July 13, 2011 by
I'm posting the statement below on behalf of our board of directors.
Last week we announced that C.J. Mahaney would be taking a temporary leave of absence from his position as President of Sovereign Grace Ministries. This leave was intended to create a fair and open process of evaluation for C.J. and the ministry and was not intended to be disciplinary. We assumed that the charges against him would remain private and that following the evaluation period, we would be able to announce publicly an independent evaluation panel's findings.
Since our announcement Brent Detwiler sent his accusations against C.J. and Sovereign Grace to all Sovereign Grace pastors. His material has also been published on the internet. Brent sent his material to the Sovereign Grace pastors despite repeated appeals that he engage C.J. and Sovereign Grace through the agency of an independent mediator, and if he refused to do that, to simply meet with an independent evaluation panel so they could examine his charges without C.J. or Sovereign Grace present to respond.
In light of the fact that C.J. has now been publicly accused with no opportunity to defend himself, the board of Sovereign Grace has made the following resolutions.
1. That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees (a) to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations and (b) to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges—is unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process for a qualified minister of the gospel (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20, Proverbs 25:9).
2. That Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.
3. That the board of Sovereign Grace Ministries has reviewed Brent Detwiler’s documents accusing C.J. Mahaney of sinful practices in the conduct of his ministry and finds no reason at this time to deem him unfit for ministry. However, the board will reevaluate Mahaney’s fitness after receiving formal evaluation of the accusations lodged against him (see below). The board acknowledges that sins have been committed but also recognizes and appreciates Mahaney’s eagerness to confess sins, pursue reconciliation with Detwiler, and pursue personal holiness and growth as a minister.
4. That C.J. Mahaney is a qualified minister of the gospel and this board approves his pastoral and teaching ministry in Sovereign Grace and the wider body of Christ.
5. That Sovereign Grace Ministries will engage a process of evaluation regarding CJ Mahaney's fitness for ministry.
A preliminary panel will examine confessions that Mahaney has already made to determine if at present he is qualified to be a pastor and the president of Sovereign Grace. In light of the public defamation of his character, this is to be done with all deliberate speed. The board deems this preliminary panel necessary to show that while it has concluded that Mahaney is fit for ministry, other temporary outside evaluation is necessary either to lend credibility to its assessment or to make changes this panel deems necessary.
A second panel will commence work concurrent with the first. It will consist of members of an independent conciliation ministry with no ties to Sovereign Grace. This panel will create a process for examination of the outstanding charges against Mahaney and create and lead a process for a fair hearing of those charges to determine if they are true or false. The board will then seek review and comment from qualified pastors with a good reputation in the body of Christ who are not directly associated with the ministry. The board will then make a determination of appropriate action in light of the panel's findings and the advice of the above pastors.
Dave, Aron, Craig, Jeff, John, Mark, Mickey, Pete, Rick, and Steve
Addendum from John Loftness:
A lot of you are asking why resolutions #4 and #5 seem different. In #4 the board wanted us to know that from what they know of C.J.'s sins and leadership failures, they don't consider him disqualified from any ministry. They thought they had to make a statement about that so no one misunderstood. In #5, they're saying that they recognize that their conclusion about C.J. at this point may not be credible to some, so they want a preliminary panel to look at what C.J. has already confessed to see if they agree or not. The board believes that if any disciplinary action is to take place, it should come only after the full period of evaluation. Before that they want C.J. to serve.