“Any fool can tell a lie, and any fool can believe it, but the right method is, to tell the truth in such a way that the intelligent reader is seduced into telling the lie for himself.”―
Chandler dated his wife when she was 17, and he was 23. Looks like things were bad, really bad, for a very long time.
He married her when she was 19. I have been told that he was her youth camp counselor. Chandler and his wife discuss dating compatibility in this post at The Gospel Coalition, Dating and Gospel Compatibility. Perhaps times have changed, but it is a bit problematic to see a man in his position pursuing a teenager who was underage at the time. But the theodudes seem to have no problem with that.
Lauren Chandler was just 17 years old when she met her future husband, Matt, who is older by six years. She was engaged at 18 and married at 19, when he was 25. Now they’ve been married for 17 years and have three kids, the oldest of whom just became a teenager. The dating worries and anxieties they’ve long since left behind in their own relationship have now hit home for them as parents.
Let me get this straight. The Chandlers could be advising individuals, who may be in a position of authority, to pursue underage kids due to “gospel compatibility? My dear friend, Jules Woodson, was pursued by Andy Savage when she was 17 and he was 22 and her youth pastor. Most thinking individuals expressed concern about the age difference as well as her molestation.
Now, let me cut Chandler a small break. Remember, I have been following this crowd since before I began blogging. How many of you remember the “early marriages” craze that Al Mohler and the gospeldudes were pushing? Here is Mohler’s 2009 article: The Case for (Early) Marriage.
If you search the usual suspects, you will find they all started writing articles extolling this newest gospel “thing.”
Mohler and the gang thought this was a delightful idea to stop young people from having sex. It was so prevalent that one assistant pastor at my former Reformed Baptist Church told me it was his dream to see more married students dorms on college campuses and almost no single persons’ dorms! It was a peculiar church. Even Christianity Today jumped on the bandwagon, as Mohler suggests here:
At the end of the day, the most important fact about this article is that it appears as a cover story for Christianity Today. In that sense, the cover has been blown when it comes to the crisis of evangelical young people and the delay of marriage. It’s about time.
This was well before the #churchtoo movement. I wonder how Mohler and the rest of the SBC leadership feel about pushing this sort of thing today. I have heard Mohler wants all seminary students to get married before they graduate. I wonder if he brings them around to the local high schools.
Now, why am I picking on the embattled Matt Chandler? Because there appears to be another weird moment in Chandler’s marriage. I find this sermon incredibly uncomfortable. Note what he says about Lauren. This video clip is by the talented video clip maker Todd Wilhelm, who listens to all sorts of sermons and is quite resourceful.
— Todd Wilhelm (@ThouArtTheMan) August 30, 2022
The Gospel Coalition (TGC) led with Biblical Confidentiality: Hold Your Tongue. Preserve Your Integrity today. I wonder…
Sometimes, TGC reminds me of Taylor Swift, who works out her dating life in her music. I am a fan, so I shouldn’t compare her to TGC, but the shoe fits at this juncture. There has been some speculation on Twitter that there could have been a breach of confidentiality in Chandler’s communications. I find that argument compelling.
Do you find yourself breaking confidentiality? Ask yourself why. What has led to your tendency to leak privileged information? When you hear private information and pass it on to others, does this puff you up? Does it make you feel like you’re “in the know”? Does the transfer of secrets make you feel important? As Brené Brown probes, do you gossip to create the illusion of immediate intimacy with others? Does disclosing what should be kept hidden make you appear important in others’ eyes? Repent of breaking confidences and confess your sin to those whom you’ve harmed.
The Village Church said they had an independent investigation of Chandler. That might not be precisely true.
Julie Roys posted the following tweet with evidence. This group does discreet internal and sensitive investigations. This sounds like my former church, which was really good at discreet internal investigations. I don’t trust one word that this church says about anything. This is one reason.
The infamous Chandler “not a confession” video has been silenced by the church but not on YouTube, thanks to Julie Roys. Suspicious, stupid actions on the part of TVC.
Who is advising these gospeldudes?
In other words, it comes up blank if you try to post it from that site. Here is Todd Wilhelm’s demonstration.
Here is your link to the YouTube Video posted by Julie Roys of Chandler’s “NOT a confession.”
Robin Thinks at substack wrote two great posts.
The first was The Dark Side of Matt Chandler’s “Confession.”
