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Tullian Tchividjian Blasts Sovereign Grace Ministries Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal; Prematurely Departs The Gospel Coalition 

The article, "Tullian Tchividjian Blasts SGM Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal" by Morgan Lee is back up at The Christian Post website as of 5:49 AM. It was taken down 30 minutes after it was posted yesterday afternoon.

The author, Morgan Lee just tweeted (10:27 AM) this clarification.  “Hey everyone, about CP's story on @pastortullian last night. The story was accidentally published early at the end of our work day when it was actually supposed to go out this morning. Too many editors working on it and was pulled down after editor realized it was live early."  I hope this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  There were no editorial changes between yesterday's article and today's article.

I've had no direct or indirect interaction with Tullian but he is absolutely correct when he says, “Give me a break. These people [Mahaney & Layman], they’re family. Of course he [Mahaney] knew,” Tchividjian told The Christian Post. “C.J. was, for many years, the micro-managing head of the organization and nothing happened under the umbrella of Sovereign Grace that he wasn’t made aware of, so for anyone to say, ‘Well he didn’t know,’ that’s totally naive.”

I've added links to the article.


Tullian Tchividjian Blasts Sovereign Grace Ministries Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal; Prematurely Departs The Gospel Coalition
By Morgan Lee at The Christian Post
May 21, 2014 / 5:49 am

Tullian Tchividjian is slamming Sovereign Grace Ministries for its handling of a sex abuse scandal, while announcing this week that his participation with The Gospel Coalition will unexpectedly end on Thursday.

Tchividjian, whose brother, Boz, is the founder of Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment, a group that investigates sexual abuse in churches and ministries, spoke out against TGC’s actions in light of the Sovereign Grace Ministries sexual abuse scandal.

C. J. Mahaney, who founded the SGM, along with other ministry leaders, was hit with a civil lawsuit last year alleging that they conspired to “permit sexual deviants to have unfettered access to children for purposes of predation and to obstruct justice by covering up ongoing past predation.” 

While the lawsuit was thrown out due to statute of limitations, Tchividjian said that unlike many of those connected to TGC who considered Mahaney a friend and claimed that he had “been the object of libel and even a Javert-like obsession by some,” he saw the situation differently.  In his eyes, given that Mahaney’s brother-in-law and fellow former pastor [Grant Layman] at Covenant Life Church had confessed to knowing about sex abuse claims and withholding that information from police last week, the SGM pastor [Mahaney] was guilty. 

“Give me a break.  These people [Mahaney & Layman], they’re family.  Of course he knew,” Tchividjian told The Christian Post.  “C.J. was, for many years, the micro-managing head of the organization and nothing happened under the umbrella of Sovereign Grace that he wasn’t made aware of, so for anyone to say, ‘Well he didn’t know,’ that’s totally naive.” 

Tchividjian added that he was “pretty disturbed” when Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor published a statement on TGC website in May 2013 which defended Mahaney, saying that it looked “like the good-old boys club covering their own.”  

“I thought it was premature.  I thought it was insensitive.  I communicated with the guys who wrote this statement that I was disappointed, that I thought it was unwise and premature and that they needed to clarify that their statement was not a statement from The Gospel Coalition, per se, but was their own personal statement,” Tchividjian explained. 

“There were some of us on the coalition, or who were associated with it, who didn’t want to be associated with their defense of C. J.,” he continued.  “I’ve just been sort of disgusted by the whole thing.” 

Speaking about his departure from The Gospel Coalition, Tchividjian said his departure came with little warning, though he explained that he made the decision eight or nine months ago to leave in August. 

A project started by New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller and Canadian Reformed theologian D. A. Carson in 2004, TGC asked Tchividjian if they could host his blog in 2007.  The Presbyterian pastor explained that his involvement with TGC had been limited to speaking at its conferences and his blog posts, though he was initially attracted to its vision. 

