Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Ky., released a statement Feb. 15 apologizing for his support of C.J. Mahaney amid allegations that Mahaney had mishandled sexual and domestic abuse claims.
Mahaney formerly led a church net-work called Sovereign Grace Ministries (since renamed as Sovereign Grace Churches) before stepping down in 2013.
Mohler also said he had been dismissive of the allegations, denouncing remarks he made while introducing Mahaney as a speaker at the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference.
He called those remarks a “serious error” that “caused hurt to the victims and survivors who felt that their suffering had been trivialized and dismissed. I deeply regret this.
“I frankly was not equipped to sift through the allegations and did not grasp the situation, and I am responsible for that and for not seeking the counsel of those who were.”
Mohler outlined multiple factors that led him to reconsider his position, including the counsel of Rachael and Jacob Denhollander.
Rachael became widely recognized as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault during the highly publicized trial of a former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar. She was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of sexually abusing her when she was a 15-year-old gymnast. Rachael, now a lawyer, had also raised concerns about Mahaney and Sovereign Grace. Jacob Denhollander is currently a doctoral student at SBTS.
“I was deeply affected by the documentation offered by Rachael Denhollander,” Mohler wrote. “I met with Jacob and Rachael soon after she released the documentation and I have deeply appreciated her counsel. That first conversation fundamentally changed my understanding of this issue.”
Mohler, along with Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, also expressed regret for supporting Mahaney in comments to the Houston Chronicle.
“Do I think Sovereign Grace handled the accusations brought against them well?” Akin said in a statement to the Chronicle. “No, I don’t. I think they could have been far more transparent. … Even to this day, there’s still a lack of clarity.”
The Chronicle recently published an investigative report that outlined hundreds of cases of sexual misconduct and the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Read the full statement by Mohler here.