C.J. Manhaney Taking a Leave of Absence to Address His Sin

I’m a member of a Sovereign Grace church, so this announcement from C.J. Mahaney was of particular interest to me:

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.

I believe God is kindly disciplining me through this. I believe I have by the grace of God perceived a degree of my sin, and I have been grieved by my sin and its effects on others.  I have had the opportunity to confess my sin to some of those affected in various ways by my sin. And I am so very grateful for their forgiveness.  But I want to perceive and confess any and all sin I have committed.  [...]

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.

There have been rumors swirling around for years about top-level leadership at Sovereign Grace.  From how the Tomczak’s were treated, to the accusations made by the numerous people who currently maintain anti-Sovereign Grace websites, to the purported railroading of Brent Detwiler.  And most of those accusations have in common that people were treated in a high-handed, authoritarian way which resulted in covering up sin and in face-saving for the men at the top.  Based on C.J.’s announcement and the follow up from Dave Harvey – who is also accused of treating others similarly – at least some of those accusations seem to be acknowledged as true.

This announcement comes on the heels of some leaked documents purportedly written by Brent Detwiler*, which if true, serve as a very damning indictment of Sovereign Grace leadership – especially when taken together with the other reports.  If Mahaney comes back in a month with a “nothing to see here, citizens” message, I will be very disappointed and I will unfortunately conclude that nothing much has changed; that the leave of absence was entirely damage control from the leaked documents. But if this is a turning point where some real repentance is going to take place, and processes established to prevent this sort of behavior from ever happening again, then that’s wonderful and I will be thrilled.

Even when assuming the very worst about C.J. Mahaney, I am encouraged. If all the accusations are true, and yet God was still able to use someone engaging in “pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy” to do so much to grow His kingdom, then there may yet be hope for me.


*I think it’s pretty unlikely someone’s going to write  500+ pages as part of a hoax, but I’m not linking those documents until/unless they are confirmed as real.  Confirmed, by both C.J. Mahaney and Brent Detwiler (in a footnote). Here is the full set of documents – over 600 pages. I’ve read them all over the last few days.  I will also note that Mahaney admits to “coercing” Larry Tomczak, which is consistent with Tomczak’s earlier claim that Mahaney “blackmailed” him by threatening to “go national” with information from a private counseling session with Tomczak’s son. That is also substantiated in Brent Detwiler’s comprehensive documentation – evidently SGM sought legal advice and were told in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths shut about info revealed by a minor in a counseling session.  The fact that SGM sought legal advice and were evidently ready to proceed is quite damning.


  1. TimothyJ says:

    Laura: The Apostle Paul gave some good advice when he basically said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We often get turned aside by following people who fail to follow Christ. But we must see through the ensnarement of the devil who would love us to follow people and forget about following Christ. Holiness demands sinlessness. God said that “without holiness no man shall see God. When we come up short, as we often seem to do, we must put our eyes back on Christ and His life and then make right our broken relationships with others.