By Bob Allen
Current and former members of Sovereign Grace Ministries churches have launched an online petition asking national evangelical leaders to pay attention to and act on concerns voiced about the movement’s leader, a popular speaker among followers of a theological movement known as the New Calvinism.
The petition claims that “grave concerns” about the leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries founder C.J. Mahaney, who is named in a recent class-action lawsuit claiming a cover-up of sexual and physical abuse of children, have been “largely ignored” by evangelical leaders.
The signers endorsed the contents of a letter sent to 77 national evangelical leaders Feb. 6 by Brent Detwiler, a former associate of Mahaney who called on ministry leaders to stop inviting the embattled preacher to speaking engagements like a Jan. 31 chapel address and two time slots at a missions conference for college students on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Organizers said Detwiler is not the originator of the petition and did not request it, but its purpose is to “give a voice to the many current or former members of Sovereign Grace Ministries churches and other concerned individuals whose grave concerns for C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries have been largely ignored by evangelical leaders.”
Detwiler’s letter said that in addition to being disinvited to upcoming speaking engagements, including the 2013 Gospel Coalition national conference April 6-10 in Orlando, Fla., Mahaney should be removed from membership of groups like the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is based on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
The petition asks evangelical leaders, including the presidents of three Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, to “seriously consider the claims contained in the letter and take appropriate action.”
The goal of the petition, launched Feb. 8, is to collect 1,000 signatures and then send the results to the leaders on the list previously called out by Detwiler.