Why CJ Mahaney is Taking a Leave of Absence

57 Comments

Today an important announcement from CJ Mahaney was posted on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website. In it CJ, the president of Sovereign Grace and the former Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church explains that he's taking a leave of absence and why. There is also a letter from the Sovereign Grace Board (on which I serve) expressing support for CJ's leave and explaining more about its purpose.

Please pray for the people involved and for our network of local churches. This is a difficult time for us, but we see God using these events to refine us and prune us (John 15). We want to embrace all God has for us in this time and pray it will lead to greater fruitfulness. Psalm 37:3 & 5 have been a precious promise for me recently: "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness...Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act."

57 Comments

Very sad news! :( Definitely keeping all of you in prayer. I admire the way you're all dealing with this. Your ministry has been a blessing to my family and I...sorry to hear this, but God's grace will bring you through.


"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister." ~Hebrews 6:10

Praying for you Josh, and for SGM and CJ.

I don't know any of the details, but I do know from listening to the CLC podcast and reading your books that you and CJ preach the Gospel and have a heart for it. And that is truly of first importance. You've both been a blessing in my life. I know that.

It's not only about restoration of a man who believes he has led people astray, it's about the abundance of false leaders in the land and many are from the local churches. Are you one, Josh? Check out the criteria:

http://www.resurrectionpower.com/CANCEL_THE_PROM/Entries/2011/5/29_%22MOM%2C_SOMEONES_AT_THE_DOOR!%22.html

Josh,
This is also a difficult time for all those wounded under SGM. CJ has a lot more people to apologize to than just his pastors.

Why CJ is stepping down:
http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks

Please take a moment to visit sgmsurvivors.com and please check out the documents at the link in the comment above http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks. The latter will take more than a moment, as there are 600+ pages of annotated and footnoted original internal Sovereign Grace Ministries documents. The truth can bear close scrutiny.

And CJ is not the only one who has a lot of people to apologize to.

With all that is revealed in the documents how can C.J. Mahaney think it should only be a "temporary leave of absence?" Sadly this shows how in denial Mahaney is over the seriousness and how egregious his sin is.

Hope SGM makes the necessary changes and/or the associated churches leave.

There is no way CJ by himself could have wrought so much damage and caused so much pain to so many. History shows us that no dictator could have amassed power to himself were it not for the complicitness and collusion of those in his inner circle, who are as guilty, or even more guilty, than the dictator himself.

If CJ must step down, it is incumbent that those who were supposed to hold CJ accountable should step down also, either voluntarily or by demand of the congregation. The so-called "overseers" are as culpable for bringing this shame and dishonor upon the Body of Christ as CJ. They should not get a pass.

“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority.” -- Jeremiah 5:30-31

Ted Sala

Very good point. C.J. Mahaney isn't the only person guilty. Other top leaders share complicity. Why did they make the appearance of being Christ like with all the sin that going on behind the scenes. Very sad.

Why didn't Mahaney listen to his own teaching about the life of Solomon and the need for a Nathan? What a disgrace and reproach this "apostolic team" has brought to the body of Christ.

Josh,

I'm amazed that you are not publicly repenting yourself. You have stood by for fourteen years while CJ eschewed all accountability and blackmailed his former mentor. If a regular church member had behaved like CJ you would have disciplined him and likely ejected him from membership for his stubborn refusal to repent. Why have you been so indulgent of CJ's sin for the past decade? You are culpable in all this.

And what do you propose SGM do to change direction? Tears and dramatic enactments of sorrow are not sufficient; how will the structure of your family of churches change in concrete terms?

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. When man is mentored by man instead of the Holy Spirit, we begin to see grave error in judgment, in life skills, in performance, in commitment to God, Himself. My family has experienced grave abuses from the Harris family who live and breathe as C.J. does.

Should these men be restored to lead again or should they become as servants unto the least? I have found them to be arrogant, without love or compassion and unbelievably unknowledgeable of the Holy Spirit and His work. They speak as if God is their Father, but they live their lives to build their own kingdom and businesses.