“I think the original messaging of The Gospel Coalition, from when it was founded in 2007, has morphed,”chividjian told CP. "Mine hasn't. My goal has always been in every post to preach the radicality of the Gospel of grace."  

Yet while “no one from The Gospel Coalition formally reached out to me or questioned anything I ever posted or asked me to clarify anything I ever posted,” Tchividjian noted that he began to feel a shift in the site’s theology and how his doctrine was being received based on what other contributors were posting. 

“I was told the other day that conversations about me and about what I had been saying had been going on for a year, which I didn’t know about until the other day,” said Tchividjian. 

Around the same time, Tchividjian founded his own ministry, Liberate, which he describes as connecting “God’s inexhaustible grace to an exhausted world.”  Two months ago, he informed TGC editors that he intended to move all of his blog content to his new site, adding that “they seemed fine with that.”

Last week, Tchividjian said he was informed via a friend on TGC’s council that the group’s leadership wanted his blog posts removed “ASAP.”  According to Tchividjian’s contact, TGC leadership was hoping to have his content removed because the website was relaunching on Monday, but noted that part of its decision seemed to “be personal, some of it theological.”

Tchividjian told his friend to inform TGC leadership that he already intended to remove his content in August, but that his site was not ready yet; after talking with leaders, his friend told him he had until Monday.  TGC leadership ultimately gave him until this Thursday.

“My frustration was, I was never reached out to, called or emailed from any of the powers that be, saying, ‘Hey listen, there are a couple of us that have some questions that have been raised, would you care to clarify?’ said Tchividjian.  “Or ask me questions!  Or even invite me to this meeting, if my name was on the docket!”

Billy Graham’s grandson said that he was also frustrated that he had never received personal feedback or criticism about the content of his posts from TGC leadership, saying that the thrust of everything he wrote was about God’s grace and had never been “harsh” or “divisive.”

“To me, it’s somewhat disconcerting that ‘Jesus plus nothing equals everything’ is much more controversial in some Evangelical circles than ‘Jesus plus something equals everything,’” said Tchividjian.  “I’ve been widely known as talking about grace without ‘buts or brakes,’ that God’s grace is much more radical than anything we could ever imagine and that we could never over-exaggerate it.”

Tchividjian, who considers himself Reformed, said that as is, TGC was “not as big of a ‘coalition’ as it would appear.”

“They want to say that they’re very multi-denominational and all, but they’re really not," said Tchividjian.  “It’s Baptist and Presbyterians, but it’s a particular flavor of Baptist and Presbyterians, it’s not even all inclusive of all Baptists and Presbyterians.”

The Christian Post’s attempt to reach The Gospel Coalition's Executive Director Ben Peays for comment was not returned by press time.



Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition Says “Detwiler Is Making Up” Admission by Joshua Harris 

Joe Carter is employed by The Gospel Coalition as an editor.  He tweeted a woman today, “Watch the actual sermon and you’ll see Detwiler is making it up.  Harris makes no admission of knowing about the abuse.” 

Harris doesn’t explicitly say in his sermon that he knew about the abuse in one comment.  The acknowledgement comes from a number of remarks taken together in conjunction with the testimony given by Grant Layman at the Morales trial last week. 

For instance, Harris refers to 2007 but doesn’t explain.  He says, “The events related to 2007 are a significant issue for us and they are going to be fully addressed and accounted for by us.  I can’t say any more than that.” 

What is this “significant issue”?  In 2007, Morales told Layman he sexually abused boys at Covenant Life Church.  Layman testified under oath that he shared this information with the “pastoral team” at CLC.  He further testified that he had a responsibility to report these crimes but didn’t do it.  

Upon reception of this information, the “pastoral team” discussed how they should handle the situation and what they should do with the information.  Like Laymen, they did nothing.  None of the pastors reported the acknowledgment of sex crimes by Morales to the police.  That is ever so serious.  

Layman also testified at the trial that he knew about Morales’ sexual abuse all the way back in 1992.  So did other pastors like C.J. Mahaney, Robin Boisvert and Chris Glass.   

