May 282015
 

14Interview_Matt_Chandler_0801_609298189I’ve often hoped that just one time before I die that a celebrity pastor caught in sin or abusive behavior would publicly repent.

Then I would think it will happen when pigs fly.

Pigs have flown.

Christianity Today has an extensive report;

“Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, a multisite church based near Dallas, said elders there had been “domineering” in their approach to church discipline in a handful of cases.

That was wrong and unchristian, said Chandler, who also leads the Acts29 church planting network.

“We have sinned against some people—and we are owning that before God and specifically before the people we have hurt,” he told CT in a phone interview.

“Our desire is always to be loving and caring. It is clear that we have not communicated—in multiple cases now—the gentleness, compassion, and patience that our elders are called to walk in.”

The full text of the apology is here…

Let me tell you what is so different about this.

The church names the sins they have committed without any deflection.

They apologized to the one offended by name.

They recognize that the system in place lent itself to abuse and are considering change.

They didn’t share shame or blame with the victim.

They are speaking with humility and compassion.

They are truly owning what they did.

This…is how it’s supposed to be done.

I’ve waited a very long time to see it.

My guess is that other stories of abuse are forthcoming, but this is still the template for repentance.

I choose to believe they are sincere…I choose to believe the best of Chandler and pray that he just modeled how to lead in front of us all.

  174 Responses to “Pigs Have Flown”

  1. Wow, and Amen.

  2. Boom

  3. Yes, this does seem a lot better than how other churches have responded when their abusive behavior has become uncomfortably visible, but it doesn’t exactly seem like a full apology either.

    ***In receiving more information and considering the way we’ve ministered to Karen specifically, we believe that we owe her an apology. Specifically, as it pertains to her desire for an annulment, we know that it would have served her better to have a clearer understanding from us as to what we do and do not consider biblical grounds for divorce or what we understand the Scriptures to define as divorce. In hindsight, we wish that we would have provided clarity to Karen in an immediate fashion and are saddened by our unpreparedness.***

    That basically seems like they’re saying, “Sorry, we didn’t express or explain ourselves properly, but our basic belief on the matter is still right and you’re still wrong.”

    I also still don’t understand why they continue to think that divorce and annulment are one and the same. They are two separate things. Their bylaws only spoke about divorce not annulment so they really had no standing from the get-go to discipline her for seeking an annulment.

  4. Meh….. or are they merely responding to the obvious flood of public outcry and the multitudes of blogs, vlogs, published articles about their ridiculous legalistic and chauvinistic actions?

    “the way we ministered to Karen”….OMG I’m sorry …no I’m not….that is such christianese drivel and straight up b.s., IMO….

    What the H E double hockey stick is the issue about ‘allowing’ an annulment? OMG… I thought that sort of ‘shepherding’ control tactics were long gone in the 70s.

    I’m not seeing the pigs Michael….. er…. maybe I AM seeing the pigs. They ain’t flyin

  5. I’m also curious what the “more information” was that they claimed received. What could possibly have made them change their minds if the fact that the guy is an self-admitted pedophile and consumer of child pornography didn’t make them think it was appropriate for Karen to end her relationship with him?

  6. I painted rooms in two of our houses while listening to Matt Chandler sermons. I like him. I don’t agree with everything, and there are things about him that annoy me, but I like him.

    I was so enormously saddened as I followed the story over the last few days / weeks. So saddened. For the woman, and for the feeling of misplaced trust…loosely because not much of my life is tied up with Chandler’s church.

    I was hoping without even realizing it that he, and the elders there, would do something to make this right. Something to show that the teaching and the presence they have had was not trivial and superficial.

    I pray that this takes root, that it stuns in the Spirit and that the garbage would be overshadowed with truth and humility. I pray for Karen…that she would be so surrounded by grace and protection. I pray for strong men to stand with her and for them to hold Chandler and the others to their words. I pray for this to be a story of God’s redeeming grace, a story of evil overcome and of testimony of the saints to the goodness of God.

  7. I’m not sure I would feel as hopeful if I was Karen.

    I just read Paige and J2’s comments…they were posting as I was.

    Such tough stuff.

    Praying. Sorry for just popping in and doing a fly-by.

  8. The pigs may have sprouted some wings but aren’t airborne quite yet IMO. As I read the “apology” it sounded to me like the classic apology prominent in politics now. Admitting “mistakes were made” but the intentions were good, we’ll be even better now in achieving our mission. To still call their earlier actions toward Karen as “ministering” rankled with me as well Pmom. J2tp – I suspect the ” more information” they received was from a PR specialist.

    Pigs will really fly when Bob Grenier is defrocked.

  9. I apologize for raining pessimism on your post, Michael. That the tone of the apology bothers me so much probably has a lot to do with my own baggage. I too would be curious to know how Karen feels & thinks about it.

  10. Wow, good stuff.

  11. Anne said, “Pigs will really fly when Bob Grenier is defrocked.”

    True indeed, but more a chance for that than him copping to his sins and truly repenting and seeking reconciliation.

  12. Anne, I am so with you…and I do agree that my own personal baggage bursts into flames when I read that political spin or as you said “the tone of that apology”. I completely agree with you that the ‘more information’ is no doubt PR advice based on the public outrage that is all over the internet.

  13. The first rule of Christian PR is to say as little as possible.
    Never admit fault.
    Never admit sin.
    Never mention the victim except to slime them.
    Chandler broke every rule.
    I choose to hope.

  14. Good. They are moving in the right direction. That should always be encouraged. I hope they have also apologized to her sending agency, SIM, and repented from their threats to stop funding other SIM missionaries if they didn’t remove Karen.

    Frankly, they need to keep moving much farther down this road of repentance and not stop at Mile Marker 1. Keep going, gentlemen. You are heading in the right direction.

  15. This is a Christ honoring response and an example for us all to follow. Fearing God means honoring and reconciling with those we have sinned against 1Peter 2:17

    Against such things………. there is no law.

  16. I said in the first posting that there was more to the story.

    Turns out the more was simply that the church had to assess and reassess themselves and they did. Let’s all believe the best.

    No one ever does it perfectly. This was pretty good.

  17. I was at a meeting when I first read this and I got a big smile and was very happy for Karen I really do hope it works out well. I have an honest question Do you think this pastor’s past / ongoing struggle with his illness made him more empathetic / eventually to her plight. I have always found people who suffer have more of a heart to the suffering even if it is a different type of suffering.

  18. “The first rule of Christian PR is to say as little as possible.
    Never admit fault.
    Never admit sin.
    Never mention the victim except to slime them.
    Chandler broke every rule.
    I choose to hope.”

    That is always a good choice Michael, please dont let anyone know I said that. 🙂

  19. Very proud to be prt of the A29 network and to have Chandler at the helm. He is truly the right leader for a29. And a timely one, all things considered.

  20. When I read the article, my first reaction to certain parts of it was , “Oh, Nonnie ! Don’t be so cynical.”

    Now that I’ve read J2, Paige, and Sarah, I don’t feel so badly.

    I am thankful they are officially releasing Karen.

  21. We can dissect this apology and find that, yes, it is far from the perfect apology. But if we think through all of the other church abuse and spiritual abuse situations that we know of, Chandler and the Village Church have done far more in admitting fault and taking steps toward repentance and reconciliation than probably 99.9% of the other cases. Could they have done better in their apology? Yes. Have they taken steps in the right direction? I also say yes. And that makes me much more hopeful about this one than almost all the other cases we read about.

  22. Honestly, the more I think about it the less like an apology this sounds. They probably just said more words and tried to come off as more apologetic than other churches typically have because they have put themselves in a very dodgy legal position against a very sympathetic person who literally did nothing wrong in any way shape or form during the course of her interacting with them in this situation.

    For all their words, the actual substance of their apology was, “We should have explained ourselves better at the beginning.” That is not an apology.

  23. I’m just very thankful that Karen was released from that covenant.
    That was one point in the letter I could take at face value and cheer for.

  24. Bravo..

    Why are people (especially some on another blog), jumping on the village church for at least trying to do the right thing?

    Some people are just never satisfied.

  25. MAN… this was a rough read. That was no apology. It was more of an affirmation of how right they were, they just did not have the right ammo ready for Karen to make her see it their way at the time she came to them.

    If I were a member of the Village Church, I would be seriously considering my own membership and wondering what part of that applies to dealing with Jordan Root appropriately in light of his actions and the criminal nature of them. Just sayin’.

    At least they let her out of that oppressive and ridiculous membership covenant.

    A long time ago, I was effectively kicked out of a small group not because I sinned but because I did something the collective mind disagreed with. It was painful and the damage from that exchange took a very long time to get past. I hope TVC reviews those under discipline through disagreeing with their collective mind and lets them go, if they want to go.

    The moment church attendance or membership becomes a tool of righteous oppression, it has nothing to do with Jesus. It has everything to do with the other guy and the destruction of the good things that church was intended to foster.

  26. Kind of an interesting read of reactions. The men are generally in support of the apology. The women’s response? Kind of reminds me of the old “a woman scorned” saying.

    You ladies are tough

  27. I am hoping the TVC will start having some women in leadership that can help them in ministering to the women in their fellowship. A woman who was free to express herself to those men could have explained to them what Karen was going through and that they were being completely unreasonable. This was NOT HER sin…it was the hidden and then discovered sin of her husband. She should not have been considered a part of his sickness, and completely released from him by the church.

  28. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

    Scorn means to ” be contemptuous about, hold in contempt, treat with contempt, look down upon.”

    Yes, I guess in the church of Jesus Christ, a woman is going to be hurt and wounded, and want to escape from a place where men look down upon her for what her husband has done.

  29. Nonnie, my thoughts, exactly.

    We “OWLs” (older, wiser ladies) have a well developed b.s. radar. Falls into the “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” category.

  30. To me this reads like “We regret that we have fallen short of our usual wonderfulness.”

  31. But an apology is an apology and its worthiness depends on how it is received by the aggrieved party.

  32. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

    And may I add…..I don’t believe the hurt and disappointed, yes even fury over how this woman was treated, is from hell…rather from the heart of God.

  33. These apologies are always “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

    If you don’t apologize, people are mad.

    If you do apologize, people are mad because you didn’t do it exactly perfectly.

    Sometimes apologies are a step in the right direction, but people are still mad because it’s only one step in the process, or it didn’t go far enough, or it didn’t address every error, or it still included some CYA.

    We could take that apology and stuff it back down their throat, or we can take the apology and continue walking it forward.

  34. This is an open letter to the membership. I hope they pay up on the apology they say they owe Karen and that their communications to her in private are more compassionate and understanding than their original treatment of her.

