Matt Chandler, The Village Church offer apology to Karen Hinkley

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THIS JUST IN: Matt Chandler and the elders of The Village Church have listened to the public outcry regarding their actions toward Karen Hinkley and they have responded…

In fact, they apologized specifically to Karen. Here’s the update in its entirety…

Covenant Members of The Village Church,

We recently sent you an email regarding Covenant Members Jordan Root and Karen Hinkley that explained a tragic and heartbreaking situation, including a review of how we got to that point and where things currently stood. Since that time, we have soberly and prayerfully reflected on all the details of this situation, along with others in our past. We have also received feedback from people both inside and outside The Village, which has helped us evaluate ourselves.

Sometimes dark and difficult situations cause us to take a magnifying glass and look through the lens to see deeper than we normally can. That has absolutely been the case in this situation, and we wanted to let you know where we are with everything, specifically some areas we are still evaluating and some areas where we have clearly failed and need to repent.

When it comes to protecting children, we believe we have strong procedures in place and feel confident in how we’ve handled allegations and confessions regarding child abuse in any form, specifically in the situation with Jordan Root. In examining ourselves in this area, we have been affirmed in the policies and processes we have in place to protect children. That said, in the weeks ahead, we will do an external audit to confirm we are doing everything possible to protect children and to evaluate how we handle child safety, abusers, abuse victims and other related matters in a biblical and legal manner.

Regarding Covenant Membership, we have not changed our theological or philosophical convictions on our Membership Covenant, member care and church discipline. These are beliefs rooted in Scripture, and we strongly believe they are necessary for our health and faithfulness as a church. However, in looking closely at the way we have handled some situations, 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. In these situations, there have been cases where we have clearly not communicated the gentleness, compassion and patience that we are called to as elders of the church.

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 are also in the process of creating a new care and church discipline plan and hope to have it approved and in practice very soon. Regardless of all that we’re trying to do to improve in this area, though, the most important point is that we recognize that we must never allow our processes and procedures to take precedence over people, specifically those we are called to love, care, protect and sacrifice for as elders of the church. In everything our actions and tone must reflect the gentleness (Gal. 6:1) and humility (1 Peter 5:1-3) to which Scripture calls us. As James 2:13 says, mercy should triumph over judgment.

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.

Though the deep theological convictions that informed our initial response haven’t changed, 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. We did not lead Karen and the church to a place conducive to peace, repentance and healing. Please know that we are reaching out to Karen and giving her this apology, and we have also made the decision to move forward in releasing her from membership. We will continue to support her financially through August as we committed, and our hope and prayer for her is that God would guide her to another gospel-believing church, where she can find healing and restoration.

In receiving this email and hearing how we have and are responding to this situation, we understand that you may be wondering why this type of change in heart has happened now. Is it because of the media stories? If so, why have we let these stories make such an impact? The answer is basically what we began this email with: Sometimes it takes a difficult, unique and trying situation to help us realize our mistakes and move us to change. Naturally, these situations also bring more feedback to the table, and we have sought to humbly hear that feedback, be willing to see the log in our own eye and repent where necessary.

Given the nature of the situation with Jordan and Karen, we also want you to be prepared for the potential of many media stories about our church to be published over the next several days. We are aware of this likely outcome and will not address members or former members specifically in any communication since we do not release this information to the public. This weekend, Matt will speak generally about member care and church discipline because the conclusion of our James series is providentially focused on this topic, but he will not speak directly to the situation at hand.

In all of this, we are deeply grieved by the way this situation has brought reproach to the name of Jesus. Our hearts are heavy and broken over the things that have been said about our good and faithful God. We often talk about the “ongoing ethics of confession and repentance,” and as your elders, we know that we are not exempt from these ethics. In every way that we’ve mishandled this situation, along with others in the past, we repent and ask for forgiveness. As a church, we talk regularly about the power of the gospel to forgive all our sins, past, present and future. In this moment, we are clinging to that truth, knowing that we and everyone else involved in this situation desperately need the grace and mercy of Jesus.

– The Village Church Elders

I mean, this is about as good as it gets when it comes to a conservative church responding…So… this is pretty big step, a step that many did not expect. I’m not sure I did.

Yes, I think church contracts and church discipline are unnecessary tactics. They create environments ripe for abuse and pedestals and other such religious b.s.

And according to many who have reached out to me via email, there’s a lot of all that happening at TVC.

And honestly, even biblically, contracts and discipline are a stretch at best. And most of the time? They’re tools for abuse.

BUT.

The churches that do have these practices in place don’t usually respond like this… this email possesses a mostly gentle and humble tone, something that we don’t often seen when churches retract big statements.

So, for that, I am grateful–very grateful.

But you know what I’m most grateful for? That TVC is now thinking about their congregation’s kids–their safety, their protection, their well-being. My gosh, I bet they heard from a multitude of concerned parents! And they should have! Their actions were awful…

But dear God… thank you.

And to you who helped make this issue a big deal on Facebook and Twitter… thank you. Because it’s indeed a BIG DEAL. And for once a church seems to be willing to agree and try to correct their mistakes.

So thank you.

UPDATE:

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.

UPDATE 2: 

Some thoughts on this apology.

Comments

  1. says

    “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 is not an apology, IMO. They are apologizing for not being better prepared to argue for their position. To me, it sounds like them saying they were right all along but were not prepared to convince Karen about their rightness when they had the chance. Glad that they have let her go from membership. However, this apology says nothing about them strong arming her out of Active Duty service with SIM. It says nothing about improperly putting her under church discipline, IMO (other than saying they focus too much on the process and not the person, I grant). It may be a step in the right direction but much ground is left uncovered.

    • Matthew Paul Turner says

      Yeah. It’s not perfect for sure. But it’s not terrible, which is saying something, considering how ACTS29 churches usually respond. BUT it does feel a little like damage control, a statement more for people inside the church as opposed to those of us on the outside…

      • says

        Agreed. It is better than what we saw with MHC and Mark Driscoll. Actually, the whole scenario reminded me of your posts back in 2012 about Andrew (?) and MHC’s church discipline fiasco.

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      • KStu says

        This sounds like a humble apology, and I wouldn’t overanalyze the message. They apologized for the way they handled her by being too rigid with the covenant and not being compassionate and gentle with her; what more do you want? Also, inviting other people to come forward to share their own experiences is pretty amazing and gutsy, sounds like reconciliation to me.

