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Wednesday
Oct292014

Conclusive Evidence Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, & Justin Taylor Never Read Sex Abuse Lawsuit against C.J. Mahaney

On May 24, 2013, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor wrote a post on The Gospel Coalition website defending C.J. Mahaney against all charges in the sex abuse lawsuit.  They emphatically claimed there was no evidence of a cover up by Mahaney.  Here’s the problem – they never read the lawsuit!  

They are not alone in their travesty.  Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan didn’t read the lawsuit either.  The evidence is conclusive.  These six men worked together with Mahaney in executing a sophisticated plan to vindicate him without examining the evidence.  Indeed, they intentionally ignored the evidence and distorted the evidence.  Never have I seen such a display of bias by national leaders in my 40 years of Christian ministry. 

I written these men on several occasions but they are unwilling to answer questions or be accountable for their actions.  They have defended a man who is responsible for the cover up of heinous crimes.  Don’t take my word for it.    Listen to these comments by Assistant States Attorney Jessica Hall in her opening statement at the Nathaniel Morales trial.  The cover up she describes occurred while Mahaney was the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church. 

Jessica Hall
Assistant State’s Attorney
Opening Statement
Monday, May 12, 2014

2:42:45-2:43:23 PM 

“And Sam ultimately did not keep quiet.  He did unfortunately wait until he was an adult and when he told people about the abuse as an adult he went to the church and he brought the abuse forward to the church and laid it on the doorstep and asked them to do something about it.   He assumed the church would do the right thing.  That they would report the abuse to the authorities.  That they would go to the police so that Mr. Morales would be held accountable for his actions.  But the church did not.  You will hear from witnesses in the church and from Mr. Bates himself that the church covered it up.  The church protected Mr. Morales.”

2:46:38-2:46:53 PM

“Jeremy will tell that always he wanted to do something about the abuse and he always wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t happen to anyone else but he thought going to the church authorities would be sufficient.  He had no idea that the church would cover up for Mr. Morales.  He had no idea that the church would protect a man who molested children.” 

2:50:05-2:50:35 PM

“And we are here today, ladies and gentlemen, in 2014 that this man [Nathaniel Morales] sexually molested three boys, Sam, Jeremy and Brian and when the abuse was occurring the boys didn’t tell.  And several years after the abuse ended and the abuse was disclosed to church authorities, the church did nothing.  They ignored the abuse.  The church pretended the abuse didn’t happen.  They accepted the defendant’s apology and went on with their lives.  They ignored the fact that heinous crimes had been committed.”

Carson, DeYoung and Taylor continue to stand by their statement despite the above and the fact they never read the Second Amended Complaint.  Their categorical defense of Mahaney remains on The Gospel Coalition website.  How can that be?    

I recently wrote Tim Keller’s Double Standard for Mark Driscoll.  It serves as another example of celebrity leaders failing to hold celebrity leaders accountable to the Bible from which they make a living.  It must end!  Leaders like Mahaney and Driscoll should have been removed from ministry for their lying, deceit and abusive leadership long ago.  Instead, they were promoted these past ten years like no one else in the evangelical Body of Christ.  They became venerated icons in a celebrity culture.  This was especially true in The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel.  Powerful men promoted them and refused to hear, read, or act upon the evidence against them.  

I sincerely hope Carson, DeYoung, Taylor, Mohler, Dever and Duncan will acknowledge their passionate defense of Mahaney was filled with bias, error and prejudice.  They didn’t read the Second Amended Complaint, or if they did, covered up the evidence it contained.  Who will hold them accountable?  I fear no one.  They have protected someone who did not report suspected or known sex abusers to law enforcement for 30 years. 

The correspondence that follows is self-explanatory. 

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2014 4:43 PM
To: Don Carson; Kevin DeYoung; Justin Taylor
Subject: Your Statement of Support for C.J.
Importance: High 

Don, Kevin, and Justin, 

I recently re-read your statement from May 24, 2013 entitled, “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.”  As a result, I discovered two things that are extremely troubling.  One, you never read the Second Amended Complaint when you publicly exonerated C.J. of all charges in the lawsuit.  Two, you used an antiquated quote by C.J.’s lawyer without attribution that badly misled your readership.  I will come to these charges shortly.  First, a little review. 

Sixteen months ago, you concluded the following in your statement of support for C.J. on The Gospel Coalition website.  

“So the entire legal strategy was dependent on a conspiracy theory that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability.  As to the specific matter of C. J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted.” 

This categorical vindication of C.J., disparaging critique of the lawyers for the victims of sexual abuse alleging a conspiracy, and misrepresentation of the judge’s ruling was deplorable.  I refuted each aspect of your conclusion and a host of other errors in my blog post, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal.  I’d recommend you re-read it.   

Five months ago, I sent you this appeal asking to interact.  No one responded. 

Multiple Trials of Nathaniel Morales Set to Begin
Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 1:40 PM 

An appeal.  Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor - please attend the May 12-16 criminal trial of Nathaniel Morales for the sexual abuse of boys in C.J.’s former church under C.J.’s leadership.  C.J. knew full well about these abuses but did nothing.  He did not report to law enforcement, alert others in harm’s way, or stop the predator.  As a result, Morales went on to abuse other youth in other states including stepsons.  This is all due to C.J.’s cover up of his [Morales’] crimes.  Honesty, C.J. should be put in jail, not in the box seats at T4G.  Your support of him is a betrayal of all the victims in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Like C.J., you need to repent! 

