C.J. Mahaney, Dr. Wayne Grudem, Failure to Report Crimes, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit

Dr. Wayne Grudem to Speak at C.J. Mahaney’s Church “to Signal Support in the Face of Unjust Accusations”

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I came across an interesting comment at SGMSurvivor blog and thought it was important enough to give it a wider audience so as not to get lost in the comments.  SGMSurvivors.com reader Todd Wilhelm commented that he had sent an e-mail to Dr. Wayne Grudem, urging him to not speak at C.J. Mahaney’s church in July in a couple of weeks.

But first, who is Wayne Grudem?  At the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) site, you can find many interviews with friends of Mahaney/SGM.  In this particular interview, C.J. Mahaney is the interviewer.  Here is Mahaney’s own words on Grudem.

Meet Wayne Grudem. Dr. Grudem is smart—B.A. from Harvard, M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. from Cambridge, smart.

Dr. Grudem is the author of a number of excellent books including Systematic Theology and a simplified systematic theology for guys like me (Bible Doctrine).

He is the cofounder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and coeditor (with John Piper) of one of the most important books I know of: Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Dr. Grudem is now the Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years.

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Now you have some background to Dr. Wayne Grudem.  Let’s move on to the intent of this article.  Wilhelms’s e-mail to Dr. Grudem is at the bottom of the screen shot (right below the dividing line) and the response to Wilhelm is at the top.

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Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.11.46 AM

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Here is the link to the above screenshot. 

This is the key statement that needs to be noted:

Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations.

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If it is true that Grudem’s assistant, John Paul Stepmanian, is speaking on behalf of Grudem (with Grudem’s full blessing), this gives us a clear picture of how Grudem perceives his close friend, Mahaney, and the lawsuit situation.  Again, look at the intent:  he is speaking at Mahaney’s church to signal support for C.J. in the face of unjust accusations.  There it is.

Shortly after this comment from Wilhelm, another reader chimed in with more background information on the relationship between Grudem and Mahaney.

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Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.15.47 AM

Paul’s comment at SGMSurvivors is excellent and I encourage you to read the rest of it here.

I think we need to do a recap of who is standing up for Mahaney publicly and who is not because it is confusing with revisions being made (and not noted), statement being removed (and over 100 comments) and then reappearing on a different site with no comments allowed, statement being removed entirely with no public notification.  Let’s review:

Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan’s statement on Facebook.  This statement initially appeared on Facebook with over 100 comments, mostly negative, was then removed from Facebook (thus, all the comments removed, too) and moved to the T4G site.  The statement that was placed  on the T4G site  has since been removed.  Here is a link of the statement of support from the Wayback Machine showing what it looked like on the T4G site.  They allowed no comments there, which is no surprise.

Denny Burk referred to the statement on his blog and said he was signing his name to it, too.

D. A. Carson, Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung offered their support here on May 23, 2013.  We need to keep an eye on this statement to see if it gets removed/revised.

Let’s do the math together to see how many people are publicly supporting Mahaney:

  • Mohler/Dever/Duncan statement of support:                   +3
  • Denny Burk signs his name to above statement:              +1
  • Carson/Taylor/DeYoung statement of support:               +3
  • Mohler/Dever/Duncan remove statement of support:      -3
  • Grudem’s support via his assistant:                                 +1

GRAND TOTAL = 5 church leaders publicly give support C.J. Mahaney

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63 thoughts on “Dr. Wayne Grudem to Speak at C.J. Mahaney’s Church “to Signal Support in the Face of Unjust Accusations””

  1. The key word here making this statement from Grudem’s assistance problematic to say the least is the word “unjust” to modify “accusations.”

    My suspicion is—these men are only superficially aware of the charges against C. J. Mahaney and the SGM churches. May this be a wake up call.


  2. This is sad to hear. Grudem is a pretty smart guy when it comes to systematic theology. As it’s been said many, many times on this blog before though, if you have good theology but lack in love, how much does it really matter? (also, I didn’t realize he was part of the recovering biblical manhood and womanhood thing, must have missed that.)


  3. Saw this posted on PPT’s blog:

    Tell me what you think? Sounds strangely familiar….hmmm.


  4. trust4himonly – – That video is pretty profound in light of this subject. Thanks for sharing it here.

    JoeJoe – Monax is right, Grudem and Piper were founders of CBMW.


