Kevin DeYoung responds to Todd Pruitt at Mortification of Spin on C.J. Mahaney. Kevin’s post reveals his corruption and why the Christian community should not expect anything substantial from Kevin. These are my thoughts on what Kevin said, Jenn’s amazing comment from SGM Survivors, and my amazement with the strong pushback. Plus today four years ago a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington under the shepherding of Jordan Kauflin gave birth to a false accusation that took aim at my name, ability to earn income, and more. Today is a dark anniversary and why I care and write about some of these issues.
“I repeat my motive in all of this: The reputation of our Lord, his church, the Doctrines of Grace, complementarianism, and biblical church discipline are taking a beating over this scandal. The damage being done is significant.”
Todd Pruitt in response to SGMGate
“I assume you are referring to CJ Mahaney. How does the fact that so many churches left the SGM network while CJ Mahaney was in charge affect your comments?”
“I have come to learn in life where you smell smoke , there is fire. I have read all of the emails that Mahaney and the other SGM leaders sent to each other. I was in SGM for almost 25 years. I was there. More importantly, I have read THEIR OWN WORDS from their own emails. They are not above reproach. Mahaney has implicated himself in coverup, blackmail, deceit and all other types of things that shouldn’t be named amoung Saints. We all can put the most godly face on in front of friends and associates. It’s what happens behind closed doors and in the dark that God is most concerned about. Sorry, Mahaney fails the test. Shame on T4G for not listening to the flock of Christ and believing themselves more wise than those who KNOW!”
So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
1 Timothy 3:2 NLT
In a Mortification of Spin post published on April 9, 2016 Todd Pruitt said that Mahaney should not speak at T4G. He listed all the reasons why and said his views have changed in light of the additional information that has come out. You can read that post here. He followed up with another post in which he tried to clarify his remarks. You can read that follow up post right here. Those posts hit a nerve apparently in Kevin DeYoung who wrote a blog post called ‘What Does It Mean for an Overseer to Be “Above Reproach” and “Well Thought of By Outsiders”’?
In that post Kevin says the following:
Let’s start with what the requirements cannot mean. Surely, Paul is not saying that a man who would serve as an elder or pastor must be without any enemies or any accusations, for elsewhere in his correspondence to Timothy, Paul intimates that many have opposed him, deserted him, and been ashamed of him (2 Tim. 1:8, 15, 16; 4:10, 14-16). Moreover, we know from Paul’s other letters he was accused of being everything from fickle and foolish, to overly weak and overly harsh (2 Cor. 1:12-23; 10:1-10). Likewise, in Acts, Paul is often derided as a rabble-rouser, a violator of the Torah, and an enemy of the law of Moses (e.g., Acts 21:27-36). Paul was certainly not above reproach in the eyes of his opponents, neither did he have a good reputation with all outsiders.
We see this same dynamic even more plainly with Jesus. If anyone could be labeled “controversial” or “embattled” or “haunted by serious allegation” or “surrounded by scandal,” it was Christ. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34), a false prophet (Luke 7:39), a Sabbath breaker (Luke 6:2, 7), a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), insane (Mark 3:21), demon-possessed (John 10:19-20, 31-33), and a blasphemer (Matt. 26:57-67). He died as a convicted criminal with hardly a public friend in the world. He was, as Rich Mullins put it, “a man of no reputation.”
So unless we want to exclude Paul and Jesus from serving as an overseer in the church, we must conclude that being above reproach and being well thought of by outsiders must mean something other than, “everyone likes this guy; he has no enemies and no accusations against him.” Not only is this standard untenable for almost anyone who has a public profile in today’s social media world, it’s not biblically consistent. The qualifications in 1 Timothy and Titus must mean something else.
Kevin goes on and writes the following:
It’s telling that Paul begins both lists—the one to Timothy and the one to Titus—with the requirement that an elder be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6). This characteristic serves as a general heading for the entire list of qualifications. In other words, a man is “above reproach” when he is known to be a man who is faithful to his wife, sober minded, self-controlled, a good manager of his home, gentle, respectable, and so on. Since Paul is writing to pastors or local churches, it stands to reason that the arbiters of whether an overseer is “above reproach” are those on the local level who are close enough to attest (or contest) a man’s character. The gist: your elders and pastors should be examples of godly graces and Christian maturity.
