Phil Johnson: ‘Some thoughts on CJ, T4G, and “survivor blogs.”’

Phil Johnson, C.J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Case, Together for the Gospel, #T4G2016, Survivor Blogs


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Phil Johnson, John MacArthur’s right-hand man has issued a public statement on his Facebook page regarding CJ Mahaney, the Together for the Gospel 2016 conference, and survivor blogs.

As usual, we don’t see much concern for the victims. And, look how he shames Janet Mefferd for putting victims first!  Wow.
Facebook Link

Phil Johnson, CJ Mahaney, #TGC2016 SGM Sex Abuse Scandal

Lots of people have been asking my opinion about having CJ Mahaney as a headliner at T4G. Here’s a longish summary of my answer:

In July of 2011 I started reading the original 600-page Detweiler dump. Approximately 375 pages in, I gave up looking for anything substantial. Everything Brent Detweiler complained about was petty and personal: CJ Mahaney was too controlling; he wasn’t transparent with his fellow leaders; he didn’t submit to the same accountability he demanded of them; he was stubborn; he didn’t listen to criticism; etc. I’m no defender of SGM’s continuationist doctrine or their philosophy of ministry. In fact, the Detweiler documents left me with the impression that SGM is practically cultlike in the ways they have tried to achieve “accountability” and “transparency.” (The accountability structures seem even worse than the Roman Catholic confessional system.) But it deeply annoyed me and offended me to read hundreds of pages of private emails in the Detweiler papers without seeing any evidence of the kind of gross, deliberate wrongdoing that might justify that style of public attack on a Christian leader’s character and reputation.

Let’s suppose all the things Detwieler complained about were true. None of it was as bad as Detweiler’s decision to trample the whole point of 1 Timothy 5:19 in order to litigate his personal grievances against his boss on the Internet. His airing of personal complaints against CJ to a worldwide audience predictably unleashed a flood of gossip and speculation among people who had no righteous involvement in any of the conflicts Detweiler described. (See Proverbs 26:17.) It was a strategy whose main aim seemed to be to destroy CJ’s reputation.

Sometime much later (seems like it was almost 2 years later), accusations began to surface that CJ Mahaney had actively participated in a cover-up of several child-abuse incidents within SGM. Given my frustration with the Detweiler documents, my inclination was to be highly skeptical of these new accusations. The charges don’t fit what I know of CJ Mahaney, and (again, in opposition to 1 Timothy 5:19) the notion that Mahaney engineered a cover-up conspiracy wasn’t backed up with any real evidence. I still haven’t seen any damning emails or smoking guns implicating CJ himself. The only “proof” seems to consist entirely of several people who say they are pretty sure it’s impossible that such things could occur in SGM without CJ’s knowledge and approval. Even if it’s totally true that CJ’s leadership style would lend credibility to the charge, we are expressly forbidden to admit the charge without actual evidence. Speculation and suspicions from someone who can’t possibly know what actually happened behind the scenes is not evidence–no matter how many voices join in and echo the accusations.

So in short, I emphatically refuse to assume the worst of CJ. And I’m disappointed in Janet Mefferd for aligning herself with some of the “survivor blogs” where CJ’s guilt is simply assumed and dogmatically declared as if it were already a settled issue. To pretend to be calling for “justice” while committing such a gross injustice is the very height of hypocrisy. The best-known survivor blogs tend to be places where disgruntled former church members mingle with people who are overtly hostile to biblical authority–and a handful of people who are true victims of spiritual abuse. Then they all stoke one another’s resentment and give as much publicity as possible to every accusation that surfaces claiming this or that Christian leader has abused his authority. This is no less unjust than the abuse they complain of. And it is grossly unhealthy to the participants’ spiritual well-being. Mrs. Mefferd of all people ought to have more discernment than that.

On the other hand, I also disagree with the decision to include CJ among the speakers at T4G2016. I was happy to see CJ in attendance but not speaking at T4G2014. I don’t see the wisdom in putting him on the platform two years later when, if anything, the controversy that surrounds him is more fierce than ever. Turning the T4G spotlight on CJ while such a scandal is raging certainly doesn’t help him, and it unnecessarily clouds the message of T4G. I share all of Todd Pruitt‘s concerns about that.

I’m considering this from a practical and personal perspective. If it turned out that two or three of my employees committed criminal child-abuse offenses in the course of their work under my oversight, even if I was totally ignorant of what was happening and personally innocent of any wrongdoing, I would nevertheless decline any outside speaking engagements until all questions about the matter were truly and sufficiently resolved. It would not be right to attach the scandal and reproach of a brewing conflict like that to any other organization. Passing up an opportunity to be a headliner at a big conference would especially seem an important way of countering the charges that a person lacks humility.