  5. Well, Grudem’s a continuationist, so what do you expect?

    But, seriously, it does look like Mahaney’s money, encouragement, money, friendship, and money has secured him a lot of loyalty. If his pals are still not familiar with the lawsuit, they are willfully ignorant.

    The video is very funny and very apt.


  6. Faith!

    perfect parody especially for C.J. who loves college basketball. .

    such a brave kid that one. . who so successfully moved “past the trauma of his rape”


  7. Don’t forget, JA, that both the T4G and the TGC statements were edited, without comment. T4G edited to remove a bit where they were caught in a blatant lie, and the TGC added a line saying that the statement only reflected the opinions of the signatories.

    Seriously, it’s getting hard to tell which group is which. Maybe they should all merge and become T4GC or something…


  8. Julie Anne, T4G statement was most likely removed because out of the fab four, Mohler is the only one who is an “employee ” (of an SBC entity )and not an autonomous authoritarian pastor. So after the comments on facebook, then the resolution at the SBC they tried to dumb down but could not, things started taking a different turn. Mohler had also just used the “Unity Committee” on Calvinism for cover because their statement was slated to go out a few days after the T4G statement suddenly appeared. You think the Non Calvinists on that committee did not see red for being so used by Mohler? He played them like a violin. I am ashamed of them for not calling him out publicly for it. But when the catch word is “unity” what can you do that won’t be called divisive?

    Mohler has been totally secure in his position but you can only take things so far and use/insult people so much. So, he is pragmatic to take his support more underground. The T4G statement had to go. Too many Reformed people were outraged over it. And their base was cracking

    Just because the statement was removed does not mean they are not actively supporting Mahaney. Mohler is doing a conference at SGM Knoxville soon on…..”leadership”. You cannot make this stuff up. the hypocrisy is daunting.


  9. Gruddy has been carefully teaching people his separate but equal chyme for decades. Women and children are on earth the service the alpha males. The needs of the few or the one outweigh the needs of the many…um, er, illogically, um, if the few or the one are alpha males.

    What I want to know is why anyone gives a rat’s ass what this nasty man says or thinks. Why spend $20 or so for paper that is too rough for wiping yourself particularly when it’s already covered with crap.

    I sympathize with the trying, honestly, I do, but going up the conservative symbol and gong food chain has never, I cannot cite one case, where the people who view themselves as in authority over another has ever listened to the advice or concerns of the person he feels so worthy of being over in some way. The gongs and symbols really think they’re soothing when they’re like the contestants at the beginning of American Idol, they suck and don’t know it.

    No one should be kicking it Grundem style.


  10. LOL! That video is just AWESOME! I ask God for forgiveness for cursing when I saw it earlier on Paul’s Passing Thoughts – I thought it was real! – when they mentioned that the basketball player’s fraternity was supporting him, the parallels with SGM (the rapist) and the New Calvinist movement (the fraternity) were striking. I was cursing the most when I saw pictures of the fraternity brother with the popped collar polo and gelled spiked hair was laughing behind the bar.

    Paul Dohse, you are brilliant!

    Anyways, on Wayne Grudem, the more I learn about him, the more distasteful he becomes. When it comes to Systematic Theology tests, Thiessen, Strong, Geisler, Chafer, Ryrie, Erickson, Garrett, and Lewis/Demarest are so far superior.


  11. Hey Debra – – don’t hold back anything, ya hear? LOL 🙂 Kickin’ it Grudem style haha!

    Lydia – – Thanks for more info on the T4G statement withdrawal. It would have been very awkward to remove Mohler’s name with a new statement, so I guess the easiest thing is to delete and pretend like it never existed. But we still have a problem with the fact that Denny Burk “signed” his name to the statement and stands by it. (I’ve been checking his post and yesterday it was still there.) What a messy situation these men have made.

    It would be so much more simple if they would just say, “Hey, Ceej – until this case is resolved legally, it’s best to put yourself in an admin position because it’s causing too much of a distraction everywhere.” They just won’t do it, though.


  12. Ryan – Grudem lost me when he was trying to come up with a list of when women can teach men and said women cannot teach a men’s Sunday school, but they can teach a group of deaf men. Say what? (And I’m not meaning that in the hard-of-hearing way.)


  13. Yeah, Ryan, Lewis and Demarest’s work I would regard as the best, probably for their “integrative” approach to theology—historical, biblical, apologetic, practical as well as systematic.