This will be removed quickly so read as fast as you can. I've written on this blog for years now and been kicked off each time. Josh Harris blocks Truth. Check out: http://www.highway555.blogspot.com for more controversy with Josh.

When C.J. spoke his sermon referring to Jesus Christ as being "The D..... one," I knew at that point that he was surely and without one doubt a WOLF which would destroy many Christians, but no one would listen. Whose listening now?

The whole lot is NAKED: http://www.resurrectionpower.com/CANCEL_THE_PROM/Entries/2011/5/17_THE_NAKED_ONES.html

What we have here is a failure to communicate with these pastors that we do not want to go with them to HELL. Restoration? Perhaps, but first, I would like to see true repentance and not their slippery attempt to return to power.

Amen?

Maybe if SGM didn't have extreme teaching on what is "gossip" and "slander" that allowed regular members to question then these problems would have been exposed at a much earlier time period. Now what is going to be needed to correct these problems is going to take a whole lot more effort.

I am a bit surprised to see "contrary" posts being left here and not removed. If that is intentional, Josh, that is a good first step for SGM leadership to become completely transparent and open to questions and corrective criticism from anyone in the church body.

However, for the sake of those precious sheep who have been led along in a deceptive trail for years, it is time to turn them over to a shepherd who will tend to their souls and broken hearts damaged by corrupt leadership. SGM leadership should remove themselves from any leadership positions.

Praying for you Josh. May God give you much, much discernment, wisdom and grace as you walk this hard road. And thank you again, for having the courage so many years ago, to challenge me as I was running hard in the wrong direction. I am so, so grateful.
Christina Norwood (not a CLC'er people:)

TESTING --- TESTING --- TESTING!
http://www.resurrectionpower.com/CANCEL_THE_PROM/Entries/2011/6/9_BLACK_AND_WHITE.html

Who will pass the tests of the Almighty?

Speaking as one who has been in Sovereign Grace Ministries churches for 3 decades (and still is) - Thank you, Josh, for allowing opposing points of view in the comments on this post. Please, if you are a member of a SovGrace church, do not write off SGMRefuge and SGMSurvivors as just a bunch of bitter critics. Please go to their websites and read with an open mind. Read the documents at SGMWikileaks. Don't bury your head in the sand. Seek to know the truth. It will be painful, but the truth matters. God's glory matters. The honor of the wonderful Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ matters. As believers, our allegiance must be to HIM, not an organization. And I beg of any SovGrace pastors who are reading, please be completely honest with the people under your care. Full disclosure. Full repentance and reconciliation publicly and privately with all aggrieved parties. For the sake of His Name.

Good advice 30 years.

The longer people live in denial about this serious problem the worse the problem will get before it is fixed.

If SGM doesn't seriously address these issues and tries to gloss over them then I am sure what will happen in the end is for SGM to fold.

This is what Brent Detwiler supposedly just entered on his Facebook Page about this:

Brent posted this message on his facebook page. He has around 1000 “friends”, mostly made up of SGMers. Praying that the truth would be heard.

On Wednesday, C.J. posted the following. “Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace.”

This was a terribly misleading statement by my friend. For many years, men who worked with C.J. tried to help him see his pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgments, and hypocrisy.

The input C.J. received started in December 2000 and did not come from former pastors and leaders who leveled charges against him because they were offended.

I hate to say it, but this is an example of Sovereign Grace spin and it was one important reason why I sent out “The Documents” on Wednesday night to all the SGM pastors.

