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The Next Generation of Sovereign Grace Ministries

This Facebook conversation took place this week with a college educated, young married, “thirtysomething” member of a Sovereign Grace Church. Unfortunately, I think his views are representative of the next generation in SGM. That is why I took the time to engage Stephen. That is why I’m posting the salient points of our conversation. I am not, however, taking comments on my FB page.  Not out of concern for me but out of love for him. I wasn’t able to help Stephen and I left so much unsaid.  For instance, the Roman Catholic is finally dealing with its sex abuse scandal.  SGM is still conspiring. Nevertheless, I hope this limited conversation helps others in SGM from his generation. 

Stephen:  Do you think you will ever move on from pointing out Sov. Grace faults? 

Brent:  The real question is whether Sov. Grace will ever acknowledge their faults. Serious faults like the conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse. I will continue to educate people regarding the ongoing corruption in SGM. I have no choice. I care too much about good people like you. 

Stephen:  You have a choice to forgive as you have been forgiven. Yes I am aware of problems in Sov. Grace churches but not all of them are the same. Just as the Catholic church survived sexual abuse on a far larger scale so will our local church. Yes they should have been open about the sin but God through His appointed authority will take care of this. Thanks for your concern for our well-being but that is not really your role.  Your role should be finished by now. You brought to light sin in the church now it is up to the authorities to decide the outcome. You really need to move on and forgive. We must always forgive. Not enable but forgive. Lastly we are not necessarily “good” as you suggest. Yes we possess an inherent by being created in the image of God but we apart from daily grace and mercy run the course of being pretty corrupt. Well take care I have been in enough churches to understand that all possess sin. 

Our church in Reading [PA] is healthy and has remained faithful to Gods word. God bless you always have a choice to let things in God’s hands. Would it not be good for your soul? 

Brent:  Forgiveness is based upon repentance in the Bible. I am quite willing to forgive. That is not the issue. Holding the pastors in SGM accountable is the issue. That is not a sign of unforgiveness. It is a sign of love. Love rejoices when the truth (not lies) win out. 

Stephen you obvious don’t know me. I wrote and complied the Statement of Faith you adhere to. I am well versed on the doctrine of sin. I am using “good” is the sense of “dear, cherished, loved” people of faith. I disagree about Reading being faithful to God's Word. I love and respect C.B. [Eder] for different things, but no church should have remained in SGM. Much of the current leadership has acted corruptly. That is a matter of fact. Not gossip. Not slander. You obviously have not studied the evidence. As recent as last August the pastors of SGM publicly commended C.J. when they should been rebuking him and removing him from ministry in true faithfulness to God’s Word. You need to do your homework and speak out. 

Stephen:  We have no plans to leave our church and for you to suggest that I should speak out concerns me. You might want to study a little more on positional forgiveness vs. relational forgiveness. You are able to forgive those who have offended you without them personally confessing to you. You are not divine and to demand or expect apologies from people is not biblical. Secondly, saying that you cannot stop in this “Mission” you seem to have is also not true. You are not a free as long as you hold onto these things. We again I am grateful to you for your work in the early years of Sov. Grace and remember hearing you speak and you were a blessing to us. 

I was concerned when you mentioned in your blog that you were about to lose your house over by using all your savings on this mission you think God had called you to. I am not sure of any biblical support that speaks of setting up ministries that sort of judge people in the name of “truth” and asking for donations while doing it. Well I do wish you the best as you seek to lead others in the Bible studies and hope they are a blessing as you study God’ word together. 

Brent:  The last thing I wrote was, “Just this week I found out about more abuse victims. Last week was the same!” And yet you express no concerns. That is incomprehensible! What is wrong with you? Seriously. You should be outraged! You don’t even ask a question. You blow right past these arresting statements. These statements should cause you to stop in your tracks and grieve uncontrollably. Are you suggesting I stop trying to expose child abusers and the pastors that covered up for them? Are you suggesting I stop challenging SGM to obey the law, report abusers, alert people in harm’s way, inform members of sex abusers and implement standardized policies in the Book of Church Order to protect against sex abuse in your denomination? Are you suggesting I stop caring for victims that have been devastated by your leaders and abusers that were protected? Listen! There has been a widespread conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse and you are concerned about my mission to expose it. That is sick.   

And are you not aware that your faulty understanding of forgiveness has been used time and again to confront victims when they expressed pain, silence victims when they asked for redress, protect abusers from detection, and prevent law enforcement from getting involved? “Forgiveness” was repeatedly used in a way that devastated victims and covered up crimes. Read their agonizing stories! You would learn a lot.   

Furthermore, you have no idea how to properly understand positional forgiveness and righteously apply relational forgiveness. The latter is always based on repentance. Have you not read Matthew 18:15-18? Or let me make it even simpler. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).  We must always be willing to forgive but forgiveness is granted on the basis of repentance (Luke 24:47). Forgiving the unrepentant is immoral. For instance, where does God ever forgive the unrepentant? Theologically, such thinking leads to universalism. 