      • says

        MPT, Actually, I think it *is* terrible. Just because they try to make this sound sweet doesn’t mean it’s “not terrible”. I’ve experienced betrayal from church leaders before (certainly not to this degree Karen has), but their “gentle” nature is WHY it is absolutely terrible. It’s a wolf trying to look and sound like a sheep, because they don’t want their other sheep scattering into the hills.

        • Tyler says

          Lisa, will you cast the first stone? Matt Chandler and the Villiage Church are just people. They are sinners who sin, and repent. They do all they can to be consistent with the Word, and when they fail I don’t think it’s “terrible ” as you say. It’s just human. I live in Maui now, but attended the Villiage for over 10 years. They try, and Matt tries hard to stay holy, but none are holy under the Father. They apologized. Give them a break.

    • says

      I want to be charitable here and interpret the apology this way: “we should have anticipated that you might seek an annulment/divorce and provided counsel to you right away instead of waiting until it was too late and you already moved forward. Instead of expecting you to come to us and ask our permission for an annulment, we should have made it clear from the outset that we support your decision to end your marriage.”

      Again, that’s a very charitable reading, but I think that may have been what they intended.

      • says

        Matt,

        That IS a very cheritable reading. However, that is not what they wrote. Saying they ought to have given her a better practical theology lesson is different than saying they supported her in her decision. Since the decision was a major point of contention from the start, the absence of stating their support of her in that decision says a lot.

        • Vic Christian says

          Brian – according to God’s Word they are correct in not supporting her decision to end her marriage. This is very clear in Christ’s Words as recorded in Matthew 19:7-9. Please read this. Now – I have read Matthew Turner’s article as well as a lengthy article in the Daily Beast – which is a non-Christian publication. Now – should I believe these two or God?

          • says

            That’s a false choice. Honest and Bible-believing pastors would disagree with you, Vic Christian, on this matter. I am one. The Bible talks about other fradulent marriages (e.g. Pharoah and Sarah, Abimelech and Sarah, etc.). Such “marriages” were not upheld. We may disagree over whether or not those situations apply here but know that one can believe God and still support Karen’s decision to get an annulment. And as far as applying Mt 19:9, notice that Jesus allows for divorce in the case of sexual immorality (“porneia” in Greek). Isn’t pedophilia “porneia”? And that assumes this is a divorce case, which it is not according to the state of Texas.

    • Mr.H says

      ““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.”

      I got tripped up on this part as well. Apparently they *still* aren’t “communicating well” because I could read this one of two ways.

      1) “We consider annulment to be essentially the same as divorce. Karen did not understand this, and so didn’t think she was violating our membership covenant – which addresses only divorce specifically and not annulment – by her actions. We should have made it more clear that we consider annulment to be spiritually equivalent to divorce.”

      2) “We were really on Karen’s side from the beginning, and we should have told her that so that she wouldn’t have gotten so defensive with us.”

    • Don R says

      Reading everything they wrote, they clearly never have reached any decision regarding the “marriage”. Although they clearly leaned toward preserving it. But they really need to wake up, read the Scripture and understand that every civil marriage is not a Biblical marriage to be preserved. Annulments (particularly in sexually fraudulent cases like the Roots’) have longstanding in the Church and Protestants need to wake up and discern before civil marriages include polygamy and incest, which they will, because, you know, privacy. The Church has no obligation to enforce civil marriages, and no right to demand “faithfulness” to frauds.
      To prove their good faith, they need to affirm her decision to get an annulment. It would have been far more damaging and unbiblical to toy with reconciliation (of a phony marriage?) for some months when she is convinced that he defrauded her from the beginning, which he likely did.

      • Mr.H says

        “But they really need to wake up, read the Scripture and understand that every civil marriage is not a Biblical marriage to be preserved.”

        This is an excellent and important point.

        I have heard and read some astute exegesis of Jesus’ comments on divorce in Matthew’s Gospel, that in particular asserts that Jesus’ teaching seems to indicate that:

        (a) divorce without cause leads the divorced woman to commit adultery when she remarries because, although legally severed, the prior marriage is still spiritually in force as far as God is concerned.

        (b) porneia (sexual immorality) allows for divorce because this act severs the marriage relationship, and a legal divorce merely recognizes this fact. Thus, a spouse divorced with cause does not commit adultery because the prior marriage was already severed when the porneia was committed.

        Admittedly, this is some pretty technical stuff, and it’s merely an opinion, however well-informed. Still, it makes sense to me.

  2. Ben Mordecai says

    The only thing they’re apologizing for is for not being more personable in communicating where they stand. If If were her I would not accept the apology.

    • Mr.H says

      This is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for Mars Hill Church & Acts 29 leadership.

      I served in an Acts 29 church for 3 years, and I saw and heard this same shtick over and over. Never apologize for anything other than “not communicating as well as we could have.” With the implication, of course, that part (or all) of the blame lies on the person who didn’t understand what they were trying to say/do.

      • Ted Salas says

        Yes. And of course make sure you add that Jesus forgives all, so anyone who may still be seeking justice, redress, or restitution is shamed into silence. After all, Jesus has already forgiven us, why do you still harbor “bitterness”?

        • Mr.H says

          Hi Ted,

          It sounds like you too are familiar with these tactics, because you are spot on. Thank you for adding in what I didn’t.

          Yes, after blame-shifting, elders will simply ask for forgiveness (by which they mean “forgive and forget”), and if the victim can’t “forget,” they accuse the victim of being bitter.

  3. says

    In just a quick once-over, the apology is grossly unacceptable in two areas:

    1) They see absolutely nothing wrong with their covenant. There’s been no contemplation of the harm the covenant wrought here. In fact, the language of praise for their covenant

    2) And I quote: “When it comes to protecting children, we believe we have strong procedures in place and feel confident in how we’ve handled allegations and confessions regarding child abuse in any form, specifically in the situation with Jordan Root. In examining ourselves in this area, we have been affirmed in the policies and processes we have in place to protect children. That said, in the weeks ahead, we will do an external audit to confirm we are doing everything possible to protect children and to evaluate how we handle child safety, abusers, abuse victims and other related matters in a biblical and legal manner.”

    Uhm, TVC didn’t bother to tell members there was a problem with Justin Root until three months in, if memory serves. I think they had to be pushed into doing that. This is not a “strong procedure in place.” It does not protect children. It’s entirely inadequate. I can only hope their review of policies and procedures is adequate but I have a sneaking suspicion nothing is going to happen.

