Sunday, March 22, 2009

CJ Mahaney - The Cup of Christ

This is a great video by CJ Mahaney. He is a motivating speaker, who will motivate anyone to experience the power of the cross in a more deeper and intimate way. His passion for the gospel is definitely reflected in this video. Enjoy with an open heart.


Steve said...

Have you seen the following blogs about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads:

They tell of another side.

Hope this helps.

Joshua said...

I don't know where to start by to say that I am not that stupid. I have to research things out before I believe something is true. I am truly an analytical person. CJ's passion for the gospel is unbelievably moving. Have you ever listened to any of His sermons? I have listened to a myriad of his sermons and he is biblically sound each time. The cross is the center point of his life. You should come to the Resolved Conference in Palm Springs, CA. He is speaking there with John MacArthur, Rick Holland, Steve Lawson, and John Piper. These are great bible teachers. I love John Piper as well. They all have one common goal in mind. The Gospel and the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Jesus Christ should be number one in your life or you cannot get in line and follow after Christ. quoted by Steve Lawson at the Resolved Conference 2007.

What is your main problem with Reformed Calvinism? Sin, Human Depravity, Justification, Glorification. I would like to know. The Bible makes the clear argument for Reformed Calvinism. What are you anyways? I would like it if you started that blog on the problems of Calvinism (past the first post). I would really appreciate it. Thank you for your comment Steve.

In Christ,
Joshua :)

Steve said...


It is good that you check things out for yourself. You asked a couple of questions.

Regarding C.J. Mahaney

I have heard C.J. Mahaney speak many times. I will admit that he has great speaking skills. He certainly knows how to get the audiences attention etc. Few match him. Of course people can have eloquent speaking skills but be quite off from the truth (not saying Mahaney is quite off).

At least some question why both C.J. and the group he leads remains solely focused on the cross and seeming to ignore the resurrection and new heart that God has promised to give us. Some have even asked whether his growing up with an alcoholic father plays into his seeming to ignore the Father heart of God.

I would also say that in my experience C.J. Mahaney is more a reader of books and various men's thoughts vs. a studier of Scripture. You don't hear him talk of deep study of the word of God using various tools such Greek/Hebrew helps to better understand the original intent of the scripture.

The blogs I posted talk mostly about repeated instances of abuse occurring in the group that C.J. Mahaney leads and that is more my concern. These reports which are similar in nature are reported happening at multiple Sovereign Grace Ministries Churches. It would be one thing if these reports were just at a few of their churches but is more of an issue when it is widespread as it appears to be.

If you spend much time reading the blogs entries and comments you will see what I mean.

On the subject of Calvinism, I don't believe in Calvinism but that isn't my issue with Sovereign Grace Ministries as much as how they blindly moved their group to this belief and this apparently being the main reason the other founder of the group, Larry Tomczak, was forced out of the group.

From what I can see, SGM moved towards Calvinism without being upfront about the change to their members. I also doubt that many in SGM really know what Calvinism (pretty much synonymous with "sovereign grace") stands. Many there don't seem to know that it means that man has no choice in regard to salvation and that God elects some to salvation and reprobates others.

There also appears to between what they say they believe about "sovereign grace"/Calvinism and their actions. One example is holding leaders accountable for the actions of their adult children such as having them step down due to an adult child's actions. If one believes in Calvinism, then why wouldn't one just accept that these children may be reprobated or their time of "election" hasn't happened yet.

Hopefully this at least is a good start at answering your questions.

Josh said...

Thank you for posting this video.
I was very touched by his passionate message.

Thank you Jesus...


Joshua said...

Hey Steve,
What is your definition of a cult? On your blog, you seem to think that Sovereign Grace is a cult. I would like to know your definition of a cult. Thanks Steve.

In Christ Alone,
Joshua :)

P.S. I will definitely look into what you have to say.

Steve said...


Which blog are you considering mine? The links I listed above are for blogs moderated by others.

On the blog the moderator recently posted that she goes back and forth in her thoughts about deciding if she feels Sovereign Grace Ministries is or isn't a cult.

I am glad you are willing to look into what I have to say and am glad that you are willing to dialogue with me on this.


'becca said...

Hey Joshua,

I have been planning to read the LOTR books. I know they are really good because I read the Hobbit and enjoyed it. But I tryed to read the other ones and just could not get into them. But that was a while ago, so I am planning to try again. No, I have not seen the movies and was planning to wait until I had read the books to see them. Yeah, they proboly would not be good for my little brother, he will have to wait to see them. But I have heard that they are really good, so after I read the books I am planning on seeing them. I have a friend who has them, so I can borrow them. Thank you for commenting on blog, I get a lot of encouragement from your comments. Thank you!!!


Joshua said...