    Matthew Paul Turner has added an update to his post that includes TVC’s apology letter:

    “When I posted this update last night, I’d read through the content one time. And I did so quickly, with kids around. While the tone of this message is humble, on my second, third, and fourth readings of this message, I started to get a different view of the church’s messaging here. While I can’t offer much of an explanation now–I’m on a tight deadline for a story about TVC, Karen, and Jordan for The Daily Beast–I’ll say this: This update wasn’t written for us. And it wasn’t meant for Karen, either. This update is damage control to calm the storm inside TVC. And some of its language, though gentle, still is laced with control. I’ll try to write more later. But I wanted to offer those who have questioned this blog post a heads up that I agree. I posted this in haste. And I apologize for that.”

  35. Anne wrote @ # 34 :

    “This update wasn’t written for us. And it wasn’t meant for Karen, either. This update is damage control to calm the storm inside TVC. And some of its language, though gentle, still is laced with control.”

    Agreed. These guys are not going to relinquish control over their people any more than an Arab potentate would give up full power over the people he controls. No value judgement here at all, it’s just basic political gamesmanship and statecraft-101.

  36. I thought this apology was generally well-written. I’ll take them at their word in their confidence regarding how they handled in regards to safety of children. As for Karen, they did not apologize for their theological position – which to them would seem to be that annulment is not the right course. I can’t fault them for this though – especially given that Karen’s decision was made so quickly. We all have different theological positions. What they did do was acknowledge that they let their positions (and policies and procedures) get in the way of viewing her correctly and responding to her in a Christlike manner and with clarity from the get-go. When I read their earlier correspondence with her, that was my main concern. And they addressed that head-on and repented. They’ve also agreed to release her from membership, which even if they may possibly have had valid concerns (i.e. that she should seek elder counsel/care before wanting to annul her marriage and leave the church), would seem to be the right course given what transpired. It looks to me like they, like the rest of us, are just trying to do the best they can – albeit making some mistakes. As Michael said, it is refreshing to see mistakes being admitted for a change. I choose not to be cynical about it or question their motives by thinking they are only doing it to “save face” – I will take them at face value when they say that they genuinely have re-evaluated and realized they made mistakes, and that they want to make things right as best they can.

  37. This takes great courage and humility. I am more interested in how to go forward rather than to take issue with past sins that have been repented of. However, for the victims in all this mess, that’s not so easy, and some type of reconciliation process toward them should be initiated and followed through on. In the meantime, thank God that the body of Christ can actually be Christian in their actions and that restoration happens for all parties.

  38. As one who will NEVER experience an apology (though never NEARLY as wrong as Alex or his siblings), I have to admit I never thought I’d ready anything like this, in a good way.
    I’ll admit, it was cumbersome to get through-mostly because my attention span is short, but when I got frustrated and thought “why doesn’t he just state ‘we were pinheads’ or something of the sort,” I remembered the deafening silence from most “leaders” when they’ve done wrong, and this is far from silence.
    Honestly, while I wanted to feel like Matt and his elders were crawling through broken glass wearing camel’s hair, I felt some of the language was hinting at “I’m gonna get skewered when I admit fault with our structure from my peeps, so let me do it slowly.” Maybe I’m being naive, but I really think at home, with his wife (where all true spiritually is shown first, Matt has no problem (and probably has on occasion) told her “you know what, I was an idiot, please forgive me.”
    However, speaking for huge mega-man-worship centers, he’s got to walk a different line.
    Please, before you assume Matt’s a typical “pastor” listen to his teachings, he has NO problem airing dirt or being blunt.

  39. Sorry, I meant (“though never NEARLY as wrong-ED…”) as in, I’ve never been wronged as Alex and his brother.

  40. Ok I have to admit

    I feel a bit like chuckling that Village Church is trying to apologize (read resign membership) and we are unwilling to let them until we are through with our examination and discipline.

    Reaping and Sowing Dread

  41. The only “past sin” I read being repented of is basically not handling a situation Karen created as well as they could have – which is indeed a bold step in light of other church leaders coverups and lies, etc.

    Basically it reads to me: A church member (Karen) created a situation we were forced to deal with. We did so to the best of our ability, but in hindsight see mistakes may have been made, specifically in the membership issue. We realize might have handled it better and will try to figure how to do that in the future.

    Their treatment of Karen is a problem. Their silence in the “apology” regarding their priority of ministering to the pedophile is deafening and scary. Where is the official letter to the membership dealing with the original elephant in their living room that led Karen to take such desperate measures regarding her marriage in the first place? Did I miss that?

  42. only superficial interest here, thus only superficial reaction… i’d run from anything that describes itself as a ‘village’ … they tend to be myopic at best, although they can be a help in raising children – as long as its YOUR village doing it … aaand they have a history of witch-hunts
    beyond an intention, the church’s covenant is worth the paper it was written on or the breeze blowing by …
    that said, i am stunned that in this instance they didn’t rush in to protect this woman … might maybe indicate there’s more closet porn in the ranks? …
    perhaps it was some technical, legality that made the annulment prudent, but, from what we know of the recidivism of those convicted of this crime, she did the right thing – get out! run!
    God keep her and pray for the good, God honoring men and women in there trying to sort this out.

  43. Looks like Karen gets a “personal” apology from the pulpit on Sunday. Since she won’t be there, hope she’s gotten an in person direct apology.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/29/snap-press-release-written-by-amy-smith/

    My heart continues to break most for the children exploited by the creators of the material that Jordon Root is suspected of viewing (including infants, toddlers, and teens). If he has also engaged in the acts he enjoyed watching, where TVC has failed most grievously is in their lack of knowledge or wisdom in dealing with the larger, more grievous matter.

    Maybe if they had to look a child being so abused, or a man or a woman in the eyes who has survived such abuse as a child they would have a tad more “wisdom”.

    Sometimes TVC’s focus on the membership issue seems to be a diversion from the more insiduous problem they have on their hands.

  44. #13…Michael said,
    “The first rule of Christian PR is to say as little as possible.
    Never admit fault.
    Never admit sin.
    Never mention the victim except to slime them.
    Chandler broke every rule.
    I choose to hope.”

    #33…Rob said,
    “We could take that apology and stuff it back down their throat, or we can take the apology and continue walking it forward.”

    Considering the lack of repentance/apology from any of the scum we’ve discussed here over the years, I believe the above to be the better attitude to have in this case. Just my opinion.

  45. What a wonderful day for the Church and the Acts29 network of churches.

    Was the apology “perfect”? No. Since when is that a parameter of genuineness of forgiveness?

    Acts29 admits their mistake and is moving in the right direction.

    Choose to think the best until informed otherwise.

  46. Anne said, “Pigs will really fly when Bob Grenier is defrocked.” And maybe thrown in jail too. Oh, and perhaps some big, mean SOB to share a cell with him.

    It’s a good thing I’m not God. One minute, I espouse grace liberally, the next, not so much.

  47. I realize that cynicism is warranted with so many examples of church abuse. But reading some of these comments I wonder if any response would satisfy some.
    Lets not forget that Matt Chandler is the head of the network that removed Mark Driscoll for his failures.
    They admitted their mistakes, have apologized and have made no excuses. I’m not sure what else you can ask for besides perfection. Maybe we should follow 1 Corinthians 13 and rejoice in the truth and assume the best without being hyper-critical of the method of their apology.

  48. I will be more satisfied when TVC addresses what initiated this whole firestorm and apologizes for taking the law and Root’s restoration into their own hands, to the point of making his wife’s reaction their focus rather than the more serious issues of child p#orn.

  49. Repentance is a verb.

  50. I completely understand the cynicism here.
    We’ve been given every reason to be cynical for a very long time.
    The women who write here are strong and wise…and I listen closely when they speak.
    I agree with Nonnie on one point…if this church allowed their strong and wise women to lead and speak, this could have been avoided.
    I remain hopeful…and vigilant.
    Forgive me…I really want to see us win one.

  51. “I will be more satisfied when TVC addresses what initiated this whole firestorm and apologizes for taking the law and Root’s restoration into their own hands, to the point of making his wife’s reaction their focus rather than the more serious issues of child p#orn.”

    Agree!!

  52. “Lets not forget that Matt Chandler is the head of the network that removed Mark Driscoll for his failures.” After how much public outcry and blogging? IMV Chandler lacks much discernment and wisdom on the front end of these troubling situations, which would seem necessary for the role of a pastor. Being good at damage control not really a praiseworthy talent. Especially when one has to hire PR folks to try to help you dig out of the mess. I try to hope against my cynical tendency that this is all a good start but keeping my expectations low out of habit, I guess.

  53. Michael @ 50. Agreed.

    That being said, if my old CC pastor were to come and ask forgiveness of me, it would be very hard for me to do so. But at some point, I have to come to that place on my own.

    If he were to then ask me to come back to his church, I would politely decline. I can forgive someone, but I’m not about to place myself in a position to be hurt again by the same person.

  54. Michael – you’ve already won so much! These scandals are not new to the church but because of you and other bloggers/reporters things don’t get swept as easily under the carpet as in decades past. You have also made a generation of church goers aware of warning signs and more that will keep many safe from these abuses in the future. I say, “well, done & thank you!”

  55. Michael, I certainly do not mean to imply that this blog and others have not done well in exposing abuses in some churches. Keep up the good work.
    Without sites like this, Karen would still be marginalized and under church “discipline.”

    I hope my comments have not been discouraging to you. I am truly thankful that Karen has been set free from that church system. I hope she finds a church where she is valued for the person she is and not who she happens to be married to or not married to.

    I speak as a woman who has not suffered church abuse and who is married to a man who loves, affirms, and honors me. Maybe that is why I am so appalled at how I see some men treating women in the church, under the banner of Christ.

  56. yesterday morning my daughter was explaining something medical to me and i was having to concentrate to follow her (i love it when my kids are smarter than me)… as she spoke, i glimpsed something tan fly by the window up close to the house – i say “fly” because it had to be pretty far off of the ground for me to see it… afterward, i decided it must have been a deer being chased by something ? … later, i logged on and came here… OF COURSE! i saw Michael’s pig go past! – a pig flew yesterday and i saw it!!! 😆

  57. #55 agreeing with Nonnie again… praying that the good men – they’re out there – in the churches will rise up and be heard – even if they risk offending their good wives by making a spectacle of themselves lol
    (not meaning Nonnie – yikes!)

  58. Nonnie,

    One of the things that makes this place worth keeping up is that we have female voices that can speak not only with clarity, but with thunder when need be.

    Too much of the church doesn’t listen…

    I’m not discouraged in the least…just hoping that this time God is moving and not a PR firm.

  59. ***These apologies are always “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

    If you don’t apologize, people are mad.

    If you do apologize, people are mad because you didn’t do it exactly perfectly.***

    You err in thinking I am “mad” about this. I have read the statements from both sides and expressed my opinion on it. There is no anger on my part.

    I don’t think it is unreasonable or petty or vindictive to notice and point out that their apology does not address some important areas that an apology ought to address.

    (1) They claimed that they could discipline her because seeking an annulment was against the membership agreement she signed, but it was not. That was a flat out factual error on their part. If you’re going to create some kind of faux legal document that you then go on to use to attempt to manipulate and control someone with the very least you should try to do is try to adhere to that faux legal document yourself. I really think a “whoops we had no standing to discipline you because you sought an annulment” is in order.