My dear brothers and sisters in CLC and other SGM churches,
My heart is grieved at the recent revelations that have come to light. Yet I am certain it is our Lord’s heart that grieves within me more than my own.
Tomorrow (Sunday 7/10/11) you will most likely hear from the leaders in your different SGM churches how amazed and appreciative the leaders are at the seriousness in which CJ and those around him are taking this matter. They are likely to say that his example of humility and quick action is commendable and we should take great hope and encouragement that those around him, particularly on the SGM leadership team, are taking this very serious. In other words, they have all problems under control and don’t need you to do anything but pray and trust the leaders accordingly.
I want to appeal to the current members in SGM and particularly CLC to consider the following:
I believe the primary reason these things have happened in many churches throughout SGM is not primarily due to the polity (it is problematic), nor is it due to the fact that leaders sin. We all sin and need His adjustment and correction at times. I believe the primary reason these events have happened, and continue to happen as I write, is because the church’s voice has been systematically and intentionally silenced. The churches in SGM have affectively been neutered of their God given responsibility to care for themselves and take care of their own affairs, especially in times like these.
We are all subject to the discipline of Matthew 18. No one in the body of Christ is exempt from this process. It is a loving and redemptive process, one our Lord has given us to sort out our differences when necessary but primarily to keep the church holy and in good repute, providing a compelling testimony to a watching world. In SGM, the church has been removed entirely from this process. Instead, others, who are not a part of that local body of Believers , often take on the role those in that local church should take. At the very least, the church should have the opportunity to address its own affairs. It is reasonable for someone other than a local member of the church to help facilitate this process (at the church’s bequest), but they should not make any ultimate decisions. That is the responsibility of that particular local body of Believers. I’m sure Mark Dever would concur with this view based on his writing regarding marks of a healthy church. When a church neglects this responsibility the consequences can be devastating.
Brothers and sisters, God has provided everything necessary in your local church for you to investigate, discern, and take care of your own affairs.....every gifting necessary to navigate these waters has been provided by Christ, for the body of Christ. Jesus has tremendous trust and absolute confidence in the body of Christ to manifest His wisdom, counselor, and disposition regarding all the matters that confront them. The problem is, we in SGM have been taught otherwise.
It is important to state at this juncture that there are several expressions of polity that embrace the biblical principle of the church having ultimate authority concerning managing its affairs, especially with regard to church discipline and correction. Under no circumstance can we completely dismiss a principle that is clearly established in the Scriptures. If we do so, it is at our own peril. In the final analysis, there are several biblical polity structures. However, a church that refuses to embrace and apply the most important aspects of its ministry.... church discipline, insuring that the preaching and teaching are sound, and choosing from among them who will lead them, etc. will eventually shipwreck. When a church ignores these responsibilities for a long period of time and instead chooses passivity and denial (as we’ve seen in a few SGM churches), they are bound for trouble.
If your individual response to these recent revelations is to say nothing, do nothing, be passive, and “let the leaders handle it,” then you are affectively enabling bad behavior and shirking your responsibility as a Believer and member of your local church. Worse, if a church does this collectively, over a long period of time, ultimately that church will become so anemic and diseased it will eventually collapse. This does not reflect well on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The bible says the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. It portrays the church as being robust, being indwelt with the power and presence of Christ, full of all the giftings necessary to enable the church to manifest His supernatural wisdom, counsel, and majesty on the earth. We are not to be a cowering, emasculated bunch of people that don’t know how to judge rightly our own affairs. We are to reflect Christ and His wisdom and authority, especially in the matters we face today.
I want to challenge each one of you to study the Scriptures and do not allow your loyalty to the Word of God to be trumped by your allegiance to a system of doing church that is suspect at best. Be a Berean. Drill down into passages that are relevant to the topic and issues at hand. Make it your quest to at least answer the following question, “Does the church have authority?” It is a simple question and one that deserves to be, not only answered with integrity, but applied according to how the Scriptures indicate.
My guess is that most of you will take one of three courses. You will either remain passive and go the way of the coward, enabling and coddling your leaders because you have fallen prey to the fear of man or, you will believe that what I’m telling you is a lie and, in my opinion, remain deceived. Let me be quick to say, I have experienced both along the way. Neither is acceptable. There is a third alternative.
Rise up church! You need to get involved. You need to ask questions. You need to confront and speak the truth in love. You need to insist that the church follow the track God has provided in His Word to handle our problems. You need to raise your voice and receive the mantle that God has placed upon you as His Holy people. Stand up! You are the pillar and foundation of the truth. We are not the body of Elijah. We are not the body of John the Baptist. We are not the body of Paul. We are the body of Jesus Christ. To be associated with the Name that is above all names should tell us something about who we are as a Believers, and who we are collectively in our respective churches. Let’s act like it.
Your brother in Christ, Bob Dixon

Thank you, Josh. I appreciate that you are allowing the voices of the bleeding ones to be heard.

