Did I follow Matthew 18:15-17? The answer is yes. I have gone to CJ countless times "in private" but he did not listen. Then, I've gone with "the testimony of two or three witnesses" countless times but he also refused to listen. These two steps have been repeated time and again over the last decade. More than with any leader we have ever disciplined or removed from ministry. It was due to our cowardice and favoritism that we never took step 3 which says we must "tell it to the church." That is one reason why (but not the only - that awaits another document) I sent my documents out to the SGM pastors on July 6. C.J.'s longstanding patterns of serious sins have been the best kept secret in SGM for many years. Unfortunately, the new Board under Dave Harvey's leadership, has condemned my action. On July 13, they posted on the SGM blog “that Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.” My friends are mistaken.
A Second Reason for Sending Out the Documents
A Third & Fourth Reason for Sending Out the Documents
During those three weeks, I was working with the Covenant Life pastors and appealing for them to follow 1 Timothy 5:19-21. “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” I was intentionally holding back the sending out my documents to the SGM pastors until I got a report of their time with C.J. These men are C.J.’s pastors. They have a responsibility to watch over his soul. Not the other way around. I wanted them to do their job.
I also wanted to hear a good report, a detailed report, and an honest report; because I did not want to send out the documents. I was hoping the pastors would come through unlike the SGM board. Instead, I was left hanging. Joshua sent me a general report but refused to provide any details or the official minutes which I asked for a head of time. I couldn’t tell if the pastors formally rebuked C.J. or not; and I could not determine how he responded. From what I can tell, the CLC elders did not reprove C.J. except for the blackmail of Larry Tomczak. They questioned him about other matters but there is no evidence in my possession that they corrected him. Things went silent after this when they decided to turn everything over to an outside mediator. I believe this was a clear dereliction of duty. The elders, not mediators, have the foremost responsibly to discipline C.J. That was the fourth reason for broadening my appeal to all the elders in SGM.
A Fifth Reason for Sending Out the Documents
Earlier in the day, C.J. posted the following statement on the SGM website. “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 statement by my friend was terribly misleading. First, for many years, not a few years, many people, not some people, raised legitimate concerns with C.J. Our dealings with C.J. were not a recent development. They had a long history. The reader was led to believe otherwise.
Second, the charges (i.e., reproves, correction, rebukes) against C.J. came from men who worked with him at the time. They did not come from former pastors and leaders who recently left SGM or from men who leveled bogus charges because they were offended. No, the unsuccessful process of speaking into C.J. had been going on for a long time. It began in December 2000.
C.J. should have made clear to all of SGM that his pride, unteachableness, deceit, sinful judgments, hypocrisy and more; had been addressed for a long time by people who loved him, were loyal to him, and cared about him. Not just by offended former leaders.
I hate to say it, but this is an example of Sovereign Grace spin. What C.J. said was a small part of the story. He left the rest out. In so doing, he minimized the seriousness and down played the extensiveness.
Decide for yourself. Read all 600 pages and compare them to C.J.’s statement above. I’d say there is a massive disconnect. C.J. had a responsibility to tell the whole truth. He did not do so and that is the fifth reason why I sent out “The Documents.”
C.J.’s statement on July 6 was monumental in what it did not say. I had no choice but to inform the SGM pastors of the deceit I observed. It was the straw that broke this camel’s back.