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Todd Pruitt Defiantly Tells Readers at The Wartburg Watch that “Carl Trueman Does Not Owe Them Answers” Regarding His Vindication of C.J. Mahaney

Story Highlights 

In July 2011, Carl Trueman declared C.J. Mahaney qualified for ministry and a model of godliness to be followed by the Body of Christ.  In April 2016, he reversed course and declared Mahaney unqualified to be a church leader.  

Deb Martin at The Wartburg Watch wrote about this radical reversal.  Readers by the hundreds wanted to know why Trueman changed his mind and how he viewed his previous vindication of Mahaney now.  They began to ask good questions.  

In response, Trueman’s colleague and friend, Todd Pruitt charged, “Carl Trueman does not owe you answers.  And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.”  Throughout, Pruitt made wild and bizarre accusations against those asking questions and making comments.  Moreover, he accused them of slander when there was no slander.  Only legitimate and reasonable inquires and observations.  

Despite his belligerence, no one at The Wartburg Watch responded in kind.  In fact, the moderators and most readers responded with kindness and patience.  Nevertheless, once Pruitt was done commenting on The Wartburg Watch, he took to his Facebook page and Twitter account and audaciously misrepresented what actually transpired during the blog conversation.  It was a genuine piece of slander.  Even worse, Pruitt made himself out to be a hero for bravely “answering objections on a grievance blog’s comment section.”  Rarely, have I seen such hubris and abuse.  


In July 2011, an interim Board of Directors for Sovereign Grace Ministries asked Carl Trueman, Kevin DeYoung, and Ray Ortlund “to offer non-binding advice on the narrow question as to whether C.J. Mahaney is presently fit for ministry based on those sins to which he has already confessed.”  These men corruptly ruled that Mahaney was not only fit for ministry but “a model for others to follow.”  The entire process was rigged.  

For example, all six of C.J.’s confessions were solely, centrally, or largely about the sins he committed against me.  Yet, Trueman, DeYoung and Ortlund never contacted me to understand the gravity, nature, or circumstances of those sins.  I didn’t even know they were on the Preliminary Panel until interim President Dave Harvey posted their findings on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website.  I was never given any opportunity to talk with them or review their findings.  In stark contrast, they interacted with C.J. at length.  

In these confessions, that spanned a seven-year period starting in August 2004 and ending in July 2011, Mahaney repeatedly and emphatically confessed that his pride was “pronounced, pervasive and persistent.”  That was true.  

Titus 1:7 says, “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.  He must not be arrogant.”  In order to be fit for ministry, you must be above reproach.  In order to be above reproach, you must not be arrogant.  C.J.’s pride was life dominating and that is what he confessed.  That pride was the root of many other disqualifying sins which he also confessed. 

Nevertheless, Carl Trueman wholeheartedly endorsed Mahaney and he was rewarded for it.  Some years later, however, he changed his mind about Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  He has never explained why.  I first learned about this change in October 2015 from Robert Brady, who is the Executive Director for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, when he told me in an email, “I do know that Carl has separated himself from most things related to SGM.” 

Three months later in January 2016, Brady also wrote me this in an email. 

From: Robert Brady Work []
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2016 5:08 PM
To: Brent Detwiler <>
Cc: Robert E. Brady <>
Subject: Fwd: Featured Story by Washingtonian Magazine about C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church & Sovereign Grace Ministries Hits Newsstands Tomorrow


Thank you for sharing.  And thank you where you are alerting the Church to where it is not serving the Gospel.  I hope that the nonbeliever reading your post not as typical of the Bride of Christ.  You walk a careful line, I am sure.  As you can clearly see, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has no association with C.J. Mahaney, Covenant Life Church, Sovereign Grace Ministries, or Together for the Gospel.  I think you and I have spoken to that point, but just a reminder.  Again, thank you for sharing and your ministry where you serve the Church!

Bob Brady
Executive Director

Trueman was once an adoring fan of C.J. Mahaney.  In fact, he featured a flattering interview of himself by Mahaney on the Westminster Theological Seminary website from 2010-2015.  It is now gone and except for page one that can be found here.    

I have written Trueman about his role in vindicating Mahaney despite the overwhelming evidence of disqualifying guilt found in Mahaney’s confessions.  Trueman refuses to answer my questions.  

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals does a blog and podcast called The Mortification of Spin (MOS) that features Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd.  On April 9, 2016, Todd Pruitt publicly exhorted Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler on the blog to remove C.J. Mahaney from Together for the Gospel because he was not above reproach or of good reputation.  

A week and a half later, Trueman, Pruitt and Byrd did a podcast titled Bully Pulpit: Abusive Pulpits.  In the podcast, Trueman expressed his agreement with Pruitt and conveyed that Mahaney was disqualified as a church leader.  Trueman never used Mahaney’s name, but it is clear from the context that he was referring to Mahaney.  For example, 

“You don’t have to be found not guilty in a court of law to be totally compromised as a church leader on this.  1 Timothy 3:7 gives that qualification, moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders so that he may not fall into disgrace and to a snare of the devil.  Well thought of by outsiders.  Somebody of good reputation.  And somebody of good reputation – that’s above and beyond legal definitions of proof such that I think if there is a reasonable suspicion that something bad has gone down and somebody may be connected to it, that’s enough to disqualify you. … Some of the recent cases of allegations of child abuse in the Protestant evangelical church are not just malicious rumors, and when lawsuits get dismissed on technicalities [a reference to the lawsuit against Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries], that’s a problem.  When allegations are made that could be easy to refute such as the acceptance of vacations [a reference to Mahaney acceptance of an all-expenses paid ritzy vacation from Charlie Llewellyn who was accused by two of his daughters of abusing them] or money [likely a reference to a hush fund set up to silence a pastor whose son was repeatedly sodomized by the senior pastor’s son in the same SGM church] or whatever, that could be easy to refute if they’re not true and they are not refuted [a reference to Mahaney], then I think reputations are publicly tarnished in a way that puts you in the crosshairs of 1 Timothy 3:7.” (Carl Trueman, Bully Pulpit: Abusive Pulpit, MOS, April 20, 2016)

1 Timothy 3:7 (ESV) reads, “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

With primary reference to C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, Trueman also said, 

“This has done incalculable damage to ordinary Christians, not only those who’ve been abused but those who quite frankly get sick of the cover-ups and sick of the self-serving rhetoric at the top.  I can understand why people drift away from the reformed faith on this score, and that’s why I think the leaders need to take more responsibility.  It’s not, we’re not trying to score cheap points here, we are trying to make the point that our faith is being damaged by the need to preserve certain organizations and certain ministries.  That’s a problem.” (Carl Trueman, Bully Pulpit: Abusive Pulpit, MOS, April 20, 2016)

I am glad Trueman has finally taken a stand, if a vague one, but this does not negate the fact that he played a major role in covering up for C.J. Mahaney when the Lord was exposing Mahaney.  Along with Kevin DeYoung and Ray Ortlund, he did “incalculable damage to ordinary Christians” throughout Sovereign Grace Ministries.  He was very much a part of “the cover-ups” and “self-serving rhetoric at the top” that “quite frankly” made so many people sick.  

