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Mahaney’s Withdrawal from Together for the Gospel Is Meaningless as He Continues to Run from an Independent Investigation with the Help of Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, et al.

On Wednesday, C.J. Mahaney withdrew from Together for the Gospel as a main session speaker, panelist, and seminar speaker because of Rachael Denhollander’s godly actions in calling him to account.  Mahaney explained it this way. 

“Given the recent, renewed controversy surrounding Sovereign Grace Churches and me individually, I have decided to withdraw from the 2018 T4G conference.”

Mahaney went on to explain why his exodus from T4G. 

“This conference exists to serve pastors with the gospel and exalt the Lord Jesus.  I want to do all I can to promote that purpose.  Mark, Lig, Al and the other speakers should also be able to devote themselves to that purpose without the distraction of having to defend me or answer questions about Sovereign Grace Churches.  They should be preparing their sermons, caring for their families, and serving their unique and strategic ministries.” 

He is referring to Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Moher.  He also references “the other speakers.”  They are Matt Chandler, David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper and Thabiti Anyabwile.  

Notice, one of the main reasons Mahaney is withdrawing is so these ten men aren’t distracted by “having to defend” him.  Mahaney is confident they would defend him.  In fact, they have to defend him.  Now that he is gone, however, they don’t have tell all of evangelicalism why he should be a featured speaker at T4G.      

Nor do they don’t have to explain why he is featured on the national stage at T4G and promoted as a paragon of virtue even though 100 pastors, 300 small group leaders, 40 churches (including his own) and 12,000 members left SGC churches largely over his abusive and deceitful leadership.

And finally, they won’t have to defend him against Rachael Denhollander – which is impossible.  Let’s be honest.  These men are glad to avoid a defense of Mahaney over against the brilliant summary of formal charges that are extremely serious and backed up with probative evidence.  

And it doesn’t matter to these men that she has called for an independent investigation of these momentous charges.  They just ignore her!  That is what these national “leaders” are doing.  It comes as no surprise.  These ten men are not leaders, they are enablers.  They have been groomed by Mahaney for years. 

Despite all the documented evidence of serious wrong-doing from the past seven years, they still defend Mahaney and promote Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  People must understand, this statement by Mahaney would have been carefully reviewed and approved by Mohler, Duncan and Dever and probably the rest of the speakers.  They are sending a message.  They are totally behind Mahaney’s declaration of innocence and the Sovereign Grace’s condemnation of Rachael Denhollander. 

Notice the second reason for withdrawing from T4G.  “Mark, Lig, Al and the other speakers should also be able to devote themselves to that purpose without the distraction of having to … answer questions about Sovereign Grace Churches.”  Sorry, C.J., your absence doesn’t let SGC off the hook.  Everyone at T4G should be asking hard questions about SGC and hard questions about the support of SGC by the main session speakers.   Here’s why. 

Bob Kauflin from Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. is leading worship and teaching a seminar at T4G (right now, he is leading worship at John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conference); and Mark Prater (Executive Director), Ian McConnell (Director of Church Planting & Mission) and Jeff Purswell (Director of Theology & Training) are hosting an official gathering at T4G to promote SGC and recruit for the Pastors College.  This is all sanctioned by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler.  Along with Mahaney, they run the show and make all the decisions. 

We must remember the Leadership Team of SGC condemned Rachael Denhollander as a false witness.  That seven-man team includes Bob Kauflin, Ian McConnell and Jeff Purswell.  Once again, Mohler, Duncan and Dever don’t care.  Kauflin, McConnell and Purswell can cover up for Mahaney and slander Rachael Denhollander and still lead worship and promote themselves at T4G.  All good! 

Here is an excerpt from Rachael’s response to the Leadership Team.     

Response to Sovereign Grace Churches

However, SGC’s public characterization of me as having “zeal without knowledge,” of publicly condemning them “without the facts,” of carelessly promulgating “false allegations” is itself a false statement about me, given without any direct knowledge of me or what I had done to research.    As a trained attorney, I am well aware of the difference between mere allegation and what is considered probative [evidence of guilt].  I am also well aware of the devastation caused by false accusations, having personally walked through this pain with those I know and love.

Mahaney’s withdrawal from Together for the Gospel as the consummate servant is meaningless. His pretentious claim of innocence is meaningless.  He playing the martyr and avoiding "extremely credible questions."  Jacob Denhollander is on to him. 

Jacob Denhollander‏ @JJ_Denhollander Mar 7
Jacob Denhollander Retweeted T4G
“... the recent, public characterizations of Sovereign Grace as a whole are absolutely false.”  You [C.J.] don’t get to keep saying this, @CJMahaney, without answering the extremely credible questions that have been raised.  It’s not enough.  Please, don’t play the martyr - come clean.

