A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages 

Before we get to the post by J D Hall:

Background:

  • The Village Church (TVC) of Texas has placed Karen, who was once a member of theirs, under church discipline because she did not, according to them, abide by the church covenant she signed.
  • Instead of conferring with the church on what to do, Karen, on her own, sought an annulment from the state of Texas, once she discovered her then-spouse, Jordan, was a pedophile.
  • Karen said she spent about 50 days conferring with other Christians (not from the TVC), and in prayer, mulling over what to do, before seeking the annulment.
  • This action of hers has ticked off TVC leadership, because Karen did not get their permission to get the annulment.
  • Matt Chandler is the lead preacher of TVC.

You can read additional reporting of this situation here (additional material is at the bottom of this post):

Here is the page I am responding to:

(Link, off site): A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church  by  J D Hall, Pulpit and Pen blog

The covenant that Hall is so rigorously defending – TVC’s membership covenant – here does not even mention annulments.

As Karen explains (off site Link, Source):

  • …it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
  • In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
  • There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.

I object to the title of Hall’s blog page –  A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church – it suggests that any and all criticism of The Village Church, church covenants (membership agreements), or Matt Chandler has been irrational.

Hall links much of TVC / church covenant / Chandler criticism at the feet of lady bloggers, who he also did a podcast about recently. (Hall’s podcast: (Link, off site): Podcast: Village Church and the Survivor Blog Gals.)

Side Note.

  • I read transcripts and summaries of Hall’s podcast by other people; their transcripts/ summaries agreed with each other’s, so I think I got an accurate idea of his views in the podcast.
  • I have read past blog posts by and about Hall, and I’ve seen his Tweets on Twitter (before he blocked me). I have blogged about Hall before (see the end of this blog post for a link).
  • Based on everything I have read, not just in regards to this subject but others, Hall’s tendency is to show no empathy to people who have been wounded by authoritarian churches. Or by any church.
  • Hall chooses to refer to people who have been exploited or spiritually abused by Christians and churches in that podcast, and on Twitter, with phrases such as “professional victims,” “unhinged” and other derogatory terms.
  • One thing Hall does not grasp is that many, though not all, of the individuals who are maintaining the Christian survivor blogs, as well as their participants, are not victims any longer: as the genre of blog they post to suggests, they are “survivors.”
  • Survivors are people who have come out of an abusive situation stronger and are no longer so naive.
  • These former victims now have boundaries and will no longer give blind, unquestioning obedience to any church or person, and they will no longer allow anyone to abuse or to take advantage of them.
  • These former victims exposing the abuse that goes on by preachers and churches are not “playing victim,” but helping to warn others from making the same mistakes they once did.
  • They are advocates for the wounded – because preachers like Hall do not care about the wounded. They care about maintaining their church authority and controlling people.
  • Some of the people who participate on the survivor blogs, may of course, still be in “victim mode,” in that they are still under-going abuse, or have recently come out of abuse; they are still hurting and in the beginning steps of recovery.
  • Recovering from emotional pain or abuse is a process that can take months or years for many people.
  • Healing is not something that happens for most people in an instant. Healing takes time. This is a point that many Christians, especially guys like Hall, do not appreciate.
  • I believe that Hall mis-characterizes survivors and survivor blogs – everything from the people who post to them, to their reasons to posting, and their purposes for posting.

Returning to the original issues of The Village Church, church covenants, etc., and that Hall heads his piece by calling it a “rational response.”

It’s a sexist stereotype held by men, including Christian men, that women are too emotional and think and behave in an irrational manner, so people cannot or should not really give credence to what women say or write.

(I therefore find it amusing that someone like Hall, who adheres to these views, will never-the-less expend a lot of time and effort refuting the views and blogs of people [women] on his blog and in podcasts who he feels are irrational and should not be listened to in the first place.)

I have seen a lot of men – Christians and atheists – who are equally critical of TVC / church covenant / Chandler.

A casual glance at any survivor blogs or Twitter feeds discussing these subjects will reveal that there are plenty of male critics of TVC, Chandler, and church covenants:

Hall even mentions one in the content of his post, preacher Wade Burleson. Hall discussed Burleson’s post:

I notice in Hall’s discussion of Burleson, while he disagrees with Burleson, he did not depict Burleson as being irrational thereby implying Burleson is too emotional.
Sexism at work, I take it – only women bloggers who disagree with things like TVC and church covenants can be emotional, which supposedly makes women “irrational,” and therefore not worthy of being considered.

