21 August 2009

C.J. Mahaney and James MacDonald: Am I Really the Worst Sinner I Know?

Great interview of C.J. Mahaney by James MacDonald and a few of his staff guys from a conference here in Chicago last October. Fascinating interchange in the final 7 minutes of this 20 minute clip. Just fascinating. I'd be curious to know anyone's thoughts. (Those of you who know Newton's famous statement, 'I am a great sinner--but I have a great Savior' will especially appreciate the final moments.)


Gavin Ortlund said...

Dane, thanks for posting that. I really appreciate CJ's comments in this clip. They convict me of the seriousness of sin. I agree with CJ that the personal familiarity with sin makes it appropriate to think of ourselves as the worst sinner we know. When I meditate on the doctrine of hell and the cross, it reinforces that sentiment.

Steve said...
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Dane Ortlund said...


I've perused both sites. Thanks for the poignant reminder that no matter what depths of godliness or humility or faith the Lord might grant me, there will always be those, as there were for Christ himself, who misunderstand and offload their own fallen psychological complexities onto my leadership.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between an accusation and a fact. I wish that difference were more carefully observed. It is easy to repeat an accusation, it is hard to establish a fact. And repeating an accusation multiple times over does not establish it as a fact. But the accusation may come to have the psychological force of a fact in a group setting, not logically or justly but emotionally. Lies have power.

The internet may be the most merciless instrument ever invented for repeating unsubstantiated accusations that harm, embarrass, wound and grieve. It is itself a form of abuse, disguised in the role of victim.

May God have mercy.

Steve said...


Unfortunately I see number of people lodging similar complaints from different SGM churches across the country. Were there only a few, I would have an easy time dismissing them but such numbers makes me think there certainly is something to this.

Dane Ortlund said...

Dear Steve/Evangelical Policeman,

You have obviously spent an inordinate amount of time and energy on your various websites in your zeal to make people aware of SG's perceived failings. I wonder how much good you might have been able to do had you poured all that energy into working FOR something. It is not too late to redirect.

I count it one of the greatest blessings of my life to have learned from CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris, and SG.

JDeweyL said...

I think the original question by JM revealed a misunderstanding of the nature of humility, at least as I've learned about it from CJ. My understanding of humility is knowing who I am in relation to God. From that position I am neither better nor worse than others. Humility doesn't prevent me from confronting another, it enables me to do it with love and gentleness. If I were to speak with another of their sin, it would not be as one who is superior, but as one sinner to another. The corrective would be in helping them see God more clearly. I hope this makes sense!


Dane Ortlund said...

Jim, I had a similar thought. We hear the word 'humility' and immediately conjure up thoughts up 'aw-gee-shucks, let me look at my feet for a moment.' That's just as likely to be pride, actually. Part of humility is freedom from others-approval, therefore freeing us to be able to rebuke and reprove others. Rebuking surely increases along with, not competes with, true humility. The more humble we are, the more likely we will freely, and lovingly, reprove as the NT calls us to. Thanks brother.