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Under Attack: How It All Began

On August 3, 2011, I posted my first article on BrentDetwiler.com.  Leading up to that point, I posted seven short entries on my Facebook page.  They constitute the earliest public record of my work.  I am finally putting them on my blog.

In context, I was under vicious attack by Sovereign Grace Ministries for sending out The Documents to all the pastors. Therefore, I laid out six reasons why it was so necessary.

I also wrote “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” in response to the SGM Board of Directors intentional misrepresentation of my “refusal to participate in mediation with C.J. Mahaney.”

Lastly, I explained why it was necessary to start my blog when Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund Jr., and Carl Trueman proclaimed: “We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry. They also declared C.J. was “presently fit for ministry” and “a model to be followed.”

The Documents

by Brent Detwiler on Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 9:29 am


On Wednesday, C.J. posted the following. “Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace.”

This was a terribly misleading statement by my friend. For many years, men who worked with C.J. tried to help him see his pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgments, and hypocrisy.

The input C.J. has received started in December 2000 and did not come from former pastors and leaders who leveled charges against him because they were offended.

I hate to say it, but this is an example of Sovereign Grace spin and it was one important reason why I sent out “The Documents” on Wednesday night to all the SGM pastors.

C.J.’s Blog:  http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/cj-mahaney/post/Why-Im-taking-a-leave-of-absence.aspx [Sovereign Grace Churches, Inc. removed C.J.’s “Why I’m taking a leave of absence” announcement (July 6, 2011) and countless other statements when they scrubbed their website in June 2019.] 

The Documents:  http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks

Did I follow Matthew 18:15-17?  Here’s my answer.

by Brent Detwiler on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 8:01 am


Did I follow Matthew 18:15-17? The answer is yes. I have gone to C.J. countless times “in private” but he did not listen. Then, I’ve gone with “the testimony of two or three witnesses” countless times but he also refused to listen. These two steps have been repeated time and again over the last decade. More than with any leader we have ever disciplined or removed from ministry. It was due to our cowardice and favoritism that we never took step 3 which says we must “tell it to the church.”

That is one reason why (but not the only - that awaits another document) I sent my documents out to the SGM pastors on July 6. C.J.’s longstanding patterns of serious sins have been the best kept secret in SGM for many years. Unfortunately, the new Board under Dave Harvey’s leadership, has condemned my action. On July 13, they posted on the SGM blog “that Brent Detwiler’s distribution of written accusations against C.J. Mahaney to all Sovereign Grace pastors constitutes the public slander of Mahaney’s reputation.” My friends are mistaken.

A Third Reason for Sending Out the Documents

by Brent Detwiler on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 11:41 am


After 18 months of appeals and 600 pages of writing, the old & new SGM Boards refused to take any disciplinary action with regard to C.J.  On July 13, they posted the following.  

The board of Sovereign Grace Ministries has reviewed Brent Detwiler’s documents…and finds no reason at this time to deem him unfit for ministry… C.J. Mahaney is a qualified minister of the gospel and this board approves his pastoral and teaching ministry in Sovereign Grace and the wider body of Christ.  

That has been their consistent position throughout this lengthy process.

A Fourth & Fifth Reason for Sending Out the Documents

by Brent Detwiler on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm


On June 11, Dave Harvey alerted all the SGM pastors to my documents. He wrote, “If you haven’t received them already, you have hundreds of pages of documentation - Brent’s concerns for CJ - coming your way.” Dave then went on to discredit me and my writings while commending C.J. for his humility. He ends by saying “Gentlemen, it ain’t pretty…but it’s a faithful narrative [Dave’s perspective] of a sad tale [my conduct and writing].” I found out about this correspondence three weeks later on June 26. Needless to say, I was shocked, troubled and disappointed at this preemptive strike; and more so, because this action was hidden from me both by the SGM Board and the Covenant Life pastors.

During those three weeks, I was working with the Covenant Life pastors and appealing for them to follow 1 Timothy 5:19-21. “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” I was intentionally holding back on sending out my documents to the SGM pastors until I got a report of their time with C.J. These men are C.J.’s pastors. They have a responsibility to watch over his soul. Not the other way around. I wanted them to do their job.

I also wanted to hear a good report, a detailed report, and an honest report, because I did not want to send out the documents. I was hoping the pastors would come through unlike the SGM board. Instead, I was left hanging. Joshua [Harris] sent me a general report but refused to provide any details or the official minutes which I asked for ahead of time. I couldn’t tell if the pastors formally rebuked C.J. or not; and I could not determine how he responded.

From what I can tell, the CLC elders did not reprove C.J. except for the blackmail of Larry Tomczak. They questioned him about other matters but there is no evidence in my possession that they corrected him. Things went silent after this when they decided to turn everything over to an outside mediator [Ambassadors of Reconciliation]. I believe this was a clear dereliction of duty. The elders, not mediators, have the foremost responsibly to discipline C.J. That was the fourth reason for broadening my appeal to all the elders in SGM.