Here are excerpts taken from Hall’s post with my comments below each portion.

Hall wrote, summarizing comments he’s received from his critics,

  • So you think pedophilia is OK? So you think molesting your sisters is OK? So you think incest is OK? So you think child pornography is OK?

Hall wants to assure us this is not so, but at the end of the day, it really is.

Hall and TVC (The Village Church) is placing following the “letter of the law,” the belief that once someone signs their church covenant (view it here, off site link) above any and other considerations, which in effect, means that Hall is, yes, advocating that churches do not take pedophilia seriously.

Hall writes,

  • Sometimes we need to engage the brain, pick up the Bible, and put down our emotional subjectivism for a moment to do the work of Gospel-centered people.

Some people may be speaking out against TVC due to emotion, that could be true.

But you know, it’s not mutually exclusive: people can have rational, logical reasons for disagreeing with TVC and also feel alarm and anger all at the same time.

Or, let’s suppose someone who is very angry screams at you, “Two plus two equals four!!”

You can separate the emotion from the content of the claim. Does two plus two in fact equal four, or should we out-right dismiss that claim because the person was upset when making it? Does two plus two cease equaling four because the person who says so was crying or yelling when saying so?

Hall then provides a link or two to the Watchkeep blog, which provides details of the situation.

You can read the documentation and Karen’s story here:

This was part 3:

(part 2 consists of other former members of TVC discussing how controlling the TVC is)

This was part 1:

Hall writes,

  • The conversation led us to a reality; when God’s people forgive, we do it in spite of the heinousness of the crime, in spite of it not being alright, in spite of calling the sin a sin without minimizing it and in spite of – at times – the reality that forgiveness and reconciliation cannot always bring full restoration
  • …Hence, the outrage that a sin we should all confess to be among the most egregious could be forgiven through the blood of Jesus when one is justified by faith, confesses sin, and turns from it. That’s our glorious, scandalous Gospel.

By insisting that a woman stay in marriage with a pedophile because that is what her church asked her to do, you thereby minimize pedophilia.

Forgiveness does not necessitate reconciliation. A person can forgive without reconciling – sometimes that is the wisest course of action, if you are dealing with an abusive person.

Forgiveness does not entail staying married to an abuser or a pedophile.

Forgiveness by a church group does not erase any penalties that person may have to pay to the state, the courts, or the police.

If a cop pulls me over for speeding, and I tell the cop that I repent and asked Jesus to forgive me for speeding, the cop would think that I’m nuts but still give me a speeding ticket.

Grace and forgiveness do not halt earthly consequences and secular punishment.

Christians are still expected to answer to the secular authorities (see Romans Chapter 13).

I can forgive this Jordan Root guy of pedophilia should I choose, but this does not entail me inviting him into my home every week or allowing any children I know to spend time around him.

Believing in Jesus is not a “get out of jail free” card.

Hall says,

  • Sometimes we need to engage the brain, pick up the Bible, and put down our emotional subjectivism for a moment to do the work of Gospel-centered people.

Hall needs to follow his own advice there.

Hall writes:

  • A Village Church member named Karen Root sought and received an annulment of her marriage from her husband, Jordan Root, after his confession of being attracted to pre-pubescent girls (and confessed both the “acting out” of such desires previous to the marriage and the use of child pornography during the marriage)

The italics are in the original post. Other bloggers who have been in contact with Karen personally say that Karen says that Jordan told her that he molested two little girls when he was younger.

Now, I have no idea why Hall is making a distinction in timing here, that Jordan Root confessed molesting girls “previous” to the marriage, and was using child porn “during” the non-marriage.

Is Hall suggesting that a man molesting children prior to a wedding ceremony is not as serious or troubling as if he had done so after the wedding ceremony? If that is what he is suggesting, that does not fly with me.

Hall writes,

  • Upon a quick investigation and Jordan’s confession, Village Church ended their mission and brought them home.

Not really, no. It was the missions organization, called SIM, which gave Jordan Root the boot.

TVC actually told SIM at one point if they allowed Karen (Jordan’s one-time spouse) to stay and serve with SIM, they, TVC, would withdraw support for other missionaries TVC was funding.

TVC actually acted like a stumbling block towards SIM.