Jacob Denhollander‏ @JJ_Denhollander Mar 7
TBH [to be honest], I felt that this was inevitable.  I’m not surprised at all.  I was hoping he [C.J.] wouldn’t pull the martyr card like he did in 2014.

The only thing that matters is an independent investigation of him, Covenant Life Church, and Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  But that is something he/they will never allow because he/they are guilty on so many counts.  I’ve published hundreds of pages of evidence proving the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children.  It is not a matter of speculation.  Read for example, C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & the Conspiracy to Cover-up the Sexual Abuse of Children

I’d love to work with an independent investigator, but it will never come about because Mahaney and SGC know it would be the end of them.  Mohler, Dever, Duncan, Platt, MacArthur, Piper, DeYoung, Chandler, and Anyabwile should be publicly calling upon Mahaney to engage an investigation but that will never happen because it would expose them too.  They have been covering up for Mahaney since I released The Documents in July 2011.  Instead, they will commend him for his “humility” in pulling out of Together for the Gospel for the good of the gospel, Jesus, the conference, and themselves.   

Bear in mind, Mahaney’s T4G statement is effectively their statement and there is no reference to an investigation in his comments.  Nor will there be any statement by the Founders calling for an investigation.  If Dever, Duncan, or Mohler had any integrity in the matter, they would not have allowed Mahaney to post his manifesto of utter purity and perfect innocence unless he agreed to an investigation.

For example, “I categorically reject the suggestion that I have ever conspired to cover up sexual abuse or other wrong-doing.”  Yet, it has clearly been demonstrated he had a policy and practice of not reporting known or suspected sex abusers for three decades.  To “conspire” simply means a decision was made by 2 or more individuals not to report the suspected or known sexual abuse of children. 

In addition, Mahaney had practice of telling victims or their families not to report, of allowing known or suspected sex abusers continued involvement with children in official and unofficial settings, and of not warning people in harms’ way.  All the reporting to law enforcement was done by the victims or their families.  There is no evidence, Mahaney or Sovereign Grace ever reported one incidence of sexual abuse.  That is why they have never put forward one shred of evidence to that effect.

And note the second category – “or other wrong-doing.”  Mahaney has been covering up his wrong doing - small and great – for decades.  I could cite 100 different illustrations where I have documented his deceit and pretension.   

For instance, I sent C.J. my first document, Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine in March 2010.  It contains 141 pages of evidence.  I said this in the introduction.   

“I write because of my deep love for you and for Sovereign Grace Ministries.  My greatest concern is for the increasing presence of deceit and hypocrisy rooted in self-preservation and love of reputation.  I’d be overjoyed to see you acknowledge these things to the movement, whether or not you ask my forgiveness for anything specific.  Comparatively speaking, the latter is unimportant.  Ultimately, this isn’t about us.  It is about something much bigger.  Therefore, I provide the history that follows for your careful consideration.”

I was promised countless times by C.J. and the Sovereign Grace Board of Directors that an “outside investigation” would carefully examine all my documented charges.  That promise was diabolically broken, and an internal investigation was substituted that was utterly corrupt.   I’ve written about this at length.  I am not exaggerating in the least.

Here is another example.  C.J. covered up the homosexual predation of young men by an apostolic leader in the church in 1980.  This person went on to abuse young men for the next 34 years.  Here is an excerpt from my treatise.   

“Charles Schmitt was invited by Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney to become part of Gathering of Believers (aka Covenant Life Church) in the early years. They respected him as an apostle and received him as a teacher.  They also knew he had a homosexual history. 

“While there Schmitt seduced and sodomized young men in the church.  In time, he was excommunicated by the elders for the stated reason of divisiveness.  The church was never told about his predatory homosexuality because Tomczak and Mahaney sinfully feared a lawsuit.      

“As a result, they let Schmitt start a new church and take people with him.  For the last 34 years his predatory homosexuality has continued in Immanuel's Church which grew to 4,000 in the Washington D.C. area.”

This is the same reason, convicted felon Nathaniel Morales, was not reported to law enforcement by Mahaney or his pastoral staff even though they knew he was a long term, serial sexual predator and had sexually abused at least seven boys in Covenant Life Church.  It all came out in the Morales’ two trials and in subsequent articles, etc.  They conspired not to report because they didn’t want to lose members and money or risk a lawsuit.  It is all documented. 

Here is another example.  C.J. blackmailed a family in 1997 by threatening to disclose the sex crimes confessed to him by their son if they left Sovereign Grace Ministries and spoke badly of him. C.J. never told the pastors on his staff at Covenant Life Church about this situation or his heinous actions. They only learned about it when I sent them my third document, Concluding Remarks in June 2011.  Check out pages 131 and following. 

