The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. -Ezra Taft Benson link
Disclaimer: TWW is expressing our views in this post and not the views of Karen Hinkley.
We have been covering the abusive church scene for over 6 years. Last week, we, along with many others, witnessed a first — an apology by a megachurch pastor to a wronged church member. The numbers of people reading our blog post on the apology and the offer of forgiveness set an all time record. This resonated with a wide swath of people throughout the world.
Today I want to go through some of my thoughts and perspectives both on what happened and how this relates to the future.
Motivations cannot fully be known; Actions are important
Many folks, with good reason, have said that this apology would not have occurred without the blogs writing the story of Karen Hinkley. Others have pointed out that the threat of a lawsuit could have provided the impetus to step forward. However, as my pastor often says:
Even on my best days my motives are mixed
There have been many lawsuits against churches and many blogs and national media following stories such as CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries as well as Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. Both of these churches faced media exposure and high profile lawsuits. An apology and restoration never came.
Matt Chandler did something these guys did not do, and that is to his credit. He went to Karen, apologized and admitted TVC's failure in caring about her, in the injustice of enforcing the church contract and the naivety in approaching the despicable behaviors of Jordan Root. He even made amends with SIM. Not bad, not bad at all.
Matt Chandler's apology meant the world to victims of church abuse
This past week I was in Baltimore meeting with readers of this blog. Each person expressed gratitude for Chandler's apology. All of them said they wished their former pastors had done the same. I know of one young man in Raleigh who is still waiting for an apology from a pastor who was told to do so by the elders. However, the pastor left town without doing so and is now involved in pastoring with a well known ministry in the Neo Calvinist circles.
[I redacted one statement due to a misunderstanding on my part. 6/16/15]
The threat of a lawsuit should not interfere with an apology; in fact, it could stop a lawsuit in its tracks
It is important to realize that there was cause for a lawsuit in Karen's situation. We were contacted by a number of lawyers, including well known Christian attorneys, who offered to take this case pro bono. I knew Karen's heart. She did not want to go down this road but would have done so to clear her name. The apology from Chandler took care of that concern. It should also be noted that Karen did not do this for "the money". She only wanted to reach a resolution. That is what most victims want — an admission that they were hurt and that it was wrong.
Throughout the entire Sovereign Grace Ministries debacle, TWW kept advocating that CJ Mahaney and others should apologize. Many of the victims said that they would have backed off only the ministry would apologize. It never happened and now it is too late to apologize.(ed.6/16) We received comment after comment from those who said that it would be stupid to apologize since it would give fodder for the lawsuit to continue. In fact, most lawyers would advise against the path that Chandler took.
It has been my experience in dealing with Christian victims that lawsuits only take place when the church remains silent behind a wall of attorneys. Most of the victims with whom we have had contact would have happily given up their litigation for a simple, sincere apology. The aftermath of Matt Chandler's apology exemplified this.
Also, since when is it biblical to not do the right thing because an attorney says a lawsuit is possible? Where is the trust in a sovereign God who ordained this situation to occur (at least according to the beliefs of the Neo-Calvinist movement)?
Victims should not have to seek out media and lawyers to be heard
There is little question that media exposure contributed to the events that led to the apology. TVC now needs to do some navel gazing. Why did Karen have to seek out two strangers to love and support her? She was not a story to us. She was a hurting young woman who underwent two emotional traumas in her life. The first was the revelation of her former husband's despicable activities. The second was at the hands of her church, which she ran to for comfort and support.
One thing Karen said to me before we published her story was that she was glad that two Christians were exposing her story. Amy Smith and I spent many hours listening and encouraging her. We told her that even if she didn't want to tell her story in public, we would support and care for her. For those who are not aware of this, TWW does not take advertisements nor do we participate in any partner kickbacks offered by groups like Amazon. We do what we do because we deeply care about those who contact us.
It is concerning to us that Karen had to contact virtual strangers in order for her story to be heard and believed. It is our hope that, in the future, it will not take media discussion and threats of lawsuits for a hurting person to be heard.
The Dallas Morning News saga
Prior to the release of Karen's story on TWW and Watchkeep, Karen had talked with a reporter from the Dallas Morning News (DMN). This reporter kept promising that her story would appear on the front page of a Sunday DMN. However, after meeting with The Village Church, it was decided not to run ths story due to the *advice of attorneys.*
Sometimes churches will have influential members call newspapers and threaten to pull advertisement, etc. I do not know if that happened in this case, but it should become apparent to churches that interfering with local media will not stop alternate media from reporting the incident. In fact, it is a move that could backfire in the future.
Both TWW and Watchkeep have a number of media outlets who follow our posts. Since TWW does not take advertisements, we are not influenced by such shenanigans. Also, phone calls to our pastors are absolutely useless. We are one step ahead of that game.
Pedophilia and frequent viewing of child sex abuse on the internet: biblical counseling is not enough!
A number of commenters attempted to make an argument that Jordan Root had never molested anyone. That all he was doing was "viewing". It is vital to understand that viewing child sex abuse is not like viewing adult pornography. It is a federal crime. Children cannot give consent. Many of them are drugged. Many of them cry as they are being hurt. Jordan viewed children between the ages of infancy through prepubesence. This is a man who gets sexual gratification in watching children being abused. We wrote more about this here.
Some experts believe that this sort of behavior may be indicative of a fixed sexual preference. Pedophilia recidivism is high. Root confessed that he had molested two children when he was a boy. It is prudent to suspect that this confession merely illuminated the tip of the iceberg.
To believe that God is going to heal such an individual immediately is naive at best. It is highly likely that Root will struggle and even give in to his struggle in the years to come. Such individuals are both attractive and convincing to many people. It takes a trained therapist to understand the depths of this perversion. To think that a few session, once a week, with a *biblical* counselor is both naive and dangerous. We applaud TVC for vowing to get Root some real help.
Do not be naïve about healing and mental disorders. They are as difficult to treat as any physiological illnesses. Some of them are actually due to medical dysfunction in the brain. Anyone who has a serious mental illness should seek excellent professional help.
We also recommend that any church dealing with this issue consult Boz Tchividjian and GRACE: (Godly response to abuse in the Christian environment). Their motto is Empowering And Training Christian Communities To Recognize, Prevent, And Respond To Child Abuse.
Let me say this one more time. Anyone who views child sex abuse online means that person is enjoying watching kids getting abused. They are potentially dangerous.
A failure for the plurality of elders concept
There are many churches which claim that their members are protected from shoddy leadership due to the plurality of elders. It has been the experience of TWW that, in fact, the plurality of elders really means "the men who are elected think and do things the same way we do." This is a problem.
At TVC, current elders appoint the new elders. Of course, the congregation can suggest names but, in the end, the current elder board gets the vote. It is human nature to appoint people who march lockstep with *the vision*.
I have had the opportunity to see the texts and emails that were sent to Karen. I am aware that the elders backed up and supported the pastors in this course of action. It is now agreed that what happened to Karen was wrong. I have heard that some elders even talked to members of the congregation about their support of disciplining Karen. Yet not one elder, to my knowledge, spoke out against that action? Did any of them contact Karen and offer her support?
Men, you have abused a dear woman. You each owe her an apology.
It is time to figure out how to get a group of elders who can bring differing perspectives to the church. Since none of the elders spoke out against these ridiculous actions, the church should consider a change in how people are chosen to fulfill this role. There is a need for different points of view.
Pastors, other than Matt Chandler, need to apologize to Karen
I have seen texts and emails from the pastors to Karen. It is startling to me that not one of them protested the abusive actions taken. What was it that prevented them from doing the right thing? It is time for some soul searching. Have they all just become yes men? If so, then it is time to bring in some new blood.
In the meantime, those pastors should also personally apologize to Karen. Boy, would I love to see a text that says “I’m sorry.” If I see it, I will post it here.
Many members of TVC need to apologize to Karen
I am addressing this directly to members of The Village Church. You do not get a pass on this matter. I saw some of your tweets and comments. Many of you marched lockstep with your pastors and elders in this abuse. Here are some things that were said.
- She signed the covenant so she should expect to be disciplined like this.
- God will heal Jordan Root since he has repented.
- Karen was violating her marriage covenant by annulling the marriage.
- The Book of Hosea shows how Karen should have responded.
- She is airing the dirty laundry of the church in public.
- The pastors and elders are right in their actions since they are godly leaders.
