One Simple Question

Specifically and in the greatest level of detail humanly possible, can somebody please explain the precise nature of the partnership between Southern Baptist Theological Seminary—with which I am necessarily affiliated as a Southern Baptist—and Sovereign Grace Ministries—with which (quite by intention) I am not personally affiliated in any manner whatsoever?


    • says

      Thanks Mike. I did a quick search between other things and didn’t see this. Explains it well. I guess it’s kind of like Acme Bible College announcing that their grads will be afforded credits at a masters level school.

    • Jim G. says

      I brought this up a while back. The “pastor’s college” is UNACCREDITED!! That means that SBTS allows “students” who attended a 9-month, unaccredited pastor’s college (at bachelor level or below work, no less) to transfer in over a year of Masters-level-equivalent coursework. If I were a student at SBTS, I’d be jumping-stiff-legged-mad over this. Students coming in to SBTS from any legit and accredited undergraduate school are not allowed to transfer in ANY of their undergrad work to count for graduate credit, but these Sovereign Gracers have a sweet and special deal where they can have over one third of their MDiv completed because of unaccredited bachelor (or below) work?

      And need we mention the Nate Morales trial and likely coverup?

      Jim G.

      • Tarheel says

        Jim G. That’s troubling indeed. Tell me more about it. Pee are getting credits for classes that are not seminary level? How many are we talking one or two or lots? Is it linked to “field experience credits” that I think seminaries offer people or is it credit for non seminary classes just because?

        • Adam Blosser says

          Tarheel, Mike’s link partially answers your question.

          “Up to 35 credit hours transfer from the Pastors College to SBTS. An M.Div. in Christian Ministry at SBTS requires 94 total credit hours, so hypothetically a PC graduate is over a third of the way towards an M.Div. (The briefer but more demanding Advanced M.Div program requires only 86 credit hours). Of the remaining 59 credit hours, 41 are elective hours in the Christian Ministry program. (In the Advanced M.Div program, only 21 of the remaining 51 credit hours are elective hours). Transfer credit will depend upon the actual work completed in the PC.”

          The following link provides some more information concerning the nature of the coursework.

          “The Pastors College is led by Jeff Purswell, a member of our leadership team. Students (usually 15-25 per year) take a series of non-accredited, week-long classes on the Old and New Testaments, hermeneutics, systematic and biblical theology, pastoral ministry, homiletics, church history, counseling, and much more. They also take the equivalent of two semesters of biblical Greek.”

          While I question the motivation of Rick Patrick and the timing of this post, this is troubling indeed. I received SEBTS graduate level for some courses I took in my undergrad at Liberty University only after taking tests to demonstrate competency in the subjects for which I was receiving credit. I would be interested to know if such tests are required for this arrangement. If so, I still don’t like it. If not, it wreaks even more.

        • Adam Blosser says

          Tarheel, Mike’s link partially answers your question.

          “Up to 35 credit hours transfer from the Pastors College to SBTS. An M.Div. in Christian Ministry at SBTS requires 94 total credit hours, so hypothetically a PC graduate is over a third of the way towards an M.Div. (The briefer but more demanding Advanced M.Div program requires only 86 credit hours). Of the remaining 59 credit hours, 41 are elective hours in the Christian Ministry program. (In the Advanced M.Div program, only 21 of the remaining 51 credit hours are elective hours). Transfer credit will depend upon the actual work completed in the PC.”

        • Adam Blosser says

          The following link provides some more information concerning the nature of the coursework.

          “The Pastors College is led by Jeff Purswell, a member of our leadership team. Students (usually 15-25 per year) take a series of non-accredited, week-long classes on the Old and New Testaments, hermeneutics, systematic and biblical theology, pastoral ministry, homiletics, church history, counseling, and much more. They also take the equivalent of two semesters of biblical Greek.”

          While I question the motivation of Rick Patrick and the timing of this post, this is troubling indeed. I received SEBTS graduate level for some courses I took in my undergrad at Liberty University only after taking tests to demonstrate competency in the subjects for which I was receiving credit. I would be interested to know if such tests are required for this arrangement. If so, I still don’t like it. If not, it wreaks even more.

        • says

          Adam, I disagree with Rick on a regular basis, and am often unhappy with his mode of presentation – no surprise to Rick, I’m sure.

          But I share his concern.

          If 10% of what I read about SGM and the formerly affiliated churches is true, I want absolutely nothing to do with that ministry. The culture of oppression against victims of abuse presented in the court filings is disgusting.

          Of course, that is one side of the issue. Only one. And many of the folks who blast SGM have an axe to grind and are in no way unbiased. Links in this comment stream to Wartburg Watch are a case in point. Their accuracy is most definitely in question.

          Just because I don’t like SGM much is not justification to believe every insinuation lobbed against them by the WW people.

          So, I am deeply disturbed by what I have heard about SGM but I don’t know the details.

          However, I can say this. I have heard enough that I don’t want an SBC entity to formally partner with them.

          I don’t know exactly what is going on here. I’d like an answer to Rick’s question, which I think is fair.

          Facts are our friends and I’d like the facts.

          I’ll go back to disagreeing with Rick on his next post.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Oh, I share the concern as well, but the announcement of SBTS’s partnership with the SGM Pastor’s College is dated to November 2012. Given the fact that this issue was raised in the post about the situation at SWBTS and then shows up here in a post a few days later, I think it is fair to question Rick’s motives. I am not really disagreeing with the substance of what Rick said, only the timing and manner in which it was presented.

          • Dave Miller says

            It’s been in the news a lot recently. Tullian split from TGC and other issues related. There was a conviction of a pastor. So there is plenty of reason to bring it up.

          • Tarheel says


            I too feel as if I’m in the twilight zone being in a so much agreement with Rick but like I said someone is right they are right and he’s right that this partnership/alliance with SGM whatever you want to call it is plain embarrassing and I wish it would just go away.

            While Mahaney has never been even accused of being personally involved in the abuse he has been linked to the “cover-up” and that and with that I’m not pleased. I will also say that it is encouraging to see that CJM has PUBLICLY repented of his jerk-ish behavior and autocratic leadership style that got him in this mess and sought to restore broken relationships and make things as right as he can. perhaps his friendship with Mohler will continue help him, I think it has.

            I can’t help but think that Mohler thinks that he’s helping a friend and a brother in Christ which is lofty and Noble but the partnerships with the school I think is taking it too far.

            I’m hoping that since the criminal and civil parts of these trials are coming to an end that Mohler can do more to separate. I think he was trying hard to not throw a friend under the bus in the midst of his personal crisis. Some of the personal crises was of CJMs own doing and some of which was probably not…. Either way I’m just thinking that friendship love played a big role in all this.

          • William Thornton says

            I have found The blog articles at Wartburg Watch are well researched, factually based, and reliable. Their commenters are no more or less fact based than here. One might take issue with the keen and relentless focus of WW on CJM and SGM but their history is one of focus on clergy/church based child abuse and hyper-patriarchical and controlling church systems.

      • says

        Jim G

        This is unbelievable. I am in no way intending to cast doubt on your evaluation, but is there any other possible scenario than what has been delineated? I ask because this is so incredible.

      • Chris Roberts says

        Accreditation issues aside (because they are almost irrelevant), as I recall, it is not unusual for a seminary to transfer credits from an undergraduate program. I seem to remember that being offered when I started seminary after obtaining a Biblical Studies degree for my undergraduate. Southern’s Boyce College also offers a special track to combine some undergrad and grad courses; sounds like the arrangement with SGM is along the same lines.

        • says

          I stand corrected. Thank you for this information. This was not true when I waa a student at SWBTS back in the dark ages. I simply have not kept up.

          I graduated Okla. Bapt. Univ. in 1966. I started SWBTS in Fall of 66. None of the college level courses applied to the M.Div. work in those days.

          Out of curiosity how many hours of college credit will apply to the M.Div.

        • Jim G. says


          I think that has been tightened up a good deal in the last few years. I received some grad credit for undergrad work during my masters studies in 2004. Such a practice is not possible now. I know our accreditors will not allow it. I think that has come down from the US Dept of Ed.

          Jim G.

          • Adam Blosser says

            I received credit at SEBTS for work done at Liberty, but had to take tests to demonstrate competency.

          • Jim G. says

            D. L.,

            I don’t think it is applicable now. I know it happened a good bit a decade or so ago, but I think the Dept of Ed had something to do with the end of that practice. Now, if it is credit by exam, as Adam says, that is a different ballgame. Schools have traditionally offered credit-by-exam possibilities, but there is usually a fee involved for taking the exam, and credit is issued by a satisfactory score, rather than the previous coursework. If schools demonstrate credit-worthy competency for masters level courses through an exam, then that is standard and acceptable practice. Taking bachelor’s level work and applying it directly to master’s level competency is not standard or acceptable, though it has been in the past.

            Jim G.

          • John Fariss says

            I went to SEBTS 1984-87, and none of my college courses (from a highly regarded and accredited undergraduate school) transferred for any credit. They got me out of college, and that got me into seminary, period, end of paragraph. Can someone explain to me the rationale behind undergrad courses counting “double,” one for the undergrad and another for graduate work?