My tagline on says “Helping Christians to judge righteously, think biblically, and live courageously.” That’s what I am trying to do with you. Over the last four years, I’ve received less than 40k in contributions. I’m grateful for each dollar but obviously it is not enough to live on. I am sorry you find it unacceptable to accept contributions and disagree that we should sacrifice our house and life savings in order to expose lying, deceit, lording, hypocrisy, favoritism, cowardice, selfish ambition, and sexual abuse in SGM. 

Stephen, if you know anything, you know I was repeatedly assured by SGM that all these charges (except sex abuse which came later) would be heard by an objective, third party, outside group of competent adjudicators. That was a lie. It never happened.  Every promise was broken. But even worse - far worse. The entire Board of Directors (Dave Harvey, Jeff Purswell, Craig Cabaniss, Mickey Connolly, Rick Gamache, Pete Greasley, John Loftness, Aron Osborne, Mark Prater, and Steve Shank) devised a wicked and corrupt process whereby I was condemned without a hearing and C.J. was vindicated behind closed doors without a prosecution. This was carried out by three panels handpicked by the Board comprised of Mark Prater, Warren Boettcher, Ron Boomsma, Mark Alderton, Steve Teter, Brian Brookins, Ken Mellinger, Craig Cabaniss, and Rick Gamache. Most of these men are still major leaders in SGM though some have left. Everyone one of these men should be convicted and ashamed. So too every pastor in SGM. They knew exactly what was going on – it was an evil scheme devised to silence me and shield C.J. I have never been allowed to speak. 

Moreover, everything done during this process was opposed to everything written in the Book of Church Order. It was a collective expression of staggering hypocrisy. Yet, no one has ever asked forgiveness and no pastor has ever spoken out against this corrupt process in public. That includes C.B. though I personally challenged him. 

If you were concerned for truth and justice, you would address this and call SGM pastors to repentance. Yet you say, “For you to suggest that I should speak out concerns me.” That is a loud statement. You see no need to speak up against the abuse and corruption that has come to characterize SGM. Instead you focus on me. 

Stephen you say I am bound by unforgiveness. That is such an entrenched form of spiritual abuse in SGM. In fact, you are a facsimile of SGM in almost everything you say above. Stephen, I must wrap this up. You are enabling SGM, not helping SGM. Go back and read the evidence. Then confront your leaders. There is no excuse. SGM has been sternly disciplined by the Lord and yet it has never acknowledged its sins. Please humble yourself and help others to do the same. 

Stephen:  You are playing the role of God. … You need to let your bitterness go. 


Postscript: Must Reading (but only if you want to know the truth)

On bitterness, What About My Own Sins? (December 31, 2011) and A Tough Wedge and a Heavy Pike (November 4, 2011).

On the corrupt process imposed by the SGM Board, The Right of Tyrants (October 13, 2011), Try This Twelve Step Program on for Size! (January 26, 2012), and Whitewashed Tombs (January 28, 2012).


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Mike Bradshaw – Uninsured Motorist, Director of Children’s Ministry and C.J. Mahaney’s Son-in-Law

Mike Bradshaw was recently charged by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for driving an unregistered vehicle with an expired license plate and failing to carry the required car insurance.  The charge for driving without insurance carries a fine of $500-$1,000, court cost of $143, potential immediate license suspension of 1 year and potential jail time of 90 days.  

Mike first appeared in the District Court of Breckinridge County on March 4, 2014.  The first charged was dropped after he got the vehicle inspected and purchased car insurance.  The second charged was pressed.  He was found guilty.  Every month his name shows up on the Court Docket under Case 14-T-00024 until he pays off the fine in entirety.  He is making monthly payments.  This information is found online and was verified through four separate conversations with representatives of the District Court.

Mike is C.J. Mahaney’s son-in-law.  I wrote a post about Mike and his brother-in-law, Brian Chesemore, when they quit their jobs as pastors and left Covenant Life Church (CLC) in Gaithersburg, MD despite appeals from the other pastors.  That was in August 2011.  Mike, Brian and their families moved to Louisville the following summer.  Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (SGCL) began in September 2012.

Mike led the Children’s Ministry at CLC while on staff.  He now leads the Children’s Ministry at SGCL.  Anyone in this position must have impeccable character for obvious reasons including the safety of children.  If a person in this position does not obey laws requiring mandatory car insurance, they may not follow laws requiring the mandatory reporting of accused child molesters.  For years, C.J. taught “faithful in little, faithful in much.”      

In Kentucky, you must register your vehicle within 15 days after moving to the state.  You must also provide proof of car insurance.  Mike has been driving as an unregistered and uninsured motorist.  That is serious for several reasons.   

