Alternate post titles:
Making Celebrity-Driven Church Omelettes – You Know You Gotta Break Some Eggs.
What Edmund Burke may have said about evil.
Welcome back to the Wizard of Odds where we are doing our very best to protect you from any evil witches.
Whatever you do.
Don’t look behind the curtain!
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” as Jack Nicholson’s character, Colonel Jessep screams in A Few Good Men.
‘After all, what is the truth? Really?’
‘How dare you ask that question!’
‘As a leader in the North American Church – it’s whatever I tell you it is. And if you don’t believe me, it’s because you are a disobedient, unrepentant, unsubmissive trouble-maker in danger of me casting you out into utter darkness where you truly belong. If you read the Scriptures properly, you’d know God has give me that POWER over you!’
To quote Shakespeare’s King Lear, “O, that way madness lies, let me shun that, no more of that.”
If I’m being far too obtuse I apologize. This is a continuation of my previous post – C.J. and Semper Reformanda or… Not So Much. Perhaps I should have titled this post, C.J, his friends and Semper Mendacis. (You can figure it out.)
If you remember back two days, you will recall that two of C.J. Mahaney’s T4G friends, Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan immediately (if not sooner, according to the writers at The Wartburg Watch) jumped to C.J.’s defense. Effectively saying, (as I wrote previously) ‘Nothing to look at here. Move Along. Everything’s under control’
My theo-pub buddy, Dan Gouge (who attends a Toronto PCA church led by another good friend), says this at the team blog, City of God,
Al Mohler and Ligon Duncan have both stood up for Mahaney and, in essence, insist that his critics shut up and that everyone else move along.
What’s remarkable about this is that there seems to be a reflex here that is shockingly similar to the one that kicked in at the Vatican when the child sex-abuse scandals started to leak into the media. (Note: Let’s be clear, I’m not saying that C.J. Mahaney is the equivalent of a sex offender.) The hierarchy circled the wagons and went about blaming everyone else while trying to protect itself. Neither T4G nor SGM is a hierarchy like Rome, but there is an undeniable star system at the top of today’s Reformed church world with a handful of powerful men who dominate conferences and bestseller lists, and it appears that they have taken to looking after their interests – the interests of the powerful – at the expense of all those whom they claim as followers. [emphasis added]
Of the far too many stories (at SGM Refuge & SGM Survivors, alone) that bring Mahaney’s leadership and SGM polity into question – Brent Detwiler’s story of Mahaney’s apparent blackmail of PDI/SGM co-founder Larry Tomczak is perhaps the most telling. City of God blogger, Keith Brooks asked me this question in the comments of the previous post,
Blackmail is a serious allegation! Is there hard proof of this or is this hearsay? Given the wikileaks nature of this, if it’s true, there should be hard evidence, no?
In my response to Keith, I pointed him to SGMWikileaks document 3 – beginning at page 131 which Brent Detwiler titled, “The Blackmail of Larry Tomczak.” I specifically pointed him to pages 139 through 149. (I also suggested he read this and this.)
In rather sickening irony but consistent with their “shoot the messenger” policy as SGM is a ‘no-Whistelblowers zone’, the SGM board accuses Detwiler of “public slander.”
Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.
Just a note, SGM board guys, if it’s written it’s libel, not slander. And there are far too many voices who suggest that Detwiler learned this on the very platform from which you pontificate.
One of the reasons the first working title of this post was, “If you want to make an omelette, you need to break a few eggs” – a quote attributed to both Lenin and Robespierre – is the blanket approval of Mahaney by Mohler and Duncan. In spite of the pain caused to ‘the little people’.
Mohler, Duncan et al are effectively communicating that the ends justified the means. ‘Yes, there are hurting people – but that’s just what happens when you build something big for God. You need strong, authoritative leadership to do that, you know.’
This news article more than suggests that Mohler told the reporter that he has read all of the SGMWikileaks material (portions of which I’ve pointed to above), and the writer than quotes him saying,
“There is nothing disqualifying in terms of anything that is disclosed in this,” said Mohler, who regularly speaks on programs along with Mahaney. “It’s just evidence we knew all along, that C.J. is human but a deeply committed Christian and a visionary Christian leader.”
Really!? Is Church Leadership Blackmail 201, a course your seminary teaches, Dr. Mohler? So the “Blackmail of Larry Tomczak” if proven to be true, will not disqualify Mahaney from his “visionary” leadership. Ridiculous!
As I said in response to another comment, “I know not what this be, but it be not Christianity.”
My dear friend, and Missional Instigator buddy, Brad Sargent said this in the comments on the previous post,
Two relevant quotes from *Dune: The Butlerian Jihad* by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson go to the heart of the mental and emotional issues here. First, “Assumptions are a transparent grid through which we view the universe, sometimes deluding ourselves that the grid is that universe.” (For instance, relying on a theology about Jesus is not equivalent to relying on Jesus, even if we think the thought suffices.) And, “Fanaticism is always a sign of repressed doubt.” (These systems don’t allow for even the appearance of personal weakness or of relative knowledge about absolute truth.)
Sadly, we ALWAYS get these kinds of SGM situations when we treat theology and people like machines, and we always will. It’s in the deepest DNA of their system, and the rotten fruit shows what was in the roots. Not all Reformed epistemologies are this harsh relationally or near-gnostic in terms of intellectualism – – and they, too, bear fruit according to what DNA is in the seeds they plant. [emphasis added]
People have and will continue to ask me, “Why do you concern yourself with this, Bill?” Allow me a quick further moment to respond.
I am convinced that one of the biggest problems with the church in North America is it’s Celebrity-Driven culture. And this is not exclusive to the Reformed. From the conservative to the progressive ends of the Church, we have created a culture of “follow your favourite apostle, and no, you don’t need to think for yourself.”
We are the people in 1 Samuel 8, choosing to follow whichever particular little church king captivates us. The end result is often what this passage of scripture states,
“This is the way the kind of king you’re talking about operates. He’ll take your sons and make soldiers of them—chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don’t expect God to answer.”
And finally, if you’ve made it thus far, the quote attributed to Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good (people) to do nothing,” motivates me. Too many people are content to plug their ears, cover their eyes & mouths while ignoring this kind of evil being perpetrated within the Body of Christ.
And I confess that I am stunned by the relative silence on this from the blog world that screamed incessantly about Rob Bell’s Hell.