Claims presented in a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation are beyond the ability of the public to render judgment. Often, such claims are even beyond the ability of a court to deliberate. To comment on such claims is irresponsible, since no one apart from the court and the parties directly involved has any ability to evaluate the claims presented. If the filing of civil litigation against a Christian ministry or leader is in itself reason for separation and a rush to judgment, no ministry or minister is safe from destruction at any time. Furthermore, the effort to try such a case in the court of public opinion prior to any decision rendered by an authorized court is likewise irresponsible (Full Transcript with comments Here, and Here - Thank you Bill Kinnon)Sovereign Grace Ministries (Or SGM) has been a hot topic all around the blog world, and some news outlets as well. Sadly, it hasn’t been in a good way. Claims of alleged (word for lawyers) sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse were brought forth towards C. J. Mahaney’s Church, or network of churches – naming himself and some of his staff. The two main responses from ‘friends’ of SGM are at best Disingenuous.
The lawsuit itself had over 146 claims of abuse, and 16 churches have left the network of churches claiming C. J. Mahaney is not above reproach.
The above quoted paragraph is from a statement issued from powerful friends: Mark Dever, Ligion Duncan, and Albert Mohler. They originally posted in on the “Together for the Gospel” facebook page, and because of all the negative feedback…it was removed. Yes, they did attempt to scrub it clean, but the link above shows the screen shot with comments. They did re-issue their statement on their website that does not allow comments. Think what you may about that!
I read the above with dismay, because it isn’t hard to find articles on their own sites commenting, questioning, and making decisions on lawsuits PRIOR to an authorized court doing so. Being that C. J. Mahaney is their friend? WELL it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell which they prefer in this case. Their approach is pretty manipulative if you think about it.
Within the last week a civil lawsuit that was filed was dismissed due to the crimes being committed outside the statue of limitations (in other words – too long ago). Most of claims were dismissed, but thankfully not all. If you read the statement from the brotherhood of the Mega Pastors – you would think that means there is nothing to the suit at all. Thankfully, in more and more areas the statue of limitations in these types of cases are being removed. They are realizing when you are harmed as a child in these types of circumstances you aren’t in the position to go out and FILE the civil suit are you? Let’s read what Boz Tchividjian founder and Executive Director of GRACE: Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment and is a former child abuse prosecutor has to say about their comments and the Statue of Limitation:
The statement by T4G fails to mention that this lawsuit was dismissed for one reason and one reason only…expiration of the statute of limitation. Isn’t it tragic that the reason why this suit was dismissed – taking too long to file – was the very objective of these church leaders allegedly had when they discouraged these individuals and families from stepping forward. - Boz Tchividjian From G.R.A.C.E.The dropping of most of the cases was a big blow to the survivors, because what they were trying to show was a pattern of systematic cover up of abuse. Please note that YES the civil suit was dropped in some cases, but the criminal one is still on-going. It makes no sense that they can comment NOW when it clearly isn’t completely over yet. They may have just shot themselves in the foot with that one. Julie Anne goes into more details about the legal end of this on her blog Spiritual Sounding Board. What C. J. Mahaney’s friends seem to be hinting at is – there was no case. Once again I say – Disingenuous!
What seemed cruel to me was the hollow-hearted way they are handling this. Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligion Duncan have issued a statement expressing their love for and confidence in C. J. Mahaney. Yes, they totally ignored the victims completely.
Mahaney was the head mega pastor of Sovereign Grace Ministries during this period of time, and has since removed himself from some positions. There was an outcry since the legal suit started when his fellow brotherhood of the Mega Pastor’s still took him on tour for speaking engagements, but I suppose they didn’t wish to you see this as a form of support right?
A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals. For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. We do not regret that decision. We are profoundly thankful for C. J. as friend, and we are equally thankful for the vast influence for good he has been among so many Gospel-minded people.The principal of the lawsuit itself, and including Mahaney IN IT was because he was part of the systematic cover up of abuse within the walls of his church. To most individuals that is serious, direct wrong doing – using their words. It was brought up on item #157 (Trigger Alert! only read the link if you are strong enough) of the lawsuit for one, and get this! NO mention of what they offered above! Nothing about charged due to founding a ministry or teaching doctrines or principles. Nope! YET there was mention of a systematic cover up abuse within his four walls, and within his network of churches. Disingenuous?!
This paragraph was bothering me all day, and I JUST couldn’t put my finger on WHY! Especially this part:
Yes, He founded a ministry. Yes, he taught doctrine and principals via his point of view. If you read enough about the principals and doctrine one KEY thing tends to stand out in regards to it with this lawsuit. They don’t encourage you to go outside the church when trouble hits, but do give you a hierarchy of personnel you are to go to first.
2. Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf.
3. Usage Problem Unaware or uninformed; naive.
I have to say one last thing. They will lose support in some important ways due to their endorsement of friendship, and the fact they ignored criminal activity that their friend is directly responsible for! Ahem! Remember all their speeches about leadership, authority, and all that jazz. Its never conditional until one of them is in serious trouble. Not sure they could back that up with scripture. This is something people have been crying out against for years, and yet they claim it isn’t there. No doubt they will make great Politians or news media spokesman. Their spin of all this shows they have all the right stuff! Above Reproach? No. It’s the brotherhood of the Mega Pastors.
My thoughts: This is a frustrating development to me because it seems that the leadership of SGM have worked very hard over the years to convince victims NOT to go to the legal authorities over weeks and months and years. And yet, when the victims eventually did seek legal counsel after exhausting all means of justice/resolution through the church channels (again, as directed by church leadership), they were then told, oh sorry, too late
Reports on the lawsuit from Christianity Today and World Magazine (among others) explicitly and repeatedly drew attention to C. J., connecting the suit to recent changes within SGM. He has also been the object of libel and even a Javert-like obsession by some. One of the so-called discernment blogs—often trafficking more in speculation and gossip than edifying discernment—reprinted a comment from a woman who issued this ominous wish, “I hope [this lawsuit] ruins the entire organization [of SGM] and every single perpetrator and co-conspirator financially, mentally and physically.”
One Superbowl Sunday, I was at a prominent SGM (then PDI) member’s house. There were dozens of others in attendance, lots of teens and younger adults. Remote controlling and commercial censoring were in full effect, snacks were in abundance, and everything was so biblical…as biblical as recently invented sports events centered around electronic devices can be. During a commercial break, I was sexually assaulted against an exterior wall of that house.You can read the rest of what the 13 year old said, and how the above ‘ominous wish’ was presented.
I was thirteen.
Where are the Voices? The Continued Culture of Silence and Protection in American Evangelicalism. From G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response from Abuse in the Christian Environment)
Neither statement (the one we spoke about in this article, and the one above that mocks the victim) makes mention that the heart of this lawsuit is about a systematic church effort to discourage and eventually prevent the families of children who were allegedly (and repeatedly) sexually victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. A statement that fails to mention that this lawsuit is less about the abuse and more about an institution that took steps to protect itself and its reputation over the victimized souls and bodies of little ones. Omitting such fundamental facts from these statements speaks volumes about the inability of the authors to grasp the eternal significance about which they write.
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