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May282018

Al Mohler Calls for an Independent, Third-Party Investigation of C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.

Last Wednesday, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article titled The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention.  

“Judgment has now come to the house of the Southern Baptist Convention.  The terrible swift sword of public humiliation has come with a vengeance.  There can be no doubt that this story is not over.” 

But not only has the terrible swift sword of public humiliation come with a vengeance to the Southern Baptist Convention, it has also come with a vengeance to the evangelical community at large, and that is due in large measure to Al Mohler for his unwavering support of C.J. Mahaney despite grave allegations of wrongdoing.      

That may be changing.  In his article, Mohler implicitly calls for an investigation which is so desperately needed.

Listen to Mark Galli, editor in chief of Christianity Today

We Need an Independent Investigation of Sovereign Grace Ministries
Mark Galli
March 22, 2018 

For nearly six years now, an open wound has been festering in the evangelical community.  It’s time for healing to begin.  

But that healing cannot begin until we all know the exact nature and extent of the wound; until all the facts are out in the open; until the truth that liberates can be known; and most importantly, if and when it is pertinent, there is repentance. 

To put it simply: Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC; formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries) and its individual churches and leaders who have been accused of failing to adequately respond to past incidents of child and sexual abuse should submit to a thorough, truly independent investigation. … 

Given the prominence of Sovereign Grace, especially in Reformed evangelical circles, this puts the gospel we preach under a cloud.  If, in fact, they are as guiltless as they have proclaimed, and if, in fact, the incidences are as few as they suggest, it would be great news for the evangelical community and the cause of the gospel. 

At the same time, if the many charges prove to be true to a larger extent than they currently acknowledge, it would be sad and troubling. … 

Again, we are deeply concerned about this matter in part because we want to make sure justice is done for all the alleged victims.  But we also see this as an opportunity for SGC to become a positive example for the rest of the evangelical community. … 

Churches needn’t seek an independent investigation over every charge brought against them; and to be sure, there are cases where it’s a tough call as to whether to seek an independent investigation.  In this case, however, the facts being questioned and the witnesses being marshaled do indeed suggest that there are crucial questions that need to be answered if there is to be healing and closure.  In this case, it is not a tough call at all. … 

Given the substantial nature of the accusations, given the prominence of SGC, given the aborted court case on procedural grounds, given the crucial questions left hanging in the air, a new independent investigation is in order. … 

To repeat: While we find Denhollander’s and Detwiler’s allegations compelling, we are not ready to say each of their charges is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  And we are hardly ready to conclude SGC and the accused congregations and leaders are guilty of every charge brought against them. …  

We desperately need a fresh and thorough independent investigation by an organization that specializes in these matters … 

We call for this on behalf of potential victims who may have yet to be heard.  And for the sake of SGC and for the integrity of evangelical churches everywhere.  And especially for the sake of the gospel.

Mark Galli is right.  “For nearly six years now, an open wound has been festering in the evangelical community.”  And that is because evangelical leaders have refused to speak out against C.J. Mahaney.  Galli is the first national leader to call for an accounting.

Some background is necessary.  No one outside SGC has defended C.J. Mahaney more than Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan.  They have defended him against all charges of a conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children and also defended him against all charges concerning his character and leadership in general.

In May 2013, these three men vindicated Mahaney on the Together for the Gospel website claiming there wasn’t even a single “accusation of direct wrongdoing” against him regarding the obstruction of justice and long-term conspiracy (i.e., an unwritten policy among the leaders) not to report suspected abusers to law enforcement.      

Statement from Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler
May 23, 2013 

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.  We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people. 

In response, I wrote in part. 

C.J. Mahaney Withdraws from Together for the Gospel & Founders Remove Statement of Support
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:14PM 

Mark, Lig, and Al explicitly state that C.J. has not been accused “with any credible, serious and direct wrongdoing.”  You’ve got to be kidding.  This is one of the most irresponsible and embarrassing comments I have ever read!  It is absurd.  Did they even read the Second Amended Complaint?  [It turns out they didn’t read it.]

They go on to claim that C.J. is “charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.”  Wow.  They pulled that one out of thin air.  No such charge is contained in the lawsuit.  Furthermore, it would be absolutely stupid for anyone to sue C.J. for “founding a ministry and teaching doctrines and principles.”  The lawsuit is about alleged crimes, not the Bible. 

