Wednesday, March 27, 2013

To Starbucks or Not to Starbucks, That Is The Question

Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was recently challenged by a shareholder in the company who questioned the company's endorsement of a state bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Schultz reportedly told the shareholder that he was free to sell his Starbucks shares and invest elsewhere. (Article: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s Grande Support for Gay Marriage) The ensuing brouhaha had many Christians up in arms, calling for a boycott of Starbucks coffee, and lighting up social media with conversations about this dastardly deed. And yet, at the risk of inflaming many of my Christian friends who often exercise their American right to choose to boycott a company that makes this or that anti-Christian statement, here is just some food for thought:

Should we as Christians expect lost people to act in any other way than lost people generally do?

That is to say, should we expect lost people to not have animosity toward Christians? Can we look at history, perhaps, to help us get our bearings on this? The fact is that the world in which the very first Christians found themselves was a world that was incredibly hostile to biblical Christianity, and filled with wickedness and depravity, including rampant homosexuality. And yet, I feel certain that the Christians of that time interacted in the business world. And I do not see Scriptures exhorting Christians to not buy from this or that leather craftsman or olive purveyor, based on that person's presumably anti-Christian views.

And also, lest we forget, the Bible makes it clear that the world will have animosity toward both us and God's Word:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing...." (1 Corinthians 1:18a)
"You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)
This is certainly an issue worth thinking about, praying about, and asking the Lord for wisdom about (James 1:5). Because here's the deal: the world around us has changed. I'm sorry, but it really and truly has. Same-sex marriage, in all likelihood, will soon be legitimized in this country. I'm not happy about that, and I'm certainly not happy about my children growing up in a country in which homosexuals can marry, but how should we Christians now navigate this strange world in which we find ourselves? We have a number of options, but these two come quickly to mind:

Option 1 -We can boycott any secular company that does not promote Christian values. We can stop shopping at Target because they won't say "Merry Christmas," we can stop eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream because they support same sex marriage, we can cross J.C. Penney's off the list because they had a lesbian spokesperson, we can boycott Home Depot because they participated in a gay pride parade, etc., etc. But if we are going to go down that road, we really ought to cash it all in, and buy a farm somewhere and live as an isolationist because very, very, very few corporations cater exclusively to true biblical Christians.

Option 2 - We can, by God's grace and with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, move graciously through this dark and dying world, interacting lovingly with lost sinners, and sharing the hope that is in Christ with those around us.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world...." (Philippians 2:14-15)
I'm not saying definitively how, exactly, all Christians should respond to these changes coming in the world around us. Merely that we ought to think long, hard and prayerfully about how we should each navigate this unfamiliar terrain. I am reminded of a recent Christianity Today article in which a former lesbian recounts her story of writing an article, as a practicing lesbian, that was aimed at attacking Christianity. Predictably, she received heaps of support letters and also heaps of hate mail. But she received one letter from a pastor that was neither. This letter led to what she has referred to as her "Train Wreck Conversion," that is, it led to her turning her back on her former lifestyle and becoming a born again Christian. In her own words, she lost "everything but the dog." But what she gained was forgiveness, redemption and eternal life. Perhaps we can learn from this pastor's kindness and graciousness in how he reached out to this woman, and shared truth with her in a way that had eternal consequences.


photo credit: Nick Humphries via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 

Interview with Former Lesbian (Rosaria Champagne Butterfield)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Catholicism is Not Just Another Christian Denomination

Posted by Christine Pack

Is Catholicism just another Christian denomination? I know many Christians who declare this to be so, including Christian leaders. But is this actually true? Are the differences between Christianity and Catholicism so minor as to be just a trifle, as incidental as whether or not you stand or sit when you sing or pray during a worship service?