Harris also said in his sermon. 

“This week, I requested, I asked the other pastors, the board of elders, that I be placed on administrative leave until this issue can be fully addressed.  The three other men who had any connection to handling the Nate Morales issue are ready to do the same thing.  This is me, Kenneth [Maresco], Corby [Megorden] and Robin [Boisvert].” 

“Handling the Nate Morales issue” is a reference to “the events related to 2007” when Morales told Layman he was a sex abuser and Layman conveyed this information to Harris, Maresco, Megorden, Boisvert and others.  Once again, the “issue” concerns them not reporting his crimes to police.  Carter says “Harris makes no admission of knowing about the abuse.”  He is wrong.  From my perspective, this is Harris’ implicit admission.  That is why all four men are prepared to take a leave of absence.  They have "greatly endangered the church." 

In general, Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition has no clue what he is talking about as it pertains to the long term knowledge of Morales’ crimes by former and current pastors at Covenant Life Church.  He doesn’t have the police reports.  He hasn’t read the indictments.  He hasn’t studied the “Memorandum of Law in Support of State’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Sever.”  He was not at the four day trial.  He did not hear Layman’s sworn testimony.  He has not spoken to or interacted with victims and witnesses.  I have all of the above and I’ve done all of the above. 

Nor did Carter hear Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall tell the jury three times in her opening statement that the “heinous crimes” committed by Morales were “covered up” by Covenant Life pastors. 

Joe Carter should be spending all his time exposing the widespread criminal conspiracy to commit and cover up sex abuse at Covenant Life Church and in Sovereign Grace Ministries rather than discrediting those who are on the side of justice.  

He should listen to the words of Jeff Cole, the stepson of Nathaniel Morales.  Last night he posted the following comment on my Facebook page.   

Jeff Cole  If these so called men of God did what they were supposed to way back when they would have saved my mom 18 yrs. of marriage to this monster and my brothers from being victims and the countless others in MI, NV, OK possibly Puerto Rico and Mexico. I have almost lost my faith because of this man and all the other men of God (said with as much sarcasm add possible) who knew about it and covered it up.  Fucking hypocrites!!!!!!!! 

Carter should also listen to the words of Jeff’s mother, Marcia Jo Griffeth (maiden name).  She divorced Morales last year.  She married him in 1994, two years after former and current pastors at Covenant Life knew he was a sex abuser.  Last night, Marcia and I had this exchange on Facebook 

Brent Detwiler  Been real busy but I am glad to report the verdict is getting out to the public and Christian leaders throughout the nation.  So many powerful leaders have covered up for C.J. and Layman.  I am confronting them.  And people at CLC are finally beginning to ask hard question of their pastors about the cover up.  All good. 

Marcia Jo Griffeth  It’s a relief to have it all behind us now!  I never would have dreamed I had married such a monster!  Perfection in how he befriended his victims!  As I followed the closing remarks, it was exactly how he continued after we married!

Brent Detwiler  I am so glad it is behind for you! 

Marcia Jo Griffeth  If people would have done the right thing by reporting it [Morales’ sex abuse] instead of worrying about their reputation, all of what happened to my family n others would never have happened!! 

Brent Detwiler  Absolutely true!  Can I quote you on that? 

Marcia Jo Griffeth.  I really think I may want to write a book or speak one day to encourage others to report these things. … Yes you can quote me!

Here’s my question.  When will all the former and current pastors who knew about Morales’ crimes in 1992 and 2007 confess their sins and make restitution to “the countless others in MI, NV, OK possibly Puerto Rico and Mexico” not to mention Maryland.  It is true, countless boys have been sexually abused because CLC pastors including C.J Mahaney did not report to police.  Morales should have been locked up in 1992.  Not 2014. 

Joe Carter that is the real issue.  Cover it and expose it!  You can start by attending the additional trials against Morales that began today.  Go to Courtroom 3 in the North Tower of the Montgomery Circuit Court.


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