    Along with that, even if she had sought a divorce instead of an annulment, there really ought to be some recognition on their part that divorcing because you have found out your husband is a pedophile is far, far different than divorcing because you’ve fallen out of love, or you have nothing in common any more, or whatever.

    (2) They torpedoed her attempt to move on with her job and any apology on their part rings hollow if they don’t mention that and ask for forgiveness.

    Those two things seem very important to address if their apology is to be taken seriously.

    Although not integral to an apology, if Karen is to be believed they do not seem to be taking the gravity of Jordan’s perverse predilections into account, and have apparently gone against all of SIMs recommendations in how to deal with him.

    Finally, their claim that they will continue to support her gets a big old eye roll from me. As Karen has said, ” have everything I need regarding financial support in my SIM ministry accounts already. I neither want nor need any additional financial support from The Village Church, nor have I requested any. In fact, not a penny of the financial support that TVC is currently sending in will go to me personally; it is excess support beyond the remaining salary I will receive from SIM that will ultimately go to other SIM ministries.”

    I honestly don’t feel I’m being some sort of uppity woman who is needlessly cynical or spiteful when I view what I have read from TVC thus far as little more than a PR move.

    At the same time, it does seem somewhat more positive than anything that has come out of other churches of its ilk during scandals, so there is still the hope and chance that this could turn into a genuine apology. But, at the very best, everything they have said lacks substance right now.

  60. Compare this apology with Driscoll’s…or my all time favorite from Skip Heitzig;

    “I’m sorry if some people don’t like my leadership style”.

  61. I encourage everyone to look at Jim’s link…good stuff.
    Thank you, Jim!

  62. I don’t think that Matt Chandler could have said or done anything to everyone’s satisfaction. This whole situation really stinks. It also stinks that no matter how hard a pastor and group of leaders try to make things right, we will never be satisfied until we get that pound of flesh.

  63. Its really not about the one making the apology. It’s about the one that’s been wronged.

  64. I facilitate Peacemaker classes for our hour h, as well as our local recovery mission. Jim linked to something known as the 7 “A’s” of a effective apology. At the end of the class I show this clip of Marion Jones making an apology for steroid use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxJ1J5lbT-U

    Jones hits a lot of those “A’s”

  65. That was meant to read: for our church…not for hour h.

  66. #64 bears repeating 🙂 so i will

    “Its really not about the one making the apology. It’s about the one that’s been wronged.”

    read the 7 A’s … it would be nice if mommies would get their children to memorize the list, instead of directing little Johnny: “say you’re sorry.” that eventually morphs into the more grown up version: “I’m sorry IF [your problem] you were offended”

  67. What made this one easier is that Chandler, at the top of the tree, is apologising for what the system has done and what people under him have done, rather than himself. It is a lot harder to confess your own sin.

    Conversely, what made Driscoll’s case more of a problem was that the problem was at the top – there was no other senior pastor or denominational leader to appeal to.

    These stories are also a weakness of megachurches. Too many eggs in one basket. The organised church and its leaders will always make mistakes, but they are often harder to deal with in a system that is too big to fail, and the breakage of one egg affects many more than if it were in a small basket.

  68. Matthew Paul Turner has added a second update that I encourage everyone who was impressed with TVC apology letter and did not understand why it sat so poorly with others. May it provide clarity and wisdom to others who may want to effectively and compassionately apologize and minister to the wounded in their midst.

  69. I think Turner capitulated to peer pressure and I’m not impressed.
    I want to see this play out before I change my mind…it’s normal to have a trial before the execution.

  70. ***I don’t think that Matt Chandler could have said or done anything to everyone’s satisfaction. This whole situation really stinks. It also stinks that no matter how hard a pastor and group of leaders try to make things right, we will never be satisfied until we get that pound of flesh.***

    I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say here. Are you equating a desire to see TVC acknowledge that they were wrong to think they had a right to “discipline” Karen for seeking an annulment and they were wrong for torpedoing her attempt to move on with her career with seeking “a pound of flesh”?

    I’m also curious…what of substance do you see in their apology? Right now I literally see nothing. The one specific thing they apologize for is that they did not express themselves better to Karen early on. How is apologizing for that worth anything when they haven’t apologized for their far more serious actions of harassing her, placing her under unwarranted “discipline” they had to right to do, and stepping in to prevent her from continuing with her work even after she had severed ties with TVC?

    I do not understand why, if a person looks at the situation and TVC’s response, and comes away finding that response, at best, paltry that that person would be seeking “a pound of flesh”. Genuinely apologizing would not cause TVC any harm whatsoever, so I don’t know why merely expressing the thought that they ought to carry out that genuine apology is somehow construed as being harmful or spiteful or uncharitable.

  71. Michael,

    No one is dying here. Matt Chandler and TVC will weather this storm and they will go on affirming how very much their membership covenant is needed, etc.

    You cannot overlook that as a church, they blew it with Karen Hinckley. They chose to handle her as a policy issue rather than see her as a human being in need of compassion. Instead of seeking their wisdom, she made up her own mind. Nothing wrong with that unless you come from a mindset or some form of institutional codification that makes it necessary for the females of a church to get men to sign off on their actions as approved.

    It’s the underlying sexism that really stinks here along with that apparent cosseting of Jordan Root. Those are the issues, plain and simple.

    And since the church is rife with both sexism and looking the other way when its leaders and favored folks sin, there will be no trial. This is business as usual and in time, those who are paying attention will find something else to grumble about.

  72. “You cannot overlook that as a church, they blew it with Karen Hinckley. They chose to handle her as a policy issue rather than see her as a human being in need of compassion”

    Oddly enough that’s exactly what they confess to in the apology.
    Almost word for word.

    Why can we not wait until we hear from the actual victim and see what exactly is done or not done before we decide this is all one more fraud?

  73. The 7 A’s of Confession is great! Thank you.

    Anne & J2thePerson…. thank you for all of your comments.

    Laura Scott…. It’s the ‘underlying sexism”…. yes.

    This whole case is so disturbing to me…. brings up a lot of old pain and horrible memories. God has restored my life beautifully and I hope and pray the same for Karen.

  74. I recognize that there is a good chance that this mess ends up in the same place as all the other messes.
    However…if we are not willing to allow for the possibility of repentance and real change then there is absolutely no reason to keep asking for what we won’t accept anyway.
    I’m going wait until the whole story is told.

  75. I pray that TVC leaders will truly be convicted to the heart. If so, change can happen and healing can occur.

  76. j2, I’m saying that the whole situation stinks. What Karen is having to deal with is horrible without question. I also believe that how Karen was treated by her church leadership is inexcusable.

    The only proper response that will start the healing and restoration process to begin will be for someone acknowledging fault and responsibility for the actions of the church. While I think that Chandler needs to do much more, just the fact that he has begun the process of apologizing is a start. It is also much more than we have seen from Driscoll, Grenier or any of the other abusive pastor’s we are aware of. I have not formed an opinion on anything other than the fact that it’s refreshing to see someone in Chandler’s position start to own some responsibility in abuse.
    I can understand if my comment about a pound of flesh seems a bit insensitive to the victim but that was not my intent. I am relieved to see (finally) someone take responsibility for the actions of rogue, abusive leadership in the church. It is my opinion that we should allow a bit more time for Chandler and his group to continue to seek the best road to restoration before we judge the pastor’s statement and apology. More apologies will surely come from this terrible incident with Karen and if Matt doesn’t make it right, then he deserves what he gets.

  77. j2, maybe I am being unrealistic but I this as an opportunity for someone with much responsibility to do the right thing. At this point because of the damage done to Karen, we may just find it difficult to believe that true repentance is possible. I’m a pastor, I do believe that one of these days, one of these situations will end with someone doing the right thing regardless of popularity, money and pressure to preserve the brand.

  78. ***However…if we are not willing to allow for the possibility of repentance and real change then there is absolutely no reason to keep asking for what we won’t accept anyway.
    I’m going wait until the whole story is told.***

    I don’t see how any of the people here who have expressed the thought that TVC has not really apologized are not waiting for the whole story to be told.I personally have said multiple times that their statement is better than what has come out of other churches. At the same time, it’s not really an apology for the reasons I and some of the other posters here have pointed out. It is the beginning–the very first small baby step–toward apologizing. It just kind of shocks me–particularly given the wealth of documentation of this situation–that when people sound a word of caution regarding TVC’s supposed apology that we’re likened to Shylock and sexistly dismissed as petty scornful women.

    You say you want to wait and see how things play out. Well, how is confidently proclaiming that pigs have flown waiting to see how things play out? The most that has happened is the pigs have started doing online price comparisons of airlines and flight dates. Whether they actually buy a ticket and hop on the plane to say nothing of the destination they ultimately choose is still all up in the air.

    Is what they have done a good thing? Yes, but only if it’s a first step.

    Should we wait to see how it all plays out? Sure. Why aren’t the people hailing this as a miracle repentance doing just that?

    And beyond all of that, it also remains to be seen if TVC can appropriately handle a lying pedophile and child porn addict in their midst. That’s another serious issue that has been somewhat glossed over. If Karen is to be believed, they aren’t necessarily doing a good job right now.

    At any rate, I’ve basically said all I have to say on this. I just want to emphasize that I and the other people who have expressed concerns about the apology are not vindictive people out for a pound of flesh, and are not silly, scornful women who are never satisfied. I understand that I am always going to be the judgmental person who lacks grace, but please people don’t discard common sense in the face of something that at this point could still easily turn out to be nothing more than PR fluff.

  79. Black people often claim that they can perceive racism in the remarks of white people that white people are oblivious to. I believe this is true.

    Likewise, most of the women here are perceiving patronization in the apology that is not obvious to many of the men here.

    They apologized for the wrong thing.

    In the latest Turner blog article he astutely observed that what made TVC really mad was that Karen decided she didn’t need them at all.

  80. To j2/Paige/Anne/Laura etc:

    I am unclear what it is exactly you want them to further apologize for? They’ve apologized for not treating her as a person but letting their theology get in the way of how they treated her. It sounds like you want them to say that they were wrong to even WANT to have Karen meet with the elders and really take some time to process before annulling her marriage. And they aren’t likely to do that, because quite frankly, they shouldn’t! Both Jordan and Karen, as members of their church, were under their spiritual authority. Forget their signed paper – I’m just talking about the fact that they came and sat under their teaching. Pastors have a responsibility for their flock – far more than many pastors I think even take seriously (this is one of the downsides of mega churches). And I do see throughout the New Testament that pastors and leaders are given responsibility to oversee and make decisions regarding people in their flock (i.e. 1 Corinthians 5).

