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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 27, 2012 08:24PM


Thanks everyone for sharing -- enjoyed reading your stories. I’ve attended a SGM church in the DC area for well over 20 years -- still there and still happy. I was young when I joined but it wasn’t my 1st church -- I had already been a Christian for a few years so I wasn’t as impressionable and I think that helped me. No question about it, there was a shepherding/Gothard flavor to the movement in the early days -- “asking your caregroup leader before buying a car, etc…” As you can imagine, a lot of legalism -- set up to earn respectability through good behavior and towing the line.

IMHO, this has been lessening, especially in the past 8-10 years. The shift to more reformed theology and the focus on the gospel helped…or at least it helped me. I know that there has been a distinct shift in attitude in our church that moves toward more freedom and less legalism. I think the trouble is not every apostle, pastor or every care group leader got the memo… which speaks to one of the problems that SGM has. It doesn’t ever ‘fess up that it didn’t know or got it wrong. When you don’t correct these ills publicly -- like shepherding, legalistic practices, misuse of authority -- part of your leadership won’t get it and bad practices continue on and on… Yeah -- and there’s a pride that underlies all of this that lead SGMers to put their pastors on a pedestal and some pastors are too unwise and immature to stop that. Also, I think some of the pastors in the “bad old days” would take advantage of the service of the members and had a sense of entitlement. My wife was once drafted to clean the pastors home for a few months -- not a single thank you. But we booted that guy :-) and my current pastors are different -- I can truly tell you from my observation that they don’t expect to be served and if you serve them, they certainly don’t take it for granted.

I don’t doubt or diminish most of the stories here at all and some of the stories sadden me. However, if I may, I would say that my own experience is generally good. Here’s what I know -- my wife had a very serious life threatening illness and we were upheld because the pastors and the people of the church helped us in incredible ways. Not just meals and practical help but also emotionally and spiritually supporting us. My close relative passed away and they were there by our side. When one of my kids ran into troubled times, they didn’t make me feel bad but instead really just stood by me in a supportive way. I think in the past they might have responded differently but they have grown in their own maturity over the past few years….hey, like us, they can grow and learn too. Yeah, there’s still legalism at different points but through my travels of various churches, it’s not a unique problem…still not good though! At least in our church, I don’t think the pastors are the main drivers for this -- it’s just people not knowing the gospel and how it plays out in real life. Also, it can happen to the best of us (Check out Galatians 2 and what Peter did).

I’ve always maintained that historically SGM is tough for people who have a sensitive conscience and are struggling -- that said, I see changes that give me hope. Plus, I’m confident God is at work -- one way or another, it’ll get sorted out.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my story -- not spectacular and a little different. Blessings to you all.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 27, 2012 08:30PM


CLC 1989-2000.

Committed a sin. Confessed to a pastor. Repented. Years went by without any temptation in that area. I was totally over it. Then, I was confronted and told they should have dealt with my sin differently back when I had confessed it years earlier. I was told I had to follow certain “steps” they declared for me in order to be forgiven of my sin. What? I thought that whole cross thing was for real? I thought it was by grace that I was saved and not works. Now I have to work for my salvation? I was so confused. In private I was told I had “works” to do to earn my salvation. At church they talked about grace. I began to think that meant that the cross, Jesus, and grace was for everyone else but me. There was no hope for me -- only for everybody else. My sense of worth dropped to nothing. Ok. Maybe below nothing. I was depressed. angry. suicidal. unloved. unworthy. hopeless. If I did what they required that meant I had to “earn” their love and God’s and that was depressing. I knew I would just have to keep working and keep earning love and that depressed me. The constant struggle to earn their love was already exhausting me. So much to do to keep them all pleased and now there was more. I didn’t do what they required and I was shunned. unloved. unacceptable. That was depressing. No one tried to understand or ask what I was thinking or feeling. All I got from my so called brothers and sisters was a attitude of ‘do as you’re told or you are nothing’. So I believed I was nothing. I meant nothing to God. I had no one that loved me. No one. I responded very badly. I was so angry. Shunned. Scared. More anger. Condemnation. Divorced. Angry. Bitter. Depressed. Suicidal. Lost. Empty. What Do I do now? How do I live through each day without the daily interaction of leadership in my life?….years went by….so hopeless….then…