A request.  I want to meet or video conference with the nine of you in private in order to present the overwhelming evidence of a widespread conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse in Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Your support of C.J. is unconscionable.  This should meet with no objection if you are interested in the truth.  C.J. is welcome to participate.  I am also glad to talk individually.  Please contact me at abrentdetwiler@gmail.com

I pleaded to talk or meet with you before the Nathaniel Morales trial this past May in order to present some of the evidence for his crimes and for C.J.’s role in the conspiracy to cover up those crimes.  You ignored the offer.  I trust by now you have listen to the audio or read the transcript from the court proceedings.  The evidence for a conspiracy is overwhelming.  That’s why the State’s Attorney’s Office for Montgomery County, Maryland repeatedly charged Covenant Life Church with covering up the crimes committed against Sam Bates, Brian Wolohan, and Jeremy Cook.  Grant Layman, who reported to C.J. and is his brother-in-law, also gave sworn testimony of a long term conspiracy.  So did the victims and other witnesses. 

And yet it appears you have learned nothing from the trial.  Your statement affirming C.J.’s innocence remains on The Gospel Coalition website.  It should have been removed, heavily edited, or a new statement written in keeping with the legal evidence now readily available.  I hope you will quickly repudiate what you wrote.  This is not the reason for my writing however. 

I want to address new concerns that arise from these five sentences in “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.” 

[1] “The plaintiffs’ counsel therefore alleged a wide-ranging ‘conspiracy theory,’ hoping that this would overcome the legal requirements regarding the time between when the alleged crimes took place and the filing of the civil lawsuit.  [2] This is apparently what the judge dismissed, determining that it would not even proceed to a trial.  [3] If you listen carefully to the attorneys’ explanations of the case on radio programs and other venues, they essentially acknowledged that they had no proof of a conspiracy.  [4] As the motion to dismiss points out, although C. J. Mahaney is named as an individual defendant, ‘the sole allegation against him in the Complaint is that he founded Sovereign Grace Ministries (“SGM”) and is currently its President. … [5] He is not specifically identified or alleged to have performed any other act or omission throughout the 143-paragraph Complaint.’”

Your first sentence is correct.  The plaintiffs’ counsel, Susan Burke and William O’Neil, “alleged a wide-ranging ‘conspiracy theory” to overcome the statute of limitations.   

Your second sentence is incorrect.  The May 18 dismissal by Judge Sharon Burrell in Maryland was based solely on the statute of limitation for Maryland plaintiffs and the lack of jurisdiction for Virginia plaintiffs.  She said so in her ruling which you did not read per your own admission in the statement.  The dismissal had nothing to do with any “apparent” lack of proof regarding the conspiracy.  I deal with this flagrant error in the blog post cited above.  

Your third sentence is absurd.  You claim Burke and O’Neil “essentially acknowledged that they had no proof of a conspiracy.”  That is a complete misrepresentation of the truth.    

Your fourth sentence is misleading if not deceptive.  It is one of two reasons for writing. 

In the second sentence, you say “the judge dismissed.”  In the fourth sentence, you say “the motion to dismiss points out.”  Most people reading your statement are to going to think the judge’s dismissal is the motion to dismiss but in fact, “the motion to dismiss” you quote has absolutely nothing to do with the ruling by Judge Burrell.  This leads the reader to believe the judge said, or at least agreed with, sentence four.    

“The sole allegation against him [Mahaney] in the Complaint [lawsuit] is that he founded Sovereign Grace Ministries (“SGM”) and is currently its President. … He is not specifically identified or alleged to have performed any other act or omission throughout the 143-paragraph Complaint.”   

As you know, this quote doesn’t come from Judge Burrell, it comes from one of C.J.’s lawyers, Thomas Patrick Ryan, and it is found in a 25 page pretrial appeal to Judge Burrell to dismiss the lawsuit.  Here is the relevant excerpt. 

Memorandum of Grounds and Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss Defendants Covenant Life Church, Inc., Charles Joseph Mahaney, Gary Ricucci, John Loftness and Grant Layman 

Most of Plaintiffs’ allegations fail to specify which Defendant is alleged to have performed specific acts.  For example, although Charles Joseph Mahaney is named as an individual Defendant, the sole allegation against him in the Complaint is that he founded Sovereign Grace Ministries (“SGM”) and is currently its President. (Complaint 13)  He is not specifically identified or alleged to have performed any other act or omission throughout the 143-paragraph Complaint. (p. 3) 

Respectfully submitted, 

MCCARTHY WILLSON LLP 

Thomas Patrick Ryan 

Attorneys for Defendants Covenant Life Church, Inc., Charles Joseph Mahaney, Gary Ricucci, John Loftness and Grant Layman 

This legal memorandum was filed with Judge Sharon Burrell and copied to eight lawyers from seven firms on February 25, 2013.  That is three months before her ruling to dismiss on May 18.  Yet, you lead people to believe this statement was made at the time of the dismissal by Burrell.  It was not.  

Furthermore, the memorandum was not publicly released by Sovereign Grace Ministries and this quote was never used by SGM in their press releases.  Your readership had no idea from where the quote came.  Obviously, C.J. or his lawyers provided it and you quoted it without giving context and background.  

Don, Kevin, and Justin, why in the world are you quoting the opinion of C.J.’s lawyer?  Why are you affirming his bogus statement as true?  Why don’t you tell your readers who is the source of the quote?  Why do you make it appear like this quote is from the judge or the position of the judge?  

Moreover, this memorandum by Thomas Patrick Ryan was based upon the First Amended Complaint which was filed on January 11, 2013.  It was not based upon the Second Amended Complaint which was filed on May 14, 2013.  This brings me to sentence five. 