    And lastly, they only mention Jesus twice, and that’s in the last paragraph. In fact, let me highlight the first mention:

    “In all of this, we are deeply grieved by the way this situation has brought reproach to the name of Jesus. Our hearts are heavy and broken over the things that have been said about our good and faithful God.”

    As one of the critics of TVC, as someone who called and emailed and Twittered at TVC to get their act together, I can’t help that they’re blaming ME for bringing reproach on the name of Jesus. You’re not going to do that to me, TVC. It’s completely your problem and a few of us brought it to the attention of the world that you were treating a woman abominably. But you need to look to yourselves for bringing reproach to Jesus. All I can say about this incident is that it’s confirmed my sentiment that I’m completely DONE with church for the rest of my natural life.

      • Jeremy Brown says

        Your relationship with God is reflected in your relationship with the Church…maybe not a specific local body, but a person’s attitude towards THE CHURCH and worshiping/fellowship corporately is clearly indicative to their relationship with God. The Scripture is clear about that and there is no Scriptural precedent for removing one’s self from fellowship with the body unless they are not a believer.

        We love Jesus if we obey His commands. Our faith, if it is a real and true saving Christian faith must be grounded in and submission to Scripture. Love of God; love of truth; and the humility to admit that our feelings and preconceived opinions can be wrong and indeed are if they are contrary to Scripture is paramount.

        I say all this to say that the attitude of “I’m done with church…but I’m still a Christian” is a lie on one of the two because they are mutually exclusive attitudes.

        I understand people get hurt and damaged either by false churches; human nature that we all still have (even elders); church splits and so forth…but that doesn’t mean that we can be done with the Church unless we were never really a part of it. God is one with His Church. He identifies with His Church and we identify in Him as a body…not as an individual. that’s what the bible teaches; which is our sole authoritative rule of faith.

        I speak this as a churchgoer, a Christian, and a teacher. I am not an elder in any church, nor have I ever been. At one point in time I was an elder at a former church.

        I know people have real hurts that have to heal…at the same time we need to be mature enough to separate a hurt that needs to heal (and must be forgiven as well) with our willingness to fellowship and be part of a church.

        • Jerusha says

          How can you love Jesus, God and not love His church. The Church is Christ’s bride, how is a bride to be treated?

        • says

          The Church does not equal any given 501(c)(3) local assembly. It is the body of believers spanning the globe and throughout the millenniums. This is the Bride spoken of in Revelation. You can be done with one local assembly (or even all local assemblies) and still love the Church universal.

          As for not forsaking gathering together, might I remind you of Christ’s words: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”? Even meeting online can fill the need for Christian fellowship.

        • K. Griffiths says

          The above poster didn’t say they not going to get together with other believers. I don’t go to a building every Sunday morning, but I do get together with other believers for teaching and Bible study every week. What does that make me? Sometimes people just need to vent. They don’t need others to look down at them, seemingly judging them nor do they need a stranger tell them what they need to do.

      • KStu says

        Scripture says to not forsake the assembly. Churches are not perfect because they are made up of sinners. The gospel is not for perfect Christians but for imperfect people. We live in a broken and fallen world where the enemy is rampant. He would lead you to believe that you don’t need the church, because the further He can get you away from the body of Christ, the deeper he can grow your heart cold and bitter, which is where he attacks believers. TVC is one church out of thousands–and when you stand before the Lord one day, whether you agreed or did not agree with what the TVC did God will not hold you accountable for–the reason we need church is because God did not design us to live heathily without accountability and discipleship. Hate TVC all you want, but these are people you will spend eternity with–they, just like you are all in need of grace and forgiveness.

        • K. Griffiths says

          The above poster didn’t say they not going to get together with other believers. Sometimes people just need to vent. They don’t need others to look down at them, seemingly judging them nor do they need a stranger telling them what they need to do.

    • Mr.H says

      Sounds like a backhanded compliment to me, but I’m not sure how you meant it.

      It’s worth noting that throughout Scripture, God consistently works *outside* of institutions. And the one instance of trying to work through an institution, i.e. kingship in ancient Israel, was a horrible and tragic failure. Even the priestly system became corrupt and ineffective.

      So God resorted to people from the fringes to consistently work good amidst sin and failure. Shepherds, prostitutes, foreigners, fig farmers, fishermen, violent political radicals, tax collectors, and eventually a construction worker from Nazareth.

      So, in this situation, the fact that God works his will not through the institutionalized church but through “just some bloggers” doesn’t surprise me at all, and absolutely isn’t an insult, despite your comparison with TMZ.

      If you were a nice, obedient Jewish boy living at court in Samaria during the 8th century BC, how do you think you would have considered the prophet Amos?

  4. Andy says

    One thing interesting about the mega church model is that it just doesn’t exist. I don’t have a problem with it per se but elder authority just isn’t possible over a group of thousands, many which, the elders will never meet or even know who they are.

    • says

      I’ve thought about that myself, how church discipline in a small church (like I grew up in) would be more meaningful because I know everyone in my church, they know me, and we actually all care about each other. The elders of that church would be older people who I know really do care about me.

      In a megachurch of thousands…impossible. The model doesn’t work. I’d accept help and discipline from people I knew, and knew cared about me. I’d be pretty unlikely to do it from strangers, which is what they would essentially be. In college, I went (sometimes) to a large megachurch. I would joke with my mom that I could die and roll under the pew and no one would know for weeks. How could they possibly know how to discipline me?

      • Steffany says

        TVC has more than one campus. I’m sure you are aware. Each campus has a pastor, elders and deacons that handle campus level things. I went to TVC. Whenever there was an issue at say the Fort Worth campus, the Fort Worth campus pastor, elders, staff and so on handled it. As a whole the TVC has thousands of members, but each campus does not. The Fort Worth has maybe 400, maybe. Plano even less. Denton has become it’s own autonomous campus now and it is no longer apart of TVS starting in August. In five to six years that is the plan for the Fort Worth campus and Dallas in even a short amount of time will become it’s own autonomous church and no longer connected to TVS. They are just church plants that once they are “healthy” functioning churches will go off and do their own thing in the context of where they are. So im assuming based on how TVC normally does things, that this was started with the Dallas Campus alone and Chandler not really being involved unless it became necessary. I met Chandler once at one of the campuses and emailed him a few times and he emailed back in less than two days, on a holiday even. He responded several times actually. I’m not sure if being a member helped with the quick response, I don’t know. But the campus I went to was the one who disciplined me, loved me, prayed for me, and lived live with me. I know all the elders, the pastor and staff, at the campus I was apart of. I think it’s easy to assume what TVC is like. People always have bad experiences and things they don’t like at churches. I haven’t been to a church yet where it was 100% pleasant all of the time because we are dealing with fallen man.