Former Roman Catholic priest,
Richard Bennett
(Berean Beacon)
I was recently "unfriended" on Facebook by a friend who told me couldn't take what she considered harsh treatment of Catholics in some of my postings. What I told her is that I have always-always-always clearly stated that I do believe there absolutely can be truly saved people within the Catholic church. It's just that, unless death claims them first, a true born again believer WILL come out of the Catholic church, eventually. I don't hate Catholics, I hate Catholicism, because it keeps Catholics in bondage, it keeps them so busy doing all their works and their sacraments that they can be tricked into thinking they are right with God. (And isn't Satan so very good at devising works-driven systems for keeping lost people busy? Busy all the way to their deaths, that is, at which time they will understand the truth.) Well, I want them to be set free (John 8:32). (My friend, incidentally, became very Catholic-sympathetic, after she started working as a teacher at a Catholic school. So I kinda saw it coming.)

If you are a Christian, and you are unsure of the doctrinal differences between Christianity and Catholicism, please look at the attached charts (click on these charts to see a more readable size). These charts were compiled by Richard Bennett, a former Catholic priest. Richard Bennett was a Roman Catholic priest for 21 years. Now think on this: Catholics are trained to look up to their priests and to think that their priests have a greater understanding of the Bible. But, if you listen to Bennett's testimony, he makes it clear that this is not true: Catholic priests are taught very little - very little! - actual Bible in seminary, and are instead trained in the Catholic writings. And yet, Catholics put their trust, their eternal trust, and faith in these men whom they believe have more Bible knowledge.

So how did a Roman Catholic priest of 21 years come to saving faith? A debilitating accident put Catholic priest Richard Bennett flat on his back, and he began to read the actual Bible......and he got saved! The way to salvation IS clearly presented in the Bible, but sadly, many Catholics don't read and study their Bibles, and thus don't know this.



 Additional Resources 

Testimony of Richard Bennett (former Roman Catholic priest)

Berean Beacon (former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett)

Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (John MacArthur)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Check Your Jesus

Posted by Christine Pack
"For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough." (2 Cor 11:4)


I love the hashtag #CheckYourJesus, which Pastor Dan Phillips of the Pyromaniacs blog came up with.   For right or wrong, it conjures up an image of multitudes of people flipping over their "Jesus" to double check the label on the back. But is it really that important to get "Jesus" right? Does it matter who we think Jesus is, or is it simply enough that we are very sincere about what we believe? That fact is that we all need to be checking our "Jesus," because the consequences of not getting this right are eternal. And lest we forget, many people (including Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and some New Agers) claim to love and have faith in Jesus, including the producers of the Bible miniseries. Do they have the right "Jesus?" Do you?  Listen to Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For the Faith as he discusses the portrayal of "Jesus" in the currently running Bible miniseries. And then #CheckYourJesus.


 Additional Resources

Check Your Jesus (Dan Phillips, Pyromaniacs)

History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts Man Over God

Two Creation Ministries Endorse The Bible Miniseries

Theological Errors of the History Channel's Bible Miniseries, Part 1 (Pirate Christian Radio)

The Mishandling of God's Word in the Bible Miniseries (Apprising)

Joel Osteen a Consultant on Upcoming Bible Miniseries

Rick Warren Lays Out The Theology of The Bible Miniseries
 (Pirate Christian Radio)

Roma Downey on Being Catholic

Touched By An Angel, But Which Kind?

The Bible Miniseries Board of Advisors

The Bible or The Bible Miniseries? (Contender Radio)

Wretched's (Brief) Audio Review of the Bible Miniseries (Todd Friel)

Wretched's (Brief) Video Review of the Bible Miniseries (Todd Friel)

Is Sincerity the Most Important Measure of Faith?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rick Warren Calls Christians to Pray For the Catholic Council?

Posted by Christine Pack


Rick Warren wants us to pray for the Catholic church council as they select a new Pope? Really? What should we pray, that they repent of their apostasy, and come to true saving faith that is found only in repenting of "good works" and placing their faith solely in Christ's finished work upon the Cross?