    Some people are saying there’s a difference between an annullment and a divorce. Granted in our civil society that is true. But Biblically, I don’t recall ever reading a distinction (someone correct me if I’m wrong). That doesn’t mean that Karen shouldn’t be able to get an annullment or a divorce, but from the church’s perspective, I can understand why they would want to slow things down a bit.

    As a church, if your theology position is that we are all sinners in need of a savior and that no-one (yes, even the most “vile”) are beyond redemption and that healing and restoration are possible for all, and if they really believe that and take that seriously, then their first desire isn’t going to be to throw Jordan out and tar and feather him and tell Karen to annul her marriage, which is what it sounds like many here wanted them to do. Their first inclination is going to be to provide help for both of them: for Jordan – to ensure that he is repentant and desires to walk in freedom from his sin and help to help him do that, and to help Karen in dealing with the aftermath of all that Jordan’s sin has meant for her. We all admit they dropped the ball in how they dealt with Karen. And they’ve admitted that too. (They have may have dropped it with Jordan too – but none of us know that – that’s pure speculation at this point).

    But I don’t think they were wrong to WANT to care for their member and not just have her annul her marriage and leave the church. I also don’t fault Karen for feeling the way she did. But from the church’s perspective, I understand their desire. They clearly went too heavy-handed with her, but they’ve apologized for that. I don’t know what else people are really expecting them to say…

  81. Maybe the crux of the issue is how TVC wanted to “care” for Karen and their response to her rejection of their care. The apology may ring false to many because it wasn’t the lack of kindness demonstrated in their attempts (which is pretty much what they apologize for) but the whole process that is what caused harm. Chris in #81 and others throughout the blogosphere also seem to have no problem with the intent and process of TVC, willing to concede “heavy handedness in tone” but still support TVC’s decisions to try to “care” for Karen. Unfortunately, what they call “care” far more resembles the desire to control. And that controlling, “father knows best” attitude may be a huge part of what rankles regarding the TVC response to this painfully tragic situation.

  82. Pineapple Head-bless you! May your tribe increase.

    Eric said- “What made this one easier is that Chandler, at the top of the tree, is apologising for what the system has done and what people under him have done, rather than himself. It is a lot harder to confess your own sin.”

    The constant use of the collective or royal “we” absolves individuals from guilt. Who did what to whom?

    The repentance that accompanies faith unto salvation says, “God, I have sinned against you, I’m so sorry. Would you please forgive me?” I’ll bet a lot of us have been exhaustive and very specific in our confessions to God.

    The same applies horizontally. We must own our sin if we truly desire forgiveness from one another.

  83. j2, I know you to be a kind, sensible person. If we look only at the actions of the one calling the shots for the abusers, what would you want to see? Isn’t an apology the appropriate way to start? I don’t believe for one minute that enough has been done by TVC but we aren’t on the other side yet. No one on the side of TVC considers this to be over. If for no other reason, blogs like this one and people like you who stand for the victims will see to it that some sort of justice will be served.

    I’m very hopeful that this will end well without further damage to God’s people.

  84. When Karen first reported the pedophile porn and said, in effect, “I am getting an annulment from this pervert and I am going to attend a different church so I don’t have to see him every Sunday,” they should have said “We completely understand, go in peace, God bless you.”

    Instead they are apologizing for not explaining their rules clearly enough.

  85. I’m going to assume that Xenia @80 is speaking from wisdom when she says that the women are hearing something the men are tone deaf to.

    I completely acknowledge that possibility.

  86. this morning i see too clearly how the world’s definition of leadership skills has crept into our churches – it permeates the whole to the point where enterprise is the best word to describe most – grace has morphed into manipulative skills?

  87. YES! Xenia hits the nail on the head with #85! Thank you!!! Once again, Xenia demonstrates that wisdom and kindness in its best form, even in complex situations, is at its best when it is simple & straightforward.

    Thank you also to J2TP and Laura for so carefully and wisely pointing out their observations and concerns. Though I am almost hopelessly cynical regarding these issues, because of your voices, Michael’s and others efforts, I cling to strands of hope.

    As covered stated, I too hope future damage to individuals by pastoral control will lessen. Because ” If for no other reason, blogs like this one and people like you who stand for the victims will see to it that some sort of justice will be served.”

  88. “Instead they are apologizing for not explaining their rules clearly enough.”

    I must be reading a different apology than you are. I don’t know how it could possibly be interpreted that way.

    It is really easy to be a monday morning quarterback and tell them what they should have done in this situation. It is different when you are first confronted with it, they were reacting to a very ugly situation that many of them probably haven’t been confronted with.

    Perhaps we should allow for the possibility that they are actually acknowledging that they should have reacted differently, and the next time a missionary under their care gets caught looking at child porn they will respond better. There is no pastoral manual that says exactly what you should do in every ugly situation. You acknowledge your mistakes, repent and resolve to do better in the future.

    I’m more and more convinced that some folks will not be happy with anything less than perfect infallible systems, pastors and leaders.

  89. em – I think you’re on to something in your #87.

    One benefit I can see coming out of all this mess, is that folks who have entered into these so-called covenant relationships and see how they can work out in real life are getting a chance to re-evaluate their participation. Unfortunately that may be what scares the leadership in these types of church structures the most.

  90. I’m going to do an article on membership next week.

    I cannot help but note that when we’re talking about Calvary Chapel everyone complains about the lack of membership and now we’re complaining because a church has it.

    I think they took it way too far… they admitted it was “domineering”.

    Think about that for a minute…when have we ever heard a church admit to that?

    What a great thing if we gave these people the space and encouragement to do this right instead of rejecting this step in the process as grossly insufficient.

    If they fail to act righteously through the process then we can cut fire.

    I’ll tell you what every CC and Mars Hill would have said at this point…nothing.
    Nothing at all.

  91. Dennis – I have read and re-read both the original 6 page letter re: Karen’s discipline and the apology letter. Especially regarding the apology, I wanted to make sure I was not having a knee jerk reaction – especially to all the “christianese”. The more I went over them, the more concerned instead of hopeful I became. I worked almost half the day trying to put together a reasoned and clear explanation for my concerns. Thankfully J2TP and the Matthew Paul Turner made carefully thought out expressions of all that was troubling me, with more clarity than I would have. Have you read MPT’s explanation of his concerns? It will help clarify why some are interpreting it differently than you.

    http://matthewpaulturner.com/2015/05/29/so-can-we-discuss-that-apology-from-the-village-church-because-it-really-missed-the-point/

  92. Dennis, if you have read this blog over the years, you would know that I am quite pro-pastor and pro-church.

    I’m not a feminist, either.

    I think that apology was a step in the right direction.

    I actually feel uncomfortable even discussing this story. I am just a Nosy Norah and none of this is really any of my business.

  93. And I’ll just say this about MPT.
    He got some reactions to being hopeful like I’m getting so he wrote something to pander to his base.

  94. Michael – Membership and accountabiliy are still important IMO. The practice regarding covenantal membership as practiced by some resembles “shepherding” in the cultish sense more than accountability. Membership as practiced by many other churches seem to have been able to avoid these kinds of pitfalls, as Xenia, MLD and others can attest.

  95. Michael, you have a good point there in your # 91.

    As I said, I feel like I am offering opinions on something that is none of my business. I wanted to explain why the women of PhxP, some of us, are underwhelmed.

    If you want accountability, like everyone here claims they want, there has to be some kind of authority with rules and the ability to discipline members for breaking the rules. The problem is, churches like TVC have not been around long enough to have developed a body of pastoral wisdom necessary to handle these delicate situations. They are not going by the book; they are writing their own book.

  96. Michael – you know I love and respect you. I do not understand how MPT’s hearing the concerns regarding the letter and re-evaluating the apology is “pandering to his base”. Are the points that have been raised by his “base” and the conclusions he came to in re-examing the apology letter without merit? Wondering why you suggest it is pandering rather than sincere, especially since you know more of him than I do.

    I too hope this is, as characterized by some as “baby steps” towards the real deal. I understand how after years of toiling in these trenches, that TVC would make any attempt at apologizing is a huge difference compared to the usual responses we are all use to regarding pastoral abuse. I am thankful you understand why some of your dearest supporters, like paigemom, are more than skittish. I look forward to your thoughts on membership. Having been churchless and more often than not faithless for many years now, I value your insights and wisdom in case a miracle happens and I am ever willing or able to take the plunge again.

  97. Again, Xenia strikes pure gold! “They are not going by the book; they are writing their own book.”

  98. Anne

    I did ready both, and I have to keep coming back to I don’t know what else can be asked for. What else can we ask for than these very clear statements of repentance?

    and has anyone forgotten Matt Chandler is offering a public apology tomorrow from the pulpit. Can we at least wait till that comes out before nitpicking the wording of the initial apology? I love blogs and thing they serve a purpose, but sometimes they can only see the negative and are a breeding ground for cynicism. (Not Speaking of PhxP in this case)

    “some areas we are still evaluating and some areas where we have clearly failed and need to repent.”

    “we realize that there are clear and specific instances where we have let our membership practices blind us to the person in front of us, in turn leading us to respond in a way that doesn’t reflect our desire to be loving and caring to our members.”

    “We are deeply sorry for failing you in this way and are taking steps to follow up with the individuals we believe we have hurt so that we can apologize specifically and directly to them.”

    “we must never allow our processes and procedures to take precedence over people.”

    “ this is a situation where we unfortunately allowed our practice to unnecessarily lead us rather than us leading our practice with patience, gentleness and compassion. “

  99. Anne,

    I was doing this when MPT was still having acne.
    I know the pressure to keep your base happy…and his base was not happy with the first article.
    So then came a quick second article with words like “jackassery” to placate the people.

    I love my base, but I’ll be damned if I will pander to them.

    The quotes Dennis wrote along with a clear admission of sin and wrong are something I’ve never heard from a celebrity church.

    I hold that with one hand.
    I hold what my wise women are saying in the other.
    I wait to see the rest of the process…knowing it could go either way.

  100. Dennis – first, thank you for discussing this. It is important for those whose opinions and emotions run high over this issue to try to understand one anothers responses.

    My highest hope, especially for Karen and the other individuals they say they have hurt is sincere apology and repentance to those who actually suffered the harm. I confess I am not impressed with their plan to offer a public apology tomorrow unless a detailed one has been given to Karen privately already. The public offering will smack more of PR, in my admittedly biased opinion, if they haven’t made proper apology and amends to Karen and others they now acknowledge their actions have hurt. Hopefully, they will share that indeed those steps have been taken already, that the public apology is not just an umbrella to save face and to cover their mishandling in a generic way. I am encouraged they acknowledge “they have hurt” rather than the more ambiguous “may have hurt” that is more the standard in many hierarchies.

  101. maybe what the wise women are saying is – “prove it” – “talk is cheap” – “we’ve heard that one before” praying TVC can “walk the talk”

    some wounds don’t heal, they fester or form scar tissue, but don’t really heal… we are a limping bunch of pilgrims today, but we do know which way is up… now i’m done

    sorry, as it is very serious… and i do pray

  102. Thanks for your response, Michael. I truly appreciate your 2-handed approach to this matter.

    I confess when I read the jackassery comment it reminded me of you in the early years :-). May MPT grow in wisdom and grace if he stays in the trenches as long as you have.

