Documents that led to C.J. Mahaney stepping down?

It appears that Brent Detwiler, a former pastor and “apostolic team” member who was ousted from SGM a year or so ago, has written a lengthy account of his grievance against SGM and C.J. Mahaney specifically. It can be found here: SGM Wikileaks (an amusing name).

I haven’t had a chance to look through the documents, obviously, but even without reading it I can say that this is pretty big. All previous occasions of oustings or shakeups like this – and there have been MANY in SGM’s very brief history – have remained private and very shrouded in secrecy. The fact that this has come out is pretty remarkable and is probably the reason C.J. was forced to step down after years of being basically untouchable.

Apparently these documents have been in the hands of some of the SGM leadership for some time now…Joshua Harris’s email to CLC indicating that “personal matters” involving C.J. may come out in the wake of his statement suggests that the pastors knew that this document was about to go public.

Still processing this stunning turn of events…more when I have a chance to look through Brent’s letter.


29 Comments on “Documents that led to C.J. Mahaney stepping down?”

  1. Want to read not to bash SG or Mahaney but as a new church to avoid pit falls. I can view on my phone, but not on the computer. It comes up as a pornagraphic sigh. It is not. I have viewed it on my phone :(

  2. Lydia says:

    The docs reveal that Mahaney “blackmailed” his former partner at PDI over a confession his son told Mahaney in confidence….into leaving PDI which morphed into SGM.

    The docs reveal a group of men totally immersed in themselves and looking for sins in each other. It needs to be critisized and shouted from the roof tops that this is NOT Christianity.

    Of course, the celebrities will rally around Mahaney at how “humble” he is for stepping down for a while and being accountable. Problem is, he is not admitting to anything except being a sinner. So what is he being transparent about?

    Never mind all the victims of SGM. The molesters, especially, who got a pass but the victims were to give forgiveness immediately.

    It is a cult.

    • Josh says:

      That’s very educated Lydia, please keep the descriptive/molestation comments coming…

      • Josh says:

        Sorry for the sarcastic response but please be careful not to prematurely judge “the celebrities that will rally around Mahaney” because it doesn’t appear like everyone is coming to C. J.’s rescue. Even Dave Harvey has spoken for SGM saying that they are hiring a third party that is as uninvolved with SGM as possible to be able to give an objective evaluation. Let’s save our judgements of the celebrities for the time when they actually give a position on this situation.

        • Grace says:

          People have been making appeals to the “celebrities” for years about the dysfunction and abuse in SGM. There’s no reason to think that this revelation will cause everyone to abandon C.J., especially since SGM still hasn’t owned up to covering up child abuse or trying to blackmail women into staying with abusive husbands.

          Frankly, I’m not at all concerned about premature judgments of people who have shown themselves to be unresponsive to the appeals of abused people.

        • Gamaliel says:

          I haven’t read responses from a lot of evangelical “celebrities” regarding Mahaney yet, but the more disturbing thing is the already enormous volume of SGM koolaid-drinkers who are writing, blogging and tweeting things like “I’ve never been more impressed with CJ” and “this makes me even more glad I’m with SGM.” Huh?

        • Grace says:

          One celebrity is already rallying around C.J.: Al Mohler completely dismisses the situation, sees no reason why C.J. should step down from his other responsibilities, and expects him to be back in his position quickly.

          Frankly, no one should be surprised by this response.

      • Grace says:

        Since I don’t have a clear comments policy up yet I’ll let this stand, but FYI? This kind of comment is not welcome here. No personal attacks, and absolutely no minimizing of child abuse. Period. Lydia is absolutely right about SGM’s covering up of child molestation. It’s shameful and they should be held accountable.

    • jhlenzi7 says:

      Is the following really in Brent’s “documents”? If so would you point me to where exactly it is?
      “The docs reveal that Mahaney “blackmailed” his former partner at PDI over a confession his son told Mahaney in confidence….into leaving PDI which morphed into SGM.”