(Note: While I do think some Catholics can truly be saved, the ones who hold to Catholic teaching are not, because what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about salvation is diametrically opposed to what the Bible teaches. Please see some of the reference materials below for a better understanding of this, particularly the side-by-side chart compiled by former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett, and which shows the conflicting beliefs between Catholicism and Christianity.) 


 Additional Resources 

Warren’s Ecumenical Call to Fast, Pray for Cardinals Seeking New Pope Called ‘Real Tragedy’

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation Leader Ignatius of Loyola?

Ignatius of Loyola, an Examination of His Teachings
 (Pastor Gary Gilley)

Catholic Mysticism Infused Into Our Society (Berean Beacon)

Why the Reformation Was Important (Sola Sisters)

After The Darkness, Light (Post Tenebras Lux) (Sola Sisters)

Biblically Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (Dr. John MacArthur)

A Chart With Christian/Catholic Views Side-By-Side (Berean Beacon)

Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic Priest....From Darkness to Light (Berean Beacon)

Far From Rome Near To God (Amazon)

On The "Faith" of Mother Teresa: John Ortberg Strikes Out (Sola Sisters)

The Myth of Mother Teresa
 (Challies)

Mother Teresa A Lost Soul (Berean Beacon)

Mother Teresa in Her Own Words (Sola Sisters)

CNN Reports That Mother Teresa Underwent Exorcism (CNN Archives)

BBC Reports About Exorcism Performed on Mother Teresa (BBC Archives)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shepherd's Conference 2013

Posted by Christine Pack


John MacArthur, writer, theologian and pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, annually hosts an event, known as the Shepherd's Conference, that is dedicated to teaching, edifying and encouraging pastors from around the world. The conference, which has grown each year, drew more than 3,000 pastors at this year's meeting. Keynote speakers included:
John MacArthur 
Phil Johnson (executive director of Grace to You) 
Steve Lawson (pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL) 
Al Mohler (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) 
Tom Pennington (pastor of Countryside Bible Church in Dallas, TX)
Media for the 2013 Shepherd's Conference is now available for download here.


 Additional Resources 

Shepherd's Conference Media 2001

Shepherd's Conference Media 2002




Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Lost Will Want More of the "God" of the Bible Miniseries?

Posted by Christine Pack

Christians keep telling me that God can use the currently showing Bible miniseries to reach the lost. Really? But how can this be, when God's beautiful, glorious redemptive plan for lost sinners, that runs all the way from Genesis to Revelation, is not clearly laid out in the series? And without the redemptive plan being understood, for those who have only a smattering of Bible knowledge (as many lost people in America do), the God of the Old Testament just comes off as angry, vindictive and arbitrary. So the question is, does anybody know any non-believers in their lives who want more of that God? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, I didn't think so.



 Additional Resources 

Two Creation Ministries Endorse The Bible Miniseries

The Bible or The Bible Miniseries? (Contender Radio)

Theological Errors of the History Channel's Bible Miniseries, Part 1 (Pirate Christian Radio)

Rick Warren Lays Out The Theology of The Bible Miniseries (Pirate Christian Radio)

Wretched's Review (Todd Friel)

Roma Downey on Being Catholic

The History Channel’s Bible Miniseries Mishandling of God’s Word (Mike Ratliff)

Touched By An Angel, But Which Kind? (Berit Kjos)

