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Righting a wrong regarding claims made about CJ Maheney

Ronnie Floyd is the President and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He should not be confused with J.D. Greear who is President of the SBC or Rolland Slade who is Chairman of the Executive Committee. I know it is confusing to outsiders.

Russell Moore is also an influential leader. He is President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). So is Kevin Ezell. He is President of the North American Missions Board (NAMB). These are the most significant leaders in the SBC though seminary presidents like Al Mohler wield a lot of influence too.

Let me also mention Stacy Bramlett and Mike Lawson. They serve the SBC on the Credentials Committee. Bramlett was chair from June 2019 to June 2020. Lawson took her place and is the current chair. In June 2019, the Credentials Committee was repurposed to do inquiries regarding SBC churches who may not be in “friendly cooperation.” They have the authority to recommend the removal of churches to the Executive Committee based upon their reviews and inquiries.

For the past year, I’ve been sending evidence to the Credentials Committee regarding the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children in Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries) under the leadership of C.J. Mahaney, his pastoral staff and denominational leaders. The conspiracy is still in full force.

Knowing Mahaney and his Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (SGCL) were under review by the Credentials Committee, I wondered if he would pull out of the Southern Baptist Convention to avoid their inquiry and possible recommendation for removal. In September, I checked the official listing SBC churches. The church was no longer listed.

As a result, I began to ask questions as to when and why they left the SBC which proved to be a faculty conclusion on my part. This included interaction with leaders in the SBC like Ronnie Floyd. I followed up with the “EC President” a couple weeks ago regarding various questions.

Hello Ronnie, I hope you are well in the grace of Christ! It’s been over a week since we connected, so I thought I’d check into to see how the research by your staff is coming along regarding these questions? 1. When and why C.J. and Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville left the SBC. 2. When and why the inquiry into their handling of child sex abuse was “Closed without Recommendation.” 3. Who entered this information into the Credentials Committee portal? 4. When and why was SGCL removed from the SBC listing of churches by EC staff. 5. Why SBC leaders were not told about these matters. For your information, C.J. continues to put himself forward as a church partnering with the SBC. “Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville also partners with the Southern Baptist Convention for the purposes of training and gospel mission.” I wrote him and his staff about this statement. Nevertheless, it remains on the church website. https://www.sgclouisville.org/about C.J., I sent you my article 12 days ago. It exposes your false claim that “Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville also partners with the Southern Baptist Convention for the purposes of training and gospel mission.” The fact is you do not partner with the regional association, state or national conventions, or SBTS. Further, you have not contributed to the Cooperative Program. And yet the disinformation remains on your website. Have you no integrity? It needs to be removed with an explanation that you withdrew from the SBC in 2019 and no longer partner with them. C.J. Mahaney & Sovereign Church of Louisville Pulled Out of the Southern Baptist Convention When Asked About Sex Abuse Scandal but Continue to Deceive Public into Believing They Remain SBC Members in Good Standing October 16, 2020 Your old friend who still hopes and prays you find humility and repentance in Christ. Brent Finally, will you or J.D. [Greear] be contacting C.J. to ask that he remove the fraudulent claim? Your efforts in answering these important questions are greatly appreciated! Brent

EC President Floyd asked his Executive Vice President to research the matter. It turns out I was wrong. Mahaney’s church is still a Southern Baptist Church in good standing. It is back on the website registry of SBC churches.

Dear Brent, My name is Greg Addison, Executive Vice President on Dr. Floyd’s staff at the SBC Executive Committee. I have been tasked to look into the questions that you have asked related to Sovereign Grace Church. I have looked into your inquiry, and here are the facts as we have determined them. First, Sovereign Grace has not left the SBC. They were listed in the 2020 SBC Annual for their contribution in the previous fiscal year. Because they are not currently affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, they send contributions directly to the Executive Committee that are distributed by our formula to SBC causes. Second, no one on our staff manually removed this church from the listing of churches on our website. That church search service is not intended to function as an official or authoritative recognition of membership. It cannot be used to formally verify the cooperating status of a church. Instead, it is a service for folks to research churches in a particular area. Because of the structure of the database from which that search pulls information, there are a number of scenarios in which some churches may be missed unintentionally in the search and therefore do not appear on the list. Because that can be confusing, we are adding an explanation to the website in an effort to eliminate any confusion in the future. We are also investigating any technological breakdowns with that database that may have occurred during a recent website update, and are making corrections as we find them. Third, we cannot answer any questions related to the work of the Credentials Committee in any way. While a few of our SBC Executive Committee members serve concurrently on both committees, the Credentials Committee is a separate standing committee of the SBC. They have their own procedures and rules. The only information that is publicly available would come through their official statements. All the information you have requested and any future requests relative to the work of the Credentials Committee, we simply cannot provide. Thank you for reaching out to clarify your questions with us. These facts are settled and should complete this matter. Blessings, Greg Addison

I appreciated Addison’s helpful response but there remained “loose ends” I wanted to tie up.