In CJ’s case, as I understand it, some of the questions floating around are still being litigated in the courts. I just don’t see any good reason to rush him back into such an important position of high visibility. That’s my perspective.

Still, I would not suggest that there are no difficulties with the course of action I would have taken, either. At some point you have to refuse to cater to the concerns of people who insist on accusing a man when they can’t possibly meet the simple biblical standard of evidence. So I do sympathize with those who had to make the decision for this year’s T4G, and the fact that I would have chosen a different course of action does not in any way diminish my respect for them.

55 comments on “Phil Johnson: ‘Some thoughts on CJ, T4G, and “survivor blogs.”’

  1. This is sort of long and I am making my way through, but where did this whole ‘we are not allowed to believe anything without 3 witnesses, perfect evidence, etc etc’ come from? I don’t remember this being pushed in the past.

    Sometimes things happen between two people without additional witnesses. What evidence would be enough??

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Being controlling, without accountability, not listening to criticism, are “personal and petty”???!!! And all of these are nowhere near as bad as airing things in public!?!?!? That is so ridiculous! And so self-serving for a leader to say.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Julie Anne, you wrote, “we don’t see much concern for the victims.”

    I think you’re wrong.

    I didn’t see ANY concern for the victims, unless I’m mistaken. And I hope I am, mistaken.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Lea, you said, “what evidence would be enough?”

    I suspect if the bulk of abuse victims were men instead of women, they’d be believed and taken seriously. There’d be committees appointed to address the problem, it would be major topics of discussion at events like T4G2016, and victim shaming would be a thing of the past.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “The charges don’t fit what I know of CJ Mahaney …” right, that’s what a few people said about me after my sinful event. Hello?

    Johnson has read even more of Detweiler than have I and I still found enough incriminating evidence in the email exchanges to warrant far more than mere suspicion.

    Moreover, even if the T4G committee agreed to let Mahaney speak at the conference, why does Mahaney’s conscience and just good ol’ common sense not inform him that partaking in speaking at such a public venue is bad form at this juncture? Does that alone not speak volumes? I mean, is that man so very gifted that he senses he must speak? Really? No one — and I do mean no one — among the superstar Calvinista camp is that needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And all of these are nowhere near as bad as airing things in public!?!?!? That is so ridiculous! And so self-serving for a leader to say.”

    Welcome to the blog, Natalia 🙂

    You know, I think Phil Johnson had to say something self-serving; after all, his pastor/boss, John MacArthur is speaking at the event. He has to be in a defensive posture because the question that has been raised is why is MacArthur sharing a platform with Mahaney.

    (BTW, Mahaney is a Reformed Charismatic and MacArthur is strongly against Charismatics, so that is another issue.)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think Phil is just concerned that if the church deals Biblically with CJ, they will have to deal with a whole lot more, and that messes with his comfort. I have no patience left for that arrogant bunch. They talk a good talk then deny Christ by their lack of genuine concern for anyone other than leaders. Zero respect nor fear of them. They need help, and I do pray they reach out for it. It’s been a long time coming but I have to say they need to get over themselves. That T4G conference was a total disaster and disgrace. Anyone outside of the issue, with a detailed reading of all sides involved, will see through the hypocrisy and political maneuvering to rehabilitate CJ’s image. It’s serious sin: totally the opposite of the humility required of those who preach and teach. I have no sympathy for any of them. It’s gone on long enough. Sow, reap. I do pray they repent now, and have time to grow in grace.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. You’re right, WFTT2, anyone with a conscience would never be in a church leadership position again because they know the harm they have caused and don’t want to be a stumbling block.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The majority of churches are just not a safe place anymore. No one should assume their church is in this day and age. This does not glorify God. The majority of churches seem obsessed with money, posh lifestyles and selling books.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Part of my work involves dealing with formal complaints. If we receive a single complaint that is unproven based on the evidence of that incident then that is quite different from a series of separate complaints against the same individual or group relating to the same type of issue. If it is the latter then we know there is a problem. This whole CJ Mahaney thing is a series.

    As to the personal attacks against Janet, these are completely out of order.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Exactly, Forrest. These are multiple complaints from a number of churches, pastors. It’s a systemic pattern of abuse. This is another time to give a plug to the movie, Spotlight. SGM is the Christian evangelical version of the Catholic sex abuse cases.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Ok I tried and again I may be wording it wrong but I honestly dont get his response.

    From my facebook encounter with Mr. Phillips.