The Bible Miniseries Board of Advisors

Friday, March 8, 2013

Two Creation Ministries Endorse The Bible Miniseries

Posted by Christine Pack

I love Young Earth Creation ministries, absolutely love them. Talk about a hard road for a Christian to walk, that is by far one of the hardest in this day and age. And I should know, because as a non-believer I was one of the most strident and most outspoken evolutionary thinkers around. In fact, I used to take particular delight in mocking and ridiculing Christians, especially Young Earth Christians. Christians were bad enough, but Young Earth Christians? Christians who rejected all the scientific evidence (or so I had been taught) that destroyed their young earth timeframe? Oh my, just turn me loose. I was ready to let fly with "carbon dating" at a moment's notice. So imagine my dismay, then, to find myself one day.......saved. A new creation in Christ. Born again. I was, in so many ways, like an actual baby. I would crave the Bible the way a newborn baby craves milk. And as I was reading and reading and reading through the Bible, the Holy Spirit began to do the work of dismantling my old, worldly ideas. The old man was gone, I was being rebuilt. I sometimes joke that this was a period in which God was breaking me down like a Marine sergeant, only to be building me back up in truth. I had so many wrong ideas about life, about the world, about myself, about marriage, about relationships, and, well, about everything. Except for one thing: I was pretty sure that science had proved evolution. I say "pretty sure" and not "convinced" because during that breaking down/building up period, I was truly no longer convinced that I had ever gotten anything right in my life, prior to salvation.


Enter the Young Earth Creation ministries. Yes, I did come around on the young earth/evolution issue, which just goes to show that perhaps God has a sense of humor. The mocker was now the mocked, and trust me, the irony of this is not lost on me. There are two young earth ministries, in particular, with which I have become very familiar: Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Creation Ministries International (CMI). These ministries are filled with scientists who have studied the evidences for and against young earth within their particular fields of expertise - archaeology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, etc. - and have come away with the conviction that young earth is the most plausible explanation for the state of the earth today. It's been very exciting to me to have access to great articles, books and DVDs on the subject of young earth. No longer does the Christian have to just smile feebly and plead "Just have faith in Jesus!" when the secular Darwinian humanist mocks him with "scientific" data; we now have data of our own, and believe me, there are no village idiots at either of the Creationism ministries linked above.

As far as Creation Ministries International goes, I have listened to many of their testimonies, including testimonies by Dr. Carl Weiland, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, and Dr. David Catchpoole. In fact, I have burned Dr. Catchpoole's testimony to CD for the purpose of handing it out to evolutionary atheists and skeptics. I have also handed out In Six Days, a young earth apologetics book which Dr. Sarfati contributed to. And, one of my all time favorite books is Gary Bates' Alien Intrusion. And Answers in Genesis? Our family has been to countless AIG seminars, including hosting one with Paul Taylor (AIG-UK) at our own church. We also have hundreds of dollars worth of AIG resources, and I've  purchased and given away many, many, many AIG items as witnessing materials. We've visited the Creation Museum three times since it opened in 2007, and I also regularly point the readers of our blog here to Answers in Genesis as a valuable resource. I'm saying all this to demonstrate how well I know these ministries, and that I truly do value them and their contribution to Christianity.

So I was surprised when I found out that both Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International recently endorsed the Bible miniseries now playing on the History Channel. (As an aside, if I had to hazard a guess as to why I think these ministries have written favorably about this series, I would say that it is probably because the series does show Adam and Eve as historical figures, and does depict a global flood, issues which are of utmost importance, obviously, to young earth ministries because these ideas are so profoundly under attack in today's secular culture. But more about that later.) You can read the Answers in Genesis article here, and the Creation Ministries International article here.

We recently wrote about our concern over this miniseries, given that the Board of Advisors for the miniseries includes seeker sensitive pastor Rick Warren, and Prosperity Gospel preachers Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes. (You can review the Board of Advisors for the Bible miniseries here.) The miniseries was also produced by a devout Roman Catholic, former Touched By An Angel star Roma Downey, who, while a talented actress, has some very problematic theological views, at best.

Also, after viewing the first episode of the Bible miniseries myself, I am truly surprised that such highly respected ministries as AIG and CMI would endorse such a series. The problems are numerous, including many extrabiblical details that take far more than creative license in the telling of certain stories, including angels in Sodom who were attacked by the crowd and had to run to Lot's house, screaming for help, but who then went all Ninja warrior and threw down some moves on the Sodomites so Lot's family could escape. That's from Genesis, Chapter......nah, just kidding, that's not in the Bible.