The word “Defendants” appears 198 times in the lawsuit.  It almost always includes C.J. …  

Who are Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler to pompously pronounce the lawsuit contains absolutely no credible or serious charges of wrong doing against C.J.   Have they interviewed the Plaintiffs?  Talked to their lawyers?  Interacted with the victims and witnesses?  Sat down with detectives and investigators?  This is the kind of blatant partially in judgment that the Bible condemns.  These men cannot be trusted to act justly in this matter.  

These men believe C.J. is innocent and the lawsuit against him is a sham.  “For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way.”  That will change.  God’s Providence will see to it.  Moreover, I pity all the men C.J. has lured to preach at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville with his deceitful talking points, false humility, prolific praise and big honorariums.  He has taken advantage of their good reputations in order to shore up his bogus reputation.  They not only come to preach, they come to promote C.J.  They are being used.

Two days after the Mohler, Dever, Duncan statement was posted, and as part of a coordinated strategy; Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor also mindlessly defended C.J. Mahaney on The Gospel Coalition website having not even read the Second Amended Complaint (lawsuit) against him and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  It too was an appalling display of blind allegiance and abject ignorance.   

Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor Defend C.J. Mahaney Against Charges in SGM Sex Abuse Scandal
Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 11:51AM 

Conclusive Evidence Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, & Justin Taylor Never Read Sex Abuse Lawsuit against C.J. Mahaney
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 4:41PM

 My exposing of Mohler, Dever and Duncan forced them to remove this section from their statement.

"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.”  

In its place, they substituted, “We believe this lawsuit failed the test” without explanation or notification of the change.  Here is the revision. 

“A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. We believe this lawsuit failed that test.  For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people.” (June 6, 2013) 

This revision is just as bad or worse.  Mohler, Dever and Duncan actually claimed the 46-page lawsuit with 218 complaints from 11 plaintiffs failed to charge Mahaney or any “Christian leader” (i.e. Defendant) with any credible, serious or direct wrongdoing.  That is outrageous and manifestly untrue. 

And in their defiance, they retained, “For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way.  We do not regret that decision.”  It is amazing that so many of the most powerful and influential evangelical leaders in United States have “refused to step away” from someone who has done so much harm.  

Mohler, Dever, Duncan from T4G and Carson, DeYoung, Taylor from TGC, have never withdrawn their universal vindication of Mahaney.  They continue to put him forward as a hero of the faith.  

In this regard, I am reminded of Mohler’s introduction of Mahaney at T4G 2016 before Mahaney spoke on Sustained by Suffering by the Sage of Job.  Mohler made him out to be a contemporary Job and that is how Mahaney projects himself.  He is the innocent but patient sufferer in the mysterious plan of God.  More than a speaker, he is a model of endurance in the face of an incredible trial brought on by false allegations.  

Albert Mohler Introducing C.J. Mahaney
Together for the Gospel 2016

He has modeled endurance.  It would be very easy to get up here and say, “C.J. Mahaney is going to speak for us,” but I think faithfulness in my responsibility this afternoon in introducing him is to say that we know he has demonstrated endurance in the face of an incredible trial and he has been a model of endurance for us. 

This year, Mahaney was forced “to withdraw from the 2018 T4G Conference.”  He wrote in part. 

A Letter from C.J. Mahaney
March 7, 2018 

Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference. 

This conference exists to serve pastors with the gospel and exalt the Lord Jesus. I want to do all I can to promote that purpose. Mark, Lig, Al and the other speakers [Matt Chandler, David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper and Thabiti Anyabwile] should also be able to devote themselves to that purpose without the distraction of having to defend me or answer questions about Sovereign Grace Churches.  

Mahaney assumes Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, Al Mohler; along with Matt Chandler, David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper and Thabiti Anyabwile, would all defend him against Rachael Denhollander’s devastating summary of probative evidence in Response to Sovereign Grace Churches (March 1, 2018).  

Though Mahaney was not present at T4G 2018, I am sure the speakers had to defend him in private conversations.  And these nine men also had no problem promoting Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  I wrote the following. 