          • Adam Blosser says

            Jim G.,

            Fair enough. I do know that at SEBTS I only qualified to take the exams because I had taken similar courses in undergrad. They evaluated my undergrad transcript and told me which exams I qualified for. It does make sense that I was given credit for scoring satisfactorily on the exam rather than for the previous coursework.

  1. Bob Williford says

    Rick….is that not correctly called ‘Calvinism’……just a thought.

      • Bob Williford says

        Well, I really was saying that Sovereign Grace Ministries is referencing Calvinism per se….am I correct in this assumption?

      • Bob Williford says

        I have not heard of SGM until now…..have not been keeping up with all the news that is going around…even on the Muslim thing at SWBTS….lots of mudslinging at Convention time…..nothing new, is it? Satan has a way of jumping on the wagon at these times. However, we Baptists seem to like to light fires of our own, too. LOL!!!

  2. Jeff says

    Both Mahaney and SGM have given large amounts of money to Southern:

    Also, I remember reading somewhere that one or more SGMers (even relatives of Mahaney) had been made some kind of intern or assistant to Mohler, a position that was usually given to Southern Baptists in the past. I will have to look more to find that.

    Mohler and other Southern professors have frequently spoken at SGM events.

    I am a Calvinist who loves Southern and Mohler, but this association with Mahaney and SGM and the circling of the wagons around Mahaney and SGM in recent years is embarrassing. Mahaney has engaged in constant flattery towards people like Mohler, and he portrayed SGM as some kind of ecclesiastical utopia to them. I rarely heard anything about Mahaney before 2004, and then suddenly he was everywhere! Maybe Mohler and others should have asked, “How much do we really know about this guy?” before they constantly endorsed him, invited him to speak at tons of conferences, and put him on the boards of their organizations. Before Mahaney became a Calvinist in the mid-1990s, he was involved in the “Shepherding Movement” of charismatics, which explains a lot of the authoritarianism and secrecy we are reading about.

    • Tarheel says

      “I am a Calvinist who loves Southern and Mohler, but this association with Mahaney and SGM and the circling of the wagons around Mahaney and SGM in recent years is embarrassing. Mahaney has engaged in constant flattery towards people like Mohler, and he portrayed SGM as some kind of ecclesiastical utopia to them. I rarely heard anything about Mahaney before 2004, and then suddenly he was everywhere! Maybe Mohler and others should have asked, “How much do we really know about this guy?” before they constantly endorsed him, invited him to speak at tons of conferences, and put him on the boards of their organizations. Before Mahaney became a Calvinist in the mid-1990s, he was involved in the “Shepherding Movement” of charismatics, which explains a lot of the authoritarianism and secrecy we are reading about. ”

      I agree. The whole thing is embarrassing.

  3. Jeff T says

    I would say about at the same level Southern Baptists and Muslims can participate in a PhD program.

  4. Tarheel says

    It’s all about converting charismatics to Baptists – while it’s not necessarily it’s not evangelism it’s certainly a lofty goal. I appreciate his denominational fervor! How dare you question the seminary president in public on a blog.

    :-) :-) :-) :-)

  5. Rick Patrick says


    Like yours, my Google Search turned up the degree credits arrangement between the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College and Southern. This seems like an uneven partnership to me—ours is a respected, intellectually rigorous degree. Theirs is, I believe, an unaccredited degree from a charismatic, non-Southern Baptist school with a significantly inferior reputation.

    However, the reason I asked the question is that I also came across a number of statements, like the ones below, that appear to point to some kind of a broader partnership with Sovereign Grace—one that goes beyond the simple degree credits arrangement. Thus, I’m asking if there is more to this partnership than just the Pastor’s College. Exactly how are Southern Baptists tied to Sovereign Grace Ministries?

    Brent Detwiler: “One reason C.J. relocated Sovereign Grace Ministries to Louisville, Kentucky was in order to build a symbiotic relationship with Al Mohler and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS).”

    Peter Smith: “Sovereign Grace Ministries announced that it plans to launch its first Kentucky church and tighten its already strong bonds with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”

    Sovereign Grace Church Louisville: “We trust our proximity to Southern Seminary will provide us a source of both counsel and contacts for foreign missions.”

    • Jeff Johnson says

      Yes, I think it is helpful. I did not see Mohler’s name on the statement, but I do think the statement summarizes why SBTS may not have wanted to cut all ties with Sovereign Grace based on accusations alone. The SG Pastors College announcement of its partnership with SBTS came in November 2012, so things must have been in the works well before then. If what I have read online is correct, the civil lawsuits against SG were filed in October 2012. Criminal charges against Morales were filed in December 2012. Since then, the civil suits were dismissed but Morales has been convicted. I’m sure SBTS will reexamine the viability of its partnership with SG in light of all the developments.

  6. Rick Patrick says

    Jim G,
    Thanks for sharing this disturbing news. If non-Southern Baptists at the unaccredited Pastor’s College are literally getting more credit hours transferred than Southern Baptists from accredited colleges, then Southern Baptists like me are subsidizing the education of another denomination’s students to a greater degree than we are subsidizing our own. I would like to see that stopped.

    Jeff, Tarheel and Other Calvinists,
    The ball is in your court. My hands are tied. Think about it. If I were to make a stink about this matter, everyone would simply dismiss my concerns as biased and prejudicial against Southern Seminary because I so obviously favor a couple of the other seminaries. If you want Southern Seminary to get a divorce from Sovereign Grace Ministries, please know that I support you in this, but you are going to have to draw up the papers.

    • says

      Let’s slow down a minute and think. This is the first i have heard of this. Are we sure we are analyzing correctly. Could there be any other explanations?

      The reason I ask this question is because, I say again this is so incredible, especially the transfer of credits.

      Some of you guys who are more in the know perhaps should double check the facts before “papers are drawn up”. I am not saying stop. simply saying lets make sure our facts are accurate.

      Is there any wisdom in that?

    • Chris Roberts says

      As I mention above, seminaries recognizing undergraduate credits in biblical studies of some sort is not unusual, as noted with Southern’s program for their own Boyce College.

    • Tarheel says

      Actually rick…. I would not automatically discredit what you say … My philosophy that if you’re right you’re right whether I agree with you on other matters or not. I can work toward common goals with those that i disagree with on other matters.

      I would think that the distinctiveness and academic excellence of our seminaries are a common goal.

      regarding the credit – There are a couple of questions to be answered. One , is this true and is it as bad as it sounds. Two, if it is as bad as it sounds – has Mohler autocratically on his own authority without the approval of trustees done this or is it a cooperative thing that the trustees are on board with?

      Regarding the alliance of the two….I think it will take care of itself soon enough…. I think Mohler and Mahaney are and will likely continue to be personal friends but I think “official partnership” is probably going to come to an end soon. That’s just my gut though.

  7. dr. james willingham says

    Dear Rick: Has anyone paid any attention to the fact that C.J. was raised in a Jesuit orphanage or that the Catholics have made a claim that they have made more progress among Protestants via the Charismatic approach (I don’t remember where I saw this, but it was some years ago)? Has any one considered that in the 1600s Catholics had a college in France to train infiltrators and that the Cromwellian people caught them? Has anyone considered that Sandy Creek might have been infiltrated, circa `1800-1850? Has anyone considered that the Chic Publications say they are still in the business of infiltrating as so says the former Archbishop of one of the countries in Central America? Has anyone considered that a former Catholic priest claimed the Catholics planned and executed the death of Abraham Lincoln? And the son of the first woman hung (a participant in that assassination) escaped and spent several years as a member of the Swiss Guard in you know where? And has any one considered why Mercer would print Mark Dever’s Dissertation? Or why the Moderates would go running to see the Pope, when he came to South Carolina? Or why Dorothy Patterson would have a private audience with the Pope in his quarters? There is more, but these are some of the questions that need to be addressed in the whole process.

      • dr. james willingham says

        Is he? I hope so, but charismatic success for the Catholics raises all kinds of questions for me.

  8. Chris Roberts says


    What a wonderful act of Christian charity you engage in here, not long before the SBC annual meeting. I have no doubt your motivations are pure and honorable.

    • Tarheel says

      I actually was just wondering this volfan will come on this post and announce how “shockingly funny” the timing is. 😉

    • dr. james willingham says

      Well, Rick, much as I disagree with him regarding Sovereign Grace (and Southern Baptists who hold to that position and are egalitarians, use that term in preference to Calvinism due to the differences between them and the Reformed, a long history of differences), has the right to call attention to differences and problems, etc. However, he should have also included a Traditionalist who wrote so well on Election that a Calvinist or a Sovereign Grace Southern Baptist could have written it. I refer, of course, to Dr. Patterson who has pulled off this thing about admitting a Moslem to SWBTS program in Archaeology which comes under the School of Theology and exposed some of our missionaries to the possibility of danger (they actually took off their badges, once they heard the fellow was still a Moslem and who said so to them). And then Rick should have called our attention to the fact that Paige took off the table an offer to a doctoral student in music, when he found out that the fellow was married to a woman who had been divorced (the first husband was abusive). Apparently no faculty member at SWBTS can be even be married to a divorced person, let alone have a divorce. THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT THE VERY FOUNDER OF SWBTS, DR. B.H. CARROLL WAS DIVORCED AND REMARRIED. WHEN HE CAME HOME FROM THE CIVIL WAR, HE FOUND HIS WIFE LIVING WITH ANOTHER MAN. SO HE SECURED A DIVORCE, AND LATER MARRIED AGAIN. And he became pastor of the FBC of Waco, founded the theology dept. of Baylor (I think) and then founded SWBTS for sure. IN ANY CASE, EVEN THE FOUNDER COULD NOT SERVE AT SWBTS UNDER SUCH RULES.