I believe in the priesthood of all believers. I also believe in the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all believers. I think that some of you knew that your church was treating Karen badly.
- Why didn’t you speak out and reach out?
- Was it easier to go along and not rock the boat?
- Why did you assume your elders and pastors were correct in their actions?
- Why did you follow them and repeat the talking points like it was Scripture?
- Now that you know the talking points were wrong, how does that affect you?
- Did any of you purposely shun Karen or refuse to talk with her?
- Did any of you chastise Karen with your words?
If you did, you should apologize to Karen.
(Digression: Could pastors please help their members to understand that Hosea is not a command to stay married to an abuser? Good night! I think I will scream if I hear this one more time.)
How to apologize if you think you should
I will not let you use the “I don’t know where she is” excuse to prevent you from apologizing. You can send an email to email@example.com and I will forward it for you. Or, you can put your apology in the comment section of this post and I will be sure that Karen reads it.
Matt Chandler provides a template for other pastors and churches to follow
I bet there are pastors from other churches reading this. Matt Chandler's apology showed a change in business as usual. From this point forward, you will be called on to do likewise. My guess is that his actions will bring heartburn to those authoritarian pastors who believe they never have to say they're sorry.
Membership contracts and church discipline are almost always poorly defined and often abusively applied. We do not recommend signing any contracts (covenants) at this time.
TWW has made our views on church discipline and membership covenants crystal clear. The rules of discipline, including what can be disciplined, should be defined a priori. If they are not, you get churches who apply church discipline in an abusive manner. Also, many people who sign these contracts have no idea what they are singing up for. Never, ever sign a contract at a church which emphasizes that they do church discipline without explaining the how, what, and when.
If you think your pastor would never apply discipline in an unjustified manner, look no further than TVC, 9Marks, and Acts 29. TWW has written on this matter extensively and will be producing a resource page as soon as things settle down. Please go to this post for a good synopsis on the issues involved.
There are a number of stories recorded at Watchkeep regarding allegations of other TVC abusive discipline. One woman was put into discipline by a pastor who overheard her say, "Oh, hush" to her husband! It is Story #2 at Watchkeep.
If you wish to rescind your church membership, we have some suggestions on how to do so in a manner which allows you to have legal recourse in case a pastor wants to get weird on you. Please go to this post and scroll down to the last link that begins "How to Minimize Damage…"
Reports of Acts 29 churches promoting harsh discipline
TWW has written several stories involving Acts 29 churches and harsh discipline. We believe that the legend of Mark Driscoll lives on. We hope that Matt Chandler will take time to review the problems inherent in this network. Here is one such story on Countryside Christian Church (they even have some documentation as well!) Do Acts 29 Churches Share the Same DNA as the Mothership – Matt Chandler’s The Village Church?
TVC's loss was our gain
I still remember the day Karen called me. She is an incredibly bright, thoughtful and woman kind as well as a deep Christian thinker. We have shared much in the last few months. I have been privileged to have been allowed to walk beside her through both tears and joy. She is a strong woman who has some wonderful plans for the years ahead. I predict the world will be hearing from her. Please pray for her as she begins the hard work of healing from the pain and trauma of these last few months. God has great plans for her!
Trust but verify
Matt Chandler has promised that there will be changes at TVC. We look forward to seeing the transformation. TWW will be watching and cheering on positive changes. In the meantime, we are still here to tell the stories of those who have been hurt in churches.
First! (?) 🙂
As I get older and hopefully wiser, I have concluded that the only viable method of church government is where the members are responsible for appointing (and removing) elders (and pastors). Otherwise there are no checks and balances to stop abuse if the leadership collectively goes off the rails. I cannot think of any other way of implementing this. The congregation gives the money to enable the church to function, so the congregation should choose who makes the decisions about how the money is spent.
Totally agree with everything you said.
I mean I agree with Dee’s post in toto. I am having a bad communication day.
OK: I just made most of the corrections. Refresh your pages and forgive me for hitting the publish button too soon.
No worries. 🙂 Besides, I think I was punished for posting “First.” My computer crashed just right after I posted that!
I agreed with the whole post, especially these parts:
1. “Many members of TVC need to apologize to Karen”
All of the TVC defenders excusing their church’s actions with the comments of “but she signed an agreement” and so on showed how clueless they are, or how beholden they are to uphold the letter of the law or church rules, but not care about the person they are affecting.
2. “Pedophilia and frequent viewing of child sex abuse on the internet: biblical counseling”
Thank you. A billion of them (and Duggar defenders) I saw here and social media think a single “I repented” comment is an instance cure for pedophilia, or that Jesus always automatically heals someone – is so naive.
And then you have the ones who are way off reservation who act as though a person molesting another one is akin to something way more innocuous, like getting a speeding ticket. (Total minimizing of a very serious crime and sin.)
3. “Victims should not have to seek out media and lawyers to be heard.”
I agree with that.
Something similar I’d also add is that even Christians / former Christians such as myself dealing with less stressful life events have had to look for sympathy and understanding by participating on blogs or groups similar to this one from total strangers.
And we’ve had to do so because our local churches and/or Christian family we know in “real life” refuse to act as comforters.
I do appreciate any kindness I’ve been show online, don’t get me wrong, but I find it very sad and disillusioning I’ve not been able to find that sort of support with people I’ve worked with, or lived with, or known face- to- face (and this would include people who are professing Christians).
Great post Dee!
There is no doubt we have all learned some valuable lessons from The Village Church debacle.
My hope is that Karen will continue to minister mightily in God’s kingdom, and that TVC will grow out of their immaturity that led to this debacle and into a place where the gospel is lived in all the grace and freedom Jesus gives us.
Excellent, thoughtful post! Thank you, Dee, for the time and energy you put into it.
As you said, “Men, you have abused a dear woman. You each owe her an apology.”
I am reminded that Jesus gave a stern warning and woe to his disciples: “It would be better for that disciple to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.” (Luke 17:1-4). It was only after this warning to the disciples and his warnings to the Pharisees in the previous two chapters about their harmful rules and regulations, that Jesus speaks of forgiving 70 times 7.
Very good post, Dee.
You asked: Since when is it biblical to not do the right thing because an attorney says a lawsuit is possible? Where is the trust in a sovereign God who ordained this situation to occur (at least according to the beliefs of the Neo-Calvinist movement)?
Very good question. Why can they avoid their biblical duties to 1) apologize and 2) if they teach that it is wrong for victims to sue a church, one would think the same verse would indicate that it would be wrong for a church to “lawyer up,” and follow advise contrary to scripture, correct?
Even nonbelievers recognize that it is ethical to apologize. The medical profession has found that it is also pragmatic and can reduce the incidence of lawsuits.
The medical profession has recognized that it is both ethical to acknowledge errors and that it is practical to do the ethical thing, as it may prevent lawsuits. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/medical-errors-are-hard-for-doctors-to-admit-but-its-wise-to-apologize-to-patients/2013/05/24/95e21a2a-915f-11e2-9abd-e4c5c9dc5e90_story.html
@ Deb Willi:
Yes to everything. Also, I had not thought of the fact that this *is* the first time that a mega-pastor has done any sort of apology at all to a member or former member and how that does set a standard. So, thanks to Dee for that hopeful thought.
One word of caution from just one church in the Gospel Glitterati sphere that I heard this week: the elders at that church are distancing themselves from the way discipline was implemented but not from Chandler or the Acts29/9Marks view of elders and discipline and not from their view of women or pewpeons as people who must be obedient. I hope this one church will be in the minority and that many others will take a good look at the underlying theology of power.
Excellent post. And I agree…I am tired pastors and people abusing the Hosea example. Sadly, I have to spend a great deal of time debunking that junk on my website for faithful spouses who have survived being cheated on (e.g. http://www.divorceminister.com/god-hates-adultery-more-than-he-hates-divorce/)
As far as the lawyer arguments are concerned, what happened to accepting the consequences for one’s actions? If they did something that the secular legal system recognizes as wrong, why do they think they are entitled to avoiding such consequences? Such actions suggest that they are stuck in denial about doing something wrong to begin with–i.e. they are unrepentant. The best way to avoid lawsuits like these is NOT TO WRONG people in the first place! And if they do wrong, they ought to have enough integrity to own it regardless of the consequences.
Amen to this post!
Hereis what I wrote about Matt Chandler and why I am impressed. He did what CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll were incapable of doing. This post was sent to The Village Church.
