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Following the Houston Chronicle’s in-depth investigation into sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), seminary president Al Mohler has apologized for previously embracing C.J. Mahaney, a ministry leader embroiled in a lengthy scandal.
Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, had called Mahaney, founder of the non-Southern Baptist group Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries), a “friend” with “personal integrity.” Mahaney, who resigned as president of Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC) in 2013 to pastor a Louisville congregation, was sued earlier that year by 11 plaintiffs. They claimed SGC leaders kept quiet about their allegations of child physical and sexual abuse, at least one case of which was committed by a person in leadership in the church.
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Mahaney repeatedly denied the accusations, and the case was dismissed in 2014 because the statute of limitations expired.
A Mea Culpa From Mohler
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On Thursday, Mohler told the Houston Chronicle (HC): “I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges. And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.”
In recent years, Mohler and other SBC leaders had welcomed Mahaney as a conference speaker, though controversy forced Mahaney to withdraw from the T4G conference last spring. This week Mohler said he regretted a joke he made as he introduced Mahaney at a 2016 event, which was besieged by protests. “What I did was wrong,” Mohler told the HC, “and caused hurt to the victims and survivors who felt that their experience had been trivialized and dismissed. And I grieve that, I apologize for that, it was wrong. I would never make such...
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