I am stricken that these sad things affect not only current SGM members, but everyone who was ever part of an SGM church. That might be very broad, but every person who has been part of SGM has been affected while they were there.

For me, reading the documents has brought up things that I never understood and now I can make sense of them. It is helping me heal. It is gut wrenching to find out just how desperately bad it was for over a decade (at least), but in the end of the day, God will heal every last one of his children.

I do think that everyone, past and present, should be afforded the same care.

Thanks, Josh. Godspeed to you....

I think Sov.Grace has OVERDONE it with the confession of sin thing. Confess to God forget confessing to other SINNERS. Look there is one verse in James about it, Thats all referring to sick people. Dont build a whole Religon on this dudes.

Josh, this was the right thing to do. Thank you.

http://www.covlife.org/resources/3931544-The_Fathers_Discipline

By God's grace, may truth continue.


Josh,

Your message this morning contained the most transparent words I've heard spoken from a SGM pulpit. My wife and I cried.

You've restored hope to a man who had none.

Please stay the course. 1000's who you might think are your enemies are praying for you.

Grace and Peace,

Jim

Josh

I also listened to your message and agree with Jim Pappadeus. Based on your message I still see hope for SGM despite this disciplining of the Lord as you call it.

I do wish that you would not refer to most of us out there blogging as your enemies. A lot of us are your brothers and sisters in Christ who were trying to raise these concerns about your group. It is sad that it took this to finally get through but glad it did and glad that you are receiving it as correction from God.

Josh,
The humility,transparency, and sincerity in which you took responsibility for the sins that have come to light is refreshing. I believe your actions have likely saved CLC from imploding. Sadly, if the pastors at KingsWay would have taken your course of action and referred to God's intervention as "spanking/correcting" rather than "pruning"(their word choice), we would never have experienced 400+ people leaving. I will be praying for you.
Bob Dixon

Excellent sermon. Thank you!!! True humility.

The problem is, Josh, that we are looking for CHANGES. We're looking for men of character who will first courageously separate sin from Righteousness in their own lives and live transparently before us. It does no good to apologize if you are unwilling to change. I, personally believe that you and C. J. have reigned too long and what we now need is someone wholly dedicated to God and His Kingdom. You may look successful to the world, but you betray your own sheep daily. We want God to rule and we want His Heart to be pleased with our leadership.

You speak of those who correct you as enemies. This is your first problem. Whenever someone rises up to correct you or C.J., you truly believe that they are not bringing godly advice so you defend yourself and sink deeper in the hole you have dug. This is pronounced ARROGANCE. Could it be that God has sent people to correct you so that you don't go too far into your pit? Could it be that God sends people to tell you that your focus has been on yourself and your happiness and not the welfare of the church? Why would these be messages of evil, but you treat them as evil and treat the people who bring them as enemies. I have a hard time believing that you will accept any correction from God or that you even know God because His words to you and correction you consider evil and disdain. If you truly knew God, you would then be able to recognize His correction.
http://resurrectionpower.com/CHANGE.html

Josh -

We are not enemies. I invite you to dialogue with the multitudes of hurt people that want to hear you acknowledge their hurt and what is going to change.

People are scared of sgm. You have the power to put their fear to rest. Come visit and see for yourself.

Guy (from www.sgmsurvivors.com)

Josh,

I guess it's okay now for those formerly banned from your blog for disagreeing with you to write in.

You'll remember you banned my family from commenting on your blog for writing you about your support of certain leaders because you would not respond to any of our emails over 3 years' time — because since then you deleted even the poem I wrote in honor of your mother's love.

You and your cohorts have created an inner circle of leaders who are all willing to overlook grave evils that harm the innocent and flatter each other to constantly boost your fame and name before the undiscerning masses who only support you because they have never been allowed close enough to be hurt by you. Everyone in your family has done this. And many of you aren't even saved.