    • Tom Stowe says


      The comments by Calvinists pertaining to Patterson and SWBTS are also full of charity and have nothing shady about timing.


    • Tom Stowe says

      Yes, Chris, and I have no doubt the motivations of Calvinists are pure concerning SWBTS and Patterson.

      • Tarheel says

        That’d be more poignant if strong objection to what PP has done didnt also come from voices who aren’t Calvinists at all.

        To use a culturally over used phrase….the objection here is bipartisan!

  9. Debbie Kaufman says

    You will find all the information on Wartburg Watch and yet it is incredible and yes you will find if you check the facts iti is all true. We should have disconnected a long time ago, yet a statement was made in support of CJ. You will also find a detailed account of the charges that did not make it to trial due to time issues. The Nick Morales case is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Wartburg Watch is the best source of information on SGM and all the mess.

  10. Jeff Johnson says

    I see nothing to suggest that the other admission requirements of SBTS would not have to be met by SG Pastors College graduates. For example, the Pastors College guys would still need a “baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university” (per the SBTS website). And the press release by the Pastors College indicates that transfer credit depends on the specific courses taken at PC. Wouldn’t this be similar to a seminary agreeing to grant transfer credit for certain courses taken at an unaccredited Bible school such as Fruitland Baptist Bible College in NC? I wouldn’t be surprised if such arrangements have existed among our seminaries. In fact, I doubt this would be newsworthy if the school in question were Fruitland and not Sovereign Grace. Now, maybe there is good reason to question any ongoing relationship with SG after the recent child molestation trial; SG’s theology could be another sticking point. But I think the accreditation issue is a non-starter.

    • Tarheel says

      Thanks Jeff!

      After reading what’s been posted here regarding the credits I would have to say that it is a nonstarter certainly Frankland and other nonaccredited schools have arrangements with their seminaries probably all six of them so I don’t really see the point here.

      So it appears that while “SBTS accreditation-gate” is true, it’s not anywhere as bad as it sounded when it was originally proffered.

      So long as academic integrity is provided with a degree from Southern seminary in the trustees are on board with what’s going on I don’t see a problem.

      As far as Mohlers and SBTS “official affiliation” like I said in an earlier comment I see that logically coming to an end soon…. And in my opinion it can’t happen the moment too soon.

        • Jeff Johnson says


          Yes, breathing and thinking are decidedly good things.

          I cannot understand the apparent desire of some to rush Baltimore with torches and pitchforks against either Patterson or Mohler — two men who, by all accounts, are mature, brilliant, and godly leaders who have done incalculable good for our Convention. It’s fine to ask questions. We should raise concerns. But when, where, how, and why we raise those concerns matter just as much as what we’re concerned about.

          I haven’t examined a syllabus, textbook, lecture, or exam for any of the SG courses to see if they qualify as work eligible for graduate-level credit. I trust that the folks at SBTS have. I haven’t fully thought through the ramifications of having a Muslim student in a Baptist archaeology program. I trust that the folks at SWBTS have. And now that Morales has been convicted and the trial has brought concrete facts concerning certain SG individuals to light, I trust Al Mohler to reexamine the relationship with SG. Moreover, this is why our institutions have TRUSTees — to ensure that these leaders are in fact conducting the business of the seminaries in a manner worthy of our trust. And I trust the trustees.

          Both the SWBTS and SBTS concerns have popped up so soon before the Convention, yet neither is a particularly new situation. To the extent some are wanting to rush the Convention floor with this, is that the best way to proceed? Let things play out, and trust that our leaders will handle things correctly. If they don’t, then we go from there.

          • says

            A well thought thru and well articulated statement. There are some things here that truly disturb me. However in the past I have taken up the battle before i have full information and that has been disastrous. I am trying to learn from that. Whatever problems are genuine here do not have to be taken car of in Baltimore. We will have other conventions and venues to deal with these things. That will give us time to have our facts straight and to think thru a workable process.

        • dr. james willingham says

          Actually, D.L., our ordaining pastor attended SBTS after securing a bachelors from Bob Jones, but he could not stand the liberalism and after one semester went back to Bob Jones to secure his Ph.D. During his attendance at SBTS or, maybe, later, he became close personal friends with Dr. Clyde T. Francisco. I had the privilege once, when Dr. Francisco was preaching a revival at Calvary, to set down with him and Dr. Campbell and visit a while.

  11. William Thornton says

    SGM and some of its leaders has some ongoing difficulty with the past child abuse that has, is, and will prove a liability to AM and SBTS. I’d like to see more sober thinking and action from our seminary and leader on this.

    Wartburg Watch blog will have far more that any of us ever have time to read on SGM, CJM, the civil case, the criminal case.

  12. Scott says

    Until this post I had never heard of SGM. However, as an outsider (not affiliated with SBTS either), are we getting a little worked up over this? My understanding of seminary training is that it is to equip students to teach/preach the Word of God. From what I read in one of the first posts, this appears what SGM is doing with the classes offered. I don’t know that for a fact…but others here don’t know for sure that they aren’t. I think you have to trust leadership at SBTS to evaluate the courses they are accepting and giving credit for. Trust…now there is a novel idea.

  13. Rick Patrick says

    I suppose my outspoken concerns with Calvinism in the past have earned me a certain level of mistrust on this board, as evidenced by Adam, Chris and Tarheel questioning my motives. You are all giving me too much credit. I cannot control the timing of the current events below in order to line them up just a few weeks before the Southern Baptist Convention:

    (1) the judge who ruled *last Thursday* in the Morales case,
    (2) the separation *today* of Tullian Tchividian from the TGC website,
    (3) the resignation on *Monday* of Josh Harris from TGC,
    (4) the resignation on *Monday* of C. J. Mahaney from TGC, and
    (5) the article by Keller and Carson *yesterday* concerning TGC changes.

    You can question my motives all you want. I’ve rather come to expect it by now. But like Tarheel said above, “if you’re right you’re right whether I agree with you on other matters or not.”

    Southern Seminary may need to sever their ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries EVEN THOUGH I am the one who posted the question about it.

    • Tarheel says

      I question you motives just like you and others questions the SWBTS revelations….I still think you’re as someone said slinging mud against the wall something sticks against Southern. Kind of a anything y’all can do we can do better thing….. But as I said when you’re right you’re right and you’re right on the sovereign Grace thing you’re right.

      One thing that is hard for me but I’m trying to do better as I hopefully mature in life and ministry is that when someone has bad motives – that doesn’t necessarily mean that what they’re saying is not true and should be summarily ignored.

      • William Thornton says

        You aren’t up to speed on this, my soon-not-to-be-anonymous friend. You can shoot the messenger if you wish but this matter is far beyond one or two people.

        If you take time to get up on the facts and then tell us how you see all this then we can see if your reaction is just a knee jerk in support of your favored personalities and institutions.

        • Tarheel says

          Oh brother…. I’m up on it. I have plainly said the severance should happen – I’m not sure what else ya want? Advocating the setting up of a guillotine for Mohler?

          • Tarheel says

            Because I think that’s what he’s doing…but despite that he’s right.

            Perhaps you’ll defend WB and others who were accused of the same with regard to the “Muslim and Mormon – gate” at SWBTS?

            Motives aside- right is right.

            SG/SBTS need to separate.

            Muslims and Mormons need to be separated from enrollment at SWBTS.

          • William Thornton says

            I don’t spend much time arguing with people who are unwilling to use their name. You slander a good man, Rick Patrick, who even puts his mug with every post and comment. Time for you to exhibit some integrity or just be silent.

          • Tarheel says

            What in the world are you going to do after I reveal myself at the convention you won’t have any more talking points against what I post…. What ever will you do?

          • William Thornton says

            I’ll spend more time talking to you after the drama queen reveal.

          • says

            Even is a person dos not give his name, if what he says is right it should be heeded. As has been said, right is right….in this case even if we do not know who said it.

          • William Thornton says

            D.L. what has been done is to question motives and take cheap shot slaps at respected, non anonymous contributors, and doing so without doing what you do, put your name behind every syllable you type. There have been no new facts revealed. What has been done is to presume to know another’s state-of-mind. If he has that capability then he should not only add his name but charge fees for his posts.

      • Tim B says

        I think the timing and motives of the swbts dustup, at least Burleson’s involvement is not even in disupte. The young man who contacted Burleson said himself that he contacted Burleson as part of an effort to get action on the convention floor. (see post 228 in the swbts muslim student post)

    • Adam Blosser says

      Item 1 is really the only one that even remotely has anything to do with the relationship between SBTS and SGM.

