This is a big story – one we’ve been waiting for over 7 years. C.J. Mahaney, former President of Sovereign Grace Ministries churches has been best buds with leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) despite the fact that there were huge sex abuse scandals (including reports of a pedophile ring) under Mahaney’s watch.
Most of the survivors have never had justice served because of a technicality which disallowed their case from being heard: the Statute of Limitations. (Don’t get me going on that topic.)
But despite having had no independent investigations, C.J. Mahaney’s pals from Together for the Gospel, The Gospel Coalition, and the Southern Baptist Convention have stood by him, even publicly defending him, and inviting him to speak at their conferences! #mindblown
Today, the Houston Chronicle interviewed Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he apologized for not speaking out earlier.
Interestingly, today I was tweeting about Albert Mohler’s relationship with C.J. Mahaney, even tagging Albert Mohler and asking about their relationship in light of the SBC sex abuse cases uncovered by journalists at the Houston Chronicle.
Here is Mohler’s apology:
“I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges,” Mohler said. “And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.”
Mohler, the longtime president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has long been silent about his support for Mahaney. His comments to the Chronicle on Thursday came just days after the newspaper reported hundreds of sexual abuses committed by Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers, some of which were not reported to law enforcement.
After resigning from the Maryland-based organization, Mahaney started a new church in Louisville in part, he said, to be closer to Mohler’s seminary.
Mohler also admitted he should have encouraged an independent investigation. This is something that Rachael Denhollander urged publicly when she addressed the issue that Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly Ministries), had failed to do due diligence in their investigations.
Mohler said he should have been more forceful in his denunciation of Mahaney.
“Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes,” he said. “I should have been very clear about insisting on an independent, credible third-party investigation.”
He added, “I should have said nothing until I had heard from those who were victims and who were making the allegations. I should have sought at that time the advice and counsel of agencies and authorities who were even then on the front lines of dealing with these kinds of allegations.”
The article also mentions that Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who finally shared similar regrets:
“Do I think that Sovereign Grace handled the accusations brought
against them well?” Akins said. “No, I don’t. I think they could have been far more transparent. I think they could have been far more forthcoming. Even to this day, there’s still a lack of clarity.”
He added, “I absolutely think they’ve handled (the allegations) poorly and that they have not been as transparent as they should have been or could have been, and (that they) could have saved a lot of people a lot of grief,” Akin said.
I am grateful that these statements are coming out from SBC leaders, but it makes me question if they would have come out had the Houston Chronicle not released their SBC sex abuse series. Why did they only take the C.J. Mahaney/SGM sex abuse scandal seriously when the sex abuse in their own camp came to light?
Are these statements enough? Does it heal the pain that so many SGM victims/parents have felt over the years for remaining silent about the abuse and defending Mahaney? Is this really a step forward, or is it just the politically correct thing to do?
I want to believe that this is a genuine wake-up call for all church leaders to get their collective acts together and take sex abuse and cover-ups seriously. I only wish it came spontaneously from the hearts of leaders – you know, humble leaders who truly care about the people in their flock. Maybe I ask for too much.
Who wants to bet there will be more church leaders speaking out against the way C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches has handled their sex abuse cases?