Calvinist preacher dropped from program

The name of an evangelical preacher linked to an alleged cover-up of child sexual abuse has been dropped from a list of speakers at an upcoming conference at an SBC seminary.

By Bob Allen

A controversial evangelical preacher, named in a highly publicized lawsuit alleging participation in what has been described as the biggest evangelical sexual-abuse scandal to date, is no longer listed as a speaker for an upcoming collegiate conference at a Southern Baptist seminary.

cj mahaney church photoC.J. Mahaney, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Louisville, Ky., and close friend to Southern Baptist proponents of theology that goes by names including the New Calvinism and “young, restless and Reformed,” originally appeared among speakers scheduled for next year’s 20/20 Collegiate Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

Last month ABPnews reported his name on the program for "Ekklesia: God's Perspective on the Church," scheduled Feb. 7-8, 2014, alongside other speakers that included Southeastern Seminary President Daniel Akin and SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore.

Mahaney’s name no longer appears on the seminary web page promoting the conference. There is no mention of when or why the change was made, and the seminary’s communications office did not respond to a request for comment.

Mahaney spoke at this year’s collegiate conference in February, amid media coverage of a class-action lawsuit alleging collusion by Sovereign Grace pastors to not report suspected or known physical and sexual abuse of children to police but instead handle it internally as a matter of church “discipline.”

After ministry friends, including Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and Washington, D.C., pastor Mark Dever, stuck by Mahaney in a public statement attesting to his integrity, a Georgia pastor sponsored a resolution adopted at the SBC annual meeting in June calling on denominational leaders to “utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.”

The pastor, Peter Lumpkins, criticized Mahaney’s return visit in blog comments posted Oct. 10. On Oct. 22, Lumpkins voiced appreciation that the invitation to Mahaney was apparently withdrawn.

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