“He [Mahaney] is not specifically identified or alleged to have performed any other act or omission throughout the 143-paragraph Complaint.’” 

C.J. is “not specifically identified” in the 143-paragraph First Amended Complaint but he is specifically identified in the 218-paragraph Second Amended Complaint.  For example: 

Complaint 109.  Defendants Ecelbarger, Gallo, Mullery and V. Hinders, conspiring together and with Defendants Mahaney and Loftness, violated their mandatory reporting obligations and conspired together to cover up [name withheld pending court ruling on defense motion]’s molestation of children. 

Complaint 112.  Defendants Ecelbarger, Mullery, V. Hinders and D. Hinders conspired with Defendant Loftness, Mahaney, and upon information and belief the other individual Defendants to cover up [name withheld pending court ruling on defense motion]’s ongoing molestation of young children and to violate the laws on mandatory reporting. Defendant Mahaney and Loftness imposed “church discipline” on [name withheld pending court ruling on defense motion] for failing to control his [name withheld pending court ruling on defense motion].  This conspiracy remains ongoing. 

Complaint 138.  Discovery will show that Defendants Mullery, David Hinder and Vince Hinders spoke with Maryland-based Defendants Mahaney and Loftness, and together conspired to prevent any reporting to the secular authorities. 

Complaint 157.  Rather than report the ongoing abuse to the secular authorities or take any steps to stop the abuse, Defendants informed the father that his children had reported the abuse.  This led to further abuse by the father.  In exchange for the conspiracy of silence, the abusive father paid to send Defendants Mahaney, Ricucci and Layman and their families on vacation to the Kiawah Islands, South Carolina. 

You didn’t know C.J. was identified by name in the Second Amended Complaint because you did not read the Second Amended Complaint.  Therefore, you had no idea what evidence it contained.  That is incomprehensible.  Proof of a conspiracy fills its 46 pages.  

This abject ignorance was overcome when I sent you, “Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung & Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal” the day after your wrote, “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.”  That was five months ago and yet you have not corrected your error.  Why is that?  Are you concerned that a correction would bring attention to the fact you didn’t read the SAC and quoted a lawyer without attribution in a manner that gave the impression it came from the judge or represented the ruling of the judge? 

I’d also like to ask how you came upon this specific quote.  You used it in your statement.     

“One of the so-called discernment blogs—often trafficking more in speculation and gossip than edifying discernment—reprinted a comment from a woman who issued this ominous wish, ‘I hope [this lawsuit] ruins the entire organization [of SGM] and every single perpetrator and co-conspirator financially, mentally and physically.’” 

I wrote this in response. 

“There are thousands of comments on SGMSurvivors and of course these men select this one as though representative of all the comments.  Wow, they must think we are just plain stupid.”  

In retrospect, I don’t think you selected this quote.  I think you were provided this quote by C.J.  Is that true?  I can’t imagine you combed through thousands of comments on SGMSurvivors and happened upon this specific comment for your blog post. 

Would you answer another question?  C.J. and his lawyers were obviously providing you select material.  Have you asked C.J. why he didn’t provide you the Second Amended Complaint when you were working on your statement of categorical support?  Or did he provide it but the three of you chose not to read it?  I doubt that is the case.  I am left to conclude you were without the Second Amended Complaint by C.J.’s design.  He withheld it from you. 

Furthermore, I can’t imagine you posted the statement without C.J. (and probably his lawyers) seeing it first.  Tell me I’m wrong?  That means C.J. purposely let you publish information he knew to be false.  In other words, he knew he was identified by name in the Second Amended Complaint but he did not stop you from saying he was unidentified by name in the lawsuit.  That is the way he operates.  At the very least, he should have corrected your flagrant error the same day you posted and asked you to change it immediately.  Instead, he let the deception that he is not mentioned in the lawsuit continue as it does to this very day.  

This brings me to another important point.  In “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit” you give the following reason for posting. 

“Over the past several months we often weighed the idea of writing a statement like this.  Every time we concluded that caution was the better course.  It is generally unwise to make public comments concerning a civil case that is being considered for trial or currently under deliberation.  But now that most of the complaints filed in the SGM Ministries civil lawsuit have been dismissed, it seems an appropriate time to explain our silence and some of our thinking behind it.” 

This explanation is a half-truth at best.  It gives the impression that the three of you decided to write this statement at this exact time on your own and that solely due to the dismissal.  You know full well that is not the whole true. 

In fact, you were working closely with C.J., SGM leaders, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan in executing a carefully orchestrated plan to commend C.J. and condemn me.  That is undeniable.  I’d love to see all your emails from May 2013.  

Here’s a brief chronological overview of events. 

Oct 12, 2012 - Original Complaint filed – 3 plaintiffs, 115 paragraphs 

Jan 11, 2013 - First Amended Complaint filed – 8 plaintiffs, 143 paragraphs 

Feb 23, 2013 - Memorandum of Grounds and Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss Defendants Covenant Life Church, Inc., Charles Joseph Mahaney, Gary Ricucci, John Loftness and Grant Layman 

May 14, 2013 - Second Amended Complaint filed – 11 plaintiffs, 218 paragraphs

May 18, 2013 - Second Amended Complaint dismissed by Judge Sharon Burrell due to statute of limitations and lack of jurisdiction but the not substance of allegations in lawsuit 

May 23, 2013 - “Statement from Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler” – posted on the Together for the Gospel website at 10:40 PM 

May 24, 2013 - “A Statement from Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor - Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit” – posted on The Gospel Coalition website at 7:00 AM

May 24, 2013 - At their inaugural meeting, 50 out of 62 national elders on the Council of Elders for SGM approved a motion to excommunicate me and “vigorously reiterate our support of C.J. Mahaney as a qualified minister of the gospel.” 