Here is what Karen had to write about it (source):

  • It is time to bring the truth of the relationship between The Village Church and SIM to light, as the leadership of The Village Church continues to insinuate that they have fully cooperated with SIM and that I have walked in rebellion to SIM in the decisions I have made.
  • SIM has made every effort to partner with The Village Church from the beginning of this whole mess, as the organization highly values church-mission partnership.
  • But there has been a great deal of conflict between SIM and The Village Church in this matter, especially in regards to child safety.

Karen went on to cite several examples of those things, such as but not limited to, that Jordan attended a TVC church – where parents and their small children attended – for at least three months before the church notified people that he was a pedophile.

Karen also wrote:

  • I was informed that The Village Church had threatened that if SIM kept me on active status, they would consider it a breach of the Partnership Agreement between SIM and TVC and TVC could no longer partner with SIM.
  • This had significant implications, because there are several other SIM missionaries who are supported by The Village Church. As a result, SIM decided that I would not resume work on behalf of my team from Dallas after all.

Karen also wrote:

  • Notice that TVC avoids mentioning anything about the nature of Jordan’s sin. They also encourage people to reach out directly to Jordan without warning them of his pedophilic tendencies.
  • This email [that TVC sent to members – you can view these TVC communications to members (Link, off site): here] went to many parents with children and was a major contention between TVC and SIM, who had been reminding The Village Church of their responsibility to inform people of the nature of Jordan’s confession since they released their report on February 9th

Instead of heeding SIM’s recommendation that Jordan be sent to a reputable counselor, TVC sent him to someone who sounds like an unqualified quack (source):

  • 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 (link): 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.

This doesn’t sound like a church that is taking pedophilia seriously nor a church that is cooperating with SIM, as Hall is maintaining.

Later in his blog post, Hall writes:

  • Maybe the Village Church elders should’ve announced the precise nature of his sin. Maybe they should have branded him with a hot iron that says “child molester” on his forehead. Maybe they just needed more time to think of the wisest approach. These are a bunch of maybes, and if you’ve already made up your mind, good for you. Seriously, good for you.

And maybe churches should not have covenants. Maybe such covenants really aren’t biblical, even though you think they are.

Where Hall writes,

  • Maybe they should have branded him with a hot iron that says “child molester” on his forehead.

Here, Hall seems to indicate he thinks it would be in error for a church to notify the members that a guy who goes there is a pedophile. Notifying people of such is not the same as branding the phrase “child molester” on Jordan Root’s forehead.

Hall seems to be sneering at the idea, and mocking the notion, that parents be alerted to a pedophile in their midst, so that these parents can take steps to safeguard their children, whether that means leaving that church permanently, or whatever choice they decide to make.

I find Hall’s revulsion at the idea of identifying a known pedophile to be unwise, dangerous, naive, and well, revolting. In many communities, states force pedophiles to identify as a registered sex offender so that their neighbors can know.

Employers, such as schools, run background checks on applicants to see if they have a history of child abuse.

Why does Hall think that secular society should have a higher standard than churches on this?

By the way, after being pressured by SIM, Village Church did in fact cave in and announce the nature of Root’s sin – which is an admission of sorts that they knew they were in the wrong.

Here is how Karen described this situation:

  • This email [from TVC to members encouraging them to socialize with pedophile Jordan Root] went to many parents with children and was a major contention between TVC and SIM, who had been reminding The Village Church of their responsibility to inform people of the nature of Jordan’s confession since they released their report on February 9th.
  • It is what prompted SIM to send their own communication on February 25th (Link to Letter) informing the same group of people of the outcome of their investigation. After more than two weeks of receiving many complaints via phone and email, TVC finally informed Covenant Members of the Dallas Campus on March 13th.

I don’t think J D Hall appreciates any of that.

Moving along with his blog post.

When Karen sent a letter to TVC saying she was no longer a member of their church (she was quitting or resigning), she was not under any church discipline at that time. It was after she sent her letter that TVC claimed she was under church discipline.

Here is how Hall describes this:

  • Village Church notified her – and pled with her – not to annul their marriage because their church covenant – (link, off site): the one she signed – says that before ending a marriage a certain process must be gone through at the church and counsel must be sought and that the elders needed time to consider Biblical wisdom in the matter. In short, Karen could not resign her membership in good standing and would be under discipline for not consulting the elders, seeking church counsel and violating the membership counsel she agreed to.

