Sean DeMars at Desiring God…Going to War for the Unborn Only to not Give a Damn When Children are Sexually Abused After they are Born

Sean DeMars over at Desiring God writes a post about going to war for the unborn. But here is the problem…many evangelicals are so fixated on abortion that they ignore or don’t care what happens to a child after they are born. Evangelical Christianity is struggling with child sex abuse and it needs to be addressed. This post offers push back to what Sean wrote.

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”


“I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.”

C.J. Mahaney denies covering up child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:6 NIV

It amazes me that there is a volume of material to work with from the Neo-Calvinist community. There are times I wish there are sixty hours in a day. Man the posts I could write! Recently at Desiring God I read a post by Sean DeMars that needed a strong response.  This post he wrote called “Does Carrying Signs Really Save Babies?”  deals with many of the issues in modern Neo-Calvinism. It deals with their siege mentality, waging the culture wars in regards to abortion, and finally not giving a damn about a child after they are born. No where is this more true than in regards to child sex abuse.  My comments from this point onward are going to be in red.

Most of us have noticed that guy on the side of the road holding the “repent and believe” sign. I bet he makes you uncomfortable, doesn’t he? I understand. As someone who has a decent amount of experience with street evangelism, I still feel a slight twinge in my chest when I see that guy. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it done wrong so many times. Or, maybe it’s because he’s out there doing something I should be doing. So, rather than thank the Lord for the work he’s doing, I find a way to pick it apart to ease my conscience.

Another possibility is that I’m more gifted at relational evangelism, and the good ol’ fashion preaching of repentance and faith in the town square is too far out of my comfort zone and skill set for me to appreciate its value. Either way, I think we need that guy. Evangelism is both-and, not either-or. There’s no need for juxtaposition here; we can love and appreciate both approaches, so long as they are being done well.

What about the people holding up signs outside of abortion clinics? The signs read “Babies Are Murdered Here.” While you likely agree with the words on the signs as you drive by the people holding them, perhaps they make you feel uncomfortable. “Is this the best way to stop abortion?” “Does it actually work? And even if it does, is there not perhaps a more efficient way to use our time, talents, and treasures to save babies?”

This post opens up looking at the differing means of evangelism. I would propose that the traditional model which some evangelicals use is an epic failure for many reasons. These are but a sampling of them:

  1. They dehumanize and turn someone into something they are not.
  2. Its lazy to yell at someone as compared to getting to know them personally.
  3. It allows some to say they did something when in fact they did nothing except expand the gulf between them and other people.
  4. It does little in the long term scenario which is what is especially sad.


We Are at War

I was a combat medic in the US Army. From 2009 to 2010, I was in Mosul, Iraq. Bombs blasted on a daily basis, mortars fell on our base, and the sound of machine guns was an ever-present, ambient reality. When we think about war, those are usually the things we think of — guns and grenades, tanks and tears, blood and bullets. But war is so much more than that.

War is espionage — men going about in the shadows collecting data and planting false information. War is psychological and spiritual — sending out good will agents to win the hearts and minds of the people in the land we are destroying. And yes, war is blood and bullets and boots on the ground fighting. We need all of those things taking place if we want to have any chance of winning in the end. The war must be fought on every front.

My four-year-old daughter asked me where I was going the other day as I grabbed my megaphone and headed towards the car. “I’m going to try to save babies from people who would do them harm, my love.”

“People want to hurt babies, daddy?”

“Yes, my love. Very bad people want to hurt babies. But your daddy, like Jesus, loves those babies very much, and is going to go fight to save them.”

“Are you going to kill the bad men with your sword daddy?”

“I have a sword, my love, but it’s not like the sword you’re thinking of. And I don’t have to kill them, for they are already dead. The sword that daddy uses, Lord willing, might bring them back to life.”

Make no mistake, brothers, we are at war. And much like the Cold War of days gone by, this war has no battlefront. But we still need boots on the ground.

We need wise men and women to work in our legal systems in order to bring about legislative change that will protect the lives of the unborn. We need communities saturated with the gospel to make a social impact in the poverty stricken neighborhoods where abortion clinics tend to thrive. We need adoption agencies and families who are willing to adopt or foster unwanted children. We need crisis pregnancy centers, sonogram machines on wheels, and abortion education and awareness programs. But, we also need people with megaphones and “Babies Are Murdered Here” signs.

