November 28, 2011 by
That's the big question, isn't it? How is Sovereign Grace's board handling the allegations that Brent Detwiler has brought against C.J. Mahaney? We know that you care about this a lot. We also care about this a lot, and we are taking Brent’s allegations seriously. We don’t want to ignore the many accusations that now sit in the public mind. We want to get this right. Brent's documents require impartial examination and C.J. deserves a fair hearing.
So with the help of Ted Kober from Ambassadors of Reconciliation and under the direction of an independent facilitator named Bryce Thomas, we've set up the following process (I realize that this is a lot of info, but we believe that it's important, so please stay with me).
Three evaluation committees
Three committees have been formed, each one responsible for answering one key question established by the independent facilitator. The first committee will answer the question: Was Larry Tomzak's departure from Sovereign Grace Ministries handled properly? The second committee will answer the question: Did C.J. Mahaney wrongly influence the dismissal of Brent Detwiler from his church in Mooresville, NC? The third committee will answer the question: Was C.J. Mahaney's participation in fellowship in 2003 and 2004, including the giving and receiving of correction, in keeping with the teaching of Scripture?
Each committee has been directed to determine three things:
- What happened?
- What is the significance of what happened?
- What should the Sovereign Grace board do based upon the panel's findings?
In their evaluation, each of the committees is able to look at any evidence and call any witnesses without restrictions. The facilitator will oversee each panel to certify that all evidence was heard and considered in accordance with standard rules of evidence.
Each of the committees will prepare a report that will contain recommendations for the SGM board. We will publish the unedited reports after the board has reviewed them and written its own response to them. Since the committees have until December 13 to produce the reports, the board will likely wait until January to release them.
Composition of the committees
Each committee is made up of two pastors from within SGM and one member of the SGM board. Both AOR and the facilitator recommended a panel of three and affirmed this composition. Under the facilitator's direction, the board established the following qualifications for those serving on the review committees. Each member must:
- Be an ordained pastor in SGM
- Have at least five years of ministry experience
- Have demonstrated wisdom and discernment in the past
- Have a reputation for being trustworthy
- Have no prior involvement in any of the issues at stake
Additionally, the SGM board members serving on the committees were required to have board terms beginning in 2011, and to have not served on the previous SGM board.
Members of each committee were selected by the board in line with those qualifications.
Just a few thoughts. Is this a perfect process? No, of course not. We never could come up with a perfect process. But we believe that this is a fair, impartial process. The fact that it has been endorsed by both the independent facilitator and the team from AOR gives us confidence that the questions before each panel will be answered fairly and judiciously.
Of course, ultimately our hope is not in a process, but in Jesus. He is more committed to truth and righteousness and justice than anyone else. We want the truth to be known. But if our hope is ultimately in a committee or in a process, we're going to be disappointed. That's why our hope is in Christ, who is building the church and will continue to build the church. So please pray with us he will accomplish much good for our family of churches through the work of these panels.