        “I would joke with my mom that I could die and roll under the pew and no one would know for weeks. How could they possibly know how to discipline me? How could they possibly know how to discipline me? ”

        TVC is not that big. I know Fort Worth Campus can only hold less than 400 at a time. The Flower Mound sanctuary its even that big. I was shocked the first time I went to it for a conference. I assumed it was the T.D. Jakes type deal.
        If you went to TVC your campus elder and pastor would handle it things. You’d have friends, home group, and other way to be discipled.

        • says

          Let me clarify — by small, I don’t mean 400.

          I mean…up to 20. People who actually are quite involved in each other’s lives. The church I attend now is about 100 or more, and I can’t say they know much about my life, either.

          The definition of small, for North Dakota, is clearly not the same as small in Texas.

  5. says

    Hey Matt,

    Thank you for posting this post and the one from yesterday. I wouldn’t have known about this if not for you drawing attention to it. As a missionary to Peru for the last 6 years, and having lived in Europe for a couple of years before that, this particular situation hits home to me in a real way. Also for two years here I also did some ministry with SIM missionaries here who are some of the most top-notch people of integrity I’ve had the privilege of serving/ministering with. There’s so many aspects to this situation that I can’t even…

    I know this is mostly about how the church has mishandled this and treated Karen, but if you’ll allow me to share something real quick:

    I was twenty-five and single when I first went out on the mission field, and before being allowed to go I went through a relatively thorough vetting process with the leaders of my mission organization. Like serious stuff, wanting to make sure I didn’t have any particular issues that, in their words “the enemy could pounce on once I landed on the mission field.” At first I had several issues of integrity while there, which led me to being more accountable to a friend on the ground on a regular basis, as well as Skyping weekly with the mission director to ask me direct and personal questions, who would have had me return home over stuff far more benign than some other organizations would have worried themselves with. Granted none of what I had to confess was stuff of the nature this couple (really the husband) was into.

    From my perspective having lived abroad much of my adult life now, I can’t help but wonder what kind of screening process this church/mission puts its potential missionaries through, since something like child pornography is not some overnight thing one falls into by accident, but clearly is a built up appetite that has gets fed over time in order to get that far.That being said, there needs to be a screening process the missionaries are put through before going abroad. Even though such a thing is still not foolproof since, for example (since we don’t know) the guy could hide things and lie about any issues he had that would have disqualified him from ministry, let alone be permitted to fly overseas, representing them and the Gospel. I have so many questions going through my mind about how he would have wound up on the field in the first place if certain protocols were in place. I hurt for the people affected by this, especially Karen. They totally dropped the ball with how they handled her, but seem to have protected the husband. Is he some kind of star missionary they can’t lose or something?

    That being said, I don’t want to be self-serving or spammy, but I’ve linked my name to a blog I wrote earlier this year called “Do you know what your missionaries are actually DOING on the mission field?”, mostly dealing with more benign issues like wasting time or not really producing the fruit that their newsletters and YouTube videos might have supporters believe, and having come across people and wondered “who let this person be a missionary?”. I can say from both personal experience as well as having seen things with my own eyes that it’s very easy for missionaries to feel they are isolated and unable (or scared?) of admitting any problems or struggles they’re having with those back home. Then in some cases they keep things a secret all the while they are continuing to feed their demons and then all of a sudden one day a single missionary is pregnant out of wedlock, or a married couple suddenly announces they are coming off the field to divorce, or whatever the case may be. I know of a missionary who became some kind of drug dealer on the field even!

    Needless to say, I have a whole host of thoughts about this, but I will leave it here for now since I realize your last couple of posts were dealing more with the church’s behavior towards the Karen, which was just atrocious. Thankfully they’re making an effort to right this, even if it was thanks to people like you using your platform to rip open the doors some people try keeping shut about these kinds of things in ministry.

    Blessings

    • SFG says

      From someone who was a missionary living overseas for 25 years, and continues to work as the Asia Director for a Christian organization, I am fairly confident that SIM vetted Jordan Root carefully, and probably asked him whether he viewed pornography. However, a mission group can only rely on the trustfulness of a persons answers to probing questions during the vetting process. It is my belief that Jordan Root lied when asked if he had viewed pornography.

      • Patrice says

        Yes, and he must have been very good at it. Even his wife had no clue of it until late last fall–and had to keep pressuring him in order to get what is likely only a partial confession. Considering his gift for lying, Village Church is being foolish with their casual counseling requirements and all-in protection of him.

      • David Ozanne says

        Maybe this will let the boards of churches and organizations to seek the Hoy Gjost to give them discernmentlike the apostles had, unless they think that those gifts have passed away. You cannot lie to the Holy Ghost. Ask Annanias and Saphira about that.

        s

    • Mr.H says

      As someone who has a close family member who is a professional clinical psychologist, I just want to add that it would go a long way towards detecting these sorts of things as long as proper screening procedures are in place and conducted by a competent and trained professional.

      What I mean is: hire professional psychologists who are trained and experienced in administering various psychological assessments that are designed to pick up on potential problems. While these assessments are not foolproof, they are much more effective than simply asking someone to self-disclose any issues.

      I don’t know what SIM’s approach is to psychology (I know some Christians are anti-psychology, while some are not). Even if a Christian, a church, or a missions agency is wary of “psychology” (which is a tremendously broad and diverse field), it’s still possible to carefully pick some helpful elements and avoid others. In cases like this, competent psychological assessment would be a tremendous help, in my opinion.

  6. brendt says

    I can only imagine that the leadership at TVC is thankful that a loving and forgiving God is the arbiter of their sanctification, and not the “can anything good come out of Flower Mound?” crowd. Genuine thanks for being of the former stance.

  7. says

    It’s a start toward a apology that might eventually come, but it is a far cry from actually apologizing for anything.

  8. Lisa says

    “[W]e 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.” Well, Jesus said adultery was grounds for divorce; and Jesus *also* said that if a man looks upon a woman with lust, he has already committed adultery. So why was Jordan Root watching child pornography? Out of concern for the children being raped? No. He was looking upon those female children (can’t call them women at age four) with lust. Therefore, he is an adulterer in the eyes of Jesus and she is allowed to “biblically” divorce.