And let’s not forget the use of an illegal “hush fund” set up by Mahaney and top Sovereign Grace leaders like Mark Prater to prevent a family from joining the lawsuit.  Read Hush Fund Set Up by Top SGM Leaders to Meet the Demands of a SGM Pastor Whose Son Was Sexually Abused .

People can also go back and read The Ethical Demise of Sovereign Grace Ministries (Part 1) and The Ethical Demise of Sovereign Grace Ministries (Part 2).  These were written in August 2012 before the lawsuit came out.  In these two posts, I document the top 50 lies up to that time.  Here is Number 1 on the list.

Top 50 Lies
Number 1

C.J.’s emphatic assertion that he has always been above reproach and qualified for Christian ministry.

C.J. to SGM pastors: “I don’t believe my sins are uncommon or scandalous or disqualifying.   I have never believed that since the day the first document [Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine] arrived [Mar 17, 2010].”

C.J. has never thought for a split second that his long term lying, deceit, abuse and hypocrisy are in the least bit disqualifying.  The notion has never crossed his mind over the past 2½ years.  That’s C.J. – his sense of moral superiority and imperviousness to reality is unmatched.  Most pastors I know assume there is plenty in their lives to disqualify them and they are so grateful others disagree!  With C.J. it is just the opposite.  The fact that C.J. has always considered himself “above reproach” (I Tim 3:1) and “blameless” (Tit 1:6) is the clearest evidence of his fierce pride.  It is staggering.  This is unquestionably the biggest lie he has ever told.  It is Numero Uno on my list!    

And as a final example, let me draw from Mahaney’s statement about withdrawing from T4G.  He said,

“I am responsible, where necessary and appropriate, to defend myself and Sovereign Grace, and this I continue to do as I have for the last several years.” 

Mahaney has never defended himself in public over “the last several years.”  I know he has exonerated himself behind closed doors where he can lie and deceive and distort as in the case of Ryan Fullerton and the elders at Immanuel in Louisville, KY.  But he has never defended himself in the open where he can be questioned and cross examined; let alone have victims and witnesses testify against him.  Even SGC acknowledged this fact in their February 13 statement

A Response to Allegations Against Sovereign Grace Churches
February 13, 2018 by Sovereign Grace Staff

Over the past few years, we have regularly shared details on these matters privately with those who have approached us in good faith with understandable concerns.  However, in our public statements, we have been reluctant to share many details concerning these accusations.  

This is another of Mahaney’s ploys.  He wants people to believe there is no need to defend himself now because he has been doing it for several years.  In fact, the only “defense” he has ever made was a statement when his brother-in-law, Grant Layman, testified at both Morales trials about the conspiracy to protect him under Mahaney’s pastoral and apostolic leadership. 

In response, Mahaney “defended” himself with this one liner.  “Let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.” (May 22, 2014)  Sound familiar?

Of course, this is not a defense just like his T4G statement is not a defense.  He has turned down every opportunity to defend himself in public.  He even refused to participate in the 2014 investigation done by Lars Liebeler for Covenant Life Church.  He would not answer any of Liebeler’s questions even though the lawsuit was closed by the highest Appellate Court in MD more than two months before the investigation ended.  Mahaney has been given countless opportunities to speak openly; he has turned them all down.

And please take note of this qualifier in his T4G statement.  He will defend himself and SGC in the future, “where necessary and appropriate.”  That means, no independent investigation!  Why?  Because it is totally unnecessary and completely inappropriate!  Mahaney alone determines what constitutes necessity and appropriateness! 

That is his devious out but anyone with the least discernment knows Mahaney will never defend himself or SGC before an independent investigation because he is guilty.  If he were innocent, he would be begging for the opportunity!  Bring on your false allegations Rachael Denhollander!!!

Mahaney is a con artist.  He categorically insists, “I am innocent of the allegations that have been made against me personally” but refuses to defend his innocence.  He just pronounces himself sinless as though he were God issuing a divine fiat. 

In August 2004, I called a meeting of all the top pastors in Covenant Life Church and top leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries to address C.J. on longstanding pattern of serious sin.  You can read about it in Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine (pages 16-28). 

Here is one excerpt from the meeting minutes that were officially taken by Bob Kauflin.  Grant is Grant Layman, C.J.’s brother-in-law and the executive pastor on C.J.’s staff. 

Grant: There are various issues in CJ’s life that he hasn’t received input well on.  In general, Grant feels CJ hasn’t had enough accountability, and allowed the A-team and the CLC pastors to believe the other group was taking care of it.  This has been a longstanding issue.          

CJ: Sees a whole lot of pride in the past.  Wasn’t lying to each group, trying to cover up.

Grant makes several points.  First, C.J. was not teachable.  Second, C.J. did not have enough accountability.  Third, he deceived all of us.  This was “a longstanding issue.”  Let me explain.