I have looked, contemplated, reflected on what you have had to say for a couple weeks now.

First of all, regarding CJ Mahaney. In your second comment, you say that he remains solely focused on the cross. Yes, he does. But Why? It is the main essential of our faith. He follows the biblical standards of 1 Corinthians 2:2 which is "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Before that a few verses 1 Corinthians 1:22-23 says, "For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles." CJ's main goal is to preach out the main tenant of our faith-- the gospel.

The other thing is that you think CJ doesn't talk about the Father heart of God. You should listen to him more closely then. In a sermon he preached last year at the Resolved Conference, he talked about the adoption of the Father in adopting us as his sons-- heirs to Christ. You should listen to it. It is excellent. You can get it at the Resolved Conference site at CJ's 1st sermon.

The other thing that you say is that he seems to ignore the resurrection. Yes and No. What he does is take it a step further? We are going to see Jesus face to face in heaven with our new immaculate robes because he shed his blood for us. If Jesus is alive, there has to have been a resurrection. If Jesus isn't alive, he is still dead in the garden tomb. It is pure logic. I also have heard him talk about the resurrection a couple of times, but you are right, he rarely talks about it like 'Jesus is risen.' I bet he does on Easter Sunday or during a prayer maybe. Who knows? I don't know CJ and have never heard him talk about the resurrection of Christ, but I believe he must have some sermon on the resurrection from his past.

Do you know CJ very well? It seems like you do from your experience of CJ more of a reader of books than a studier of Scripture. I have one suggestion. Listen to the Suffering Servant sermon. If you have, listen to it again carefully. He expounds Isaiah 53. I have listened to that sermon many times and I am always overwhelmed by the love that Jesus has for me. How he can save a wretch like me? Don't understand it, but I know that he loves me. I take great comfort in that.

Oh yeah, he uses the Greek in the adoption sermon as well. Just had to throw that in there.

Second of all, regarding the issue of Sovereign Grace being a cult. You have in the labels of your blog, sovereign grace being a cult. It says Sovereign Grace Ministries cult on your past two blog posts. You added that in there because.... I don't know what else to say Steve, but to clear that up by being on one side or the other.

Also, the moderator of the blog doesn't know whether Sovereign grace is or isn't a cult. She flip flops back and forth. Steve, come on. Sovereign Grace either is or isn't a cult. You cannot be flip flopping back and forth deciding whether Sovereign Grace is or isn't a cult. It also isn't whether she feels like it is a cult. It is a cult or it isn't a cult. Simple as that.

Thirdly, the issue of leadership in the church. You want to know what. I totally agree with you. Titus 1 talks about the qualifications of eldership. Titus 1:5-6 says, "This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--- if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchary or insubordination."

The greek word for children is in the plural form and it is teknon. Teknon only applies to children living at home and still under their father's authority.

Adult children are not applicable. Adult children are under God's authority. They are not under there earthly father's authority anymore. You cannot hold leadership accountable for an adult child's action, but you can hold leadership accountable for a young child's repeated actions. If the child still under his father's authority repeats a sin over and over and over and over and over again. Then, you are doing something wrong at home and the leader should step down.

I know what your retaliation argument is going to be. Well, the adult child was probably rebellious under his earthly father's authority as a child and he should have stepped down then. Well at that time, he should have stepped down, if... A Big IF.... the child was repeating that sin over and over again during his earthly father's tenure of authority over him. That will remain to be unseen. Only God knows that. We don't, so the best thing to do is stop worrying about it and arguing over if he did repeat sins under his father's authority.

Lastly, the main thing that should be at the focus of all our lives is the gospel. The main essential of our faith. If CJ was not preaching the gospel, I would have a problem with SGM and would consider SGM as a cult. But in the overall scheme of things, CJ faithfully preaches the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. A man, who preaches any other gospel than Jesus Christ and him crucified, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8). In my book, a man or denomination that preaches some other gospel is a cult. I don't have any other words, but to say that CJ is a preacher of the one true gospel and nothing is going to hold him back. NOTHING IS GOING TO HOLD ME BACK AS WELL.

Steve, you have seen my heart on this issue that you feel is correct and fine. I don't think that it is fine to bash CJ. CJ didn't even do anything much less do anything bad to you. Josh Harris and CJ Mahaney are cults based upon sovereign grace leadership issues and abuses. Abuses nearly happen in every church. Most of them, people never hear about. The key is that we are all sinners. Things will happen. Churches are never perfect. If you are trying to find a perfect church, you have to wait until heaven. It is interesting that people are starting to come up and bash SGM and their churches. I find that to be very un-Christ like for people who are the body of Christ. CJ, Josh, and the group God leads; all preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. I have no problem with that and nobody should have any problems with that.

