C.J. Mahaney Says He Will Not Be Participating In 2014 T4G Conference

C.J. Mahaney announced today that he will not be participating in the 2014 T4G conference.  Here is his statement:

After much prayer, reflection and counsel I have decided to withdraw from participation in the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference. My reason for doing so is simple: I love these men and this conference and I desire to do all I possibly can to serve the ongoing fruitfulness of T4G.

Unfortunately, the civil lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, two former SGM churches and pastors (including myself), continues to generate the type of attention that could subject my friends to unfair and unwarranted criticism. Though dismissed in May (and now on appeal), the lawsuit could prove a distraction from the purpose of this important conference. My withdrawal is not intended to communicate anything about the merits of the suit. My decision simply reflects the reality that my participation could create a hindrance to this conference and its distinct purpose of serving so many pastors. My strong desire is to make sure this doesn’t happen. I believe the most effective way I can serve my friends who have supported me, and continue to support me, is by not participating in the 2014 conference.

My enthusiasm for this conference is undiminished and I believe it will continue to be a powerful context for encouraging and equipping pastors in their efforts to serve their churches and proclaim the gospel. I am immensely grateful for the undeserved privilege to have been involved in previous conferences, and, most importantly, my ongoing friendship with these men I love and respect.

You can read the statement on the T4G website here.

Reports From CLC’s Recent Meeting

Covenant Life Church had a meeting last night to address the lawsuit and other issues.  Here are one attendee’s impressions:

Nothing to report regarding the CLC family meeting.  CLC’s attorney did most of the talking.  He gave a chronology of the lawsuits.  That would have been OK as a summary but he took a lot of liberties to interject his opinions regarding the attorney of the plaintiffs.  He mentioned a couple times about how these types of cases are handled this way to aid the plaintiffs and their attorneys to force large settlements.

The only quote worth noting from Josh Harris was “(the) plaintiff’s picture is not accurate it is far from accurate”.  Other than that they spent the whole evening telling us why they can’t tell us anything.

Here’s what another reader had to add:

There were pros and cons from tonight’s members meeting…not that many of each because the pastors aren’t willing to address any specifics while the appeal is ongoing–so that’s the first BIG con, but I can understand the legal stuff even if I don’t like it.

Another con is how at times they vaguely described the plaintiffs’ accusations as not 100% accurate. (“vaguely” b/c they aren’t giving any specifics)  I feel that the opposite pro also happened though: I feel that our pastors are taking the accusations seriously (and by extension aren’t just throwing them all away as false).

How are they taking it seriously?  Josh said that CLC will be hiring an outside, independent organization to investigate.  The reasons for this are even when the lawsuit gets to its final completion point, it might not get us any closer to the truth of what happened.  This independent investigation will.

From another reader:

Looking over my chicken-scratch notes from tonight, there really isn’t much more to say.  The lawyer talked for at least 30 minutes–and he just gave a detailed timeline from the initially-filed lawsuit to the first then second amended lawsuit.

My notes specifically on the “independent firm to investigate these matters” had these 3 sub-bullets: – provides the truth – will give us (the pastors) outside, objective correction where necessary – process that might identify any false claims

The timing of this independent investigation is subject to the lawsuit, i.e. they might have this investigation happen and be completed in the next 3-6 months, but while the lawsuit is still open or pending (the appeal), CLC pastors won’t be able to share the results of that investigation with the church.  Josh brought up the valid question, “Then why do this independent investigation at all??” .. and the reason is simply it’s the right thing to do. [Josh said this]

And then another reader had this to add:

Well….I was at the meeting.  My jaw dropped when Josh trotted out a defense lawyer who spoke for half the time.  This felt so manipulative, because the defense lawyer made the point that no specific times or dates were mentioned, none of the accusers names were brought forth, etc. etc  (even though they would be later).  He really made it look like, to an outsider, the accusers never had any kind of case at all, and were just making wild, broad accusations.  In reading through the charges and amendments though, it sure seemed pretty specific to me, and there were a lot of vivid accounts.  On top of this, the lawyer only mentioned the statute of limitations with regard to the civil lawsuits — with no mention that criminal lawsuits have no statute of limitations.  This gave the appearance that CLC was completely in the clear, so long as the appeal fails, and that only the Virginia church had to be concerned.  He also questioned the timing of the 2nd amendment to the lawsuit occurring 3 days before the judge was to rule on the lawsuit as a whole.  He didn’t say it directly, but it came across as him calling all of those accusers bald-face liars.  He said the prosecution knew they had a very weak case, and that’s why they brought these other cases forward.  Ah, but what if these people were telling the truth?  Does the timing really matter?  Shouldn’t we want to get to the truth?

If none of this is true, it’s quite odd that NM is in the trouble he’s in, and DA was already convicted.  And sure, maybe they can’t talk about the allegations now because of the suit.  But didn’t they have 5 years previous to talk about this, when the SGM Survivors board began?  Where were these guys from 2007-2012, if they really wanted to get to the truth?  They were hoping this would die away.

If nothing happened, why was CJ able to blackmail LT?  Do we know the truth of what the blackmailing was about?  Don’t we have the right to know the truth?  What was that all about?  Is it tied to this sexual abuse?

So many questions — so few answers.

Finally — ZERO mention of Brent’s accusations with CL and the pastor’s potential roles in covering that up.  I guess they didn’t even want to dignify that with a response.  But again, if you’re 100% innocent, wouldn’t you want to put those horrible lies to rest?  Wouldn’t you want to shout it from the rooftops?  Unless….Brent is absolutely right.  Hmmm….interesting.  If you’re 100% innocent, why not come RIGHT out and say it?  What’s the risk in that?  How would that message get twisted by congregation members (which is why the lawyer said they couldn’t talk about the suit, since members might misconstrue their points).  If you say “we’re dead innocent” there ain’t no misconstruing a thing.

 

Open Discussion

Last post was going crazy with comments….I’m not putting up a post, but feel free to comment here (closing down the other one)