What a great post! I particularly liked this part, about people trying to threaten you via your own pastor(s):
“Also, phone calls to our pastors are absolutely useless. We are one step ahead of that game.”
I would be honored to be in the same church with you two, and if I had the privilege of being your pastor I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to field such phone calls.
Dee you can post this if you feel it will help if not I totally understand. You once mentioned I should “get some help” in a post and it was very kind of you to do so. I did and I am doing much better, but one question really has me stuck. I have committed many vile sins, or at least it was made very clear they were vile. I needed, I asked for help, one real biggie I showed / felt grief over the death of so many people dying so fast and in horrible ways. Basically, I was told / shown / rebuked / etc that all I wanted was attention. Well yes I did in a way but that is a very long story. My question from almost day one as a Christian I kept very short accounts as a Christian, I forgave quickly and truly and I ask for forgiveness with no stipulations even quicker. Next to showing grief in the faith communities I was in, in the real world, nothing ticked people off more than that. Forgiving quickly and asking for forgiveness. It was seen as weak, uncommitted, cowardly, vile, childish, selfish, etc. I mean I was actually formally rebuked for forgiving to quickly. It may not be the same, but so many mega church leaders try so hard not to ask forgiveness or forgive for specific issues in public. I mean Mark Driscoll and others come to mind about not forgiving or admitting specific wrongs. My apologies were usually very specific to the particular person or people with no qualifications. To this day I dont understand that. Maybe someone could help.
As I emailed The Village Church…I am impressed and hopeful. Now that Matt Chandler has my ear I am willing o read a book from him or a sermon series. I’m hoping to get a response from The Village Church.
Great post, Dee. I especially liked your point that the apology forestalled a lawsuit, not set one up, as some people had warned. I think that most Christians would prefer NOT to have to resort to a lawsuit. It took humility for Chandler to apologize, and again I commend Karen for having the graciousness to accept it.
It is also a great point to repeat how awful “just watching” child porn is. I suspect many women in regular porn are victims/coerced also–but with child porn, you absolutely know the children are. And to think of someone taking pleasure in watching them suffer is too terrible to comprehend.
Dee, thank you for emphasizing the differences between child porn/adult porn and that porn viewing of any kind is not an addiction that is easily healed. Several years ago we had a couple at my church whose husband had been caught viewing porn in two different work places. In both cases, he was terminated. Our church tried to be supportive, but he was also not allowed in several areas of ministry due to his issues. They stopped coming, and I have often wondered what happened to them.
“Men, you have abused a dear woman.” From Dee’s post.
To which I add…
Men, perhaps patriarchy, masculinity, gender roles, and family structure are the wrong things to put your hope in. Perhaps they are not the strong tower that you should run to. They appear to be the strong tower that you crave. But it is a strong tower built by men to protect men, especially men in leadership. It is a false tower that allows men to abuse a woman without it ever bothering their conscience.
Perhaps the ‘name of the Lord’ is the tower you should be looking for (Proverbs 18:10).
Somehow you have lost understanding of righteousness, justice, and mercy according to Jesus (Matthew 23:23) and have made the gospel about hierarchy, authority, and position, the very things Jesus said that the gospel was not about (Matthew 20:25-27).
I agree with Dee. Perhaps you all need some very serious introspection and a bit of doctrine questioning.
Permit me to be the resident skeptic about this. I am glad they said/did somethjng, but think it was not nearly enough. I also am not convinced that their authoritarian stance has shifted, not one iota.
Time will tell, i guess. i am glad that Karen feels like there has been a significant change, but i am not going to assume that others will have a positive experience as a result.
Allow me to join you in your skepticism. I respect and support any decision Ms. Hinkley makes. I worry that they are using her goodwill to avoid a lawsuit and more publicity.
“Tumor Free 501(c)3 Acts 29’Religion’?”
“Matt Chandler’s apology meant the world to victims of church abuse.” -dee
Will he now ‘politely’ return church property his 501(c)3 non-profit organization has aparrently misappropriated from others in the past?
The seventh commandment in the Protestant bible (eight commandment in the Catholic bible) still gets traction in certain Christian circles?
…could have fool’d me.
Dee, thank you for ‘your’ outstanding effort and diligence, kindness and love, as always,
Our Lord Jesus, bless you always, give you wisdom, and keep you safe!
__ "Tumor Free 501(c)3 Acts 29'Religion'?" huh? "Matt Chandler's apology meant the world to victims of church abuse." -dee Yes. Thank-You! Will he now 'politely' return church property his 501(c)3 non-profit organization has aparrently misappropriated from others in the past? (sadface) I wonder. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou_shalt_not_steal The eigth commandment in the Protestant bible (eight commandment in the Catholic bible) still gets traction in certain Christian circles? hmmm… …could have fool'd me. 🙁 Dee, thank you for 'your' outstanding effort and diligence, kindness and love, as always, Our Lord Jesus, bless you always, give you wisdom, and keep you safe! ATB Sopy —
Glad you are better!
Continue loving you neighbor as your self. If you should fail them Jesus prescribed you should forgive as in His prater. If you see the need, go the extra mile, as well.
Which set of 10 Commandments or is the same on both?
EG ‘Prayer’; Ask their forgiveness as well…
Protestant in the seventh, Catholic in the eight, sorry for the confusion.
Thanks for asking!
“Sometimes churches will have influential members call newspapers and threaten to pull advertisement, etc. I do not know if that happened in this case, but it should become apparent to churches that interfering with local media will not stop alternate media from reporting the incident. In fact, it is a move that could backfire in the future.
Both TWW and Watchkeep have a number of media outlets who follow our posts. Since TWW does not take advertisements, we are not influenced by such shenanigans.”
very wise! While accepting contributions is ok and Jesus even used the financial support of His followers, there is a line that cant be crossed regarding accepting gifts or advertising that puts a person under the influence of the giver, or dishoners the Lord.
19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. Deuteronomy 16:19
7 Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 3 John 1:7
i need new tunes for today, got any? 🙂
This situation reveals and those defending SGM need to understand denying wrongdoing is more than just covering their a$$es.
Denying wrongdoing is essentially publicly accusing their victims.
SGM – Stop lying. You are the accusers of the brethren. You are gossips and slanderers.
Me either. I am happy that Karen is satisfied with her situation, but I wouldn’t go near the place without SEEING real change. Words are not enough.
@ Albuquerque Blue:
I missed you in Baltimore by one.stinking.day.
This is not good!!
I should have a time travel device, but I DIDN’T. 🙂
I agree that CJ Mahaney owes a lot of people apologies. It is so grievous to me when I hear about things going on in Louisville and Clarksburg churches like nothing ever happened. And there the people are in their insulated little worlds.
What’s odd about a lot of YRR-orbit churches is that they call themselves congregational, but they are really elder-ruled. 9Marks has put out a lot of material that I would call unbiblical and harmful about how the church leaders are appointed by God to rule the flock. Basically, they don’t want checks and balances.
@ Albuquerque Blue:
“I worry that they are using her goodwill to avoid a lawsuit and more publicity”
Yes, that’s exactly how I see things.
Matt Chandler and Elders, whether or not your apology has substance behind it remains to be seen. We’re watching, to see what changes you truly make. I’m not alone in expecting apologies in like fashion to the others whose lives you have harmed by your control of people exhibited through your covenant and sense of authoritative entitlement.
I’m not alone in waiting for you to own the fact that you did, indeed, threaten and blackmail SIM.
And I personally am wondering why we haven’t heard nary a pertinent peep from Steve Hardin, Matt Younger, and Richard Brindley.
This type of Church structure has enormous potential for abuse…you’re depending on restraint of people who basically believe they have “papal inerrancy”….
the only check and balance is leaving…it is not possible to influence this type of organization from the cheap seats…trying only labels you…doesn’t accomplish a thing…
The only influence that worked at tvc was from the outside….the deebs are spot on…
A great post, it is a very complete review of the issues. I especially appreciated the part referencing the responsibility of the members at TVC.
I look forward to hearing Karen’s future endeavors, she sounds like an awesome person.
“Blue Skyz, Nuttin’ But Blue Skyz…”
check dis out:
Dis N’ M.YouTube.com
Beeee your own DeJay…
Whistle while you blog, hum, de, hum, hum hum…
I’m not sure I can say skepticism by itself is a spiritual gift but I do believe it is a major component in the gift of discernment.
that would be, ‘why we have heard nary a pertinent peep’. this is a double-negative-free zone.
