JD Hall’s Public Confession Regarding His Twitter Conversation with Ergun Caner’s Son, Who Later Committed Suicide

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JD Hall’s public confession regarding the Braxton Caner exchange on Twitter.

 

Yesterday, JD Hall made a public confession before his church family. It was then read again on his podcast here:

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He also gave it to ABP to publish, Pastor repents for interaction with suicidal teen, along with their background article.

Additionally, today I noticed that he has changed his Twitter account from using his name, J.D. Hall, to only having Pulpit and Pen listed. This picture was shown on his profile yesterday:

jd hall

 

This is how it looks today. The same Twitter handle is being used, but it seems to reflect that the @PulpitandPen Twitter account might be handled by a group of people, the Pulpit and Pen contributors, I suppose the same group who contribute to the Pulpit and Pen blog.  Notice there is no mention of J.D. Hall anywhere, although all the tweets from July 29, 2014 and earlier are from J.D. Hall.

 


  JD Hall’s Public Confession

The Bible tells us how to handle certain matters when there’s conflict or controversy. We’re not given multiple options for how to handle these things, and thankfully the Scripture lines out clearly how to deal with our differences. We’ve been well-instructed in these matters. As you know, the chief and core mission of this church is to glorify God, and the only proper method of accomplishing that goal is to do things in accordance to Scripture without hesitation or reluctance. So, although it is not part of our usual Lord’s Day routine, we need to deal with a matter in accordance with Scripture for the edification of the body. If you’re here as a guest and not a part of our fellowship, then please understand: We’re doing something churches are supposed to do.

This is my confession to you:

After being in this body for a number of years, I began to see corruption, sin, and cover-up in our denomination. I struggled immensely with this, especially in the relationship of our church with the state convention — beginning around 2010. Three years of frustration, disgust, heart-brokenness, and struggle in dealing with these various issues that I believed (and still believe) are a horrible reproach to Christ and his church. All of that struggle came out in a sermon I preached in Helena in 2013 called “Modern Day Downgrade.” Within a few months that sermon had been heard many thousands of times and played on both conventional Christian radio shows and podcasts around the country. It clearly struck a chord. People began to call to see what I thought. They emailed to ask my advice. They began to download my sermons and quote me in their sermons. I was offered help to start and market my own program. People listened to it; many more than I thought would listen. All the while, I was trying to do the work of both a pastor and an evangelist. I say all this because I’ve been fighting a war (a terrible, excruciating war), for about three years. I found myself in a movement calling for reform in the SBC. The next thing I knew people were listening to my concerns. People who shared my concerns listened and encouraged me. Again, there were many more like that than I ever imagined. But that came at a great price.

Locally, many may not realize that “JD Hall” became a household name in certain districts of the SBC or that I was often in the middle of skirmishes in faraway lands that most of you couldn’t care less about. Some of you may not even know I had my own radio program. Feedback from me was sometimes solicited by various media outlets around the country. I’ve tried to keep that to a minimum in my life and ministry, albeit without much success. I also realize that this has been my fight. I told you this a number of weeks ago, prior to our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I realize this has been my fight. The vast majority of you don’t care about the denomination that we are technically affiliated with; most of you weren’t even Baptists before arriving here, and some of you may not even know what denomination we’re in now because we don’t talk about it, and for the most part, we don’t let it affect what we’re trying to accomplish here.  So, feeling like this is my fight, I’ve tried to avoid bringing people who are trying to walk with Jesus and live their lives into something that doesn’t pertain to their existence.