First, it shows a disregard for the law.  Driving without insurance is a bold move.  Everyone knows you MUST have car insurance in order to drive legal.  And in my experience, everyone on a church planting teams knows the particular laws regarding vehicle registration.  It is one of the first things you research and a common topic of conversation.  Mike chose to drive illegally on both counts.  He was not ignorant.

Second, he forced his wife, Janelle, to do the same.  That is irresponsible leadership and a terrible example.  

Third, he put his family at great financial risk.  In Kentucky, motorists are not required to carry coverage for uninsured drivers like Mike.  That means Mike and Janelle would be sued if they were at fault and killed, maimed or injured passengers in another vehicle.  That could financially ruin them for life. 

Fourth, if you can’t afford car insurance, you don’t drive.  It is a simple matter of integrity.  You don’t make excuses and break the law.  You use public transportation and/or arrange for other means of travel. 

This also raises a question about the Bradshaw’s financial condition.  Did they have the money needed for car insurance but refuse to use it?  Or, were they so poor they couldn’t afford car insurance?  I don’t know. 

When Mike moved to Louisville, C.J. immediately put him on the payroll for Sovereign Grace Ministries as the Director of Communications.  I drew attention to this in A Portrait of Pastoral Leadership.  When this became public, they changed his title to Interim Director of Communications.  I don’t know if Mike still works for SGM or not.  There is no listing of support staff on the website and Tommy Hill, the Director of Finance and Administration, has not responded to my inquiry.  If Mike still works for SGM, his “interim” employment is coming up on two years. 

I have gone back and forth on whether or not to post this article.  Putting Mike in a bad light is not my goal.  Here’s are my main concerns and the reasons for posting. 

Mike is a significant leader in Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.  He heads up the Children’s Ministry.  A person in this position must be completely trustworthy.  These charges by the Commonwealth of Kentucky raise concerns about his integrity (as do the circumstances surrounding his departure from Covenant Life Church).  Therefore, I question whether he should be in leadership.  He has put himself above the law. 

I have three questions.  First, has the church been told about the charges?  Or, has this information been kept from the church by C.J.? 

Second, if the church knows about the charges, did C.J. instruct Mike to confess and ask forgiveness for his poor example and hypocrisy?  Or, is he being put forward each week as an example for parents and children to follow?  

Third, is Mike’s continuing role as Director of Children’s Ministry under evaluation by C.J. and his staff?  Or, is the whole situation being taken lightly?   I wrote Mike about these questions but he has not responded.  I would love to talk with him.

Of course, I have no confidence in the integrity of C.J. or his staff.  

C.J. repeatedly broke the law over three decades during which time he did not report multiple sex abusers to the police.  This resulted in more abuse and more victims.  Nathaniel Morales is a prime example.   

Gary Ricucci is on staff.  He is married to C.J.’s sister, Betsy.  He has been accused by at least three victims of aiding and abetting John Loftness and Stephen Griney in their alleged crimes.  

For their part, Bob Kauflin and Jeff Purswell have covered up for C.J. for more than a decade.  No one has enabled C.J. more than these two men.  

Brian Chesemore is C.J.’s son-in-law and Mike’s brother-in-law.  Nepotism (i.e., family favoritism) has been a Mahaney trait.  

It doesn’t matter how many times C.J. invites national leaders to his church to commend him as a man of integrity.  They don’t know the facts because they haven’t investigated the facts.  The truth about C.J. is plain if anyone is willing to study the evidence.  You can start by reading Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine, A Final Appeal and Concluding Remarks.  In these documents and other writings, I fairly and accurately provide hundreds of examples of C.J.’s pride, lying, deceit, hypocrisy, and spiritual abuse.  I also give several examples of him covering up sexual abuse. 

C.J. andthe Board put out this public statement through Tommy Hill on May 14, 2012.  “Our careful review of the allegations to date [in the lawsuit] has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy.”  The Nathaniel Morales trial begins on May 12.  Once again, C.J. will be shown to be a liar.  He did not report Morales to the police.  He did not alert those in harm’s way.  He covered it all up.  As a result, Morales went on to abuse other youth including stepsons.  They will be testifying against their stepfather at the trial.     

Mike Bradshaw is a small fish but how C.J. and his staff handle his situation is not!  Will they act in an open, honest, and transparent fashion?     

C.J. is a big fish.  We already know how Bob, Jeff, Gary and Brian let him off the hook.    He betrayed Covenant Life Church, stumbled thousands of people, divided Sovereign Grace Ministries and manage a conspiracy to cover up sex abuse.  These men defended and commended him.  Mike didn’t register his vehicle or carry car insurance.  

If they fry Mike and not C.J., they are guilty (once again) of inconceivable hypocrisy.  Yes, they should deal with Mike but his offenses are minor compared to C.J.’s.  


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