Things have been fairly quiet concerning the sexual abuse scandal surrounding C.J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), and several organizations (churches and schools) named in a civil lawsuit filed approximately a year ago. Since Susan Burke filed the Maryland litigation, several significant events took place, events including:
- Mahaney stepping down as CEO of SGM in April
- Mahaney announcing three months later he would not participate in the 2014 Together for the Gospel Conference, April 8-10, 2014. The announcement came just after the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly adopted a resolution I originally proposed which resolved, in part, to "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." The resolution was yet another significant event happening since October, 2012.
- The Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition putting up a supporting statement for C.J. Mahaney contra the dozens of victims allegedly afftected by the child sex abuse scandal, a supporting statement that backfired prompting both supporting parties to either edit the statement of support for Mahaney or withdraw the supporting statement altogether. In addition, the confusing statements of support for Mahaney drew the reputable rebuttal of Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian, founder and attorney for G.R.A.C.E.--"a non-profit organization made up of highly trained and experienced multi-disciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront and respond to the sin of child abuse" (from their website), grandson of Billy Graham, and Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University Law School. Tchividijan's rigorous advocacy for sexually abused victims as well as his emboldened criticism of men like Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Justin Taylor, and others for publicly supporting C.J. Mahaney contra the sexually abused families and children may very well have set the stage for the public rebuke of and private intimidation toward family advocate and Christian Talk Show host, Janet Mefferd.
- The Together for the Gospel group rewrote its history leaving out any reference to C.J.Mahaney as one of the founding members (I'm indebted to a link on The Wartburg Watch for pointing out the change on Together for the Gospel website)
More could be listed as significant events taking place which signals the initial support for C.J. Mahaney appears to be waning at least in some visible ways.
However, there still remain some troubling events taking place concerning the continued support of C.J. Mahaney, especially unnecessary public support from high profile Southern Baptists. I'll mention two.
First, regardless of Together for the Gospel's rewriting of its history leaving out one of the key founding members, C.J. Mahaney, fellow Together for the Gospel founder, Al Mohler, remains close friends with Mahaney, so close in fact Mohler has offered unwavering support for C.J. Mahaney publicly insisting upon Mahaney's total innocence from any wrong-doing toward the sexually abused victims. Nor did Mohler fail to unequivocally defend Mahaney when specific charges of failed leadership were brought by prominent pastors in Mahaney's own denomination. Mohler publicly dismissed their complaints outright.
Not that being friends with Mahaney is morally inappropriate. However, it seems to me Mohler's public support for Mahaney continues to cross the threshold of proper discretion by dragging all Southern Baptists across the threshold with him. The fact is Al Mohler is an employee of Southern Baptists. He cannot and should not be empowered to jeopardize either our entities or our name by forging friendly liaisons with people or organizations who pose probable liability to us.
And, we so much as said so at the Southern Baptist Convention in June of this year by resolving to "encourage ... employees of the Southern Baptist Convention" to utilize the "highest sense of discernment" in their affiliations with "groups" or "individuals" that possess "questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse."
Even so, Al Mohler still affiliates closely with C.J. Mahaney by partnering with him in theological education. Note Mahaney's announcement on SGM's website concerning its partnership with our so-called flagship seminary:
Thus after Southern Baptists made it fairly clear we needed to avoid unhealthy liaisons with groups or individuals embracing questionable policies and practices in protecting children, apparently Al Mohler partners with C.J. Mahaney's group in a "degree-completion program" with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. My brothers and sisters, if that's not an in-your-face-Southern-Baptists decision, I frankly don't know what is.
The second example I offer is Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and its president, Danny Akin. In an ABP article1 entitled C.J. Mahaney returns to SEBTS, Bob Allen reports:
A preacher tainted by unproven allegations of covering up sexual abuse is returning to a Southern Baptist seminary campus after a convention resolution urged “discernment” about identifying with individuals perceived as being soft on pedophiles.
Thus, again we have a president who apparently seems not to care what Southern Baptists think and is determined to affiliate with whom he wants no matter if the affiliation is funded by Southern Baptists who clearly communicate reservations about the sponsorship. Moreover, were it not so tragic that Southeastern is now sponsoring Mahaney in the face of Southern Baptists' resolution, it's nothing less than a Georgia hoot to see the pictures of the platform lineup with C. J. Mahaney. Look who's listed two doors down from Mahaney on the speaker schedule:
What are we saying to the public, Southern Baptists?
What are we saying to abused victims, Southern Baptists?
What are we saying to the assembled messengers at the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists?
If I recall correctly, when the now faintly remembered Conservative Resurgence began, it began with charges toward what was going on in our seminaries.
What does that say about our seminaries, Southern Baptists?
1one can forget Southern Baptists' own newswire service Baptist Press reporting on anything whatsoever to do with C.J. Mahaney or anything at all for that matter that does not choke us with warm and fuzzy feelings about what's going on in Baptist life