    “Brian Darby “At some point you have to refuse to cater to the concerns of people who insist on accusing a man when they can’t possibly meet the simple biblical standard of evidence. “

    ((I am assuming you mean Deuteronomy 19:15 as one of the standards of “Biblical Evidence”. I am sure you realize such crimes as child abuse do not usually take place in the sight of several witnesses. If I am reading many of the testimonies concerning those hurt by the SMG “ministry” do meet that standard taken in totality. I am interested why those abused did not seem to take the forefront of the discussion in your post? It seems to me, Mr. Mahaney’s “charismatic” leanings or his “Roman Catholic” confession are not even issues when compared to those of children that have been abused and, in my opinion, the mishandling of the abuse. Several of the perpetrators have already confessed to various crimes so that adds validity to the perspective of those that feel Mr. Mahaney should not be in ministry.

    If Mr. Mahaney was a member of Biologos, became a member of the RCC or EO you and Pastor Macarthur would have taken a more public stance concerning Mr. Mahaney. I find that rather interesting and rather sad. I do hope you have a nice weekend.))
    Like · Reply · 1 · 49 mins
    Phil Johnson
    Phil Johnson So the claim now is that CJ Mahaney himself is guilty of child abuse? Plus: you’re implying that I’ve denied that child abuse took place anywhere in SGM? Where did any of THAT come from? Thanks for giving us such a vivid example of why the survivor-blog culture is so unwholesome. Crazy accusations like that help no one. You’re proving my whole point.
    Like · Reply · 21 mins
    Brian Darby
    Brian Darby Phil Johnson You are quite mistaken maybe its my wording. No where do I accuse Mr. Mahaney of child abuse but I do think he handled the issues terribly. Nowhere do I say you deny it you merely mention the need for biblical evidence I asked if you referring to having witnesses so I mentioned such crimes usually do not have witnesses let alone two or three. As for witnesses concerning the mishandling of the abuse and reporting along with how Mr. Mahaney dealt with people under his care as a pastor are well spelled out in the many links provided. Also if Mr. Mahaney did become a RCC or EO etc your response would be much stronger, which is like I said rather sad. I am trying to understand your point, I would hope you would please just try to understand what these folks who are posting here are trying to say. Again I hope you have a nice evening.

    Is my message that poorly worded? Please help me out here, I am more than willing to admit I am wrong, apologize or whatever but I cant see it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is the second part of the dialog.

    ike · Reply · 41 mins
    Phil Johnson
    Phil Johnson Brian Darby To review: I pointed out that people are making accusations against Mahaney without meeting the biblical standard of evidence. You replied that there usually are no witnesses to child molestation. It sure seems like you are suggesting he is guilty of that, as well as implying that I have refused to acknowledge that any abuse even happened. In reality I have emphatically condemned the abuse that took place and urged a full investigation to resolve all remaining questions about it. For the record AGAIN: those who committed the crimes, as well as those who conspired to cover them up, should be punished to the full extent allowed by law. But I’m not going to join the lynch mob that’s so eager to extract a pound of flesh from Mahaney without bothering FIRST to produce actual proof that he knew about or participated in the cover-up.
    Like · Reply · 24 mins · Edited
    Brian Darby
    Brian Darby Ok Mr. Johnson I am looking at my poor use of words and I apologize if for a second I am saying you condone such abuse. I will strive to be more careful let me try again. When you mentioned the biblical evidence I was thinking you were referring to the actual abuse, my mistake, that was my point about there is rarely direct witnesses to such abuse. I also state that you have publically stated such abuse should be investigated. I am not looking to lynch anyone either but I personally think the victims have gotten the short end of the stick in all this. Mr. Johnson you and Pastor MacArthur carry far more weight in this community than myself or any others posting here ever will. Just a statement that said that churches should have adequate protection and reporting requirements with in the bylaws of the organization would have a great deal of positive effect in my opinion. That is my one hope here, and the restoration of those deeply injured. I do hope you have a nice day.

    In rereading my dialog I am trying to figure out where I said what Mr. Johnson says I said or implied. I would really like some feedback to help me better my communication on such matters in dialoguing online.

    The main message I wanted to get out is this

    “Mr. Johnson you and Pastor MacArthur carry far more weight in this community than myself or any others posting here ever will. Just a statement that said that churches should have adequate protection and reporting requirements with in the bylaws of the organization would have a great deal of positive effect in my opinion. That is my one hope here, and the restoration of those deeply injured.”

    JA sorry for the long posts. I just think the message gets lost in all the wordsmithing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “This is sort of long and I am making my way through, but where did this whole ‘we are not allowed to believe anything without 3 witnesses, perfect evidence, etc etc’ come from? I don’t remember this being pushed in the past.”

    I had never heard it used until the last 15 years or so. It is 1 Tim 5. And what they are doing is proof texting to set up a special priestly class that is untouchable. Our justice system has serious problems but can you imagine if it approached systemic molestations in an institution in this way? Does anyone really believe Jesus Christ thinks that way? No, He was talking about millstone justice.