    I don’t like the dispensationalists on your list (if they’re that off on their eschatology. . I can’t respect them enough to reread them.); . Grudem’s Biblical Doctrine (a distillation of his ST) is probably the most accessible of anything; Erickson’s distillation is good too; except I think Erickson is a tad off, but not as much as Geisler in his soteriology.

    As I’m thinking about it Lewis and Demarest is by far my favorite read from your list. . followed my nasty boy Grudem—who get’s most things right in my eyes, most importantly the doctrine of salvation.


  14. I want to ask all of your advice (except for B4B). Should I email Wayne Grudem and tell him that I’m going to burn my copy of his Systematic Theology text unless he retracts his support of Mahaney?


  15. Ryan, I would encourage you to write him. . if it’s a gracious and well-reasoned appeal, you might have a chance of gaining his ear so you might speak to his heart. . otherwise your email prob won’t get past the filters. .


  16. i’m a historical premil, so we’ve got much in common. . i just find the pre-trib rapture egregiously unbiblical. . but i surely don’t want to go to war over it. .


  17. monax, my dear friend, I want to challenge you on Grudem – – if you hang out any length of time on CBMW site, you will discover that they put that complementarian thing very high as if it’s essential with the gospel. Grudem is the foundation of that group. Look at that one example I posted about Grudem how he thinks it’s not okay for women to teach men’s Sunday school classes, but a woman can if the men are deaf. How can you reconcile that kind of crazy?


  18. Ryan said: “Should I email Wayne Grudem and tell him that I’m going to burn my copy of his Systematic Theology text unless he retracts his support of Mahaney?”

    Why not? I would definitely e-mail to confirm that his assistant’s words do in fact speak for him and go about it that route. The assistant seems to imply that he is speaking Grudem’s words, but what have you got to lose?

    Who knows if your e-mail will even get to Grudem, however, it may end up being read by his assistant.


  19. ja, there are a number of things in Grudem’s brand of complementarianism that i would challenge him on. . and i’d like to believe that if i had the opportunity to personally reason with him (from Scripture) regarding these inconsistencies, I believe he would admit that things aren’t so rigidly placed as he and the CBMWians have made it. . i love the man because i know his research involves a pursuit for the true knowledge of God. . and for how he loves his wife. . I see the comp / egal thing as a conversation now and CBMW needs to step up and answer. . if there’s to be any common ground in the debate it’s got to be the authority of Scripture. Grudem’s there with that.


  20. Again, David – – when he elevates the comp stuff with the gospel, he’s lost me. It’s like someone said my former pastor’s theology was 99% correct. Dude, what if the 1% is grace? A gospel with no grace is no gospel at all.


  21. Ryan, have you read Marvin Rosenthal’s Pre-Wrath Rapture? He studied at Dallas, our leading dispensational institution. .


  22. ja, i personally have found a connection between the two. . i’ll be writing on that reality this Summer. .

    i need to sign off now. . and might be unplugged for awhile

    Shalom, SSB



  23. Hi David/monax–I have some questions about your assertion here:

    “if there’s to be any common ground in the debate it’s got to be the authority of Scripture. Grudem’s there with that.”

    I am not so sure about this fact–as you seem to be.


  24. Second, with these folks, it would be very difficult to personally ‘reason’ with him from the Scriptures on this issue. I suggest that there would be no room for any change of belief/opinion or practice since they are dyed in the wool to the complementarian belief system.

    In their eyes, ‘it’ is the only/biblical/right way and there is no other persuasion that would be entertained. They created the name and this belief system, gave it [so-called] biblical grounds, and there is no turning back. You would not even get to first base with any reasonable presentation, IMO. Just won’t happen.


  25. Ryan – I think you should email him, but not about burning the book – he won’t take you seriously after that. Since he apparently thinks Mahaney is unjustly accused, why not ask him if he’s read the latest version of the lawsuit – or any version, for that matter?


  26. Grudem, via his assistant, appears to be making his true colours even more visible. I I would be that no-one who comments on Julie Anne’s blog is invited to the BBQ of roast sheep, where the wolves are going to be licking their chops.

    They are filling up the cup of God’s wrath.


  27. So if Grudem goes to the mat for a clownish, uneducated pastor who claimed the First Amendment gave him the right to allow a pedophile ring in his churches, what does that say about Grudem. A little problem with his moral compass?


  28. Lots and lots of reading into another situation along with lots and lots of more pure speculation. Another trial and verdict in the court of public opinion.
    Wonderful ‘Christian’ behavior.