Chandler pulled a driscoll: “@MattChandler74 Jun 11 Dropping off the grid until August. Tweet at you then! #goingDark”
like i said before, cant wait to see what else is in the Acts 29 playbook.
i remember that the pastors that left mars hill had a non-disclosure agreement also, one said he couldnt speak publicly about it for 6 years, and a non compete clause where they couldnt preach within a certain distance from any acts 29 church. there is so much legal bondage within the covenants of the elders and the congregation that i doubt anyone will hear anything really going on in churches like this for years.
Yes, all the eager beavers out there busily posting and tweeting that the church was right and Karen Hinkley needed to repent, from ordinary members of TVC right away down to JD Hall – it’s egg on face time, isn’t it?
Wow. Great series and great post!
I believe you are right, that if pastors humbled themselves long enough to say they were wrong and they are sorry, victims could move on and you and Deb would have very little to write about which I believe would make you both happy beyond compare. I also agree that apologies can forestall or result in completely foregoing law suits. The irony is that the church lawyers typically advise against the apology route thus raising their billing rates. Funny how that works and that head pastors can’t seem to figure that out. I feel confident that Karen would have prevailed in a lawsuit. Matt saved his tithers a sharp jump in insurance premiums plus large legal fees at the cost of a little humility. She still has almost 3 years left on her statute of limitations so I’d expect TVC to keep their word through 2018.
I think it is still setting in what a giant step for mega churchdom Matt Chandler’s move was. I am sorry it didn’t come sooner. I think it is also just setting in that alternative media has the power to consistently help balance the scales of justice. They can no longer be ignored. I hope pastors throughout the US learn from this.
My only other concern is that some readers and TVC members sound like they don’t understand what pedophilia is. I encourage them strongly to research this topic. Pedophiles are not necessarily convicted sex felons. They may not have molested or raped a child yet. Pedophilia is the sexual attraction to prepubescent children by a person 16 yrs or older. Jordan’s persistent and prolonged viewing of child pornography combined with his confession of fantasizing about sexually violating the small children in his care qualifies him as a pedophile. Period. Pedophilia is NOT curable. There are treatments that can help pedophiles avoid triggers that make them more prone to acting on their sexual impulses. But there is not one recorded case of it being cured (as is the case for other forms of paraphilia as well). I am glad that Jordan is being counseled by someone experienced with sex offenders. However, he will not ever be cured and if we want to protect our children embracing this fact is necessary.
Thanks ladies for all you do. This was huge.
@ Bill M:
“I’m not sure I can say skepticism by itself is a spiritual gift but I do believe it is a major component in the gift of discernment.”
my son tends to be someone who sees the glass as half empty. I used to say, “Wouldn’t it be tons better to see it as half full?” And then I realized his perspective is needed — he’s a realist. People like him keep others in touch with reality.
Skepticism is vital to tempering this (potentially dangerous) belief that the only godly response is to check your senses and reasoning at the door in exchange for ‘believing the best’.
I tend to think those lists of spiritual gifts are on the arbitrary side. Not exhaustive lists. I think Holy Spirit can infuse anything and make it ‘super’, alive, charged, catalytic. For the greater good. Such as skepticism, a singing voice, a performer’s flourish on-stage, home-made chocolate chip cookies,…. I could go on.
“I think it is still setting in what a giant step for mega churchdom Matt Chandler’s move was”
I think this is probably true.
And I think it’s pathetic. Christians can surely be the silliest people on earth.
You should watch the documentary “Hot Girls Wanted”. It’s on Netflix and maybe other places. More stupid decisions than anything else.
Thank you, Eagle, for a good, detailed letter of appreciation and encouragement to Matt Chandler.
i) I think if the apology was good enough for Karen, it has to be good enough for us, the watching public.
ii) Chandler and his elders are not accountable to us, they will give account to God for every careless word they have uttered, and as teachers will be judged more strictly.
iii) It bothers me a bit that apologising can be one of the hardest things to do, and may not be made any easier (or rather less difficult) if there seems to be an internet full of witnesses only waiting to pile on the agony. There is no excuse whatsover for failing to apolose where wrong has been done, but it may be a contributory factor in the reticence of some pastors to acknowledge wrong-doing in the first place. This ought not to matter, but I fear with some it might do.
This is general comment and in no sense a personal criticism of you, it was just your post triggered off this line of thinking again. I would agree with you that the last thing needed is the non-spiritual gift of ‘gullibility’ in cases like this. Nor is it wrong to be critical of unbiblical church structures or practices. However, if this criticsism comes from someone who has not even been involved in a church much for years – and tbh that’s been me for quite a lot of the past few years – it is bound to ring hollow with someone who in in leadership in a church, even if the criticisms are in themselves valid
Let us not forget that the way Matt handled this now raises the bar a tad for church pastors dealing with situations like this. It also takes some folks’s view of Matt himself up a notch. IMO Matt is not the brightest bulb on the christmas tree (I read some of his stuff) but if he can be the one to show some evidence of actual character, then this is all to the good as an example to the rest of the clerical pack in this religious tradition that it may take more than showmanship to stay in business.
I am not for holding out for perfection in one swoop, at least partly because I don’t want people to hold me to some level of perfection. This is a good step in the right direction. The rest will play out and we will see what goes down.
This is an excellent post, Dee. Thanks!
The good that resulted from Karen H. having the spiritual substance and courage to stand up to the egregious behavior of the TVC elders cannot be overstated. I am glad for their (TVC elders) statement of repentance; it would mean more to me if they had accompanied their statement of repentance with a repudiation of their member agreement that provided the foundation for their behavior. If they had arrived at their need to repent as a result of hearing God for themselves, rather than as a result of a social media storm, I would have more confidence in the safety of the members of TVC.
My own experience with repentance and change is that reformation that follows repentance comes from the clarifying moments God gives us–the bondage to sin breaks when we experience godly sorrow for our sin–not for getting caught (though David, in Psalm 51, is an example where the experience was one that was conjoined).
The advice given here regarding membership covenants ought to be heeded by all; never sign or agree to one. What arrogance to think we can ask believers for behavior and committments beyond that which Christ requires to be a child of God.
I have hopes for TVC that they will come to this revelation as a result of sensitve listening and humility before God; perhaps we will see this fruit of repentance permeate the Acts 29 movement and beyond. I do mourn for those who simply did not have the spiritual formation that Karen H. gave evidence of in her stand–how many have been wounded in churches that add to the ‘gospel’.
i am glad that Matt Chandler apologized. i was recently reading a blog though and it again made me concerned about the whole aspect of Acts 29 churches and the authoritarian way they are conducted. I am not calling Acts 29 a cult and the title of the article says brainwashing and i’m not saying that either, but this article really made good scriptural points about some of the unhealthy practices they and similar churches use. It also addresses the way that some churches make their followers believe that anything outside of their churches teachings is heresy or of the enemy etc. it reminded me of some of the initial reactions by members of TVC when people dared to question the validity of TVC’s decision to put Karen Hinkley in discipline.
“While these groups do not usually intend to coercively control the minds of their followers, that is exactly what they do. And whether intentional or not, the Bible repudiates such mental manipulation, instead calling all Christians to exercise healthy critical thinking (Acts 17:11), a renewed mind which refuses to conform to the destructive standards of this world (Romans 12:2), and to examine everything carefully (I Thess 5:21)”
Ken wrote several interesting things IMHO:
Couldn’t agree more, and in fact I’d go so far as to word it thus: my place is to submit to Karen on this one. #buzzwordalert
I must beg to differ slightly with you on this. I agree that the management of a local megachurch business are much more accountable to the relevant local congregation than they are to me, who am far away and have never met them. But no membership covenant, nor any other constitutional document, nor any other scheme of men (however well-intentioned) can separate “a church” out from among The Church, of which every believer or group of believers is part.
In fact, in many ways this whole episode is probably an example of The [wider] Church bringing some discipline to bear where repentance wasn’t at first forthcoming. Nobody was sued, stoned or persecuted by that disciplinary move and overall, it is a much better example of church discipline than we are ever likely to see from an isolated church management (or “eldership” as it is more commonly known).
True, but as you rightly pointed out, not may of us should presume to be teachers. When a man steps into the pulpit, that’s a responsibility he shoulders. A good shepherd (small s) sets an example in suffering potential embarrassment or loss of face, so that the believers around him can do so more easily.