    The irony of 1 Timothy 5 is that none of the guys we are talking about should have ever been elders in the first place. True Elders do not operate closed systems with secrecy, authoritarianism and control. Basic common decency, transparency, honesty and integrity, are not requirements for elders in their world.

    The Other issue with these guys is their ridiculous focus on technicalities. There is a pattern with all of them not to focus on Basic common decency and the spiritual aspects of these heinous behaviors and coverups but on the technicalities. They are telling us who they are. Dave Miller over at SBC voices wrote something quite similar. Basically his premise is that thanks to lawyers and insurance companies pastors now know how to deal with this sort of problem. It blows my mind how much they keep the basics of right and wrong out of a serious spiritual problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I find it interesting that he references 1 Timothy 5 and not Matthew 18 in his comments on Detwieler. I’m assuming if Mahaney had been, as he claimed, so caustic and controlling in private interactions, he would have approached Mahaney himself and others in leadership about the matter. Matthew 18 says if that brings no repentance, then tell the matter to the whole church. If that still doesn’t work, treat him like a tax collector (i.e., warn the public). Funny how these guys want to apply Matthew 18 for actual crimes, then cry 1 Timothy 5 for legitimate personal complaints.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Frank Turk is a well-known groupie and notice how many people like his comment.

    The entire page seemed to be full of sycophants.

    Honest question, has cj ever apologized, expressed concern, attempted changes in the org aside from getting drummed out? I’ve read up on this some but haven’t seen it.

    What kills me about the defenders so that I could understand the position of ‘this terrible thing happened (um a whole bunch of times) but he really didn’t know, fixed it when he found out, etc. I might disagree but I think that could be an honest position. The problem is, none of the people who defend him even pretend to give a d*** about the actual victims. Or if they do, it’s one throw off comment. The fact that they seem to get way more concerned about why this particular person isn’t at fault rather than why this happened, how to prevent it, what to do in the future makes everything they say suspect to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. The Other issue with these guys is their ridiculous focus on technicalities.

    YES! We are talking about child abuse and they are talking about rule #43b, sub section a of the handbook…

    its callous and bloodless. They just sound like they don’t care about these things at all.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. These guys hold higher standards for the common folk than they do for their celebrity crushes. They would have no problem disciplining the little guys and will claim that the big wigs are merely imperfect.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. It’s like they are a family. They can criticize each other privately, but if an outsider says anything negative about one of them, they all close ranks.
    For anyone who ever watched, “Star Trek, Next Generation”, these men remind me of the Borg. They were aliens who were made up of a “hive mind”. If you are with them, they absorb you, if against, they destroy you. Their big motto is, “We are the BORG, resistance is futile.” !

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Lydia said,

    The Other issue with these guys is their ridiculous focus on technicalities. There is a pattern with all of them not to focus on Basic common decency and the spiritual aspects of these heinous behaviors and coverups but on the technicalities.

    It reminds me of the Challies “review” (scare quotes on purpose) of Tucker’s domestic violence book. He sort of brushed off all her testimony on technicalities.

    The guy over at the I-Monk site took Challies to task over that attitude and behavior. Stuck With Their Noses in The Text

    Some of these Professional Christians have a habit of seeing the trees and choose to ignore the forest.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. @Brian

    What PJ is doing here is similar to the bait and switch. He is not addressing your position. Instead he addresses a position you didn’t take. This behaviour is often used to undermine the credibility of the person taking the position. It is not a behaviour that a Spirit filled believer should ever exhibit.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I fail to understand why T4G2016 and CBMW2016 haven’t used their platforms to address the epidemic of child sexual abuse in the conservative evangelical church.
    After all, it’s the No. 1 reason that churches are sued every single year, year after year.
    http://www.churchlawandtax.com/web/2015/june/top-5-reasons-churches-end-up-in-court.html

    CJ shouldn’t be speaking. However sex crimes experts should be speaking, victims, their families, attorneys who specialize in sex abuse, and others (like insurance companies like Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches in the U.S.).

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Johnson’s attitude is exactly why so many victims do not speak up. If they mention their abuse they’re called bitter, disgruntled, hostile, resentful, accuser, complainer . . . If they finally do gain the courage to talk about it later, people ask, “Why did you wait so long to say something?” It’s a double bind.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Folks, Remind me but wasn’t it Phil Johnson who criticized Beth Moore’s clothes (pants, jacket, etc.)? Didn’t he also criticize Beth Moore for sharing a stage with other women from various Christian denominations and teaching them?

    Phil Johnson lacks proper training and good manners, in my opinion. I really could not care less what he has to say. Just a really uncivil guy who runs his mouth too much.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I’m trying to digest what Phil Johnson wrote…

    Phil Johnson does not see control issues, lack of transparency, unaccountability to anyone, stubbornness, or unresponsiveness to criticism as a problem in a “Christian leader.” He believes it is “petty” and “personal” to even raise these issues.