  29. Ryan,

    Personally, I wouldn’t burn the copy of Systematic Theology, but that’s just me. While I may disagree with his views of complemenarianism and gender roles; and I am disheartened by his apparent support of Mahaney, Systematic Theology is still a very thourough, extremely in depth study of the theology of nearly every aspect of the Christian faith. A lot of useful and good things can be learned from it in regards to academic theology (I own a copy myself). Granted, that is my personal opinion, so you obviously can do with it whatever you like. If you feel strongly enough to want to burn the book, you can probably find other books on systematic theology not by Grudem that can suit your needs. My $0.02.


  30. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13, ESV)

    Along with JoeJoe, I will keep my copy of Grudem’s Systematic Theology. However, I will read Grudem with as much objective skepticism as I can muster. I will compare him to others who do not have the same unalterable commitment to a preconceived theological template. I will not fall into the trap of accepting Grudem’s theological inferences as though they carried the same authority as Scripture itself–notwithstanding he and others like him tend to present their theological conclusions as though their opinions carry the same inerrancy as they ascribe to Scripture.

    It will be much the same with the English Standard Version, which in many ways is more interpretation than translation (including, notably, on matters relating to ecclesiastical and male authority). Here I have the advantage of being able, with effort, to compare the translation/interpretation against the Greek (though not the Hebrew) text. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

    Maybe most importantly, I will keep in mind that Jesus did NOT say that it would be the theologians who would guide us into all the truth. I will look to His Spirit, not the theologians, for the revelation of what is true.

    Did I ever mention that I have come to consider myself a recovering evangelical? Some habits, like the reading of Grudem and reliance on the ESV, are just very hard to break. Not everything in Grudem or the ESV are bad. Then again, maybe a not-yet-in-full-recovery alcoholic would argue that not everything about alcohol is bad, even for them.


  31. Born4Battle,

    You say you don’t see a lot of grace in here. I invite you to show us what it looks like.


  32. That would be praying for those who are throwing their brethren under the proverbial bus in front of the whole world instead of calling them hypocrites?


  33. Born4Battle –

    Do you find grace in these words?

    “Dr. Grudem is speaking at CJ’s church specifically so that he can signal support for CJ in the face of unjust accusations. No further communication on this subject will be responded to.”

    If so, did you thank Mr. Grudem for his graciousness to all the peole who have brought the ‘unjust accusations.’

    This is my response on another blog to what Grudem believes.

    “Has Grudem interviewed all the plaintiffs? Was he judge and jury? Does this mean that Grudem has found CJ and SGM innocent? It is really astounding to see the men who are making their way to Louisville to support CJ. I’m finding it nauseating.”


  34. It’s not because you were naughty, Bridget. Use “B4B” and that should keep you out of the corner. Or you could try Gary W.’s new name 🙂


  35. B4B – did it ever occur to you that what is being exposed in SGM IS the answer to much prayer, over many years, for many people who have been harmed in SGM?

    God calls us to pray and tust Him to work in the lives of people, but he also quite often calls us to actually take action. Response to evil is all over the Old and New Testament. It often took “much” action to get leaders to respond to God. Check out the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles.


  36. This is a really powerful video (@22 mins.) by survivors of sex abuse speaking about the affect on their lives and how they walked to a place of healing from their past.
    We in the Church, as a whole, need to get educated on what is abuse, what is its affect in a child’s entire life, how abusers function and manipulate people in our faith communities, etc. I believe that it is ignorance of all of the above, that would cause a leader, such as Wade Grudem (ostensibly he approved the response from his assistant) to call alleged abuse and the cover-up of alleged abuse as “unjust accusations”. It shows clearly that he does not understand the issue.
    Mr. Grudem, please watch this video!


  37. That is witty, Gary 🙂 But B4B works better for us iPhone users. I guess it’s that second B word that causes time outs.


  38. Bridget,

    B4B is also more gracious. For now, however, my only regret is that I need to make one small revision to my version of the name. It should be CongenitallyPredisposed2Conflict.


  39. if you hang out any length of time on CBMW site, you will discover that they put that complementarian thing very high as if it’s essential with the gospel.

    And you can find (google) Grudem doing the same thing with biblical inerrancy, denouncing Peter Enns teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary, young earth creationism, and rejection of global warming. Every issue he supports is of the utmost importance, and he consistently cites his own credentials and authority to forcefully persuade others to agree with him (authoritarianism). Same approach here, supporting an organization and individual instead of a theological position.


