I’m in a state of shock. I cannot believe that in this day and time a church can get away with this.
But the male ego and the need for authority over others has no bounds, particularly in a church where no female voices may be heard at decision making levels.
A quick summary: The Village Church is a large, multi-site church pastored by the increasingly famous Matt Chandler. Matt, along with equally infamous Mark Driscoll, founded the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. The theology is neo-Calvinist and the movement is growing rapidly.
This church sponsored Jordan and Karen Root as missionaries to Asia as part of an organization called SIM. In December, it came to light that Jordan, whose many ministry positions have given him free and unsupervised access to hundreds of children, possessed a massive amount of child pornography on his computer.
The mission agency sent him and his wife home and eventually dismissed them from the ministry. His wife had learned that his child pornography predilection was a long-time pattern that pre-dated their marriage. She filed for an annulment. Clearly the union was based on false pretenses.
She also wrote a letter withdrawing her membership from The Village Church. Her husband, Jordan, was receiving pastoral care there and was encouraged to be in worship and attend his small group activities, although he could not go into the children’s areas.
Then Karen receives an email from the church leadership that says this: “The Elders of TVC [The Village Church] cannot presently accept your resignation of membership. In addition, should you not immediately revoke the petition for annulment, we would sadly move forward and formally discipline you as a member of the church.”
All copies of the correspondence from the church to Karen Hinkley, formerly Karen Root, may be found at this link. I am indebted to blogger Amy Smith who aggregated all this information. There is also a list on her site of all the places Jordan worked over the years.
Please note that Jordan is NOT under formal church discipline since he is doing what the elders of the church require.
This news comes on top of the sad Duggar Family scandal. In that case, parents have expressed only sorrow for Josh but not for the young women whom he molested. The kind of “counseling” the girls received would only suggest that it was all their fault. They would have been forced to “forgive” their brother/abuser and to stay in the same household with him until their parents married them off to some other man.
There is a pattern here: where women have no voice, they will be routinely abused. Period.
Jesus weeps. But these churches grow and grow and grow.
Perhaps the power of social media may help. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses rape culture is starting to be exposed.
In closing, may I suggest that you watch this video. It shows a waitress in a Russian restaurant dealing firmly with a customer who attempts to grope her. Should you find yourself also inappropriately touched, whether it be physical, social or spiritual, you might consider an equivalent response.