  3. It seems to me that this Church that I have known since I began my walk with the Lord in 1976 at the ‘Tag ministry’ of CJ and Larry parallels the secular world in it’s refusal to govern the Church righteously. The case of 2 year old Casey Anthony is an example of our cultures inability to find her mother guilty in spite of a mountain of evidence that proves in my opinion that she did indeed murder her daughter. The Church seems to be unable to process abuse cases leaving the victims of extreme abuse and even criminal child molestation without any avenue of resolve. In fact the victims have often been the ones being viewed as the ‘rebellious ones or sinners for not ‘forgiving’ or being ‘bitter’ and not submitting to the counsel of leaders that do not really hold the abusers accountable or require a deep and substantial process of repentance and restoration to their victims. Countless women and children especially have suffered over the years and some have walked away thinking it was Christianity and God who abused them.

    Many of you are uncomfortable with speaking out and being willing to come forward and stand up for the innocent who have been crushed under the wheels of immense authoritarian rule. We were fortunate enough to have left before we could be damaged because we did see it coming but even the little we did experience having all our friends drop us like we had the plague was enough to let us know we had made the right choice. I only hope the examining group ‘respected’ by the Christian Body at large will be a non-authoritarian judicial group not afraid to come forward and judge righteously. I suggest the PCA who do have a healthy balance for the most part with the people participating in the process with a healthy balance of power in the governmental structure.

    We are called to judge righteously in the Church and protect the defenseless. We cannot judge the salvation of an individual but we can and are required to judge justly the affairs of each other lest we become a lawless Church and utterly saltless.

    That was the issue that resulted in a ‘Reformed Theology” to begin with. It was the authoritarian rule of the Catholic Church that led Luther to confront Johann Tetzel the salesman of indulgences with the the 95 thesis. Luther was excommunicated hence the resulting reformed theology began and a more balanced process began; Thus the claim of being ‘reformed’ by SGM is patently absurd!

    I do believe that the Lord is providing an avenue of grace for these men if they are honest and willing to truly acknowledge their sin and work through it, but I do not see them returning to their positions for a long time if ever. Their actions and choices have severely damaged hundreds if not thousands of lives and I’d rather see a not so ‘gifted’ pastor whose life is truly reflective of who Christ is. It’s about character and not the ability of the man that will impact this generation for Christ. YT

    • Dan Allen says:

      All of you disgust me with your finger pointing and leader bashing. Just because you don’t like an organization, doesn’t mean you have the right to randomly bash leaders who have done much more for the gospel then any of you combined. This is NOT reformation, but rather gossip and a huge does of crowd murmuring. Martin Luther reformed the church back to the gospel. Why don’t you all do the same? I see no gospel, grace, or even one single explained point. All I see is the most ordinary group of leader bashing bloggers there are. It seems that you all have only the time to read about all your “celebrity” pastors who you hate. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing here, and act as a gospel people. If SGM has done something wrong, trust Jesus to deal with it according to those who have the power to deal with it. You pretend to be some righteous reformer, but you have no love in your so called truth and so you end up being more of a french revolution. I’m sure you will dismiss what I say and lump me in with the kool-aid drinkers. I don’t mind…but remember, Christ died for your actions. Why are you wasting your energy? Use what SGM and Mahaney have accomplished to spread the good news! Stop missing the point.

      • Grace says:

        I doubt anyone here much cares whether we disgust you or not. Just fyi. You also shouldn’t assume everyone who comments here is a Christian, or a Christian like you. The purpose of this blog is to address social justice issues in the church. It’s right on the about page. I’d suggest you read it before coming back to lecture about what does and doesn’t belong on this blog.

        I find it telling that your concern is more for the leaders and how you feel they’re being persecuted (hilarious – they’re financially comfortable men with considerable influence in their social sphere) and not for the victims of their high-handed leadership and complicity in abuse. Sad.