You have heard me out Steve. If you have any questions or comments, I will be glad to hear them.

In Christ,
Joshua :)

Joshua said...

In my final sentence, I have no problem with that and nobody should have any problems with that.

With those who are in Christ. People, who don't believe, could care less about God.

Layman Pastor said...

CJ Mahaney is one of my very favorite preachers, and I'm glad you're aware of the Resolved conference this summer! It's always a time of amazing teaching.

As for the controversy, any church that practices church discipline will typically become the target of complaints. I will not speak to the validity of those complaints, since I have no personal knowledge and since any ideal that is executed by imperfect and sinful men is certainly subject to error. I do rejoice, however, that in the end the Pastors and leaders will be held to a higher standard of accountability per James 3:1, and ultimately the Lord will judge their works, and reward or not, vindicate or not, as He chooses.

Steve said...

First I would say that I am glad you have done some contemplation and reflection on this as you indicated you have.

Many comment that SGM and Mahaney almost ignore that Christ arose from the dead.

One big issue I have seen is that SGM including Mahaney seem to be so focused on what they call “indwelling sin” and how the heart is “sick” written about in Jeremiah but ignore the sections in Jeremiah where it talks about God giving us a new heart to please God etc.

This is great now if Mahaney has recently moved toward teaching on the father heart of God. He certainly has neglected this in the past. Giving one or a few messages doesn’t mean that this corrects his past emphasis and imbalance that I have seen.
Have you seen the trailer for this year’s Resolved Conference. Mahaney is indicating that “we” are (present tense) haters and enemies of God? That certainly speaks of something else other than adoption.

You might want to take a look at Kris’s experience on the blog about her experience on Easter Sunday at the SGM Church she attended. The resurrection even then wasn’t emphasized. It was certainly a different Easter experience than one would normally expect.
I am sure you can find exceptions to where Mahaney has taught from scripture and even analyzed it. What you cite appears to be one. That doesn’t mean that what I have said isn’t true. I am glad that he taught from scripture in this case and appeared to have studied it for himself vs. quoting from books.

I am not sure where you get the idea that just because I have a search label with the term sgm cult that I am saying it is a cult. This label allows one that wants to search using that terminology for it to show up under an internet search.
I also don’t know why feel there can’t be a grey area between a group being a hard core cult and not. SGM certainly has some cult like characteristics from what I have seen but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a full blown cult. I am sure that is why the moderator goes back and forth on the issue. If it was a full blown cult then the problems with the group would be more obvious.

It sounds like we are in agreement with children vs. adult children of pastors. As children become of age I don’t see why parents of adult children should be held accountable (such as dropping from leadership) due to their adult children’s actions. I just see an inconsistency with SGM supposedly being Calvinistic which indicates God only chooses some for salvation and their expectation that all of their children will be saved.

I am not sure why you think just because Mahaney is preaching the gospel there still can’t be problems with his Church. I also question your easy acceptance of abuse within Sovereign Grace Ministries. Yes some abuse is going to happen in most churches but just the number of cases of abuse that one hears is certainly not acceptable. These numbers of cases indicate that there must be some type of cultural issue causing these problems.

Sadly with all that is reported on these blogs I shared and the attention they are getting, there appears to be little soul searching on the part of SGM.

It is also sad when you hear how SGM rarely if ever indicates and confesses the mistakes they have made. They may change their policy but they won’t come out and admit what they have done wrong.

One example of this is what recently has been discussed the SGM Chesapeake Church. The leaders there were forcing various married women to stay in abusive situations with their husband and even threatening church discipline on these women. Now they are changing their policy on this supposedly. The change might be good but unfortunately these pastors aren’t standing up and admitting their past mistakes to either the congregation or the women they were trying to force stay in abusive situations.

Did you also hear the case of a 3 year old girl being molested in the Fairfax SGM Church and the contempt the leadership seems to show toward the little girl's parents and how they trivialized what the boy did? That is quite a sad case. They also allowed this boy after knowing he was a confirmed child molester to serve in children's ministry.

It sounds like your mind is pretty well made up on with regard to Mahaney and SGM, so I am not sure what else I can share with you on this.

Steve said...


If you want to talk about Mahaney and his study of Greek, you might find how he teaches Hebrews 13 where it talks about "submitting" to leaders. Mahaney appears to have no knowledge of what the words mean in the Greek.

Joshua said...

Layman Pastor,
I totally agree with everything that you said. Keep on faithfully preaching the gospel brother. You know what. It was my first time going to the Resolved Conference last year and I couldn't get enough of it. I am going again this year and can't wait to hear the great lineup of preachers again. It is going to be a great time.

In Christ Brother,
Joshua :)

Joshua said...

