Statement by PCA Senior Pastor James Kessler on C.J. Mahaney Preaching at T4G

I was getting ready to leave for the day when I saw this in my Facebook feed. It is too good to pass up, and I wanted to turn it into a quick post. James Kessler is the Senior Pastor at New City Presbyterian Church in Hilliard, Ohio. Can anyone say it better than this?


Look no one really wants to hear this, certainly not the 10,000 dutifully nodding through CJ Mahaney’s sermon or singing along with Bob Kauflin, one of CJ’s most steadfast supporters, not the men standing on the stage with CJ, who have chosen an unconscionable loyalty to a friend and encouraged him to take the horns of the pulpit to preach and to rip apart the wounds of so many abused under his watch. No one wants to hear this, not the men of my own denomination, who, make no mistake, will yet hear from their brothers over this awful sadness.

No one wants to hear about it, and I suppose that is their luxury because they are not the wounded, they are not the abused who were told to forgive and not to call the police. They are not plagued by nightmares, they are more fully functional if not more fully human. That hardness of hearing is their luxury, but it is privilege taxed from the bent backs of the humiliated, it is an arrogance woven from bruised reeds.

This is, of course, nothing new. This abuse is decades old, but the new thing is the whitewash. The new thing is the happy embrace from supporters who know the record but have chosen to forsake the sheep who are harassed and helpless. New is the audacity of building a conference on the back of an abuser, inviting 10,000 Christians, many of whom teach the Scriptures on Sundays, and claiming the side of the King who loves the bruised reed, who loves the one caught among thorns, who hates the suffering of his little ones. This audacity is new. They know, but they do not care. It must stop. The men and women who believe they are graced by the aroma of heaven this week cannot smell, they cannot see, they cannot hear.

The church has had to wrestle with unity since the beginning, since Judas, since James and John. Since African Americans were treated to the gospel at the crack of a whip, the glory hidden by the shawl of Jim Crow. The church has always sought unity but finds it elusive. Today, this week, is no different. There is no togetherness for the gospel when the victim stands alone.