    They weren’t thinking about “serving” anything at all but their own interests. Let’s see a REAL apology.

  9. says

    A step in the right direction, but not enough to demonstrate a true change of heart. It would be rather more credible if it they hadn’t sent out that missive against Karen a few days ago. They had had plenty of time by then to assess the situation in the cold light of day and put things right, but instead they dug themselves in deeper.

  10. Jon Houding says

    Statements of apology:
    “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.”

    “In receiving more information and considering the way we’ve ministered to Karen specifically, we believe that we owe her an apology…. In hindsight, we wish that we would have provided clarity to Karen in an immediate fashion and are saddened by our unpreparedness.”

    “In every way that we’ve mishandled this situation, along with others in the past, we repent and ask for forgiveness.”

    There are admonition of fault and failure, sentiments of regret, continuing steps of correction, listening to outside correction, and offers of apology.

    Still, like some have stated, they should’ve been more specific towards what they are sorry for and what they are not sorry for.

    • says

      Your first quote was directed to the members of TVC, not Karen.

      Your second quote was directed to Karen but you left out the part that said exactly WHAT they were apologizing for: “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.” It sounds like the only thing they are “sorry” for is not making really, really, really clear up front that they didn’t think she had a valid reason to seek an annulment.

      Your third quote is also directed to the members of TVC…in other words, they are apologizing for the public relations mess that has caused people to question whether TVC is a cult. They are not, and did not anywhere, ask Karen for forgiveness.

  11. Sarah says

    It is still quite perplexing to me that in all the blog posts that I’ve read, and now, especially, the ‘apology’ letter, that there has still shown to be no real understanding on the mental severity of what’s at hand. Yes, Jordan Root is a soul; a human in need of grace, but to admittedly find pleasure in the horrific sexual treatment of babies digs to a level of psychosis that is beyond simply placing one in Christian counseling and being given security restrictions. The man is truly sick. My mother has paranoid schizophrenia; she thinks planes overhead and editors in magazines are trying to send her messages. She is fully capable of repentance and understanding of the gospel, but that doesn’t change the fact that she will cause emotional harm to others and herself because of this sickness in her mind that she is incapable of controlling by shear will power. That’s the severity of addicts to child pornography and the sickening desire to continue to feed the need of watching the most vulnerable be abused. This wasn’t a mid-life crisis where he went and spent all of their money. This was a confession to years and years of desiring to see young children be sexually abused. The fact that Karen wasn’t lavished with such an overwhelming out pouring of compassion after she had to sit through a conversation hearing graphic detail of the detestable videos her husband had seen and taken pleasure in is unfathomable. Why in the world would pedophilia not be considered biblical grounds for divorce? This is not discounting Jordan’s need for Jesus but this extremely sad ordeal should have been about submitting Jordan into a facility (after all, most people go to jail for the severity of pursing child porn) and, mostly, protecting Karen; seeing her as a soul, just as equal, not just a subject to irrational and unbiblical submission.

    • Heather says

      ‘My mother has paranoid schizophrenia; she thinks planes overhead and editors in magazines are trying to send her messages. She is fully capable of repentance and understanding of the gospel, but that doesn’t change the fact that she will cause emotional harm to others and herself because of this sickness in her mind that she is incapable of controlling by shear will power. That’s the severity of addicts to child pornography and the sickening desire to continue to feed the need of watching the most vulnerable be abused.’ Bravo! Well said.

    • Brian Sexton says

      Don’t go looking into TVC policy/attitude towards mental health. “Biblical Counseling” is the only option. No secular counseling allowed. I have the email from staff that says as much.

      • Mr.H says

        So sad, and so frustrating.

        “Nouthetic Counseling” is a terrible approach to mental healthcare. More often than not, it simply re-victimizes victims, while also failing to address any actual mental health issues.

        Also, renaming it “biblical counseling” might be a smart PR move, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still “Nouthetic” underneath the new name.

        So, with this information, we now know that Jordan Root will not be receiving the kind of mental healthcare that a confessed pedophile needs to receive, and moreover, that Mr. Root will not be competently assessed by a trained psychologist regarding his treatment plan, his “progress,” and his suitably to be around families and children.

  12. a voice says

    So for everyone focusing on someone else’s business, please raise your hand if you regularly or habitually or occasionally view pornography. You are not far off. Protect the abused and vulnerable-adults included-instead of exploiting them for selfish pleasure-even on the internet.

    • Patrice says

      Protecting abused and vulnerable adults is also minding someone else’s business. Funny how that goes

    • Mr.H says

      This tactic is called “sin levelling.” It attempts to minimize a particular sin (usually a very grievous one) by claiming that all sins are actually equal, and that all people are equally capable of all sins.

      This is absolutely not true. On a number of levels.

      (a) All sins are equally damning spiritually, but have different types of practical consequences. A sinner who covets his neighbor’s car is just as much a sinner as someone who actually steals said car, but one is going to jail and the other isn’t.

      (b) Not all people are capable of all sins. Pedophilia is a psychological disorder. It’s an illness. Just like not everyone will develop cancer, or dementia, in their lifetime, not everyone will be afflicted with pedophilia.

      Being aroused by pornography of adults engaging in normal sexual acts, while a sin, is absolutely not the same as being aroused by pornography of children being sexually abused.

      If you or anyone else thinks that they are in danger of being aroused by child abuse, please seek professional help immediately. It is not normal, and it is very dangerous.

  13. Warren says

    It makes one think of the quote often attributed to Winston Churchill (though a version is actually from Abba Eban): “You can count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other options.”

  14. says

    Don’t let them off the hook just yet; this is the gist of their apology to her: “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 essence, they’re sorry they didn’t explain themselves better up front. This really isn’t an apology; it’s an excuse.

    • Mr.H says

      I agree with you – that’s how I tend to interpret that same paragraph.

      TVC considers annulment to be the same (spiritually) as divorce. Their mistake is not explicitly saying this in their membership covenant, thus destroying any potential case they may try to make that Ms. Hinkley violated said membership covenant.

      It will be interesting to see if, in the weeks and months to come, TVC modifies the membership covenant to specifically mention annulment, or simply to use more inclusive language than “divorce.”

  15. Erik says

    “…and we have also made the decision to move forward in releasing her from membership.”

    Releasing her? WTF?

    • says

      She hasn’t been a member since February 11.

      Interestingly, Karen says that even though they still considered her a member, she didn’t receive the 5/23/15 e-mail.

