Answering Some Objections I’ve Gotten About the SGM Lawsuit

I want to try and answer a few objections I’ve gotten about the SGM sexual abuse lawsuit

The question I get the most in response to my post, “The Silence of the Reformed” is –

“What do you want the Reformed leadership to do?”

Two things.

Say something and discontinue the invites.

Say something. What I keep hearing is we should wait till the verdict comes in to hear both sides because SGM has totally denied the accusations. Therefore no blog posts and no articles till then. Before the trial of Sandusky, an article “Love Notices Wet Hair” was published on The Gospel Coalition site and distributed widely. That article was posted 7 months before he was found guilty. Either we need an admission of how wrong that was, or we need a similar stance. Really all they would need to do is write a blog post that said, “in light of the accusations against SGM we offer this post.” That would be a start.

I would also like to see a public announcement about the need for any and all named parties to stop speaking at conferences. This would benefit everyone. I want you to imagine what it must be like for a victim of abuse to continually hear about the speaking engagements of those who enabled the abusers or were themselves an abuser. To see them rise in popularity. To see them above criticism. When the Reformed community does not see any problem with CJ Mahaney speaking at conferences because he has denied the charges against him and none have to be proven in the courts, our cult of personality has reached an apex.

These two things would go a long way.

Another question. I’ve been asked, “What if the Defendants are innocent?”

With so many testimonies and so many willing to give horrific details and to do so in their own name, not only should this give everyone reason to take this seriously (although we should have done that anyway), it should make us willing to be wrong. It would certainly be an elaborate hoax if the accusers are lying. But I’m more than willing to be wrong for their sake. Someone is going to be wrong. Either those who have said nothing of comfort to the accusers. Or it will be those of us who have pleaded with the Reformed community to speak up.

Last thing. It has been suggested that I write about these things because it helps increase blog traffic and book sales. Maybe those things have happened. But no one who writes for The Gospel Coalition has reviewed my book or even mentioned it. Now I’m small potatoes compared to most writers they deal with. But I’ve written for them. They know my book exists and they have written and linked to similar ideas. I’m afraid my criticism of SGM, Mars Hill and those who have been silent has hurt sales.

I admit I have worried about this. I can only say it has not felt very strategic, as an author, to criticize my own camp.

May God have mercy on us all.

32 thoughts on “Answering Some Objections I’ve Gotten About the SGM Lawsuit

  1. Gregg May 16, 2013 / 12:39 pm

    Matt, thank you for standing up for the victims. Even though you might not have a platform as big as some of the “powerful and influential” in the YRR tribe, you are using what platform you have in the name of the oppressed. And the price could be that you would lose even that little platform, yet you still do it.

    Keep doing it. I know that the King is there with you, you are doing his work.

  2. JJ M. (@jjmahoney3) May 16, 2013 / 12:47 pm

    That points to a possible bigger problem in the reformed leadership community, beyond SGM. Self preservation, and the preservation of your business partners, regardless of whether you end up victimizing the victims again in the process.

  3. Adam Shields May 16, 2013 / 1:19 pm

    I think it is more important to ‘criticize your own camp’ than worry about lost sales. I know that is easy for me to say. But if part of loyalty is not criticizing our own camp, then it is only natural that we will keep on having large scale problems because our camps are so full of people that are unwilling to appropriately hold one another accountable.

    It is easy to dismiss criticism when it comes form someone that you already disagree with. It is harder (and should be) to dismiss criticism that has your best interest in heart.

  4. Natalie Trust May 16, 2013 / 5:12 pm

    All of this. Every word. Thank you for the personal risks you’ve taken and continue to take, Matt.

    I want to see those two things happen too. It hardly seems like much to ask.

  5. Heather Halseth May 16, 2013 / 5:59 pm

    Thank you for speaking out for the abused. If Christians don’t stand for truth and justice than who will? Living the Chrisitan life is not a popularity contest but it seems that the big names in the reformed community have turned it into just that.

  6. Jeff Trues. May 16, 2013 / 7:59 pm

    Thank you Matt – From someone in the quagmire.

  7. thejenncastj May 16, 2013 / 9:15 pm

    Thanks, again,, Matt. It means a lot to many of us.

  8. Matt May 16, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    I believe their silence and even worse, their promotion of Mahaney after the lawsuit was filed, has said all we need to know about them. At this point, it would not change my opinion of what they have demonstrated thus far what they value. I would have a hard time believing any words now would reflect a real change of heart about children whose lives have been totally altered by monsters. It is a sad day when the nobodies get it but the professionally paid Christians don’t.

    • Bridget May 16, 2013 / 10:55 pm

      Thank you for speaking up for those who have been unheard for so long, Matt. Even in the secular world men would be asked to step down from their positions until allegations of this kind are resolved. The silence of the Reformed platform and continued promotion of Mahaney is beyond my comprehension.

      I’m sorry if your book sales have been harmed. I enjoyed it much. It brings a needed message that is rarely heard in this age of “Celebrity” in the Church. It is a book that I will reread to remind me of the “quiet simple life” we are called to. Jesus, while doing far beyond what we can grasp, still lived a quiet simple life, going where his contemporaries in Israel wouldn’t dare be seen. The “desk” can bring joy.

      • mattbredmond May 17, 2013 / 7:54 am

        Thank you for this!

        I am not sure my book sales have been harmed. I just know others have wondered if all this is a ploy by me to increase sales. I can only say my fear has been sales will be hurt. I have been more inclined to be guarded for that reason. My conscience won’t let me, though.

  9. Julie Anne May 17, 2013 / 1:32 am

    Look for your hits to go up on this. I’ll do my part in spreading this baby around right now.