May 25, 2013 - I posted and sent you “Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal.” 

As demonstrated above, three major events occurred in less than 24 hours.  Mark, Lig and Al posted their statement.  You posted your statement.  SGM condemned me and commended C.J.  This was not due to some unusual providence of God.  It was due to C.J. and his manipulation of powerful leaders in and outside of SGM like yourselves.    

This is also clear from the mirror image content found in the statement of support by Mark, Lig and Al.  For example, they use the same half-truth explanation for writing as you did. 

“We are friends who have been brought together for the gospel.  Over the last several months, we have wanted to speak publicly to the issues that have related to our friend C. J. Mahaney.  A Maryland judge’s recent action to dismiss a lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries offers us the first opportunity, and responsibility, to speak to this issue.”  

They also paraphrase the quote by C.J.’s lawyer provided you in “Memorandum of Grounds and Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss Defendants Covenant Life Church, Inc., Charles Joseph Mahaney, Gary Ricucci, John Loftness and Grant Layman.” 

“A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry.  No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney.  Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.  For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way.  We do not regret that decision.”  

Like you, this quote also reveals that Mark, Lig and Al did not read the Second Amended Complaint.  I’ve written them regarding the same. 

I imagine you were all in a great hurry to accomplish your mission since the Second Amended Complaint was dismissed four days after it was filed.  That caught everyone by surprise.  There must have been a great rush to put together and execute this plan that largely failed.  People saw through the conspiracy.  For your effort, you received a lot of blow back for the evident bias and partiality on display in the statement.  So did Mark, Lig and Al for their statement. 

There is, however, one part of your statement with which I wholeheartedly agree.  It is this. 

“It needs to be said in no uncertain terms that the actual acts alleged in the lawsuit are utterly evil—an offense against a holy God and an act of hatred against innocent children.  They are horrifying and revolting. … Pastors who learn of such abuses should contact the appropriate authorities immediately, institute church discipline, and apply the whole counsel of God (including both law and gospel). … Furthermore, pastors are responsible to obey all mandatory reporting laws, alerting law-enforcement officials and fully cooperating with all investigations.  This is not an alternative to church discipline and gospel counsel, but a necessary and complementary role of divinely instituted civil authorities.” 

By now, you should know C.J. did NONE of the above in relation to Nathaniel Morales who was convicted on seven counts of sex abuse/offense against four victims and is currently serving a 40 year sentence.  By now, you should also know that Morales continued to abuse boys in Covenant Life Church and around the nation for 20 years because C.J. did not immediately report him to law enforcement.  By now, you should further know that the conspiracy to cover up is not confined to Nathaniel Morales.  

Brothers, you have grievously erred in the past.  I sincerely hope you have the humility and integrity to acknowledge your errors and begin to investigate C.J. without partiality and favoritism in submission to the authority of Scripture (1 Tim 5:20).  It’s time to read the Second Amended Complaint, court transcripts and my blog.  It is time for us to talk.  It is time for me to put you in touch with victims and witnesses.  It is time for you to exercise godly leadership in the Body of Christ and stop being used by C.J. like pawns and puppets.  You cannot continue to blindly support C.J. like Kevin did recently when he preached at C.J.’s church on August 3.  It must end. 

“Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit” should be not be on The Gospel Coalition website because it promotes a caricature of reality.  The fact it remains is clear testimony you have not dealt with past evidence or researched new evidence.  You’ve let stand a statement that absolves C.J. of all wrong doing including crimes I believe the evidence shows he committed.  That is incredulous.     

I also hope you will be honest with your readership and tell them the following. 

  1. You did not read the Second Amendment Complaint before posting “Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit.” 
  2. You quoted C.J.’s lawyer without attribution giving readers a false impression. 
  3. You worked with C.J. and others as part of a plan to justify him and condemn me. 

Right after the trials of Nathaniel Morales in May, C.J. put out a statement claiming he was innocent of all wrong doing but could not “speak freely” in his defense because of the “ongoing civil lawsuit.”  The lawsuit is over.  It was closed on September 22.    

“For nearly two years now, I have remained silent about a civil lawsuit brought against various parties including myself.  During that time, many have urged me to respond publicly and address the accusations against me.  These pleas have only intensified over the last week in light of reports of testimony in a recent trial.  I look forward to the day when I can speak freely.  For now, the simple and extraordinarily unsatisfying reality—for myself and others—is that in the face of an ongoing civil lawsuit, I simply cannot speak publicly to the specifics of these events.”  (May 22, 2014)

Now that the lawsuit is behind, C.J. doesn’t have to remain silent.  He can break his two years of silence and experience the extraordinarily satisfying realty of speaking publically to the specific accusations against him and others like John Loftness and Gary Ricucci in the lawsuit.  And yet three weeks have gong by but he has said nothing. 

Don, Kevin, and Justin, you’ve been beguiled by a man who has protected sexual predators by transgressing mandatory reporting laws and conspired with others to cover up their heinous crimes.  It is inconceivable that you believe the sole allegation against C.J. in the lawsuit was he founded Sovereign Grace Ministries and served as its President.  

Proverbs 17:15 is strong medicine but it applies.  He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”  That is what you have done in relation to C.J. and in relation to those victims who have charged him with a conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse they personally experienced. 

I sincerely hope you take responsibility for your actions, rectify the past, make amends, and help C.J. do the same.  As always, I am willing to meet or talk with you as individuals or a group.  Feel free to email at abrentdetwiler@gmail.com or call me at XXX. 

