A disturbing post at Desiring God is the subject of today’s article. Jon Bloom a Sovereign Grace pastor and co-founder of Desiring God claims that disicpline is crucial for spiritual growth. If true, when is C.J. Manahey going to face discipline for his alleged criminal activities, blackmail and the alleged cover up of child sex abuse? This response to Jon is going to be very blunt.
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool then to open it and remove all doubt.”
“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.7 The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
Proverbs 18:6-7 NLT
Desiring God is a rich resource, especially when you want to illustrate the problems and issues with the Neo-Calvinist movement. I have a few articles that I put aside to critique and ask hard questions. I saw this article by Jon Bloom and I almost choked and knew it needed a response. But before I go further we must ask…who is Jon Bloom? Jon Bloom graduated from Bethel University. He is a native to the Twin Cities area. He is currently the Pastor of Worship at Sovereign Grace Church in Minneapolis. He is also the co-founder of Desiring God. The article Jon composed deals with the importance of discipline and how God disciplines those he loves. You can read the original article, “Lord, Whatever it Takes Discipline Me.” Its especially upsetting coming from a Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) pastor and knowing the issues with C.J. Mahaney. Today I am going to give Jon Bloom a good, strong, and well deserved kick in the ass for penning such an outrageous article in light of the history of Sovereign Grace and the ongoing problems hemorrhaging from this organization. I am going to write below in red and respond to Jon’s comments. As always I invite your criticism and critique. As you very well know I have no problem with push back.
When I was a child, I asked my dad for a lot of things. But I never asked for discipline. Unfortunately, “I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child” (1 Corinthians 13:11). That meant, by and large, corrective and conditioning disciplines were to be avoided.
Already from the get go we have a highly legalistic view of discipline. How many of you were concerned with God practicing disincline on you when you were 6, 10, or 12? When you are in the 2nd grade is that front and center on your mind? Or are you thinking about other things in life because of your exceptional young age? When I was at that age I thought of making friends, struggling with math in elementary school, and cartoons. Already Jon Bloom’s view is profoundly warped by talking and raising the issue of discipline especially at an age when going to elementary school is challenging and hard.
I enjoyed an orderly house, tended yard, prepared meals, clean clothes, and a loving, respectful, peaceful atmosphere in my boyhood home. But I didn’t naturally enjoy the disciplines required to achieve these things. I often sought to evade them. I also enjoyed the idea of performing well in school, sports, and music, but didn’t naturally enjoy many of the exercises required to develop my skills. I shirked them too often.
If my external authorities — my parents, teachers, and coaches — hadn’t wisely and lovingly imposed upon me unpleasant and often undesired disciplines, I never would have realized many of the benefits they brought me. And I would have realized even more benefits had I been mature and wise enough to appreciate and welcome their discipline more and avoid it less. I did not see, or did not believe, the long-term gain of short-term pain.
While this is fair I want you to remember this one key part of a sentence which stood out especially as Jon Bloom later goes on and talks about discipline. I want you to remember it in the context of Charles Joseph Mahaney and his behavior and alleged criminal activity. That key part of the sentence is “the long-term gain of short-term pain.” What does he mean? In the context of discipline it means the long term efforts that came about because you were disciplined. In this case a more richer, and deeper view of sanctification and a deeper view of grace which would most likely come about.
Maturity Welcomes Discipline
But “when I became a man, I gave up childish ways” of thinking about such discipline (1 Corinthians 13:11). Well, that’s an overstatement. However, I have learned to value the benefit of submitting to discipline far more than I did as a child and to welcome it — especially the discipline of the Lord.
Around age 20, I became keenly aware I was helpless to achieve the kinds of transformation I needed in my character and affections on my own. Even my efforts at self-discipline, while needed, still could not bridge the gap between what the Scripture described and my experience. So I began earnestly asking my heavenly Father to discipline me, whatever it took.
God lovingly answered with a convergence of events I never could have orchestrated or even imagined, resulting in a prolonged season of very difficult and painful spiritual wrestling. Not only did God work me over in areas I knew needed change, but he also addressed areas I wasn’t even aware of. Most wonderful of all, God met me in personal and powerful ways as he deepened and strengthened my faith. Afterward, I saw clearly how the benefits outweighed the painful struggles.
Okay…this is where I am going to start to be very blunt in this article. Jon Bloom is talking about how a mature Christian welcomes and embraces discipline. He talks about how important it is to appreciate and welcome that discipline. After all would Jon Bloom be the mature and upstanding man of faith otherwise? Is Jon Bloom the model of character? I wonder if I asked at SGM Survivors what people think of Jon Bloom, what they would say? But here is the other perspective going off in my mind. After all my BS detector is screaming. If Jon values and believes firmly in the importance of people being disciplined then what about his boss’s boss down in Louisville? Why not raise or ask that question? I mean if discipline is so crucial and key to growth what does it mean when C.J. Mahaney is just fleeing, running and hiding behind someone’s “Gospel Centered Rear End” either in Washington, D.C. or down in Louisville? Could it be because C.J. Mahaney is an outright fraud? The BS out of Sovereign Grace Louisville is so strong I can smell the stench here in the Washington, D.C. area! Actually compare Mahaney’s life in light of all the problems and issues that have taken place since 2011 when all the corruption came forward. The one thing I wonder is how could Jon Bloom pen such an article and have it come from a movement so jacked up? An even better question is what does it mean about the people at Desiring God who soak up this stuff in light of the problems and issues with C.J. Mahaney? What does it mean about their discernment or activity in their central nervous system, to put it kindly. Again I am sorry if this comes across harsh but in light of all the corruption, fraud, devastated lives, destroyed families , destroyed friendships and more in Sovereign Grace with C.J. Mahaney at the helm; this article by Jon Bloom is garbage.