Now, let’s see if I’ve proof-read all the html tags in this comment properly…
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
Excellent comment! We are greatly concerned about those who have been wounded in churches and are suffering in silence.
Between the misuse and overuse of the word ‘gospel’ by SGM, Acts 29, and other authoritarian church movements, I rarely use the word anymore. Sadly, when I hear other use it like those groups, my skin crawls. I would, as others have said, love to hear those who use that word begin to speak of their allegience to Christ, rather than just their allegience to the ‘gospel’. I sometimes wonder if they have studied Galatians at all; I think if Paul were to extend a letter to them he might use the term emasculate again.
I am reading this post and one statement stood out, it almost made me laugh.
“Also, phone calls to our pastors are absolutely useless.”
Obviously this has happened, as though someone thought that your pastor was in the Good-Ol-Boys club and could be influenced that way.
Off Topic: Suzanne McCarthy: Sad News
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
An interesting framing of the issue, Dee and Deb were part of the discipline of TVC, now that’s irony.
Sorry for the attitude, I think it was not really appropriate.
If it’s any comfort I didn’t mean Matt apologizing to Karen per se. Shamefully, that only came 6 months after the offenses began and only due to the avalanche of bad publicity. It’s obvious this never should have happened. The giant step I saw was the head pastor of a mega paying close attention to two female bloggers and caving to the pressure. By publicizing his two lengthy apologies he was acknowledging their influence. He also set an example to other churches that behaving like Driscoll collapses your empire. Being contrite means preserving it. That IS a giant step in the most arrogant profession outside of professional sports and Hollywood. Karen still has almost three years left in Texas to file a lawsuit so the pressure doesn’t go away just yet.
I do think the other North Dallas pastors who were directly responsible for these bad acts need to apologize as well. Having the CEO apologize shows it’s about preserving the organization. Having the actual offenders apologize is about contrition for the acts themselves. I realize they may think any contact with Karen could exacerbate the situation. However, since Dee has graciously agreed to be the intermediary for these apologies they are now without an excuse. I hope they man up on this.
Great post by Wade Burleson linking rising divorce rates among SBC (while in the culture at large divorce rates are going down) to ESS doctrine:
@ Thy Peace:
Thanks for letting us know about Suzanne. We will keep her loved ones in our prayers.
On a related note, I saw that Elisabeth Elliot passed away yesterday. I enjoyed listening to her when my children were young. I also had the opportunity to meet her in person when she came and spoke at a women's conference in Raleigh some years ago.
Bill M wrote:
1 Timothy 5:20-21. “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.” (NIV, Biblegateway)
Makes sense in a big-picture way. The reputation and credibility of the Church in the world everywhere depends on the reputation and credibility of the local churches anywhere. Many denominations talk about the “autonomy” of the local church, but in my reflections on spiritual abuse, I believe autonomy is one of the opposites of accountability. No individual Christian, no individual church congregation, can do whatever they want and there be no negative repercussions — because in Christ, we are connected.
And now the accountability implications of that local/global theological reality have been witnessed in the world.
So, it’s an intriguing thought worth reflecting on that Amy Smith/Watch Keep, and Dee Parsons and Deb Martin/The Wartburg Watch served as advocates for Karen Hinkley were, in a way, showing pastoral care for her and acting as overseers. And, as bloggers, were publishing her case on her behalf without partiality so others could take warning. They have done a great service to the Church by shining the light on this church.
Great post Dee! Thanks to you and your fellow Watchbloggers abusive churches are no longer able to hide their abuse from the world and, in some cases such as Karen’s, obtain a measure of justice.
Saw Chandler’s Tweet “Dropping off the grid until August. Tweet at you then!”. Methinks he may be retreating to his bunker to wait for the storm to blow over so he and Act29 can go on their merry church disciplining/abusive ways. I do hope I’m wrong but it fits the pattern. If this is the case, then Chandler and his Acts29 secret police should know that the Watchbloggers will be waiting for you when you come out of hiding.
@ Thy Peace:
I had no idea she was even sick and was thinking the other day that I missed her old blog. Thanks for posting that here. This is a great loss to true, objective, biblical language scholarship. Her contributions and insights will be greatly missed.
I respect the responsibility that Dee and Deb have assumed by keeping their blog up and running. I may be projecting but I imagine there was difficulty and self doubt at times. Your comment should be tucked away for such times.
@ Bill M:
It seems to me that one of the difficulties in “being the Church” nowadays (at least in North America) is that there is a conflict between those leaders and churches that promote themselves as role models, thought leaders, and demonstrators of “best practices” for their particular brand of churchiness, and therefore seek to be in the public eye — but then reject scrutiny when their actions in public or private warrant it because they represent bad behaviors, sketchy theology, and/or harmful practices.
As we see on a regular basis in the world, when we create a consumerist culture for our “product,” there are times when there is a recall. And it doesn’t always happen as a preemptive, preventive action by the producer, but only after the case has been made by its victims.
Wondering if we’ll see more of this kind of online push-back in the Church and the churches in days to come — it’s been building for nearly a decade …
It is interesting to note that the actions of wisdom by these elders in the community are not dependent on maleness or femaleness.
@ Thy Peace:
Thank you, Thy Peace. I had no idea she had been suffering. I read her blog for years.
She was such an inspiration to me and quite brilliant when it came to the cultural contexts of ancient and Koine Greek. She once mention she was reading Greek as a young teen. She had much grace and class when debating the Greek with some of the gurus online. She had done her homework and was an excellent teacher for many of us.
This is very sad news.
Cousin of Eutychus wrote:
It seems the word “Gospel” is less dangerous for them than “Jesus Christ”.
a bit of a different take:
1. Why does their apology to Karen correlate to us as in discussing their doctrine, long time behavior, etc? Are they out of bounds now that they apologized? Do you kmow how many times bloggers were told that after Driscoll “repented”? A lot. Apologies are the new PR when it gets really hot. So will they ditch the membership covenant? Step down out of shame for what they thought was normal Christian practice until the pushback?
2. Chandler is accountable to those outside his church to whom he has marketed Acts 29, conferences, books, promoted other gurus, etc. You cannot build your national brand saying “look at me”! then suggest it is none of our business but a local church matter. These guys seek to be national and even international brands for Jesus. It comes with the territory. Wanting stages but not with the scrutiny of what comes with it.
If I take your teaching to heart then we cannot say a word because if one has the right Christianese title, then that person is only accountable to God for his teaching, behavior and words? And everyone else is accountable to the one with the Christianese title? Not buying that for one minute. That is a free pass card for bad boy pastors.
Good reasoning. MC and TVC have brought pain to the larger body of Christ and have not really repented of that.
Lydia, I really appreciate your reasoning about the public accountability of Chandler and TVC. I am astounded at how we are able to compartmentalize this situation with Karen H. as though this is a stand-alone incident. I read their membership covenant and thought how many more, besides her, have disappointed the TVC leadership and been ‘disciplined’?
I find it difficult to believe that the Karen H. incident happened in a vacuum–that is why I think a full, heart repentance would best be demonstrated by a public renunciation of the concept, not just the content, of their covenant, at least the unbiblical parts. Not renouncing in any way what is true about Jesus–simply the control and extra-biblical authority given to the elders in that document.
That is the truth. If they take their preaching/teaching ministry out to the general public then they are answerable to that general public.
John Piper is as gifted as Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon etc. Sad state of christianity. from the RAAN website:
“Theologians such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, J.I. Packer, John Piper and more preached and wrote about God and the Christian life through a Reformed understanding of the Scriptures. These teachings, however, have largely been confined to Western European and Anglo cultures.” http://www.raanetwork.org/about/
i hope his doesnt explode from being so puffed up and i really wish that people would run from his doctrine instead of promoting it and re-turn to the Lord.
Bill M wrote:
earlier i posted about the wisdom they have shown in not accepting advertising which would make them able to be influenced by $ in what they report on and now i would like to make a prayer (not a donations request) for their emotional and financial support to be taken care of by the Lord Jesus who i believe has guided them into having these blogs.
“Lord the apostle paul said:
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
and i ask that You would do this for the above mentioned blogsters and also for the guy behind the curtain, and that God would be glorified in Your doing so, in Jesus name i pray, amen. “
Amen and amen/
Standard Legal Protocol?”
Snake da religious wolves?
“Church lawyers typically advise against the apology route thus raising their billing rates.”