Mahaney’s Withdrawal from Together for the Gospel Is Meaningless as He Continues to Run from an Independent Investigation with the Help of Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, et al.
Friday, March 9, 2018 at 5:24PM 

Despite all the documented evidence of serious wrong-doing from the past seven years, they still defend Mahaney and promote Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. … Bob Kauflin from Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. is leading worship and teaching a seminar at T4G and Mark Prater (Executive Director), Ian McConnell (Director of Church Planting & Mission) and Jeff Purswell (Director of Theology & Training) are hosting an official gathering at T4G to promote SGC and recruit for the Pastors College.  This is all sanctioned by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler. … 

We must remember the Leadership Team of SGC condemned Rachael Denhollander as a false witness.  That seven-man team includes Bob Kauflin, Ian McConnell and Jeff Purswell.  Once again, Mohler, Duncan and Dever don’t care.  Kauflin, McConnell and Purswell can cover up for Mahaney and slander Rachael Denhollander and still lead worship and promote themselves at T4G.  All good! 

Two weeks after Mahaney withdrew from T4G, Christianity Today called for an investigation saying, “Allegations of child sexual abuse and staff cover-up continue to swirl.  Let’s set an example for all churches to follow, bringing healing to victims and churches alike.” 

I first wrote 77 National Leaders including Mark Galli about Mahaney and the conspiracy to commit and cover up the sexual abuse of children in February 2013.  I’ve continued to send them evidence over the last five plus years.    

Here’s an excerpt from my original appeal. 

An Appeal to 77 National Leaders Regarding C.J. Mahaney
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 5:38PM 

This letter is sent to you in the form of an appeal since you are familiar with C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  I’ve held off on contacting national leaders in the past.  Recent events, however, warrant your due consideration. … 

Gentlemen, I’ve worked with C.J. since I graduated from seminary in 1979.  I wrote the Statement of Faith, founded the Pastors College, oversaw 23 churches in the southeastern United States, directed our outreaches in Asia and the Caribbean, served on the Board of Directors for 25 years, and was one of four men who started Sovereign Grace Ministries in 1982.  I say none of this to impress you, only to establish some credibility with you. 

In 2007, I stepped down from the Board of Directors largely due to my loss of trust in C.J.  In 2009, I left SGM because of the pride, deceit, hypocrisy, and heavy handedness that characterized the leadership culture.  It became unconscionable.  I could not stay.     

I am not a lone wolf in my assessment.  Over the last seven months, the majority of C.J.’s closest friends and colleagues have severed ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries for the same reasons.  The entire ministry is convulsing and the problems are only worsening.  More and more pastors and churches will be leaving in the coming months.   

Nathaniel Morales is the alleged criminal pedophile cited in the article above, but he is not the only one whose activities were concealed.  I’ve attached the  amended lawsuit.  It is a must read.  Evangelical leaders who protect sex abusers out of self-interest, fail to involve law enforcement, and obstruct justice must learn from the consequences SGM is about to experience.  It could likely bankrupt the ministry and key leaders. … 

Deceit, hypocrisy, self-preservation, love of reputation, lack of integrity, injustice, lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover up and partiality have only increased over the past three years.  None have been acknowledged by C.J.  Yet these sins are the source of the problems that exist in SGM and the reason for God’s providential discipline.  The class action lawsuit is but the latest expression of God’s opposition.

After all these years, it appears Al Mohler is finally calling for an “independent, third-party investigation” of Mahaney and SGC.  Here is the relevant section from the article he posted last week. 

The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention 
R. Albert Mohler
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 

Every Christian church and every pastor and every church member must be ready to protect any of God’s children threatened by abuse and must hold every abuser fully accountable.  The church and any institution or ministry serving the church must be ready to assure safety and support to any woman or child or vulnerable one threatened by abuse. 

The church must make every appropriate call to law enforcement and recognize the rightful God-ordained responsibility of civil government to protect, to investigate, and to prosecute. 

A church, denomination, or Christian ministry must look outside of itself when confronted with a pattern of mishandling such responsibilities, or merely of being charged with such a pattern.  We cannot vindicate ourselves.  That is the advice I have given consistently for many years.  I now must make this judgment a matter of public commitment.  I believe that any public accusation concerning such a pattern requires an independent, third-party investigation.  In making this judgment, I make public what I want to be held to do should, God forbid, such a responsibility arise. 

