Will C.J. Mahaney Follow His Own Teachings?

September 30, 2011 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

A couple of weeks ago, we learned that in addition to the issues detailed in Brent Detwiler’s documents, C.J. Mahaney is also having a conflict with his (former?) senior pastor Joshua Harris, a conflict complicated enough that there have been special meetings and advisors being brought in, along with some sort of list C.J. had compiled of Josh’s shortcomings. (You can read the message sent to members of Covenant Life Church about this conflict by clicking here and scrolling past the Ashburn materials.  CLC’s missive will appear toward the very end of that post.)

It occurred to me, as I was looking at C.J.’s 2009 version of his Happiest Place sermon again, that C.J. has actually painted himself into something of a corner, if he really does have grievances against Josh Harris, who supposedly is (or was) C.J.’s pastor.

In that sermon, C.J. says,

The writer [of Hebrews] understands the vital role of leaders, but the writer also understands the critical relationship between the congregation and leaders. And in verse 17, we encounter both, we encounter both the vital role of leaders and the critical relationship of the congregation to leaders. We encounter them both in verse 17.

But. The undeniable emphasis in verse 17 is not on the pastoral team, the undeniable emphasis and accent in verse 17 is on the responsibility of the congregation TO the pastoral team, and here’s why. Here’s why.

The effectiveness of pastoral ministry is dependent upon a proper response TO pastoral ministry. THE effectiveness of pastoral ministry is indeed dependent upon a proper response TO pastoral ministry.

A few moments later, in that same sermon, C.J. repeats himself yet again. He says:

And finally, I would just want you to view this passage as a wonderful gift from God for it is a gift from God. And I think that will become evident to you as we just spend a few moments pondering this particular passage. BECAUSE, the effectiveness of pastoral ministry is dependent upon a proper response TO pastoral ministry.

Later, he suggests that it is a church member’s duty to make sure that his or her pastor is “happy.” C.J. says,

So. If a congregation does not respond with the appropriate obedience and submission to their pastors, then the leadership of those pastors will not be fruitful, and those pastors will not experience joy in pastoral ministry. And here is what you as a member of this congregation are commanded by good and wise God. Look with me again at verse 17, where we read, “Let them” (your pastors) “do this” (watch over your souls) “with joy and not with groaning due to disobedient, uncommitted church members, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Let – let them do this with joy. Let them do this with joy.

God wants happy pastors. That’s what He wants. Wants happy pastors.

So, we all need to look at this passage, look up from this passage, and then ask ourselves, “Am I joy to pastor? Am I a joy to pastor?”

Really, in light of CJ’s Happiest Place sermon, how can he possibly have complaints about Josh Harris’ job performance? According to C.J.’s own teaching, if C.J. is unhappy with Josh Harris, the fault can only be C.J.’s. If C.J. were being a “joy to pastor,” and if C.J. were responding properly to Josh’s leadership, then Josh would be “effective.” If C.J. thinks Josh is ineffective, it’s got to be C.J.’s fault.

The question is, will any of the other men who presently “speak into” C.J.’s life hold him accountable to the standards C.J. has set forth for all the other members of Sovereign Grace Ministries churches?

© 2011, Kris. All rights reserved.