We live in a Fallen world… 🙁
Maybe we can hope that church lawyers will advise against church covenants because they raise insurance rates.
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
Let me stand over here in the skeptics’ corner with you guys.
Glad to see you here! (Not that i had any doubts…)
Welcome. We have cookies. ^_^
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
As per elastigirl they are one of the spiritual gifts!!!
@ Bill M:
well, let me qualify that. if God can infuse a human shadow with his power (per book of Acts), he can certainly do the same with a chocolate chip cookie.
Futhermore, I believe that food prepared with love is more nourishing, body mind & soul, to those who enjoy it, than is food prepared with stress, frustration, resentment, etc.)
Ditto for Pastor Wade Burleson, here at E-Church on TWW and who is a conservative Baptist pastor in Enid, OK, who is prudent. He blogged about what The Village Church should do to right this wrong they did to Karen. I texted a TVC pastor/elder and told him to read what Wade had to say and all of them man-up and fix it!
If indeed they have been confined to white anglo-saxon male cultures, let’s at least be grateful for that. The unfolding of church history since the reformation shows rather starkly that a Reformed understanding of the Scriptures is primarily a projection of one human culture onto God, and a re-shaping of God in that image.
@ Bill M
“Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies?”
God can infuse us and our environments with his power and His love?
Yes. I think we owe it to our selves, and our love ones to ask…
“Ask that you may receive that you ‘joy’ ma be full…” (da bible sayz)
Baking is science for hungry people. ^_^
Membership agreements are legally designed to protect the 501(c)3 religious not-for-profit church organization, protecting them from lawsuits?
Bill M wrote:
Absolutely brilliant! Wish I had thought of it. 🙂
I don’t think there is any real disagreement here. The apology to Karen is one issue, and it is between the parties involved and not the parties involved plus the Internet. If they have resolved their differences, that is the end of the matter.
The general teaching or practice that lead up to this incident, being in the public domain via books and conferences remains subject to discernment and scrutiny by the general Christian public. Chandler and Co remain accountable to God for such teaching, as do churches and fellowships and individuals who put such teaching into practice and fail to exercise any discernment over it despite the NT commanding us to do so.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Or, would you agree, the perpetuation of a reaction against the errors of medieval Catholicism that in some cases tended towards the opposite extreme of the errors being corrected. The strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God being a prime example of this.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
That is an interesting point. Let’s think about that. “Differences are “resolved”….how? By what means? Obviously there is not going to be fellowship or reconciliation as in working together or attending that church and being “under” matt’s authority. Does it now mean that differences in behavior and doctrine are “resolved”? Or does it mean for everyone not to talk about it anymore?
So what are we really talking about? Karen is agreeing to drop the matter and stop talking publicly? that might be it. Not sure. And that is ok. She deserves to move on in any way that helps her. Does it mean that Chandler agreed to take her out of “church discipline”? So what if he did? does it mean he now thinks annulments in such cases are ok? Again, so what? Why is he the arbiter?
I have absolutely no right to tell Karen anything. Nor would I. However, when people start defining what it all means and say “it ends here” I have to wonder what on earth they are talking about and how they define such as mass forgiveness (is that even a thing?)or reconciliation or repentance. It is good to have these discussions. I have absolutely nothing to forgive the Village or Chandler for. They did me no wrong. they did, however, lie their pants off about Jesus Christ. that is worth a discussion or two. :o)
A lot of focus in Western Christianity is on “pardon”. We seem very stuck at the Cross as if we can never leave that state of thinking and evil doing to others even calling it “biblical”. But “renewal” was the goal of the Cross, too. We spend very little time there and seem to have, over time, redefined the understanding of such concepts as metanoia and katalasso and how the 1st Century hearer would have understood them. From my research, we get it very wrong. Especially pastors.
@ Albuquerque Blue:
yes, absolute science. and magic.
(also applicable to the lemon-ginger-coconut salmon, coconut rice, and spinach salad paired with a chilled white wine I made the other night)
Though I’m totally good with Chandler’s unexpectedly sincere apology, you would think he’d have encouraged the 3 mistake-making pastors to do so as well. My personally cynical prediction is still that all 3 will be transitioned out within a year. Have they been asked to keep quiet about this whole thing, or risk severance packages? I really hope I’m wrong, and will admit my mistakes if/when they do. They’re likely decent guys who did the best they could to implement the still-binding convenant-membership teachings.
Dave A A wrote:
I do not think that you are wrong. This all looks like classic how to clean up the mess if you have to. Even so, it is better than some other people have done, or failed to do.
Dave A A wrote:
But when it comes down to the CELEBRITY Megapastor or them, who’s expendable?
I thought Science + Magic was the definition of pulp “Weird Science”?
“The Devil sends sins in matched opposing pairs, so that in fleeing one we embrace the other.”
I’ve heard it put this way:
Calvin carried out the Islamization of the Reformation.
Bill M wrote:
Not if the church lawyers are selected using the same criteria as elders:
That their heads are only capable of moving up and down (NEVER side to side) in the presence of Pastor.
Or “oceania has NEVER been at war with eurasia. oceania has ALWAYS been at peace with eurasia” time.
Or can we say that even the Reformers became the very thing they hated?
No, you’re depending on restraint of people who believe they are MORE inerrant than any Pope. Who believe they are Inerrant in ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, not just binding decisions on matters of faith and morals.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
Check out the “People’s Republic of Tyranny” at TV Tropes sometime, where the more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.
I see it as an example of real, biblical, even — dare I say– Gospel church discipline in action. The sinning brothers would not listen to Karen, who went to 2 or 3 others, and then took it to the church and– they listened to the church so she “won” her brothers! Ideally, in a New Testament model, the DFW Church would have dealt with it, and, failing that, an apostle may have written a letter of discipline to them, like I Corintians. But neither of those will happen in the modern Protestant world, so God has raised up watch bloggers like Jael, Huldah, and Sherah. With the result “that others also may fear”.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
The celebrity megapastor is too big to fail. Hence Pastormark’s immanent return. But Pastor Matt is humbler and wiser than Pastormark, learned the lesson, and avoided a major setback.
Their very doctrine and style of ‘church’ lies about Jesus Christ daily. Misrepresentation or false christ?
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
“Plurality of Elders” is the church governance of choice among New Calvinist church plants in the Southern Baptist Convention (the fastest growing SBC segment). When you are trying to Calvinize the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America, you need all the control over the congregation that you can get. You definitely don’t want any checks and balances to interfere with that mission! There is just something wrong with a church model that has a 30-something pastor and his hand-picked board of 30-something “elders.” Where’s the wisdom in that?!
Muff Potter wrote:
When you’re talking Calvin and his fanboy wing, they became WORSE.
At my church (not baptist or calvinist) we have a 35 year old pastor who has some serious education under his belt and a number of years as a pastor and who works within denominational guidelines. There is also a board (a vestry it is called) elected by the congregation for limited terms and which has male and female members and is composed of people who have been around quite a while and have worked in various of the church’s ministry areas and have proven themselves enough to get elected.
Of course, this only goes to prove that we are liberal, non-biblical and probably not even saved. Perhaps. But in the meantime we may have a lick of sense about some things.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Science + Magic is how iTunes was written.
Is that a “your comment was so asinine it made me sad”, or “your comment was so true it made me sad“?
Granted, age doesn’t equal wisdom. On the other hand, education doesn’t produce one ounce of revelation. My point being that in Southern Baptist ranks right now we have a bunch of young, restless and reformed folks bent on recovering the “right” gospel that they say previous generations lost. In their arrogance, they have come in like young bulls in a china shop and scattered the wisdom that was there. Reminds me of the story of King Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12 who “forsook the counsel of the old men (Solomon’s advisors), which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him.” If you read the story, you’ll see that choice didn’t turn out well for Rehoboam or Israel. We need the energy of youth coupled with the wisdom of age, with young guys to speed things up and old guys to slow things down. We need to work together … and as you note, try to exercise “a lick of since about some things.”
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
The “so true it made me sad” version.
Even sadder that a majority of white Anglo Christian men don’t seem to want to acknowledge this very thing.
Dave A A wrote:
Well, that’s shooting fish in a barrel.
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Albuquerque Blue wrote:
I will join the both of you in your skepticism.
To quote my mother, “Are you sorry for what you did, or sorry that you got caught?”