      I agree that they need to sever ties. I hope they will.

    • Trip Rodgers says

      I don’t feel the need to say we don’t often agree, but the 5 items above can be googled and I found them to be timely and accurate. You are off the hook for your timing in this matter in my book! I would like to see more information on what appears to be bad blood at the T4G site with regard to Tullian and his position. It looks bad…

      Trip Rodgers

    • says

      Rick, there are a lot of things I don’t agree with you on, but…

      This past Sunday I preached a sermon where I talked about judging motives, and compared the idea that we can know the motives of another person outside of what they say to self-idolatry. In other words, we’re assuming the place of God when we think we know and can judge what’s in a person’s heart and mind.


      I’ll throw my hat into this ring: You say your motives are honorable as a brother of Christ, then I’ll trust your motives are honorable.


      • says

        A bit off of the present topic, but I have to Amen your sermon. Said self-idolatry is unfortunately not uncommon, particularly in a culture where Bulverism is rather pervasive (particularly since arrogantly assuming that one can see into the motives of another is an inherent part of Bulveristic technique).

  14. says

    Rick’s right that someone’s going to question his motives. I am. Rick’s favorite seminary is at the center of a pretty prominent controversy just before the annual meeting and I think he’s throwing mud up against the wall to see if anything sticks about Southern. That way he and his friends can walk around Baltimore saying, “What’s all this fuss about SWBTS? Look at Southern’s problems! There’s just as many problems in Louisville as in Fort Worth!”

    The above comments have nailed both facets of this situation. First, the accreditation question/accepting credits from the Pastor’s College is a non-starter. Second, as time passes and more information comes to light about Sovereign Grace and the sexual abuse scandal, Mohler and Southern need to distance themselves from SGM and Mahaney. It’s become clear there’s not just smoke here, there’s real fire. I understand people rallying around C. J. in the hopes that things were not as bad as the accusations made it sound, or that it was isolated and C. J. was unaware, but that’s getting past the point of believability now. SGM needs to die 1000 deaths and our attitude should be “good riddance.”

  15. dr. james willingham says

    Seems like I don’t get my notices of follow up comments and whatever seems to place our comments wherever. Anyway, Rick, There is much more to what I was observing above, and, regardless of what some of the new reformed Calvinists say, there are those who are old egalitarian Calvinists who are the successors and the descendants of past generations. Can it be that Rome saw the resurgence as a change to place their charismatic folks in fortuitous positions to become leaders, speakers, etc.? Some of us have knowledge of the past by way of research and family. Are there others in positions who cooperate with the those who would take us to Rome, when this is all over?

  16. says

    I certainly don’t have all the facts about this, but at first blush it sounds like Sovereign Grace was in need of a seminary and until they could develop one for themselves, so they shopped around and found that SBTS is a good fit for them. SBTS is fairly Calvinistic as is SG and they share many key doctrinal distinctions. As for being explicitly Calvinistic and Continuationist (Charismatic), those two views are welcomed in the SBC. I’m Calvinistic, but not a Continuationist. However, I don’t have a problem with a Continuationist denomination sending students to one of our seminaries, which makes me wonder why “Traditionalists” would have a problem with a Calvinistic denomination sending students to one of our seminaries. Frankly, I think the SG just might be close enough doctrinally to the BF&M that any of their churches could join the SBC without changing anything.

    And regarding CP money being used to train pastors for another denomination, it sounds like SG is providing money to cover the cost of their students without relying on SBC funds.

    As for the credit transfer issue, I don’t have enough information. I would think that if there are different requirements going in then there is something different with the degree they are getting. Otherwise, I don’t think that SBTS could remain accredited. The purpose of accreditation is precisely to engender trust in this area. As long as SBTS remains accredited then we can trust that the graduates have duly earned the degrees they receive according to the criteria for accreditation.

  17. Andy says

    “at bachelor level or below work, no less” ….unaccredited bachelor (or below) work”

    I wonder where these statements came from? Does SGM Pastor’s college advertise that their work is “at bachelor level” or “below bachelor level”?

    • Jim G. says

      They came from me. It’s a nine month unaccredited program. They can advertise whatever they want. They have no outside credibility or accountability, because they are unaccredited. Everyone else who goes to SBTS has a 4-year degree from a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s program. There’s the trouble.

      Jim G.

      • says

        This is where I don’t think there’s enough public info on this set up, Jim: it’s possible those accepted to SBTS through this do have a 4 year degree from another institution, and the “Bible college” classes are extra.

        IF someone is accepted into a masters program w/o more of a degree backing than just the one year treatment, THEN that’s a problem. But…I don’t see how SBTS could do that and maintain their own accreditation, so unless someone can find more info I’m going with the assumption those accepted at SBTS do have a separate degree as well.

        • Jim G. says

          Hi Mike,

          It is possible to be admitted into MDiv programs without a BA or BS. There is something called ability-to-benefit, which is a government program that allows for life and age experience (35+ years old) to enter a masters program without the bachelors. SBTS probably does ability to benefit. I think most schools do. My problem comes in with a 9-month stint in an unaccredited pastors college being the equivalent of 35 hours in one of the world’s greatest seminaries. That I cannot see.

          At our school, we admit ability to benefit students, but we don’t give them any sort of experience credit.

          Jim G.

      • says

        SBTS has agreements with a couple other church based training programs

        Cross Church School of Ministry (Ronnie Floyd’s church)
        Sojourn Pastors School (this is of Sojourn Community Church)

        There is definitely merit and precedent to them doing this with SGM (though they obviously should sever ties for other reasons). Accreditation is just a final stamp saying that something has proven to have been adequate. If they were considered inadequate by SBTS they wouldn’t use the credits.

        • Jim G. says

          It looks as though there is a good bit of counting outside “church schools” or “ministry schools” going on at SBTS and other SB seminaries. The Cross Church school looks more legit than the Sojourn one from an academic point of view, as it has terminally-degreed people leading it. Sojourn does not say anything concerning the credentials of their teachers. I’m still skeptical of the unaccredited work, coming at it from the academic side of the house.

          Their deals are still substantially shorter than the one the SGM school has with SBTS.

          Jim G.

          • says

            Well since both of the churches that run these two schools are SBC churches I’m sure there is less scrutiny. For what’s it’s worth I think if they are at least handling practical classes I find that beneficial. I’m personally not a big fan of the dichotomy that has been made between the academy and the church so any attempt to bridge that gap is welcome to me.

  18. Louis says

    I have never met Maheney or heard him speak, but I have friends who have who have been to TG4 who have heard him say that one of the greatest disappointments of his life is not having obtained a formal education or a seminary degree. My understanding is that he wanted to encourage that and that he admired Mohler and Southern. That is all good.

    But how Southern reciprocates is another matter. I don’t have concerns about Trustee approval or whether the arrangement is not consistent with a Southern’s accreditation. Mohler is not stupid and doesn’t pull things out of his hop pocket.

    But I am still uncomfortable with this arrangement. SGM does not impress me. I think it is good if SGM pastors get seminary educations, but I don’t want Southern or the SBC to endorse SGM.

    The lack of education played a big role in the SGM mess. They developed a plan to respond to child molestation. They were trying to be “biblical”. But they were a million miles off. An education doesn’t solve all problems, but it sure can help.

    So as far as I can tell the admission of pastor’s college students to Southern is with trustee approval and consistent with accreditation requirements and is to further the goal of training Christians for ministry, which is the purpose of our seminaries.

    But we need to be careful with whom we associate, and I hope that some steps toward removing any public connection between Southern and SGM will be taken.

    There’s no marriage here, so there’s no need for a divorce.

    But distancing would be a really good thing.

  19. Andrew Green says

    With a question like this I wonder why younger Southern Baptist Ministers do not attend the conventions.

  20. Louis says


    They do not attend because 1) they do not see it as being relevant to their ministries, 2) it is not seen as cool, and 3) they do not want to be part of the dysfunction and rancor that comes with large organizations.

    In short, they lack the ‘vision’ thing.

    • says

      I had breakfast with my pastor/son this morning. He is Young, Restless, but not Reformed. I said, “I have been on a blogg this morning and it seems that there are one or two storms getting ready to blow at Baltimore”. His response, “Humm….by the way Dad, have you seen the new T shirts for sports camp this year…”.

      My point: I was heavily involved in SBC life at his age. My friends and I would STILL be there talking about the convention. He is not at all concerned. Why? He see no relevance of the convention to his ministry. Not saying this is good just saying….

      • Bob Williford says

        My son is a bivo Youth Minister in a SBC church and could care less what is going on…even at the associational level. He knows the history that many of us passed through beginning in the early ’70’s in part because I told him that “I was there at La. College where some of it actually began.” We were in Peru as a missionary family when much of the ugly stuff transpired, and on and on it goes.

        There other Pastors and church members who simply want to be left alone because they feel that they have been left behind by what they are calling, “the Big Boys”. And we wonder why so many of our churches no longer have the name ‘Baptist’ on their signage?

