Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sovereign Grace Ministries, C J Mahaney and Where Are We Now?

I thought it time to post an update on my current thinking on SGM, their problems and the leadership issues that continue to beset them.  Brent Detwiler - exiled former apostle/leader - continues to faithfully (and one must admire his dogged determination to hold them to the facts of history) call SGM to account.  C J Mahaney and his elite close band seem to do all they can to evade honest response and engage in dubious behaviour such as rapidly transferring church membership (breaking previous teaching that church membership was a life-long commitment) and suddenly a Louisville church plant is planned.

I admit first and foremost I have lost a great deal of interest in the back and forth of the politics.  The SGM critics (and they are many) are keeping up their commentary and criticism.  The C J Mahaney stronghold are doing their admirable best to ignore the critique, rebuff it and move forward relentlessly and presumably "hope it blows over".  And for my own sanity - I realised I had to let SGM go to a degree.  By the grace of God I sorted out my personal excommunication with the local leaders and was hugely encouraged by personal promises from the local UK leaders that they did not and would not engage in the authoritarian practices seen in the USA under the Mahaney regime.  My family seem safe - and that is all that matters to me.

But decisions seem to be forcing their way forward and SGM are being forced/moved into outlining their polity.  A number of years back (2005) I predicted/prophesied that C J Mahaney's schmoozing of Reformed Big Dogs he admired/worshipped (such as John MacArthur) would result in a downgrade of the Holy Spirit in SGM.  This has happened.  I am reliably informed that while they claim to be "continuationist" (i.e. pay lip service to believing the Holy Spirit may move and distribute gifts) that there is very little manifestation of His power and presence in many churches.  I AM encouraged however to hear of key SGM churches that are actively seeking to restore this - such as Covenant Life Church and Grace Church, Bristol.

Brent himself seemed to confirm my suspicions from years back with a post concerning the downgrade of the Holy Spirit and their view on apostles.  Now apostles is an interesting subject.  It's not liked or believed in among conservative reformed circles.  They ceased allegedly with the closing of the canon of Scripture (a view I do not believe in).  However this presents a problem for C J Mahaney and SGM.  If they believe and toe this line - then C J Mahaney is nothing more than a leader of a para-church organisation with no authority over the churches belonging to SGM.

So Brent argues rightly - that SGM and Mahaney MUST teach a polity of apostolic authority to maintain that hold over their local churches - and continue to exercise a process of what I hear is called; "Shanking".  Or in UK terms; "Greasley-ing".  Scary.  So we shall see.  And continue to observe from a safe, interested and caring perspective.