I entreat you and your entire family and your ministry friends to repent of your mockery, slander, lies, exclusion, and betrayal. You have ruined my family's name long enough. It's time you all pick up your mess or get every single one of your apostate butts out of ministry.

Ministry is not a business. Ministry involves loving people, not exploiting them; protecting them, not abusing them; adopting them as true family, not excluding them; helping them when they hurt, not kicking them while they are down by spreading rumors and lies at the dinner table and then to all their newfound friends when they visit your church. You've got it all wrong. And I pray not for mercy, lest you lead another away from God with your poor and hateful imitation of Him — the one who hung upon a cross for them, for Christ's sake!

Kids and adults following the Rebelution, NEXT, GHOFCC, SGM, featured in your family's books and on your blogs are blatantly walking away from God and headed straight for hell while you laud their accomplishments and how your business "saved" them from... from what? You care nothing for their souls, you just sell them for profit.

I also want you to know that I didn't attend your mother's memorial service because of you and your family and those who work for your family's ministries. Your mother loved me. And I am sorry your family and friends were able to bully me out of going. She loved me like God loves me. You act as if you never knew of either such love, as if it's wrong, and I am to be done away with like refuse. How can you do that with the love you were given? How?

If you cannot love the "least," your "enemies," even God's own people and prophets, then stay home on your knees until you can.

Signed,

Just "one of hundreds" destroyed by the Harris empire

Josh,

Just listened to your sermon.

Thank you.

You are in my prayers,

Lori - Happymom

wow, this seems local, here, in my area. And yet, those of us who had disagreements -- grievances and pain from within these organizations -- were shunned. My son was asked to leave the church (at age 18) for not submitting to their authority and catering to someone's pride issues. Too many other sad grievances to list. The sad thing is, this anonymous poster was another hurting person in my area that could have found more voices like theirs, but the way manipulative groups contain such grievances is using the "gossip" control switch. People, the only leader a person should have spiritually is God and the inner voice He puts inside you to know the way. Read Jesus' own words; you won't find the answers in a formula, conference, book, or in the wisdom of another human being. Btw, I believe Sono was a woman full of love, too, and yet, probably pain for all the pain she must have had to deal with as well with these situations.

The Neo-Calvinists have some issues to address.
Piper takes a leave.
Now CJ. CJ's books on Humility probably ruined him.
Now we have rumblings about various Neo-Calvinist ministries.
Shameful. These men have become CELEBRITIES and not pastors.
Shame.

Josh,
I am praying for you and the other leaders of CLC at this time. Whilst many seem to be taking your humility as an opportunity to kick you, I want to thank you.
Thank you for serving the gospel.
I pray the Lord would give you great strength, wisdom and patience over these coming days.
Keep looking up,
A Welsh Pastor

Josh,

My husband and I were so encouraged when we listened to your message from Sunday morning. Your heart and response seems markedly different from how other SGM pastors addressed (or didn't) address this in their churches. Will you be sharing with them your perspective? Also, we see that Dave has posted CJ's remarks from last night, but for those of us who couldn't attend and all the SGM church members across the country who have just as much at stake as CLC, are you going to post the Q&A that took place after CJ's remarks?

Thank you for your humility and pursuit of God and of truth through this very difficult process.

Praying for you,

TW

Josh:

I am in agreement with Jim Pappadeas on this one. Thank you for beginning the steps of bringing this into God's light.

The wounded are closely watching, and many have lost hope. My family has paid dearly in public and in private for my call for SGM reform.

Please tell me the pain and sacrifice was worth it.

--jw

One thing I've started to wonder about in light of all the recent happenings is: Does Sovereign Grace not practice democratic procedures in their churches (Roberts Rules, voting, etc.)? Do church members not vote in church leaders and elders? There's clear basis in scripture for a church to have consensus among each other and not be divided, and democratic procedures aid this. Who is a senior pastor and the elders in a local SGM church accountable to if not the membership of the church?

Excellent point. I think you strike at perhaps one of the root causes of the recent issues that are now surfacing to the congregation (although known to certain SGM/Cov Life leaders for quite some time).