    Thought of you also while reading this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson this morning:
    “I am thankful for small mercies. I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe and is disappointed when anything is less than the best, and I found that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate good”

  103. Anne, everything you have posted on this thread is worth reading – you have analyzed – painfully researched, i suspect – the problem so well

  104. J2@3 and Xenia @80 were my thoughts exactly when I read the apology. It was tone deaf and I suspect gave Karen no comfort. I agree that TVC coming to grips with its sin is encouraging. The next step is to ensure a more diverse governing body of elders to prevent this one-sided, overbearing approach in the future.

    If you’re not a woman, you don’t know how it feels to be treated as a 2nd class citizen by churches (and some corporations, even in this day and age!). It is probably the reason so many African-American Christian churches remain separate from traditionally white ones- in their own churches, they a voice.

  105. Anne, Thanks. I too am skeptical. I and my family have also experienced deep hurt, by those who were supposed to be shepherds while they were more concerned about themselves, their power and their positions.

    Maybe I’m too hopeful, but I still have a deep confidence that God is able to work in imperfect systems. I think the criticism and examination that goes on in blogs is important in exposing and correcting some of their problems, but Just like Unions were necessary to combat corporate corruption in the early 20th century, they can eventually go too far and need correction themselves.

    I keep having to remind myself that elders and leaders are God’s designed system for caring for the sheep and though they are imperfect and often fail, my trust isn’t ultimately in them, but in God’s design.

    Some self disclosure. I am in leadership in an acts 29 church, and used to be in Calvary Chapel for 15 years till I simply could not any more (too long a story to get into here.)
    I used to be enamored with Chuck Smith and would have bled Calvary Chapel if you cut me, and experienced deep discouragement after seeing some of the ugly underbelly.

    I moved to the reformed tradition and was enamored some time with Mark Driscoll till for obvious reasons I experienced deep disappointment with that as well. But what I am seeing now (at least in the church I am in now) is that they are much more willing to self examine and correct when they have gone astray and to repent. Much of this influence comes from the leadership of Men like Elliot Grudem, Darin Patrick, and from what I can tell, Matt Chandler. This is something I never saw in Calvary Chapel. If Chuck said it, it was the law and unquestionable. There was no questioning “the distinctives” and if you did, you were pushed out of fellowship.
    Again, maybe I’m too hopeful so that I won’t get wounded again, but I have to keep coming back to my hope isn’t in these men, it is in God and the system He designed.

  106. ***I am unclear what it is exactly you want them to further apologize for? They’ve apologized for not treating her as a person but letting their theology get in the way of how they treated her. It sounds like you want them to say that they were wrong to even WANT to have Karen meet with the elders and really take some time to process before annulling her marriage. And they aren’t likely to do that, because quite frankly, they shouldn’t! Both Jordan and Karen, as members of their church, were under their spiritual authority. Forget their signed paper – I’m just talking about the fact that they came and sat under their teaching. Pastors have a responsibility for their flock – far more than many pastors I think even take seriously (this is one of the downsides of mega churches). And I do see throughout the New Testament that pastors and leaders are given responsibility to oversee and make decisions regarding people in their flock (i.e. 1 Corinthians 5).***

    I don’t think it was wrong for them to desire to meet with her and it was not wrong for them to counsel her to take things slowly. What was wrong was them putting her under discipline when she chose not to accept their advice and when she chose to take the steps she believed was best for her.

    This wasn’t some guy who picked up a Playboy or even had an affair with a consenting adult partner. He’s a self-admitted pedophile who has contributed to the rape and molestation of countless children through his 10 year consumption of child pornography, and who admitted that when he was a child himself he molested two younger children. Asking a woman to seek reconciliation in that sort of situation is like asking a woman to reconcile with the man she found out was a serial killer. If she had, herself, expressed a desire to try to make things work then trying to facilitate them working things out might be one thing, but telling a woman in that situation who clearly does not want to continue the marriage that she needs to at least try to work things out is all sorts of inappropriate.

    And I am also not willing to forget the signed paper. The way they acted in light of the membership contract they had with Karen angers me. They created a quasi-legal document and then completely ignored what was in that document in their dealings with her. The contract was basically a series of laws they created for her and other members to follow. She followed those laws to the letter while still managing to not be under their thumb so they ended up arbitrarily claiming that she had broken the rules (ie sought a divorce when she was really seeking an annulment) so that they could keep her under their authority. That they were legalistic abusive Pharisees in their dealings with her is bad enough. That they didn’t have the decency to play fair and follow their own rulebook is also egregious.

    ***Some people are saying there’s a difference between an annullment and a divorce. Granted in our civil society that is true. But Biblically, I don’t recall ever reading a distinction (someone correct me if I’m wrong).***

    The membership agreement was not a biblical document, it was a quasi-legal document. It doesn’t matter if the bible never mentions annulment. What matters is the words and the definitions of the words used in the quasi-legal document. Making up your own private definitions of words for what is ostensibly a quasi-legal document, smacks of trying to have your cake and eat it too. They should have sucked it up and realized that, much as they, apparently, love controlling the personal lives of their members, they lost that round, and, if it was a big deal to them they should have revised their membership contract so they couldn’t lose on that particular technicality in the future.

    ***As a church, if your theology position is that we are all sinners in need of a savior and that no-one (yes, even the most “vile”) are beyond redemption and that healing and restoration are possible for all, and if they really believe that and take that seriously, then their first desire isn’t going to be to throw Jordan out and tar and feather him and tell Karen to annul her marriage, which is what it sounds like many here wanted them to do. Their first inclination is going to be to provide help for both of them: for Jordan – to ensure that he is repentant and desires to walk in freedom from his sin and help to help him do that, and to help Karen in dealing with the aftermath of all that Jordan’s sin has meant for her. We all admit they dropped the ball in how they dealt with Karen. And they’ve admitted that too. (They have may have dropped it with Jordan too – but none of us know that – that’s pure speculation at this point).
    But I don’t think they were wrong to WANT to care for their member and not just have her annul her marriage and leave the church. I also don’t fault Karen for feeling the way she did. But from the church’s perspective, I understand their desire. They clearly went too heavy-handed with her, but they’ve apologized for that. I don’t know what else people are really expecting them to say…***

    Not disciplining Karen when she told them she planned to seek an annulment would hardly have been “tarring and feathering” Jordan. They should have recognized that the steps Karen was taking really were the most practical and conducive to healing for both her and Jordan. Realistically, there is no way that both of them could heal and get help and move on with their lives while attending the same church. Karen very graciously did not ask them to throw him to the curb and specifically stated that her leaving the church was for Jordan’s benefit as well as her own. Their behavior makes we wonder if they have even a nascent understanding of human psychology. If they truly thought having those two people in the same church was a good idea than they’re hopelessly ignorant and naïve and it makes you wonder how they are possibly qualified to be overseeing the spiritual life/health/whatever of 10,000 people with the authority and control their membership contract demonstrates they believe they deserve.

  107. ***j2, I know you to be a kind, sensible person. If we look only at the actions of the one calling the shots for the abusers, what would you want to see? Isn’t an apology the appropriate way to start? ***

    Yes, an apology is the way to start, but I don’t view their statement as being an actual apology. I think I would only view an apology on TVC’s part as legitimate if it included the following things….

    1. “We are sorry for placing Karen under church discipline. We recognize that, although we view annulment as a type of divorce, these words have different meanings legally and the membership contract Karen signed only spoke of divorce. We were wrong to expect her to read our minds and know that we defined that word differently than the dictionary does.”

    2. “We are sorry that we did not accept her resignation. We recognize that she conducted herself in an appropriate and Christian manner and made a good faith effort to uphold her responsibilities as laid out in the membership contract. We also recognize that, under the circumstances, she displayed a surprising amount of grace toward Jordan, and sensitivity to his need to have a spiritual home and family where he can repent, grow, and find healing. We now state unequivocally, that she resigned as a member in good standing, and we wish her well as she seeks a new church and continues on her Christian walk.”

    3. “We are sorry that when Karen found another sending church and sought to return to the mission field we stepped in and pressured SIM to not allow her to go. We recognize that we should have respected the wisdom and decision-making abilities of the leaders in SIM and in the Karen’s new sending church. If they believed that it was right and good for her to return to the mission field, it was not our place to stand in their way or Karen’s way.”

  108. Also, it might be nice if they acknowledged that, while the Bible presents basic rules for Christian living, actual human experience can be messy and does not fit nicely in the lines we draw for ourselves. It was inappropriate for them to speak so authoritatively on something they have never experienced themselves and have little comprehension about.

  109. J2, Re 109

    “we must never allow our processes and procedures to take precedence over people.”

    and

    “some areas we are still evaluating and some areas where we have clearly failed and need to repent.”

    How are those statements not doing that very thing?

    I don’t know you personally, but I wonder if I had the ability to copy word for word the prescribed apology you just wrote and go back in time and put it in place of their written apology, if you would still not be fully satisfied.

    They said they were wrong, and are still evaluating where else they went wrong. I still don’t know what else we could ask for. They can’t satisfy everyone, and shouldn’t. Should we not wait and see if Karen isn’t satisfied with their response to her?

  110. Just reading and staying out of Jessica’s way…she’s a solid critical thinker and has presented a compelling take/analysis on the situation.

    Carry on 🙂

  111. Dennis, yes, the things they said are not bad, but they’re very general. The nice thing about keeping your statements general is that people can read all sorts of stuff into them. An apology should be specific–that way people can know what it is you believe you did wrong.

    How specifically do they believe they allowed processes and procedures to take precedence over people? In what specific areas do they believe they have failed and need to repent. And if they believe they need to repent why don’t they just repent instead of saying that they need to repent?

    The one specific thing they mentioned and repented of was…

    ***In receiving more information and considering the way we’ve ministered to Karen specifically, we believe that we owe her an apology. Specifically, as it pertains to her desire for an annulment, we know that it would have served her better to have a clearer understanding from us as to what we do and do not consider biblical grounds for divorce or what we understand the Scriptures to define as divorce. In hindsight, we wish that we would have provided clarity to Karen in an immediate fashion and are saddened by our unpreparedness.***

    This is like the 10th time I’ve pointed this out, but all they have specifically repented of is not more clearly explaining their rules to her. That is not the apology of a person who is legitimately repentant for placing procedures in front of people. Instead, they’re pretty much just saying our procedures are really important and we should have made sure you understood them better than you evidently did.

  112. J2 I don’t necessarily disagree, but I’m not sure enough information has come out, and we aren’t seeing their personal correspondence to her. Is she not the one who has been damaged and isn’t she the one who should decide if the apology is sufficient?

    Perhaps ““some areas we are still evaluating” means just that: they know they needed to make a statement but will be more specific later.