Trueman claims, “I can understand why people drift away from the reformed faith on this score” and “that’s why I think… leaders need to take more responsibility.”  This is nothing but hypocrisy.  If he were true to his word, he would take responsibility for his part in the cover-up that has surrounded Mahaney.  

Furthermore, he would blow the lid off the deceitful way Kevin DeYoung and Ray Ortlund did their work on the Preliminary Panel in July 2011.  They were in no way objective contrary to their public promise to be so.  These two men actually talked C.J. out of his confessions and persuaded him to make no new confessions to SGM or its pastors.  This was a major factor in why SGM split and 40 churches departed.  DeYoung and Ortlund did not accept and evaluate his confessions.  They told C.J. he over confessed his sins and that his sins were not serious.   

This sacrilege violated their public promise that they would be objective and it was in direct opposition to their assignment which was “to offer non-binding advice on the narrow question as to whether C.J. Mahaney is presently fit for ministry based on those sins to which he has already confessed.”  They did not assess C.J. based on those sins to which he confessed.  They talked him out of those sins and convinced him they were not serious.  Then they vindicated him.  I have confronted DeYoung and Ortlund with the evidence of their corruption but they refuse to interact.  Read Conclusive Evidence the Investigation of C.J. Mahaney’s Confessed Sins by Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, & Carl Trueman Was Thoroughly Corrupt

If Trueman had taken a stand in July 2011, it is possible all the scandals that have followed could have been avoided.  Mahaney may have come to repentance.  Instead, he and the others enabled him in his sin.  To this day, Sovereign Grace Ministries (now Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.) uses Trueman’s report to justify Mahaney.  Trueman should demand they amend Findings from Our Preliminary Panel and make it clear he no longer supports Mahaney as qualified for ministry or a model to be followed.    

After Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd took a stand against Mahaney in April 2016, Deb Martin, one of the moderators at The Wartburg Watch, wrote a post.  It was called Mortification of Spin Hosts Discuss Abusive Pulpits on Bully Pulpit Broadcast.  Over 500 comments followed including some from Pruitt, Trueman’s co-host and fellow blogger. 

The first comment on The Wartburg Watch was by Rose.  She wanted to know if Trueman was “taking back his previous support of CJ.”  It was an excellent question and one Pruitt should have answered.  Others asked the same question in various ways.  In response to them, Pruitt defiantly said, “Carl Trueman does not owe you answers.  And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.”

The moderators, Deb Martin and Darlene “Dee” Parsons, were gracious to Pruitt throughout even when they corrected him for accusing commenters of slander.  Truth be told, it was Pruitt who was slandering and in a wild and bizarre fashion.  This is a pattern in Pruitt’s life from what I have observed.  Read Todd Pruitt Lies about His Knowledge of C.J. Mahaney’s Guilt in Order to Appear Neutral and An Open Letter to Todd Pruitt Regarding His Unfounded Attacks on Wayne Grudem & Bruce Ware.

Here are the relevant comments from the post on The Wartburg Watch.  So many of them were excellent.  I did not know about or participate in the conversation at the time.  I have added some of my own comments below.  So much more could be said.  My “Brent” comments are indented and found in brackets [ ].        

Rose on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:25 AM said:

So I’m assuming, here, that Carl Trueman is taking back his previous support of CJ being cleared and fit for a return to ministry?

Deb [Martin] on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 07:57 AM said:

I have always wondered about Carl Trueman’s involvement on the Preliminary Panel that found Mahaney fit for ministry’ almost five years ago. … In the wake of the Morales conviction and the lawsuit (dismissed on a technicality), Trueman has obviously reversed his position 180 degrees.  I do wish he would publicly acknowledge this reversal beyond what was stated on yesterday’s broadcast.

Bridget on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:00 AM said: 

Trueman does not seem to understand that he has been part of the propping up of CJ Mahaney. 

Lea on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:56 AM said:

I would really like to hear him talk about this now.  I mean, I could accept a ‘if the facts change I change my mind’ analysis.  But, I want to hear it.  Otherwise he’s hiding with the rest, really.

Melody on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 10:16 AM said: 

This is exactly my concern: if he is pressing forward without being honest about his past associations, this is short-term progress, but ultimately corrupt long-term.  Still waiting for some no holds barred honesty and wisdom from evangelicals.

Mother on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM said: 

Also, Trueman is free anytime to be more explicit on his withdrawal of support for Mahaney.

JeffT on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 11:07 AM said: 

I used to have a fair amount of respect for Trueman until he participated in the whitewash report on CJ.  I would really like to hear what his thoughts on that are today.  He needs to confront the issue rather than let it fester in the background.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 12:06 PM said: 

I am going to speak up for my friend Carl because he will not do it.  Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.

[Brent: This is Pruitt’s first comment.  He makes it sound noble that Trueman will not speak up for himself but it is never noble to hide behind silence when you are being called to account.  That is just like Mahaney.  He also introduces the slander card based upon the questions and comments above.  Pruitt should have thanked these people for their legitimate questions and said he would be happy to ask Trueman to provide honest answers.  That is called humility and transparency.]     

You must remember the limited scope of Carl’s work with SGM.  He was asked to, along with several others to review the hundreds of pages of documents that had been dumped into the public record.  Please remember that this was BEFORE any of us knew about allegations of covering up child sexual abuse.  The finding of that committee [i.e., the Preliminary Panel] is that those documents did not reveal anything that was necessarily disqualifying for ministry.  Full stop.  In fact, the documents did reveal that the application of confession of sin by SGM churches was a bit weird.  I read the documents and, quite frankly, I couldn’t find a “smoking gun.”

[Brent: The “several others” were two others: Kevin DeYoung and Ray Ortlund.  Pruitt knows that but embellishes for exaggerated effect.  These three men were not asked to make a determination of Mahaney’s fitness for ministry based upon their review of The Documents.  They were asked to make a determination based upon the confessions made by Mahaney which were contained in The Documents.  The findings of the panel were not based upon the overall content of The Documents

Pruitt claims he “read the documents” and “couldn’t find a ‘smoking gun.”  In context, he means he found nothing disqualifying.  That is absurd.  The Documents factually illustrate longstanding patterns of lying, deceit, lording, betrayal, arrogance, hypocrisy, and intimidation (e.g., blackmail).  Clearly, Pruitt does not understand the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.]

So let’s please stop repeating the lie that somehow Carl Trueman found CJ Mahaney, SGM, and CLC shining exmaples of personal and institutional health.  He simply came to the same conclusion that I had reached about the hundreds of pages of documents released through Brent Detwiler.

[Brent: Pruitt is the one who is lying.  Trueman said Mahaney was guilty of no disqualifying sins (i.e. those referenced in 1 Tim. 3 and Tit. 1) and was therefore “still fit to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a pastor to others.”  He, DeYoung and Ortlund also went on to say, “We believe his Christian walk, though flawed (as is the case with all Christians), is still a model for others to follow.”  C.J.’s sins were minor flaws in the eyes of Trueman.  That’s why he put Mahaney forward as “a model for others to follow.” 