Mohler makes himself out to be the good guy – “that is the advice I have given consistently for many years” – but he is the bad guy.  He has been defending Mahaney, not calling for an investigation of Mahaney, since the original edition of the lawsuit came out in October 2012.  His pontification is terribly hypocritical.  I hope he acknowledges this to the Body of Christ.  It is shameful. 

Mohler also claims “we cannot vindicate ourselves” but that is exactly what he and his colleagues did with Mahaney from the beginning.  They have vindicated him at every turn.  They never called for an independent, third-party investigation.  There was no need.  They did their own investigation and found him guiltless!    

Let’s be clear, Mahaney never held sex abusers accountable and he never warned people in harm’s way.  As a result, many children were abused as was the case at the hands of  convicted felon, Nathaniel Morales.  Mahaney and his staff first learned of Morales’ heinous crimes in 1991 but covered them up.  That is precisely what the Assistant States Attorney said about the pastors at the trial.  Morales went on to abuse dozens of boys over the next 21 years including two stepsons.  That human devastation is on Mahaney.  As I’ve said before, he should be in jail.  

Furthermore, Mahaney and his staff never involved law enforcement and they counseled the families of victims not to involve them.  They even did internal investigations (instead of police investigations) and concluded guilt, or likely guilt, but still did not report for fear of reputational harm, loss of members, loss of income and lawsuits.  That is exactly what happened with Nathaniel Morales.  

I’ve written thousands of pages documenting these matters.  No one knows more.  And I’ve sent most of them to Al Mohler and repeatedly asked him to talk with me or meet with me.  The same with Mark Dever.  But these men have never shown any interest in the truth.  They have arduously and steadfastly defended Mahaney against all allegations of wrong doing despite the mountains of evidence against him. 

To reiterate, Mohler says, 

“A church, denomination, or Christian ministry must look outside of itself when confronted with a pattern of mishandling such responsibilities, or merely of being charged with such a pattern.  We cannot vindicate ourselves.”  

Really?  Mahaney, with Mohler’s help, has been vindicating himself and Sovereign Grace Ministries for over five years during which they have credibly and increasingly been “charged with such a pattern” of not reporting abuse to law enforcement, counseling families not to report contrary to the law, not warning families in harms ways, calling multiple victims of sexual abuse liars, using a “hush” fund to silence a victim’s family, moving abusers (e.g. the sons of pastors) around to other churches, etc.  

Mohler claims, “we cannot vindicate ourselves” but that is exactly what he has supported.  Here is the mother of all self-vindications. 

A Statement from C.J. Mahaney
May 22, 2014

Let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit. 

Of course, Mahaney is simply repeating what Mohler, Dever and Duncan said about him a year earlier.  Egregiously, Mahaney made this bogus statement after he was incriminated by the sworn testimony of his brother-in-law and fellow pastor, Grant Layman at the Morales trial.

In his article, Mohler claims he has “consistently for many years” been advising churches, denominations, and Christian ministries not to investigate themselves when “confronted” or “merely…charged” with the things listed above.  He has not done so with Mahaney.  He has done just the opposite. 

In June 2013, seven resolutions were passed On Sexual Abuse of Children at the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston.  Resolution six was specifically in response to Mohler’s and Dever’s defense of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries the preceding month on the T4G website.   

“RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse…” 

You can read more about the context for the resolution below. 

Southern Baptists: Take care with ties to those accused of mishandling abuse by Peter Smith
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 7:36AM 

Mohler and Dever completely ignored the resolution.  Or more accurately, defied the resolution.  They have shown no discernment in “affiliating” with Mahaney and SGC.  And they have shown no submission to the Southern Baptist Convention.  In fact, they have gone way beyond affiliating to vindicating, commending, and promoting.  

People need to remember that Mahaney’s church, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, is also a Southern Baptist church.  If Southern Baptist leaders are willing to speak out against Paige Patterson, why not Mahaney?  Here a few relevant tweets from this week. 