        Some are asking does it even matter if we are connected to the SBC apart from Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong and the CP. The Convention meetings may be losing purpose to many and the many may become most soon after some of us older guys are gone…….Just a thought.

        • Andrew Green says

          As a young Southern Baptist pastor myself being 31 I get tired of fighting and mudslinging. I pushed my church to give more to our association and the cooperative program. I worked hard to get them to give more to Lottie Moon. I will be attending the convention in Baltimore because I hope to see our convention thrive but this infighting will destroy us just as much as it destroys churches. Expect numbers to continue to go down both at conventions and baptism and salvation numbers because this infighting goes completely against James 4. Rick Patrick and all others before you discuss this openingly I am sure Dr. Mohler would discuss this with you privately. He was readily available to me and all other students during my seminary days. I urge you guys quit seeking to destroy our convention and alienate people from it. Your not helping

          • says

            there is not a bone in my body that wants to destroy the convention.
            I have supported it through 50 years of ordained ministry. In the minutes of one of the churches i pastored in the early 70 you will find that I made the motion that the church start a trek to give 50% of our receipts to the CP. My greatest dream (though never realized) was to pastor a church that gave as much to missions as it kept at home. When I left the church was giving 26%.

            In addition I have served on several boards, have written for the Sunday School Board, now LifeWay as well as served on various committees.

            No Sir, I am not trying to destroy the convention, I will support it till I die, warts and all.

          • Bob Williford says

            Well, I have been at this for 45 years of ordained ministry and along the way have served as pastor, evangelist, FMB missionary and finally retired as a staff member at a State convention. Today I am serving as Pastor of a small rural church in Arkansas.
            Since the early 70’s the SBC has been fighting about something and, yes, I am really weary. I have written blogs, spoken personally to pastors, SBC convention leaders, have written letters to professors, and church members, etc, etc through the years.
            Seems to me that nothing has changed nor most likely will not change in the near future, either. The Calvinist thing will go on for awhile unless they win, the Traditionalists win, a truce is written (which will not change anything), and or some (or many) choose to do something else. There are some who may do just that. I will not, but there really is not much use in continuing the fight, so to speak, because that will continue with or without me (us).

            My heart tells me that God is not happy with what we have been doing for a generation, but as a Denomination, we are doing the same as our Nation has been doing for a bit more than a generation……sinking.

            But, Praise our Lord because He is!!!!

          • says

            What you have said is reality. It has been sad to watch. However, I am not read to give up on it quite yet. For two reasons: (1) It is still the best deal that I can find. (2) We have some very sharp young pastors out there who could turn things around if they would get on evolved. I pray that they do. Maybe when some of old coggers die off they will.

      • says

        I basically fit the YRR mold (though I’m not a fan of that label due to connotations) and am currently preparing to work with NAMB as a church planting intern, so I feel a vested interest in the success of the SBC, CP, etc. I would identify mostly with your third point. The rancor and infighting is tough to handle. I understand fighting for essentials, but we shouldn’t be nitpicking and ripping each other apart over non essentials.

        Maybe it is just the spot I’m in but it does seem relevant to ministry. It’s hard to do mission work without people (churches, associations) backing you up. That’s why I want to be involved.

  21. Greg Harvey says

    Reminds me of the similar situation Liberty found itself in but lacks the SBTS spokesperson with a provable case of foot-in-mouth disease. But SBTS NEEDS to publicly respond and explain that:

    A). Exactly what the details are regarding claims SGM is publicly making (the strong relationship is also referred to in their Wikipedia article with a reference to a Courier-Journal article that is largely behind a paywall as substantiation by the way)

    B). Clarification that these details are both not special to SGM and what verification of qualification requirements–such as testing–will be conducted at time of application.

  22. Stephen Jones says

    LifeWay also has connections to SGM, at least thru Fuge camps. Our youth pastor left last year to work in a church start. So the Fuge registration packet landed on my desk in January. We had 24 spots reserved for 2014 at Jenness Park in California. I decided to check out the preacher & musician for our week. There was no church affiliation listed for the preacher (still isn’t) but I found out he had membership in an American Baptist church and attends an Evangelical Free Church. LifeWay student ministry would not (or could not) provide any doctrinal details on the camp pastor beyond BF&M.

    The musician (and band?) were from Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, KY. Looked up the church to see if it was SBC and saw the pastor’s name – C. J. Mahaney! Had just read about the abuse scandal and cover-up in his organization. I emailed Dr. Rainer who quickly replied and promised follow-up. The Fuge website was “purged” of any reference to the non-SBC C. J. Mahaney church a day or so after I contacted Dr. Rainer. Still the same musician, but now just says “leads worship in the Louisville area”. I’m sure glad I saw the truth before it was too late. Fuge staff told me they could not change a worship leader due to contracts, planning a year advance, etc., but implied there was no need for a change anyway. (Side fact: this spring the Fuge mailer listed a different musician for our Calif camps. I called and asked if the SGM connection was now gone – answer: no, the brochure listed someone who cancelled. Which meant the SGM guy was NOT recruited a year in advance.)

    We would have changed to another week (there were originally 7 Fuge weeks listed for California) but the same SGM musician is scheduled all summer, and only one week has a camp pastor who is active in an SBC church.

    After discussing the situation with church leaders and our youth, we released our 24 spots and will instead take the youth on a mission trip.

    By the way, I have been a Fuge camp director and sent many kids to Fuge and Centrikid through the years. I was surprised when told by a LifeWay student ministry staffer that “we have never solely used SBC worship leaders and speakers”. I can accept non-SBC leaders, but preferably not for a Baptist camp at a Baptist campground. The SGM connection was the deal-breaker for me.

    About two months after releasing our 24 camper spots, LifeWay billed us. I called, talked to a young man who said we owed the money. I told him we canceled, did not send in deposits, and were not going to camp in 2014. He said he could not remove the charge, we had to pay, and he had the audacity to mention the possibility of a collection agency! I asked to speak to someone with more authority – and got the charge removed.

    • William Thornton says

      Same thing happened to me. Ignore the threat. LifeWay will do nothing. They aren’t going to get into this dispute but do understand that they can intimidate some churches into paying. If they want to stop late cancellations they can require upfront deposits with forfeiture provisions.

  23. Jess says

    After being a bi-vocational pastor most of my adult life, I never had time to be involved with the SBC or the Association. Matter of fact, I didn’t want to be involved with all the meetings and business. We would always send out our own missionaries, thus the name Missionary Baptist Church.

    It was always my understanding “The Big Boys,” made their own decisions and that’s the way it is today. Everyone is jumping on board to elect Dr. Kim as president of SBC. The thousands of small churches don’t even keep up with SBC business or the latest on the grapevine. Here is a great example. I didn’t even have a cellphone until the last ten years, never needed one and don’t need one now. It’s what one gets accustomed to, I guess.

    Until “The Big Boys” reach out to the thousands of small churches and tries to get them involved in SBC life, the thousands of small churches will not be involved with the SBC. There are small Baptist churches that aren’t even members of an association, and there are Baptist churches that are that don’t even bother to send in any reports to the association. Could this be part of the reason of the decline in Baptisms, no reports?

    These are a few of my thoughts, I don’t charge for my thoughts but my time is expensive.

  24. Jim G. says

    Here’s another major connection between SBTS and SGM:

    Bob Kauflin, the former worship leader at CJM’s Covenant Life Church in Maryland (the same church where Nate Morales molested boys and was convicted in court this past week for it), has the following document still on the SBTS website. Note the name of the organization was “PDI” which stood for “People of Destiny International,” of which CJM was “apostle.” This document is from 2003, and is still on Southern’s website today (the URL is

    Kauflin was a guest speaker as recently as April 16 for all worship majors at SBTS and Boyce.

    Bob Kauflin’s son Devin is the leader of the SBTS worship band, “Norton Hall.”

    It might be harder than we think to “distance” the two entities. Aside from the friendship and mutual interests of Mohler and Mahaney, it seems as though SBTS and SGM are quite intertwined.

    Jim G.

    • dr. james willingham says

      Jim G: I agree, and the matter of the sexual abuse of children is an area where we ought to draw a line and say, “Get this straightened out first before “Puffing” Mahaney. The references to SGM is looked upon by those who suffered through the problem referenced as well as others as a problem of “authoritarianism”, all of which reminds us of the reality that Sovereign Grace as Southern Baptists of old presented it was quite egalitarian, inspite of evidence to the contrary. Even the church which sent out the first missionary to China churched a member who objected to the treating of slaves as equals in the church. This was in 1861, and about two miles from where I lived until last year the fellow who died after the battle of 2nd Manassas due to disease was laid to rest. He had it recorded on his tombstone about the church churching him and why. I stopped and read the military tombstone with that information on it.

    • andy says

      I was at a sbts event last summer in which Bob Kauflin was a speaker and Devin was a worship leader, and wondered about it….but what bothers me the most was seeing bob kaufin’s tight jeans…I mean, come on, he doesn’t even go to Sojourn ! ????

  25. says

    Empty the national leadership nest. Let’s see what 40 somethings can do. Maybe they could go to Pizza Hut and work things out.