Furthermore, to be fit for ministry means a person is above reproach.  That means he is a “shining example” for others to imitate.  That is precisely the way Trueman put Mahaney forth even after he read The Documents and examined the confessions.  It is Pruitt who needs to “stop repeating the lie” that Trueman didn’t commend and promote Mahaney as a national leader who met all the requirements of Scripture and was therefore a bonafide model to be followed by everyone inside and outside of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Moreover, it is deeply disturbing that Pruitt attempts to silence people by accusing them of lying when he is the one who is audaciously distorting the truth.]           

Doubtful on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 12:44 PM said: 

I feel that Carl Truman, given the role he had in declaring CJ Mahaney fit for Ministry, is obligated to apologize to all the victims of the cover-ups that have occurred.

It’s great that he’s begun to speak out.  It’s obvious he’s referring to sgm churches and the abuses that have occurred there.  But I find it inadequate, to speak in vague terms, when he explicitly said that CJ mahaney was fit for Ministry.

Deb on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:07 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:

Some of the things I have seen written about him in the comments section of this blog border (at least) on slander.


As I stated several times in the post, I am grateful for your broadcast.  However, I would ask that you be careful using the word ‘slander’ in this discussion.  Nothing I have read here could be characterized as such.

I don’t have a problem with our commenters stating that they wished Carl would have owned the part he played in restoring C.J. Mahaney back to ministry.  I said as much in an earlier comment.

Had Carl come to a different conclusion nearly five years ago, perhaps we could have avoided some of the problems you Carl, and Aimee discussed in your broadcast.

[Brent: This is a very kind response by Deb.  It stands out in stark contrast to Pruitt’s responses.  Deb is Wanda “Deb” Martin.  She wrote the post and is one of the moderators at TWW.  She gently corrects Pruitt for accusing people of slander.]

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:10 PM said: 

Trueman would have a lot more influence if he were just honest about his propping up Mahaney and why he now knows it was wrong.  Instead he talks around the subject without mentioning names.  They know that we know who they are talking about so what is up with not mentioning names?  I have an idea why.  It would probably be a problem with his position.  I guess I am just done with all the Insider cowardly stuff. 

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:20 PM said: 

Todd Pruitt … Can we stop with the slander accusations?  Trueman is part of an article on the internet –I am assuming he wants people to read?

So we read it and we have questions as to why he does not explain his supposed (he does not name names) 180 on Mahaney?  All we can do at this point is speculate.  I get that you think that is a sin, I happen to disagree. 

Perhaps we could ask why Trueman himself doesn’t explain this?  Or does he feel like he doesn’t have to explain anything as an academic that went along with that show?  I really don’t get it. 

[Brent: Lydia mistakenly refers to an article on the internet.  In fact, Trueman did his “180” during the podcast called Bully Pulpit: Abusive Pulpits on April 20, 2016.] 

Godith on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:29 PM said:

I would like to hear Trueman himself say that he was wrong about CJM.   

Lea on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:30 PM said:

I think most people just said he should maybe address it.  Which is hardly slander. … I would be very interesting to see what Mr. Trueman thinks after having had years to reflect.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 02:55 PM said:

Asking questions is fine.  But demanding certain answers and then making pronouncements about a man’s character most certainly is slander.  Carl and I have lost friends over this issue (and others).  I’m not asking for any sympathy.  But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian.

[Brent: Pruitt is way off base!  These were wild and irrational charges.  No one was “demanding certain answers” or “making pronouncements” that Pruitt and Trueman were “scum and cowards or some other things.”  Lydia simply said, “I guess I am just done with all the Insider cowardly stuff.”  Pruitt’s approach is the one that was “unChristian.”  Once again, he intimidates and plays the slander card.  One thing is clear, asking questions is not fine.]           

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:38 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:
So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus. 

Patriciamc wrote:
We’re not pointing fingers at any individuals, just a mentality in general that many, but not all, have in the Reformed tradition.  Growing up in a PCA church, I definitely saw what I would term as idolatry.  We Arminians have our flaws too, just in other areas.

I was responding to a specific comment in this thread where the writer [i.e., siteseer] assumed secret knowledge as to the sinister nature of my actual allegiance.

[Brent:  This is typical of Pruitt.  He references “a specific comment” but he doesn’t quote the comment or name the writer.  Pruitt is referring to “siteseer” who said, “This is where their [Pruitt, Trueman, Byrd] allegiance is” referring to the Reformed faith.  That is true.  They are confessional Presbyterians.  There was absolutely nothing about siteseer’s comment that “assumed secret knowledge as to the sinister nature of my actual allegiance.”  This claim by Pruitt is absolutely bizarre and utterly unfounded.

This is a deeply ingrained pattern for Pruitt not only in the comment section of this blog post.  It shows up in his own blog posts and podcasts for instance in his repeated misrepresentations of Dr. Bruce Ware and Dr. Wayne Grudem.  See for example, An Open Letter to Todd Pruitt Regarding His Unfounded Attacks on Wayne Grudem & Bruce Ware (Nov 15, 2016) by me and An Open Letter to Liam Goligher, Carl Trueman, and Todd Pruitt on Trinitarian Equality and Distinctions (July 8, 2016) by Bruce Ware.  

Those who follow Pruitt should keep in mind that he habitually makes up accusations against anyone who challenges him or calls him to account.  What is happening here on TWW is paradigmatic. 

All of this is a frightening display of abuse and hypocrisy.  Pruitt makes up slanderous and bizarre accusations that he uses to really and truly slander people who have not slandered him.] 

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:45 PM said: 

I don’t have any problem with people asking Carl questions about his thoughts regarding the charges that CJ covered up child sex abuse at CLC.  The problem is that Carl has no way of knowing if it is true.  Neither do I for that matter. … There are some very ugly things being said about him because he didn’t suddenly become convinced of all the accusations made against Mahaney.  That is a strange ethic to say the least.

[Brent:  This was another irrational statement.  No one was saying “some very ugly things” about Trueman on The Wartburg Watch.  Nor was anyone saying he should have “suddenly become convinced of all the accusations made against Mahaney” in the lawsuit.  This is another example of Pruitt making accusations that were baseless. 

Pruitt also waters down what he and Trueman have said about the conspiracy to cover up child sex abuse.  For instance, Trueman referred to it as “a reasonable suspicion” and Pruitt referred to it as a “reasonable accusation.”  Even stronger, Pruitt said this about the conspiracy in his post, An Appeal to the Organizers of Together for the Gospel from April 9, 2016. 

“Suffice it to say, I have found much of the evidence quite compelling that certain leaders within SGM knew about and sought to cover-up the sexual abuse of children. … The accusations, far from being exposed as lies, seem to have taken on greater credibility.”   

Lastly, Pruitt tries to change the subject from the Preliminary Panel to what Trueman knew about “child sex abuse in CLC” but that is not what people were asking.  They were asking about Trueman’s radical change from saying Mahaney was qualified to be a church leader to saying he was not qualified to be a church leader.]  