Rachael Denhollander‏ @R_Denhollander
Patterson is rightly rebuked for telling a rape victim not to report. Yet at CJ Mahaney’s church, CLC, the internal investigation CONFIRMED CLC’s legal counsel told an assault victim not to report. Have we looked at the evidence in our own house yet? https://www.facebook.com/notes/rachael-denhollander/response-to-sovereign-grace-churches/1720170721396574/ …
12:36 AM - 24 May 2018 

Brent Detwiler‏ @BrentDetwiler 
That legal counsel is Chip Grange.  He was once a friend & I worked with him on SGM business for many years before I left in 2009.  Like the CLC pastors he advised, he did not report suspected abusers in CLC/SGM to law enforcement.
9:52 AM - 24 May 2018 

##

Eric Schumacher‏ @emschumacher
I do hope that the recent events with #PaigePatterson at #SWBTS will motivate the organizers of and participants in @T4GOnline to reevaluate their response to the situation described by @R_Denhollander here:
http://facebook.com/notes/rachael-denhollander/response-to-sovereign-grace-churches/1720170721396574/ …
7:50 PM - 23 May 2018 

Eric Schumacher‏ @emschumacher 
The explanation of the situation that I received four years ago was so utterly unlike the plain facts gathered by Rachael Denhollander that I was horrified and repulsed upon reading what she gathered.  This year, I canceled my registration [to T4G] and did not attend. 

Brent Detwiler‏ @BrentDetwiler 
Replying to @emschumacher @T4GOnline @R_Denhollander
You are exactly right.  Mahaney’s cover up of child sexual abuse for decades far exceeds what Patterson has done & yet Mohler has defended Mahaney every step of the way.
8:20 PM - 23 May 2018 

## 

Jacob Denhollander‏ @JJ_Denhollander
I am extremely grateful to see these words from the president of my school, @albertmohler.  There is much more work to do and many more hard conversations to be had.  @R_Denhollander and I hope to be helpful in anyway we can.
7:10 PM - 23 May 2018 

Brent Detwiler‏ @BrentDetwiler
Replying to @JJ_Denhollander 
The wrath of God has been poured out in part because Al Mohler, Mark Dever & other SB [Southern Baptist] leaders have fully defended C.J. Mahaney whose cover up of child sexual for decades far exceeds any evil done by [Paige] Patterson.  Call Mohler to account.
8:23 PM - 23 May 2018

Mohler can’t pretend to be a fount of wisdom for “the advice I have given consistently for many years.”  No, he is a main contributor to the wrath (as he explains it) that has come upon the Southern Baptist Convention and evangelical Christianity.  Who has “put the gospel we preach under a cloud” more than C.J. Mahaney and SGC with the help of Mohler, et al.?  

This week I was studying the book of Daniel.  Verse 8:25 says, “By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great.”  This is a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes IV.  He was an antichrist in the second century B.C.  Mahaney is not an antichrist but he has made “deceit prosper under his hand” “by his cunning.”  He has deceived so many willing national leaders with his skillful duplicity.   

Denhollander called for an investigation on February 13.  Galli and Christianity Today called for an investigation on March 22.  And now Mohler on May 23.  It doesn’t matter.  It will never happen because Mahaney, John Loftness, Gary Ricucci, and many others are guilty.   

That’s why six law firms and a cadre of lawyers fought to keep them out of civil court and in some cases, criminal court.  And that is why the unending disinformation campaign by Mark Prater, Bob Kauflin, Mickey Connolly, et al. continues including the condemnation of Rachael Denhollander.  And, of course, that is why Mahaney has steadfastly refused to defend himself in public. 

Mohler has known about Mahaney’s refusal to be investigated by an independent, third party from at least T4G 2018 on April 11-13.  That is when Mickey Connolly emphatically told Deana Holmes there would be no investigation of Mahaney or Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. 

Connolly is the senior pastor of CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, NC.  He is also the Director of Church Development for SGC.  That means he oversees all the regional leaders and elderships.  He is Mahaney’s closest confidante and I consider him the most influential leader in SGC after Mahaney.  No one has done more to cover up for Mahaney.  Connolly’s approach to leadership is cult-like.  Read here.  