In this part of the post Sean turns it into the very much into the classic “us” vs. “them.” For many evangelicals they always need an enemy, they need someone to fix their hate towards. When you look at the history of evangelicalism they have always needed an enemy to fight. At one point in history some evangelicals said the world would end if women obtained suffrage. Others waged the culture war in an effort to pass a Constitutional amendment to ban drinking. As a by product they increased alcoholism at the time because of their efforts. From fighting de-segregation, to interracial dating, I could go on and on, but many evangelicals long to have an enemy, as they so desperately need one.  Drawing parallels between the Iraq war in Mosul and an abortion clinic is a classic tactic of drawing the battle lines and separating a person into “that camp” vs. “ours.” From here on this post goes downhill, but honestly should we expect something of substance from a Neo-Calvinist on Desiring God? After all only the True Believers are allowed to post on that website. Comparing everything to war is an outright over step in my opinion.

I am amazed just simply amazed as to how many evangelicals have failed on epic levels. When I read the efforts they have made into combatting abortion and see the way they have done it, I want to almost apologize for being in the same species as Sean DeMars. One thing I pray for deeply is that Christian culture in the United States will die, and die soon. Why? Because its destroying the Christian faith. The culture wars have obfuscated the lines of faith and politics. People have blurred the two and they are harming the Gospel. They are giving reasons for those outside the church to stay away from the church. They are shaming others and those in need of help from being able to get help. They causes pain in a way that is harmful and so un-necessary. Jesus wept over Jerusalem…is Jesus weeping over people protesting and yelling in ways that are counter to discussion? But the biggest problem with the abortion issue I want to address in the next section. It deals with how many evangelicals don’t give a damn to what happens to a child after they are born.


Boots on the Ground

We need people with boots on the ground, who will stand at the door of these death mills and proclaim the truth to these women (and the men who may have brought them), as they walk the one hundred feet from their cars to the front door of the clinic. We need people standing on the sidewalk screaming “Please, don’t do this! That’s a human being in your belly! They will kill your baby! Please, come talk to us, we will help you do whatever it takes to raise that baby; we’ll even adopt him or her, but oh God, whatever you do, don’t go in that building and let them kill your baby!”

We need weeping prophets, people who will cry as they see the mother of a freshly aborted baby walk to their car, broken and ashamed, having just committed a terrible crime against God and her child. We need someone to offer hope; to tell them that guilt doesn’t have to be the last word, and that Christ can heal them and forgive them, even after an abortion. We need someone to cry out to the doctors, nurses, and aids in the abortion clinics, proclaiming the truth that they are like the men of Ezekiel 22:12, who “take bribes to shed blood, . . . take interest and profit and make gain of [their] neighbors by extortion.”

This part of the post really got under my skin when I read it. I need to address this in very frank terms. Many evangelicals are too focused on abortion often to downplay or ignore other sins. When I see what Sean DeMars wants to propose I have the following suggestion. Why don’t the evangelical community stand outside Sovereign Grace and former Sovereign Grace churches and protest that movement’s covering up of child sex abuse? Why doesn’t Sean DeMars stand outside Sovereign Grace Louisville with a sign that has a picture of C.J. Mahaney that says, “This man has (allegedly) covered up the rape of children in Sovereign Grace.” Remember since we are speaking about Reformed Theology these protests would be ordained by God…would they not? 😛 But why not have people outside picketing and protesting the fact that so many children’s rapes were allegedly covered up in SGM. From Pennsylvania, to Covenant Life Church, down to North Carolina. That is what I love so much about Pam Palmer who is a great friend in that they have protested SGM and speaking out about the covering up allegations of criminal activity. How can a man like Mahaney allegedly cover up the sexual assault of a child and then stand before a congregation and claim to teach and have a reverent respect for the Lord? Does he? I ask again…does he? How can he preach the word of God and engage allegedly in criminal activity such as blackmail? How can he approach the alter having left so many people in pain? This is a man who doesn’t even meet the qualifications of elder? Is the reason why C.J. Mahaney is a preacher because he couldn’t do anything else? Is it because he lacks the education, the training, and the skills needed to do other professions?

Also I find it rich that Sean DeMars quotes Ezekiel 22:12 about taking bribes for shed blood. Have you read the story of Happymom and Wallace at SGM Survivors which involves Sovereign Grace Fairfax?  In the story which you can read here, C.J. Mahaney allegedly gave a cash gift of $5,000 to sway opinion in the end. I will let you draw your own conclusion on that, but in the end that is an injustice and wrong on so many levels.

But here is the other thing that is equally troubling for me that personally angers me. You have so many evangelicals that talk about abortion (please note I am not a fan of it, but I have also accepted the fact that its a part of modern democracy) and yet they often ignore what happens to children after they are born. A child in an evangelical church can be raped and sexually abused and many just do not care. They do not care that such injustice happens. They cling to men like C.J. Mahaney who has allegedly covered up the rape of children. They ignored the protesters outside T4G. Then Al Mohler laughs and ridicules all the allegations about C.J. Mahaney and laughs at them. I just have to say this about Mohler, he’s lower than pond scum. To do something like that and bait those who have been hurt, is evil. Its just evil.