Cousin of Eutychus on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:50 PM said: 

From what I read in Brent’s documents, if the type of behavior exhibited by CJ does not disqualify, our standards are very low.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:51 PM said: 

The problem is that we need evidence not just charges and seemingly common sense extrapolations.  So much of what I am reading here is the conclusions people have reached not because of actual evidence but because it seems to make sense based upon what they believe.  I get that.  We go through life reaching conclusions that seem reasonable based upon what we see and hear.  However, when a man’s character is at stake we have to have actual evidence. 

[Brent: There is a ton of evidence pointing to Mahaney’s guilt in conspiring to cover up child sexual abuse in Covenant Life Church (CLC) and Sovereign Grace Ministries.  As Pruitt said 12 days earlier, the evidence was “quite compelling.”  For example, that found in 80 related posts I’ve written on the matter.  That aside, here is a brief authoritative summary from Jessica Hall.  She is one of the Assistant State Attorneys for Montgomery County, Maryland who convicted Nathaniel Morales for his sexual abuse of children in CLC and elsewhere.  CLC pastors knew about these crimes for 20 years but never reported them to law enforcement.  When she says “church,” she primarily means pastors.

Jessica Hall
Assistant State’s Attorney
Opening Statement
Monday, May 12, 2014

“The church covered it up.  The church protected Mr. Morales. … The church would cover up for Mr. Morales. … The church would protect a man who molested children. … The church did nothing. … They [the pastors] ignored the fact that heinous crimes had been committed.”]

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:55 PM said: 

As far as what Brent Detwiler has written, I don’t know any human being who has the time to keep up with the sheer volume of his output.  That said, I don’t KNOW that the things Detwiler alleges are true.  Do you know what he has alleged is true.  And by “know” I mean have you seen evidence confirming his accusations?

[Brent: This is classic.  For example, I “alleged” what the State’s Attorney Office emphatically declared and demonstrated to be true in two separate trials of Morales.  The evidence is found in the official court transcripts, my blog posts, newspaper accounts, interviews by investigative reporters, recordings from closed meetings, police reports, the allegations of fact in the lawsuit, etc. 

The “sheer volume” of my output over the last six years is solely due to the sheer volume of incriminating evidence that has come out month after month and year after year.  That is no exaggeration.  The number of scandals surrounding Mahaney and SGM is staggering.  It is not limited to his cover up of child sexual abuse.  I only write because SGM has given me plenty to write about. 

This too is classic.  Pruitt asks, “Do you know what he has alleged is true?”  My question for Pruitt is, “Do you even know what I have alleged?”  According to Pruitt, he had absolutely no knowledge of any first hand or second hand evidence related to Mahaney’s guilt or innocence in general and in particular as it pertained to the cover-up of sexual abuse.  On Phil Johnson’s Facebook page, he said,    

Todd Pruitt  Keep in mind Brent that many of us do not have first or even second hand knowlege of CJ’s guilt or innocence.  We have certainly heard a lot of troubling reports (thus my series of blog posts).  But I trust you will understand why some of us will not publically call CJ guilty until that is proven.
Like · Reply · 2 · April 15 at 9:15am · Edited

This was a lie.  Pruitt had first and second hand knowledge of C.J.’s guilt.  He was familiar with plenty of the evidence against Mahaney.  He pretended ignorance so he didn’t have to take a stronger stand against Mahaney.  I challenged Pruitt on his honesty but when I respectfully asked him questions (I did not make demands), he became belligerent much like his responses here.  He said, “I don’t like strangers making demands of me.  What gives you the authority to make such demands?” and “Consider this our last communication.”  He refused to be honest because he was guilty of lying.  See Todd Pruitt Lies about His Knowledge of C.J. Mahaney’s Guilt in Order to Appear Neutral (Nov 17, 2016).]

Lea on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:59 PM said:

Why are ‘common sense extrapolations’ based on evidence (and testimony from eyewitnesses is evidence) not enough in the case of determining if a pastor is abusive?

Cousin of Eutychus on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:11 PM said:

Todd, thanks for your thoughtful reply; I thought the email documentation fairly straight-forward, as well as CJ’s abandoning his congregation as somewhat indicative of some character issues.

It sometimes seems to me that the only behaviors we consider disqualifying are adultery and theft in office–I think a lack of character in terms of manipulative and controlling behavior to be just as disqualifying.

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:19 PM said:

Excuse me, Todd.  But I had never heard of Carl Trueman in my life until he agreed to be on a three man panel that declared Mahaney as fit for ministry. … There is nothing belittling about Trueman admitting he made a mistake and why.  It could go a long way to teach others what they should look for and how cautious they should be to get involved with celebrities. … Trueman can’t have it both ways.  The middle of the road is where you get hit.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:38 PM said:

Speaking the truth is most certainly not slander.  I just want to be very careful that we not confuse personal, even deeply held opinions with evidence.  When someone writes some variation on – “He didn’t condemn Mahaney so he must be a compromising and dishonest huckster” – that is slander.

[Brent: This was another wild accusation.  No one on TWW said, or implied, anything of the sort.]

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:45 PM said:

Lydia – I have not once accused anyone of slander simply because they disagree with me. I do cry “slander” when someone writes something false about me, my character, my actions, or my beliefs because I reach a different conclusion about something than they prefer.

[Brent: The bizarre behavior continues.  No one had written any false or slanderous about his character, actions or beliefs.]

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:48 PM said:

Todd, I don’t do vague.  Show the example(s) of slander here, please.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:52 PM said:

As I have written before, while I cannot claim any knowledge on Mahaney’s guilt or innocence regarding the charges of covering up sexual abuse I can say that SGM churches did not have a healthy model of governance.  Part of that was based upon their belief in modern apostles.  That lead to problems.  But also problematic was their application of “shepherding” which seems to have cross a lot of lines and turned into heavy handed meddling into people’s lives. 

[Brent: Anyone who has read the Second Amended Complaint (i.e. the lawsuit) or my blog or a host of other sources has first-hand and second-hand knowledge (i.e., evidence) of Mahaney’s guilt.  

Pruitt doesn’t understand the roots sins that have ensnared and continue to ensnare Mahaney and SGM.  I put it this way in Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine which was the first document I sent to Mahaney on March 10, 2010. 

“Lastly and most importantly, 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 the 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.”   (Brent Detwiler, RRF&D, p. 3)   

“Primarily, I hope and desire to see a restoration of integrity, truth telling and justice in Sovereign Grace so there is no lying, spin, manipulation, lording, cover-up, or partiality.  I am concerned for the movement.  Some men have followed sinful aspects of your example and leadership – the kind referenced in this response.  These men have acted deceitfully, judgmentally, unbiblically, and hypocritically.  Their example in turn, has harmed others and been corrosive in its effect.”  (Brent Detwiler, RRF&D, p. 128)

Methods, doctrine and practice are important but pastors with pure hearts are the key to a godly government in the church of Jesus Christ.  SGM has made external changes to their policy but they have not changed internally.  That is why the deception and corruption continues.]   