TVC’s membership covenant (link) says nothing about annulments.

Here is what their covenant says, under the section that talks about marriage and related topics:

  • I covenant…
  • I will seek to preserve the gift of marriage and agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at The Village Church before pursuing divorce from my spouse (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; for the role of the church in the process of divorce, see Paul’s concern for the resolution of legal matters within the assembly of the church in1 Corinthians 6).

Their covenant says nothing about annulment. It only mentions divorce. Annulment and divorce are not the same thing.

A divorce would still recognize that a marriage once existed. An annulment says there never was an actual marriage, because one spouse defrauded the other. In this situation, Jared never divulged his pedo habits and disposition to Karen.

Here is what Hall says:

  • Here’s what I suspect; I suspect that Village Church would not have insisted that Karen remain married to Jordan. There’s nothing in their correspondence that would suggest such – and I meannothing.
  • I do suspect the church staff would have gone over Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-12, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 and so on.
  • I do suspect they would have asked her to consider implications for divorce and separation for her life in light of the Gospel.
  • And I do suspect Karen could have remained true to her church covenant and still have separated or divorced from her husband, albeit after receiving wise counsel and fulfilling her Covenant promises.

No, TVC would have insisted that Karen stay with Jared, in spite of his pedophilia.

I have several reasons for why I say this.

First (from what Karen wrote, (Link): source):

  • During this meeting [with TVC staff] there were some extremely troubling things said by both Richard and Matt [who work for TVC; Matt Younger is a pastor at TVC, (view his bio page)].
  • I was told that as Jordan’s wife, I would have a unique role in walking alongside him during this time.
  • At one point, Matt Younger told me that 100 out of 100 times a couple is sitting on his couch, and one of them says “this is all his fault” and the other agrees, there is much more to the story.
  • This stung, as it seemed that Matt was suggesting that I was partly responsible for Jordan’s fraud and perversion. I acknowledged to Matt that I knew I was not without sin in my marriage, but that I would not take responsibility for our return home and separation as it was caused by Jordan’s pedophilia and use of child pornography.

As you can see from these comments, these TVC chuckle-heads were expecting Karen to stay with the pedophile and be a source of comfort, encouragement, or redemption to him. They view it as a wife’s duty to “stand by her man,” even if that man is a sicko who diddles small children, or who masturbates to photos of children, or who fantasizes about doing so.

Secondly, TVC is a “gender complementarian” church.

Gender complementarianism is false teaching that does a lot of harm to men and women, but especially to women – and most of all, to women who are in marriages to abusive men.

I don’t have the time or patience to get into all that this entails, but gender complementarian teachings pass off codependency as being biblical roles for women.

In this teaching, gender complementarianism, women are expected to be passive doormats and give up all their agency and boundaries; they are expected to submit to male elders, male preachers, and their husbands (if they have one).

Churches that are complementarian in nature often, though not always, have a “permanency” view of marriage, in that they believe there is no justification (biblical justification) for divorce, even in cases of physical or verbal abuse.

Some comp (gender complementarian) churches feel that adultery (or other types of sexual sin) are the only biblical grounds for divorce. (Some gender complementarian churches don’t feel that there is ANY just cause for divorce, not even sexual sin.)

In short, most of these churches have an incorrect view of biblical rationales for divorce and expect women to stay married to abusive jerks or to sexual deviants.

I refer you to these pages for more, as my intent here is not to explain in depth why these views about divorce or complementarianism are in error:

Given conservative Christianity’s lousy track record on supporting women who are married to abusers or sexual deviants (they almost always insist that women stay married to adulterers, abusers, and jerks NO. MATTER. WHAT.), and the quotes by Karen above, I have no doubt that TVC would have expected her to stay married to the pedophile, even if that meant they lived in separate bedrooms and had a sexless marriage until one of them died.

Even in Hall’s own blog post, he rambles on under that paragraph saying how awful divorce is.

Hall starts out by conceding,

  • “Here’s what I know; I know that divorce is permitted for adultery. I know that Karen – as the innocent party – is entitled to remarry – and Jordan is not.”

Then goes on to belie this admission by saying,

  • “I also know that whereas divorce is permitted for adultery, it is often not spiritually profitable”

Divorce is “not spiritually profitable?” What? (Church covenants are not “spiritually profitable” either, but you are defending those. But I digress somewhat.)

