in other news
February 7, 2012
I know that you wouldn’t normally see this. We don’t read the same news. In most people’s lives, it’s not even news. Some friends on twitter were asking about what I said earlier.
Over the summer, a pastor named C.J. Mahaney took a leave from absence from his position as the head of a group of churches called Sovereign Grace Ministries. There are lots of aspects to this story and plenty of important characters. Lots of taking sides, and deciding who’s telling the real story.
I heard about this from christians who blog and have some connection to this ministry. Mostly because C.J. Manahey is a part of the Gospel Coalition. I even saw him speak in person at the TGC conference last year and have read some of his books.
He was accused of treating other leaders in his ministry in a very worldly fashion, rather than a loving gospel centered fashion. If you are interested, you can read what I read from these links.
So it wasn’t a big secret that this was happening. Sovereign Grace took this seriously and set up mediators and agents of reconciliation to hear stories of people hurt by the unhealthy way the organization operated. That was August.
The big push for this to happen was that it wasn’t a single person making waves (though there were significant individuals), but that someone started a different kind of blog for those who had left those churches. They called it SGM Refuge. You can read any number of their stories, including the pastor who helped start the first Sovereign Grace church with C.J. Mahaney and didn’t talk to him for more than 10 years after they split.
So why today? Why is this important now?
Because some Christians from a different group of churches on the other side of country just started doing the very same thing. They started a blog for people to tell their stories about why they left Mars Hill Church. There isn’t much overlap between these two groups of churches. There are general similarities, but no real connection. Different men, different circumstances, different people…..same result.
I haven’t read all of those stories, and I don’t know which ones are the real story of what happened. Mars Hill hasn’t recognized these in the same way SGM did. What is scary to me is that they sound so similar, and all of them are stories of people being hurt. By their church, by their leaders, by the other Christians they were trusting in community…..and what to me sounds like being hurt in the name of that community. That the church collectively was more important than the individuals, and so those people needed to go.
Maybe I’ll write more about this if you’re interested. I certainly have been thinking about it a lot over the past month….or 6….or 12.
One last thing. A friend pointed me to this on twitter, it’s an article in a Seattle paper written about the Mars Hill thing. However, it’s obviously written with an agenda by someone who has issues with more than just this one church. You can see it here-