Or how about the depiction of Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him? This one was far more troubling to me, in that it was bad/bordering on blasphemous in its depiction of God. On a personal note, the biblical account of Abraham and Isaac is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, but it must be properly taught and understood. I learned this story as a young girl in a theologically liberal church that did not give any context or any explanation of this as a one-time event meant to point us to Christ, our ultimate sacrifice, and to show that even though God stayed the hand of Abraham over his son, his only son, whom he loved, that when it came time for God's hand to fall upon his own Son, his only Son, whom he loved, God did not stay his own hand. BUT, out of great mercy and love for mankind, God let his hand fall upon his Son so that his wrath could be appeased and atonement could be made for undeserving sinners. Understood in its proper context and its place in redemptive history, that story of Abraham and Isaac is almost unbearably sweet to the saved sinner who looks upon it and marvels at God's great love. But without such context or an understanding of the redemptive theme of the entire Bible, in which the historical account of Abraham and Isaac is meant to point us to the future, greater Sacrifice yet to come, that story just seems cruel, and God comes off as arbitrary, capricious and easily angered. In fact, the story of Abraham/Isaac that I learned as a young girl in a liberal church, in the disjointed way that I learned it, separated from its place in redemptive hisstory, was a story that stayed with me and troubled me for years. I can also definitively point to that particular story, as one of the reasons I ultimately walked away from the church in my late teens. Who would choose to worship a God who would tell a father to murder his own son? Who could love a God like that? And yet, the Bible miniseries also depicts the story of Abraham/Isaac in the same way: disjointed, a bit arbitrary, and without any teaching about this event as a part of redemptive history.

To sum it up, what the Bible miniseries got so wrong (skimming over the redemptive theme of the Bible), is exactly what Answers In Genesis, in my opinion, has always gotten so right. Ken Ham in particular has been consistently faithful to show why getting Genesis right matters, and not just in the details, but in the overall message of the Bible. Simply put, AIG has been a light in the darkness regarding this issue. Is this not true? In the "7 C's of History" section of the Creation Museum created by Ken Ham and AIG, there is a cohesive theme, and that theme is the unfolding redemption through Christ. For those who have been to the Creation Museum, think about the way the sacrificial system is presented in the museum walk-through, as well as the types and shadows of the first animal slain to cover the sin of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, the Passover, etc., all meant to point to Christ, our final and greatest Sacrificial Lamb, all meant to point us toward the ultimate message of the Bible: that God has made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to a high and holy God.  I mean come on, that's brilliant stuff, glorious stuff. But this Bible miniseries does not make that clear.....it just strings disconnected stories together in a disjointed way. Big problem.

So, can a case be made that the "God" of the Bible miniseries is an accurate portrayal of the God of the Bible? I contend that no, such a case cannot be made. The "God" presented in the Bible miniseries is NOT the God of the Bible: in the Bible miniseries, "God" is arbitrary, capricious and easily angered. But in reality......

God is NOT arbitrary.......from the very first pages of the Bible, He is beginning to lay out, through glorious types and shadows, the redemptive theme of the Bible and his plan to reconcile wicked sinners to himself.

God is NOT capricious......He is very long-suffering, attested to numerous times in Scripture (Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Romans 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9).

God is NOT easily angered......He was clear about his instructions to Adam and Eve, and his anger was righteous and just.