In the end scheme of things, what Hall is doing is conceding that Jesus and Paul said and wrote that divorce is acceptable in some situations, but Hall really hates that God gives permission for people to divorce.

If Hall had his way, every person – especially women – who are trapped in horrible or abusive marriages would be forced to stay in those marriages.

Because Hall cannot biblically pull off a rationalization saying there is never, ever a cause for divorce, he has to guilt trip women such as Karen by rambling about divorce not being spiritually profitable, which sounds like some kind of code talk for, “only bad or backslidden Christians would consider walking away from a marriage.”

What does that “spiritually profitable” phrase even mean? It doesn’t mean anything. It’s religious sounding gobbledy gook to guilt people. Hall wants to tell people how to live their lives.

Hall really goes on to betray his true feelings about all this when he writes:

  • I also know that Jordan’s adultery-of-the-heart, while married, still counts as adultery. Porn is adultery.
  • Lust, according to Jesus is adultery (Matthew 5:28). And therefore, I know there is not a single marriage in any church that could not end in a “biblical divorce” (which is an awful term, and it seems woefully inadequate).
  • If you’re a wife and you’re reading this, your husband has probably cheated on you in his heart with pornography (statistically, it’s an almost certainty) and if not, atleast in his mind.
  • That being the case, maybe some wise counsel and Scriptural advice is in order before you run off and divorce him. Call me crazy.
  • And oh, sure, this was child porn and it is especially wicked.
  • But again, I’m asking you to think rationally and Biblically and shelve the emotionalism for now. Think about the order or logic; lust is adultery and if you can “biblically” divorce for adultery, maybe you should be seeking counsel and be lovingly cautioned to look at this through the lens of the Gospel before you call an attorney.

Here, Hall reminds me of the Christian sociologist who had the nerve to lecture single Christian women that they should not consider porn use a deal breaker in marriage – he is wrong about that, as is Hall.

I refer you to this previous post of mine in the matter:

It sounds to me like it really hacks Hall off that Jesus made allowances for divorce, not just for sexual sin, but for other reasons too.

I refer you again to these links for more on that topic:

Hall – who claims, I think, to adhere to sola scriptura, really does no such thing.

The Bible teaches that abuse and adultery (and other reasons) are indeed grounds for divorce, but Hall tells you that if you disagree, you are being illogical or emotional.

Hall really hates the Bible he claims to believe in.

That Bible says that believers are free to leave a spouse who commits certain actions.

But Hall says, in essence, ‘disregard what the Bible says and stay with your abusive or deviant spouse anyway.’

You know, if Hall finds out his wife is a deviant or an adulterer, and he chooses to stay with her in spite of it, that is his choice, which is fine for him, but how dare he lecture, guilt trip, or shame other people for taking that step, if they believe that is the right choice for them.

It’s very easy for you to lecture people to stay in a situation that is detrimental or harmful to them in some way (physically, emotionally, financially, legally), and you are not lifting a finger to help them.

It’s very easy for you to sit in judgment of someone in a situation that is not a situation you would force yourself or your daughter, if you had one, to live in.

And what did Jesus say to or about guys like Hall who put extra burdens on people?

From Matthew 23 (link, off site), Jesus speaking:

  • They [teachers of the law, the Pharisees] tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

And the rest of Jesus’ words about churches, preachers who blog, and preachers who bray about the importance of covenants of church members, and who lecture others on how lay persons should be taking direction from elders, is applicable as well:

From Matthew 23 (link, off site), Jesus speaking:

  • “Everything they [teachers of the law, the Pharisees] do is done for people to see:
  • They make their phylacteries] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
  • “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
  • And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
  • 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

You, whoever is reading this, need to follow your conscience in these matters.

And, in addition, for a Christian, if you believe you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you ask for and follow His guidance on what is right for you and your life. Ignore the legalistic clowns of the world like J D Hall.

It’s your life to live, not J D Hall’s. You are an adult. You can make choices for yourself.

Here, Hall is minimizing child pornography – he tries to say he’s not – by referring to child pornography as being “especially wicked,” but he’s telling women that in the end scheme of things that porn use, even kiddie porn, is really no biggie, so hey, you should stay married to your loser deviant of a spouse:

  • If you’re a wife and you’re reading this, your husband has probably cheated on you in his heart with pornography (statistically, it’s an almost certainty) and if not, at least in his mind.
  • That being the case, maybe some wise counsel and Scriptural advice is in order before you run off and divorce him. Call me crazy. And oh, sure, this was child porn and it is especially wicked. But again, I’m asking you to think rationally and Biblically and shelve the emotionalism for now.