Church. An amazing pastor. Truth. Grace. Hope. Hope. Hope. Forgiveness. Freedom. Joy. Love. Whole. I love who I am. I am a woman. I really love who I am. I love who I am in Christ. God’s daughter. Beautiful. Made in God’s image. Righteous. Amazed by God. Amazed by Grace. Good news!! Peace. Changed. HOPE. I love Christ’s bride. I love the church. I am Giving. Serving. Loving others. Enjoying God. Really enjoying God. He is awesome! You know, the hard part of telling your story here or anywhere is the sin trump card that CLC holds. It works like this: My sin was 23 years ago. I am so over it. I have no temptation or struggle with that sin at all. BUT, CLC people would throw down that sin like a trump card -- act like it just happened yesterday. Anything to discredit someone else in order to pump up their own reputation. They would do that without any knowledge of the woman I am today. I use my real name because I think using someone’s confession as a trump card is wrong. It was wrong for CJ to do it to Larry. Wrong for anyone at CLC to do that to me or anyone else. The fact and sum of my life is that I love Jesus SO much, because I have been forgiven much. So, I use my real name. They can use the sin card but I will use the grace card. I truly believe in grace. Jesus’ blood was enough for my sin. The gospel really is good news! A big thank you to all who had the courage to share where at SGM they have been and their stories. And, a big hug for those that are still afraid to share. I understand. Love and hugs to you out there. In the words of Jason Gray: “I won’t deny, the worst you can say about me. But, I’m not defined by mistakes that I’ve made because God says I’m free.” My freedom was beyond costly. A cost I can’t even comprehend. Thanks be to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May the rest of my life bring glory to Him!

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 27, 2012 08:38PM


I was never a member of a PDI/SGM church so maybe I don’t have the right to post, but my wife was. She got out around 20 years ago and still carries the emotional and spiritual scars from the neglect and abuse she received at PDI Fairfax.

She was run ragged with church activities and squeezed financially for the building fund ( like everyone else ). She suffered from depression and was told she shouldn’t seek professional help. She went to the leaders with her concerns about the terrible situation at home with her mother’s drinking problem and was minimized and ignored. When her stepfather came on to her she went to the pastor (someone she knew personally) and was blown off and told she had misunderstood things. This was the same pastor who later tried to covered up child sexual abuse ( Happy Mom’s testimony). They were supposed to be looking after her the way a good shepherd would his flock but they treated the victim as the problem.

Finally she had to choose between mental/ emotional health and this insane church system. All those people at that church and especially in here home group who said they loved and cared for her were not sympathetic and loving but shut her out. She lost her relationship with a family where she had helped raise their kids and was practically a member of the family. We were not married or in contact at the time all this took place or I would have helped her. These days I listen to her as she continues to struggle with the sense of betrayal and frustration and the negative messages she brought away about how God sees her and what he expects. I hold her as she cries. She is still afraid that they can hurt her again. On occasion we have argued about attending church. I want to but thanks to PDI/SGM she wants nothing to do with God’s people even though she loves the Lord.

It infuriates me that this harm was done to her (and so many others) supposedly in Jesus’s Name. While I applaud Brent Detwiler for coming forward as he has done I have little sympathy for him or CJ. If this was done in the name of secular politics or as part of corporate culture it would still be reprehensible but that would be expected. Yes Paul corrected Peter in the matter of the Judyisers but nowhere does it say that there was “degifting” or blackmail. CJ and Brent were leaders in this system that perpetrated this fraud and this abuse. If it has come around to bite them, I find a certain poetic justice in that. I believe in God’s forgiveness and that we are to forgive one another, but it tends to be couple to repentance. If the road that brings these men (and the rest of the leadership) to repentance is not a comfortable journey…oh well.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 27, 2012 08:43PM


We have been members of CLC for over 11 years. Our church experience was varied, from liturgical to evangelical, but in CLC we found a good combination which met our needs. We were cautious at first since we knew CJ and SGM by reputation (mostly bad reports from outsiders and damaged former members) but decided to proceed with care and discernment.