        “If SGM has done something wrong, trust Jesus to deal with it” – this kind of attitude is EXACTLY why abuses of all kinds continue to thrive in the church. SGM has covered up sexual abuse of minors? Let Jesus deal with it. SGM has pushed women to remain with abusive husbands? Let Jesus deal with it. SGM has used all manner of emotional and spiritual manipulation to keep members in fear and under control? Let Jesus deal with it. You know what all that adds up to? Pastors figure out that they can engage in all kinds of bad behavior without any expectation of real accountability. The victims of their abuse figure out that they are almost entirely alone, that no one is coming to their aid or support – that “trust Jesus” means his supposed followers will at best just ignore them as long as they can and pretend nothing is wrong, or at worst blame the victims for their own victimization. Attitudes like this are why “secular” groups are FAR better at taking abuse allegations seriously than most evangelical churches are (an extra sad statement when you factor in that abuse is systematically underreported and underprosecuted even in the “secular” world), and why churches are absolute havens for child molesters and other kinds of abusers.

        This isn’t Christian bashing – this is a matter of fact. Look it up. It’s well established that pedophiles gravitate towards institutions like churches, where adults are invested with a high degree of trust and have a lot of access to kids. Throw in a hierarchical and authoritarian culture with lots of language about everyone being a sinner, having to forgive all wrongs, how children need to obey adults without question (or women should submit cheerfully), and how people shouldn’t pass on “bad reports” – well, you have a perfect recipe for enabling abuse and completely isolating victims of abuse.

    • SSB says:

      Thanks Yvonne for your insightful words. I just met with many women and they shared exactly what you wrote. My husband and I were dismissed from CLC for our fornication before marriage and had no idea what was and has been going on, but I have always believed that without people speaking up and out, this kind of hypocrisy will continue. It’s one thing to have grace, mercy, and do it all in love, and it’s another thing to cover up one’s sin and brush it under the rug like they have been doing for decades. It’s about time people speak out! No change has ever come in any history for the better without a cost. Change is a gradual process. Everything you read, the good, the bad, and all that is in between is part of that process. Trying to deny one’s thoughts, feelings, hurt, trying to shut one up is not the answer. We are not the perpetrator here. If you feel that strongly about what people are saying in all the blogs, take it up with CJ, Dan. Direct that disgust to CJ.

  4. Dan,

    I think you have missed the essential points of Christianity when you give unconditional sway to Pastors and refuse to hear the facts presented by the victims of abuse just by virtue of the fact that they hold a position of authority. All human beings are equal before God. It’s a level playing field. No one should be given an unconditional pass based on their position of authority…. period!! The scriptures say, ‘Do not entertain an accusation against an elder UNLESS brought by two or more witnesses’. 1 Timothy 5:19. That ‘UNLESS’ was consequently deleted when we attended Benny Phillips Church in the 80’s and the perpetual accusations of leaders abuse were being addressed by the elders. They never to my knowledge, addressed fairly any issue brought forward by a member.

    The failure to examine an accusation according to this scripture often resulted in that family or person simply disappearing and the church going forward as if they never existed. If a leader did challenge the others they ‘disappeared’ as well. We were there for just 5 years and I distinctly remember four such cases of leadership being dismissed for this reason and hoards of members being told that if they would just ‘trust Jesus’ to work in the hearts of those leaders and suck it up, it would work out. It was always the same thing and never once was there due process afforded anyone. That was long before the claim of being reformed!!!

    It is true as you said that the Reformation was about restoring the gospel to the church but Luther was clearly addressing this issue when he refused to just, “Trust Jesus” to achieve that end. The primary issue he focused on was the issue of authoritarian and arbitrary governing of the church with regard to the selling of indulgences and the purchasing of salvation. Please read the Westminster Confession sir. It may help you to understand the reformed faith more clearly. There is a process by which we are commanded to address issues of disagreement and offenses. They can be brought forward by ANYONE who believes they have been violated and should have equal access to the process of justice based on the dignity of the individual being created in the image of God. IF they have evidence as the scriptures specify, and it is brought forth by two or more witnesses, they have the right to be heard and judged objectively as granted by God. That was the profound inspiration for our US constitution that facilitated the highest levels of freedom ever experienced by mankind. The idea was, that anyone could be heard IF THEY PRESENTED EVIDENCE to support their accusation or defend an accusation against them. Their case could be fairly meted out by the courts publicly according to that EVIDENCE and not judged arbitrarily by their social position or position of authority.