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:53 PM said:

That is a bit if a twist.  He [Trueman] actually declared him fit for ministry.  He had other choices such as recusing himself or as Bridget has suggested, more investigation.

All this would be cleared up if Trueman would simply speak for himself.  Why not?

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:55 PM said:

Lydia – I’m not going to play games.  Do you deny that there have been some pretty ugly things written here and past threads about myself and Trueman?  I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends. 

[Brent: Pruitt digs an even deeper hole for himself.  The “pretty ugly things written here” were not written by TWW readers.  They were written by Pruitt.  He doesn’t realize it but he is the one playing games.       

In a comment above, Lydia asked for “example(s) of slander.”  Pruitt refers to one cryptic comment as an example but doesn’t explain himself.  This is the only supposed example of slander Pruitt can reference because there are none.  This obscure example comes up later.] 

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 04:57 PM said:

Lydia – With all due respect Carl Trueman does not owe you answers.  And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.

[Brent: This was Pruitt’s next to last comment.  He makes one more to Bridget at 5:16 PM about church courts in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA).   

TWW readers had been very kind and patient with Pruitt especially given his belligerence and wild accusations.  He says “with all due respect” but that is hardly the case.  Pruitt respected little to nothing people asked or said.  In fact, he would “discourage” Carl Trueman from answering any questions “based upon the way some of these threads go.” 

This comment gets to the crux of the matter.  Pruitt insists Trueman does not owe TWW readers any answers.  And even if he did, Pruitt would discourage him from doing so because they have been called “scum and cowards,” etc. in “some of these threads.”  None of which was true.

This is the basest form of spiritual abuse.  Refuse to be accountable and then blame others for your lack of honesty and transparency by charging they are slanderers and therefore not deserving of a response.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  It is pure guilt manipulation.  The issue is not does Trueman “owe” TWW readers answers.  The issue is whether Trueman will be open and honest and whether Pruitt will encourage him to be so.    

If these men don’t like The Wartburg Watch, that’s fine.  They can answer these questions on The Mortification of Spin.  That, however, would require a mortification of their own spin. 

Bottom line.  Pruitt is a noted podcaster, blogger and pastor and yet he is oblivious to his pride which is so easily offended.  This arrogance puts him (and Trueman) above correction and accountability.  It is reminiscent of Mahaney and the top leaders in SGM.  They hate questions like Hillary Clinton hates questions. 

In October 2015, I wrote Trueman and asked him 15 questions about his findings on the Preliminary Panel in which he vindicated Mahaney and commended him as a model to be followed by the Body of Christ.  I’ve followed up with him twice.  He refuses to interact or answer my questions which were altogether respectful.  You can read about it in Conclusive Evidence the Investigation of C.J. Mahaney’s Confessed Sins by Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, & Carl Trueman Was Thoroughly Corrupt.  

The moral of the story, it doesn’t matter if you are respectful or disrespectful; Mahaney, Pruitt and Trueman, et al., are not going to answer your questions.  We have seen this countless times over the past six years.  These leaders are unaccountable.]

Lydia on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 05:09 PM said:

And there it is.

Doubtful on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 05:34 PM said:

You might want to tone down your use of the word slander and your defensive posture before you come in here telling us how (ed.) to feel about Carl’s timid and late critiques.

Dee [Parsons] on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 06:06 PM said:

Yet he [Trueman] did make a judgement call [on the Preliminary Panel], exonerating him [Mahaney] in the eyes of some leaders.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have commented whatsoever.

Julie Anne Smith on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 06:58 PM said:

One thing that has puzzled me about those in your [Pruitt’s] camp is the failure to see that even without the sex abuse cases, CJ is unfit for ministry and shouldn’t be speaking simply because he destroyed his own dynasty with 40 churches and 100 pastors leaving.  Obviously something is gravely amiss.  What am I missing?  Why aren’t people discussing even that aspect?  Do you have any idea?

[Brent: Julie Ann is absolutely correct.  No one can read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 and then read The Documents and conclude C.J. was above the reproach.  It is impossible.  Furthermore, The Documents were just the beginning.  I started in July 2011.  Tons more evidence followed.  Then in October 2012, when the initial lawsuit was filed, I began writing about the conspiracy to commit and cover up the sexual abuse of children.  By August 2014, half the people in SGM had left.  Approximately, 12,000.  Pruitt refuses to answer her question, “Why aren’t people discussing even that aspect?”]        

Ron Oommen on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 07:11 PM said: 

I’m sorry – slander?  That’s a very hasty and unjust conclusion to jump to.  I’m one of those commenters who probably committed the alleged slander.  The question about Carl Trueman’s previous involvement is a legitimate one.  Asking a question about it is perfectly reasonable.  In the absence of clear indication from him, even speculative questions are reasonable.  Dismissively referring to it all as bordering on slander is beyond the pale.

Slander is attacking someone’s character.  Not asking questions about them.  That does not come close to slander else every lawyer examining a witness would be guilty of the same.

Dare I say this appears to me to reiterate my biggest problem with evangelicalism today – this disdain for and discouragement of asking pointed questions by claiming the moral high ground and throwing out accusations of gossip and slander to shut down those questions.

[Brent: So true!  This tactic, more than any other, is used by corrupt leaders to cover up incriminating evidence and shut down open, honest and accountable interaction.] 

elastigirl on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 07:20 PM said:

Todd, no one has demanded a darn thing.  Comments are all along the lines of what the commenters feel is appropriate, right, fair, and honest.

siteseer on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 07:25 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:
Actually my allegiance is to Christ.  I specify “the Reformed Faith” to allow people to know where I am coming from.  I believe the Westminster Standards represent a clear and accurate summation of the doctrine found in Scripture.  I am a confessional Presbyterian because I believe it to be biblical.  So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

I am not slandering you.  You only reworded what I said.  You feel that the reformed faith is the biblical faith so you have given it allegiance.  I guess maybe you’d use another word, perhaps loyalty?

I think the point that was being made is the reformed leaders tend to speak of reformed thought and not of the Bible or Christianity in general.

[Brent: This refers back to the only supposed example of slander Pruitt could cite when he said, “I have already referenced one earlier comment that cryptically suggested knowledge about the “real allegiance” of me and my friends.”  Here is the thread.

GSD on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 11:59 AM said:

I did find it odd that the folks [Pruitt, Trueman, Byrd] on the show [Bully Pulpit: Abusive Pulpits] kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.  Is this a NeoCal thing?  The Calvinists that I know dont use this language… Not around me, anyway.

siteseer on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 12:12 PM said:

GSD wrote:
I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.

Yes.  This is where their allegiance is.

Todd Pruitt on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 12:17 PM said:

GSD wrote:
I did find it odd that the folks on the show kept referring to “the Reformed faith,” as if it were a belief system separate from basic Christianity.
siteseer wrote:
Yes.  This is where their allegiance is.