As I read through the blog testimonies, my heart is saddened by what has happened to so many people. We have not had these experiences; we have learned to seek God for ourselves, and use the church and pastoral input as adjuncts, not principals. Maybe this has made us less vulnerable.

An example – if I became aware through evidence of a child molestation, I would call the police…no question. NOT the pastor. I might call him later, but first I’d see the offender locked up. Period.

My children have all graduated college and gone on to post-bac degrees – boys AND girls! To discourage anyone from higher education in this day and age is wrong – especially women. Period.

If I have a Bible or theology question, I look up the answer for myself. Later I’ll discuss with my husband the wonderful truth I am finding, and seek his input as well. I have never in our marriage asked for permission to do anything. My husband has too much respect for me and my intelligence to require that. Period.

We probably don’t fit the mold, and for that I am eternally grateful. We have formed deep and abiding friendships at CLC, and appreciate and respect the pastors for their dedication and hard work. In this challenging time we face, I truly believe that Joshua and the pastoral staff are committed to healing and transparency, as well as reconciliation. I know that my husband and I are, and seek it out.

But that is us – I realize that the heavy handed disciplines and the “from the top” authority structure can be devastating to those with issues pressuring them to conform for acceptance. I cannot even imagine how painful it must be for those deeply hurt by these practices. But we are praying for you, and I hope you will pray for us.

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. “—Psalm 25:4-5

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 27, 2012 08:54PM


i still do not have home internet and it is too hot to walk to the library, so i shall attempt to type my story on my phone. please excuse typos and grammar. :-)

i started attending sg church of Fairfax the week before i turned 5 in 1988 and left essentially a week before i turned 21 in 2004. i left originally to go away to college and then permanantly that Christmas when a girl in my cg rebuked me for missing church because she “hadn’t seen me in the past few weeks”. i had been away at college for an entire semester. :-P i moved to another sgm church and am currently a member there, although hubby and i are moving to the arlington church as hubby got a job cl9ose to there. a number of people assumed i would go back to Fairfax and i told them not if they paid me. :-p

i was never molested or sexually misused in any way at Fairfax. but, i was fed YEARS of legalism, that for me only got WORSE after mark came not better. as a child i was told not to talk to kids who went to public school, i was spanked for every infraction because that is what the church told my parents to do, and my mom was told by my youth pastors wife (before lg it was kj) that the worst decision a mom can make for her 13 year old is to stop spanking her. but these things could have been true for most churches in the late 80′s early 90′s. what was really damaging for me was the constant telling me i was not good enough.

i was not quiet enough, godly enough, mature enough, or a lot of other “enoughs”. i had a mom who stopped homeschooling any of us when i was 15 but kept having babies that she would promptly hand off to me to raise. i had a dad who would routinely yell and scream so loud that kids would be sobbing in a corner and would lift a kid up with one hand and smack them with the other. neither of my parents went to church much in my teen years, and yet no one in the church EVER asked. and, being loyal to my parents was my number one priority so i never said anything to anyone.

when i hit about 18 i stopped trying to match up and started forcing myself to vomit, not eating, dying my hair incessently. yeah i wanted attention, but it was so someone would see how much i was hurting inside. i routinely contemplated suicide, but everytime i would ask for help i was told i was seeking attn or sinning or not trusting God.

in desperation i called dh to tell him my sibs hadn’t done school in 4 years and he laid on verses about honoring my parents and told me to confess to my dad my slander. (he apologized since) my mom at one point called him to ask how a godly wife can encourage her husband to lead and he told her the same slander baloney. his bro vh told me i wasn’t saved because i was bulimnic and “real christians don’t sin like that.” i had like 5 sgm people tell me that over one summer. i called lg and his wife for counseling and they put for off for MONTHS had one mtg with me and told me because i hadn’t thrown up in like 2 weeks i wasn’t really bulimnic. an older friend, married 2 kids, was told by dh to stop being my friend because i was never going to change and it was stressing her.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 28, 2012 04:50PM