    Why is it wrong to wait for more information and hope for the best, recognize this is a positive step in the right direction, instead of immediately damning them for their apology not being innerant?

  113. We have seen a lot of their correspondence to her here (http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/she-speaks-village-church-protects.html). She also goes into more detail regarding some of her non-recorded interactions with them here (http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/karen-hinkleys-response-to-village.html).

    It is not wrong to wait for more information and it is not wrong to hope for the best. I am reacting to the people who are lauding this one paltry so-called apology as a big sign of repentance. It isn’t. And instead of labeling it as such maybe you should just wait for more information.

  114. J2. If someone sins against you, who is the judge of whether or not it is sufficient, you or a bunch of people reading about it?
    As a leader who often fails and has to repent to people I have wronged, and as a husband who often has to apologize to my wife, I sure hope none of them will ever be as critical of the wording of my apologies.

  115. Correction: who is the judge of whether or not THEIR APOLOGY is sufficient.

  116. Take a minute and applaud yourselves.
    This has been the best discussion I’ve seen on this matter and all of you have made significant contributions.
    I’m really proud to host this sort of forum…thank you all.

  117. Dennis, I’m doing no more than you are doing in reverse. If it’s wrong for people to view TVC’s statement in less than positive light because Karen hasn’t made her feelings on the matter known than it is equally inappropriate to view it positively for the same reason.

    At any rate I am well and truly finished for now. I’ve explained my point of view as clearly as I can and have nothing to add. (Really, I’ve just been saying the same thing since my first post.) I am certainly interested to find out what Matt Chandler has to say tomorrow as well as what Karen thinks of all of it. Hopefully it will all end well.

  118. J2, thanks for the discussion. Not sure I’m following your logic on that last one. It seems like you are saying. “if it is wrong to be cynical, then it is equally wrong to be hopeful.”

    That doesn’t make any sense to me, but maybe I’m not understanding what you are saying.

  119. I’m saying if it’s wrong to judge the validity of the apology than it’s wrong to judge it either way.

  120. Hmm. I never said that it is wrong to judge the validity of the apology, just that we all aren’t qualified to be the judge; that belongs to the one who is being apologized to. Also that it seems to me your standard of what qualifies as a valid apology is a little too rigid.

    But you have made some good observations, and I’ll try not to be so rigid with my judgement of your judgements :).

    So why don’t we wait and see what else comes out before we make any more judgement on the matter.

    blessings

  121. Just got home and agree with Michael that this discussion has been one of the most intelligent and civil I’ve seen as well. Very encouraging!! Progress not perfection in practice 🙂

  122. Yes. I am definitely interested to see how it plays out!

  123. So I have not read any where that the police have been directed to Jordan’s illegal kitty porn activities. Surely this is a matter for the law and not just submitting to church leadership. As a senior pastor isn’t MC required to notify police, I mean this is a future registered sex offender roaming the public. Do you want your daughter playing in the park in this guys neighborhood?

    Better yet, Karen should have grabbed the computer or external HD and walked it into the local PD.

    Really surprised not much has been said on this.

  124. Jessica @ 107 & 108:

    Thank you for taking the time to clarify. Your #1 and #3 apologies you would like to have seen, I agree would be helpful (I wasn’t aware of the #3 issue). #2 I think is a bit iffy because their – as you say – “quasi-legal” document specifies that Karen will submit to the elders, which she did not do, so I don’t think they can affirm that she perfectly upheld her responsibilities. But I agree with apologizing for not accepting her resignation and putting it back on her.

    Really what you are asking for with your “desired apologies” are basically just more detailed apologies than what was given in the letter. I don’t see much in their letter that would contradict your apologies, just that it didn’t get that specific. And I really don’t have a particular problem with that – perhaps they are being more specific with her directly?

    “Realistically, there is no way that both of them could heal and get help and move on with their lives while attending the same church.”

    You might be right that the church was being naive in thinking this was a workable scenario. Then again, they probably haven’t had this kind of scenario come up to often, so I think cutting them some slack here is in order. Also, there’s the ideal (them both being able to receive from them) and the likely reality given that we are dealing with human beings and their emotions – they seemed to assume the ideal without recognizing that as you say, this was likely to be a very difficult road that really wasn’t likely to work out. I don’t fault them for shooting for the ideal, but I agree that when she chose otherwise, that they should have been a whole lot more understanding towards her.

  125. SJ @ 124: “Really surprised not much has been said on this.”

    I think not much has been said on this because it’s a tricky area IMHO. Further, we (or at least I) don’t really have a whole lot of data to know what the church has or hasn’t done and all the backstory. The church, as a church, is coming from the view that all people sin and that even horrible sin is forgivable by Jesus and that people can find freedom and move forward. Which is true. I’m not saying that in a roundabout way there weren’t victims (I’m speaking just in regards to the children issue – obviously Karen was a victim!), but it’s one thing to view images and it’s another to act out and commit acts yourself against minors. It’s all very serious, but I do think many pastors or leaders would be much more inclined to report the latter rather than the former, especially if in the case of the person that’s just viewed they felt the person was repentant and genuinely looking to Jesus for freedom. If a person that was in such sin didn’t feel they could even talk to a pastor to try to get help without having them call the cops and uproot their whole life, I’m not sure that is ultimately the most helpful. My guess (I could be completely wrong here) is that most people that look at such stuff probably feel horrible about themselves for doing it – they know it’s wrong and society “hates” such people. I’m just thinking outloud here, but if the church was willing to even engage such people, perhaps many more children would be saved – helping people to stop such behavior BEFORE it progressed to the “personally acting out” stage. Or let me say it this way: As a Christian, I believe Jesus is the ultimate answer for ANY sin problem – even the “worst”. So pastors/leaders have to weigh: Is it more helpful for someone that looks at that kind of stuff to get turned in by the church to the cops and get put in prison (where they are likely not going to get any real help – and possibly get much worse – we know the recidivism rate) or be under church leadership that would be committed to walking beside them to find their own healing and freedom, potentially saving both themselves, their families, and many children. Let’s not forget: Most abusers were also once themselves abused – It’s a cycle they are acting out from their own pain that they never received healing on. Maybe sometimes the answer is the church does need to report and the person needs to face whatever penalties come in the justice system and that the church also is there to support them if they want their help. But I just think that many leaders/pastors would be less likely to report in a situation where there weren’t any direct victims (i.e. it never progressed beyond just viewing images). Again, though I just think this whole area is a bit tricky for churches across the board.

  126. Just viewing images? When those images – often video portraying extremely young children being sexually assaulted- has no direct victims ???!!?

    Why is this issue seemingly more tricky for churches when the laws regarding the sexual exploitation of children are quite clear??

    I find the rationales in 126 deeply disturbing.

  127. Here is a nice synopsis of federal law on the topic: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/citizensguide/citizensguide_porn.html The FBI knows this is not a victimless crime and would aggressively pursue possession of such images.

  128. Karen talked a bit about the legal/law enforcement issues surrounding his child porn use here (http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/karen-hinkleys-response-to-village.html)

    ***SIM notified the FBI of Jordan’s actions shortly after his confession, and I had several conversations with an agent myself beginning January 17th. I learned that they cannot file charges based on admission of use; they must obtain concrete evidence of possession. I completed an intake with the Dallas PD child exploitation unit on March 30th regarding the possibility that Jordan may have abused children in Dallas. They are unable to file charges without a victim who is willing to testify.

    The Village Church makes it sound as though they reported Jordan’s actions to law enforcement early in the game. To my knowledge, this is not the case. I know that Jordan’s laptop was in his possession for at least several weeks after his return. I also know that his smartphone was in his possession for several days, at which point he gave it to Richard Brindley. I would be interested to see evidence as to when The Village Church actually reported to law enforcement.

    In the years prior to our marriage, Jordan owned two laptops. He used the Linux OS on one of them, and he admitted on December 16th that this was the laptop that he used to access child pornography during those years. That laptop disappeared from the scene during our engagement. He told me back then that he had given it to a friend to hold on to for him, and he never spoke of it again. During our time overseas, Jordan admitted to using a VPN to access nude images of children on both his laptop and his smartphone. It does not surprise me that the FBI was unable to find the concrete evidence of possession that they need to be able to file charges.***

  129. Chris Long, I’m sure you’re a nice person, but your 126 displays a disturbing and dangerous level of ignorance regarding child pornography. That you do not clearly and unequivocally recognize that the children who are molested and raped for the camera are victimized by consumers of child pornography is shocking.

  130. Anne & j2 @ 127 and 130:

    I would invite you to re-read my comment. I did NOT say they were not victimized – and that characterization is not fair. I was making the distinction that there is a difference between a person actually physically molesting a kid and viewing images or video. And there is!! I didn’t say that there were NOT victims when viewing the images or video, only that for the person watching them (as opposed to the person that actually took the images/video) they are more “indirect” victims (they are “direct” victims for the person that took the images/video). There are still victims either way and I did not say otherwise!!! They are still in a sense being victimized by the people watching, but it’s an indirect kind of victimization – the people watching don’t know those kids.

    But you have to be able to make a distinction between the guy that is looking versus the guy that’s out doing. There is a distinction. It’s all wrong and the looking can lead to the doing. But I should be able to make a distinction without being accused of having a “disturbing and dangerous level of ignorance regarding child pornography” and having rationale that’s “deeply disturbing” – that is not fair at all – especially for someone to write about someone like me on a forum where these posts can be accessed for all time and eternity. Which is probably why most people have avoided even trying to explain as I did why perhaps some churches are more reticent to report certain things.

    What I was trying to do was explain a possible reason why some churches might report in some scenarios but not others – that they might see a distinction between the guy that’s looking versus the guy that’s molesting his kids. It wasn’t to defend those decisions, but just to highlight what might be the thought processes of some in leadership.

    Hope that helps explain…

  131. And might I just say, this is one reason why there’s perhaps such problems in leadership in the church and such ambiguity that we all then complain about. Christians can’t even talk about these issues and how best to handle without emotions running high and people accusing others of having views that are “shocking” and “dangerous”. If I read my first comment through a certain filter, I could see how someone could be concerned thinking I was trying to make excuses – but I have to read it through a filter. I was definitely not doing any such thing. Hopefully my follow-up comment helped explain further if I wasn’t quite as clear as I maybe should have been in my first post.

    If we as the church REALLY want to see progress in this area and pastors and leaders being able to make God-honoring and Biblical decisions in this area, we as a church have to be able to have the hard conversations without people being afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled in any way sympathetic to abusers (even if they are not!). I think many Christian leaders are really afraid of discussing this subject for that very reason. And that’s got to change…

    But if I were a pastor reading my post and then the two follow-up replies by Anne and J2, I sure wouldn’t want to jump in with my two cents (unless it was to “pile on” with the repliers) for fear of possibly being accused of the same – being ignorant, having a dangerous view, etc. Who wants that??? This is why we as the church keep going around the same mountains…It would be nice if we as a church could have the hard conversations without it getting personal – without anyone assuming anyone else wasn’t every bit as concerned for the kids.