Uniquely Gifted

You don’t have to go out and hold signs or preach on the sidewalks. You can pray. You can get involved in the legal system. You can volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. You can open up your home and display the gospel of God to the world by adopting a child. God has made you with your own unique set of talents, abilities and characteristics. Use them in whatever way you can to fight the fight against abortion.

As you do so, don’t look down on your brother or sister standing in front of the death mill, sign in hand, preaching with all their might. Pray for them, because what they are doing is a hard thing, but it is good. They are our last line of defense, standing a few steps from the front door, in a war where the only ones who die are babies.

To Sean DeMars and others in the former SGM community I want to ask this. One day in the near future the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace will resume. I have a feeling in my gut that its sooner rather than later. It is my sincere hope that many former members of Sovereign Grace will go back to their old churches and protest outside. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if Mark Mullery walked out of Sovereign Grace Fairfax and there were protesters with his picture on a sign, saying “Hold Mark Mullery accountable.” Its my hope that people will use the legal system to hold C.J. Mahaney accountable for all criminal allegations. When the lawsuit eventually resumes its my hope that the church will rally to the families of Noel, Happymom, Wallace and so many more. Its my hope that they will all find closure, peace and most importantly justice for their families. How I long to see a bald man in a “Gospel Centered Deposition” being asked “Did you conspire to cover up the sexual abuse in your denomination?”

Its in closing I want to extend an invitation to Sean DeMars..if people protest Sovereign Grace Fairfax will you join us? Will you send a message to C.J. Mahaney and his enablers such as Kevin DeYoung, and Mark Dever that covering up the rape of children is sin – and wrong? Will you send a message to Sovereign Grace that criminal activity can not, and will not be covered up? As always I love you guys!

14 thoughts on “Sean DeMars at Desiring God…Going to War for the Unborn Only to not Give a Damn When Children are Sexually Abused After they are Born

  1. DeMars – “don’t look down on your brother or sister standing in front of the death mill, sign in hand”
    So was DeMars at the recent T4G convention and if so what did he think of those mocking the people there demonstrating against Mahaney and the coverup of abuse?

    I suspect the motives whenever I hear the moral equivalent of war argument trotted out. In this case it is effective at whipping up the emotions of supporters and loosening purse strings but it is counter-productive at changing anyone’s heart. If he was really trying to engage with women who are in the midst of deciding over the life of their unborn child, he would not use this type of rhetoric. I have more than a little experience in this and the strident message makes the person at risk of getting an abortion turn away from getting any assistance that might otherwise change their outcome. Instead of bring life, the harsh posture blackens out the choice for life that an at risk mother might otherwise make. It also turns off just about everyone else within hearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. By the way I also emailed this to Sean DeMars and said he is free to comment or respond. I explained in the email that I am not like The Gospel Coalition and a control freak. I allow differing views here.


  3. Going to War for the Unborn Only to not Give a Damn When Children are Sexually Abused After they are Born

    I was somewhat active in the pro-life movement during the Reagan years and noticed that EVERY pro-life group had some sort of serious tunnel vision. This is just the most generic form of that tunnel vision, and is so widespread a form that it has become the public face of the movement.

    In addition to this generic tunnel vision, each group had their own particular tunnel vision that their own approach was the One and Only Correct approach:
    NRLA — Elect a Republican President and Congress who WILL appoint Born-Again Pro-Life Supreme Court Justices.
    American Life League (ALL) — As per NRLA, except WITH ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! like a Jack Chick tract. Including veiled threats of Hellfire & Damnation (and being Left Behind in the Rapture) if you didn’t get on board. (I got THE most high-pressure telemarketing call of my life from them during the Bork Supreme Court Nomination Circus, lterally “Give Us Money to Put Bork on the Supreme Court or GOD WILL PUNISH YOU!”)
    Operation Rescue — If you’re not going to jail blocking an Abortuary as part of Us, You Are Not REALLY Pro-Life (and Christ Will Spew Thee Out Of His Mouth).

    Each and every one with tunnel vision that their way and ONLY their way was the One True Way, each the One and Only Pro-Life Organization, each infighting against the others to the point nothing ever got accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For many evangelicals they always need an enemy, they need someone to fix their hate towards. When you look at the history of evangelicalism they have always needed an enemy to fight.