The only appropriate place to begin this letter is by expressing my gratefulness. My heart is filled with gratitude to God for all who are involved in Sovereign Grace Ministries, who have trusted God and patiently endured a difficult season in our history. First, I want to thank the interim board. These men were handed a most unexpected and unappealing assignment, and for the past six months they have served and sacrificed on behalf of all of us in Sovereign Grace. I simply cannot thank these men enough. Many thanks are also due to the wives and children of the board members for supporting them during this challenging time. And I want to thank the panelists who accepted a most unenviable assignment requiring countless hours of complex and concentrated work. Finally, I want to thank each of the pastors and each of the members of Sovereign Grace churches for your patience and trust in God during this process. I know it has been a difficult and confusing time for many of you. And I am sorry for the challenge it has presented to our pastors—the men I respect the most—and the members of our churches—precious ones for whom Christ died and for whom we have the great privilege to serve. I deeply regret where my mistakes, leadership deficiencies, and sins contributed to the relational conflicts detailed in these reports. And I am truly grateful for your support throughout this trying time. So with all my heart I want to say thank you.

Over the last six months I’ve spent many hours reflecting upon Sovereign Grace, our history together, and our purpose and mission. I’ve also taken time to think and pray about my calling and how I might best serve Sovereign Grace in this new season before us. I have sought counsel from friends and leaders within SGM and in the broader evangelical church. There is much work for SGM to do in the years ahead, and I want to do all I can to make this work fruitful. The opportunities for church planting in this country and throughout the world are numerous. The requests we receive for help exceed our resources. And one can’t help but be excited about the immediate future given the present Pastors College class and the church planting ventures we have planned for the next few years.

In light of all of this, here is how I think I can best serve you in the days ahead: as I step back into the role as president, I will do so only temporarily. I think it would be wise for SGM to have a new president who has gifts better suited to serve Sovereign Grace in this next season. I love SGM and I want the best for SGM. Lord willing, I look forward to serving SGM more effectively in a different role. So my return will be temporary and with a few important intentions. Let me briefly explain what they are. First, I want to give immediate attention to helping the interim board transfer governance to their successors. In 2010 we began considering how to expand the SGM board and better define their role in evaluating and overseeing the president. Now that the interim board has served its purpose, it is time for us to complete the transition to a more permanent expanded board. I look forward to seeing this process through and benefitting from the leadership that an expanded board will provide for Sovereign Grace. Despite the many evidences of grace in our midst, I’m aware of a number of present weaknesses in SGM and some past failings; as our president, I take full responsibility for these and I am grateful that with a new board in place we can together continue to address these issues. Second, once the new board is formed I want to assist them however I can in identifying and installing my successor as president, although that decision will be for the board to make. There are a few other matters I want to address in my remaining time as president, all of which is subject to the priorities that the board establishes for me. But I hope these primary goals can be accomplished within the next few months.

After supporting the board through these important transitions, I hope to return to what I believe is my primary calling from God – pastoral ministry and the pulpit. This plays a significant role in why my return as president is temporary. Let me explain. I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed. Others seem to agree. And I think I have neglected this call to preach for a number of years as I have endeavored to serve as president. Over the past five years many faithful friends have brought this concern to my attention and impressed upon me the importance of preaching as a primary means of my serving and leading. However moved I was by their concerns and encouragement, the many responsibilities of the presidential role would quickly preoccupy me again and the effect of their counsel would subside. Over the past six months I have seen more clearly than ever the wisdom of their counsel. So I think the most effective way I can serve Sovereign Grace is by planting a church and leading a local congregation through faithful expository preaching and teaching, as well as serving Sovereign Grace in other tasks and roles the board might recommend for me. I also hope to continue to serve the broader church where strategic opportunity and invitation present themselves, as I have with my good friends in Together for the Gospel. I simply can’t wait to get started. And I can proceed into this future confidently when our new board and president are in place. So that is what I am returning to do and why my return as president will be temporary. I would be most grateful for your support in prayer in this season of transition.