    • Jude says

      Can any of you picture Jesus handing out a covenant for new converts to sign? Or Paul? Timothy? What about New Testament home churches? Think they had a covenant?

    • Mr.H says

      I agree with your “wtf” sentiments.

      But remember this: They explicitly say that they do not plan on making any significant changes to doctrine or policy regarding membership covenants, marriage, or church discipline.

      So, they can’t say, “We recognize now that Karen’s membership ended back on Feb. 11” because that would set a precedent and open the door to changes in policy that they are absolutely not going to make.

      This is a one-time thing, and it’s only happening because of the public nature of the situation. Just imagine how this would be playing out if Ms. Hinkley hadn’t gone public or received the help that she has received…

  16. Anne says

    While any admission of wrongdoing is encouraging, as a lawyer I can’t help but think this was done primarily because their lawyers told them what a risky legal situation they put themselves in. Start with the fact the Karen is an extremely sympathetic party and the fact that she alleges actual economic damages (by her account, they interfered with her getting another job). Then there’s the fact that she resigned before they told her she was under discipline, so she has a prima facie case that the covenant no longer applied to her and that they no longer had the right to discipline her. So, while courts are reluctant to intervene on such matters, the first will push them past that reluctance and the second will give them a way to do so without getting entangled in the internal workings and doctrines of a religion.

    Now, in the case of a clear cut sin that would place her under discipline or even a penfing divorce, the church could argue that she resigned before they had the chance to formally tell her she was under discipline as a way to beat the clock. But annulment is not legally or colloquially the same as divorce. It means no marriage was ever validly contracted. Because nothing in the covenant or other doctrinal documents mention that the church equates annulment with divorce or requires parties considering annulment to take the same steps as those considering divorce, Karen could argue convincingly that she was never on notice that seeking an annulment without going through the steps required to seek divorce could place her under discipline.

    In short, this isn’t just a PR nightmare (and any lawyer worth her salt would tell them to drop it on those grounds alone), it is a,legal quagmire that these petty potentates jumped into with both feet repeatedly and with gusto. This apology for failure to communicate appears to be largely an attempt to safe face.

    • Mr.H says

      I completely agree.

      The TVC elders are probably receiving advice from their friendly legal contacts to let this slide, for all of the reasons you helpfully point out.

      This isn’t a truly remorseful apology born of repentance. It’s damage control, plain and simple. They admit as much, although they try to spin it. (i.e. in the “Why speak out now?” paragraph…)

  17. Andrew says

    Having one time been a Village Church member for over 10 years, essentially what I hear from this apology is this: we are incapable of caring for anyone. My family experienced that 5 years ago. And several of our friends at TVC experienced it, too. They were unprepared to care for her? Well, that was the same excuse 2 years ago involving a friend partnering with them on a church plant. The same excuse 6 years ago when friends who were missionaries sent by TVC were pulled back home virtually overnight because of false gossip against them. The same excuse 5 years ago when we sought wisdom to help a couple under our leadership at the church who was leaning towards divorce, yet the church was hung up on my theological differences. They are unprepared constantly. The issue is that their theology gets in the way of truly caring for people. They’ve missed the whole idea of Jesus. Right-thinking is such a shallow, low-level perch. Such an elementary way to see the world. Yet that is TVC’s idol (and many other Acts29 churches). When we were struggling, I could care less about their caring policy, what they thought was truth, etc. I just wanted someone to listen and give us some big hugs. We found that outside of the church and it was a better picture of Jesus than I ever got at the Village.

    • Mr.H says

      Thank you for sharing, friend. It is only through brave people who choose to open up and share their stories that the dysfunction and danger of churches like TVC will be brought to light.

      Have you considered sharing your story on a more public platform? Perhaps through Mr. Turner here, or through Amy Smith or even Deb and Dee at The Wartburg Watch?

  18. Stan says

    I agree it’s a start. In fact, I pray that it’s just the first part of some major changes and that it brings true humility and willingness to be accountable to the leaders of The Village Church. But this apology (did you know the original meaning of apology was “defense of one’s actions”?) sounds also like a lot of damage control and attempt to regain the high ground. There are three areas where this apology egregiously fails:

    1. The notification emails sent to the Dallas campus and then to the 6000 Covenant members of all campuses mentioned Jordan and Karen repeatedly by name. In contrast, the apology hid the offenders under the collective noun of “elders”. From what I’ve seen of the document trail, at the very minimum Steve Hardin, Matt Younger, Richard and Erin Brindley should have been mentioned by name. I suspect that the entire elder body of the Dallas campus were involved, along with some of the central elders, and each and every one of them should have individually taken responsibility by name just as publicly as the original notifications “outed” Jordan and Karen.

    2. Another double standard of specificity. The notifications gave details of Jordan and Karen’s offenses and how they had come about. The apology was very general instead of giving details of the offenses against Karen: the revisionist, retroactive declaration of church discipline, the jerking around on her finances along with the deceptive and inadequate communication to financial supporters as to how it was being handled, the shaming of her publicly, the direction to “push her under their care”.

    3. TVC’s policy when a church member is found in sin and confronted by it is to require (a) the sinner to walk in consistent repentance for a “season”, and (b) to accept restrictions on behavior and/or freedom and additional oversight from others. It is generally not acceptable for the confessing sinner to self police their repentance, nor for them to continue in ministry while going through that season. The treatment of Jordan clearly demonstrates this policy, as does the attempted treatment of Karen. Yet the elders are apparently neither restricting themselves from continuing this type of all-encompassing oversight and disciplinary ministry for a day, much less a season, and they are only accountable to each other, in effect self policing. This is clear hypocrisy.

    As you said, it’s a start. But only a start.

  19. Dawn says

    Ironic that Chandler publically blasted Driscoll for being harsh and overbearing to church members (and kicked him out of A29) and then turned around and did the same thing

    • Mr.H says

      Very ironic, indeed.

      People don’t simply form a relationship with someone completely different from them, and whom they disagree on fundamental issues.

      Chandler got connected with Driscoll and Acts 29 for a reason. Chandler and Driscoll are more similar than most people realize. Same ego, same anger issues, same lack of self control in the pulpit, same need to exert unhealthy levels of control over the congregation. Chandler is the guy who tried to invite anonymous critics to approach him in person by yelling insults at them from the pulpit. Chandler is also the same guy who had to take down years of his past sermons because he was essentially a Driscoll clone, i.e., using inappropriate language/terminology and tone in the pulpit.