    Blogging is the new ‘free press’ which accommodates the process of justice when the system veers off the path and needs to be held accountable. These doctrines taught in the authoritarian churches parallel the marxist principles that give grace to the machine and crush the individual. The result is dehumanization and destruction of the dignity of people and the result is a loveless and isolated people who live in fear. That is not the community that God intends for his people.

    I do care about hearing you Dan because you bear Gods image as we all do but I would ask you to truly consider the facts and not be afraid to think. Ask yourself why you choose to dismiss some and believe others without hearing ‘both’ sides of the story. It is the arbitrariness of authoritarian thinking that is truly hateful. Addressing the sin of all human beings regardless of their position is an act of love for them. We are all responsible to defend the innocent and are commanded to defend the defenseless. We do not assume anything. We examine the evidence and then we challenge the offending party according to scripture and hold them accountable regardless of their position.

    Authoritarian systems operate on fear. If you find that you cannot question your leadership and automatically assume the guilt of anyone for any other reason than the evidence, I would challenge you to think about what’s driving you. I do sympathize with you and many of us have passed through the landscape of fear and wanted a closed system to feel secure. It isn’t worth it. Freedom came at the ultimate cost and the shedding of blood and it is a free thinking people who are willing to die to themselves and maintain that freedom, who will remain free and achieve a community where true love can manifest and inspire the lost and be Christ’s manifestation of love to be seen in a visible way.

  5. Dan Allen says:

    The point is, I haven’t seen any of the facts that you all keep talking about. Sure, abuse is terrible, dictator pastors are a problem, ect. But I am not persuaded to take any action against C.J or SGM based on some frustrated pastor and a few of you who seem to write a lot about disconnected generalities. Sorry, but your arguments are just too week for me. I see no crises here, only deceived people who change the topic to strange irreverent issues. I have no fear of SGM, and I don’t see any authoritarian systems operated on fear. I don’t see any adequate use of scripture, but I do see C.J and the other “celebrities” acting in a humble Christ like way. C.J will grow through this, I’m afraid many of you won’t. And yes, Jesus is the head shepherd and he will use others more capable then you to deal with sinning leaders. Maybe you should take a break from examining the “facts” as well as SGM and examine YOUR hearts. I don’t see the bible saying anything about blogging publicly to expose sin, but rather working to restore someone in the most Christ centered way possible. This gossip is not Biblical, and is a waste of time.
    Thank you for the reading my comments. Go ahead, tell me I’m a gullible christian missing sin by thinking well of a pastor. Accuse me of living in a secure world and resisting the facts. Convince me that CJ and SGM are terrible. Tell me I’m missing the point on the reformation and standing in the way of the protection of abused wives and children. Really? Come on, how do you have time to think up this stuff. Why would you even want me to believe those things? Really, would it do any good? I know you don’t care, but I am sad for these attitudes. This is not the way of Christ! I hope we all come to know the grace of Christ more. Peace!

    • Grace says:

      The Bible doesn’t say anything about blogging at all. Maybe no one should blog at all! It might be a sin.

      How do we think these things up? As if negative blogs about SGM exist only because hundreds of people (at least!) who barely know each other all decided to dream accusations up about your church group. Right. That’s what I do every night, lie awake in bed thinking about what new story I can tell about a tiny fringe group that hardly anyone knows of outside American conservative evangelicalism…OK then!

    • Grace says:

      Btw, do you care at all that C.J. ‘confessed’ to trying to use Larry’s son’s “sexual indiscretion” as blackmail? Just wondering.

  6. Yvonne Taylor says:

    I am not going to assume anything about you Dan and in the effort to preserve love in the body I am not making assumptions about you.

