Sovereign Grace Ministries has been a lightning rod for many years. Not for their conservative theology, but for their authoritarian tactics and abusive treatment of members and even other leaders. C.J. Mahaney, the celebrated leader of SGM, was a celebrity pastor who sold many books, earned great fees for speaking engagements, and profited from SGM music which was actually pretty good.
Sadly, Mahaney has found out–the hard way–that you can never escape your character. This is because your sin eventually finds you out. Everyone, if he or we live long enough, will have times where our character issues will come to the forefront. Our responses to them will determine our direction in life.
Jim Bakker faced his reality in jail, eventually admitting to the tragedy of the prosperity gospel he preached for many years; Jimmy Swaggart refused to accept accountability; Robert Tilton unraveled quickly; Mike Warnke went from celebrity to disgrace.
On the positive end, Mars Hill Church has effectively dissolved. Many of the leaders have even reached out and apologized to the members and other staffers who were wronged by their tactics over the years. But none of those apologies have come from the prime culprit: Mark Driscoll! Like a coward–which is what most bullies are anyway–he has hidden behind his family and provided sob stories.
At SGM, the story is similar: C.J. Mahaney and SGM leadership, continue to engage in a campaign of denial. Their coverups of sexual abuses are obvious to anyone with at least a double-digit IQ who has had a chance to read the evidence.
A friend of MrsLarijani and mine recently argued that I was being too harsh on SGM, that most of the problem stemmed from the fact that none of the pastors really knew what to do about the case. I call BS. If you’re writing best-selling books and jet-setting the lecture circuit at Christian conferences, then you’re smart enough to know what your obligations are when you have a real situation in your church.
Worse yet, SGM leadership has launched an all-out campaign of character assassination against their victims. They accuse people who report the obvious coverups of slander and gossip and defamation.
Mahaney, like Driscoll, lacks the manhood to do the right thing and accept responsibility for the atrocities committed by his proteges, who committed their abuses on his watch, which were catalyzed by the dysfunctional, authoritarian culture that he created.
At least the remaining leaders at Mars Hill had the courage to do the right thing. Would that the SGM leaders show the same level of integrity.