Sunday, July 10, 2011

When a Human Goes Down?

I wasn't actually going to comment on the C J Mahaney situation other than post the official statement I did. Funnily enough I don't have any gripe with SGM since my meeting with the Bristol pastors and the wonderful time that was. I've been enjoying forgiveness and it's wonderful release - so other than a mild interest and the denomination that my family are in, I was done! I haven't got involved in the length discussions on SGM Survivors and Refuge - many of them are feeling a sense of real vindication as could be expected.

But I was contacted quite rudely by a member of Christchurch Newport, who "was asked" to tell me to take down the link on my Facebook and essentially mind my own business - I had nothing to do with C J Mahaney and clearly had no business having an opinion or posting it. (By the way - my only comment on the link was "Interesting"). I was - to say the least - insulted that whoever had instructed this member (I have my suspicions) thinks that simply because of a few meetings last year I can be now told what to do.

So I thought I WOULD post some thoughts (only some).

First and foremost the leak of a massive collection of documents (allegedly by Brent Detweiler - although he has confirmed his authorship on his Facebook page) has been the source of the interest in the blogging world. I should state I have taken it with a pinch of salt because the documents have been leaked - and there is no confirmation from Brent himself that they are from him. However (thanks to my express reading) I have read them and like Julie (my fellow ex-SGM friend) found them interesting and saddening.

Points of interest:

1. Confirmation that C J Mahaney really did change his theology on the baptism of the Holy Spirit when the "Modification" note was produced by Jeff Purswell. According to the papers by Brent - (page 122 on Response regarding Friendship and Doctrine); Mahaney thought; "scholars for the Pentecostal position are much weaker". This surprised me as I had always been under the impression from tapes I have heard that Brent was by far the strongest theological member of the apostolic team.

Although Mahaney told Brent that this was a personal conclusion reached in 2007 - Brent wrote that he came under pressure as the only member of the apostolic team who held to a Pentecostal/Charismatic position. The other members (such as Dave Harvey) seemed to follow Mahaney suit. I suspected this when I read the Purswell paper but was assured by SGM members frequently that Mahaney was "truly charismatic". Seemed so familiar to our home church experience in Dunstable.

2. Treatment of Larry Tomczak (p1333 of Concluding Remarks). Again assuming that this paper is genuinely from Brent - I was quite horrified (as were many) to read that Mahaney threatened Larry with revealing past sin told in confidence to him by Larry's son Justin. This blackmail brought back hideous memories of the threats made to me when I attempted to leave Grace Church in Bristol - that all pastors would be written to and told of the sins I confessed. I can see now why Peter Greasley would have instructed this action.

However those two points of interest aside, here's what really occured to me;

a. C J Mahaney is really blessed by God to have a friend like Brent Detweiler. If the man has gone to this effort to care for Mahaney's soul then indeed "faithful are the wounds of a friend". I have always been taught that a friend is far more worthy if he is prepared to offend, rather than be surrounded by "yes" men who pamper egos and never say "No".

b. C J Mahaney is human. Does the revelation of these sins bother me or surprise me? Other than he is responsible for thousands of people in SGM and the concern for them - no. He has always said; "He is the vilest of all sinners" - so can it be a surprise if he is proven to be a sinner? I won't write Mahaney off because of this - and do actually respect him greatly for finally stepping down to examine his soul (although my prayer for him is that he would finally discover the glorious grace of God and find that his sins were indeed TRULY dealt with at the Cross!).

c. Will I judge Mahaney because of this? No - because I'm was a sinner too so how can I?

My only prayer is that this won't damage the faith of Mahaney fans who truly have idolised the man. I know how painful it is - many of us idolised Stanley Jebb in Dunstable and were deeply hurt by his change of doctrine on the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1997 and subsequent migration to cessationism. It is hard when you realise your idols have feet of clay! I honestly do hope and pray that God uses this to His glory and brings true humility to the Mahaney family and indeed the whole of SGM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deeply agree with all the above. The downplaying of C J's sin (over and above his so-called "humility") is in fact noted in Brent's paper in an email WRITTEN by the SGM Board:

"We believe C.J.‘s sins were serious, especially for a man in his position" - (p57 of Concluding Remarks)