If the requirement to be “above reproach” focuses on the discernment of the local believers, the qualification to “be well thought of by outsiders” concerns the wider non-believing community. Again, knowing what we do about Jesus’ public ministry, the requirement must not be pressed to mean that the elder must be universally beloved by the unregenerate world. Rather, the issue for us, as it was for Ephesus, is that “the leadership of the church should bring no unnecessary disrepute upon the church through improper and immoral actions” (Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 183).
Jenn from SGM Survivors Comments on Kevin’s Blog
There are a lot of good comments and while a couple have been deleted what amazes me is that many still remain. Its the norm at The Gospel Coalition to delete other points of view and act with authoritarianism. After all that is what is known in this movement. But of all the outstanding comments left, Jenn’s comment I wanted to single out and highlight.
Are you supporting CJ because it is the goal of your organizations to lean towards abusive leadership models? Aren’t the 12,000 of us in his wreckage evidence enough? Has anyone asked the members of CLC how they are doing in the aftermath of his abandonment and refusal to reconcile or communicate with ANYONE? Have you explored how they are spiritually coping with this tremendous act of hypocrisy against all we have been taught? Have you spoke to ANY of them? I will send you a church directory from five years ago if you would like and you can spend the day making calls asking how people are holding up? Do they still go to church? Do they believe in God? Do their children? Do you have broken relationships because of CJ’s actions? Are you aware of the families and marriages that have split regarding their loyalties to CJ in his sin? Do you realize, those of us who survived the first wave of church splits regarding SGM will now have to weather another barrage of church splits regarding loyalties to The Gospel Coalition or Together for the Gospel because you have his back? What does that say to us about God when prominent spiritual leaders endorse a man who spiritually abused his flock? The flock who sought to make his life such a joy? How were we to know in our loyal covenant with CJ as our leader that actually HE would be the greatest hindrance to the Gospel in our family’s lives. Doesn’t that count for anything? If you side with him, WE have nowhere to go. Literally spent the day Googling churches asking for ones in town that were not associated with T4G or TGC. Starting over…or not. T4G allowing him to speak felt like the pastors and people at CLC were assaulted.
Did C.J. Mahaney Give Kevin DeYoung Money?
First of all I wanted to write about this sooner but I am committed to writing about Community Evangelical Free Church and I needed to get out a couple of posts. I promised Melody Young that I would do this post. There have been a couple of good posts that have already been written about this situation. Brent Detwiler wrote a great post on this situation which you can read here. My East Coast Mom’s blog The Wartburg Watch also did a post which you can read here. This post was written by Deb.
What first went through my head when I read that post by Kevin DeYoung is the following. I wondered if C.J. Mahaney had given money to Kevin DeYoung, and if those financial gifts have corrupted him. I say this for a number of reasons. First of all we know that Al Mohler and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have accepted at least $200,000. We also know that Wayne Grudem was bankrolled by Sovereign Grace as he finished the ESV translation. This by the way is one of the many reasons why I reject the ESV and won’t use it….its tainted by scandal and corruption. Then you also have this account of Mark Dever receiving money from C.J. Mahaney. Now I am of the opinion that C.J. Mahaney gave a lot more in regards of money to Mark Dever. This by any means is not all the money that I believe traded hands. I believe more will come out in time. In all these transactions what I believe happened is that people were corrupted. The other possibility that exists is that since C.J. Mahaney allegedly blackmailed Larry Tomczak, the possibility exists that C.J. has some kind of dirt on others and they fearing being blackmailed go along with him. Either way what comes into play, is something dark, shady and corrupt.
Analysis of the Situation and How This SGM Scandal Affected Me
We should not be surprised that Kevin DeYoung is going to support C.J. Mahaney. After all remember this bastardized statement when Kevin, along with Justin Taylor and D.A. Carson attacked someone who was raped when they were 13? I have written about Justin Taylor here and Carson’s complicity and the silence by the Evangelical Free denomination led me to pen this post and pose the question…if the Evangelical Free is a safe place for sexual assault victims.