    He was unable to finish Detweiler’s documents because seeing these traits exposed as wrong was deeply offensive to him.

    He is unwilling to look into the charges against Mahaney on the sex abuse coverup because seeing these traits exposed as wrong was so very aggravating to him. (Speaking of petty and personal?)

    He “emphatically” gives Mahaney a pass on the sex abuse coverup precisely because he is upset about the documents that Detweiler revealed.

    However, he does see “gossip” and “speculation” as serious sins.

    Even “if” all of the charges against Mahaney are true, “it is not as bad as” airing personal complaints over the internet. Note that he calls Mahaney Detweiler’s “boss.”

    He has no problem attacking Janet Mefford publicly, accusing her of hypocrisy, because her response, having looked into the charges, is different than his, having not looked into them.

    Somehow 2 years of time has a great bearing on the issues but I’m not sure how. Two years apparently is quite a long time to Mr. Johnson.

    He does think it was wrong of Mahaney to speak at the conference. He personally would not have spoken if he’d had any “employees” that were found to have committed child sex abuse under his watch. He sees Mahaney’s unwillingness to step down for what it is- lack of humility- yet refuses to make the connection with how it aligns with Detweiler’s documents.

    I find it interesting to see what words he puts in quotes:
    “accountability” “transparency” “proof” “survivor blogs” “justice”

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Lydia: You said:” Dave Miller over at SBC voices wrote something quite similar. Basically his premise is that thanks to lawyers and insurance companies pastors now know how to deal with this sort of problem. It blows my mind how much they keep the basics of right and wrong out of a serious spiritual problem.”

    IMO, people like Dave Miller are spiritually dead and this man is a pastor.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I admit I quit reading pyro years back. I had my fill. Enough to get a good reading on their world. Sadly, most Pastor blogs I have visited since follow pretty much the same format. It is like an exclusive club that if you want to enter you need to be in total agreement or a male pastor. Fawning females are allowed to speak if they have the correct Doctrine.

    I think that the internet has been a great teacher. Pastors and people in Ministry, for the most part, are showing us who they really are off stage. Most Pew sitters never get to see that side of their pastor or ministry guru. There are some great exceptions but they are not the rule, sadly.

    Like

  28. Tom, it is shocking to learn that there are so many pastors without common sense or common decency when it comes to innocent children being molested and it covered up in a systemic way.

    They can insist all they want they want to protect children but their words should fall on deaf ears because their actions say different. They want spiritual credit for putting a legal process in place. But they insist they cannot be held accountable for looking the other way while they go along with promoting and protecting CJ mahaney with total silence as he joined the SBC! Instead they focus on technicalities. But they think they are making spiritual arguments when it comes to their leadership and our obedience.

    Sickening

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Folks, Remind me but wasn’t it Phil Johnson who criticized Beth Moore’s clothes (pants, jacket, etc.)?

    I was really curious about this but I couldn’t find anything on a quick search…Did somebody think Beth Moore should be wearing a skirt, or were they just being tacky? (or both?)

    Phil Johnson does not see control issues, lack of transparency, unaccountability to anyone, stubbornness, or unresponsiveness to criticism as a problem in a “Christian leader.” He believes it is “petty” and “personal” to even raise these issues.
    [snip….]
    However, he does see “gossip” and “speculation” as serious sins.

    Yeah. Talking about someone being abusive is worse then them being abusive. That’s the message I get.

    Also, you should have a million witnesses to believe a pastor did anything wrong, but he’s annoying that Brent put out so much documentation.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m glad, Phil, that you are able to see what a bad idea it is for Mahaney to be allowed to participate as a T4G speaker, and that you see how it reflects on him to be willing to do so in light of the controversy.

    But, other than that, your bias towards rigid authoritarians and against those who challenge them is showing.

    You read in Detweiler’s documentation of events that Mahaney was controlling, not transparent, lacked accountability, was stubborn, and didn’t listen to criticism, and you even concluded that SGM is “practically cultlike” — yet you saw no evidence of gross, deliberate wrongdoing worthy of public rebuke? Wow. Just wow.

    I’m not sure what you would consider a “biblical standard of evidence,” but I think you might want to revisit the idea of how the Bible identifies a witness. It does not require having directly seen something; rather, it requires having reliable knowledge of it. How that knowledge is obtained can include receiving it from multiple trustworthy sources. That is why we as Christians, who have no ourselves seen the resurrected Christ, are able to be His witnesses.

    It’s all a matter of who you trust, really. And I think you are trusting the wrong people.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. BeenThereDoneThat said

    Johnson’s attitude is exactly why so many victims do not speak up. If they mention their abuse they’re called bitter, disgruntled, hostile, resentful, accuser, complainer . . . If they finally do gain the courage to talk about it later, people ask, “Why did you wait so long to say something?” It’s a double bind.