Yes, I did hear the resolved conference trailer again and CJ does talk about present tense: we are haters of God, enemies of God... It goes back to the issue of total depravity. I won't argue with you on that because it would be nonsense arguing over a complex biblical idea that has many sides too it. Most of all Steve, I don't want to sow discord among the brothers. The main essential of the faith, the gospel, should be every Christian's goal and if that is not your goal, that is sad. Arguing over the non-essentials is not going to get us anywhere. Calvinism is definitely a non-essential and so is many other biblical ideas. Steve, if you want to continue to go on with this. Go ahead. I am done and I am sorry for anything that I said that may have offended you. Thank you Steve for your time and I will be praying for you.

In Christ,
Joshua :)

Steve said...


Why are these pastors that even like to describe themselves as "imperfect" never willing to admit their imperfections? Surely mistakes will be made but why can't these leaders admit them?


Layman Pastor said...

Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. To answer your question, I'm sure many Pastors and leaders DO admit when they're wrong. In most cases, when that happens, I have to believe there is forgiveness, reconciliation, and joyful restoration. For every 10 church discipline cases, I'm confident at least 9 are resolved long before the final step.

Unfortunately, most of those successful resolutions don't generate the same type of controversy or attention that even a single unresolved dispute does. So even if supposed mistakes are corrected 95% of the time, we'd probably never know it.

When you have unresolved disputes, however, you often have one party proclaiming its own righteousness very loudly. And that party can often sound very convincing, because after all, Proverbs 18:17 states, "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him."

But the other party being accused often has nothing to say at all. Perhaps that's because they don't want to stoke the controversy, or they trust the Lord to vindicate, or they want to foster unity, or they want to remain humble and silent and slow to speak. Or perhaps it's because there are legal ramifications, and they are concerned that even though they might obey 1 Cor. 6, the complaining party might not.

These are all possible motivations. And these are all generalizations, that is also very true.

Yet more often than not, that is the pattern I see. For me, it's often like Solomon and the baby, the party willing to let it go is the one who is right.

Just some thoughts. Again, I am not passing judgment on any specific case. I am only speaking to what I've seen, and the behavior I've often witnessed by both the more sanctified and the less sanctified.

Joshua, when the day gets closer, hit me up and maybe we can meet, I know a ton of people who are going and I'd be happy to introduce you around. E-mail's on my profile.

Steve said...

Layman Pastor

It seems like you are trying to categorize all these reports of "abuse" on the 2 blogs I cited as being due to church discipline (using the Mathew 18 principle approach).

Realize that in a number of the abuse cases it wasn't church discipline. Many report that SGM leadership tell various members that they need to find another church and essentially band them from participating in SGM without going through a Mathew 18 process. Thus I would be careful of how you appear to want to dismiss these reports as all having to do with people not liking church discipline.

Some report being slandered and lies spread about them after they decided to leave a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church.

Many report that the leaders within Sovereign Grace Ministries put on a facade of being approachable but when a member tries to approach a leader the leader usually turns the table on the member. The leader points out that the person has a wrong attitude etc.

From what I can see, SGM is a conformance demanding group. One gets in trouble when they don't "tow" the SGM line on things and/or if they question things. That is what most on these blogs report. It is as if there is something wrong with questioning.

These blogs have been a source of healing for a number of people. Many who have left SGM Churches under bad conditions had no idea that there were a number of others who had experienced something similar.

Your mind is pretty much made up on wanting to excuse any reports of abuse and control that is reported going on within Sovereign Grace Ministries. I am not sure that I can tell you anything to make you consider that there are real problems in the group.


Layman Pastor said...

"Your mind is pretty much made up on wanting to excuse any reports of abuse and control that is reported going on within Sovereign Grace Ministries."

Is your mind any less made up, Steve? Once again, I'm not passing judgment on any specific situation. That's not my place, especially since I am only hearing one side of it. I am simply speaking generally as to any situation when you have one party attacking another party who is remaining silent. Especially when the silent party is diligent in proclaiming the Gospel.

"I am not sure that I can tell you anything to make you consider that there are real problems in the group."

Oh, I have no doubt there are real problems in the group. Any institution run by sinful human beings is going to have real problems, and errors, and mistakes.

But SGM is a large ministry that many people love, and no one is holding a gun to anyone's head, forcing them to remain. And even if the very worst of the worst of what you are claiming is true (which I am not at all conceding), CJ Mahaney and a number of others associated with SGM are proclaiming the Gospel, loud and clear and Biblically.

Paul himself speaks on this in Phil. 1:15-18. "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice."

For those seeking temporal justice, I suppose that is their prerogative, but in the end, God will vindicate -- or not -- as He chooses. Regardless, what I see is a ministry proclaiming the Gospel, and for that I rejoice, just as Paul did even when he was being subjected to slander from all sides.