I also find Hall’s admission here another blow to most of the Reformed, evangelical, Baptist, and fundamentalist Christian clap trap I’ve heard my entire life about sex.

That is, most of these groups (Reformed, evangelical, Baptist, fundamentalist) will tell Christian children that if only they remain a virgin until they are married, the married sex will be regular, hot, mind blowing and totally worth the wait. I totally consider this bogus logic and over-blown promises, but some conservative Christians still use this propaganda to this day, and here Hall is, shooting it down.

That Hall does not get emotional, upset, or infuriated about pedophilia (or even adult porn, and is so darn forgiving towards these types of sins) and that he keeps cautioning others from “getting emotional” about these things, does he have some struggles in these areas himself?

I mean, I find it quite strange that someone keeps coaching his readers not to show emotion in regards to something as immoral as child sex abuse.

I remember a certain Rabbi who showed some emotion when he used a whip to drive money changers out of the Temple. But he didn’t have a blogger to tell him to calm down and be rational.

Hall writes:

  • My chiefest concern is what I see as the following accusations in social media, survivor blogs and beyond:
  • A) Church Covenants are a new invention of megachurch gurus.

Let’s suppose that one can in fact find churches from hundreds of years ago using these covenants – that still does not necessarily make them true, biblical, or right.

If covenants were used often hundreds of years ago, fell out of use, but only became trendy and en vogue the last five years is, I’d say, a red flag.

Churches in the USA today are more authoritarian. It figures they would return to really old methods once used by churches to control people in the past.

Hall says,

  • B) Church Covenants are a way to “control people.”

Well, yeah, churches are in fact using them to control people. They’re pressuring women such as Karen to stay married to pedophiles.

Hall wrote,

  • C) And “accountability is for cults.”

I’ve not seen anyone make that claim. I don’t think most Christians take issue with holding people accountable, but it depends on how and who.

In TVC’s case, they should be holding the pedophile accountable, but they’ve decided to go after Karen, who did not sin and did no wrong.

Hall writes

  • 1) Membership in the Local Church is Essential. Oh, yes. I can hear it now. “Church membership is unbiblical.”

I don’t really know of anyone arguing that church membership is unbiblical, but rather that there is no biblical requirement for a professing believer to attend a brick and mortar building with a steeple on it every Sunday.

Further, the New Testament teaches that the moment a person places saving faith in Christ (you’re not “elected” in the sense that Calvinists teach – Calvinism is pure, complete hogwash), you are then put in the body of Christ, the universal church.

You don’t have to sit in a pew every Sunday, meet with church elders, answer to a dictator preacher, or sign a covenant to be in “the church.”

Hall writes,

  • 2. Discipline in the Local Church is Essential.

Karen was not in discipline when she resigned her membership so his point 2 is a bit moot in regards to the specific TVC case.

Down the page, Hall says,

  • It is here that a skeptic may say, “No creed but the Bible!” My brother (or sister), the Jehovah Witnesses will line up behind you and chant that with you. A Campbellite or Millerite will shout with you, “No creed but the Bible.”
  • And yet, I suspect that if your church is full of Campbellites, Millerites or Watchtower converts, your church will not be unified regardless of the heartiness of your chant, “No creed but the Bible” (that chant, by the way, is a creed). As a Baptist, I should love my Lutheran or Presbyterian brothers…but as we say back in the Ozark hills, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
  • If we’re wrestling over the infant being baptized or boxing over whether or not the charismatic should be blathering to himself in the corner, we’re not unified. May God bless you as you worship in unity…over there.
  • What I’d like to convince Baptists like Pastor Burleson to understand is that if you call yourself a “Baptist” you have a confession of faith, whether or not it is formal or informal. You have one, or you wouldn’t call yourself a Baptist.

There he has made a long list of the various ways different sects of Christians disagree with each other. I find this ironic.

He’s very sure that he himself and HIS denomination is correct, and I’m sure he feels he’s correct about church covenants  – but he has no way of knowing that, not under this consideration. It’s possible he’s just as wrong on some topics as some of these other denominations he’s calling out here.