##

From: Brent Detwiler 
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 8:06 AM
To: Don Carson; Kevin DeYoung; Justin Taylor
Subject: Questions Regarding Reading & Use of SAC
Importance: High

Don, Kevin, and Justin, 

Two weeks ago I asked you the following questions.  

“Would you answer another question?  C.J. and his lawyers were obviously providing you select material.  Have you asked C.J. why he didn’t provide you the Second Amended Complaint when you were working on your statement of categorical support?  Or did he provide it but the three of you chose not to read it?  I doubt that is the case.  I am left to conclude you were without the Second Amended Complaint by C.J.’s design.  He withheld it from you.” 

I graciously concluded you didn’t read the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) because C.J. did not provide you the SAC.  That may, or may not, be true.  I’d still like to know but here’s what I recently discovered – I sent you the SAC!  Stupid me for forgetting!  Thank God for written records.     

The SAC was filed in the Montgomery County Circuit Court on May 14.  I sent you a copy of the lawsuit that very day and pointed out “The amended filing far exceeds the previous filings in detail, breadth and horror.” 

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:41 PM
To: Danny Akin; Thabitti Anyabwile; Voddie Baucham; Alistair Begg; John F. Bettler; Jon Bloom; Ian Booth; Jerry Bridges; Mike Bullmore; Robert C. Cannada Jr.; Don Carson; Matt Chandler; Tim Challies; Bryan Chapell; Lane Dennis; Mark Dever; Kevin DeYoung; Mark Driscoll; Iain M. Duguid; Ligon Duncan; Sinclair Ferguson; John F. Frame; Richard B. Gaffin; Mark Galli; W. Robert Godfrey; Wayne Grudem; Michael A. G. Haykin; Dennis Hollinger; Michael S. Horton; Robert Jones; Douglas F. Kelly; Simon J. Kistemaker; Ted Kober; Andreas Johannes Kostenberger; Tim Keller; Edgar Keinath; Timothy S. Lane; John MacArthur; Michael Milton; Albert Mohler; Russell D. Moore; Stephen Nichols; Moss Nplha; Marvin Olasky; Ray Ortlund; Burk Parsons; Paige Patterson; Richard Phillips; John Piper; David Platt; David Powlison; Vern S. Poythress; Guy Richardson; Phil Ryken; Ken Sande; Pete Schemm; Thomas R. Schreiner; Alan Schuster; Scotty Smith; Winston T. Smith; R.C. Sproul; Ed Stetzer; Sam Storms; Justin Taylor; Tullian Tchivdjian; Bryce Thomas; Derek W. H. Thomas; Paul David Tripp; Carl L. Trueman; Gene Edward Veith; Donald S. Whitney; Bruce A. Ware; Stephen J. Wellum; David Wells; Edward T. Welsh; Luder G. Whitlock; John D. Woodbridge
Subject: Breaking News! Second Amended Lawsuit File Today. 

I’ve attached the “Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand” that was filed today along with my blog post.  The amended filing far exceeds the previous filings in detail, breadth and horror. 

Three days later, I sent you more information regarding the SAC.  I said “I have every reason to believe the plaintiffs accounts are true as provided in the 2nd Amended Complaint.  I cannot possibly overstate how serious this class action lawsuit is against C.J., John Loftness (former Chairman of the Board), SGM and the other Defendants.” 

From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:20 PM
To: Danny Akin; Thabitti Anyabwile; Voddie Baucham; Alistair Begg; John F. Bettler; Jon Bloom; Ian Booth; Jerry Bridges; Mike Bullmore; Robert C. Cannada Jr.; Don Carson; Matt Chandler; Tim Challies; Bryan Chapell; Lane Dennis; Mark Dever; Kevin DeYoung; Mark Driscoll; Iain M. Duguid; Ligon Duncan; Sinclair Ferguson; John F. Frame; Richard B. Gaffin; Mark Galli; W. Robert Godfrey; Wayne Grudem; Michael A. G. Haykin; Dennis Hollinger; Michael S. Horton; Robert Jones; Douglas F. Kelly; Simon J. Kistemaker; Ted Kober; Andreas Johannes Kostenberger; Tim Keller; Edgar Keinath; Timothy S. Lane; John MacArthur; Michael Milton; Albert Mohler; Russell D. Moore; Stephen Nichols; Moss Nplha; Marvin Olasky; Ray Ortlund; Burk Parsons; Paige Patterson; Richard Phillips; John Piper; David Platt; David Powlison; Vern S. Poythress; Guy Richardson; Phil Ryken; Ken Sande; Pete Schemm; Thomas R. Schreiner; Alan Schuster; Scotty Smith; Winston T. Smith; R.C. Sproul; Ed Stetzer; Sam Storms; Justin Taylor; Tullian Tchivdjian; Bryce Thomas; Derek W. H. Thomas; Paul David Tripp; Carl L. Trueman; Gene Edward Veith; Donald S. Whitney; Bruce A. Ware; Stephen J. Wellum; David Wells; Edward T. Welsh; Luder G. Whitlock; John D. Woodbridge
Subject: Everything You Need to Know about “American Evangelicalism's Biggest Sex Scandal” 

Gentlemen, 

Here is a 4½ minute investigative report by the ABC news affiliate, WJLA – Channel 7, in Washington D.C.  It was broadcast last night.  Three of the plaintiffs are interviewed.  Susan Burke, co-counsel, is also interviewed.  I am intimately familiar the class action lawsuit.  I have every reason to believe the plaintiffs accounts are true as provided in the 2nd Amended Complaint.  I cannot possibly overstate how serious this class action lawsuit is against C.J., John Loftness (former Chairman of the Board), SGM and the other Defendants. 