Here is my analysis of the post by Kevin DeYoung. First the obtuse, yet indirect ways show that Kevin needs to work on his communication skills. If you are going to say anything at all, say if openly or don’t say anything at all. If you have to read something, and then try and translate it, well then I am of the persuasion that you shouldn’t say anything at all. This piece shows how enamored and spiritually lost Kevin DeYoung is, for him the Gospel is about the celebrity culture. The fact that he it teaching should give many people pause in that he keeps plowing forward, and in his corruption creating more and more harm. Kevin’s comparisons of C.J. Mahaney to the apostle Paul fall far short. After all ask yourselves this my friends…do you find any incidents in the New Testement where Paul practiced blackmail on Barnabas or anyone else? Did you find anything in the New Testament where Paul allegedly covered up child sex abuse? The fact that Kevin is so desperate to try and draw some comparisons show how lost he is and how he shouldn’t even be teaching. I would even go so far as to say that his stretching of the truth to try and support C.J. Mahaney puts him not too far from Joseph Smith. Yes some may say that is a little harsh, but I am going to call it as I see it.
The other thing I find troubling is that Kevin feels he’s qualified to determine if C.J. Mahaney is above reproach. That alone should be done by people who know Mahaney and after reading much of Brent Detwiler’s work we have an answer. C.J. Mahaney is not above reproach. Quite simply for Kevin DeYoung this is about “Gospel Centered” business and fame, and he is cashing in. Kevin is supporting Mahaney because Mahaney is core to the Reformed Industrial Complex. The lack of ethics by the Neo-Calvinist crowd, leaves a bitter taste of bile in my mouth, that makes me wish that this would crawl back into the hole it crawled out of. We should not expect anything of substance from Kevin DeYoung, after all when you are known for a bastardized statement in which you willingly participate in attacking a rape victim who was assaulted at 13, and writing foolish books like “Crazy-Busy,” the fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t expect anything of credibility at all. Kevin is doing all this for Kevin, and to expect anything more from Kevin is quite simply expecting too much. In other words let me say this…Kevin’s biggest problem is Kevin.
What did please me is to see all the pushback that Kevin DeYoung is receiving. People are fed up and tired of this crap. I am especially sick of some of the garbage. Matt Redmond said it best..a faith system that support the celebrity pastor at the expense of the least of these is really no faith system at all. And if you think it is go back to your Bible and ditch that damn ESV version, as that is propaganda. The fact that people are speaking up and that its forcing even men like Phil Johnson of John MacArthur’s camp to speak about this is indeed encouraging. Note I am not saying that what Johnson said is good, actually I find it disturbing. What I am thrilled about is that these individuals are being revealed for the depth of their corruption. The chorus is rising, and we need to step out and become a ground swell as we continue to challenge and push back. In the end we in the pews have the power and the responsibility to challenge these individuals and refuse to honor their leadership.
Now you my ask why do I care? Why do I write about Sovereign Grace and its last church plant in the DC area before the scandal broke open in 2011? It was today in 2013 where I was hauled into a bosses office. It was today that I was threatened to be reported to the police for a crime I did not commit. It was today four years ago that I was sent into the darkest season of my life. It was in the ensuing period where I had to put together the pieces of my life and find a way forward. While I did so the person who gave birth to the false accusation started to recruit another co-worker to Redeemer Arlington. Four years ago after this event happened and in the course of time I also learned why rape and sexual assault is a serious issue in the United States military. Its about power, and four years ago today I witnessed an Air Force Captain, and 2005 graduate of the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs abuse his power. Jordan Kauflin is the Redeemer pastor who shepherded Andrew White, and what is profoundly sad is some of the conversations I have had in which he have had to discuss what is forgiveness. Sovereign Grace crashed into my life when it was not needed and the fact that its track record is nothing, but pain, corruption, scandals, and acts of alleged illegalities should give everyone who cares about the Gospel pause and deep concern. I write about it because I don’t want anyone else to endure what I have endured. I do get feedback from the posts I have written, and sometimes that comes through email, and other times that comes through personal meetings. But today is a dark anniversary that changed me. I still feel the pain, and I feel like a part of me has indeed died. I just don’t feel the same at all. But that pain is what drives me to write as much as I do, and to document and pushback in my own way. After all I am employing the most powerful weapon that exists: social media. If you doubt me look at the role social media played in the Arab Spring. Again I love you guys, email me if you need anything!