      Also remember: Driscoll created Acts 29 as an extension of Mars Hill Church, and he led it for 12 years. Acts 29 is fundamentally imbued with the Driscoll/Mars Hill DNA. Ms. Hinkley’s bravery and courage has exposed this very thing at, of all places, the home church of Acts 29’s President, and Driscoll’s heir and successor.

  20. Narcissistic Zero says

    Angry frat boy club learned how to apologize from American politicians: “You know, we were about 99% right. But gosh darn it, we didn’t show quite as much compassion as we could have.”

    Amazingly, people will keep herding through the doors. It’s a good show.

  21. Patrice says

    Matthew, a while back, I listened to your apology-podcasts with Stephanie. Now I read your last update. Thanks for being a good guy.

  22. Jeff M says

    A few days ago, with this situation in mind but without specifically referencing it, I tweeted something to the effect of “When my theology prevents me from acting in a Christlike way, it’s a sign that I need to re-evaluate my theology, ala Huck Finn.” I think this is a case where Matt Chandler and most of the rest of the elders at TVC are smarter than their theology allows them to be (specifically their ecclesiology), but they are (by choice) prisoners of their theology. When I read the correspondence between TVC and Karen (and then, certainly, this e-mail), I sense a lot of dissonance within the elders, as if they’re not thrilled that they have to go down this road, but *have* to go down it because its their communally chosen ecclesiology. And they are prisoners of it still. Even with the level of dissonance (internal and external) it has created, they still can’t bring themselves to re-evaluate their ecclesiology. That’s a tragedy. It’s mitigated by the fact that they recognize that Christlikeness at least demands exceptions to the policy, but it’s tragic nonetheless.

    • Mr.H says

      What do you mean when you refer to TVC’s “ecclesiology?”

      Their understanding of the Church, i.e., who is and is not a member?

      I’m not disagreeing with you – just trying to understand your point better.

      • Jeff says

        You are correct. Their ecclesiology would basically be their theology of what the institution/organization/organism of the church is and should be. It would include their views of how the church should function, be led, and what it’s role and mission is in the world.

        Specifically in this case, when I say they are a prisoner of their ecclesiology, I’m referring to the fact that they have pre-determined that elders must, necessarily, exercise a strong degree of control and authority where the dissolution of a member’s marriage is concerned, as well as a strong degree of control and authority over when and under what circumstances a member may leave. There would also be an emphasis on the elders’ “spiritual authority” over the members of the organization.

        It *appears* to me that there are some strong undertones of a theology that, as a woman, Karen should be willingly subordinated to her male church leaders. But I have not seen the pastors/elders at TVC openly appeal to that, so it is certainly possible that I’m reading that in.

        I hope answered the question well, Mr.H.

        • Mr.H says

          Yes, answered very well, Jeff. Thanks for taking the time.

          Your answer confirms what I assumed you were trying to say. I just didn’t want to assume. :-)

          I agree with you – judging by the decisions and actions of TVC leadership, I’d say that there appears to be a very flawed ecclesiology in play at TVC.

  23. Randall says

    This is an apology but it is not meant for Karen. It is meant for the public, and rightly so. No matter what apology tvc gave, people would have cried it wasn’t sincere, and continue to further condemn tvc. Tvc did note that they were going to apologize personally, not publicly, to individuals. This is the way to do it, and I hope they do a good job in this.

    If Karen is the godly woman everyone claims here to be she will accept their apology and move on, and so will the rest of us. Phil 4:4 says, ” in humility consider others better then yourself.” To much pride in Christians, and I am glad the tvc had shown at least a little humility.

  24. Jere says

    Reads more like damage control from my perspective. Especially after you read Karen’s account. Shame on this group of men for acting in this manner. #fightthenewdrug

  25. Jude says

    I work in PR and this reads to me like the putting forth of a mood piece and a word picture of a loving and kind church that kind of messed up, but they are very loving and kind, and after all they are only human. That’s called damage control.

    They called the annulment a divorce. Not the same thing.

    They did NOT abandon their covenant which has no New Testament basis.

    They are maintaining control of the narrative but they want us all to know how kind and loving they are.

    I don’t doubt that they are kind and loving. They are also deceived by their own power and authority. That’s the issue they should be dealing with.

    Why people “put themselves under” this kind of leadership baffles me.

  26. DIYer says

    I am so confused by everyone claiming that since he was looking At pornography or having lustfuk thoughts that is biblical grounds for
    Divorce. Does this mean if I or my husband have lustful thoughts (granted not for children as Root did) in our hearts for another person we are therefore free to divorce? Slippery slope, no?? I would think there would be plenty of people using that as a reason to get out of their marriage.

    • Mr.H says

      Jesus himself says that “porneia” (the word in the original Greek) is grounds for divorce. This word is understood by most biblical scholars to mean “sexual immorality” and applies to a much wider spectrum of behavior than simply “adultery.” It could be something as simple as a lustful thought, or something as grievous as serial adultery.

      My own personal take is simply to defer to St. Paul’s advice, in that for Christians, just because something is allowed doesn’t mean it is the best option. Christians should know that, for any kind of sexual immorality, divorce is allowed, but not always wise.

      In this particular case, Ms. Hinkley prayed, consulted with trusted Christians, and felt led to exercise her right to sever her marital relationship on the basis of her husband’s grievous “porneia,” which also happens to be a crime and a very real threat to her own and other children.

    • Jude says

      There’s a big difference between a look now and then and a habitual, addictive return to pornography such that it does great harm to the marriage. People don’t generally know that porn changes the wiring of the brain (scientifically proven) and turns the wife into an object over time who is then resented and whose needs are ignored, and creates an atmosphere of lies and deception, manipulations and emotional abuse. Do a web search on porn addiction and you will find that the damage it has brought to Christian marriages is HUGE. When a man prefers pictures (because he can fantasize and have it any way he wants) over his wife, there is a huge problem. If you haven’t lived it, you have no idea how evil and sick the whole thing is.

    • says

      Let me ask you this: if the pastor officiating had been told by Jordan prior to the wedding that he had purchased and watched violent child pornography for years but don’t tell Karen, would the pastor have gone ahead with the ceremony?

    • Michaela says

      Jordan Root lied to Karen before marriage. His fraud induced her to marry him which in Texas is unlawful to do to someone and grounds for an annulment (the marriage never existed.)

      Child porn is FELONY crime under federal and state laws.
      Up to 30 years in federal prison or 2-10 years per count in state prison.