  40. griefofwisdom – Thanks for that info. I’m going to do more research on this. This seems to fit a typical pattern I have observed from high-controlling leaders.


  41. Joe Joe, I really am not impressed with Grudem’s intellect. I don’t see a smart man rather, I see a bully that is all his way or the highway.
    I see classic small man complex.
    I see Ebineezer Scrooge.
    I do not see a smart man.


  42. This comment was posted at TWW and I thought it was so good. I think I might have to do some tweeting:

    What if Grudem’s mailbox were to be deluged with many, many requests that he not speak at Mahaney’s church?

    And what if letters were sent to Grudem’s supervisor/employer at Phoenix Seminary, asking about the propriety of one of their employees supporting Mahaney, and questioning both Grudem’s judgment, and the motive for Grudem’s decision?

    You would think someone would be interested in whether Mahaney’s past financial patronage of Grudem’s writing might have an influence on Grudem’s current use of time and resources, especially if there’s any possibility of Phoenix Seminary’s name and reputation being connected with the affair.

    I will be forthcoming with Twitter handles:

    Phoenix Seminary: @PhoenixSeminary


  43. Possible Tax Fraud and C.J. Mahaney/SGM

    1) If Paul K.’s statements below are true then C.J. Mahany and the SGM board have likely committed tax fraud by mis-using the funds of the non-profit they have a legal fiduciary responsibility to run with integrity. They’re essentially used non-profit funds to finance for-profit personal interests. Generally speaking, the IRS considers that a big “no-no.”

    Furthermore, people donating money to SGM did not do so with the expectation that it would be used to give Wayne Grudem, a non SGM-member, a paid vacation, so Mahaney et all have arguably de-frauded SGM donors on a civil fraud level, too.

    In my opinion, which is backed up by the boatload of hard evidence I’ve compiled over the year,s C.J. Mahaney and other SGM leaders have been treating SGM like it’s their personal bank account, rather than a non-profit whose funds they are obligated to use responsibly for the good of their donors, for some time. Eventually that’s going to catch up with them.

    Paul K.
    July 9th, 2013 at 7:01 am
    (1) Did u know CJ used SGM funds so Grudem could take a full half year off teaching at the seminary in Phoenix to head up the group of men who did the ESV Translation? Jeff Purswell was a teaching assistant to Grudem and adapted Systematic Theology into a smaller book. CJ has actually found ways to encourage these guys in their ministries to the point they look to him for counsel — CJ knows how to win-over just about anyone who doesn’t know him well (with money, humor, praise, encouragement of the next project they should do, having them come speak to a standing ovation they’ve never experienced before) but those days are over — now it’s “their turn” to help him. Cronyism : a sadly disturbing unchristlike carnal “ism” of man — diabolically contradictory to the Word and the Spirit.


  44. “Mohler/Dever/Duncan remove statement of support: -3”

    I would add these three back to the list of Pastor’s supporting Mahaney because they have not retracted their statement to that effect or even corrected the factual errors it contained.

    To me it looks like they acknowledged that a critical number of Pastors were refusing to attend an event with Mahaney on the marquee and were therefore grudgingly forced to boot him out of the conference.

    Rumor also has it that Mahaney is joining Mohler on his “Conviction” book tour.

    Simply put, I think that Duncan, Mohler, and Carson are in Mahaney’s corner unless they specifically retract their statement saying otherwise.


  45. Wayne Grudem and Ignorance

    I agree that ignorance played a role in Mr. Grudem’s insensitive second-hand statement to the effect that he’s too busy to prioritize addressing sexual abuse in Church communities, as a scholar and Christian leader.

    But there’s no question that he’s also a hypocrite and a coward in addition to being ignorant, in my opinion.

    The ignorance in question appears to be willful. He knows his friend C.J. has done some awful things, and that the Evangelical community in general is struggling to address a growing number of sexual abuse problems, but he doesn’t have the courage to face those truths.

    I find that mentality interesting given his emphasis on Godly masculinity, as a board member of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the implicit expectation that men protect women that that role entails.

    I’m not sure I would burn Mr. Grudem’s books yet I would send him a note saying I wouldn’t be attending any of his conferences or recommending his books to others, as his unwillingness to practice what he preaches is a slap in the face to sexual abuse victims.


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