About the Amended Complaint Filed Against SGM

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:4

The following are news reports regarding the Amended Complaint filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, CJ Mahaney, Covenant Life Church and School, other churches and leaders within SGM. I will update as needed

The San Francisco Chronicle

Christianity Today


The Washington Post

The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

The details are here at a long-running site for those who have come out of SGM for various reasons. They have been roundly criticized and written off while keeping the issue of sexual abuse at the forefront for years. Do not read this if you are at all squeamish about sexual abuse. THE LINK IS NOT SAFE TO OPEN AT WORK.

Why do I care about this? I’ve been asked before. And it’s been assumed my motives were less than pure – that I wanted to bring down the powerful simply because they were powerful.

I think the better question to ask is why so many don’t seem to care? I think it is because we are too invested in the celebrity preachers of the day. I think it is because we know if our heroes fall, we fall a little (maybe a lot) with them. And there are power structures we thought were pure and holy…maybe they were artifice.

Why should I care about what it is going with SGM? If you and I don’t, who will? Is not our call to care for the orphan and the widow a call to care for those who are victims of sexual abuse?

Why do I care? I have not been the victim of sexual abuse. I have not been harmed by SGM. But I have been the victim of a powerful and influential church-planting organization that showed no concern for me, my family, or the church I was then serving, when their man ran away. That story is yet to be told here. Though various stories are out there.

So I do understand what it is to trust a group of men, put some faith in them, and then be tragically disappointed. That’s part of why I care.

I care because we have a King who came in weakness to save those who were weak, hurting, sick and sore.

If we, the subjects of this King don’t care, who will?

15 thoughts on “About the Amended Complaint Filed Against SGM

  1. Judy January 15, 2013 / 9:31 am

    Don’t you think there is something basically spiritually wrong with a congregation that doesn’t care if their leaders abuse children? There is nothing in that apathy and indifference that reflects the nature or the love of Christ. I think we have to stop assuming that because people sit in pews that they are Christians.

    Jesus said that those who loved Him would obey Him.

    After years of being told “not to judge”, we have lost the ability to discern what is good and right and what is evil. We have been neutered–so badly– that the status quo is more important than the truth. And God help someone who speaks the truth, especially when it’s not really pretty, as in this case.

    I honestly don’t believe that many of those people sitting in those pews are truly walking with God. They may have gotten saved but it doesn’t appear that they’ve gone beyond that into righteous living. Look at the fruit.

    How judgmental of me to be so bold as to say that. I don’t care anymore. When will the church wake up and be the church?It’s so dead that for the most part it has nothing to offer but more of the same old. And the same old has gotten real old.

    • tm January 20, 2013 / 6:52 pm

      Hi Judy you are absolutely right there would be something spiritually wrong with a congregation that doesn’t care if their leaders abuse children. But I would ask you to consider how you can render a judgment about the hearts and minds of groups of people you don’t know.. I am a member of one of these churches and we are grieved about this and what is coming out is new information for us also. Our pastors and our congregation are very saddened by this and we want to see this made right and justice done where it needs to be done. As in many congregations there may be some who are not walking with God, the church is called to welcome in those who don’t know the Lord, but the churches you refer to are filled with godly men and women who love Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. While I appreciate your candor I would encourage you to care about what you say because Jesus requires you and me to care about what we say even on the internet. I humbly submit this for your consideration as a fellow sister in Christ.

  2. Chuck Kuester January 15, 2013 / 2:52 pm

    Well written and informative. Why is this the first time I am reading about this? Makes one wonder where they get their information does it not? Continue on my brother – we should all care about this and see that something is done about it. Information that is hidden or not talked about really isn’t information.

    • Julie Anne January 17, 2013 / 8:36 am

      SGM is the big elephant in the middle of CBMW, in the middle of The Gospel Coalition, etc. It’s ridiculous. He is scheduled to speak at the national Gospel Coalition conference in April. Mohler, Duncan, Piper, Dever, Oaklund, and so many others do not want to let this cat out of the bag. It’s taking the news media and blogging world to expose. I’m happy to do so when it comes to abuse.

  3. Jeff Hutchinson January 15, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    Well and bravely said. I just linked to this post on my facebook page. Thank you.

  4. Ginny January 15, 2013 / 8:41 pm

    Judy — the congregations would have cared deeply about these situations. However, SGM developed a culture of silence and of extremely careful behavior. Individuals were not allowed to talk about ANYTHING in the church — good, bad, or indifferent. Talking about anything in which you were ‘not part of the problem nor part of the solution’ was considered gossip and slander. This is how they controlled people. For a look into Sovereign Grace ministries, the history and the charges, take a look at sgmsurvivors.com. Read and weep. And pray — there is much healing and detox needed among these dear people, who wanted nothing more than a deeper walk with Jesus, and ended up being damaged by cult-like behavior. Thank you.

    And to Chuck Kuester: — The reason that this is the first time you are reading about it is because the highly visible reformed pastors who embraced CJ Mahaney circled the wagons and refused to listen to any of the early allegations, even publishing affirming statements on his behalf. The whistle has been blown by blogs such as The Wartburg Watch, SGMSurvivors.com, and SGMRefuge.com, which no longer operates.

    • emsolideogloria January 18, 2013 / 3:13 pm

      You know – I am part of the solution. And I comment because
      “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
      – Edward Everett Hale, clergyman, author and abolitionist

  5. opinemine January 16, 2013 / 7:35 am

    What Ginny said.

    There are several things that have contributed to this culture within this group of churches and a disclaimer here: I was kicked out of a SGM church over differences in parenting philosophies that the pastors elevated to doctrine.

    1) This is a patriarchal group and women and children are of less worth than alpha males. Over and over again, you will read accounts of alpha males being protected at the expense of women and children.

    2) Leaders are elevated to a status that makes them exempt from the rules they make for the rest of their churches.

    3) Any unfavorable observations are considered gossip and slandar and these seem to be the worst sins in SGM land.

    4) Within the draconian paradigm of their parenting philosophy, children are forced to go against natural shyness to greet strangers, for example, which desensitizes them to their own instincts and makes them vulnerable to predation.

    This is just the beginning. This has been festering for decades and, while my heart breaks for the plantiffs in this case, I want to see measures taken to protect children from future predation and I would like to see, once and for all, these men to realize that they are not immune to consequences of their abusive behavior.

    • Julie Anne January 17, 2013 / 8:39 am

      Opinemine: You nailed it – it is a culture. This MUST be understood. It’s not just a few pastors who messed up and members are paying the consequence. There is a culture that is spreading. If we do not identify it and expose it, it will continue.

      Do you have your SGM story posted somewhere about why you were kicked out? I’d love to read it. bgbcsurvivors @ gmail dot com

  6. Lynn January 18, 2013 / 8:27 am

    the word is correct…..SG is a Cult…ure.

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