  132. apologies, like flying, start with failures, gain some altitude with effort, and soar with practice.

  133. Chris, you said, ” But I just think that many leaders/pastors would be less likely to report in a situation where there weren’t any direct victims (i.e. it never progressed beyond just viewing images). Again, though I just think this whole area is a bit tricky for churches across the board.”

    Can you not see that there are “direct victims.” Children are being raped and that man was watching it and receiving sexual gratification from it. A child being raped is a crime and watching it on the internet is also a crime. The child/children in those videos are direct victims and being victimized again by men (and women) watching the videos. Why would anyone not report such a heinous crime?

  134. Trying to tease out distinctions between seeing and doing is unnecessary especially on a biblical level per Jesus teaching that to look on a woman with lust is equal to actually doing anything about it. The FBI does a better job regarding that principle in their attempt to curb this horrible trend, than some individuals and churches seem to be able to wrap their heads around.

    I see no personal attacks, rather a concern that if individuals or organizations involved in these types of issues try to make distinctions between taking pleasure in unlawful acts being less culpable than those providing the illegal material.

    If Root were truly repentant and understood the ramifications of his behavior, part of his repentance would be cooperating with the FBI so they could further their investigations into helping victims and prosecuting those that harmed them. Of course, that would likely mean incarceration which is probably more accountability than he is prepared to accept.

    But think of the positive difference he might make in possibly even one child being harmed. And being truly repentant might empower him and open doors for him to work with others beset by this perversion.

    Sometimes Christians overlook a very important step in repentance – making amends to those who have been hurt by their choices. That is why ambiguous apologies can be convenient as then it is difficult to see fruits of repentance by the important need for amends.
    If anyone was truly concerned for the kids, making amends would be part of the process of repentance and restoration, IMV.

    The age of the victims in child porn should make this clear. However, trying to tease out watching v. participating even in adult p*rn, is problematic too. Though the ‘actors’ may be of legal age, the circumstances leading to their participation is all too often tragic, many times immoral & illegal and the taking advantage of desperate, broken people. I wish christian men caught in this besetting vice had enough holy spirit in them to acknowledge that could easily be your own daughter or son. In knowing personally and working with people currently or in the past “caught up in the trade” as it is called sometimes, it at first amazed me how many came out of religious upbringings – even some PKs.

  135. porcine pilot – I can more easily accept that premise regarding folks working issues out totally on the basis of their own wisdom and conscience. What throughs a huge monkey wrench into the mix is when people who claim to be new creatures in Christ, actually indwelt by part of the godhead struggle as much, if not more than unbelievers. Seeing church and para-church organizations having to struggle with how to deal with such situations, when even the secular authorities have a better grasp of the situation is disheartening indeed.

  136. Perhaps if Root cooperated more fully with the FBI he might be able to do anytime in less dangerous environs than many prosecuted pedeophile perps find themselves in. If he has truly repented, he might trust the God he claims to believe in to be with him through that too.

    One of the things the showed me Jeffrey Dahlmer’s repentance in prison was sincere, was when a christian group offered to come along side to help him possibly get released, he refused them, stating it was just and good that he accept the punishments for his crimes. That is fruit of true repentance in my book.

    Too often in our rush to offer forgiveness and sin covering grace, we want to jump ahead and protect the offenders from negative consequences to their actions. Especially when they are folks we know and love. I have come to believe, in my old age, that facing those consequences is often a huge part of true restoration and healing for perpetrators and victims of their actions alike.

  137. Riffing off J2’s 129…that Jordan used a Linux OS and also viewed through a VPN is telling. It means he knew how to evade detection. It’s difficult to break encryption on Linux OS/Apple OSx and a VPN covers tracks. He knew what he was doing was morally wrong and illegal and that’s why he took those steps to cover himself.

  138. I think as a social worker, having to take a 2 yo girl to the hospital in NM to be examined/treated for sexual abuse, makes this subject a lot harder for me to look at even remotely theoretically. This was 20 years ago – long before such crimes had much public attention. lronic that the church really does seem to always be about 20 years behind in facing societal and cultural issues.

    And I will stay engaged in this conversation as much as possible in the hope it is helpful in bringing awareness and clarity to these issues. Even though part of me would rather hide under a rock then experience the pain and memories I re-experience for abused children.

    The treatment of Karen by TVC also brings back the emotions and grief of past personal experiences. I was thinking for my own health and well being I should maybe step away from this issue completely. And may need to take breaks. However, realized my voice and the voices of others who understand these issues are how things change. The voices of many brave people in secular society have led to child porn being taken more seriously and severly prosecuted. Time for the chuch to catch up.

  139. Exactly, Linnea! That’s why if he is truly repentant, he must come clean and at least inform the FBI of which sites he visited, his on-screen name, etc.

  140. Chris, you stated: ” I was making the distinction that there is a difference between a person actually physically molesting a kid and viewing images or video. And there is!!”

    Your emphatic “there is!!” is confusing and troubling to me. Help me understand why you believe this.

  141. #134 – amen
    no direct victims? everyone who takes part is a victim… further the watchers are stooges of the highest order … they are marks … they are frogs sitting in a pot thinking the warm water feels good … they are…..

  142. Going back to your 125 for a moment…

    *** #2 I think is a bit iffy because their – as you say – “quasi-legal” document specifies that Karen will submit to the elders, which she did not do, so I don’t think they can affirm that she perfectly upheld her responsibilities. But I agree with apologizing for not accepting her resignation and putting it back on her.***

    They only accused her of not submitting to the elders after she submitted her resignation letter. The very act of tendering one’s resignation cannot be considered a breaking of the membership contract–that would make no sense. And once she had resigned he had no obligation to submit to them. I still maintain that she upheld her end of the bargain correctly and left in a completely correct manner, and they should publicly affirm that.

  143. This may sound crazy, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea for pastors to work with and counsel pedophiles in any but the most cursory ways. An issue like that is something that a trained professional should probably be dealing with. Although there is some overlap between pastoring and counseling, pastors are not trained counselors and should probably refer difficult or abnormal cases to someone who has received the training and undergoes the continuing education necessary to deal with them.

    That is one of the reasons why The Village Church’s response to Jordan Root is less than reassuring. To have specifically and intentionally placed him with a counselor who is not trained to deal with pedophilia or abnormal sexual urges is concerning to say the least.

  144. J2, RE 144

    I wholeheartedly agree. Is there any evidence that TVC did not place him under the care of a trained professional? Or is there evidence that there aren’t pastors who may have degrees in counseling that he has been under the care of?

    There seems to be a lot of speculation and assumptions about this, that we don’t know all the details.

  145. Dennis: Rather than speculation and assumptions, I would suggest that there are questions and concerns regarding the matters we do have important facts about and whether the dangers and necessary outcomes are being addressed appropriately. It is possible that these concerns being voiced may have a positive impact on the way this matter is handled going forward and on future situations.

    Sadly there will be future situations like this in churches if only because victims are beginning to feel safer coming forward, and the growing number of nones and dones who have no religious motivation to cover for their former spiritual leaders any longer. I’m afraid all hell will truly break loose if legislation to increase the amount of time for statutes of limitations passes.

  146. Dennis, this is what Karen has said about Jordan’s treatment…

    ***Another example is in regards to Jordan’s treatment. TVC dismissed recommendations from SIM that Jordan needed, at minimum, intensive therapy from someone who has experience working with these issues. I was told at one point that in-patient treatment had been recommended and that Jordan should attend a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting every day until he began that treatment. Instead, TVC had Jordan see Eric Bryant, a member of The Village Church who is a part of North Texas Christian Counseling. On his bio, Eric does not list experience treating pedophilia or sexual addiction. Jordan went to counseling once a week for the first couple of months after his return, at which point Eric felt he was doing well enough to begin going only once every other week instead. I am unsure as to whether or how often Jordan is currently going to counseling. – See more at: http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/karen-hinkleys-response-to-village.html#sthash.WciQXHa6.dpuf***

  147. J2

    “To have specifically and intentionally placed him with a counselor who is not trained to deal with pedophilia or abnormal sexual urges is concerning to say the least.”

    Seems to imply you have knowledge or evidence they did not do this.

    I agree that questions need to be asked, and this is a legitimate question.

  148. J2,
    Interesting…I posted before I read your last response. I’m not an expert in any of this. I doubt many pastors or even counselors are.
    This may help highlight the need for more training and proper response in this area..

    Obviously much of this was handled poorly. Hopefully there will be some redemption in the future by churches being more aware and better equipped to respond.

  149. Actually, saying I am afraid all hell will break loose is less than accurate. I hope lengthening the limitation statutes passes. What I am afraid of is how it will be handled in christendom considering the reactions and outcomes I’ve seen in the all too many cases I am familiar with.

  150. More appropriate treatment options were recommended and refused.

    Most of the recent progress (all too little as it is a pernicious addiction) and treatments are available to pedophiles in prison. Some better than others. But I think Mr. Root and his friends, just like Mr. Duggar and his family, are really loathe to consider letting the penal system handle this. A system which I know all too well in many cases creates more damage than healing. Then if after fulfilling their sentence, receiving what treatmet is available, with requirements to continue in treatment once in the community, they are released, the stigma of being a convicted sex offender is huge. Recidivism is high due to failure to take meds, attend counseling and violating conditions of their parole. Oh, how I wish I didn’t know so much about all this 🙁

    If you do the crime, you gotta be ready to do the time they say. As my earlier comments reflect, I think this should be especially so of truly repentant christians. Many years ago while in AA, I knew people who in making their amends and desire to stay sober, did confess to crimes and turn themselves in. Non-christians. It made a lasting impression on me to be sure.

  151. Anne, Thanks for all your comments. Very helpful and insightful. #135 in particular I wholeheartedly agree.

    I think there is a distinction in our minds that there is a difference between viewing and engaging in the act, but as you point out, there is none.

    Also, I agree on repentance. I don’t know what that would look like specifically in this case, but he shouldn’t be shielded from consequences.

    Though, as I’m saying that, I see how many times God has been gracious to me in not receiving the consequences I deserve-most notably in not going receiving eternal condemnations. But in a legal case, it isn’t the churches job to shield a person from legal consequences.

  152. Thank you, Dennis. Your #152 makes all the turmoil I’m experiencing from engaging on this subject worth it.

  153. Matt Chandler has spoken. The most pertinent information begins at about 25:00

    Interested to hear thoughts

  154. Nonnie @ 134, Anne @ 141, em @ 142: Of course, I see that there are direct victims! I really think people are getting hung up on my phrasing. Of course, a child being raped is horrible and the child is a victim! And of course both the raping and the watching are crimes.