With this Bible miniseries, I have been feeling like I was reliving The Shack controversy all over again. During all The Shack hoopla, we had people mad at us, furious, for daring to challenge the portrayal of God in The Shack. The argument was that, well, hey, maybe it's not totally accurate, but at least people are interested in God because of it! (and never mind that the "God" of The Shack was presented heretically, with the Trinity being tossed out, and a sly form of Universalism undergirding the story). With the Bible miniseries, we're hearing much the same argument. Many Christians are stating that the Bible miniseries will spur lost people to be interested in the Bible. Christians are telling me, Stop being so nitpicky over doctrine! At least this will get people interested in the Bible! But how can that be true? I contend that (as in The Shack, as in the Bible miniseries) a wrong portrayal of God and his character and nature won't make lost people want to know God more; it will only serve to make them more confused and unclear about who God really is. If that's not clear enough, let me put it this way: if someone came to me and described a man who was violent, verbally abusive and addicted to pornography, and THEN told me they were describing my husband, I would be furious! That is not an accurate description of my husband at all. So it really does matter that we are honest in what we say about others, doesn't it? And beyond that, shouldn't we be striving to be the most honest, the most accurate of all when attempting to depict God? Well, the "God" in the Bible miniseries is NOT the God of the Bible. Nope.

Now please understand me: I am not saying categorically that there is not any way EVER that God couldn't somehow use this series to reach someone. God can and does use imperfect means to accomplish some of his purposes (after all, He uses us to carry the gospel forth, right?). For instance, if someone came to me and said, you know, I watched that series, and came under conviction, and I'd like to talk about it with you because I know you are a Christian, I wouldn't say, well, you can't really be under conviction because that series is blasphemous! No, I would go through the gospel, and it could be that, by God's grace, that person truly becomes a born again believer, which only proves that God is merciful to use very imperfect means, at times. My main point, however, is that I don't think this series, because of its profound theological weaknesses, should be purposefully and intentionally used as a tool to reach the lost, while at the same time recognizing that God, in his infinite mercy, might even use something as doctrinally and theologically weak as this to reach someone. But I personally could never recommend this series as an evangelism tool, it's just simply too problematic.

These are not minor quibbles. As noted above, AIG has always done a tremendous job at showing the redemptive theme that runs through the Bible......so the question is: when they screened this series, why didn't they "get" that the Bible miniseries so profoundly fails to portray this redemptive theme in a coherent manner? But apparently, somehow they missed this. And as much as I appreciate these valuable Young Earth ministries, perhaps I should point out that the issue of Young Earth Creation (including a literal Adam and Eve and a literal global flood sent as a judgment on wickedness), although important, is not the only issue we need to be contending for today. Doctrine is important, doctrine really does matter, and just as it has been important for born again believers to reclaim and hold the line on truth regarding the biblical account of creation, it is also important for us to hold the line on how God's character and nature, as well as his overarching plan for the redemption of sinners, are portrayed. And in this, the Bible miniseries is an epic Fail.


 Additional Resources 

The Bible on the History Channel: A Review (Answers in Genesis article)

The Bible.....On the History Channel? (Creation Ministries International article)

History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts Man Over God

Theological Errors of the History Channel's Bible Miniseries, Part 1 (Pirate Christian Radio)

Rick Warren Lays Out The Theology of The History Channel Miniseries, The Bible (Pirate Christian Radio)

Wretched's Review (Todd Friel)

Joel Osteen a Consultant on Bible Miniseries

Roma Downey on Being Catholic

The History Channel’s Bible Miniseries Mishandling of God’s Word (Mike Ratliff)

Touched By An Angel, But Which Kind? (Berit Kjos)

The Bible Miniseries Board of Advisors

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Former SGM Founder Brent Detwiler Interviewed About Class Action Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Posted by Christine Pack

As recently reported here, Brent Detwiler, one of the Sovereign Grace Ministries founders, has called for prominent Christian leaders to separate from Sovereign Grace Ministries pastor C.J. Mahaney due to an ongoing sex abuse class action lawsuit that has been brought against Sovereign Grace Ministries. Some of the leaders Detwiler has called upon to separate from Mahaney are John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Paige Patterson and Ed Stetzer. John Piper, however, and perhaps in response to this exhortation from Detwiler, made a public show of his ongoing support for Mahaney by recently preaching at a Sovereign Grace Ministries plant, where he made this statement:
“I chose to be here. Nobody forced me.......(Mahaney's) a pretty persuasive guy, but I really, really wanted to be here, and therefore the opportunity arose and I snatched it, and I’m thankful for it.” (online source)
Former SGM leader Brent Detwiler was recently interviewed on the Janet Mefferd radio show regarding the class action suit against SGM. That interview can be listened to in its entirety here.