My concern with SGM and Cov Life is that their "inner circle" picks and chooses their leadership without the clear and direct involvement of the congregation (or its representatives - e.g., a congregation-led "search committee" for a pastor). Over the years, SGM/Cov Life (yes, I am lumping them together) have created their own "brand" of leaders who have essentially full authority over all decisions and actions of the church. One could arguably state that there is some nepotism taking place as well. Not to say that you need to run SGM like IBM, but there is so much Godly talent in the congregational body to draw from and utilize, versus simply "keep posted/informed!" Put another way, the current organizational structure of SGM/Cov Life essentially disregards the valuable input and leadership from the congregation. Instead, the congregation is dependent on the leadership of a tight "inner circle" that is vulnerable to "groupthink," blind spots, and other problems that are now surfacing to the congregation (although such problems have been festering for years).

There are examples where this SGM-type of organization has resulted in similar problems, because the progression of such an organizational structure has created a small group of "leaders" who simply "don't know what they don't know." In addition, such an authoritarian structure can result in a leader "going off the reservation" and staying there, because such a structure lacks the accountability and transparency necessary to interrupt such errant behavior patterns.

As additional background, there is a phenomenon where everybody at the meeting table (be it government, private industry, church) sits, listens, and discusses an issue, and then leaves the meeting, thinking someone else "has the action" for an issue, when in fact nobody "has the action." Similarly, there may be a longstanding problem festering in an organization where everybody thinks somebody "has the action" to do something....you know where this is headed - nobody "has the action." I sense that this dynamic has been occurring at SGM and Cov Life for some time, due to inherent organizational weaknesses and flaws.

A valid question is whether SGM will eventually draw upon the wonderful resources within the congregation - specifically, unpaid volunteers who could have a direct role in decision-making on all levels for the church. We're talking true transparency, accountability, independence in perspective, not to mention additional expertise to complement the essentially parochial perspective of the current group of leaders.

Let's see what the independent investigation panel comes up with. I hope they do a thorough, systematic evaluation looking for root causes and breakdowns at all levels.

I know this won't get posted but am posting this with hope that someone at CLC/SGM who needs to see this sees it.

One thought came to me this evening when I was out.

I previously commented on how sad it was for Mahaney to assume he would be at the Pastors' conference coming up later this year and stand there with Larry Tomczak etc. That shouldn't be something for him to decide after all he has done.

My thought was why is Mahaney even smugly so sure that there will be a pastors' conference later this and for that matter that Sovereign Grace won't implode before the scheduled date of the pastors' conference? Does Mahaney not realize what affect his sin and the sin of the other SGM Leaders that didn't do anything about his sin might have on SGM?

Harris did good a job on Sunday night of shoring up at least his church from implosion but that isn't a guarantee that it still won't happen. It is still quite possible that CLC and/or SGM may implode or have a big split. This is especially probable when you hear how smugly SGM Fairfax and SGM Richmond (Kingsway) Leaders took this revelation about Mahaney.

It is appalling to read where Mahaney to be making all these assumptions. It is like he is saying I confessed my sin of deception that went on for 14 years, said there are problems we need to address, reconciled with Tomczak so things will just continue. Mahaney may find things might not work this way.

It might serve Mahaney well (play on SGM terms) to do some reading on David and the consequences that happened as a result of David's sin with Bathsheba. The effect of David's sin both on himself and Israel was quite severe. Nathan prophesied that what David did in private others were going to do to his concubine in broad daylight and it happened. David found himself having to flee etc. As I recall it also caused a civil war in Israel.

Does Mahaney not even think that some similar type of judgement might happen to him and SGM as a result of his sin? It sounds like he doesn't even think there is a possibility. How sad.

It is encouraging to hear Josh call for fasting and prayer. It is a shame you don't hear about this from pastors of other SGM Churches, especially Kingsway and Fairfax. Plead to God for mercy. Kingsway has already seen some judgment with loss of members. The reports about Fairfax Leaders is pretty sad.

