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A Divided Board Makes C.J. Mahaney Long Term President

To the SGM Board of Directors: 

John Loftness (Chairman), Paul Buckley (Vice Chairman), Ron Boomsma, Craig Cabaniss, Ian McConnell, Mickey Connolly, Ken Mellinger, Al Pino, Phil Sasser

You need to be honest with the SGM pastors and churches regarding your vote in Annapolis last month to return C.J. as the permanent President of SGM.  You made this decision without their input or knowledge.  You must also tell them a majority were in favor but a minority were opposed like Paul and Ian.  

Furthermore, you must make known that the majority prepared a false statement for public release saying there was unanimity on C.J.’s return but this did not occur because the minority opposed such a deceitful statement pledging to go public and correct the misinformation if released.  

This is not a new occurrence.  The same kind of deceitful activity occurred with the interim Board when they presented decisions as unanimous when in fact it was not the case.  Craig and former Board Members like Aron Osborne and Pete Greasley will tell you so if they are honest.  Contact them.

You should also know that C.J. and Dave have had a falling out because C.J. feels Dave did not defend him adequately and did not denounce me, Larry Tomczak, etc. more harshly.  It is a sad fact that most of you don’t know about this breakdown in relationship.  I’ve encourage Dave to be honest with you and not allow C.J.’s mistreatment of him to go unaddressed.  It is a continuation of the sinful patterns in C.J.’s life already identified and acknowledged.  

You should also know that C.J. and Ken Sande have had a falling out.  Ken confronted C.J. on his deceit, etc. and C.J. sinfully reacted by effectively dumping Ken as a friend and counselor.  Their relationship is fractured but C.J. has not informed you of this reality either.  Therefore, contact Ken since you are responsible for measuring C.J.’s growth in grace.  As I’ve said many times, if you correct, disagree, or oppose C.J. in any significant way you will suffer for it.  Scores and scores of leaders have experience this harsh reality over the last 30 years.    

You need to provide much more accountability for the Leadership Team.  For instance, Board Members don’t know how or if Dave Harvey’s responsibilities have been cut back so he can get his priorities right and focus on his family.  This was your responsibility to define.  And Board Members don’t know if Dave has made changes in managing his family or how each of his children are doing?  There has been no accountability from the Board and yet the issues in Dave’s family are ever so serious.    

Or how about compensation packages?  It is not encouraging that Board Members don’t know what C.J.’s salary and benefits are at this point in time.  That should have been divulged and discussed already.  So too a reduction in salaries and benefits for all the Leadership Team since the cost of living is lower in Louisville.  Why has this gone unaddressed?  

Last July, Tommy Hill promised me all of this would be addressed by AoR in their report.  It was not.  You need to release the new compensation packages for the Leadership Team.  People should see the new numbers in comparison to the old numbers so they know the Board is serious about addressing excesses and walking in the light with its donors.    

Lastly, what has C.J. (and other leaders in SGM) specifically done to implement the recommendations from the Three Panel Reviews last December and the AoR report from April?  I don’t know of any attempts to follow up with anyone in my large relational network.  There have been no attempts at reconciliation to my knowledge.  You must chart C.J.’s efforts and give occasional reports on his progress.  The same is true for all executive employees of SGM (e.g. Bob Kauflin) and former employees (e.g. Gene Emerson).  There must be accountability because C.J. has a long history of ignoring recommendations or assignments given to him for reform and reconciliation.    

Please let me know you will address all these matters in a forthright way.  In particular when will you inform SGM that you have already voted to reinstall C.J. as the permanent President of SGM and deceitfully planned to put out a public relations message that was untrue.    



Post Script

I literally finished writing my last sentence when I received your post, "Board Update: Defining Sovereign Grace Leadership; Positioning C.J. Mahaney as President."  

Let me quickly respond to this one statement. 

“As we take these steps, it is important for you to know of the Board’s strong endorsement of C.J. to continue in this role of President.  C.J. was the object of an enormous amount of gossip and slander during this past year, and that has damaged his reputation, undermined his ability to lead, and created an atmosphere of suspicion in some quarters of our family of churches…. This comprehensive process has clearly confirmed C.J.’s fitness to lead and his exceptional character as he has graciously endured major trials.”      

As a Board you continue to act on your own.  Even this release of information was forced upon you because the word was getting out to SGM pastors that you made a decision for C.J. to return as President two weeks ago without their knowledge and without their input.  This press release is a piece of damage control.  How can you make a secret decision to install C.J. as the long term President when C.J. promised he would only return as the short term President and not enter into discussion with the SGM pastors before doing so.  Your independence is incredulous.  You don’t want their input or their accountability.     

You also continue to lie.  You know there was not unanimous support for C.J.’s return as President when you voted at the June 11-14 retreat in Annapolis!  You conceal that in this communique instead of being honest and telling everyone the Board was divided.  Instead, you followed through on your deceitful presentation that the Board was united in this decision.  The hardline majority persuaded the soft minority to go along with the ruse even though men like Paul and Ian promised to expose it.  Unbelievable!  No one should trust any of you.  This is just more SGM spin and deceit.

Furthermore, you are completely mistaken when you say C.J. was “the object of an enormous amount of gossip and slander.”  That is without foundation.  I’ve been his main accuser and everything I’ve written is rooted and grounded in fact.  Show me where I’ve made a point without providing evidence?  That is why you didn’t allow me to present my case against C.J. before objective jurors and threw together the corrupt Three Panel Review where my participation was block and confined.  There has been no comprehensive review of C.J. or SGM as you assert.  My charges have never been heard or evaluated.  C.J. is not the object of gossip and slander; he is the object of countless witnesses whose testimony is right and true.  He should not be a sr. pastor let alone the President of SGM.