I would like to point out that this is not a situation of one, two or three cases......this is a class action lawsuit, involving many different families. And also, the issue is not over insignificant matters (i.e., administrative issues). These are situations involving children alleged to have been sexually molested. Having watched, as an unbeliever, while the Roman Catholic Church attempted for decades to veil their in-house attempts to "handle" the rampant pedophilia within their ranks, it is my desire, at the very minimum, that leaders known to have close connections with Mahaney to at least publicly urge for transparency as this case moves forward. I'm not in any way asserting that Sovereign Grace is an organization filled with covered up cases of pedophilia, but at the same time, shouldn't SGM/Mahaney be seeking to be as transparent as possible? And giving more information, rather than less? One would think so, but in reality, SGM is claiming, according to Christianity Today, that the courts should not be "second-guessing" their in-house handling of these cases. In my opinion, SGM/Mahaney are being hurt, not helped, by their strategy to claim infringement of First Amendment rights in the handling of these sex abuse cases:
"SGM believes that allowing courts to second-guess pastoral guidance would represent a blow to the First Amendment that would hinder, not help, families seeking spiritual direction among other resources in dealing with the trauma related to any sin including child sexual abuse," Tommy Hill, SGM's director of administration, said in a November 14 statement. (online source)
It also seems clear to me that Mahaney's Christian brothers have an obligation to exhort their friend and brother in Christ to do the right thing in this matter. Perhaps they are doing this privately, but my wish is that this would be done publicly as well, as this is a public court case being played out for all the world to see. I certainly think that Mahaney's brothers in Christ could strike the right note of biblical hopefulness ("Love hopes all things" 1 Cor 13:7), while at the same time exhorting Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries to biblical honesty and transparency.

I recognize that false accusers can form class action lawsuits. I also understand from Scripture that there will come a time when the whole world will turn against Christianity, and I suspect that there will likely be court cases involved in how that plays out. I do get that. For instance, I observe a growing hostility against Christians who won't accept the same sex marriage agenda or the push to normalize the LGBT community, with media reports that portray Christians as bigoted, homophobic, unloving, intolerant, etc., etc. I am also observing a growing hostility against homeschooling because the secular humanists seem to grasp that many of those holding out against the secular agenda are within that community. So I suspect that there will be lawsuits along those lines in the coming months and years as this world, and our country, spiral deeper and deeper into depravity (see Romans 1:18-32). With all this in mind, and knowing that the world is watching, I think this matter with Sovereign Grace Ministries/CJ Mahaney could and should be handled in such a way that we give the benefit of the doubt, and yet also give a clear call for transparency.


 Additional Resources 

Lawsuit Claims Sovereign Grace Ministries Concealed Sex Abuse

SGM - Updated Statement on Reported Lawsuit

Sovereign Grace Ministries: In Sex Abuse Case, Courts Shouldn't "Second Guess" SGM's Pastoral Counseling

Sovereign Grace Ministries: Courts Shouldn't 'Second-Guess' Pastoral Counseling of Sex Abuse Victims

SGM Leader Mark Prater Gives A Talk That Is Symptomatic of Unhealthy SGM Leadership

Mahaney Gets Support From John Piper

2/28/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Former SGM Founder Brent Detwiler About The Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit

1/18/13 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Attorney Bill O’Neil About the Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit

10/18/2012 - Janet Mefferd Interviews Attorney Susan Burke About Lawsuit Against Sovereign Grace Ministries ("I don't know how long evangelicalism can ignore this problem.")

Flagship Churches Prepare To Leave As Lawsuit Charges C.J. Mahaney's Sovereign Grace Ministries With Covering Up Child Sex Abuse

Copy of Lawsuit Filed Against Sovereign Grace Ministries