Actually my allegiance is to Christ.  I specify “the Reformed Faith” to allow people to know where I am coming from.  I believe the Westminster Standards represent a clear and accurate summation of the doctrine found in Scripture.  I am a confessional Presbyterian because I believe it to be biblical. So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

Siteseer was the one accused of slander but all he said was, “This is where their allegiance is” meaning Pruitt, Trueman, and Byrd’s loyalty or commitment was to Reformed doctrine and practice (e.g. that found in the Westminster Standards).  That hardly constitutes slander.  Siteseer never said they had no allegiance to Jesus.  Once again, Pruitt is the one guilty of slander and making false accusations.]  

Ian on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 07:26 PM said:

However, with respect, I have to question Carl’s conclusions back in 2011.  Brent Detwiler’s papers revealed shocking behaviour on CJ’s part, particularly his blackmailing of Larry Tomczak’s son.  In addition, at that time there was at least two websites, SGM Refuge and SGM Survivors, full of horror stories from SGM churches, people who were bullied and abused by an authoritarian system that CJ created and presided over.  Many of these people had their faith seriously damaged or even destroyed by the way they were treated by church leaders.  And yes, that’s the reformed faith you all value so highly.  That’s why the decision to pronounce CJ fit for ministry shocked so many people.  Even without the court cases, it was abundantly clear that CJ was a manipulative and controlling man who was doing great harm, both directly and through SGM churches. How could anyone exonerate him?

[Brent: Ian is right.  It is very appropriate to “question Carl’s conclusions back in 2011” given the overwhelming evidence pointing to Mahaney’s disqualification from ministry, not his qualification for ministry.]

Chris S on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 08:12 PM said:

You have stated that detailed examination of some of the documents didn’t raise serious concerns – (though you also said that you do not believe they had a healthy culture overall because of their belief in apostles and the way in which they used ‘sheparding’ – I make allusions to this in my original comment).  The problem is that the final statement the committee released was anything but qualified.

Taking these two things together, I don’t really see an issue with the wider church asking serious questions of the committee members – after all to a large extent they were being brought in precisely because they had a certain reputation outside CLC.

Soarin’ on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:09 PM said:

I realize that Carl was/is probably unaware of how his decision about CJ being fit for ministry was promoted in the SG churches.  It was used in such a way to silence the critics, anyone asking questions etc..  After all if a panel of three Godly men said CJ was fit then the rest of us should accept that and go on.  “Nothing to see here.”  I realize that Carl had no control of how the decision was used but I thought it might be helpful for you to know. 

[Brent: Trueman knew the “Findings of the Preliminary Panel” were going to be published and used by interim President Dave Harvey and the SGM Board to exonerate Mahaney.  That is exactly what happened.  The “findings” were used to “silence the critics, anyone asking questions, etc.”  They are still used that way today.] 

R2 on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:21 PM said:

“Carl Trueman does not owe you an answer.”  So it comes down to mere obligation?  Staying quiet in response to the question isn’t going to make it go away. … That being said, the fact is Carl Trueman signed his name to a statement declaring C.J. Mahaney fit for ministry. … A man with Dr. Trueman’s discernment should have known that the statement would be used very broadly by Mr. Mahaney to whitewash everything.

It’s a black mark on Carl Trueman’s record.  The longer it goes unaddressed, the more statements to the effect he doesn’t owe any answers are put out there, the darker the stain gets.  That doesn’t mean he’s a bad man, it means he made a public mistake he hasn’t publicly owned yet.

Melody on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:27 PM said:

Here’s the deal, Todd.  … No one is accusing Carl of supporting CJ [now], but many Christians would like to hear him speak directly to the situation, seeing as he was involved in the past.  I believe that is the right and Christian thing to do.  Do not start with the gossip and slander card with people like us who have followed this thing since 2013.  We have no patience left for that nonsense. 

[Brent: Trueman can’t speak to his involvement in the past on the Preliminary Panel because that involvement was corrupt.  For instance, the panel said Mahaney’s blackmail of Larry Tomczak “appears…to have been an attempt at coercion” and an “unfortunate lack of judgment.”  It was nothing of the kind.  There was nothing apparent or unfortunate about the coercion.  It was intentional and it was premediated.  Mahaney threatened to reveal details about the sex crimes committed by Tomczak oldest son which he confessed to Mahaney in strict confidence.  I explicitly documented these facts in Concluding Remarks which the panel read.  The panel was not honest in their reporting.]    

siteseer on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:41 PM said:

I have not read every comment so maybe I missed the slander you’re referring to but what I have read is not accusation of Carl Trueman but rather questions about how and why he changed his mind and a question as to whether he will speak on that.  It doesn’t seem unheard of, to me, that people would ask these things.  When CJ was given the ok, a lot of people were hurt.

[Brent: Siteseer is right, “When CJ was given the ok, a lot of people were hurt.”  Thousands as a matter of fact.  Trueman is partly to blame.  He should acknowledge this in humility.]

Melody on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 11:45 PM said:

Todd and Carl, if you read this: I had a creative thought which I will not judge you and hope no one else will for taking or leaving.  Here goes: why couldn’t Carl call Janet Mefferd to ask if he could make a statement and do an interview regarding his progression of thought on the SGM situation?  I think that could be a healing step for some evangelicals, if all concerned were able to agree to it.  Now for me to take some time offline.  God bless.

BL on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 04:31 PM said:

One does not have to answer or respond to questions expressed publicly via posting on a thread.  There are other avenues available that eliminate dealing directly with the hoi poloi. [hoi polloi means “the masses” or “common people”]

Lydia on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 05:12 PM said:

Now, Trueman won’t even utter the name CJ mahaney or sgm when he is criticizing the very things done there.  I don’t get it.  Why not just admit he got played by the celebrities?

The victims deserve more than vague crumbs.

R2 on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 09:36 PM said:

I don’t understand why he can’t just admit he made a mistake.  Most of us realize that even wise men make mistakes.  The refusal I see among Reformed leaders to ever admit mistakes was very disheartening to me.

Lydia on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 10:46 PM said:

I don’t even blame Trueman for being careful [on the Bullypodcast] but he can’t expect folks to take him seriously when he is vague in taking them on (which sounds more like saving the brand), ignoring victims and won’t even acknowledge his part in propping up Mahaney.

Mrs Huxtable on Sat Apr 23, 2016 at 12:08 PM said:

The preliminary panel was designed by SGM leadership to neutralize damage from “the documents” and cast doubt on Brent’s credibility.  The scope of the 3-member panel was limited to deciding whether the sins CJ had already confessed were enough to disqualify him.  It was not designed to evaluate Brent’s evidence and opine on whether CJ had fully owned up to everything.  If memory serves, CJ never admitted to lying, manipulation or blackmail. …

The panel was, by design, a rush job engineered to get exactly the outcome SGM wanted.

I’m not impugning the motives or character of the 3 men who were on the panel.  I’m sure they had good intentions.  But they were played.  They should’ve smelled something was off in the whole fishy business and declined to take part.