    But can you agree that, if for no other reason than on a practical level, that there is a difference between a man who is DOING the raping and is going around actually raping kids – perhaps having raped 30 kids, and the one who hasn’t actually harmed any kids himself but has watched others do so? Both are terrible! But one guy has actually done the harming himself and directly hurt kids – altering their lives forever. The other is “indirectly” harming kids by continuing to feed the system that fuels others – and may lead to himself becoming a “do-er” in the future. There is a distinction. You all seem to think I’m minimizing the “watcher” and I am NOT! But there is a distinction between the guys that are “so far over the line” that they are actively seeking out kids to harm (the “PRODUCERS of the child pornography”), and those that haven’t gone that far yet (the CONSUMERS of the child pornography). The consumers feed the producers and so everyone is a part of the problem, but you still have to make a distinction from the guy who’s maybe just started looking at some images/videos and the guy who has actually gone out and raped kids. They are not on the same level. They are both wrong, but they’re not on the same level.

    Take this outside of this example and apply it to ANY sin: There is always a difference in degree. Take drinking – some get drunk occasionally and maybe act like a fool. Some get drunk every night and beat their spouse, get in their car and hurt people, etc. Both are sinning and are wrong! But there’s a difference in degree. That’s all I was saying, nothing more! I was just offering a possible reason for why some churches MIGHT be more apt to report in certain circumstances than others. I was NOT defending that. I was NOT trying to minimize “watchers”. And I was NOT in any way trying to offer any defense of Jordan!

    Hopefully we are now all clear on what I was trying to say and can move on. 🙂

    On my end, I regret having posted at all. While I’ve visited this forum for years (probably at least 5 now) and occasionally post, for the most part, I’m just a “watcher” 😉 here [as opposed to a “do-er “- an active poster! 😉 ] If I had it to do over again, I would have refrained and remained a watcher.

  155. In some situations, thinking about committing a sin is far different from actually committing it. Dreaming about the handsome married man at church is not as bad as falling into bed with him, although even this is spiritually harmful.

    But this is not the case with viewing porn, especially child porn. The very act of watching it creates the market that causes the rapes. The viewer of child porn should understand that every time he watches a rape it is as if he pushed a button that caused a rapist somewhere to serve up a rape for him. It may be rape by proxy but it is still participation, just as if he were in the very room where the attack was occurring.

    In fact, that is a good way to think about someone who watches child porn: it is as if they were in the same room, physical reactions and all, and enjoying the scene rather than trying to rescue the little victim.

  156. I hope Mark Driscoll watches this and learns from it

  157. #157 Thank you, Xenia for explaining why when it comes to child p*rn, there is not the difference in level of degree that may apply other sinful behavior. Through the lense of the camera, those watching are indeed sometimes watching these despicable acts live. Whether live or not, your explanation clearly describes why all acts surrounding this horrible industry are not only sin, by but also illegal.

    Chris – I unfortunately understand why some individuals and churches seek to make distinctions in this area. None of the reasons are good in my view. As I stated above, it is a wrong way to look at the issue and way behind secular law’s understanding of the dynamics of harm regarding the exploitation of children.

    JSYK – I have also worked with the perpetrators of such crimes, understand the underlying pathologies and damage in their lives that often lead them to such acts and always tried to work with them w/compassion and kindness. But, let me stress, the safety and well being of past and potentially future victims of their compulsions ALWAYS was the priority. So it should be with Root.

  158. Xenia,

    You are completely correct. I have a friend whose husband was in prison when I met her. It took her a while to share with me why her husband was in prison but eventually, she did.

    Her husband spent a lot of his time viewing p_rn and she, in the days before she met Christ, thought that was OK since he was still “coming home to her every night.” It was not. He had made several virtual friends and they began to communicate frequently, sharing their various preferences. One day, he forwarded a series of images to someone who was a part of this group and in a few days, found the feds at his door.

    He had never bothered to look at those images before he sent them along, you see. If he had, he would have seen they included children. Lots of children. Would he have still forwarded them had he known? That is an unanswered question.

    The person he forwarded them to was a fed who was part of an online sting operation. The trial was short and the sentencing never in doubt. He is now a registered sex offender and the years he was in prison tested his wife and his children sorely.

    I love this man. He told me himself if he knew in advance he was going to be so stupid, he would have met Christ sooner. This is something he’ll always have to deal with but he remains thankful that his wife, my beautiful friend, stuck it out with him.

    When it comes to p_rn, there are nothing but victims. The line in the sand is always with children. My friend knows he enabled more children to be hurt because of his sin and his carelessness.

    The punishment was harsh but he does not complain. He deserved all he went through.

  159. Anne
    #159 Agree

    Maybe if the church started taking sexual sin as seriously as Jesus did it would be a big step in addressing these issues. As long as we continue to put arbitrary distinctions on levels of severity we will continue to minimize and excuse.

    Name the sin, recognize it for what it is and don’t make excuses. Jesus and scripture alone have the authority to determine how severe a sin is.

  160. Anne, regarding your #136, I understand your qualifier, but my implication is that Chandler’s church leadership has little or no practice at apologizing, but will get better at it as they acknowledge and own their (frequent?) mistakes.

  161. PPilot – I understand. Practice not perfection as long as the goal is toward the good, better & best, I guess. It is remarkable they are even trying.

  162. It’s fascinating that all I’m hearing is Crickets in response to Matt Chandler’s sermon yesterday. I figured there would be an explosion of discussion.

    I guess when you own the mistakes and repent there is nothing left to attack.

  163. My take fwiw:

    1. Major line crossed by husband. Child p0rn is a big line and different level of depravity than say gluttony (look around you at the next church service or go to Wal-Mart…gluttons, everywhere…and they’re only hurting themselves. Well, OK, they burden the rest of us with higher health-care costs due to their health issues, but it’s mostly a victimless sin. Well, unless you’re married to a glutton. I digress.)

    Child p0rn hurts the “least of these”…and kids should be cherished and protected and it is a special sort of Evil that hurts/abuses kids in any way. Those types should be Dexter’d. Just sayin.

    2. Recidivism is very high for dudes like that husband who are hooked by that particular sin. They need to be vigilant and watch that dude.

    3. The wife has every right and good reason to leave that scumbag. Yes, Jesus may forgive him and welcome him back with open arms blah, blah, blah…but the wife isn’t Jesus and she is human and if she can’t get passed that MAJOR violation, then that’s part of Sowing and Reaping Principle in action. Don’t try to force the wife to do something she can’t do. I’m sure it absolutely floored her and destroyed any trust and ‘love’ that was previously there.

    4. Putting the wife under ‘church discipline’ for not staying with her child p0rn husband is just stupid and makes Chandler and that church look like a cult. C’mon guys.

    But, it looks like Chandler and The Village listened to criticism and did the right thing and backed off that stupid hill to die on. Good, well done. No shame in making a mistake and then being open that you’re wrong…and then repenting and correcting your mistake. The line Chandler and Village crossed was not a biggie…it wasn’t like they viewed Child P0rn…it’s more akin to gluttony, no big deal.

    5. I hope folks are keeping a close eye on the husband….and Village better never let him “serve Jesus” in a capacity that has him with kids. Jesus needs the toilets scrubbed and the floors vacuumed etc….NO letting him with kids!

  164. I listened and he seemed sincerely repentant, It seems he and the leadership have taken this to heart.

    From what he said in the sermon, there have been several people over the years that have been hurt by over zealous or hyper “discipline” in their church. The 5 points he repented of are important and serious issues and I appreciate each one of them.

    As I listened, I believed him. I believe they were shaken up, surprised, and embarrassed by the outcry over the Root Annulment situation, and how the woman was handled in such a demeaning and harsh way.

    I do hope that they will open their eyes to the fact that there should be women, with the authority and freedom to speak to the issues, on their leadership team.

    **I think I might be hearing some wings flapping and snorts coming from above.

  165. I’m all for “church discipline”…I think if you claim the bible as anything at all resembling “God’s word!” then if you ignore things like Pastoral Qualifications and Church Discipline…then you are denying the bible as infallible and inerrant and as “God’s word!” and as such Sect/semi-cults like Calvary Chapel don’t believe the bible as their real doctrine/theology in practice is much different than their profession of “we simply teach the….” you know, that b.s.

    But, when doing “church discipline….you do it to the Leaders first as an example to the rest….per the bible…you drop the hammer on those who should know better (Leaders) and should be more gracious with non-leaders….but when you do church discipline…make it a hill worth dying on…like say when a Pastor is a child abuser or when a Pastor spends Jesus-money given by others “for Jesus” on personal items (which is a form of theft in a couple different contexts)….or a Pastor that is banging his make-up artist….or a Pastor that EVEN HAS A MAKE-UP ARTIST <—That should be grounds for church discipline alone LOL.

  166. I didn’t think Chandler was authentic at all. To me it sounded like he got himself caught in his zipper and was doing what he could to get loose.

    And what was that raising his right hand over his head all the time?

    But I guess he did try. Memberships and covenants do not work well in churches that do not rely on congregational votes. Otherwise the covenants really amount only to “we promise not to keep the membership too much in the dark.”

  167. If I ever darken the door of a church again it be in a liturgical church with short homilies and long on worship in ancient traditions. No covenental, celebrity, rock band worship, atmosphere teams, being under the protection (ha!) of a new upstart and his entourage. My only dog in this fight was the implications of how they handled a situation that has victims far removed from their walls.

    Listening to Chandler re-affirmed all that in spades. Within the context of the organization they are building his 5 general apologies are good starts, but still filled with potential for abuse IMV. I would never be able to trust him or his other pastors with my concerns or confessions. They lack wisdom and practice dealing with many of life’s challenges I think. Making it up as they go. Sure progress not perfection is all fine and dandy. But I would not be willing for them to practice on me until they get it right. It’s like their antenae for being led by the HS, let alone common sense, still requires a lot of fine tuning. I think those that set themselves up as leaders and judges of others should have gained more of that fine tuning on the front end before taking control of thousands of others spiritual health.

    My overall concerns regarding how they are addressing Root’s proclivities that set this all in motion remains. My other concerns were strong on behalf of Karen. She is free now to pursue healing and peace outside of what I consider a toxic faith culture and for that I am grateful.

  168. It seems to me like we are supposed to assume the best and leave assumptions of motive and authenticity up to God.

    If you read negative things into that apology, it might worth considering the problem may be with you and not the one apologizing.

  169. The way he moves his hands has always gotten on my nerves.

  170. Now we are criticizing how a fellow believer holds his hands when we can’t find something else to critique?
    Most of this discussion has been fruitful, intelligent and productive. I would love to see it kept that way. WOW

  171. His hand movements have nothing to do with him being a fellow believer. It has to do with the fact the he has always waved his hands around a lot when he talks. I find it distracting.

    Don’t be so sensitive.

  172. […] Village Church has issued an apology.  Some around the web, such as The Phoenix Preacher, see it as an excellent example of repentance.  Others, such as Dee at The Wartburg Watch, not so much.  Matthew Paul Turner believes the […]

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