A follow-up to my post on T4G
April 11, 2016
I have received a lot of feedback from my previous post on Together for the Gospel. And, as you can imagine, the feedback has ranged from “thank you” to “how dare you.” That is fine. I don’t mind the pushback (so long as it’s civil). I wrote something for public consumption so public disagreement is not inappropriate at all.
But I do want to follow-up briefly in order to clarify a few points.
1. I have no interest in condemning or seeking to vindicate Sovereign Grace Ministries. Others are far more equipped than I to render a reliable evaluation on SGM’s health or lack thereof.
2. I repeat my appreciation for Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and Al Mohler. This one got me more than a little criticism. And while I am dismayed by the decision to include C.J. Mahaney in this year’s T4G, I am not able or willing to condemn them. I do not begrudge those hurt at CLC for believing I am being inconsistent on this point.
3. I am not a part of any movement nor will I be drafted into one.
4. I understand why some of the families of victims of the CLC child sexual abuse are joining the public protest in Louisville. I believe they should be heard.
5. I have heard from a family impacted directly by the sexual abuse at CLC. It breaks my heart. I cannot imagine their pain and I hope that anyone who assisted in delaying justice or covering up the abuse will be exposed.
6. Do not condemn a church or denomination for having been infiltrated by a sexual predator. Even the best of churches can be harmed by these monsters. The key is 1) Does the church have responsible and thorough child protection policies? 2) Does the church put those policies into practice? and 3) Is the church committed to civil justice for any victim of abuse?
7. As I wrote in my first post, I do not know if C.J. Mahaney is guilty of the myriad charges made against him. Some have said that alone should have silenced me from calling for his removal from the conference. I humbly disagree. We must remember the profoundly high standard set for overseers. We are to be “above reproach.” We are to be thought well of by outsiders. Obviously, there comes a time when those who proclaim the gospel will be reviled by outsiders. Jesus and the apostles eventually lost the favor they once enjoyed. But it was because of the truth not because of scandals related to child sexual abuse.
8. Success can be dangerous. Sometimes a conference is just that: a conference. Perhaps it burns brightly for a moment in time and then dies. That is perfectly acceptable. The parachurch is not the church after all. But success often results in great financial gain, multiple staff, publishing, etc. Those things are not wrong in and of themselves. However as a ministry project becomes highly successful it also becomes increasingly difficult to let it go. We must be careful that our project not become so precious to us that we protect it at all costs.
9. I repeat my motive in all of this: The reputation of our Lord, his church, the Doctrines of Grace, complementarianism, and biblical church discipline are taking a beating over this scandal. The damage being done is significant.