The “A-team” is the apostolic team (i.e. church planting team) comprised of C.J., Dave Harvey, Steve Shank and myself.  Pat Ennis was our executive director.  C.J. led us to believe he was being held accountable by the CLC pastors.  Furthermore, he told us he was filling the CLC pastors in on our correction. 

At the same time, he told the CLC pastors we were holding him accountable and he was filling us in on their correction.  None of it was true!  When exposed and confronted, he denied lying to us or trying to cover up.  Instead, he attempted to blame it on his deceit-free pride.  In other words, he wanted us to believe he didn’t tell each group because he disagreed with our input into his life due to pride alone.  It had nothing to do with deceit. 

But the truth is when Dave and I corrected C.J. on his pride, abuse, hypocrisy and independence, we would specifically tell him to inform the CLC pastors.  He in turn, repeatedly promised to do so.  Never once did he fill them in.  That is how he operates. 

I wrote C.J., “You purposely withheld unfavorable information and provided favorable information on many occasions.  You must take responsibility for your deceit rather than attributing it to the blinding effects of pride.”

C.J. didn’t receive much correction from the CLC pastors but the little they gave he never told us about on the apostolic team until I drew them out in 2003.  Instead, what he would do is give us “favorable information” meaning he often told Dave, Steve and I that he was constantly being corrected by the CLC pastors and was the most accountable pastor in all of SGM.  I kid you not.  It was all a sham. 

People should also read the following sections in Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine.  They are eye opening accounts of Mahaney's deceit.


  • "Grant's Evaluation" (pp. 8-9)
  • "C.J. Not Transparent with Pastors at Covenant Life Church" (p. 9)
  • "Summary of Concerns from Apostolic Team – April 2004" (pp. 9-12)
  • "Phone Call with Joshua, Kenneth, Bob - June 15,2004" (pp. 12-15)


There are so many other examples of covering up.  When I left SGM in August 2009, Mahaney tried to silence me by having me sign a legally binding document that I would not talk.  I refused. 

The Attempt to Silence Me with Severance
Friday, April 10, 2015 at 3:48PM

I am also reminded of the corrupt investigation of Mahaney that covered up his confessed sins.

Conclusive Evidence the Investigation of C.J. Mahaney’s Confessed Sins by Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, & Carl Trueman Was Thoroughly Corrupt
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 12:54PM

I could go on and on.  C.J. Mahaney is a serial liar. That is not slander. That is not an exaggeration. That is not malicious.  It is the simple truth.  And it has been fairly and justly proven time after time.  

It is an absolute disgrace that Mahaney is supported by ten of the most powerful leaders in evangelicalism.  They have brought great shame to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If they were really together for the gospel, they would have removed C.J. from ministry long ago and then sought to restore him in God’s timing.  Instead they have steadfastly transgressed the teaching of Scripture in proclaiming a man “above reproach” when he is clearly a man of great reproach. 

I’d recommend people who are registered for the conference pull out and ask for a refund.  And I’d ask leaders outside T4G to confront Moher, Duncan, Dever, et al. for their support of Mahaney and failure to call for an independent investigation.

In conclusion, I leave you with Rachael Denhollander’s lament.     

Response to CJ Mahaney Stepping Down as T4G Speaker
Rachael Denhollander
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I am deeply grieved today to see CJ Mahaney’s statement regarding his stepping down this year from T4G.  I am grieved for two reasons: 

1. It is unnecessary if, in fact, there are answers to every credible allegation that has been raised of failing to properly handle and report sexual and domestic violence.  If all those allegations and each concern raised regarding the credibility of the investigation into CJ’s former church, Covenant Life Church are false, then this should have been, and still should be, made known through an independent investigation. 

2. If, in fact, those allegations are true and SGM has a significant and damaging problem regarding how they have handled sexual and domestic violence in their churches, then temporarily stepping down from a conference does not solve the problem.  It seeks to avoid it. 

Brothers and sisters, I have not asked for anyone to sit as “judge and jury”.  In fact, I have specifically said we should not do this.  What I have said, and plead for again, is that we treat these concerns as the serious concerns they are, and require of ourselves what we require of every other secular institution.  That the truth be sought, and accountability be pursued, through an independent investigation into SGM’s handling of sexual and domestic violence allegations. 

As Christians who speak to the necessity of accountability, transparency, and the pursuit of truth and right, should we not be the first to submit ourselves to the same processes we call for secular institutions to follow?  And if the sexual assault of children is not important enough to motivate us to pursue these Biblical aims, what will be? 

If these allegations are found to all be false, will we not all rejoice in the finding of the truth?  If they are found to be true, should we not then weep and grieve the damage, minister to the wounded, and seek to deal rightly in the future?  In either resolution, the truth is found, and this is what we should seek, for the good of all involved. 

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