Is Chandler’s image in the pulpit the same as when speaking to “a friend?”
He could have just as easily said “I was DM’in a friend in a way that was crass and completely unbefitting a man in my position.” Chances are good everyone would have assumed the other person was male, and what difference does it make? This would have still communicated this exact same truth without throwing one more woman under the bus. But churches have a very long history of blaming women for men’s sins, so the fact that he refers to the person he was DM’ing as “this other woman” says a lot – and what it says is not good.
Several years ago I had one of these same “text relationships” with a former pastor of three megachurches, which went on for about 2 years. He was neither married nor a current pastor at the time. What I can tell you about this, however, was that who he revealed himself to be in those text messages was a far, far cry from the careful image he built for himself as a pastor and I strongly suspect this is the same with Chandler.
He contradicts himself.
He basically completely contradicts himself here in many way. First he says he doesn’t “ever want there to be secrets between us” while at the same time having a long history of covering things up. He then says they believing in having “brother-sister relationships” but then proceeds to say there was a “familiarity that played itself out in coarse and foolish joking.” I don’t know what most people’s experience of family is, but mine is that there is no one that you are raunchier or more real or honest with than your family. So that’s a complete contradiction.
Robin thinks his discussion with this woman was even more dangerous than a sexual relationship.
I 100% believe Chandler’s “DM relationship” was exactly what he said it was: not sexual in nature, but instead unguarded. Almost assuredly, Chandler revealed himself to her for who he really is and that is every bit as dangerous, if not far more so, than if he simply had sex with her. If he had sex with her, then they could paint her as being equally in the wrong. Instead, she is simply in possession his deepest, darkest, dirtiest secret, which is that he is not who he presents himself to be.
She believes that the problem is far worse than a sexual relationship.
Yet, one question gnawed at me. If the relationship between Chandler and this woman wasn’t romantic or sexual in nature, why even mention she was a woman at all? Why not simply say “I DM’d a friend in a way that was crass and unfit for a man in my position”?
Then I discovered that they had actually employed a law firm to review the DM’s and that made even less sense. I have since come to believe that Chandler specifically alluded to a woman as a red herring that would keep people thinking along the lines of an inappropriate male/female relationship, which – based on social media discussion – seems to be exactly what happened.
Why is a law firm looking into this? Why bring up that a woman was involved?
So, here’s the first problem; if the nature of the communications between Chandler and another party were not sexual or romantic in nature, why even reveal that the other person involved was a woman in the first place? Why not simply say “I sent a number of DM’s to a friend that were crass and inappropriate to a man in my position.” That communicates the exact same truth without throwing just one more woman under the bus. But he couldn’t do that because that would just raise more questions about what kind of messages a pastor could be sending that were that crass as to have to place him on a leave of absence.
The second thing we know now is that while he seems to be implying here that the elders looked into the conversation, what actually happened is that a law firm looked into them. Why exactly do you need a law from to look into “course and foolish joking”? What kind of jokes could you possibly be telling that might have legal implications?
Was confidential information shared and the mention of a “woman” a red herring?
Chandler is literally under no such oath nor does there seem to be any sort of formalized system in place to ensure that any information he becomes privy to is kept in trust.
I believe this is what he was sharing with his friend. As I mentioned earlier, it has actually been very well documented that gossip is a significant problem in A29 churches, and not just gossip between congregants but gossip between pastors, between pastors and members of staff and even between pastors and other church leaders.
…I 100% believe the reason Chandler was not only put on leave but also had his entire DM history looked at by a law firm is because he was sharing sensitive information about congregation members with his friend. It literally makes no difference that that individual was a woman, yet I believe they very specifically revealed that it was a woman for a very specific reason. They needed to at least give the impression that the problems with his conversations were in some way, shape or fashion related to her specifically being a woman as opposed to what the real problem was.
…I think those DM’s will never see the light of day if Chandler or the church has anything to do with it because I think they would absolutely blow the church up. What is even worse than a sex scandal? I would guess a scandal involving a pastor spewing personal details about his “flock” to a buddy of his.
Julie Roys reviews problems with Matt Chandler and TVC.
Julie wrote Matt Chandler Steps Aside After Admitting Inappropriate Online relationship in the post; she reviews a number of problems experienced by TVC. I believe that Chandler and his leaders demonstrate the Peter Principle.
The Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.
