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How Will the SBC Investigate CJ Mahaney?

[Update:The lastest developments can be found in this artcle, SBC Credentials Committee establishes online submission portal by Baptist Press Staff, posted Tuesday, December 03, 2019.]

Here is Philip Bethancourt's biography.

PHILLIP BETHANCOURT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY http://www.sbts.edu/academics/faculty/phillip-bethancourt/ Bethancourt has served Southern Seminary since 2006, holding positions as director of Academic Advising for the School of Theologaptity, director of Research Doctoral Studies and Academic Advising, and instructor of Christian theology at Boyce College.  He has also served as executive assistant to the senior vice president for Academic Administration as well as vice president of Academic Services. Bethancourt is currently the vice president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission under the leadership of Russell D. Moore.  He continues to teach for the School of Theology as assistant professor of Christian theology.

In April, Bethancourt wrote me (and many others) about the Caring Well Conference.

Brent, I wanted you to be among the first to know that the ERLC is doing something we have never done before: we had already fully planned our upcoming national conference on the topic of gospel courage in the public square, but we decided to scrap the existing conference plans and shift the theme to focus on the crisis of abuse in the church, given the defining moment we are facing in the SBC. Before we announce it publicly later today, I want you to know that the ERLC and SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group are partnering together on a new conference theme, “Caring Well: Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis,” at the Gaylord Texan on October 3-5, 2019. This event will feature survivors, experts, pastors, and advocates who will seek to equip Christians on the subject of abuse and related issues to empower their churches in the process of becoming safe for survivors and safe from abuse. Through a mix of speakers, panels, and breakout sessions, leaders will gain clarity on how to share about abuse, care for the abused, and prepare for abuse prevention. Confirmed speakers for the conference already include: Russell Moore Beth Moore JD Greear Rachael Denhollander Gary Haugen Diane Langberg Jennifer Michelle Greenberg Jackie Hill Perry And many more As you can imagine, it is not easy to scrap one fully-planned conference in order to change to a new theme when the event is less than six months away. But we want to do whatever it takes to serve survivors and help churches. Please keep this new topic theme confidential while we finalize our public announcement. Please pray for us in the days ahead as we take this unprecedented step to shift the conference and tackle one of the most pressing issues of our day. Thanks, Phillip

I wrote him back with some observations and suggestions for the conference.

That is wonderful news.  Thanks for letting me know, Phillip. I will be praying for you in all the preparations involved in putting it together.  I am confident the Lord will use the conference to equip his church and send a clear message that victims must be helped, abusers prosecuted, and conspirators exposed that cover up.  I continue to learn of cover ups by high ranking men in ministries.  Most recently by John MacArthur and the leaders that surround him.  It is most unfortunate Al had John write the forward to his book on the Apostle’s Creed.  John’s practice has mirrored C.J. Mahaney’s practice. I hope some of the speakers will address the sinful cravings of the heart that are at work when pastors or ministries cover up the abuse of children via internal “investigations” and the like.  Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. is a prime example.  My old friends have been willing to lie and deceive at great length in an attempt to preserve their reputation, numerical growth and financial well-being.  It is shocking. In this regard, I hope Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville is soon removed from the SBC.  That action would send a loud message to entire Body of Christ that the SBC, Executive Committee, ERLC, etc. will not tolerate association by churches who lie, deceive, and refuse to acknowledge a long history of not reporting abuse to law enforcement.  I am sure the “Caring Well” conference will be excellent.  In that context, I’d encourage J.D. and Russell to state clearly what is necessary for a church to be associated with the SBC as it pertains to hiring abusers, reporting abuse, protecting against abuse, etc.  Similarly, they should clearly state the SBC is committed to removing churches who are not in compliance.  Otherwise, it like teaching on the qualifications of overseers (1 Tim. 3) without teaching on the discipline of overseers (1 Tim. 5).  That is why disassociation with SGCL is so important.  The case cannot be left open-ended or unresolved.  They need to be removed based upon an investigation by the SBC.  I am willing to help in any way.  Teaching and resolutions are important but without enforcement no one will “fearing sinning.” (cf. 1 Tim 5:20).  Lastly, caring well for victims includes standing against those who covered up the crimes against them.  I’ve counseled many victims of sexual abuse.  They often tell me the betrayal of pastors is equal to, or greater than, the pain of abuse.  That is certainly true in Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc.  One cannot imagine the trauma of being abused, and then have C.J. and the SGC Leadership Team, tell the world you a liar who made up the story for money.  No one should be associated with them. Give my greeting to J.D. and Russell.  I am praying all will stand strong against any temptation to forgo righteous judgement or be silent in public about C.J., SGCL, and SGC, Inc.  Please continue to press the case.  Thank you for the notice about the conference.  I will be praying God’s grace is multiplied to you as you finalize plans.  Sincerely, Brent

Recently, I sent him this article.  It contains an abundance of evidence proving the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children by C.J. Mahaney, et al. and expresses my concerns for the work of the Southern Baptist Credentials Committee.

Will the Southern Baptist Convention Ever Remove C.J. Mahaney & Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville from Its Membership for Covering Up the Sexual Abuse of Children? Friday, November 1, 2019 at 6:57PM I don’t think so but I hope I am wrong!  If you do, I will joyfully acknowledge it and applaud your just and righteous action.

Bethancourt was kind to write me back.  I was glad he promised to evaluate the content.

Brent, Thank you for sending this email.  I was traveling when you sent it and I intend to evaluate your content further soon. Thanks, Phillip

I followed up with questions about the Credentials Committee.

Thanks Phillip.  I’d love to know if the Credentials Committee will do a serious inquiry that includes interaction with victims, Heather, Rachael, Al, SG pastors that have left or are leaving, and me.  Or, is the Credentials Committee prohibited from doing that kind of inquiry?  Or put another way, is the Credentials Committee limited to asking questions of C.J. and SGCL?

I was shocked by his response.  He did not know how the “inquiry” of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville would be done.   

I have not been involved in their recent discussions on process so I am not sure. 

There needs to be a public update by Stacey Bramlett, Chairwoman of the Credentials Committee, on the process she and her committee will use with Mahaney. Tens of thousands of people want to know. Will it be a serious inquiry of all parties including victims or a superficial inquiry that excludes them and only talks to the crafty Mahaney?

I hope Phillip Bethancourt gets involved in “discussions on process” and makes sure things are done justly and thoroughly. If so, Mahaney and SGCL will be removed from the SBC. But I am concerned that won’t happen in his case or in other cases.

Here is what Jules Woodson tweeted yesterday about her case.

Jules Woodson@juleswoodson Yesterday I received an appalling, dismissive email response from the #SBC Credentials Committee after asking a few simple and legitimate questions. This is not 'Caring Well' in the least bit. #ChurchToothewartburgwatch.com/2019/11/15/jules-woodson-and-the-sbc-credentials-committee-the-process-is-not-victim-centric-or-transparent-caveat-emptor/… 2:05 PM · Nov 15, 2019

Here is what Rachael Denhollander tweeted in reply.

Rachael Denhollander@R_Denhollander Communicating publicly, openly and regularly is essential.  It’s been 5 mo. since the credentialing committee was created, and there have been no updates.  Survivors shouldn’t be left in the position of waiting, wondering, and having to repeat their story over and over again. 10:39 PM · Nov 15, 2019


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