I have to give it to Chandler – his apologies have said all of the right things. But, understandably, it’s hard to trust an apology when it has essentially been forced through a large amount of external and internal pressure. Chandler’s and TVC’s sincerity in this will be shown through their follow-through in any potential actions they take to modify the harmful and dangerous factors that led to Ms. Hinkley’s predicament in the first place.
I am waiting to see if any real change occurs within TVC and perhaps even within Acts 29 in general. I am very doubtful, however, than any significant doctrines (female subordination) or policies (elder rule) will be changed in a meaningful way.
I echo your observations and sentiments here.
As someone who grew up in Southern Baptist culture, I think this shift is very enlightening in a number of ways. Apart from believer’s baptism, congregational polity has been one of the defining identity markers for baptists for centuries.The fact that SBC churches are willing to give that up is, I think, an indicator of what they truly think is important.
That is, in my opinion, I believe that the SBC became way too involved in the “Culture Wars” in the 70s and 80s, and that now they are willing to shed centuries-old denominational distinctives simply to “ally” with like-minded culture warrior Christians (i.e. Neo-Reformed, Calvinistas, etc.).
If you call yourself a Baptist, but you care more about complementarianism and gay marriage than you care about congregational polity, then I would have to question why you even identify as Baptist in the first place…
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Humbler and wiser than the average celebrity pastor? Smart enough to know seats would be abandoning pews if he failed to make things right?
Membership agreements (covenants) have been proposed by the likes of Mark Dever/9Marks at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and a whole host of other control freaks. Dever is always yammering about Baptist members leaving through the ‘back exits’ and being on the ‘membership rolls’ without showing up to church. An Agreement is supposed to stop all of that according to Dever, who constantly blames the pewpeons for everything!
In my opinion, Dever (and others like him) lack some important social skills.
1. If members are leaving through the back doors, it’s probably because they can’t stand Dever or his fellow leaders.
2. If you have members on the rolls who aren’t coming to church, couldn’t you just call them and ask if they still considered themselves to be a member or not?
3. Finally, the No. 1 reason that churches get sued every single year is Child Sexual Abuse cases according to Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches,
and Richard Hammar, attorney at Church Law & Tax who researches about 12,000 lawsuits against churches every year.
Membership Covenants are just a way for church leaders to exert inappropriate control over the lives of church members and it is simply the authoritarian, abusive Shepherding Movement all over again, that doesn’t respect the priesthood of individual believers.
Didn’t Joseph Smith (Mormons) and Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses) say the exact same thing?
Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend —
“WAAAAAAAUGH!!!!! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!!!!!!”
The “latest” Gospel Coalition link is another article defending “The Loving-Kindness of Cocenant Membership”.
First time commenting here. I think some of Lydia’s insights on this thread are dead on. And one of my favorite poster is HUG. And if you think he goes overboard on his portrayal of the New Calvinists as committed to ideology in the same sense some totalitarians are. Here ya go:
In the PCA, apparently, not only do you have to believe in all male eldership, but you have a 100% belief that the NT teaches only that. There has to be complete unflinching unthinking uniformity.
Ideological purity comrades!
Dave A A wrote:
To they define “loving” as per Screwtape or INGSOC?
And women to provide athe balance that God created them for.@ Max:
@ Will M:
Good observations. Hardline groups tend to come up with ideologies thst they impose via authoritarian structure. Doesn’t matter if they’re religious, political, or something else entirely. You should see the infighting on music forums devoted to classical music, also jazz!
Every group of people seems to produce some True Believers (cf. Eric Hoffer).
Oh yes. For example, there are true believers in each nutrition fad that comes along; people who even can come up with conspiracy theories about those who are not true believers. There must be something in humans that burns out their enough-is-enough mechanism and lets them continue right on into true believer-dom.
Yeah. I wish it wasn’t so, but…
@ Dave A A:
The anecdote about the author amazing his college pastor with wisdom and wit was totally necessary to the article. I’m just as sure it happened as all of those other stories too.
I know The True Believer and it is great. It is also a quick read for anyone looking for one.
Extremism offers an elevation of the self. Active support of extremism and the great new way proves one’s strength, bravery, and goodness. The reason the the extremist group is relatively small is because only a few are strong, brave, and good enough to even believe the ideas. But if/when the ideology fails, the others are to blame because they did it wrong. Any extremism should be antithetical to Christian humility and unity. Our faith only has room for one extremist.
I liked how the adulterous woman they had to vote outa membership was adulterous because her husband didn’t know how to lead….
And I’ve heard very similar stories from pastors without any covenant membership to use as carrots/sticks. How on earth did those pastors manage to “care” for folks, anyway?
Will M wrote:
Welcome, your use of “comrades” is also a strong indicator of your affinity to HUG.
With Bob M, Bill M and now Will M I may forget who I M.
Thy Peace wrote:
I’m so thankful for her scholarship and the way she engaged the issues at a factual level regarding the languages. She puts Grudem and Piper to shame with her scholarship, and I think there will be increasing numbers of well-educated women who will be studying and teaching, and there will be more and more women who will ask themselves whether what the Complementarians/Patriarchs are teaching is what the Bible actually says. I think that many will, like I and others I know have done, will see that we have been taken by clever men with clever doctrines. Others will see the utter failure of these magical formulas in their lives and in the lives of their children or grandchildren. May they turn back to Jesus and the Holy Spirit which is where they will find life.
Dave A A wrote:
You are the resident Profit, so who am I to sin by questioning you? I hope you and I and the other skeptics are wrong, too, but somehow I think we are beginning to see the shape of the way things are going to play out. The 3 kephales will definitely be transitioned, probably with generous severance. I will quibble at one point possibly. That is, if they are truly decent guys then they will acknowledge what they did so that it will not be repeated. Other than that, I think you are 110% correct.
Well said. The problem I see in our current situation is there are some older men who used younger men’s energy and enthusiasm to push their agenda. Mohler was once a young enthusiast. Now he is one of the old guard promoting the younger enthusiasts who keep him in his position.
Will M wrote:
However, it is interesting that other exceptions, like paedocommunion, are ignored for all practical purposes. The Woman Question is the third rail in the conservative church and has come to be a litmus test for one’s fidelity to the Bible. Not an interpretation based on proof-texts that are difficult to interpret, but the Bible itself. The PCA, like Acts29/9Marks/Resurged SBC, had its founding with the exclusion of women as a distinctive and, really, as one of the reasons for its existence. It’s hard to re-consider The Woman Question while some of the PCA founders are still alive.
Dave A A wrote:
Thanks for posting the article. Yes, I have heard all of the arguments in it presented before, and they seemed so viable at the time. That was until I learned that any dissent or disagreement could get one *keyed out* (Gram3’s term)
of the church, ordered to be excommunicated and shunned for any reason.
Never, ever again will I ever sign one of those pieces of paper.
Dave A A wrote:
I read the article, thanks for posting. As mentioned by many here, it all makes sense with a single word change. In the article heading:
“Intentional and immediate care of souls”
It makes no sense why a signed covenant is necessary to care for people.
But with a simple word change:
“Intentional and immediate control of souls”
It all makes sense.
@ Bill M:
The use of “loving-kindness” is interesting. Chesed usually refers to Yahweh’s covenant loving-kindness toward his people, Israel.
“I think there will be increasing numbers of well-educated women who will be studying and teaching, and there will be more and more women who will ask themselves whether what the Complementarians/Patriarchs are teaching is what the Bible actually says. I think that many will, like I and others I know have done, will see that we have been taken by clever men with clever doctrines. Others will see the utter failure of these magical formulas in their lives and in the lives of their children or grandchildren.”
I’ve felt for some time now that complementarianism is done… just waiting for the machinery to wind down.
“We need the energy of youth coupled with the wisdom of age, with young guys to speed things up and old guys to slow things down.”
you don’t need anyone else?
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From your lips to God’s ears, Gram. Amen and amen.
I am not nearly as impressed with either youth or age as some people seem to be. But I am here talking about age. Associating wisdom with chronologic age is a mistake. I watched the generation before me in our family grow old into their eighties and nineties even, and all that time they just were who they had been all along. No particular wisdom developed or descended on anybody with age. Now I am myself old and no particular wisdom has burst forth. I am who I always was but now I am out of touch with some things. Of course, some old people do get ‘sot ‘in thur waze’ and that certainly slows things down, but that is not a good thing. Slowing down just for the sake of slowing down and using the old guys as an anchor to drag in order to get that done is self defeating in a time like ours where changes happen rapidly and adaptation to that is needed at a relatively rapid pace.
