“Most people would rather die than think, and many of them do!”― Bertrand Russell, The ABC of Relativity
Let me repeat the above quote by Bertrand Russell: “Most people would rather die than think, and many of them do!” It’s time to think about what happened. Many out there would rather not. It is too disturbing to get to the truth. Most would rather live fitfully in the land of cognitive dissonance. One oblivious person accused me of sin for discussing the need for solemn respect for the admission of a “sin,” or was it? Some people are using the word “mistake.” I claim it must have been a sin, and a rather bad one, to have Chandler removed from his pulpit and the leadership of Acts 29 for three months.
The standing ovation for the return of Matt Chandler
Many on this blog, other blogs, and on Twitter predicted that the crowd in the “worship” service
— Todd Wilhelm (@ThouArtTheMan) December 4, 2022
What does it mean to repent, and did Chandler do that by accepting the ovation?
As the lead pastor, Chandler should have told people to sit down. One cannot stop incautious individuals from following the mob, but it can be controlled. Thankfully, I attend a church in which repentance takes place at every service and is done so with humility and even sadness. No people are jumping up and clapping for their buddy’s confession. I wonder if Chandler has ever discussed the solemn nature of repentance with his church. He could have used this opportunity to do so. After all, didn’t he reflect and repent for three months with a break for elk hunting?
Instead, we have to assume he loved the adulation that comes with an auditorium filled with jumping and cheering people. One indiscreet soul cried out: “We love you, Matt.” Chandler missed a perfect opportunity to teach and model true repentance. Instead, he left people more confused than ever.
What did Chandler do that led to this LOA? Was it a sin, a mistake, or a psychological issue…?
In the end, the hoi polloi have no idea what Chandler did. Let’s look at a few possibilities.
- This was all about coarse joking with a still unidentified woman. Having lived in Dallas for ten years and hanging out in evangelical circles, I can tell you that many people in TVC have participated in such joking. I may even know one or two members of that church. Does this mean the elders should get busy and tell said members to stay away from TVC for three months? If coarse joking is this bad, they have their work cut out.
- If this punishment, aka an LOA, is acceptable, people in the church better be prepared for an uptick in church discipline for joking with their buddies.
- If the woman participated in this joking, then why isn’t she being punished? We know they punish women in that church…
- Was it a problem he told a few coarse jokes to a woman? The fact she was dishing the details with a female friend may mean she was wondering if this was sexual harassment. Perhaps the elders got nervous and had Matt do this so she would feel vindicated?
- I think they believe Chandler committed a sin, that it was ongoing, and that it was not merely a mistake. If so, they would have slapped him upside the head and gone back to business as usual.
- Chandler mentioned that he had to get a brain scan. He, like my daughter, survived a severe brain tumor. He, like my daughter, must get regular MRIs. My daughter is 30 years out and still gets them. Chandler, unlike my daughter, brought up his illness. She wants to be treated as a sound individual and only tells a few close friends. He put that out there. Could it be that he was hinting that some brain issue “made him do it?”
- Something much more serious happened, and the elders will never discuss it.
- TWW readers-what, have I forgotten?
The elders, Acts 29, and Matt Chandler are to blame for this mess. I believe that they did not level with their church. They don’t have to since Chandler is their rainmaker, and they need him. Let me make a prediction. This isn’t over, and time will bring clarity.