    I don’t understand why some Christians act like that.

    Other than one minor, brief incident when I was a toddler I went through, I can’t say as though I’d ever been sexually abused. If I had been sexually abused (or abused in another way), you better believe I’d be bitter, disgruntled, hostile and all that other stuff you mentioned. Any normal person would!!

    There may be a Bible verse or two asking believers not to wallow in bitterness, but it’s not, IMO, the right of another person to tell the victim of a wrong-doing (such as having been molested) they had better not be bitter or stay bitter (or sad, angry, whatever).

    I do see the flip side of this. I’ve had a few friends and family who do stay embittered for a long time over a situation or a person who upset them.

    I’ve had to learn to let go of anger I’ve had at some people in my past (not over sexual abuse but other stuff). If you stay angry and bitter, it can eat you up and harm you in the end.
    So I understand that it can be good or important for a person to work through their negative emotions so they can come out of it happy and whole…

    But I get so angry at Christians like this guy or others who tell sexual abuse victims to not get angry/ bitter/ hostile. I don’t really think it’s their place to do that.

    If you have been sexually abused, I understand being angry, bitter about it and wanting to complain about it. If it happened to Phil Johnson and guys like him (or hs family), they’d be bitter and angry about it too.

    Like

  32. Lea said,

    I was really curious about this but I couldn’t find anything on a quick search…Did somebody think Beth Moore should be wearing a skirt, or were they just being tacky? (or both?)

    It might be mentioned in this post on SSB:
    Phil Johnson Claims the Main Trouble in Churches are the Sheep, not Wolves

    Someone in that thread said:

    Larry
    JANUARY 13, 2015 @ 1:00 PM
    Phil Johnson is intelligent. He is well spoken. But he is also a jerk, in my opinion, who often shows no semblance of the fruits of the spirit in his online communication. Just look at the way he not only criticized Beth Moore, but mocked her looks and her pants suit. What does something she wore have to do with the price of rice in China?

    I’m not sure where he got that information from. It might be mentioned somewhere else in that thread.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I think telling someone ‘not to be bitter’ has pretty much never, ever had a positive effect. Only negative.

    BTW, I went looking for that Beth Moore thing, and landed on pulpit and pen…um, approximately how much of that blog is devoted to men blogging catty things about women preachers? Because I just ran across multiple articles. (EX: “Then, of course, there’s the even more fundamental question, “Should SHE even be doing this?” (1 Timothy 2:12)”) and more scare quotes than I’ve ever seen.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Someone in that thread said:

    Thanks Daisy. I don’t keep up much with Beth moore.

    Looking for this, I also ran across some lady blogging about modesty talking about how she wore ugly shorts over her leggings, even though she thought it was stupid. ok then. Also this:

    “Single and dating women: you represent hidden qualities of godliness, the mystery of femininity that so many men seek. You are the prize, the trophy, the golden crown to someone: does what is showing distract from that?”

    EW. This is someone called phyliciadelta.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Another under-shepherd pontificating and spinning yarns about under-shepherds, to under-shepherds, while wounded lambs lay in the fields without notice or concern. May the Good Shepherd find them!

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Lea wrote, “I went looking for that Beth Moore thing, and landed on pulpit and pen…um, approximately how much of that blog is devoted to men blogging catty things about women preachers? Because I just ran across multiple articles.”

    LOL….. if you only knew. If you think Pulpit & Pen is bad, you should spend time inside their private Facebook group, “The Bunker”. In there, anything goes, the snarkier the better. And the cattiness isn’t just toward women, there’s men that they berate with an equal Piranha-like feeding frenzy. But women are special in the sense that their appearances often get raked through the mud also.

    One poor lady who is dragged through the Bunker muck as often as our Julie-Anne, is often criticized over her choice of clothing (which is always modest, but yes her fashion is adorably ecclectic), her glasses, the bags under her eyes, and the look on her face. And no, I don’t mean Beth Moore.

    Anyway, stay away from Pulpit and Pen, nothing good comes from there.

    Like

  37. Too controlling
    Not transparent with his fellow leaders
    Doesn’t submit to the same accountability he demands of others
    Stubborn
    Doesn’t listen to criticism
    …………………………………………………………………………..

    Only in the bizarre world of the cults, where NPDs who possess no conscience are setting the standards for “normative”, would the above traits be considered nothing substantial for a leader. Those traits are more anathema to Christian leadership than any embezzlement, trolling for prostitutes or bedding down of others’ spouses could ever be. Those are the traits not of a Christian leader, but of a hater of God.

    Phil Johnson is completely insane if he thinks what he said makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. The guy over at the I-Monk site took Challies to task over that attitude and behavior. Stuck With Their Noses in The Text.