      It is illegal for US residents to engage in child porn or sex acts with minors anywhere in the world. US residents can be prosecuted in the US for these crimes they committed overseas. Source: US Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.), a division of the US Department of Homeland Security.

      (PS: John the Baptist accused King Herod of being unlawfully married to his brother’s wife. There are other examples in the Bible. Not all marriages are lawful.)

  27. Mr.H says

    I appreciate the “Update” at the end of the post. I think that what you began to perceive on your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th readings, I perceived immediately. (I used to serve in an Acts 29 church and so I understand very well the lingo and am able to read between the lines).

    This is not an apology. It is damage control. This is not heartfelt, sincere repentance. This is getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

    For those not familiar with Acts 29 lingo: notice the only actual apology is simply for “not communicating well.” That is classic, common Acts 29 lingo, drawn from the Mars Hill Church culture from which Acts 29 was birthed.

    Also notice that the church defiantly and arrogantly reaffirms the very doctrines, policies, and practices that led to this disastrous situation in the first place. Nothing substantial is going to change at TVC. The odds of another “Karen Hinkley” being abused and victimized by church leaders will remain high as long as TVC adheres to the same controlling, authoritarian, unbiblical approach to church government & church discipline.

    Everyone, please remember: Acts 29 was created and led by Mark Driscoll for the first 12 years or so of its existence. It’s “DNA” is the very same as that of Mars Hill Church. Acts 29 was, and in many ways still is, simply the “Non-Pacific Northwest” arm of Mars Hill Church. Chandler may be a bit more wise than Driscoll in how he handles his public persona, but all of the inherent dysfunction of the Mars Hill Church system is very much alive and well within Acts 29.

  28. Eric says

    Does anyone else see the irony in the fact you’ve just quoted Matthew 18:20 – a verse that comes in the context of what we commonly call church discipline – as a means to justify not putting yourself in communion with or under the authority of a local church as instructed to do by both command and example in Scripture?

    • Eric says

      This was intended as a response to someone above quoting the “where two or three or gathered.” Not sure why it wasn’t placed with that comment.

  29. Eric says

    If I can speak more broadly to this situation, it is disappointing for me to see so many people – who have no real knowledge of the intimate details of the situation – assume that they know exactly how things have unfolded and how The Village Church should have responded to a specific situation in their own local family.

    This is a terrible, awful, no good, wicked situation, and my heart breaks for this woman who is suffering the loss of her husband due to his incredible betrayal of trust. That said, my heart also breaks for TVC and for the broader church due to the undue shame that is being placed upon them and the gospel. TVC has a membership covenant in place that every member agrees to, and everything I have seen shows that they have acted in faithfulness to their membership covenant.

    It appears that Jordan was willing to place himself under the church’s authority. He’s not being protected or anything else like that. He’s being shepherded in accordance with the membership covenant, which I think has some pretty solid biblical basis. He’s been reported to the authorities and investigated, is in counseling, and is under strict observation while at the church. Unfortunately, Karen appears to have been unwilling to place herself under church authority, which betrays her commitment and the teachings of scripture. While she has been hurt tremendously and the church needs to extend to her unending compassion, she also needs to be careful that she is not hurting others who are innocent in this matter. Hurting people hurt people, and in this case, I think she is hurting TVC.

    • Mr.H says

      “If I can speak more broadly to this situation, it is disappointing for me to see so many people – who have no real knowledge of the intimate details of the situation – assume that they know exactly how things have unfolded and how The Village Church should have responded to a specific situation in their own local family.”

      Hi Eric,

      I’ve read the emails released from the church leaders to their home groups, to the church at large, to each other, and to Ms. Hinkley.

      I’ve also read several statements from Ms. Hinkley in which she explains the course of events in a fairly detailed manner.

      I also served in an Acts 29 church for 3 years, so I have intimate knowledge of

      (a) their official policies regarding church discipline
      (b) their unofficial philosophies regarding authority, control, and discipline.

      If I can ask – what is your level of “knowledge of the intimate details of the situation?” Does it include anything in addition to what I listed above? If so, I’m sure that we would all greatly appreciate it if you would share the additional information that you are privy to.

      If, however, you have no additional information, then aren’t you yourself guilty of the very thing you accuse others of? That is, speaking into the situation without knowledge of it?

    • says

      Sir, you have been successfully brainwashed.

      This man HID his CRIMES and continued in his CRIMINAL behavior long before they even sent him into the mission field. This CRIME had successfully been hidden from their church leaders and his now ex-wife and that shows an insane flaw in this so called “church”.

      And your perpetuating of this massive cult teaching only further victimizes Karen, the many children he looked at, and every other victim of abuse out there. Please, please for the sake of society …get some intense therapy.

  30. deathofcommonsense says

    Real Update! A bigger “news” site asked me to write an article on this but they need it to be hard hitting! It’s pretty inconvenient that I already lauded TVC’s apology, so I must quickly find a way to turn it again so I can promote my blog…damn those loud kids and their Dora videos…I almost missed my chance to muckrake…I mean boldly defend another victim!

  31. Jennifer says

    If this is an apology in the US then I pray to God that no American ever apologizes to me! There are no words to describe what this church has done to Karen but protecting a lying pedophile. Whoever still goes to that church or similar churches should do a Bible study. This sounds more like a cult to me. My heart goes out to Karen!

  32. says

    Well, they *have to* make it sound sweet… that’s how grooming happens. It’s “unsuccessful” if they are bold and transparent about their actions and beliefs that perpetuate them.

  33. DM says

    No way in a million years would I go to a church that makes me sign a multi page agreement to let elders run my life. No. way.

  34. Raymond Tham says

    Half baked apology. We Christians are indeed the scum of the earth. 20 years of ministry I know.

  35. Kenneth Smith says

    Praise God for the body of Christ!! I love followers of Christ who have been purchased by his blood just like myself. May we continue to follow him even as men and women fail.

  36. Lynne says

    May the Lord have mercy on your souls. No way would I allow my church to tell me what to do. I’d tell them to kiss my a@@! It’s none of your business if this woman is seeking an annulment. She does not answer to you. Where is your love and compassion when she most needs it? Is this what Jesus would do?

  37. Bill Hubbard says

    Do not forget that this woman singed the covenant and by doing so stated she agreed with the position TVC takes towards divorce. TVC like all churches have the right to establish the biblical guidelines they expect their covenant members to adhere to. If you don’t agree with it then don’t become a Covenant member and cry foul when you find yourself on the other end of the stick.

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