    I remember hearing somewhere that “A Mass Movement can get by without a god, but always requires a Devil.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh goodness, Eagle. Thank you for addressing a very real problem in the Pro-Life / Evangelical camp. As an ex-Evangelical and as a formerly pregnant mom, I can definitely relate. In fact, I could fairly easily write a whole post on my experiences. So, this may get a bit long.

    Let’s start with the basics:
    1. There was a Catholic young lady at my high school. She I think briefly attended our ecumenical Bible study. She loved the Lord. Her sister had just happened to have gotten an abortion, because she had been raped, and probably didn’t want to have the child remind her of her rapist. In my ignorance, I made a condemning remark, with regards to her sister, and that really hurt her. I don’t think she ever returned to our fellowship after that, and understandably so. I am really sorry now for my insensitivity toward her and her sister. At the time, I bought in to too much fundamentalist thinking — I mean Gothardism-like (although I hadn’t been exposed to Gothard’s teachings). I’ve since learned, but I am really sorry for how I hurt those girls. I am glad, though, that that one young lady helped me learn the hard way. Otherwise, I might have gone on to harm others.

    2. I am a sexual assault survivor. I ended up sexually-assaulted while on the Baylor University campus, sometime around my sophomore year (2000-2001). I did not end up pregnant, but what if I had? How would my church have responded?

    3. I have met a Christian lady who says she’s had more than one abortion. She is now staunchly pro-life, but she lives with a sense of guilt and condemnation for what she did.

    4. Women in my post-college church coerced me into having a child. They promised that the church would support me in raising the child. I knew that I could not do so alone, with it just being my husband and me. I found out only after I ended up pregnant, that they would use that coercion and my pregnancy to control me, and for the most part, they lied about the help they promised to provide me. The controlling tendencies culminated in me leaving the church, and having to raise my child alone, except when my husband can pitch in. Not even my family does much to help me. I knew that if I were ever put in this position, that it would be a strain on my marriage and my faith, because I knew myself and what I needed. So, my marriage and my faith have become strained, because a couple of church ladies lied to me and coerced me into having a child, when I wasn’t sure I wanted one. To be honest, I feel betrayed, because I trusted them, and trusted my church. I had originally come from a Mainline Protestant tradition that respected couple’s wishes of having or not having kids, so this pressure on women in particular has been one of my bigger frustrations with “fundevangelicalism”.

    My daughter is such a sweet little girl. She is not difficult to handle. But the Church for the most part has been nowhere to be found in providing actual beneficial support in us raising her. The much more common approach has been offers with controlling strings attached, rather than Christ-like servitude. Some days, it takes a lot for me not to have the bitterness of having been coerced into something I didn’t want, not overtake me. Thankfully, having a loving, caring, delightfully sweet little girl has helped. My two-year-old daughter has been kinder to me than most Christians.

    While I was pregnant with my daughter, even as a Christian, I looked into abortion and adoption. Yes, that’s right: abortion. I thought about aborting my daughter. And I was a Christian, attending a pro-life church. I just knew that I couldn’t tell anyone, that’s all. Below are some things I learned, as I researched my options:

    5) Did you know that many women who get abortions are allegedly Christians, and in several cases, possibly churchgoing Christians? In many cases, they may already be coming from pro-life churches, because more progressive churches actually tend to be more understanding and supportive with actual support, and less apt to picket abortion clinics.

    Did you know that crisis pregnancy centers and hotlines that are connected to the pro-life movement, will claim to be non-judgmental, but will not necessarily openly disclose that they are anti-abortion? Did you know that they might not disclose their affiliations to Brand X pro-life group, or this or that faith-based group?

    Did you know that non-sectarian support for pregnant mothers is very difficult to find, and that the faith-based groups may have rules or religious requirements that would lead some pregnant mothers to refuse the support?

    Did you know that even if a pregnant mom decides to give her child up for adoption — as I considered — that the mother often ends up having second thoughts about giving up the child, after the child is legally-adopted, and may go on to have long-term psychological problems from the guilt and loss?

    Did you know that adoption agencies have often lied and misrepresented the legal enforcement — or rather, lack thereof — of open adoption proceedings?

    Did you know that adoption agencies have used deceptive and unethical coercive practices in many cases to try to get the mother to give up her child?

    Did you know that adoption agencies have often lied to the biological mother, with regards to representing the biological mother’s best interests?

    Did you know that birthmoms have very little legal recourse in most states, if they change their minds about the adoption?

    Did you know that adopted children can have psychological problems, due to the separation from the biological parents?

    Did you know that in many cases, birth certificates have been altered to remove the names of the biological parents when a child has been adopted?