    Many of our leaders are too old, too slow, and not motivated to make a difference. It seems to me most of our leadership is too concern about control and protecting their territory.

    Just a thought.


  26. Tarheel says

    Question…. Is everyone associated with SG off limits and bad?

    Do we throw baby out with bath water?

    Do we reject even music written and performed by anyone associated with SG?

    • Andy says

      Not necessarily, Many of the things CJ taught and wrote remain biblical and true…many of their songs remain filled with good Gospel truth and singable melodies.

      What has changed is that for a while, many reformed SBCers looked at SGM as this perfect little mini-denomination, and we have discovered that it was not so, in fact no such thing exists. And so now, many of us thing our SBC leaders should use extra caution in any interactions and partnerships with a group of people and leaders who SEEM to have moved to louisville to escape a bad situation in Maryland.

      Another lesson, perhaps, is for our own leaders and pastors, is that when a lot of power is vested in one person without real accountability, bad things can happen…we’ve seen this with CJ Mahaney, Mark driscoll, James MacDonald, and others…One Decision-maker and lots of yes-men is not a good situation.

      Another lesson, perhaps, is be glad most of us aren’t famous.

      • Tarheel says

        I agree 100%!

        We’ve got a leader or two in he SBC whose name found be sadly easily changed with what you said about CJM.

        I can honestly say I wasn’t and am not overly enamored with MD, CJM or McDonald. I have friends who were/are but I never was.

        • says

          You are right, in the use of the word enamored. When we become enamored with people we are setting ourselves and them up for problems. It seems the more enamored we are with people the less we hold them accountable by accepting most anything they say.

      • Jeff says

        “What has changed is that for a while, many reformed SBCers looked at SGM as this perfect little mini-denomination, and we have discovered that it was not so…”

        I remember thinking this from about 2005-2009, but my entire knowledge of SGM came from how SGM presented itself at its own conferences and at outside conferences. I had never been around a SGM church or met a SGM pastor or church member (I live in Texas, and SGM is actually a tiny denomination located mostly in the mid-Atlantic area). Then I began encounter negative information about SGM on the internet in early 2010, and while I didn’t want to believe this was true, over time most of it has turned out to be true.

        • Tarheel says

          Yea, I know what you mean. I’ve never net a pastor or member either and I live in the mid Atlantic.

          However, I still say there are most likely good pastors and church members who find themselves caught up in this mess.

  27. says

    I have to note that however bad things seem like in SGM, we have SBC churches that are worse: in leadership, scandals, spiritual problems, etc. I suggest we remove the logs from our own eyes, so to speak, before we trash our brothers and sisters in another denomination. Of course, we have scolded our own people over polity issues, and been unduly suspicious of people with different theological bents, but rarely, if ever, have we done so with our own sin in mind. And indeed each of us have sinned most egregiously.

    …just saying.

    • William Thornton says

      Not so. The reality of assorted problems on SBC churches is irrelevant to the case here and the extent to which our employees are connected to those involved.

      I am unaware of any current similar situations. With almost 50k SBC churches there are periodic cases of SBC clergy child abuse. Some in the past involved individuals and churches failing to act. The SGM case involves systemic mishandling of a type not found in the SBC so far as I know.

      No one is trashing SGM and CJM although many, rightly, are calling attention to the manner.

      One part of this almost always ignored here are the child abuse victims. I am little concerned about CJM, he has lawyers, nor SGM, they are reaping the product of their flawed system.

    • Jeff says

      “I have to note that however bad things seem like in SGM, we have SBC churches that are worse” – People like Al Mohler and Mark Dever often talk about the problems in SBC churches, but then they would let C. J. Mahaney portray SGM as some kind of utopia, a model for SBC churches to imitate. Even as late as 2011, when all kinds of negative information was becoming available about SGM, Mohler called SGM “one of the most vital movements of church planting and evangelism and church development in this generation…”

    • Jeff says

      Also, SBC church polity is different than SGM polity. SBC has autonomous local churches, so denominational leaders like President of Executive Committee are not directly responsible for what local SBC churches (although it is helpful if people like Frank Page form study committees and provide resources to help churches deal with issues like child abuse). But Mahaney was more like the “Pope” of SGM – appointing and removing pastors, micro-managing local churches, and setting policies for all the churches. Mahaney is responsible for what happened in every SGM church to a degree that somebody like Frank Page will never be.

      The SBC has a different history than SGM. The SBC is the result of autonomous local churches cooperating together to support missions. SGM is the result of one megachurch planting new churches that remained subordinate to the mother church.

    • says

      Let me add the obvious here just so it is is the mix. The issue is not which group is better or worse. The issue is that child abuse is a horrific crime and sin and needs to be routed out regardless of what church or organization is involved. In this area denominational walls come down.

      Again the is the obvious, just wanted to see it in the discussion.

      • William Thornton says

        I’ve blogged often about this issue and have read a good bit of discussion on the popular blogs and one of the things I have come to expect is that when men, particular pastors, discuss clergy/church child abuse they will talk at length about polity, church welfare, the personalities involved and the like but seldom mention the children who are victims. When women come to the discussion (very seldom here) their laser focus is on victims.

        Call this what you will but it is my observation. I think it has held true here.

        I almost regret getting into the child abuse part of this, which deserves its own topic, since Rick Patrick was focused on the educational thing.

        • says

          William T
          I am not sure what my area of expertise is, but i am sure it is not in this area. You obviously have proficiency in this matter. From my limited framework it seems that most of the discussion I hear focuses on legal issues, protection or in general covering our backsides. I hear very little about the hurt to the victims, family etc.

          I would welcome your observation on this point, if you would please.

          • says

            William T
            I realize that you spoke to that above so for clarity I was thinking of expansion on this point. Mainly are there organizations that focus on victims and so seminars etc in church settings.

    • says

      I’m not out to exhonerate anoyone who doesn’t need exhonoration, but I’m not here to bring something to light that might not need to come to light. Consider the following:

      A) If our church polity keeps us out of individual church actions within our own denomination, then it seems reasonable that we should stay out of the business of another denomination. I personally don’t know SGM’s polity well enough to lambaste it. I imagine I wouldn’t agree with it if it’s more hierarchical than the SBC. But I’m not in a position to characterize them as though I were somehow superior to them.

      B) I’m not up to speed on the SGM cases although I’ve seen something of the rumors online. Biblical church discipline is necessarily discrete. There are some things of other people’s sin I’m not supposed to know about if it’s being handled appropriately.

      C) With regard to civil law, it’s wise, appropriate, and ethical to keep certain facts about the case confidential. I’m sure none of us know all pertinent information. Additionally, in the US it is constitutional to consider someone innocent until proven guilty. So there’s that.

      D) Information that is necessarily biblically discrete or legally confidential is too often misconstrued as “coverups” by those attracted by conspiracy theories.

      E) With regards to (B) and (C), I’m sure glad those protections are there for me, except they too often aren’t by busybodies who would rather build relationships of suspicion than trust with fellow Christians.

      That’s all I’m saying.

      • Jim G. says

        Jim, with all due respect, you are trying to gloss this over and it needs to come to the light of day. Here is what has been established so far:

        1. CJ Mahaney was senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Maryland for many years. He was a micro-managing, autocratic ruler who held the title of “apostle” of the “People of Destiny” until he converted to Reformed theology and became very close associates of popular Reformed personalities, including the President of SBTS, Al Mohler.

        2. Under Mahaney’s pastorate, a youth worker named Nate Morales sexually molested several boys over a long period of time. He was convicted of some of those crimes last week in a Maryland court.

        3. Under oath, CJM’s associate pastor and brother-in-law Grant Layman testified that he knew of the molestations and yet did not report to the police. Not only did Layman and the other pastoral staff at CLC not report Morales’ past actions, they did presumably nothing to warn anyone about Morales, who continued to abuse up until the time he was arrested.

        4. Given the polity of SGM, it is unthinkable that Mahaney was ignorant of the crimes of Morales. Contrary to your assertion, Jim, this is not church discipline. Sexually molesting minors is criminal activity. This is not some sin that is equal to all other sins. Jesus had something to say about children, millstones, and necks if I recall.

        5. Now, here is how this influences the SBC and every church and organization under the umbrella of the SBC: due to the close relationship of Mahaney and Mohler through organizations like T4G, TGC, the sweet deal SGM students get at SBTS, and numerous speaking engagements for Mahaney and other SGMs at SBC seminaries and meetings, SGM culture is very popular (or at least recently was) in SBC life. Even with all that has come to light, influential SBC leaders like Mohler and Dever are not distancing themselves from CJM. That will give the impression that there is nothing to see here and just move along.

        6. All these guys who have graduated from the SGM pastor’s college have the same shepherding DNA as does Mahaney, because they were either trained by him or trained by those he trained. Now they are graduating from the flagship SBC seminary and perhaps assimilating into SBC life.

        7. Right now, SBC leaders are effectively enabling Mahaney, rather than distancing themselves from him. Dever let him into CHBC for a while after he fled from Maryland, and now he is in Louisville to be close to Mohler.