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/05/sovereign-grace-ministries-class-action-civil-lawsuit-involving-child-sex-abuse-88894.html 

I’ve attached my post from this morning entitled, “Everything You Need to Know about ‘American Evangelicalism’s Biggest Sex Scandal to Date.’”  I hope you will read it.  Here is the introduction. 

“The 46 page “Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand” against Sovereign Grace Ministries and other Defendants was filed on Tuesday.  It contains 218 horrific complaints.  I am currently working on a post that will cover the latest developments but before I post the new material, I want to encourage everyone to go back and review the old material. 

“It has been exactly seven months since the original complaint was filed.  I’ve been covering developments every step of the way and doing all I can to alert leaders in the Body of Christ so they can benefit and take the action needed to stop pedophiles and protect families in their churches, institutions, and ministries.  

“I am constantly contacted for information.  I’ve put together this overview so people can have a comprehensive knowledge of all that has transpired over the past seven months.  It is a short book but one that needs reading.  I agree with radio talk show host, Janet Mefferd, when she says this is ‘American Evangelicalism’s biggest sex scandal to date.’”

I sent you the SAC on May 14.  I followed up with you on May 17.  You wrote your post on May 24.  Therefore, you had the lawsuit for ten days!  That issue is resolved but more serious issues arise as a result.  Specifically, did you choose not to read the SAC and thereby refuse to examine the evidence?  Or did you read the SAC but deceptively withhold the evidence it contained?  

I have appealed to you men so many times.  Every appeal has fallen on rocky soil.  Never have you been willing to talk or meet to hear any of the evidence against C.J.  You’ve refused to be just and objective and now you refuse to be accountable when asked legitimate questions about your own actions.  You have not followed 1 Timothy 5:21 or 1 John 1:7.  Please walk in the light.  Please be accountable in the same way to have taught others to be accountable. 

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From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 4:37 PM
To: Mark Dever; Ligon Duncan; Albert Mohler
Subject: Important Issues Concerning the SAC, Morales, & The Documents
Importance: High  

Al, Lig and Mark,

I now have conclusive proof you never read the Second Amended Complaint when you exonerated C.J. of all wronging attributed to him in the Second Amended Complaint.  That is incomprehensible. 

Here is but one piece of evidence from your May 23, 2013 letter that was posted on the T4G website.

“A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry.  No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. … For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way.” 

C.J. is clearly and repeatedly accused of “credible, serious and direct wrongdoing” in the Second Amended Complaint.  You didn’t know this because you never read it.  You based your comments above on the antiquated First Amended Complaint that came out four months earlier. 

I trust by now you have done what you did not do before concerning the criminal conspiracy.  Mastered the facts and studied the evidence.  I specifically have in mind the court transcripts from the two trials of Nathaniel Morales this past May.  The State of Maryland is well aware that C.J. covered up the sexual abuse of children in Covenant Life Church. 

I have often written you asking to talk by phone or meet in person.  You have never responded to me.  Once again, I ask that we talk or meet.  You men have been foolish and reckless in your support of C.J. because you have refused to hear the evidence against him. 

Al and Lig, when I sent out The Documents in July 2011 you immediately condemned me and condemned the documents which contained 600 pages of carefully presented evidence. 

Lig, you said on your blog,

“It would have been very easy for the leadership of SGM to ignore and dismiss these charges, because so many of them are so evidently self-serving and spurious accusations.” (“A Word About C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries,” July 12, 2011)

Al, you said,

“I always have had only the highest estimation of C.J. Mahaney as a man and a minister.  That continues absolutely unchanged.  There is nothing in this current situation which would leave me to have even the slightest pause of confidence in him.  There is nothing disqualifying in terms of anything that is disclosed in this [i.e., in the documents].  It’s just evidence we knew all along, that C.J. is human but a deeply committed Christian and a visionary Christian leader.   Detwiler has an obvious vendetta against C.J.” (The Courier-Journal, July 12, 2011)

Here’s my question for both of you men.  Did you read Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine, A Final Appeal, Concluding Remarks and The Untold Story?

In your case Al, pastors at Covenant Life Church told people you didn’t read these documents before you justified C.J. and condemned me.  Is that true? 

Lig, if you read the documents, how could you possibly call them “spurious accusations”?  The documents are anything but spurious.  They are filled with carefully presented evidence based on primary source material.

Would the three of you kindly arrange a time when we can talk.  My number is XXX.  I’d like to discuss how best to acknowledge you did not read the lawsuit.  I’d also like to hear your thoughts on the evidence presented at the Morales trials and get answers to my questions above about The Documents.

These are just and reasonable requests.  I hope you will respond.

Brent

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From: Brent Detwiler
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2014 2:25 PM
To: Albert Mohler; Mark Dever; Ligon Duncan
Subject: Follow Up on Reading The Documents & SAC

Al, Lig and Mark, 

Two months ago, I wrote asking that we please speak by phone.  You did not respond to my request demonstrating an unwillingness to be open, honest or accountable. 

I said the following in my August 22 email to you. 

“C.J. is clearly and repeatedly accused of “credible, serious and direct wrongdoing” in the Second Amended Complaint.  You didn’t know this because you never read it.  You based your comments above on the antiquated First Amended Complaint that came out four months earlier.” 