For the past 30 years God has been merciful to Sovereign Grace Ministries. This is the theological explanation for any fruitfulness in SGM. And He has not ceased to be merciful to us during this challenging season. His mercy has been evident in countless ways. I wish there was space to rehearse them for you. In God’s gracious providence I believe much good and growth will come from this season that will serve us as we move forward, as well as serve a future generation we won’t live to see. God is sovereign, good and wise, and His good purpose for His church and for our small contribution to the advance of the gospel cannot ultimately be frustrated. And now I look forward to a new season where we give ourselves to proclaiming the gospel, planting and supporting churches, and caring for pastors in the 22 countries where we presently serve, as well as the different parts of the world God may call us to serve in the days ahead. So let me conclude where I began, by expressing my gratefulness to you. Thank you for making this mission possible by the way you serve in your local church and support SGM. Thank you. It is an unspeakable honor and joy to serve the Savior with you and be numbered among you.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 29, 2012 12:07AM


Here is an incident that happened just last week. It shows the continuing ramifications of Noel’s and Grizzly’s story, or, rather, of the coverup.

Background Note: One thing that made the N/G story so sad is that all parties were in the same homegroup;one of two that split and merged over many years. I was in it for 12 years and it had existed well before that. The relationships in that group were strong.

Background Note 2: The behavior of the perp in the N/G story was by no means an isolated incident within his family, but was part of a pattern. Three of perp’s Mom’s brothers that I know of (there were nine kids in all, I think) were sex offenders. One of Mom’s brothers raped her as a young girl. Perp’s stepdad was mentally ill and we believe may have molested perp. He later committed suicide. [one sentence redacted by Guy]. Perp’s relationship with his Mom, though not physically incestuous, was certinly more spousal than parent/child. A toxic family, really, and very, very closed off to outside influences.

My grown daughters and myself are all on Facebook now and (as everyone does) through Facebook we keep in touch with folks we’ve known. Some of those people are from Fairfax and the homegroup(s.) Last week a young woman, Mary, who grew up in FCC and now lives in Maryland posted a request for a room to rent for herself and her own daughter (seven years old.) Another lady, Phyllis, from the local area and
homegroup(s) recommended that she rent a room in Mom’s house. Yes, really. My grown daughter, a mother of three young girls herself, and a veteran of all this, fired off a sizzling Facebook post to the effect that Mom’s house is a haven of pedophiles and child molesters. Hard to argue with that. Some days after that, Stephanie, another very old friend who was also a close friend and neighbor of Mom, scolded my daughter on Facebook for that comment. She said it was untrue, offensive, inappropriate, and so forth, and that it should have been shared in private. I’m happy to report that my girl fired right back that it was true and reminded her of the facts of perp’s actions. She said protecting children is always appropriate.

As I said, this happened just last week. I echo dear Noel in saying that it’s time to put the truth out there and let parents protect their children.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 29, 2012 10:11PM


Speaking of advocating for perpetrators…

I received an email from someone yesterday who expressed dismay at the embarrassing negative attention being directed these days toward “Mr. A” of “exCLCer’s” story. This person basically defended the idea that “Mr. A” has a band comprised mostly of young people and (I’m putting this in my own words) expressed the sentiment that after so many years of staying clean, “Mr. A” ought to be allowed to move on with his life. This person asserted that “Mr. A” has always been very humble and open about his past…and implied that therefore, he has earned back some trust, to the point where it’s OK for him to have this band.

I wrote this in response:

I think it’s a very tricky thing, the question of how we as Christians should respond to someone who has committed a sin/crime like child sex abuse. On the one hand, the gospel calls upon us to believe that God can change people. On the other hand…well…I don’t think SGM would be dealing with the fallout of these badly handled situations if pastors had been more open to looking at the harsh realities of what goes on in the mind of a pedophile. Yes, Mr. A may never again have acted on the sick thoughts he probably has to fight off daily. God may have worked a slow miracle in his mind. Mr. A may really and truly be totally open and honest about his past problems.