However, there have been some outstanding thinkers over the centuries in christianity, men and women long since gone, and to access their wisdom can be a good thing when appropriately applied, if one is looking for wisdom.
Also there is a plethora of more recent thinking on almost everything such that one has the opportunity to take a look at the larger christian community outside one’s own doctrinal structures and sometimes wisdom can be accessed by looking at the bigger picture.
Just like social security number does not define the essence of the person neither does date of birth. Anybody of any age can always be only and inch deep regardless of whether they have lived long enough to be a mile wide yet.
That is all true on a case by case basis (perhaps leaving the greatest generation out of the picture) but we cannot rule out the groupthink indoctrination of the YRR movement when it comes to talking about “young” pastors and their lack of wisdom. I have never seen such an entitlement mentality in the Name of Jesus on such a vast scale. You are blessed your young pastor traveled a different road.
There are always new generations looking for the rules, formulas and roles to live by in a world that appears to have gone mad. That is how they snared my generation.
Obviously, the decent thing would be to make things right. So that makes me just 99% correct— stoning-worthy for a profit.
Bill M wrote:
Even if a soul doesn’t sign up, they can still be cared for if they can be made to WANT to sign up…
You and me both. I was not keyed out, but the signed paper kept me there longer than I ought. I only left after someone else was excommunicated after leaving.
With respect, I beg to differ! 🙂
I truly believe you are seeing it right! There is an interesting dynamic in SBC life these days. SBC’s “Old” Calvinists (Founders Ministries) have tried for years with their “Quiet Revolution” to Calvinize the denomination. Running out of youth and energy to accomplish that mission, they have latched onto “New” Calvinists entering SBC pulpits to move that agenda forward. These young folks have a strong allegiance to SBC reformed influencers such as Dr. Mohler, as well as a closely-connected network of non-SBC reformed organizations (Acts 29, Together for the Gospel, Sovereign Grace Ministries, etc.). While most Old Calvinists may be opposed to the methodology of their neo-brethren, they appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward in SBC ranks and elsewhere. Encouraged and emboldened at certain SBC seminaries, these young pastors have revolution on their mind and are intent on changing the SBC landscape (via reformed church plants and traditional church splits). While the actual theological shift may take a while, YRR pastors have a lifetime of ministry ahead of them to accomplish that task.
Agreed. Unfortunately, you have just described the condition of the American church at large … one mile wide, but only one inch deep (spiritually) … Christianity Lite.
I don’t expect to see this play out to its conclusion. There is too much denial among the youngish enthusiasts, and there are some young-middle-age loyalists who are likely going to continue to dance with the girl who brung ’em. Because to do otherwise would be to acknowledge that they had made a mistake about their distinctive doctrines and that they had misplaced their primary loyalty by giving it to human idols rather than to the King. I just do not see that happening on a wide scale.
More likely, I think, is attrition in those distinctive churches as the sane people who can think and are willing to think leave those distinctive churches and as others experience the failure of the Perfect System in their lives and so run from the System which failed them. If explosions of the magnitude of Mahaney and Driscoll and Chandler who are at the heart of the System do not cause the young and middle-agedd fanboys to turn away from their idols, then what will?
Just want to say that I hope Karen Hinkley writes a book. Not a tell-all book, but an analysis of what is wrong with the System as a whole. I think she definitely has a unique perspective on the System. Crossway probably won’t publish it and Packer probably will not blurb it because Woman Who Is Not Subordinate.
Dave A A wrote:
No, not at all. Mistakes were made and possibly you may have mishandled your profit-see by not being sufficiently sensitive with the way you profit-sied.
As a 60+ year non-Calvinist Southern Baptist, I certainly hope you are right! However, I don’t see the brand loyalty you refer to in my neck of the woods. Most 20s-40s are flocking to New Calvinist works for various reasons … easy church, cool bands, free coffee, intellectual challenge with controversial theology, etc. They just want to do church differently than their parents did. And, in some ways, I don’t blame them. My generation of Southern Baptists have grown apathetic, complacent, and prayerless … as a group, we don’t scare the devil much when we get up each morning! To further complicate the matter … while the SBC non-Calvinist giant slept, they unknowingly surrendered 7 of 11 SBC entities to reformed leadership, including leading seminaries, their publishing house, and SBC’s home and foreign mission agencies.
If there is an Achilles heel to the YRR movement in SBC ranks and elsewhere, it may very well be the way they treat their women like second-class citizens of the Kingdom. New Calvinist churches “preach to the men” by and large. These young women may soon declare “Wait just a darn minute here!” and drag their sorry husbands/boy friends out of the mess. Or they may all look around, both male and female, and realize that they no longer like following the Pied Piper and the other characters you note.
a.k.a. “Protestant popes.”
I go back and forth about how this might play out. Many, but not all, women will go to church anywhere their husband will go. So that might keep them in these anti-female churches if there are enough insecure young (or older) men who need to get their weekly ego massage. On the other hand, some of the women may get very tired of being blamed directly or indirectly for everything that goes wrong in church and at home. I think if they are bold enough to ask questions, they might be surprised what they learn when they actually investigate without the spiritual blackmail they have grown accustomed to hearing. I really do think that still others will see the wreckage over the long term to families and marriages. And even marriages that never happen because either the women are so insufferable about demanding a man equal to Christ himself or the men are so insufferable by demanding to be the Lord of their wives.
How lovely it is when brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, live together in the unity of the Holy Spirit rather than under the forced and artificial relationship of hierarchies.
Speaking as a British baptist from the other side of the Atlantic, I have often wondered if the new-calvinists so often complained about here are in fact reacting against something they see in the churches they grew up in. This was certainly true in the UK in the charismatic house-churches who were tired of the compromise and cobbwebby deadness of so many traditional churches. Even ‘sound evangelical, but sound asleep’.
Calvinism can be perceived to put God back on the throne as over against an ‘extreme’ Arminianism (probably Pelagianism) that puts man in charge of the salvation process, and ditches aspects of NT teaching that might get in the way of people making a ‘decision’ to accept Jesus and his salvation.
I think that is certainly a factor in the New Calvinist movement in the U.S. Many of these young, restless and reformed pastors are themselves sons/grandsons of traditional church pastors or descendants of non-Calvinist church members. They have observed firsthand the effects of an apathetic pew doing church without God, pulpits intimidated by unspiritual deacons, and prayerless congregations running things; they are determined to do something about that in their generation! Unfortunately, reformed theology caters to this unrest. The “God does it all” message is appealing; it takes them off the hook in their own ministry. The weight is lifted on personal evangelism and mission is redefined. And, if they can change church polity to “elder rule” rather than congregational governance, they won’t have to experience the frustration their folks did … they can control the outcome.
In regard to “reformed” vs. “traditional” Southern Baptist belief and practice there has been (in my 60+ years snapshot of SBC affiliation) a balanced teaching of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility … until now. Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God; Scripture speaks much about human free will. They work together in a way that is beyond human comprehension. Reformed theology changes that perspective by putting God in a neat theological box that answers all the questions … they think.
Which is what Berlin Walls are for.
A couple years ago, I read an article about a wave of young women in the UK converting to the strictest forms of Islam. The same dynamic was in play.
When everything is going mad around you and Everything is YOUR Responsibility, it’s a big relief to immerse yourself in a system where every action and choice and thought has already been made for you and written down in a Rulebook.
Calvinjugend — Young Pioneers for The Cause.
You provide a great one-liner to describe the condition of the American church in many places (in my humble, but accurate, opinion). We need a revival that will lead to another Great Awakening … but we need a Great Repentance first!
Needless to say I didn’t invent the phrase. I remember hearing David Watson, formerly very well-know Anglican evangelical and pioneer of charismatic renewal (in pre Benny Hinn days) using it in a sermon of churches that think correct doctrine is all that matters rather than calling on God to also fill them with the Holy Spirit – and basically wake up!
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
As in “Democratic People’s Democratic Republic”?
Over at TV Tropes, there’s a trope called “People’s Republic of Tyranny”. One of the real-world examples is “The more adjectives about Democracy there are in a country’s official name, the nastier a dictatorship it is.”
No, its doubleplusunevents time.
Because The Party Can Do No Wrong, Comrade.
All records of anything else are Disinformation from the Dark Forces, Comrade.
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