Some may have heard of Cj Mahaney’s stepping down as head of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) for “pride.” A former member of SGM brought forth a series of allegations of pride and manipulation by Cj Mahaney. Cj admitted to most of the charges relating to “pride” and stepped down. This whole saga is rather interesting. First, charge a leader especially with the allegation of “pride” and he’s already in a lose, lose situation. That’s a sure way to take his ministry off course! What human being doesn’t struggle with pride? Pride is our greatest sin. It is a reason why sinners reject Christ and a reason why Christians commit sin. So, from the outset when a person trying to manipulate a church to a go in a direction it wants and may not be biblical (it is rather interesting that these charges are usually aimed at godly pastor’s that preach the whole counsel of God. I’m not saying this is the case with Cj’s accuser(s)) all he has to do is charge the pastor or an elder with pride. The poor soul is going to examine himself and of course see a stain of pride. What honest Christian won’t!? Let me reiterate- every believer wrestles with pride. But I don’t think that is the real issue. These kinds of situations stem from something else. Of course there are legitimate cases of arrogant and proud leaders that wish to always have things their way and seem to never be wrong. But large portions of these charges come because some person does not like that a pastor is preaching on wholesome doctrinal truths which they do not like. They may mistake a failure of the pastor to compromise sound doctrine as “pride.” But to have someone point out “pride” in an elder is of course going to make him want to admit to it. Why? Because he is-here’s the irony- humble. He’s ever viewing himself in light of the most humble person ever- the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is Him he proclaims and therefore he takes the charge seriously and can see a tinge of “pride;” only to have the allegation make him view it greater than it is.
Secondly, if he denies being proud it will only make him look worse. A denial will certainly aggravate the person(s) making the accusation(s). A denial will surely put more fuel on the fire. The accuser(s) will be quick to say, “see he’s so proud that he won’t even admit it!” The poor guy is in a lose, lose situation. However, that is why there are biblical steps for handling these cases.
Here’s a good one, “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” (1 Ti 5:19). An accusation against an elder is not to be considered without two or three witnesses . And this is only to take it in consideration. In other words the charges are not to be investigated unless there’s two or three witnesses and then the investigative process can begin. This only demonstrates how high God places and ordains the office of elder. That is why the qualifications are high and any accusation against God’s shepherd’s must be provable by credible witnesses (two or more). But of course all this get lost today.
I didn’t mean for this article to turn out the way it did. I initially wanted to direct every one to Jesse Johnson of Grace Community Church and his take. So let me quote a great point he makes in all this:
In reality, this serves as an example of why churches should not be allowed to function without real elders. The NT has much to say about how to handle church leadership and sin, and this fiasco is a reminder about what happens when you deviate from that. Take out elders and replace them with an apostle, then add a board that leads a group of churches, and you officially have created something other than a New Testament church.
I encourage you to read his article here.
Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,