    The scriptures say nothing about smoking pot either but it is the principles of scripture that we apply to the situation. I think there may be some fundamental flaws in the interpretations of scripture that you may be assuming are true that may not be correct. When you have been under the teaching of an authoritarian church the perspectives that are often woven into the very the foundations of faith are the filters through which everything is processed. I am not making specific fact statements about any of this. I am merely attempting to shed light on the PROCESS and how important it is to examine both sides before you make erroneous assumptions. Before you accuse a group or individual categorically, I believe you should be certain you have examined both sides. If you choose not to enter into the process then please love your brothers and sisters enough to remain objective and pray for everyone involved. As a body we are all responsible for upholding Gods laws and protecting the innocent. No one is incapable of sinning and the appropriate judicial process protects everyone.

    In Matthew 18 there is a particular judicial process that begins privately. If it cannot be resolved privately it does become a public matter. It’s an issue of the balance of power. When the leadership has unlimited power and the body has none it ignites unhealthy tendencies to sinfully control others and prevents the body from reaching Christian maturity and creates an unhealthy dependency.

    That dynamic leads to extreme abuse and lack of life and freedom. You seem to be making vast assumptions about those who have experienced what they say is abuse without justly hearing their side of it. Why are you assuming that they are wrong and The leaders of SGM or whomever is innocent? What if you are wrong? What if there are facts you have no knowledge of? Blogging is a contemporary means of communication that equips the public to examine the facts and call to accountability those who refuse to account for their actions in the closed system they are functioning in. I recognize that we need to proceed carefully and with integrity but the importance of truth and justice supersede the ‘privacy’ idea when that is the reason sin is not addressed. For example, when a child is being abused by a parent that child cannot submit to the authority of that parent and simply pray that God will change the behavior of that parent. If they appeal to a teacher or outside individual the protection of that child supercedes the authority of that parent in the interest of protecting that child. When leaders abuse an individual that person does not violate Gods Law if they go outside the system and appeal to others if they cannot get it resolved any other way. it is truth we are after and that is the supreme value. Preserving the ‘system of authority’ is not what God cares about. He cares about people! We all have a responsibility to preserve truth and righteousness.
    Because any and all of us can sin any and all of us have the individual right and responsibility to be involved and not turn a blind eye to just and fair treatment of every individual person. In Germany when the SS arrested people and dragged them away to their death no one could or would step up and defend that person because if they did they’d be the next to go. It doesn’t happen here (yet) because there would be a public outcry if they did. It is the freedom of public disclosure that holds the authorities in check that protects us all. It is no different in the church.

  7. Zenith says:

    PDI/SGM Senior Pastor and Songwriter Caves to Leaders in Early 1990’s

    I don’t know where you stand doctrinally, but why all the fuss? Brent and CJ and all the other SGM leaders and their underlings should not be upset about any of the things that are going on at this time since God foreordained it from all eternity. Right? Over and over again their own theology mocks them.

    My wife and I were part of a PDI/SGM church for over 10 years. I had been an assistant homegroup leader. When the radical change in doctrine occurred I strongly spoke out against it. At that time hardly anyone, if anyone, in our local congregation agreed with TULIP. But they eventually became heavily indoctrinated, (sort of the way the JW’s do), as had our pastor previous to that. At one point, before my pastor gave in, during the second of the two three-hour knock down face to face meetings, I asked him how long he had been a Christian. It was like 25 years. I asked him if during that time he read God’s Word regularly. The answer was yes. Then I asked him if he read it prayerfully during that time. Again the answer was yes. Then I asked him when he came to believe in TULIP. He knew at that point he was just busted and uncomfortably admitted that it had been about two years earlier when CJ started propagating and later pushing it on people. My pastor agreed to read any book of my choice which took an opposing view to Calvinism. I asked him to read Robert Shank’s “Elect in the Son”. He read it and about three weeks later came up to me before a church service he called me aside and very quietly and almost secretively told me that he completely agreed with Robert Shank’s position.