“In his role as Director of Church Development, Mickey promotes and coordinates care for our churches and pastors by equipping, communicating, and working with our Regional Leaders, ensuring that there is a consistent standard of care experienced across our regions. He also helps develop and equip local elderships.” 

I didn’t know Deana Holmes but was told she would be protesting outside of the YUM Center at T4G and calling for an investigation of SGC.  Then I was told she was approached by Connolly.  I messaged her on Facebook. 

Facebook
Thursday, April 12, 2018 5:02pm


Brent:
Thanks Deana for being there taking a stand.  If possible, could you write me (when you have time) and fill me in on your conversation with Mickey Connolly.  I know him well.  No one has done more to cover up for C.J.

Deana:
It wasn’t a long conversation.  He came up to me from the YUM center direction, not from the street, where I was standing.  He’s a big guy, I kind of felt intimidated.

Anyway, he said he was Mickey from Charlotte and he’d talked to Rich Richardson yesterday and knew I was going to be out here.  Now I know Rich has an elite role in SGC as director of missions, so I was all, why would he be talking to me but I was pleasant and explained where I was at with this, which is pretty basic, we need an independent investigation.  Well, that’s not going to happen, he said.

Brent:
Did he explain why?

Deana:
I said that was unfortunate because that would be a cloud over SGC.  And he said again, there would be no investigation.  And no, he didn’t explain why.  I didn’t ask him, either.  Probably should have, but hey, I already know that CJ is dead set against it.

When I got back up to my room, I looked up to see who he was, found the SGC in Charlotte and saw he was a pastor there.

Brent:
Mickey is [also] the regional leader over C.J.’s church.

Deana:
I believe I may have told Mickey that I was still going to protest at the Gilbert church [Sovereign Grace Church of Gilbert].

Brent:
I bet he liked that idea.

Deana:
I know people disapprove, but it’s the only way to let these guys know that something has to change.

Brent:
Do you remember anything else he said besides “that’s not going to happen”?

Deana:
No.  He just said it a couple of times.  This is so bizarre.  Seriously, do they see me as a threat?

Brent:
What you are doing is right, courageous and a very legitimate way to draw attention to a VERY serious issue.  Leaders in SGC have conspired to commit and cover up the sexual abuse of children for decades.  We are not fussing over spilled milk.

Deana:
But I don’t understand why they’d come to me, I’m just a person.  I’m not Mark Galli of Christianity Today.

Brent:
Mickey didn’t like you out there.  Or out at Gilbert.  It is interesting he knows about you from Rich [Richardson].  That shows how closely they monitor things.  And then he made the extra effort to correct you.  Basically, stop asking.  NO INVESTIGATION.

Deana:
Still asking for an investigation.

Connolly couldn’t bear the thought that Deana had a sign calling for an investigation.  He sought her out to make sure she knew there was no chance of an investigation. 

While Mohler is not explicit in calling for “an independent, third-party investigation” of Mahaney and SGC, it is hard to interpret his words any other way.  His description fits Mahaney and SGC perfectly. 

“A church, denomination, or Christian ministry must look outside of itself when confronted with a pattern of mishandling such responsibilities, or merely of being charged with such a pattern.  We cannot vindicate ourselves.  That is the advice I have given consistently for many years.  I now must make this judgment a matter of public commitment.  I believe that any public accusation concerning such a pattern requires an independent, third-party investigation.  In making this judgment, I make public what I want to be held to do should, God forbid, such a responsibility arise.”

Obviously, this is not the advice he has given Mahaney and SGC until now.  And obviously, Mahaney and the entire Leadership Team of SGM have rejected his counsel.  So what does Mohler do now?  Here are some ideas. 

One, make explicit what is implicit.  Two, encourage other colleagues like Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan to call for an independent, third-party investigation.  Three, correct colleagues like Ray Ortlund who still recklessly defend Mahaney.  Four, don’t affiliate with Mahaney and SGC until they agree to an investigation.  Five, encourage other colleagues to do the same.  Six, ask Mahaney to step down from public ministry.  Seven, encourage him to cooperate with law enforcement even if it results in charges against himself.

Southern Baptist Convention
On Sexual Abuse of Children - Resolution 6
June 2013

RESOLVED, That we encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and/or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.