But on a gut level, as a parent myself, there’s just something that “squicks me out” when I see that one of his hobbies – how he has chosen to spend his free time – involves hanging out and playing in a band with young people. Most of us adults don’t devote a lot of leisure to seeking out additional ways to spend time with kids. You know Mr. A personally, of course, and I’m not presuming to be smarter about this situation than you are…but…on a common sense level, I would think it’s not a good idea for someone who’s been to jail for raping a child to be enabled to spend any more time with kids than he absolutely has to.

I mean, we’d agree, probably, that it wouldn’t be wise for a convicted embezzler to seek out opportunities to help with the church’s books. Most people would be outraged at the thought that the church would take a risk like that. And yet an embezzler is dealing only with money. A pedophile messes with precious children and scars them in unimaginable ways for the rest of their lives.

Yes, God can (and does) change people. But all the research that’s out there – even though it’s from “secular” sources – shows us that people who have sexual desires for children, particularly those who have acted on them at one point or another, struggle intensely in ways that the rest of us cannot imagine.

Also, I don’t know if you’ve followed the blog comments at all, but there have been several postings where it’s been revealed that Mr. A has indeed spent time with kids (at a father-daughter campout) whose parents had no idea about his past and were horrified to learn of it.

I guess I just don’t understand the thinking behind extending that level of trust to someone who’d committed such a heinous crime. Even if Mr. A has been “clean” for 25 years, or 50 years, there’s always the chance that he’ll slip up again. When kids are the potential victims, it seems foolish and cavalier to stand by and enable scenarios like Mr. A’s band.

Again, I’m not trying to say that I know more than you do or am wiser than you are with respect to dealing with Mr. A. I’m just sharing how I think it looks from the outside. I go back to my analogy about the embezzler. Or even – and this is probably a better analogy – what would you say to the alcoholic who wanted to pursue a hobby working as a bartender in his off hours? Or to the person who’d been addicted to prescription drugs who wanted to work in a pharmacy? I think we’d both agree what we’d consider “wise counsel” in those scenarios…and in those scenarios, the only potential victims are the perpetrators themselves. When kids are put at risk, it just seems like a no-brainer that extra caution – the highest caution – would be exercised.

Later, I realized I needed to add a couple of thoughts, so I wrote this person again with the following:

I don’t mean to wear your ear out, but I had a couple more thoughts I wanted to share.

I agree with you that it’s unfortunate that Mr. A and his family are suffering additional embarrassment because of the public comments made about Mr. A’s past on the blog. However, that is the sad reality of the type of sin Mr. A committed. I think it’s clear throughout scripture that even the wrongs God has forgiven and forgotten can continue to have ramifications on this earth. Surely Mr. A’s subsequent wife should have anticipated this sort of thing when she chose to marry him and go on to have additional children with him.

Also, the A family’s embarrassment at these remarks would seem to contradict the notion that Mr. A has been a completely open book about his past.

SGM Survivors

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 29, 2012 10:15PM

C.J. Mahaney Takes a Leave of Absence Over ‘Serious’ Charges
July 12, 2011

C.J. Mahaney, president of Sovereign Grace Ministries, announced on Wednesday that he is taking a leave of absence from his leadership position.

In a blog post on SGM's website, Mahaney says pastors and leaders within Sovereign Grace have made charges against him and other leaders over the last few years, and he is taking a leave of absence “in order to give time to considering these charges, examine my heart and receive the appropriate help from others.”

Mahaney says the charges, which have been difficult to read, “are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment and hypocrisy.”

Although his departure from the Gaithersburg, Md.-based ministry may have come as a surprise to many, “a process has been unfolding over a number of months in which the board has sought to evaluate charges against C.J., assist him in examining his heart and pursuing reconciliation, and bring accountability and guidance to him in this process,” SGM Acting President Dave Harvey wrote in a blog post.

Harvey also said the board is examining charges against the ministry and is “in the process of securing help from an outside organization that can conduct a thorough and objective review of the charges being brought against C.J. and SGM.”