All Christian groups have their interpretations of biblical texts and passages, and each is convinced they are right and the others are wrong. I have no more reason to agree with Hall on some of these issues and feel he is correct than I do other denominations he’s mentioned.

Farther down the page, Hall writes:

  • I would double-dog dare someone to find something therein that is unbiblical, wrong, bad or hurtful to either the individual or the body.

Okay, here is an example: a church in Texas – let’s call them “The Village Church” – is using their covenant to harass and stalk a former member, let’s call her “Karen,” after she let them know she wanted nothing further to do with them, and it’s all because these control freak church people expect her to run her life choice of getting an annulment with their approval first, and note, she got an annulment from a man who was a pedophile.

A most germane, important point Karen explained (Link), that Hall apparently overlooked:

  • There was never a mention of church discipline until after I had withdrawn my membership from the church. The Village Church does not have a legal right to discipline non-members, yet they have attempted to do so to me on multiple occasions.

Hall writes,

  • Apparently, there were problems in the 11 thousand-member church with members divorcing their spouses without seeking any counsel or thinking about it through the lens of Gospel, and so the divorce clause was put into the covenant.

I have to roll my eyes at this part:

  • “thinking about it through the lens of Gospel”

What does that even mean? That because Jesus died on a cross for humanity’s sins 2,000 years ago that nobody ever can or should get a divorce, even though God makes allowances for divorce in the Bible?

How does Jesus dying on a cross for humanity’s sin translate into “adults should not make life choices for themselves, but go to a preacher and consult a preacher about it?” I don’t see the connection.

Adults can make their own choices in life, including when, if, and how to divorce. They don’t need a preacher’s or elder’s input for that.

Most churches are notoriously anti-divorce, even in cases of on-going, severe physical abuse and so they will rarely tell someone even in those circumstances they have the church’s blessings to seek a divorce. (Visit any blog for Christian spousal abuse victims to see numerous examples of that. Also read the book “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft for more examples.)

Churches are hideous at helping women in abusive marriages, as I explained above. As I’ve been documenting on this blog the last few years, churches also suck dirt at giving decent dating advice to singles.

You are better off making your own choices about what to do in life than you are in seeking “counsel” or “care” from preachers or churches on almost any topic.

Hall wrote,

  • They should publicly state (or not, whatever) that they want to keep open the door to leave their spouse without consulting anyone in the church and that such decisions are their business alone. They’d be wrong, but that would be their choice they’re perfectly free to make.

No, they would not be wrong. Hall is in error on this, and his position is unbiblical.

One large point I don’t think Hall recognizes is that Karen could not be “reconciled” to her spouse, and her former church, TVC, either does’t get that or didn’t care.

TVC kept insisting and pushing Karen to go back to Jordan.

There was nothing for this couple to work through or to reconcile. Once you discover your spouse is a pedophile, that is the end of any so-called “marriage.”

Karen was in the state of Texas. In order to get an annulment in Texas, the spouse has to immediately break things off with the spouse and cannot co-habitat with the spouse.

All of that means she could not go back and live with Jordan or share financial accounts. Her church was telling her not to separate her finances from Jordan.

Had she done so, had she followed all these directives of her former church, the state would not have granted her an annulment.

Karen already resigned her membership from the church making all this moot.

But if the church keeps hammering on these topics, their own covenant says nothing about annulments.

In the state of Texas, Karen could not have “given the relationship more time” nor reconcile with Jordan, or moved back in with him, or else the state would not have granted the annulment.

If you go back up the page, I provided quotes from the pastors where they indicated to Karen that they expected her to live with Jordan again, stay married to him, because they feel that is a wife’s role – to be supportive to the pedo husband and to “walk him through this.”

Karen could not do what she needed and wanted to do – get an annulment in the state of Texas – had she done what this control freak church demanded of her.

J D Hall is insensitive to people in difficult situations and is on the wrong side of this issue.

Edit.  (May 29, 2015)

J D Hall blocked me from his Twitter, but I can still see his Tweets when other people retweet them. I was looking for something on Janet Mefferd’s feed when I spotted several exchanges she had with Hall and his cronies.

After seeing this, seeing his victim-blaming post, and knowing how (Link): he harassed a teen boy online (that boy later committed suicide), it’s clear to me that Hall is unregenerate.