  10. D Warren May 17, 2013 / 4:12 am

    This is a very sad story. ALL of it. Sad allegations, sad responses, sad personal attacks. Noone but those involved know the full facts. I am sad when good men who love Jesus fall and fail. Then I am reminded that I do. I am sad when horrible things happen to wonderful people. Then I am reminded that the same happened to Jesus. I am sad and horrified when Chrisitan pastors protect themselves rather than care and love the flock. Then I am reminded that I have often tried to protect myself even when the accusations are trivial. I am sad when Christians use the Internet to take pot shots at brothers and sisters in Christ. Then I am reminded that I too have written letters and sent emails that are entirely unworthy of Christ. Having said all this I am mostly sad that when allegations so serious are made that those to whom I have looked to and often admired for their thinking and love for the Bible have failed to grasp the fundamentals of healthy responses to such allegations. Just say, ‘for now we are not going to speak at international conferences, we are not going to make money from books etc not because we are declaring our guilt or innocence but that we are wanting to walk with integrity and respect as there is so much pain and hurt around here.’ Perhaps such a repsonse would reflect the reformed passion for undeserving grace and unmerited mercy. Wow! What a Jesus we serve – unmerited mercy, undeserved grace. Just a thought from a very ordinary pastor seeking to honour Jesus but making big mistakes as I go and therefore loving the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

  11. 2samuel127 May 17, 2013 / 4:41 am

    Hi Matt,
    First let me thank you for writing your book “The God of the Mundane.” It really touched me. Your style of writing reminds me of Brennan Manning, an author I really admire.

    Secondly, thanks for having the guts to speak out against our so called “leaders.” Their silence, or worse, praising of Mahaney, in spite of having full knowledge of this mess shows a real lack of discernment and calls into question their leadership qualifications as well as all their conference “coalitions.”

    Your inability to break into their little mutual admiration society because of your speaking the truth reflects negatively on their motives and agenda.

    I believe their utter lack of compassion for the victims and conspiracy of silence as it relates to CJ Mahaney will result in the Lord judging them. I have withdrawn my membership from my 9Marks affiliated church and now have serious questions about the whole movement.

    Keep up your good work brother.

    “Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.”
    Job 19:7

    • elizabeth May 17, 2013 / 7:20 am

      Just the fact of Mahaney taking all his toys and moving to Louisville speaks VOLUMES.

      • Sergius Marton-George May 17, 2013 / 1:49 pm

        That is absolutely right, Elizabeth! I’ve been amazed at how one of the under-covered aspects of all this is C.J.’s uprooting his empire — just as it’s all hitting the fan — to move to Louisville and become Al Mohler’s Kentucky Fried Albatross.

        Volumes, indeed.

  12. Eric Fry May 17, 2013 / 7:41 am

    Were it my camp remaining silent on the horrific SGM allegations after writing about the Penn St. debacle, I’d have to give serious consideration to finding another camp.

  13. May May 17, 2013 / 9:22 am

    Thank you so much for your post Matt. I am so grateful to see at least one person who identifies with ‘the Reformed camp’ speak out on this dreadful matter. I was beginning to despair.

    Not all of the ‘big dogs’ have remained silent. Some have openly and publically taken sides with Mahaney. Since the court case was filed, John Piper made a point of going and speaking at Mahaney’s new church in Louisville. In a somewhat bizarre introduction highly supportive of Mahaney, he stressed his strong desire to be there and that no one had to ask him twice, etc.

  14. May May 17, 2013 / 9:24 am

    What has struck me about the whole thing is that, for the Reformed movement, theology and doctrine trumps personal integrity. The fact that CJ holds to the ‘right theology’ ensures he will remain within the fold, regardless of anything he may have done.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy May 17, 2013 / 5:35 pm

      Just like the classic Communists, except they called it “Purity of Ideology” instead of “Right Theology and Doctrine”. Ask any survivor of GULAG or Chairman Mao’s Red Guards or Cambodia’s Killing Fields how much abuse “Purity of Ideology” can justify.

  15. Katie May 17, 2013 / 10:31 am

    I appreciate this post and your book, “The God of the Mundane,” that alleviates some of the negative pressure that my own kids have wrestled with. It sets them free to live as God wants them to and not according to the latest buzz words.

  16. Heather Halseth May 17, 2013 / 1:52 pm

    Also wanted to say that my husband and I loved your book and will be recommending it to all our friends.

  17. Anon May 17, 2013 / 2:48 pm

    “It would certainly be an elaborate hoax if the accusers are lying.”

    Well, even if (for argument’s sake) they were lying, given the time that has transpired, they would not actually believe they were lying but may believe these things actually happened – which will make it very difficult to sort fact from fiction – and the defence knows that. I suspect the defence will point to this horrific example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenatchee_child_abuse_prosecutions

  18. Brian Thornton May 17, 2013 / 4:57 pm

    It saddens me that the leaders within my “camp” would turn a deaf ear and blind eye to all of this. I wish I could ignore it but I just can’t. Thank you for being willing to speak out.

  19. Anonymous May 17, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Matt,
    I’ve never heard of you in my life, but based on the comments of others over the past week, I came and read this blog. Good job. I like your answers.

    Now I’ve bought your book and the Kindle version. We need more people like you. We want authenticity in leadership. We’re sick of the egotistical frauds and fake humility and dominating control freaks.

    By the way, your “About Matt Redmond” page is too sketchy. I had to go to Amazon to figure out who you are.

  20. terriergal May 31, 2013 / 9:38 am

    Thank you for posting this. You are spot-on. I am so disgusted by all of this. And now T4G has pulled down its post from facebook because it couldn’t take the heat they were getting.

    This whole thing stinks, the good old boys’ network of back stroking brown nosing ego inflaters. And they wonder why we don’t trust church leadership. Did they not learn ANYTHING from the Catholic church pedophile priest coverups?

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