A Sixth Reason for Sending Out the Documents by Brent Detwiler on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm Facebook

Wednesday, July 6 was a monumental day in my little life on planet earth!  That evening, I sent out “Response Regarding Friendship and Doctrine,” “A Final Appeal,” “Concluding Remarks,” and “The Untold Story” to all the pastors in SGM (seehttp://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks).  [The Documentscan also be found on my bloghere.]  It was something I never planned to do or hoped to do.  But releasing the documents had become a matter of conscience by that evening.

Earlier in the day, C.J. posted the following statement on the SGM website. “Over the last few years some former pastors and leaders in Sovereign Grace have made charges against me and informed me about offenses they have with me as well as other leaders in Sovereign Grace.”

This statement by my friend was terribly misleading. First, for many years, not a few years, many people, not some people, raised legitimate concerns with C.J. Our dealings with C.J. were not a recent development. They had a long history. The reader was led to believe otherwise.

Second, the charges (i.e., reproves, correction, rebukes) against C.J. came from men who worked with him at the time. They did not come from former pastors and leaders who recently left SGM or from men who leveled bogus charges because they were offended. No, the unsuccessful process of speaking into C.J.’s life had been going on for a long time. It began in December 2000.

C.J. should have made clear to all of SGM that his pride, unteachableness, deceit, sinful judgments, hypocrisy and more; had been addressed for a long time by people who loved him, were loyal to him, and cared about him. Not just by offended former leaders.

I hate to say it, but this is an example of Sovereign Grace spin. What C.J. said was a small part of the story. He left the rest out. In so doing, he minimized the seriousness and down played the extensiveness.

Decide for yourself. Read all 600 pages and compare them to C.J.’s statement above. I’d say there is a massive disconnect. C.J. had a responsibility to tell the whole truth. He did not do so and that is the fifth reason why I sent out “The Documents.”

C.J.’s statement on July 6 was monumental in what it did not say. I had no choice but to inform the SGM pastors of the deceit I observed. It was the straw that broke this camel’s back.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

by Brent Detwiler on Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 12:13 am


Here’s what the new Board of Directors posted on the SGM blog this past Wednesday. 

In light of the fact that C.J. has now been publicly accused with no opportunity to defend himself, the board of Sovereign Grace has made the following resolutions.  That Brent Detwiler’s refusal to participate in mediation with C.J.  Mahaney—unless Mahaney first agrees (a) to publish an extensive written response to each of Detwiler’s accusations and (b) to make a public confession prior to any mediation or impartial evaluation of his charges—is unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process for a qualified minister of the gospel.

A few comments. First, C.J. has been defending himself for years. That’s been the problem. Second, my accusations are not new. Third, there is no need for further evaluation or outside evaluation. There is a need for leadership from the Board of Directors. We’ve been evaluating, confronting, and dealing with C.J. for over a decade. It is time for disciplinary action. But here’s what’s “unjust and constitutes a denial of biblically grounded due process.”

Lie 1. I never asked C.J. to publish an extensive written response to each of my accusations. I asked him to provide a private and thorough response to me in writing. He promised to do so but then violated his word.

Lie 2. I asked C.J. to agree that a public confession of sin was necessary before we met; not that he had to make a confession before we met. I never refused to meet with him (or a mediator) until after a public confession of sin was complete.

Lie 3. The Board says say nothing about my eagerness to meet. That is plain in all my writings. I laid out two simple conditions. First, C.J. needed to provide me an open, honest and accountable response to the issues, questions, and illustrations I raised. Second, I needed to know C.J. took his sins seriously and was willing to confess them to the movement and its leaders. A private written response and a willingness to confess in public – that’s all I asked. No more.

All of these points are crystal clear in what I have written in “The Documents.” I am afraid Dave [Harvey] and Jeff’s [Purswell] pants are ablaze and the pants of the new board members are smoking.

Blog atBrentDetwiler.comBegins Tomorrow

By Brent Detwiler on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm


A three man panel comprised of Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund Jr., and Carl Trueman just declared that “We do not believe C.J. Mahaney’s confessed sins have disqualified him from Christian ministry” on the Sovereign Grace Ministries blog.  In light of this development and others, I have decided there is a need to blog myself.  Tomorrow in my first posting at BrentDetwiler.com, I will be addressing their pronouncement.  Please pass the word onto your friends.


This was my first posting.  It was a sarcastic poke at DeYoung, Ortlund, and Trueman.

No One Can Question C.J.'s Public Confession of Specific Sin - Really?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:24PM

Years later, I wrote a lengthy piece about their incredible duplicity after reaching out to  them in vain. 

Conclusive Evidence the Investigation of C.J. Mahaney’s Confessed Sins by Kevin DeYoung, Ray Ortlund, & Carl Trueman Was Thoroughly Corrupt

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 12:54 PM

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