Maybe Mahaney ought to read Psalm 51 and take that approach not to mention a "sackcloth and ashes" attitude.

To Josh,
My brother in Christ, I am praying for you today. May God's Sovereign power be known to you and to all at SGM and CLC. I am confident that what Jesus Christ has started He will perform. So, be encouraged today. Taste and see that the Lord is good and may the joy of the Lord be your strength even in the face of adversity and trial.
A friend in Canada...

It is worth noting that things like the SGM scandal will continue so long as the elites of the Evangelical community censor all those that disagree with them. Kudos to Joshua for keeping his comments open and encouraging dialogue.

Your friends at Together For The Gospel could learn a few things from this. The T4G blogs quickly remove any posts even mentioning this issue. Yet they will keep up all those posts praising C.J. for being a true man of God, etc.

That is how you get disputes like this - Use censorship to ensure the reputations of "great men" are enhanced even when trials like this come up. Don't they think this breeds resentment and discord? To censor the truth (by alleged lovers of truth!) and claim that only they know how to handle the little people.

Elitist leadership. That's what that is. Not pastoral loving.

Josh, thanks so much for your teaching at CLC on Sunday morning. It was the first encouraging response I have heard to the challenges facing SGM. Please continue to press your perspective with other leaders and the congregation. Today I have a prayer candle lit all day to remind me to turn in my anxiety for unceasing prayer - and your name will be often on my lips praying for the Lord to give you and all others involved guidance and conviction from the Holy Spirit. We left SGM because of many of the issues being uncovered (we see it as systemic from the top down) but still love dearly SGM and relate closely to our SGM friends. Blessings in Christ

As a previous member of CLC I have kept my eye on the changes that have taken place since I left 9(?) years ago. I just want to say that even though I'm not a member I've always felt close to those of you who are. My core beliefs were deeply rooted through God by the different roles of leadership at CLC.

I removed myself from CLC because I lost site of that simplicity. It is easy to do at a church so large. And it is easy to exalt those who lead you. I found that I was tempted like many others I observed to take EVERYTHING (more than just biblical truths) that were said from the pulpit and try and apply it to our lives. It made for a legalistic lifestyle.

Because I grew up at CLC it was hard to see clearly through all that extra baggage. But now I have had time to meditate on scripture and speak with others who love the same God as me from different backgrounds and different churches. I learned that CLC was not the ONLY valid christian church. And for whatever reason, while a member at CLC I felt that way (no blame here on anyone).

While away from CLC I then truly began to understand that multiple churches made up the body of Christ. I have also come to understand through observation and experience that NO CHURCH is perfect and NEVER are their leaders. The earthly leaders of churches are just that, earthly leaders. And they are tools used by the ONE TRUE leader who is up above.

I have faith that God will restore CLC and heal this part of the body of churches here on earth. I pray that through all the disillusionment that comes with such abrupt changes that members will quickly get past the anger portion of grieving and come to a place of peace and rejoicing and support and trust. Trust is something that needs rebuilding with humans but not God. Trust that God will make the necessary changes and rebuild the trust that these men will follow. Change is good and I am truly happy for everyone.

In my prayers always,

Krista

The sincerest sign of repentance on CJ's part (and Brent's and all of the guys who called themselves apostles and contributed to the "leadership" over the last years) would be to stop talking in front of crowds. Forever. Then go to every current and former member and sit quietly and listen to what they are saying. Make that your life's work. Believe me, the Gospel will survive without your preaching.

Full disclosure...or full exposure?

Josh,

As one of the former moderators for your message board (remember that old thing?), I know what a big deal it is for you to let some of these comments sit here.

And as a former SGM member (2 years at CCK, 2 years at Joppa), I want to impress upon you that those of us who have spoken publicly regarding our concerns with SGM... we're not your Assyrians. Donkeys to your Balaam, perhaps. God has shown us the damage that you and other leaders are bringing upon these churches. When we tried to bring this to you, it was received as sabotage -- and the 'rod of correction' was brought down on us.