The length of Mahaney's leave of absence depends on findings from the independent panel, and the board will determine what Mahaney's duties will consist of upon his return.

Mahaney has acknowledged some of his mistakes and is looking to biblical counselor Dr. David Powlison and Pastor Mark Dever. “I have enlisted them to serve me personally during this time and to ensure this process of examining my heart and life is as thorough as possible,” Mahaney wrote.

He also took responsibility for SGM's problems and said he has begun to repent of sins he's committed while in leadership.

“For the past five years or so I have become increasingly aware of certain deficiencies in my leadership that have contributed to deficiencies in Sovereign Grace Ministries’ structure and governance, the lack of a clear and consistent process of conflict resolution and pastoral evaluation, and the number of former Sovereign Grace pastors who are offended with me/SGM,” he explains.

“My friends, though my soul can be easily overwhelmed as I contemplate my sin and its effects on others, I am also resolved to examine my heart, address the past, and play my role in preparing SGM for a future of planting and serving churches,” Mahaney wrote.

The leaders at SGM continue to support Mahaney and his actions.

“The charges against C.J. are serious, but his response has been one of self-examination and, when possible, specific confession to those sinned against,” Harvey wrote. “We ... believe the leave of absence is appropriate in the present circumstances to afford C.J. the time to reflect upon his heart and to allow an independent panel space to conduct its review.”

Mahaney has become a well-known pastor in his time at SGM, and has published several books. He was senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg for 27 years.

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Re: Sovereign Grace Ministries
Posted by: Maranatha Trail ()
Date: August 29, 2012 10:16PM

C.J. Mahaney Reinstated at Sovereign Grace
World magazine
January 26, 2012
Mickey McClean

The board of directors of Sovereign Grace Ministries announced Wednesday that it had unanimously decided to reinstate C.J. Mahaney as president of the Maryland-based church-planting ministry, effective immediately.

Mahaney, the ministry’s co-founder, began a voluntary leave of absence June 30 after facing accusations from former Sovereign Grace leader Brent Detwiler, whose charges against Mahaney included pride, deceit, and hypocrisy.

The board, which created three panels to review the allegations, said in its statement, “After examining the reports of these three review panels, we find nothing in them that would disqualify C.J. from his role as president, nor do they in any way call into question his fitness for gospel ministry.”

In its announcement, the board stated that these reports confirmed that Mahaney is a man and minister of integrity. “As with all ministers of the gospel, C.J. is not infallible, and this fact is not lost on him,” the board reported. “And so we also affirm that throughout this process of evaluation, C.J. has made genuine confession to the appropriate parties and has demonstrated a desire to grow in areas of weakness.”

In a letter in response to the board’s action, which was posted on his blog Wednesday, Mahaney thanked the board members and their families, the people on the review panels, and the pastors and members of Sovereign Grace churches.

“I know it has been a difficult and confusing time for many of you,” wrote Mahaney. “And I am sorry for the challenge it has presented to our pastors—the men I respect the most—and the members of our churches—precious ones for whom Christ died and for whom we have the great privilege to serve. I deeply regret where my mistakes, leadership deficiencies, and sins contributed to the relational conflicts detailed in these reports. And I am truly grateful for your support throughout this trying time.”

Mahaney added he would only step back into the role of president temporarily: “I think it would be wise for SGM to have a new president who has gifts better suited to serve Sovereign Grace in this next season. I love SGM and I want the best for SGM. Lord willing, I look forward to serving SGM more effectively in a different role.”

In seeking what he believes to be his “primary calling from God,” Mahaney said he would like to return to pastoral ministry and the pulpit. For 27 years, Mahaney served as pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., the church that initiated Sovereign Grace Ministries. In 2004, he stepped down from the pastorate in order to work full time with Sovereign Grace.

“I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed,” Mahaney wrote. “Others seem to agree. And I think I have neglected this call to preach for a number of years as I have endeavored to serve as president.”

Mahaney indicated that he would like to plant a new church while continuing to work with Sovereign Grace in whatever role the board might recommend for him.

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