Charles Joseph Mahaney, commonly known as C.J., is the former president of Sovereign Grace Ministries (formerly People of Destiny International or PDI, co-founded with Larry Tomczak), a network formed to establish and support local churches, and was one of the founding pastors and leaders of Covenant Life Church, in Gaithersburg, Maryland and presently is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.
Mahaney resigned the presidency of Sovereign Grace Ministries in 2013 amid a civil lawsuit alleging he permitted and helped cover up child sex abuse in his congregation. The lawsuit was dismissed and Mahaney released a public statement explicitly denying all claims in the suit.
Mahaney was born in Maryland into a Roman Catholic household, the middle child of five. He was the son of a metalworker in Takoma Park, Maryland. As a child, he was more interested in sports than God. Mahaney attended Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He reports having been converted in 1972 at age 18 by a friend who shared his faith. He says that a newspaper ad motivated him to join a local prayer meeting known as Take and Give.
In 1974, aged 20, Mahaney had met Larry Tomczak, with whom he led and taught a large local prayer group. He says his only reading in theology at that time had consisted of the Bible and The Late, Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.
In the 1980s, Mahaney became a senior pastor. He cites his reading of the works of 19th century Baptist leader Charles H. Spurgeon and the Reformed theology of John Calvin as influences.
Mahaney met Carolyn Layman in the 1970s, while he was teaching at Take and Give and she was working as a secretary at a Christian conference ministry in Sarasota, and they soon married. Mahaney has one son and three daughters...
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