    Now he had to break the news to Brent or Dave Harvey or whoever was “Over” us at that time. They were panicked as he was one of their main songwriters. He had actually discussed pulling some of his songs that had a Calvinistic bent to them. He was asked to write a position paper and he asked me to help. I did, but it was very lengthy. So he wrote his own, which was very pointed and well written. He then submitted it to the PDI leadership. Also during that time he had even seriously talked with me about leaving PDI, and we discussed whether or not he should turn the church building over to them. After submitting his paper he was asked to “dialogue” with them on the subject. When I asked him how the supposed dialogue was going he said that they gave him several books to read and discuss, like Anthony Hoekema’s “Saved by Grace”. Then CJ even invited him to speak at CLC, which of course was PDI’s mothership. I very much doubt if he would have ever smelled CLC’s pulpit had they not been going all out to dissuade him from what he actually believed. It was either conform, conform, conform, or out, out, out.

    Towards the end of our time at that church I continued to address many of the following things listed below, but our pastor refused to hear. I had been saying and have continued to say that:
    – PDI/SGM leaders and local pastors are elitists who think they have a corner on the truth; they are very proud and arrogant; they view themselves as the enlightened ones, while viewing all other Christians and their church affiliations as the unenlightened; in other words, those who do not agree with their theology are looked down on as second-class Christians and denominations; they are manipulative and controlling; for most of the time they act like a bunch of clones; and that they are absolutely obsessed with TULIP.

    Over the years there has been lots of hypocrisy and a clear double standard regarding how they treat certain people and the way they treat certain other people. I’ve always likened SGM to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. At the very top you have the infallible Pope CJ. Then the cardinals, arch-bishops, bishops, priests, etc.

    In his 7/10/11 Sunday evening message at CLC it was refreshing to hear Josh Harris finally admit to several of the same things. In Brent’s “documents” I found the part about CJ blackmailing Larry, Doris, and Justin sickening and reprehensible. Isn’t it interesting how even though CJ is supposedly so close and in tune with God, it took him some 13 years to acknowledge his sins of pride, hypocrisy, manipulation and mistreatment of others; and now finally he has gotten around to making things right with Larry. It so obvious, as is evidenced in Brent’s documents what an idol Reformed theology is within SGM. Case in point, within these documents, CJ stated that it would have been OK and that he wouldn’t blackmail the Tomczak family, if Larry left the movement, but did not say that it was over “doctrinal” differences. It has become clear that CJ is not the most humble person on the face of the earth. As a movement they need to realize their facade of humility is nothing more than false humility, which of course is just another form of pride. It is apparent that CJ has always craved adulation and the leaders of PDI/SGM have always fallen over each other when introducing each other. And if they happen to be introducing one of their gods like RC Sproul it is downright scary.

    As a post script I want to state that before CJ changed in the early 1990’s, he was my very most favorite Christian teacher. In my cassette/CD library I have by far more of CJ’s messages than anyone else. Unfortunately, his desire for prestige, power, and recognition made him the lesser man that he is today.

    • SSB says:

      Thank you Zenith for sharing. I couldn’t agree with you more. I only have one thing to share that was one of my grandmother’s saying….”When the tail/tale is long, you will get caught.”
      The way I take it…God gave CJ many many ways “out”, to turn from his sin, but he loved the prestige, the power of playing God too much and ultimately God had to expose his sin and bring him down.

  8. jhlenzi7 says:

    Any thoughts on:
    PDI/SGM Senior Pastor-Songwriter Caves to Leaders in Early 1990’s
    Why My Wife and I Left PDI/SGM After 10+ Years

  9. […] 10. Documents that led to C.J. Mahaney stepping down? 9.   Confirmed: SGM leader C.J. Mahaney to temporarily step down 8.   Reaction to Brent Detwiler’s documents – highlights 7.   Damage control at Covenant Life Church, pt. 1 6.   Mark Driscoll: If you don’t believe in hell, you’re going there 5.   Dianna Anderson: Dear Mr. Driscoll 4.  Ann Voskamp and Jesus as lover: Perspective from the Puritans, pt. 1 3.   Must read: On Cage Fighting, “Masculinity, Misogyny, and the Fear of Losing Control” 2.   Mark Driscoll Apologism Bingo (a top post in large part thanks to it being linked by Slacktivist! So exciting.) 1.   About Penn State […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s