me this text, and I think they hit the nail right on the head; “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them (Pharisees) alone. They are blind leaders of the blind”. Matthew 13:44-46

  42. 5yearsinPDI
    March 28th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Defender- thanks and amen.

    Deut, it may be that they are like a hothouse plant that has lived for 35 years in perfect climate control. When you want to move plants from a greenhouse to the garden, you have to harden them off with gradual exposure.

    It could be that a chilly breeze is truly painful to them and they feel great suffering. I’d say the real problem is that they lived in a little greenhouse bubble for decades, while everybody under their thumb had to live with the summer heat and the cold winter and the winds and rain and the insects. They escaped it. They forced others out into it just so they could stay in the greenhouse. Welcome to the real world, Carolyn.

  43. Steve240
    March 28th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I listened to part of C.J. message on “trials.” It was baffling to hear C.J. Mahaney talk about having the right response to “trials” when apparently C.J. Mahaney hasn’t done this himself. To the “trial” that Mahaney has been going through since Brent’s documents were made public Mahaney hasn’t responded as if this was a rebuke from God or to do some real soul searching. Mahaney called his sins “ordinary.”

    Mahaney is one of those that can teach but can’t do. Mahaney even talked about the passage in James about being a doer of the word and not just a hearer that deludes himself. It is too bad that Mahaney apparently doesn’t realize just how deluded he himself is.

  44. Happymom
    March 28th, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Deuteronomy 32:35,

    #91. Yes and AMEN!

  45. Sick With Worry
    March 28th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Do you guys really think CJ is OK? He sounded a little “off” at the pastors’ conference. I cannot imagine him leading anything, based on the messages I have heard him preach. Thanks to those who listen to his messages and provide the commentary…. I think sitting through one of his messages qualifies as suffering.

  46. Kris
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I agree with those who find it ludicrous that CJ and Carolyn now apparently think they are suffering.

    To me, that just goes to show how out of touch with reality they’ve been.

  47. Much afraid no more
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Deut 32,

    Great word friend!! Really great word!!!

    :)

  48. Persona
    March 28th, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Sick with Worry 95

    It was indeed painful to listen to CJ whine about this season of ‘trial’…goodness!

    Maybe we should help him see how blessed his life is?

    Fact: during this ‘trial’ CJ assembled several circles of defenders who continue to guard and protect him from all harm.

    Fact: he has yet to suffer from any distasteful contact with his former congregation.

    Fact: he has a large, loyal family who applaud him on their blogs and FB and cater to his desires when he is home.

    Fact: he has a stash of donations at his disposal that he can spend any way he wants.

    Fact: there are several RBD’s who have generously shared their resources, even granting CJ’s sons-in-law perk-internships.

    Fact: Capitol Hill Baptist provided him consolation and he now has a ready-made interim pulpit, at Solid Rock Church.

    Fact: he will soon to be feted at the T4G conference with men who lovingly call him a “celebrity preacher”.

    Fact: he enjoyed more than 30 years of virtually criticism-free ministry.

    When you look at the facts, it just doesn’t look like he’s suffering too much to me.

  49. Another joe
    March 29th, 2012 at 5:32 am

    I posted this on the refuge blog a couple of weeks ago.

    @ StvMac

    I understand your point on legal limitation. However the fact is that when outside testimony was brought in to bring in factual evidence then said parties should also be given a copy of the document if they where not ask to sign any contractual agreement before hand.

    I truly believe that AoR will have no reasons not to give a copy of the report to all parties that have given testimony. Furthermore SGM inc would be breaking their word by not giving the report in its entirety to its members past and present.

    I guess you could also say that it would be a violation of the promise of transparency.
    I will say this on the subject that i would not be surprised if we do not see the report until AoR gives SGM inc proper time for a response. But a full report shall be given to all that deserve it.

    Personally I don’t think i would have looked at it anyway. Lutherans always have a way of double speak. Its like trying to read on a treadmill at full speed while drinking coffee.

  50. Kris
    March 29th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    “Another joe” said,

    Personally I don’t think i would have looked at it [the AoR Report] anyway. Lutherans always have a way of double speak. Its like trying to read on a treadmill at full speed while drinking coffee.

    :D

    Seriously, though, ever since I read AoR’s first general response to SGM’s issues, I’ve wondered how they would say what they needed to say.

    Again – I know that many of you hold high opinions of AoR and think they are handling this task well. This is NOT a judgment of how they may have conducted the interviews, or of the empathetic responses people have felt they received from the AoR representatives. It has sounded like the AoR folks have done a good job interacting with SGM’s victims.

    But it will be interesting to see (if we get to see) how they might put together their report. In the October memo, Ted Kober’s style reminded me a little too much of the way the SGM guys themselves wrote to each other, as cited in Brent’s documents. A relentless need to affirm the positive might dilute the power of anything corrective they may say. I hope the AoR people speak plainly and ditch any residual starstruck awe they may have for CJ and the SGM organization.

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