        We are talking about overseeing a denomination as an “apostle” where criminal activity was covered up. This is not innuendo. It was confessed under oath. He is trying to merge himself and what is left of his associates into the SBC, and it sure seems to me that Mohler and Co. are more than happy with the merger. Mahaney is Joe Paterno times ten. Paterno was a football coach. Mahaney was entrusted with souls. And our leaders are welcoming him and his incredible baggage with open arms and very few people are questioning the wisdom of such a move.

        Jim G.

        • William Thornton says

          Good job, Jim. Your #5 is a good summary of why this concerns us.

          This will only get worse, I suspect.

        • says

          Jim G,

          “Jim, with all due respect, you are trying to gloss this over”

          Thanks for the respect. However, that’s a mischaracterization of my comments and demonstrates that you don’t understand the nature of what I’m saying. I know that you are in the business of mischaracterizing things for you also say this:

          “CJ Mahaney…was a micro-managing, autocratic ruler…”

          That’s a characterization based on your own perceptions, not something I can fact-check. I suspect comments by default of being intentionally opinion-swaying. That’s a common propaganda technique. Now maybe it’s more than just a caricature and he actually was a domineering leader (I personally despise uncontrolled A-types and if he was that bad, I wouldn’t like him either), but you add this:

          “…until he converted to Reformed theology”

          So if he was as bad as you portray, then you must be saying that he’s repented. If so, why bring it up? He’s forgiven and we should be wary of condemning him for past sins based on Romans 14:4.

          #2 – #4 – I agree, this is a horrible case. There are children who have suffered for life because of this. I don’t need to know who they are, and they don’t need me to know who they are. So there’s a very good reason the children aren’t being discussed.

          “Given the polity of SGM,”

          Which you have possibly mischaracterized. I don’t know it by what you have told me.

          “…it is unthinkable that Mahaney was ignorant of the crimes of Morales.“

          So you don’t know for sure? Neither do I.

          “Contrary to your assertion, Jim, this is not church discipline.”

          If Mahaney knew about it and didn’t contact the authorities, then it may have been a case of church discipline if mishandled. If it wasn’t a case of church discipline, then Mahaney likely didn’t know. Therefore the issue is that it wasn’t handled correctly, not necessarily that it was a cover-up. Do you know for sure, or are you just speculating about Mahaney’s intentions? Why would you be speculating about Mahaney’s intentions so forcefully?

          “Even with all that has come to light, influential SBC leaders like Mohler and Dever are not distancing themselves from CJM.”

          So do you trust Mohler and Dever?

          Your #6 is largely speculation.

          “Right now, SBC leaders are effectively enabling Mahaney, rather than distancing themselves from him.”

          You beg the question that distance is the godly thing to do when you don’t have all the facts. It might be that Mohler and Dever know more than you or I. I don’t know. I don’t have the information necessary to make that judgment, even with what you have told me here. I don’t know if what has been done for Mahaney by Mohler and Dever constitutes “effectively enabling” or not, or if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe they are “effectively enabling” him to do the right thing in this case and we don’t have the information to know for sure. Please don’t fill in the blanks for me with characterizations for which you have no knowledge.

          • Jim G. says

            Jim, I don’t have a fight with you. I do have a fight with abusers and those who cover up abuse to protect the brand within the body of Christ. Although you might be right, I find it stretching the limits of credulity that, given the history and structure of PDI/SGM, Mahaney was ignorant of what was going on. Just yesterday, a family spoke out publicly about meeting with Mahaney concerning sexual abuse in 2009. If this has legs, it means that Mahaney knew years ago about abuse and did not report it.

            I wish none of this had happened, especially for the sake of the victims. But it has. The SBC leaders under question, as you well know, have a vested interest in this, if for nothing more than the sake of their reputations and qualifications for leadership. Like you, I pray they are doing the right thing. I have to admit I am skeptical.

            Jim G.

      • William Thornton says

        You would agree, wouldn’t you, that a church, whatever their polity, which failed to report child sexual abuse by their staff in their congregation and which church and leaders have had and continue to have close relationships and even partnerships with SBC leaders and entities, needs to be brought to light?

        Perhaps you should gain greater familiarity with the situation. We are past the point, and have been for some time, where we can ignore this as none of our bidness. It affects, indirectly, some of our leaders and institutions.

      • says

        Thanks, Tarheel.

        To the alarmists, I have one simple question of my own:

        Do you trust Al Mohler and the other leadership who are in the position to handle ties with the SBC?

        William said, “needs to be brought to light”. To whom, in particular? Has the issue with SGM been brought to light to those who are in the position to handle it? If so, then it’s best that the rest of us let them do what they are equipped to do… unless you don’t already trust SBC leadedership.

        • says

          Jim, that is a significant question. I am not an apologist for CJM. I’ve never heard him speak not have I read anything written by him.

          However, whatever way things “look” with our outsider knowledge, it is not biblical to presume guilt on this brother from our limited knowledge standpoint. To assume CJM knew is just that…an assumption.

          The SBC leaders close to CJM and connected in some manner may very well be proved to be in error all this time. Or they may be proved to have been right. We don’t know. But it appears that some simply don’t trust Al Mohler and other leaders from the get go. If that’s the case, state that clearly. It will illuminate all comments past and present.

          • Tarheel says

            Les, you’ve nailed it IMO!

            It seems to many that this whole thing has been used as a bit of a weapon against Mohler from the beginning.

            Not everyone mind you – but it’s accurate IMO to say that while the outrage relating to child molestation is real…but to am extent I think it’s also somewhat a means to an end.

        • William Thornton says

          Mohler has lost a degree of trust on my view over this. As head of our flagship seminary, that affects us all. Is your position that no one here should be speaking of this even though there is a considerable body of facts, finding by the courts, and public statements by both victims, participants, and supporters?

          The refrain that some are motivated by their opposition to AM and Calvinists is rather lame. Those who disagree with the degree of influence of Calvinists in the SBC, Rick P is one, may find SGM/CJM/SBTS/AM matters to be quicker to gain their scrutiny but neither Rick, nor Tim G, nor myself created these things.

          Rick raised a salient point relative to the seminary and indirectly the use of our own money. Several point to the child abuse scandal and it’s impact on us. To call any “alarmists” is not justified. As things progress, I suspect you will find your position here less tenable, and that just based on facts now known.

          • Greg Harvey says

            Again: this situation isn’t significantly different than the one at Liberty EXCEPT there isn’t currently any public affirmation by SBTS of CJM or Sovereign other than speaking/worship leadership and a seemingly unrelated LifeWay use of non-SBC resources.

            I’m all in favor of directly pressuring SBTS to spend a little time clarifying in an effort to understand if there actually is a relationship. But taking Sovereign’s claims as proof seems a rush to judgment myself with the anti-Calvinists managing to be well represented in the “swooshing” sound.

          • says

            My position is that we should be careful about drawing conclusions, even if correct, when we don’t have all the facts to make such conclusions when our brothers’ Christian witness is on the line. I know there are a lot of facts known, but there are many more that aren’t, and in some case rightfully so. Dr. Mohler has a lot of clout and visibility, but he isn’t a dictator and doesn’t act alone. He has people he is accountable to in the SBC. If we call Mohler to account, we must also call those people to account for not disciplining him…

            …because they might all be in on the big SBC-SGM scandal too…

            But actually, if we lose trust in Al Mohler when those who are in the position to hold him to account fail to do so, then we must lose trust in the accountability of the SBC leadership structure altogether. Of course, there are some who would want that. I for one don’t want to fuel that desire.

    • Tarheel says

      Thanks Adam.

      He’s in an awful position for sure. One I hope none of us ever find ourselves in.

      He’s still denying the worst of the allegations.

      He’s admitted to, repented of, and sought mentoring regarding his jerky behavior and autocratic leadership style.

      I’m praying for him as a brother in Christ.

    • Bill Mac says

      He took not one ounce of responsibility for what happened under his leadership. It is unconscionable. Either he is lying or perhaps the worst leader in history. Either way, he should not be in leadership anywhere else. Ever.

      • Tarheel says

        He’s in the midst of all sorts of legal wrangling and he’s said what he feels he can. The fact is none of us know what he knew, when he knew it, what he did or didn’t do….anyone claiming to is simply surmising th released evidence…which as Dave Miller said in another thread is at this point completely one side of the story.

        There’s a scripture verse that cautions us to wait till all evidence is presented before casting judgment lest we look foolish isn’t there?

        I’m glad the victims and families got a modicum of justice with the pervert who violated them being convicted. I’m also glad he’s going to jail.

        Like I said, I’m praying for him as a brother in Christ….I’m also praying for the victims of the pervert- and have even said a prayer or two for the molester himself.

        All that said….I still think for a multitude of reasons that oSBTS would be wise to break away from official ties with SGM.

        I also think Mohler and Dever are seeking to help, love, and mentor a brother in Christ and friend thru a personal crisis – some if his own making and some possibly not….but isn’t that hat friends do?

        • Tom Stowe says

          Friends? SBC bloggers have taught me that friendship isn’t real among fellow ministers and that, even when a minister’s very life hangs in the balance, we must heartlessly and ruthlessly bring him down!

