It looks like the wagons are circling… around C.J. Mahaney. The Sovereign Grace Board of Directors seems peeved that Brent Detwiler’s documents were leaked, and responded accordingly. And, in my view, disingenuously.
They accuse Detwiler of “public slander.” Ironic, given that Brent Detwiler remained publicly silent for several years while Sovereign Grace leadership told people that Brent’s “disqualifying sins” were addressed for many years. (Contra much praise and good employee evaluations.) Brent writes on p. 129 of his document Part 1 – Response Regarding Friendship & Doctrine:
I have never shared the detailed concerns in this response with anyone. I‘ve only shared my experiences in general with a handful of people. When I was involved in Sovereign Grace it was a joyful challenge to cover your sins, protect your reputation and celebrate your strengths. Your strengths touched and benefitted my life in many ways.
In contradistinction, people are now being told that my “disqualifying” sins have been addressed for many years. That they are long term. This is unjust. The first time you raised any concerns (i.e., the church planting proposal, sending Nick Swan to the Pastors College) was at the team retreat in June of 2006. People are being mislead and it is intentional. 218
Endnote 218:For instance, this lie was told to all the Care Group leaders in Grace Community Church by Dave andGene during a secret phone call I knew nothing about on June 4, 2007. People like Larry Malament also passed on this fabrication to others. It had a terrible effect upon people including close friends. Of course, you didn‘t address this illustration.
This situation is bad and getting worse because it appears that SGM is trying to spin it. Of course, a lengthy, detailed, compelling case like the one Detwiler has made makes it easy to demonize C.J. Mahaney. (Which, I would like to note, Detwiler has not done – after reading the documents in their entirety, I believe Detwiler has tried his best to act as a friend to Mahaney and genuinely seeks his good in holding him accountable to standards that Mahaney not only approves, but has not hesitated to apply to others.) The fact is that C.J. Mahaney is a flawed, sinful human being, who was given a huge amount of responsibility and evidently didn’t live up to it. (Wow, that’s never happened before.) At the same time, he has done much to advance the gospel. For example, while it seems ironic in the extreme that he wrote the book Humility: True Greatness while apparently evading humble accountability at every turn, that doesn’t change the words in the book and the beneficial effect they have had on thousands of people. No, that doesn’t excuse anything. I’m just suggesting we keep the Big Picture in mind.
Before this is all over, I’m cynically sure we’ll hear a lot about Brent Detwiler’s sins, and probably directly or indirectly from men in Sovereign Grace leadership. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that every bit of it is true. It still will not erase the damning words in C.J. Mahaney, Dave Harvey, and other SGM leader’s own email trails.
At this point, we need transparency, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it. I pray that I’m wrong.