I am still shocked you didn’t read the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) even though I sent it to you the day it was filed on May 14.  I also followed up with more information about the SAC on May 17.  Despite this you did not read the SAC when you vindicated C.J. of all charges on May 23. … 

Each of you have violated the solemn charge laid down by Paul in the sight God, Christ and the angels by transgressing the rules for judging C.J. – no bias (favoritism) and no partiality.  

1 Tim 5:21 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging [NASB without bias], doing nothing from partiality.” 

Al and Lig, you have also refused to walk in the light and be honest with me.  You will not tell me whether you read The Documents before you condemned them and me.  

The three of you have taught others to be accountable but you are unwilling to be accountable.  Like C.J. you won’t answer questions or acknowledge wrong doing.  Some day, I hope you will be honest about the fact you never read the 46 page lawsuit and therefore recklessly asserted that “No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney.”

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Friday
Oct242014

Tim Keller’s Double Standard for Mark Driscoll

In August, Michael Paulson of The New York Times wrote an article about Mark Driscoll entitled, A Brash Style That Filled Pews, Until Followers Had Their Fill.  It was well done and covered all the important issues concerning Driscoll.

In this article, Paulson quotes Tim Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition with Don Carson.  Here’s what he says about Mark Driscoll.

“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” said Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and one of the most widely respected evangelical intellectuals in the United States.  “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

These comments by Keller arrested my attention.  Here’s why.

First, he is well aware of Driscoll’s “brashness…arrogance and…rudeness in personal relationships.”  Second, he points out how Driscoll has repeatedly confessed these sins but effectively not changed.  Confession alone doesn’t change you.  Genuine repentance does by the grace of God.  Third, these sinful patterns were “obvious to many from the earliest days.”  Driscoll started Mars Hill Church in 1996.  Fourth, from then to now, Driscoll has “definitely…disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

In light of this assessment, I have several sincere questions for Tim Keller.  Why did you ever allow Mark Driscoll to be on the prestigious and nationally recognized leadership Council for The Gospel Coalition in the first place?  And furthermore, why did you and Don Carson commend him when he stepped off the Council in 2012.  Here is what you wrote.

Driscoll Steps Down from TCG Council
March 28, 2012 

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has recently announced he is stepping down from the Council of The Gospel Coalition.  Mark let us know in advance of his intentions, part of a major reorganization of his priorities and a changing of the guard in Acts 29.  We are saddened by his departure but understand that all busy people must establish priorities. 

The Council is grateful to Mark for his contributions to TGC during the past decade.  In the months and years ahead, we will certainly be praying for him, his family, and the ministries he influences. 

Here is what Mark said about TGC with regard to his departure: 

I was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition and to this day enjoy deep friendships and theological unity with the men.  But I’m no longer going to be a Council member, as I seek to focus my energies on a handful of things.  If I’m honest, with the continued growth of all the ministries in which I’m involved, it’s not sustainable for me to keep up with all of them.  So, this is a season of pruning for me. 

For the record, no one has asked me to leave the Council, and I have no relational conflict with anyone and no disagreement theologically.  The men remain friends who are welcome to speak into my life, and I’m transitioning for no other reason than I find myself at the end of my tether with time and energy.

I’m deeply thankful for the Council and have been deeply honored to be a part of it.  Thankfully, Acts 29 fellow Board members Matt Chandler and Darrin Patrick are already on the Council to represent Acts 29, along with one of our network captains, Ray Ortlund. 

Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition.

Tim Keller is senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Manhattan, New York, and author of numerous books.  He is also co-founder and vice president of The Gospel Coalition.  For more resources by Tim Keller visit Gospel in Life.  You can follow him on Twitter.

This letter is an endorsement by all the Council Members and especially by Keller and Carson.  They “are saddened by his departure, “the Council is grateful to Mark for his contributions to TGC during the past decade,” and everyone “will certainly be praying for…the ministries he influences.”  There is no hint of concern for Driscoll.  Only sadness, gratefulness and prayer.  Equally troubling, Keller and Carson allowed Driscoll to put himself forward to the evangelical world as a model citizen. 

"For the record, no one has asked me to leave the Council, and I have no relational conflict with anyone and no disagreement theologically.  The men remain friends who are welcome to speak into my life, and I’m transitioning for no other reason than I find myself at the end of my tether with time and energy."

Keller and Carson permitted this paragraph to be put in print; thereby, approving of its content.  In my opinion, it was a promo piece by Driscoll; not just a statement to avoid misunderstanding.  Here’s what I mean.  No one asked him to leave – implying there were no concerns for his role on the Council.  He had no relational conflict with anyone on the Council – implying he got along with everyone all the time.  Keller and Carson, et al., were welcome to speak into his life – implying he was humble and responded humbly to past correction.  To be honest, I find this hard to believe.

You always have to ask follow up questions in order to discover the truth.  I’d like to ask Keller and Carson, “Did anyone want him off the Council?”  “Did anyone have conflicts with him while on the Council?”  “Did anyone feel unwelcome to speak into his life?”  This paragraph by Driscoll gives the impression that the answer to all these questions is NO.

Bottom line, Keller and Carson commended Driscoll and allowed Driscoll to commend himself in 2012.  Two years later, Keller tells us Driscoll has been brash, arrogant, and rude in personal relationships going back a long time.  In fact, these sins were “obvious to many from the earliest days.”  Therein is the problem.  Many people knew about Driscoll’s disqualifying sins but practically no one did anything.  Paul Petry (locally) and John MacArthur (nationally) being notable exceptions. 