    In the words of the prophet Naked Pastor:

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  39. You read in Detweiler’s documentation of events that Mahaney was controlling, not transparent, lacked accountability, was stubborn, and didn’t listen to criticism, and you even concluded that SGM is “practically cultlike” — yet you saw no evidence of gross, deliberate wrongdoing worthy of public rebuke? Wow. Just wow.

    Like Reichsminister Speer, he has “arranged his mind” to see no wrong in the System as he advances within the System.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. HUG, if there is one thing I could communicate well with people is that it is a spiritual culture of death. Despite the love bombing, people do not realize that they are selling their very Souls when they get involved with these groups.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. After reading the entire encounter again and thinking on it I have come to understand, these people, men mostly, cant admit to being wrong about anything of substance. In my interactions with Mr. Phillips, I tried so hard to make sure I wrote everything perfect as to not be misunderstood. But to no avail. My main point just say you support mandatory reporting for pastors / elders concerning abuse. If CJ spoke on that it would have been powerful, even life changing for so many in the audience and listing online and for victims. But to no avail. It did remind me why I no longer have discussions with certain types of Christians because every interaction is an apologetic and scripted. It is so tiring with the qualifications and bait and switch tactics. I have said this in the past again for a group of people who are so all fired on personal responsibility they really dont take much.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Headless Unicorn Guy / APRIL 16, 2016 @ 6:45 PM

    Sometimes I think some of these guys who spend most of their time reading the Bible and debating it and defending it (or their interpretation of it) forget (emphasis added):

    James 1:22
    But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

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  43. “It did remind me why I no longer have discussions with certain types of Christians because every interaction is an apologetic and scripted. It is so tiring with the qualifications and bait and switch tactics. I have said this in the past again for a group of people who are so all fired on personal responsibility they really dont take much.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

    There are certain Christians who stay to a script because they have no confidence in their faith and thus must desperately cling to a system that has been promulgated by some guru, which is almost invariably an eisegetical linking of scriptures. Have nothing to do with them unless the Lord leads you to reach out to them–but be careful, they live to drag others down to their level, it salves their deep insecurities. There is another type of Christian who also does this, but they are “Christians”, people who neither know the Lord nor have the Holy Spirit, a pharisaical system all they know because they have no true faith. These are very difficult people to deal with because while they can often recite a lot of Bible verses and have the form of godliness, they become very manipulative towards others and hostile to the one who tells them the truth. Similarly, they live to drag others down and are extremely dangerous people. To use a scripture, see if they can be snatched from the fire, but do so with great caution, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.

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  44. Pingback: Kevin DeYoung Claims C.J. Mahaney is Above Reproach, Jenn’s Comment from SGM Survivors, and a Dark Anniversary | Wondering Eagle

  45. I have read a lot of this long blog, and of course in these kinds of controversies, there’s so much meat hanging off the bone that any meat still close to the bone of such issues is overlooked!
    Where is Christ in most of this?
    And certainly scripture must be used to substantiate any claims of spiritual abuse or cultism or legalism outstripping the intention of the pure gospel, but where is the Spirit in all this?
    For instance, how far does a church have to go before the Master leaves it, if in fact He was ever in it in the first place?
    How instrumental is Satan in such matters?
    And how much of all this is spoken in pride, acted out in protecting a theological system, or in self-righteously maintaining some status quo that has no business in the work of the Lord?

    I was in a fundamentalist cult long enough to distinguish the real church from pretenders, from hypocrites. And as we all know, the same markings of the abuse of power, of sexual indiscretions, and of concerns concerning money distinguish most deeply-dividing controverses!

    What is supposed to be going on in a true born-again life or ministry?
    Is not the Spirit to guide us all into righteousness that is of our beloved Master instead into the eddying muddied waters of only our emotional and moral thinking?
    Is not a regenerating saint or messenger or congregation to be on the path that leads home, and therefore such controversies must necessarily take a backseat to proclaiming the pure essence of the gospel where such concerns never have occasion to become so entrenched in any given church system?
    And if they do become entrenched, is there then not a concerted effort to root out causes and do away with the rot (leaven) before it affects the whole?
    Does the Spirit not work for the good of the church, where decisionism and legalism and such related claims, let alone power, money and sexual improprieties, have no place to grow and fester (this concern regarding CJ is now more than 5 years in the making!).
    Is the Spirit not to be moulding us into what the Bridegroom of our souls would have us be and do?
    Are we not to be rejoicing day by day that our beloved Father has invited us into the grandest gift of our human existence?
    And letting His sweet influence influence us to set aside all such concerns and deal with them before they get blown up so largely as to be a multi-headed beast several years later?