You have now drawn a line in the sand.  You dismiss churches with concerns for C.J. when you say gossip and slander “created an atmosphere of suspicion [regarding C.J.] in some quarters of our family of churches.”  That is so bogus.  What has been created is an atmosphere of godly discernment pertaining to C.J.s long standing patterns of serious sin against many people.  It is just like you as SGM to silence pastors and churches by labeling them “suspicious” when all they are doing is asking hard questions (which you and C.J. won’t answer), requiring genuine accountability and calling for personal and corporate reform.  Once again you play the gossip and slander card in order to disparage critics and prevent them from knowing the truth or speaking the truth.  You love to censure people and control their lives while you protect the guilty. 

As a Board it is clear from this statement today that you are committed to castigate people instead of listening to people – pastors included.  You express no concerns for C.J., yourselves or SGM in this post.  None.  You focus all your attention on the supposed evils of others.  Nothing has changed.  The SGM elite remain superior to all others and therefore blame everyone else while you totally vindicate C.J.  You present C.J. as the victim rather than the victimizer – as the abused rather than the abuser.  You have it all backwards.  

Like the old and interim Boards (with the exception of Joshua Harris) you’ve  determined to take no responsibility for the systematic problems that exist in SGM and especially its top leaders.  Only those leaders and churches who leave the movement in the days ahead have really learned from the past.  No one should accept C.J. as President on the basis of his character but also because he is breaking his firm promise not to return in this capacity.  His determined decision was based upon the counsel of many other leaders, his own limitations in gifting, and his primary calling as a pastor and preacher.  You skip over all his past statements about why he would not return as President.  As we know so well, it is nothing for C.J. to go back on his word.  I think of his three promises to provide a thorough response to my documents and his promise to make a confession to the SGM pastors at the Pastors Conference last year.  He breaks promises as quickly as he makes promises.  Here are his words.

“In light of all of this, here is how I think I can best serve you in the days ahead: as I step back into the role as president, I will do so only temporarily.  I think it would be wise for SGM to have a new president who has gifts better suited to serve Sovereign Grace in this next season…. After supporting the [interim] board through these important transitions, I hope to return to what I believe is my primary calling from God – pastoral ministry and the pulpit.  This plays a significant role in why my return as president is temporary.  Let me explain. I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed.  Others seem to agree.  And I think I have neglected this call to preach for a number of years as I have endeavored to serve as president.  Over the past five years many faithful friends have brought this concern to my attention and impressed upon me the importance of preaching as a primary means of my serving and leading.  However moved I was by their concerns and encouragement, the many responsibilities of the presidential role would quickly preoccupy me again and the effect of their counsel would subside.  Over the past six months I have seen more clearly than ever the wisdom of their counsel.  So I think the most effective way I can serve Sovereign Grace is by planting a church and leading a local congregation through faithful expository preaching and teaching…. I simply can’t wait to get started.  And I can proceed into this future confidently when our new board and president are in place.  So that is what I am returning to do and why my return as president will be temporary.” (C.J. Mahaney, A note to those in Sovereign Grace Ministries, Ja   

The fact remains that C.J. is disqualified from ministry in the sight of God and in light of holy Scripture.  No one in the history of SGM has ever been treated with such favoritism.  Ed Keinath from AoR told people he and Ted Kober were gravely concerned for the “blind loyalty” shown C.J.   They had each of you in mind.     

I wasn’t planning on posting my initial correspondence above but it is now necessary to do so. I’ve also include my email to Dave Harvey from this morning.

From: Brent Detwiler []
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:48 AM
To: Dave Harvey
Subject: Falling Out with C.J.
Importance: High

Hello Dave, 

I’ve been told about the break down in your relationship with C.J. because he feels you did not defend him adequately and did not denounce me, Larry T, etc. more harshly.  This comes as no surprise.  You need to bring this to the immediate attention of the entire Board to whom you and C.J. are now accountable.  Be honest with them.  Don’t cover up for C.J.  Put an end to the enablement.  You must tell the Board about this mistreatment of you.  Dave, you know full well that nothing has changed with C.J.  Your assessment and my assessment from 2004 are as relevant today.

Dave’s Assessment

To correct CJ, or to challenge his own self-perception, was to experience a reaction through e-mails, consistent disagreement (without seeking to sufficiently understand), a lack of sufficient follow-up and occasionally, relational withdrawal.  Along with this, CJ was poor in volunteering areas of sin, temptation or weakness in himself.

Brent’s Assessment 

  1. Can become resentful, distrustful or withdraw when he feels misunderstood, judged, or sinned against by others.
  2. Can judge or prematurely come to conclusions about others based on limited or incomplete information.
  3. When correcting or disagreeing can communicate his assessment or perspective too strongly or categorically.
  4. Can lack gentleness and not perceive the unhelpful effect of his words, actions or decisions upon an individual. 
  5. Can be difficult to correct and help because he often disagrees with or has a different perspective on illustrations.   
  6. Infrequently makes us aware of specific sins or the correction others are bringing to him.     

I have little hope you and C.J. will be transparent with the Board.  I imagine this will be glossed over and made to sound like a trifle when it is serious.  Please turn the corner on a new lease in life but doing what is right.




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