Thank you Greg and congratulations on your recent appointment. I especially appreciate your response given your hefty responsibilities are so new. Could you help me out on some loose ends? I was told by KBC [Kentucky Baptist Convention] officials that Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville gave $1,100 to the Cooperative Program in 2018. Can you explain what you mean when you say, “They send contributions directly to the Executive Committee” in 2019? Did they give to an entity other than the CP? Also, can you tell me how much they gave in 2019? Finally, do you know if they have contributed to the SBC in 2020? It is helpful to hear “No one on our staff manually removed this church from the listing of churches on our website.” By way of background, I checked the website in October 2019. Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville was listed then. That is when I wrote the article below. 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 Then I checked the website again in September 2020 as I contemplated another article. The church was no longer listed. Neither was C.J. listed as a minister in the SBC. As you say, it appears there were “technological breakdowns with that database that may have occurred during a recent website update.” Lastly, I was told by a reliable person there is an entry in the Credentials Committee portal that says, “Closed without Recommendation.” Is that false? I want to correct my reporting if that is not the case. Thanks for your help. Grace to you! Brent

I did not receive a response so I sent a follow up. To date, I have not heard back from Addison.

Hi Greg, Can you help me out on any of my questions below? I’d appreciate a response. Thanks Brent

I continue my research but for certain, “There is an entry in the Credentials Committee portal that says, ‘Closed without Recommendation.’”

It was true, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville was no longer listed as a SBC church in September and a previous inquiry was closed without recommending removal. Let me explain.

There have been two inquiries. The first one by the Bylaws Workgroup commissioned by SBC President J.D. Greear in February 2019. Their work ended in June 2019 under Chairman Mark Ballard. That group is now defunct. A second inquiry was begun by the Credentials Committee no later than October 2019. It is unclear to me whether that inquiry continues under current Chairman Mike Lawson.

The first inquiry by the Bylaws Workgroup ended when they closed their case without recommending to the Executive Committee that Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville be removed. I was told “the inquiry stopped” when SGCL “removed themselves.” That was an understandable inference based on the information in the Credentials Committee portal. Unfortunately, it was a wrong inference.

I advanced this inference but took it a step further. I sinfully accused Mahaney and his staff of intentional deceit for which I have asked their forgiveness.

C.J. and Staff, I am in sincere need of your forgiveness for the following slander in my October 16 article which I sent you. “C.J. Mahaney & Sovereign Church of Louisville pulled out of the Southern Baptist Convention when asked about sex abuse scandal but continue to deceive public into believing they remain SBC members in good standing.” “The case was “closed without recommendation” meaning there was no recommendation to remove given their departure. Of course, Mahaney and his pastoral staff have concealed this fact!” “Here’s what important. Mahaney and his staff want you to believe they are still a Southern Baptist church in “friendly cooperation” with the Southern Baptist Convention.” “One problem, however. None of it is true! Mahaney’s church left the SBC after the SBC Convention in June 2019.” “In their reprobation, they have no qualms about deceiving people into believing they partner with the Southern Baptist Convention as a Southern Baptist church in good standing. Nothing could be further from the truth!” You did not deceive the public into believing you remain a Southern Baptist Church in good standing. Please forgive me for this sinful judgement and public slander. I deeply regret my transgression against you and the Lord God. Sincerely Brent

These statements are slanderous. It grieves my heart. I take the commands of God seriously. “Thou shall not bear false witness.” I have also sinned against everyone who read my article. I sincerely ask your forgiveness also.

For over ten years, I’ve been writing about the pervasive corruption that exists in Sovereign Grace Churches. That includes the conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of children. I’ve done this without slandering or bearing false witness. That is always my goal. My work will continue. If I err again, I will ask forgiveness again.

So grateful “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15: 3).

This article was originally published here, and is reposted with permission from the author, Brent Detwiler.

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