….The Peter Principle is thus based on the paradoxical idea that competent employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent, and they will then remain in those positions because of the fact that they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion.
Here is a partial list from Julie’s post.
In 2020, Chandler again came under fire when Acts 29 removed its CEO Steve Timmis amid allegations of “abusive leadership.”
At that time, several former Acts 29 staff came forward and said they had approached Chandler in 2015 with concerns about Timmis’ bullying and misuse of power. The staff said that instead of honoring their concerns and investigating Timmis, Chandler fired the staff and made them sign non-disclosure agreements.
…Chandler and TVC also made headlines in 2015 when the church disciplined Karen Hinkley for annulling her marriage to her husband, who admitted to viewing images of child abuse. After a media storm and a period of “soul searching” by TVC leaders, Hinkley and TVC reconciled
Also, in 2019, The Roys Report exclusively reported that Chandler had rejected bloggers’ pleas in 2012 to hold now-disgraced pastor, James MacDonald, accountable for alleged spiritual and financial abuse.
I might add the disgraceful handling of the Anthony Moore saga. CT posted Beyond Cedarville: Why Do Pastors Keep Getting Rehired After Abuse?
Todd is quoted in this article!
In 2017, Cedarville welcomed Anthony Moore six months after he was fired from the lead pastor position of The Village Church’s Fort Worth campus. President Thomas White wrote that he offered to shepherd Moore through a five-year plan of restoration at the conservative Baptist school while he taught theology, helped coach basketball, and served as a special advisor on diversity.
CT spoke with four current and former Cedarville professors who said they knew Moore had made a “mistake” related to same-sex attraction and technology, based on White’s introduction and Moore’s own telling. Some assumed pornography or an online relationship. They had no idea that he had reportedly filmed a subordinate at his previous church in the shower. The revelation, detailed by multiple bloggers and journalists who focus on abuse in the church including Todd Wilhelm and Julie Roys, led to Moore’s firing on Thursday.
Finally, they want us to believe coarse joking got Chandler on LOAs at TVC and Acts 29!!!! Nope, nope nope!
Are they trying to tell me that Chandler is cooling his heels on a probably posh LOA from both his church and his position as the big cheese at Acts 29??? Christian Post wrote Acts 29 joins Village Church in suspending Matt Chandler over Instagram messages as Evangelicals react.
TVC reportedly wouldn’t tell CP if Chandler is being paid, which probably means he is being paid.
The church also declined to say whether or not Chandler was still being paid, noting to the publication that “Matt will spend time during his leave from the pulpit focusing on his development with the elders and guided by outside counselors. He will also continue to fulfill limited administrative leadership duties.”
It appears that Chandler is a hot potato at the moment. Acts 29 gave him the left boot of fellowship temporarily.
Global church planting network Acts 29 said it has “asked” the president and chairman of their board, Matt Chandler, “to step aside from Acts 29 speaking engagements” following a decision by The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, to suspend him over his inappropriate communication with a woman who is not his wife on Instagram.
“Acts 29 prioritizes personal integrity and holds our leaders to a high standard of conduct. Considering the findings of the TVC investigation and consistent with the leave of absence from preaching and teaching that the Village Church has placed Matt on, the Acts 29 Board has asked Matt to step aside from Acts 29 speaking engagements during this time,” officials at the church planting network said in a statement posted on the organization’s website Sunday. “We hope that Matt can use this time away from speaking to focus on the process that TVC elders have laid out for him.”
Here are some statements from folks in the article.
Evangelical blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire, who recently authored, The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended, raised concern about how Chandler has been allowed to “control the narrative” about the Instagram messages and agreed on Monday that if The Village Church wants to be transparent, they should be made public.
“One of the most salient points about Matt Chandler announcing his leave of absence yesterday (Sunday). Why was he allowed to control the narrative? I would have rather heard from the woman’s friend who confronted Chandler. And if he’s being transparent, then let’s see the texts,” she wrote on Twitter.
Attorney Boz Tchividjian, a grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham, who has a longstanding record in defending victims of abuse, suggested that there is likely “much more to this story.”
“After listening to his (Chandler’s) statement to the congregation, my educated guess is that there is much more to this story…not in a good way,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “Time has a way of bringing forth the whole truth.”
Let me end this with two things. Here is an excellent comment from Hal in the CP comment section.
Is it about sex or about sharing confidential information, or something else? Is this about coarse joking?