Hall does not display any of the qualities the Bible says an actual Christian should be expected to have (eg, Here)

J D Hall thinks all sins are equal. That is, he indicates in a Tweet to Mefferd or some other guy, that if a man thinks naughty thoughts about, say, an adult woman in a thong bikini, this is the same thing as a man having, as another Tweeter put it earlier, “rape thoughts.”

Here are links to the various Tweet exchanges between Hall and others:

(Link): Tweet from Hall to Mefferd and others – equating any and all sexual sin (ie, rape is no worse than a guy looking at nudie magazines of adults)

(Link): Janet Mefferd’s Tweet with screen cap of Hall’s remarks

(Link): Tweet Re Hall

(Link): Tweet Re: Hall equating lust thoughts to rape fantasies

Edit. I just found out that J D Hall stalks women online. What a jerk. You can read about it here, in these links to Twitter conversations:

(Link): Tweet –

  • Original Tweet asked: Whose family member will JD Hall go after next?

One reply to that:

The lady in this exchange says that he cyber stalked her and published her real name on his blog, what a prince:

(Link):  Tweet

A few people asked her why he stalked her and what he did. She replied:

and

And

—–

Additional background on, or criticism of TVC in regards to this case and/or critiques of Church covenants:

(Link, off site):  Five Lessons from The Village Church and Karen Hinkley

(Link, off site):  Megachurch: Stay With Your Kiddie Porn-Watching Husband—or Face ‘Discipline’

Though I do not agree with every point in this:

(Link, off site):  A Few Thoughts on The Village Church Controversy

(Link, off site): The Problem with Church Membership Covenants – bad doctrine hurts God’s people

(Link): Matt Chandler speaks out to apologize for Village Church mishandling church discipline cases

(Link):   Dear God, what is Matt Chandler thinking?

(Link):  Matt Chandler, The Village Church offer apology to Karen Hinkley

(Link):  So, can we discuss that ‘apology’ from The Village Church? Because it really missed the point.

—————————

Related Posts on this blog:

(Link): (mentions J D Hall’s disturbing views about sexual sin): Christians Teaching That All Sexual Sins Are Equal – and the Ramifications

(Link):  Married Father and Baptist Preacher J D Hall – Another Example of How Marriage and Parenthood Does Not Make a Person More Godly or Mature

(Link):  Some Christians Have Some Very Strange, Unsettling,  Creepy, or Authoritarian Ideas About Marriage, Divorce, or Mate Selection – and they think they should make your life choices for you

(Link):  Christian Josh Duggar Resigns from Family Research Council after Sexual Abuse Allegations

(Link): Stupid Things Naive Christians Say (About Adultery, Divorce) from Divorce Minister Blog

(Link): More Married Couples Admit to Sexless Marriages (various articles) / Christians promise you great frequent sex if you wait until marriage, but the propaganda is not true

(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link): Getting Married Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Frequent Hot Satisfying Sexy Sex – Husband is Sexless for Eight Years (article)

(Link): Article: ‘Getting to the Root of Female Masturbation’ / Also: Woman Who Was Virgin Until Wedding Night Now Gets next to No Sex in Marriage

(Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy

(Link): Pastor Busted in Prostitution Sting – If Married Sex So Great Why Do So Many Married Christian Men Have Affairs

(Link): Wife of Preacher Shoots, Kills Him, Recounts Years of Physical and Sexual Abuse – So Much for the Equally Yoked Teaching and the Notion that Christian married sex is Mind Blowing

(Link): Ex-mega church IFB pastor (who is married) Jack Schaap gets 12 years in teen sex scandal – if Christian married sex so great and magical and mindblowing why did this 50 something year old preacher cheat on his 50 yr old wife with a 16 year old girl

(Link): More Married Couples Admit to Sexless Marriages (various articles) / Christians promise you great frequent sex if you wait until marriage, but the propaganda is not true

(Link): Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages

(Link): Getting Married Does Not Necessarily Guarantee Frequent Hot Satisfying Sexy Sex – Husband is Sexless for Eight Years (article)

(Link): Married Woman Signing off as “Looking Ahead” Admits to Being in Sexless Marriage for TEN YEARS

(Link): Wife Writes to Ask Amy About Her Sexless Marriage October 2013

(Link): Her Marriage is Sexless While She Cares For Sick Elderly Father

(Link): False Christian Hype About Waiting Until Marriage For Sex: We’ve Gone From “It’s Mindblowing” to Now: “It’s Magical” Re: Timothy Keller

2 thoughts on “A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages”

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