[Brent: Everything Mrs. Huxtable says in paragraphs one and two are true.  That is exactly what happened.  On the other hand, she is mistaken (but good natured) in paragraph three.  Compelling evidence justly impugns the motives and character of DeYoung, Ortlund, and Trueman in how they went about their work.  They were “played” but they were also complicit in vindicating Mahaney when they knew the sins he confessed were clearly of a disqualifying nature.  They know their Bible.  They just refused to apply it to Mahaney.]    

Melody on Mon Apr 25, 2016 at 01:21 PM said:

I agree.  Has Todd ever come back and actually engaged the concerns expressed?  Would he explain who willfully slandered Carl?  Not from what I am seeing.  What a shame.

[Brent: Pruitt never addressed the concerns expressed and he never explained who willfully slandered Carl Trueman.] 


The last comment I included above was by Melody on April 25 at 1:21 PM.  Todd Pruitt left his last comment on April 21 at 5:16 PM.  His second to last comment was on April 21 at 4:57 PM.  That’s when he said “Carl Trueman does not owe you answers.”  The same was true for him.  He provided no answers after his condemnation of TWW commenters.  

This was not the end, however.  The next day Pruitt slandered The Wartburg Watch and exalted himself on his Facebook page and Twitter account.  Here is his first comment on FB.  I’ve added comments.

Todd Pruitt
April 22 at 3:15pm · Harrisonburg, VA 
Tried answering objections on a grievance blog’s comment section.  I was warned.  Never again... 

[Brent: The day after his last comment on TWW, Pruitt posts this comment on his Facebook page.  Like a mercenary returning from battle, he draws attention to himself knowing this will invite praise and approval.     

He does the same thing an hour later on his Twitter account where he fancies himself Clint Eastwood with a gun pointed at you.  The photo is amusing but it also says a lot about how Pruitt views himself and wants to be viewed by others.  He takes no prisoners.]    


Todd Pruitt‏@ToddPruitt6  Apr 22 at 4:17 PM
Beware the comment threads of grievance blogs.  I was warned.  Never again.

[Brent: There are so many things wrong about the FB post and this tweet.  Pruitt didn’t try to answer objections.  He did the exact opposite.  He refused to answer legitimate questions.  Yet he puts himself forward as the reasonable and considerate one in contrast to TWW which is nothing but a grievance blog.  He was warned!  Never again!  Immediately before the tweet above, he sent out the tweet below.] 

Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6  Apr 22
If you are offended by dissent it probably means you are a celebrity (or desperately want to be).

[Brent: Pruitt’s lack of self-awareness is quite remarkable.  He chides celebrity leaders, or wannabes, for being “offended by dissent.”  Lord knows who has in mind but this is another example of his hypocrisy.  When you read his comments on TWW (and elsewhere) you quickly see how easily offended he is by event mild dissent.  I agree with his analysis, however, which is also an indictment.  Such people probably covet celebrity.  

Pruitt is like his close friend, Phil Johnson from John MacArthur’s ministry, in his condescending view and belittling treatment of those who self-identify as victims of abuse.  Johnson labeled the whole lot of them “a swarm of rancor monsters,” “a lynch mob” and the “Bruce Jenner’s of spiritual abuse.”  He also castigated them as full of “omnidirectional resentment” and “in reality they just despise all authority.”  

In his next tweet, Pruitt refers to Dee Parsons and Deb Martin and the readers at TWW as those “who hate biblical church government and discipline.”  That is not fair.  I don’t agree with these two ladies on their interpretation of Scripture pertaining to church government but they do not “hate biblical church government and discipline.”]  

Todd Pruitt ‏@ToddPruitt6  Apr 22
@ReformedintheQT  Yep.  The T4G / Mahaney debacle is providing fuel for those who hate biblical church government and discipline.

[Brent: There are people on various blogs that show signs of bitterness and resentment but this is not the way to treat them.  Furthermore, many or most of them, were stumbled and scandalized by spiritually abusive pastors like Pruitt, Johnson and Mahaney.  If they struggle with church government and discipline, it is understandable. 

Mahaney should never have been featured by Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler at Together for the Gospel 2016.  He should have been removed as a speaker.  It was a debacle.  But Pruitt is guilty of the same thing.  His conduct on TWW was also an ethical disaster.  He too is guilty of “providing fuel” for those who have a hard time trusting and following pastors.  His conduct is reprehensible.  The vast majority who have been spiritually abused don’t hate biblical church government and discipline.  They hate the sin that characterizes pastors who are self-serving and lord it over the flock of God in arrogance.  That kind of leadership produces immense suffering for sheep who speak up against it or simply disagree. 

Now back to the comments that followed Pruitt’s post on his Facebook page, after he said, “Tried answering objections on a grievance blog’s comment section.  I was warned.  Never again...”]

Alex Houston Like walking through a live minefield brother.
April 22 at 3:33pm 

Todd Pruitt Yep.  The Wartburg Watch readers are a tough crowd.
April 22 at 3:34pm

 [Brent: Pruitt makes clear who he is talking about.] 

Greg Smith I butted heads with one of the women from over there on somebody else’s Facebook page a while back.
April 22 at 9:00pm 

Michael Hampton Stay away from the comments section.  That’s my motto.
April 22 at 3:35pm 

Tim Roof Good for you, bruh Todd.  We are called to walk through minefields.  As long as it’s the gospel they find obnoxious and don’t have legitimate reason to find our behaviour so.
April 22 at 3:38pm 

[Brent: TWW does not find the gospel obnoxious but they have every reason to find Pruitt’s behavior obnoxious.] 

Todd Pruitt I went in determined to speak gently which I did.  And a few responded in kind.  But the attack dogs were out as well.  They take no prisoners.
April 22 at 3:40pm

[Brent: Pruitt commends himself for his godliness on The Wartburg Watch.  In his self-righteousness, he is totally unaware of his unrighteousness.  The pride of his heart has deceived him.  Or else, he knows he did not “speak gently” but deceptively puts forth a false narrative.  He is either deceived or deceiving.   

It is simply not true that a few were kind but all the others were “attack dogs” who took “no prisoners.”  In others words, they rhetorically attacked Pruitt and were determined to put him to death rather than put him in prison.  This is pure spin.  It is utterly untrue. 

It appears Pruitt hypes his interaction on TWW in order to put himself forward as a hero in the eyes of his Facebook friends.  Several buy into his slander and celebrate him a courageous warrior.]    