    Did you know that some homes for unwed mothers around the 1960s, including in Australia, the United States and possibly other locations, have allegedly abused the mothers? I read once that in one home, a young lady was required to give birth with NO medical intervention AT ALL. Um, what if the young lady had required medical attention? What if she had died? Where was the Church in that situation?

    Did you know that there was allegedly a case from this time period, probably in the United States, where an unwed mother wanted to raise her child? The story allegedly goes as follows: the unwed mother’s home’s director told her that she had to pay for the room and board. The girl didn’t have the money at the time, but was able to come up with it within a couple days, around the time the child was being adopted. She handed over the money, demanding her child back, but the adoptive family had by then left with the child. To my knowledge, the mother never saw her child again.

    6) Here’s what I want to know:

    Where was the Church in all this?

    And why were Christian faith-based groups — which most of these pro-life and adoption-related groups have been — using undue influence / unethical coercive persuasion, deception and control, to do things the “Christian pro-life / pro-adoption way”?

    And how is this any different from human trafficking?

    Nine months of pregnancy, most of which was spent lying in bed, gives a gal a bit of time to ponder things. I don’t have a problem with folks being pro-fetus. But I DO have a problem with the Church NOT being pro-life for the rest of the child’s life; NOT being pro-biological family, when the issue is not abusive parents; and NOT being pro-child rearing, for folks who might adhere to different theology, or who might be non-Christians.

    Honestly, how is it that they call all that “pro-life”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow…Lynda I am sorry about some of that. I had no idea, from my perspective I see this movement so focused on stopping abortion that really offers to alternatives or help to those who need it. Why some evangelicals are so concerned about harming an unborn child yet are indifferent and apathetic about what happens to that child after it is born just astonishes me. Its a glaring and public error and I don’t see much focus or attention to it.


      • I had no idea, from my perspective I see this movement so focused on stopping abortion that really offers to alternatives or help to those who need it.

        As I commented above, TUNNEL VISION.

        Why some evangelicals are so concerned about harming an unborn child yet are indifferent and apathetic about what happens to that child after it is born just astonishes me.

        My take? Like a lot of Activists(TM), they’re into it entirely for their own ego-boo and doublepluswarmfeelies. Once the kid is born, it’s no longer a Cause/Narcissitic Supply.


  6. There is a very real difference on culture wars in general, and abortion in particular on this side of the Pond. There are pro-life groups and they do campaign to try to reduce the level of abortion by parliamentary means, but there is little real prospect at present of the law being radically changed.

    The alternative is to work with individuals on a local basis. To offer an alternative to abortion.

    I’m afraid because various evangelicals on your side of the Pond campaign vigorously against abortion, as far as it goes rightly imo, doesn’t mean the same people have to campaign on other issues, of which child abuse is the one you highlight. Should survivor blogs automatically campaign against abortion?

    I have no brief to defend Mahaney, left that constituency 30 years ago, but his covering up of abuse, which he denies, is as you rightly say alleged. It is not established fact; it may be due to the passage of time this will never be sorted out in this life in a court of law. There remains the judgment seat of Christ, and no-one can escape that and there is no statute of limitations.

    Might I suggest that some evangelicals are skeptical of child abuse claims – they are not convinced this is a widespread issue in their ranks? One of the reasons for this, ironically, stems from survivor blogs, so-called. If you surf a moderate spectrum of such blogs, the attitude of so many commenters undermines the credibility of claims to abuse. The attitude and language used (“they are a pack of sewer rats”), the eternal victim status, the inconsistency. It has certainly had that effect on me, and I do know personally of instances in churches where abuse has actually occurred. There are too many who, I suspect, would fall out with the 12 apostles themselves if they were the leaders of their local church!

    I’m not surprised therefore that the Big Names who attend the Latest Important Conference don’t see the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ken, in regards to C.J. Mahaney I use the word alleged to cover my rear end. That said, I believe the people involved. Some of them I have met, and I heard their stories first hand. The allegations I believe to be true. Mahaney exhibits narcissism problems in many ways, and that is one display for all to see. Remember how he couldn’t wait to give a statement on the Nathaniel Morales situation and his efforts to cover up sexual abuse of children. Well the lawsuit was dismissed on a technicality and where is that statement? This is my opinion as well, but I also think C.J. Mahaney is dealing with some mental illness in many ways as well.


      • I meant to add that I can understand your irritation at evangelicals campaigning on an issue like abortion that they can do little to change, whereas they seem to be indifferent to abuse going on in their own ranks where direct action could and should make a very real difference.


  7. In addition to being an old hell-bound reprobate of dubious character, I’m also staunchly anti-abortion. Who’d a’ thunk huh?


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