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          Tarheel: I have nothing against seeking to help, love, mentor a brother in Christ through a personal crisis. That would be the right thing to do. That is not the issue. The statement that was put on Facebook in support of CJ was wrong and another abusive action toward the victims, in my opinion. And Bill is right, their are families who say they had a meeting with CJ about the abuse of their child, and he should not be in leadership anywhere. Ever.

          • Tarheel says

            Again…that’s one side of the story – I’m NOT defending CJM I’m just saying g we don’t know everything and what we do know could be wrong.

  28. Steven says

    From the SBTS academic catalog that can be found here:

    “Transfer of Credit Policy

    Master’s Level Programs

    The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recognizes appropriate course work completed at other seminaries, universities and colleges that have been accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), or by one
    of the six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S. Transfer credit for diploma programs may be accepted from institutions that are unaccredited or have been accredited by other agencies. All credits are accepted in accordance with federal and state law, informed by the standards delineated in the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Transfer Credit Practices Guide.”

    I think that this directly addresses the issue of the transferrability of credits from SGM institutions to SBTS.

    • Adam Blosser says

      Thanks. It seems like this contradicts the post from SGM linked to above. Do you agree?

      • Steven says

        I do, which is why I posted it. If I had to guess, I would say that the SGM position is wrong and somewhat misleading based on the evidence of SBTS’ published transfer credit criteria. SGM might, at the time they posted that information, have hoped to get some credit-transfer connection. For example the SBTS policy does say that a student can request credit if the prior school subsequently obtains an accreditation within two years of the student taking a course. SGM might have hoped on getting an accreditation, but I have no clue.

        Bottom line is that SBTS has a stated policy. I hope that it is evenly enforced and have no indication from anyone in the know that they are not enforcing the policy evenly. A lot of old claims and speculative blogging and worse yet blog comments is not determinative to me.

  29. Jeff says

    Trust the SBC leadership! That is what the moderates and liberals in the SBC were all saying prior to 1979. The SBC seminary presidents before 1979 said that the seminary faculties were conservative and trustworthy when they weren’t. Thankfully, grassroots Southern Baptists did not simply trust the leadership, but held them accountable. Now, although a lot of good things are happening at SBC seminaries, we must continue to hold them accountable. The entity heads work for Southern Baptists, not the other way around. Whether it is Paige Patterson admitting a Muslim student to SWBTS or Al Mohler maintaining close ties between Southern and SGM, entity heads must be held accountable for their actions.

    • Tarheel says

      Jeff, we’re largely in agreement on this post.

      I think that official ties between southern and SGM are certainly open to scrutiny….clarification is called for and if inappropriate rectified.

      I think admitting Muslims and Mormons to SWBTS is open to scrutiny as well and must be rectified.

    • Greg Harvey says

      I’ll add that I expect the Board of Trustees to listen to grassroots Southern Baptists when they are concerned about appearances and to respond and not simply protect the entity. They are OUR representatives at the entities and they need to answer to US and not simply to the entity heads who are essentially celebrities and already wield outsized influence in the Convention.

      • Greg Harvey says

        Of course, if the Trustees don’t do that then we have to elect Presidents that won’t just pick people who will protect the lions of the CR…

        • Tarheel says

          The entity Trustees and Presidents listen to and are only truly accountable to the Messengers at the SBC annual meeting.

          The “grassroots” is a) impossible to define 2) impossible to know where the majority truly stand and therefore; 3) impossible to Answer to.

          Only thru voting messengers can those standards be defined.

          • Greg Harvey says

            sorry…programmer snuck out…grassroot is NOT equal to “has influence if not celebrity”. Blue-haired ladies in pews who are trying to be faithful and pray and give are my prime example of “grassroots”

      • says

        You are correct. There is a point that many SB miss. Namely the trustees do not run or control the entities, they REPRESENT those of us who elected them and must act in a manner that respects the rank and file opinions. Stated another way: they are not to make decisions they feel are “good for us”, the make decisions that REPRESENT us.

        • William Thornton says

          Well, I’d like to think that trustees are responsive to SBC churches and individuals but, no, they don’t represent us. They do control the institution. They are to make decisions for the good of the institution that they are entrusted with. While there is a process for replacing recalcitrant trustees, it is unwieldy, slow, and difficult. Trustees should, can, and do act independently. That’s the reason for the system.

          Trustees should never have to answer to the CEO. That’s exactly backwards.

          • says

            William T
            Yes that is my point. They are to represent but they do not, they seek to control
            This was the issue before and of the CR. Trouble is IMO the situation has not changed, they still do not listen as much as control.

            You are right in that the situation is hard to change. It took 20 or so years to change trustees last time. IMO this is why there is less involvement in convention work, no one wants to go through that again so folks just quit.

      • William Thornton says

        They listen…unless dominated by a CEO in which cases they don’t. We saw this repeatedly at NAMB, up to a point at MBTS and the ERLC, and probably now at SWBTS and SBTS. This is unhealthy. Even the old lions and highly revered CR stalwarts work for us (through the trustees).

        Count the failed entity heads in the past few years: two at MBTS, two at NAMB, one at ERLC. We only have nine major entities.

        Maybe the trustees at SBTS and SWBTS are on the situations. If so, they should be open and transparent about it. One signal to note is that BP reported on the Patterson fiasco.

  30. Jeff says

    In retrospect, the ridicule of Peter Lumpkins when he asked a question to Al Mohler at the Annual Meeting in 2011 was a bad thing (and I say this as somebody who is much closer to Mohler theologically than I am to Lumpkins). Although Mohler received a lot of praise for how he answered the question, if you go back and listen to the exchange, Mohler didn’t really answer the question. Lumpkins asked Mohler about a particular statement that Mohler made and Mohler did not address that particular statement in his answer. A lot of people ridiculed Lumpkins for even asking the question and some even mocked Lumpkin’s wardrobe (even though a lot of grassroots Southern Baptists don’t make $200,000 salaries like SBC entity heads and can’t afford expensive suits).

    At this year’s SBC Annual Meeting, we shouldn’t ridicule Southern Baptist messengers who ask questions of entity heads, and the entity heads should directly answer the questions.

    • Tarheel says

      You mean Pumpkins question accusing of Mohler allegedly embracing homosexuality?

      • Jeff says

        I didn’t like Lumpkin’s question and his motivation for asking it. But he did provide a direct quote of what Mohler said and asked him about. As a SBC messenger, Lumpkins deserved a direct answer to his question and did not receive it. This set a bad precedent for future annual meetings.

        • Tarheel says

          Honestly, when stupid questions are asked in gotcha form that are demonstrably without merit except to attempt to ensnare a leader …floor questioners should be mocked. Not from the platform but by other messengers. I think that’s healthy. It keeps that sort of thing down….as it should be.

          There’s no way his question was of any real constructive value whatsoever.

          I thought Mohler answered it though…quite nicely and with appropriate tone given the frivolity and sheer stupidity of the question.

          I know the above is blunt … But it’s my opinion.

          • says

            Even tho regarding the issue of the day we are in different camps you and I have agreed on much more that we have disagreed. I have a great respect for your statements, and we have treated each other respectfully. In the above post really you are not wrong. Lumpkins question was an attempt for a gotcha moment. You are right that type of thing must be kept out of the proceedings. Lumpkins had an agenda and it could be argued that he got what he deserved.

            However, I have seen down thru the years men who did not have an agenda but had a genuine concern, hence they asked a question which was in reality a dumb question. They were made to look and feel inferior. I am simply saying we must be careful with people, not everyone is a Peter Lumpins.

  31. Tarheel says

    Tom Stowe,

    I got the gist of it right…but technically you’re right. Here’s actually what he said.

    “Thank you for the question my brother and I’m happy to tell you that I was asked that question and I made those statements. They aren’t alleged statements, they are actual statements.”

    He then went on to utterly destroy the implication being asserted by Lumpkins by quipping something about no one fair minded person being able to realistically call into question his stance on the sinfulness of homosexuality.

    To say he didn’t answer directly the question is just not correct.

    • Tom Stowe says

      Exactly, Tarheel. I’m glad Pumpkins got Mohler-ized and that Al answered how he did.

      • Tarheel says

        I don’t think he was “Mohler-ized” (although I’m not sure what that means).

        I do however think Dr. Mohler answered the question nicely and quite appropiatly.

        • Tom Stowe says

          Well, you don’t know what that word means and you misspelled “appropriately.” For the sake of students, I hope you’re not employed by SEBTS. I think we will all learn you’re a pastor in NC. Just a few weeks until we know….

          • Tarheel says

            Thanks for your concern. It’s truly touching.

            As for “knowing soon” – I sure hope all y’all who are so supremely interested aren’t disappointed.

    • says

      Even tho i am not a big fan of Mohler anyone who knows anything at all about him would know his stand on homosexuality. Certainly Lumpkins did not believe he could trap him into appearing he accepted it. I am not sure what Lumpkins hoped to gain.

      To be absolutely candid I am no fan of Lumpkins either. Wow, sounds as if I don’t like anybody but the Cardinals (who are winning as we speak)