This experience has encouraged me in subsequent years to repeatedly pray, and at times fast, for my Father’s discipline when I’ve needed breakthroughs. And he has lovingly and faithfully answered. Some of his discipline has been more severe than that first one, and some less. But regardless, I have never regretted those prayers, nor have I stopped praying them. For through them, God has pressed my love for him to depths and heights I otherwise never would have known.
I’ve learned that asking God to discipline me is a Christian Hedonist’s prayer; it’s asking him for a greater capacity to enjoy him.
One other thing I need to say…in this part of the post, it shows Jon Bloom to be a John Piper cub. A wanna be, and in these situations I would suggest that this is a form of idolatry. This in conjunction with the rest of the post is why I led with the quotes about being a fool. It would be kind of nice if some of these people could think for themselves instead of going around immitating John Piper!
The Lord Disciplines the One He Loves
This is the whole point of Hebrews 12:3–11, the clearest explanation in the Bible of the profound good we receive when God disciplines us.
We often don’t recognize God’s discipline when it sets in, even if we’ve prayed for it. That’s because it usually looks different than we expect. Therefore, we cry out to God in our distress and disorientation. And God answers,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5–6)
In other words, “Don’t be afraid. This is from me, and it’s because I love you.” We often respond, “But Father, this is too hard! Please stop!” And God replies,
It is for discipline that you have to endure. [I am] is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, [you] have had earthly fathers who disciplined [you] and [you] respected them. Shall [you] not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined [you] for a short time as it seemed best to them, but [I] discipline [you] for [your] good, that [you] may share [my] holiness. (Hebrews 12:7–10)
In other words, “I love you too much to stop the good coming to you through this discipline.” We might respond, “I want your good, Father, but I don’t think I can endure this! It’s too painful!” To which God says with kind, wise, loving firmness,
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
In other words, “Trust me. My grace will be sufficient for you in this pain and afterward you will never regret the painful training” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Lord disciplines the one he loves. That means there are dimensions of God’s love we can only know through his discipline. And there are dimensions of peace and godly fruitfulness we will only know through his wise, rigorous training, a program individually tailored by him for us.
Now here is the question I have…the Lord disciplines the ones he loves. If that is the case then what is the deal with C.J. Mahaney? Here you have a guy who has allegeldy practiced blackmail. You can actually read the transcript of that alleged blackmail in this post called, “Has God Foreordained an Alleged Child Sex Abuse Cover up in Sovereign Grace Ministries/Churches? Is that why CJ Mahaney is so Sacred?” Mahaney is being dogged by serious criminal allegations. He’s allegedly been involed in covering up child sex abuse. He draws comparisions to himself and Job at T4G and Al Mohler laughs about the issues dogging Mahaney. Meanwhile what about him and disicpline? Has he been subject to disicpline for his alleged criminal activities? First he fled Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland for Mark Dever’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church. When his alleged criminal activity came to the light he fled the “dearest place on earth.” This time he fled from Washington, D.C. to Lousiville, Kentucky and took refuge and be near to Al Mohler. So let me ask you these hard questions…if discipline is so important for growth and development then what does that mean for C.J. Mahaney? Does God love him especilaly in the midst of all these criminal allegations? Does God look at him as being a fraud which is what I believe he is. Havimg C.J. Mahaney teach and preach is kind of like having serial killer Ted Bundy run eharmony. So again despite the criminal allegations which continue to follow C.J. Mahaney does that mean that he is not loved by God since he hasn’t been disciplined? Is that too harsh to say? Perhaps, but he is the one who choose the spotlight and was telling people to “buy my books.” His church network which is deeply corrupt and mired in serious criminal allegations was viewed by many to be “the model.” So if C.J. Mahaney is going to preach at T4G and want that kind of attention then I would sugest I am being too mild on him.
Whatever It Takes, Lord!
That’s why a Christian Hedonist prayerfully welcomes and even pursues the Father’s discipline. It is a sign of spiritual maturity, desiring real treasure more than passing pleasure (Hebrews 11:25–26).
If we wish to avoid our Father’s discipline, and don’t ask him for it for fear that he just might answer, we are thinking and reasoning like spiritual children. We are, in effect, saying “no thanks” to God’s offer of mind-blowing, soul-enriching, faith-strengthening, joy-increasing good — the inexpressible joy of sharing God’s holiness and all the benefits it brings. We decline the gain of being strengthened to comprehend the love of God that surpasses knowledge because it costs us short-term pain (Ephesians 3:18–19).
This post by Jon Bloom is garabge. In light of the entire scandal and corruption at Sovereign Grace this post needed a strong response. To ignore a response would not have been wise. The allegations against C.J. Mahaney are deeply serious and can not be overlooked, avoided or ignored. To do so would be foolish and wrong. Those who engage in alleged criminal activity need to be called out. Those who use their position of power for spiritual abuse, manipualtion and because they are drunk with power need to handled and dealt with. C.J. Mahaney is a fraud, and I believe the criminal allegations dogging him. Its long past time for the SGM lawsuit to resume and to hold Mahaney accountable for the racket inside Soveriegn Grace. Its long past time that he have a “Gospel Centered” deposition and a “Gospel Centered” settlement or conviction. Its time for him to bow out and disappear into history and never preach, teach, or do anything else in any position in the chruch. Church its time..it’s time for Mahaney to end his spiritual teahcing. He is a fruad, and he needs to be called out. My hope is that others will rise up and do that as well. That’s it guys as always please know that I love you!