Statement from Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Albert Mohler
May 23, 2013

Our first response must be to call the police, to act to protect the child or young person, and then to proceed to biblical church discipline when the facts demand such a response. … A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. 

The Tragic Lessons of Penn State — A Call to Action
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. 
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State had been harboring a serial child sex abuser.  Also arrested were the university’s athletic director and its senior vice president of business and finance. Both were charged with failure to report the abuse and with perjury.

What about Paterno and the university’s president, Graham B. Spanier? The Pennsylvania grand jury said that both men had knowledge of the 2002 first-hand report of abuse, and neither contacted the police. …

When the facts became known, the firings of both Paterno and Spanier were inevitable and necessary. Both men had credible knowledge that young boys were being sexually abused, and neither did anything effective to stop it.  Most crucially, neither man did what they should have done within minutes of hearing the first report — contact law enforcement immediately.

This is the most important statement in Mohler’s article from my perspective.

“I now must make this judgment a matter of public commitment.  I believe that any public accusation concerning such a pattern requires an independent, third-party investigation.”

Notice the word “requires.”  That has serious implications for Mohler’s relationship with Mahaney and SGC.  How can he support a man and ministry that refuse to be  investigated for extremely serious and credible charges regarding a conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children over three decades?    

In his article, Mohler also said the following.

“No, our humiliation comes as a result of an unorganized conspiracy of silence.  Sadly, the unorganized nature of our problem may make recovery and correction even more difficult and the silence even more dangerous. … Did we win confessional integrity only to sacrifice our moral integrity? … The SBC, solidly conservative theologically, has been revealed to be morally compromised.”

There may be “an unorganized conspiracy of silence” in the SBC but there has been highly organized conspiracy of silence surrounding SGC and C.J. Mahaney.  The conspirators include, but are not limited to, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Don Carson, Justin Taylor, Wayne Grudem, Ray Ortlund, Rick Holland, and Ryan Fullerton.  All these men have defended Mahaney despite the evidence presented over the last 7 years.  Many others have endorsed Mahaney and SGC like those teaching in the Pastors College

Take for example Ray Ortlund.  He has acted so corruptly in relation to Mahaney and yet he puts himself forward as a man of integrity.  Read this post for example.  

Conclusive Evidence the Investigation of C.J. Mahaney’s Confessed Sins by Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, & Carl Trueman Was Thoroughly Corrupt
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 12:54PM

Furthermore, Ortlund told his 35,000 Twitter followers last Wednesday the allegations against Mahaney, Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Churches have been fully investigated and found to be false.  That is outrageous!  There has never been an investigation of SGC and the in-house investigation of CLC was done by a lawyer the pastors retained who did not contact victims and was precluded from reporting on criminal evidence due to attorney client confidentiality.  I hate this kind of disinformation. Ortlund is a false witness.

Ray Ortlund‏ @rayortlund
Concealing, submerging, ignoring, denying sin, even in years past -- our risen Lord will have none of it.  Either we bring it out in confession, or he will bring it out in humiliation.  Saving institutional face is no pathway to continued blessing.  Integrity is the only way.
9:49 AM - 23 May 2018

Kimberley Kay‏ @Kimberley_Kay_
Replying to @rayortlund
And this should include @R_Denhollander’s and @CTmagazine‘s request to SGC’s for an outside investigation for the victims in their churches as well.

Ray Ortlund‏ @rayortlund 
Replying to @Kimberley_Kay_ @R_Denhollander @CTmagazine
Thank you, friend.  In my judgment, these two church situations are very different.  And a false accusation is as sinful as a hidden abuse.  *Both* are real dangers in these perilous times.  Thanks again, and the Lord be with you.

Kimberley Kay‏ @Kimberley_Kay_ 
If it IS a false allegation, an independent investigation would vindicate those accused. And just to clarify, & I am sure you would agree; it is not sinful for Rachael or CT or anyone to ask for that for the sake of those who have come forward & for the sake of clarity & truth.

jeff_owens‏ @jeff_owens 
Ray, calling allegations false that have not been fully investigated seems to be in opposition to your previous statement.  Can you elaborate?  I’m genuinely asking.

Ray Ortlund‏ @rayortlund 
The allegations have been fully investigated.  Thanks.