Petry was unjustly and abusively fired by Driscoll.  In a 2007 letter to the Elders of Mars Hill Church, he stated that “not one Christian leader” including John Piper and C.J. Mahaney were willing to “get involved” and address Driscoll.  I wrote about this in The Twin Brothers Driscoll and Mahaney

“After multiple appeals were continually rejected by Mark [Driscoll] and Jamie [Munson], we discreetly implored some local and then national leaders, who Mark said he respected, to help us, including John Piper and C.J. Mahaney.  No one was willing to get involved.  I was shocked and heartbroken again.  You’re kidding?  The whole Body of Christ and no one is willing to step in, judge the matter, and attempt to make things right?  How can Matthew 18 be carried out if not one Christian leader will stand in to bring peace and reconciliation?” (Paul Petry, To the Elders of Mars Hill Church, October 25, 2007) 

Piper and Mahaney knew there were serious issues in Driscoll’s life and ministry.  Nevertheless, they failed to work with his elders and follow the disciplinary measures found in Matthew 18:15-17.  Instead they shielded him and promoted him.  For example, Piper commended Driscoll’s life and ministry by inviting him to speak at his Desiring God National Conference in 2006, 2008, and 2009.   

Mahaney went even further.  He worked to undermine John MacArthur’s charges against Driscoll in 2007.  That same year, Driscoll was consolidating his power in Mars Hill Church by all accounts.  Mahaney was doing the same in Sovereign Grace Ministries.  These two men were relating to each other at the time.  In fact, Mahaney flew from Washington D.C. to Seattle to meet with Driscoll in February.  It is highly probable he advised Driscoll to centralize his power in a small group of fierce loyalists who would not meaningfully confront his character or challenge his leadership.  That’s exactly what Mahaney did the same year in SGM.    

Here’s the question that must be answered.  Put on your thinking cap because it’s complicated!  Does the Bible apply to high powered leaders?  It did not apply to Mark Driscoll.  He was exempted from Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:19-21, Titus 1:6-9; James 3:1, etc.

Or put another way, how can Mark Driscoll be on the Council for The Gospel Coalition given the teaching of the Bible?  Clearly, Driscoll has not been above reproach for a long time.  I think Keller supplies the answer, though inadvertently, when he says of Driscoll, “He was really important.”  Important people get on the Council.  You don’t find any unimportant people.  That is the crux of the problem. 

Often times, important people, who are usually rich people, get a pass.  A double standard is applied to them.  In spite of his character, Driscoll was on the Council for nearly a decade.  His enormous numerical success with the Internet generation appears to be the reason.

James the Lord’s brother and apostle gives us this command.

James 2:1-4, 9 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes, and if you pay attention to one who wears the fine clothing, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts…. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Partiality is a sin.  There is to be no preferential treatment for the wealthy and no special attention given to the wealthy.  Wealthy people are typically powerful people.  They can help you or hurt you.  That’s why we have this command from James.  We are tempted to treat them differently.  In addition, it’s also why most people don’t mess with the unscrupulous wealthy.  They let them off the hook and show them favoritism hoping to avoid their wrath and benefit from their influence.  Think Donald Trump.

Tragically, the same is true with reproachable but powerful leaders in the Body of Christ.     Who is going to confront a well-known leader with sin issues that endorses your books, invites you to speak at his church or conference, promotes your ministry, speaks well of you in public, has a large following or big blog audience?  Only someone who loves Jesus Christ, is submitted to the authority of Scripture, is free from the love of money and doesn’t care about his reputation.    

Timothy was responsible to make sure the elders in Ephesus met the qualifications laid out by Paul (1 Tim 3:1-7).  When elders were accused by two or three witnesses they were to be judged with impartially and treated without favoritism.  An active investigation was to be done.  Timothy was to make sure it happened.  Those that didn’t stop sinning were to be publicly rebuke and removed from ministry (1 Tim 5:20-22).   No one did this with Driscoll.  Not Keller, Carson, Piper or Mahaney.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time.  Take for instance Dave Harvey.  His local elders had him resign all his responsibilities in Sovereign Grace Ministries in 2013 and begin a nine month disciplinary process designed to address serious issues in his life and family.  Three months later Harvey abandoned the process and three months after that he left the church and SGM.  No problem, he was hired overnight as the pastor of preaching in another denomination.  He also became Chairman of the Board for the Christian Counseling Education Foundation (CCEF) and a Board Member for the Sojourn network of churches.  This should not be.  See the sections about Harvey in Mark Prater Is the Best Choice to Restore Trust and Unity.  

In my experience, well known leaders often have little to no accountability.  I first observed this while one of 25 intern pastors at the largest church in America in 1978.  Fifteen thousand people attended and 250 people came to Christ in an average week.  It was led by a very gifted evangelist with little accountability.  The church operated like Mars Hill.  It no longer exists.   

Keller states in the New York Times article, “He [Driscoll] has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”  That is true and that is serious!  Driscoll has stumbled countless believers and unbelievers.  He has brought extraordinary reproach upon the gospel and the evangelical Church.  And yet all of this was avoidable if only great Bible expositors had obeyed the Bible they exposit.  Local elders failed Mars Hill Church but national leaders failed the Body of Christ.  If only we obeyed the Bible we preach!  “Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach” (1 Tim 3:1).  

Mark Driscoll should have been publicly rebuked by Tim Keller, Don Carson, John Piper and C.J. Mahaney a long time ago for his continuation in sin.  This should have led to his removal from ministry.  Instead these men gave him a seat of honor on their councils and at their conferences.  They applied a double standard to Mark Driscoll because of his perceived importance.  Now they share the blame for his fall and the disillusionment it has caused.  

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