For many years I have personally benefitted from the ministry of C.J. Mahaney. I remember several sermons that have shaped my life, including ones on the following subjects: people God killed, the cross, humility, and suffering from the book of Job. I have had the privilege of meeting him on a couple of occasions. Both in private and in public he has always struck me as being a man who is passionately in love with Jesus, eternally grateful to God for saving him, intensely aware of the grace of God in taking him from a life of sin and placing him into a public ministry that in his words is “better than he deserves.” I am also well aware that, despite certain key differences, Sovereign Grace is the group most often compared to Newfrontiers, especially by Americans. C. J. has always been extremely zealous to follow God personally, and sets himself exacting standards. So it is with sadness that I have to share the following announcement C. J. made on his blog today:
“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. These charges are serious and they have been very grieving to read. These charges are not related to any immorality or financial impropriety, but this doesn’t minimize their serious nature, which include various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy. . .
So here is what I am going to do. I’ve asked to take a leave of absence in order to give time to considering these charges, examine my heart, and receive the appropriate help from others. With the guidance of the SGM board, I would also hope to pursue reconciliation with former pastors of Sovereign Grace during this leave. I have stepped off the board and I will not be the President of Sovereign Grace Ministries during this period of examination and evaluation. . .
My friends, I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I continue to walk through this process. Please pray that God would give me the gift of sight where I have been blinded by my sin and others have been adversely affected by my sin. Pray that I will be convicted and experience godly sorrow resulting in reconciliation where necessary and adjustments to my heart and leadership. Thank you for praying in this way for me . . .I have met with some and by God’s grace there has been reconciliation with men like Larry Tomczak (I wish I had recognized and repented of my sin against him years ago). This brings great joy to my soul. In other cases, appeals for mediation have thus far been declined, but I’m hopeful this process will facilitate further reconciliation. But beyond this, there are still issues that need to be addressed and fixed in our family of churches. . .” Read the rest of C.J.s statement
In response to all this, I would encourage us all:
1. To pray for CJ, and for all past and present members of the Sovereign Grace Family of churches at this difficult time.
2. Not to speculate unhelpfully about these matters online or offline. There is a word for that, gossip, and the Bible has some pretty specific things to say about those who gossip.
3. To be freshly aware of the frailty of all of us, and humbly recognize that we cannot point fingers of accusation towards others without recognising that we all stand in need of God’s grace. I thank God that he takes frail humans like you and I and uses them to bring glory to his name. Our faith is in him, not our human flesh.
May God take this situation and use it for his glory and for the good of those who love him.