Kimberley Kay‏ @Kimberley_Kay_ 
Not according to Rachael’s response here:
https://m.facebook.com/notes/rachael-denhollander/response-to-sovereign-grace-churches/1720170721396574/ …

RockyTopRev‏ @PastorJustinR 
@rayortlund, if you are going to claim the allegations are false, you also claim Rachael is being dishonest.  You can’t make a statement claiming the allegations are PROVEN false yet not respond to @R_Denhollander’s detailed response to SGM’s claim of vindication in this case.

Brent Detwiler‏ @BrentDetwiler 
Replying to @Kimberley_Kay_ @R_Denhollander @CTmagazine
The “independent investigation” of CLC was neither.  CLC retained a lawyer to do a partial internal review that w/held incriminating evidence.  Didn’t even talk to victims.  It was NOT “fully investigated.”  It was a cover up.  Those are the indisputable facts.
http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/brentdetwilercom/the-independent-investigation-of-sexual-abuse-at-covenant-li.html
1:59 PM - 24 May 2018

Ortlund is the one “concealing, submerging, ignoring, denying sin, even in years past -- our risen Lord will have none of it.” 

It is like Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan when I sent out The Documents to the Sovereign Grace pastors in July 2011.  The documents included Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine, A Final Appeal and Concluding Remarks.  Mohler and Duncan immediately condemned me.  And like the Second Amended Complaint (lawsuit), they didn’t even read them according to sources.  They were just following Mahaney’s directives.

Al Mohler
July 12, 2011

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 [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.

Ligon Duncan
July 12, 2011

If you have been confused or discouraged by things you have read on the internet [in the documents] concerning my friend C.J. Mahaney and his leave of absence from the board and presidency of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), I would encourage you to…ignore the assaults of wounded people on attack websites and blogs… It is clear that far from a scandalous cover up, our brothers at Sovereign Grace are taking these matters with utter seriousness and are endeavoring to walk in Gospel repentance and humility and fidelity.  C.J. knows of my complete love and respect for him… It would have been very easy for the leadership of SGM to ignore and dismiss these charges [in the documents], because so many of them are so evidently self-serving and spurious accusations.  But instead, the leadership of SGM has taken the high road, or rather they have chosen to go the way of self-examination, submission to outside review and correction, self-abasement and repentance.  It just makes me love and respect them all the more.

Denhollander has called for “a thorough independent investigation” “by a trusted organization with expertise.”

Galli has called for “a fresh and thorough independent investigation by an organization that specializes in these matters. 

Mohler has judged “that any public accusation concerning such a pattern [as in the case of SGC] requires an independent, third-party investigation.” 

Will this make a difference.  No, not at all.  Mahaney and SGC will not relent of their obstinacy. 

Mohler concludes his article, The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention, with these two paragraphs.

In Romans 1:18 we are told: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

This is just a foretaste of the wrath of God poured out.  This moment requires the very best of us.  The Southern Baptist Convention is on trial and our public credibility is at stake.  May God have mercy on us all.

One day soon, I pray Al Mohler realizes he is “on trial” for his part in destroying the “public credibility” of evangelical Christianity by suppressing the truth in unrighteousness about C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. which has resulted in the wrath of God being poured out. 

This moment requires the very best of Mohler.  He must repent of his hypocrisy and moral compromise and make a public confession of sin for his ungodly defense of Mahaney, whose sins have brought great reproach upon the gospel of Jesus Christ, stumbled thousands and thousands of Christians and resulted in the sexual abuse of children.  There has never been so great a scandal surrounding one man since the start of modern evangelicalism in the 1940’s. 

Mohler knows, I know, and Mahaney knows, more evidence will be coming out against him and SGC.  Yet, I doubt few national leaders who have supported him will repent even then.  Soli Deo gloria might be their theological motto but they have effectively lived for the glory of Mahaney alone.  It has always been, “We, along with many others, refuse to step away from C. J. in any way.”

Dear Lord, please forgive us for our human idolatry.  We are to have no other gods before you.  Turn our hearts away from the partiality and favoritism that protects those in power who do evil but benefit us in some way.  Teach us to truly live for your glory.  Amen.

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