Tim Roof Yeah, we do what we can.  But in the end, it isn’t up to us.  What was the subject du jour?
April 22 at 3:41pm 

Brett Lemke Don’t feed the trolls [i.e., The Wartburg Watch]
April 22 at 3:44pm 

Shawn Ghazanfari You are the man Todd Pruitt! Tom Petty said it best, “I won’t back down.”  Hold the post brother!
April 22 at 3:50pm 

Tim Roof E’s [Pruitt] in the lion’s den, mate!  That’s what e is!
April 22 at 3:51pm

Michelle Lewis Bless your heart for
April 22 at 3:58pm 

Joe Slater Temporary lapse in judgment??
April 22 at 4:14pm 

Todd Pruitt Nothing temporary about my lapse in judgment Slater.
April 22 at 4:18pm 

David Shank  I’m with you
April 22 at 4:24pm 

Christine Pack  I’m generally sympathetic to the cause, but dem’s treacherous waters.
April 22 at 5:42pm
Donnie Nauman  Dogs!  [i.e. The Wartburg Watch]
April 22 at 6:29pm 

Lisa Grace Stevens That is disappointing as they pride themselves on “open discussion.”  However, despite WW’s positive post on the MOS episode, anything Reformed is unwelcome.  I will say that they have helped many to get help after being caught up in various types of church related abuse...and I am sorry indeed that your honest and brave attempt speak out for the abused and against the “mighty” has received such a response.
April 22 at 8:21pm · Edited

[Brent: I feel bad for Lisa.  She is taken in by Pruitt’s slander and deceptive tactics.  You cannot believe men like Pruitt.  You must always check out their claims in primary and secondary sources when that is possible.  Pruitt’s slanderous comments led her to believe TWW attacked him and was not grateful for him speaking out against Mahaney’s participation in Together for the Gospel.  The opposite was true.  Here is just one comment from Deb Martin who wrote the post.    

Deb on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 03:16 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:
But to conclude that we are scum or cowards or some of the other things we have been called because we don’t want to draw conclusions for which we lack evidence is unChristian. 

There is no question that hindsight is 20/20.  I am sorry that you and Carl have lost friendships.  Dee and I can definitely relate. 

Again, I am very grateful that the three of you took such a vocal stand.  Please know that I’m keeping you, Carl, and Aimee in my prayers as you will likely face significant criticism from the YRR [Young Restless Reformed] crowd.]

Zach Koops Aww
April 22 at 8:16pm
Jenny Geddes Oh,’re a brave soul, Todd.  That’s certainly a friend or foe type atmosphere.
April 22 at 11:24pm
Mike Hutchinson  Speaking as someone who has interacted with “Lydia” and the others before, you lasted longer than I did, brother, and stayed calmer.
April 24 at 7:22pm · Edited


I saved these comments from Pruitt’s Facebook page on April 24, 2016.  Good thing because he removed him.  That’s because his “true heart” was exposed.  Despite the grace and kindness shown him by Dee Parsons, Deb Martin and many others, Pruitt lies about what really happened on TWW.  

Deb puts it this way. 

Deb on Mon Apr 25, 2016 at 05:27 PM said:

Lea wrote:
Oh. I also think it’s hilarious when people run to twitter to complain about something in another part of the internet.

Agreed.  Todd Pruitt has shown his true heart by misrepresenting our blog and the discussion that took place.  I feel sorry for his congregants because of the lack of empathy he displayed here and in his Tweets.

Pruitt is like Mahaney.  He makes himself out to be the victim even though he is the one victimizing others.  He puts himself forward as the abused even though he is the one abusing others.    

Elizabeth points out this hypocrisy in her comment on TWW.  Pruitt references being “slandered in the past.”  This is most likely a reference to being “slandered” by The Church of the Savior in Wayne, PA where Pruitt was the senior pastor.  According to Elizabeth, Pruitt wrote a series of blog posts on “Churches that abuse Pastors.”  I have not located them yet.  She also points out that Pruitt “took no responsibility for conflict within that Church.”  It appears he, and his leadership team, abused the members but he wrote about the members abusing him.  If anyone can put Elizabeth in contact with me that would be great.     

Elizabeth on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 11:05 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:
I will call out slander when I see slander.  I have been slandered in the past.  It is terribly painful for people to say damaging things about you that simply are not true.  It is a grievous sin.  It is not my intention to shut down conversation or I would have bolted from this thread when I read some of the things being written about me and Trueman and our motivations that were ugly and untrue.


In your 1517 Blog posts, you wrote an entire series about Churches that abuse Pastors. You write quite personally about your experience with Church of the Saviour in Wayne. (Though you did not name the Church within the posts, anyone could easily google it) Using you own definition of slander, I would encourage you to go back and re-read those blog posts.  I find it incredibly ironic that you took no responsibility for conflict within that Church, who only this past Spring, managed to heal enough to call a replacement pastor.

I do not believe I have slandered you in any way.  I have read several reports by the Elders, the Church consultant, and heard testimonies of those recovering from spiritual abuse as the result of your team’s leadership.

This is one of the conman issues we have seen with overly authoritative church pastors.  They can see it in others, but they just don’t seem to own their own sin.  They don’t confess their sins to the “little people”.  They don’t exhibit Godly remorse.

Deb is right.  Pruitt really did show his true heart.  One that was hostile, callous, deceitful and manipulative. I wish Pruitt had listened to Deb and Dee and so many others on TWW.  They offered him much wisdom.

dee on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 09:31 PM said:

Todd Pruitt wrote:
So please don’t slander me or my friends by suggesting that our loyalty is grounded somewhere other than Jesus.

Dear Todd

Slander?  No.  They are reflecting what they see.  It may not be comfortable and, deep down inside of you it may not reflect the person you are, but it is in no way slander.  Take a step back and think.  I have learned so much from those on this blog.  They have stretched me and forced me to look at my preconceived notions about myself and others.  Most people just want to be heard and all of us could stand to step back and think about what is being said.

As a Reformed person, you believe that God is sovereign, directing each and every molecule.  Could it be that He is allowing you to hear these things to develop a greater empathy for the abused?  Could he be challenging you to turn the other cheek and respond in love, even when you feel you have been dissed?

One thing I sense is that God is afoot in the area of child sex abuse, domestic violence and other forms of abuse within the evangelical/Reformed churches.  I am grateful that you came here.

The people of God are “reflecting what they see” but leaders like Pruitt refuse to listen or admit wrong.  R2 put it this way.

R2 on Fri Apr 22, 2016 at 09:36 PM said:

presbyterian wrote:
This [the Preliminary Panel] is very similar to how Presbyterian church trials or legal trials would be handled; you only deal with the question presented.
I do applaud Carl and Aimee and Todd for speaking out about this.

It’s not similar to a church trial at all because there was no prosecutor.  The only questions put to them were the ones the defendant had preselected.  It was a mockery and Trueman should’ve known better than to get involved.

I don’t understand why he can’t just admit he made a mistake.  Most of us realize that even wise men make mistakes.  The refusal I see among Reformed leaders to ever admit mistakes was very disheartening to me.

R2 is right.  Even worse, Reformed leaders have deceitfully covered up their sin and/or the sin of their colleagues as in the case of Mahaney. 

Dee is also right, God is exposing sexual, physical and spiritual abuse within evangelical and Reformed churches where its leaders refuse to humble themselves and come clean.  Todd Pruitt is emblematic of the problem.  Please learn from his ungodly example. 

Please Help 

I recently wrote an update on our personal circumstances.  Would you please read it here and consider a gift or donation?  The work I do is not fun or easy but it is necessary.  In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be covering some stories of national importance.  I need your help to make that possible.  Please keep me in your prayers.  Thank you.    

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