    And what is all this talk about money?
    And control over others (Nicolaitanism?)
    And legalism?
    Is the gospel not given freely, and we are to declare it freely?
    Is not our Lord and King at the helm of our lives and ministries?
    Is it so needful to converse about CJ, or Piper, or MacArthur, or Sproul in such a manner?

    Or is it not most needful to direct our full attention to our Lord, and ensure that He and the Spirit are intervening on our behalf before we get deeper into such messes that are largely not of our own making because of a failure to stay close to the Master, wherein the gifts of grace, faith and repentance are to quickly resolve all such concerns?

    Are there not some strong reasons for some of the most together ministries in Christendom to remain detached from this kind of mainstream borderline cultism? For I can think of a few who preach the Word and seem to have no time for this elongated type of preoccupation with issues that have no business becoming rooted in the ministry of any true church!

    Alas, what is to be done?

    What is to be done? Scripture points out all the ways to deal with such matters, and if we are not led of the Spirit, nor by the essence of scripture, then might we not question having been born again at all, or of how far off the path of regeneration that we’ve strayed…

    Surely, surely, we know what to do…!

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  46. Even in Reformed circles, the Biblical standards of evidence in 1 Tim 5:19, include such things as e-mail. I slogged through 2-3 of Detwiler’s articles and there was a lot of damning evidence in the e-mail stream. Each one of those e-mails is a “witness”. It has e-mail addresses and people’s words. That is evidence. That evidence is admissible in court.

    None of it was as bad as Detweiler’s decision to trample the whole point of 1 Timothy 5:19 in order to litigate his personal grievances against his boss on the Internet.

    And, this is a classic equivocation bait-and-switch. He claims that Detwiler didn’t meet the standards for evidence in reams of content with e-mails, dates, personal notes, etc., yet he unequivocally declares Detwiler guilty of sinning against 1 Tim 5:19, based on…. what evidence. If Detwiler’s commentary can be used as evidence against him, it can also be used as evidence against SGM, and thus Johnson is in a Catch-22. If he admits that written articles on the internet are admissible, than not only what Detwiler wrote, but also what he quoted from e-mails is admissible. If he denies that written articles on the internet are admissible, then he must deny that he has “two or three witnesses” to condemn Detwiler. In the same way, isn’t Phil Johnson “litigating his personal grievances” against Detwiler “on the Internet”?

    The best-known survivor blogs tend to be places where disgruntled former church members mingle with people who are overtly hostile to biblical authority–and a handful of people who are true victims of spiritual abuse.

    This just makes me angry. First of all, if “biblical authority” is what Piper claims, then, yes, I am hostile towards it. Just like Jesus was. He called the Pharisee’s hypocrites, and he condemned them for putting burdens on people that they could not bear while not lifting a finger to help. Doesn’t that just define TGC? I don’t think Johnson gets to define spiritual abuse. Repeatedly telling someone they’re worthless is not as visible as beating them black and blue day after day, but the damage is still real. Just because Johnson wants to gloss over emotional abuse doesn’t de facto make everyone who suffered emotional abuse simply “hostile to biblical authority”.

    We’re angry and we’re hostile because we’ve heard Jesus’s voice. We expected to hear it from spiritual leaders in our church, but the closer we get to Jesus, the further away and distant our spiritual leaders seem to become. We hear that we are precious, that God loves us and wants to do amazing things through us. We hear that we are God’s tools to bring about restoration – not restoration of cruel and inhumane judgmentalism, but restoration of joy, happiness, peace and warmth. That Sunday shouldn’t be the day we get beaten down each week, but lifted up. But when we hear those who have placed themselves in the seat of Moses and they are driving people away from Jesus, we are angry and hostile.

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  47. @Dane,

    What is supposed to be going on in a true born-again life or ministry?

    I honestly wish I knew. What I learned was don’t break the peace, and make sure the outside of the tomb always has a fresh coat of paint. About four years ago, I was first able to name what happened to me as spiritual abuse. About two years ago, after reading some good books, I started working through what I thought a “non-abusive” church should look and operate. About six months later, I visited a church, and I heard a sermon that was precisely what I thought a non-abusive sermon should sound like. I met with the pastor a few weeks later, and he affirmed my perspective about my church background, and he approached it in a way that wasn’t “let me tell you how it is”, but “this is my perspective. I can’t say that I’m right on this, but I know the Spirit will lead you the right way if you listen.” About six months later, I sent him an e-mail with some concerns I had about how I felt welcomed, but not invited in the church, and instead of shoving it back in my face, or ignoring me, like every pastor before had done before, he actually said that he had been wrestling with many of the same issues and asked if he could share my letter with the leadership team.

    So, I’m not saying my new church is perfect, but it operates completely differently from the churches I grew up in, and so much closer to what God seemed to be leading me towards.

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