We were not in the habit of doing these things -- of speaking in this way about churches and leaders we truly loved -- yet that was not taken into consideration when we refused to godown the path you were leading us. No, when that happened your focus was on your crushed foot, and the rod of correction was once more laid against our backs.

And for nearly all of us, this conflict came to a point where there was nowhere left to turn -- you were pushing us toward a place we knew was wrong, but all you saw was our 'prideful arrogance' in refusing to go down that path. So once more we felt the sting of an ignorant rebuke.

And then, God gave us a voice.

God has used "SGM Refuge" and "SGM Survivors" to make you see what you could not -- what you would not: this whole time, while you were being so diligent to 'bring Godly church discipline' to bear? We've been trying to save your life.

I and others certainly have scars from those beatings. Please do not rush through this time of repentance. There are, quite literally, thousands of God's adopted sons and daughters who have been deeply affected by the arrogance of SGM pastors. Not only do those former and current members need to see a vibrant repentance, but those pastors need you to set an example of Godly humility for them.

Up until now their primary example has been C.J., and speaking as someone who was only ever a "rank-and-file" member? they have taken his example to heart -- even the worst parts, the parts you thought you were successfully 'covering'. It breaks my heart to (even now) see messages from SGM pastors this past Sunday, calling for mercy toward C.J. but chastisement for those who have been hurt by his actions. Please -- no more favoritism.

Some have given up hope of those SGM pastors ever truly repenting. But many (I daresay most of us) still cling to the hope that God will grant you all repentance (and, for many, reconciliation).

I have to say, I had almost completely given up hope; but, for the first time in nearly five years, when I listened to your message from this past Sunday I could actually begin to imagine that we might be reconciled this side of Eternity. Don't waste it.

Let's really dig up that stone and get it out of the garden for good. Please believe me: your "Assyrians" don't seek your destruction; we've been crying out to SAVE YOU from destruction. We gained nothing (and lost much) from doing so:

"The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live." (Numbers 22:33)

Travis, I was a Rebelution forum moderator who asked to leave because the Harris boys wouldn't address serious issues that came up with one of the male administrators leading younger girls astray, other moderators being deceitful and not abiding the standards of the forum in the leaders-only sections, and on account of the man and his daughter who are paid to organize the conferences/deal with the correspondence via email lying and being involved in slander at their local church. The Harrises from the top down do not meet the biblical requirements for leaders — those who are called to represent God to the people. The Harrises present by their actions and decisions a "god" that is not at all biblical or loving. That's called religion, but not Christianity. I lost all my friends connected with the Harrises and within the Harris family for trying earnestly to save them.

Come out from among them.

"So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
that they might keep his statutes
and observe his laws.
Praise the LORD!"
-Psalm 105:43-45

One more subject which I was kicked off this blog for was "Mark Driscoll." I related that Pastor Mark Driscoll leads people into sin while masquerading as someone who is against sin. Of course, Josh backed up Mark and all my comments, including the references that Mark made in his sermons and books were removed. The other day, AFTER Josh made the illusion that he was allowing all comments, links to C.J.'s sermon referring to Jesus Christ and being "The D....." were removed. Even now, Josh admits to having his own children listen to Mark Driscoll's sermons. Josh will speak and act out of the abundance of what is fed to him. I do not believe that Josh can discern between what is Righteous and what is not. I would never trust Josh unless he renounced Mark Driscoll and his filth. Until then, he's just a pastor who has learned to only say and write what the people want to hear and read. From the top down, SGM needs transformed leadership, but I still feel as though they are playing a game with us.

http://www.resurrectionpower.com/CANCEL_THE_PROM/Entries/2011/5/29_%22MOM%2C_SOMEONES_AT_THE_DOOR!%22.html

We've opened our lives to them and they're selling us a sugar coated one way ticket to Hell.

Been reading some of the accusations, etc. concerning Sovereign Grace Ministries. As one who was a part of the beginning and end of the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement and now a part of a Sovereign Grace Church, there is a definite sense of deja vu in all that is happening. May Sovereign Grace survive by the grace of God and be wiser for all of this discussion and able to truly pass a baton to the next generation.

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