In this part of my ministry over the last three years, I spent time on multiple issues including (1) the selling and marketing of religious goods that are spiritually toxic by our Southern Baptist publishing arm and bookstores — material that is Biblically inept and knowingly contrary to sound doctrine. They do this for reasons I can only perceive to be motivated by an obscene quest for profit. Some of the material promoted in our denominational bookstores is far more offensive than the moneychanging business in the temple. It includes material that if sold at Wal-Mart would be tragic, but the fact that it is being sold in Southern Baptist bookstores is downright traitorous to our calling.  I’ve simultaneously been embroiled in (2) a controversy at an SBC college in Louisiana dealing with the persecution of three professors who were dismissed for holding to Biblical beliefs in regards to soteriology, and some administrators who were fired for blowing the whistle on a related controversy. And I’ve had a deep concern about the influence of (3) a college president in Georgia named Ergun Caner, who after 9-11 manufactured a false life story, claiming to have been born in countries he wasn’t born in, raised in countries he wasn’t raised in, speaking languages he does not speak, and a multitude of even more egregious falsehoods, all told countless times to various audiences. Through about ten years of embellishing his life story (not stretching the truth, but manufacturing lies with not the slightest basis in objective reality) he became one of the most prominent men in our denomination and president of the largest Christian university in the world. When his lies were exposed, he was quietly dismissed and our denomination went on the trail of cover-up and dismissal. Of more urgent concern than the man’s lack of repentance, confession, or contrition have been (4) a number of key church leaders who have covered for him and continued to promote him aggressively, thereby making a mockery of the Gospel’s call for repentance, profaning their pulpits, and promoting a religion with a form of godliness while denying its power. Finally, (5) I’ve tackled the refusal of the Christian press to report any of these issues.  I’ve sought to expose that and call us all to repentance—not only for the culture of corruption (because there will always be corruption), but more pointedly, for the wider culture of complicit silence regarding that corruption — a shameful silence that is egregiously defended in the name of “Christlikeness.”

I realized that I needed to back away from these conflicts through a number of loving brothers who saw the toll this battle was taking on me, my aging, my family, my sanity, my stress. They saw me reveal and speak truth, but sometimes be hard and speak too harshly. I candidly looked around and didn’t recognize what I had become. Simultaneously, about a month ago, I was approached by these friends who said that I should pray about an exit strategy from that part of my life. Its toll was too costly. I was reminded that God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people” (Hebrews 10:30). God will settle his own affairs. He doesn’t need me to fix everything that is wrong in the church today. My friends suggested that the over-zealousness of a reckless critic is ultimately no better than error. I believed them, at first reluctantly, but the Spirit led me to agree with them.

So, I came before you about seven weeks ago and said that I realized I’ve erred in how have gone about trying to bring about change. That was on Father’s Day, if I recall. I told you I would rebuke myself on account of that. Then, I gave a letter to the church council a few weeks later, suggested to me by no one but my own conscience, and said I would stop writing for my website or for other publications. I haven’t written any articles since then. I said that my radio show was going on hiatus for a few weeks, and might be canceled for good. Some were pressuring me to continue the program and make it more devotional — just do an easy, devotional commentary of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening.

That’s the route that I took. I didn’t completely stop all engagement in these other affairs, but most. I spoke to those hosting my program and told them I was making these changes.

But before I took a break from the program, before I stated my conviction that I realign myself and ministry, I had an exchange with the son of Ergun Caner on Twitter. He had displayed various examples of public conduct that to me, at least, was clearly and plainly immoral, and I called him out on it. In regard to this young man’s public behavior, I had made a statement along the lines of, “The immorality surrounding [Ergun Caner] is astounding.” The son engaged me after that, and I asked him one question, and repeated it a second time, concerning a claim his father had made regarding him. I asked him if it were true. The third and last comment I made directly to him was that because of his age, I would discontinue the conversation but that he could email if he felt so led at a later time to seek or speak truth. He then continued to post rather terse comments on Twitter for some time afterward, but I didn’t respond. He didn’t seem terribly torn up over the incident; in fact, he seemed bolder and more defiant in his sin.

I received a considerable amount of pushback in the wake of that exchange. A few of my close friends told me that what I did wasn’t a sin, because public sin can and should be addressed publicly and there is, no doubt, Biblical precedent for this. (This is, by the way, why we are addressing this publicly here and now in spite of the abject awkwardness of doing it during our regular Sunday morning worship.) Other friends, though, asked me if my heart was right in calling him out. Could I have done the right thing for the wrong reason, making it the wrong thing?

Here’s the conclusion I came to:  From to time to time, I see the youth of this church say or convey something that is off track or ungodly. On those occasions I usually contact the mom or dad to say, “Hey. Are you aware of this?” One time I posted the expression “Jesus wept” when a young woman had exhibited profanity on her social media page. But in all those situations, my heart was for the person who needed rebuked. My aim was to reconcile them; to restore them. It was, at its heart, pastoral. Even though this young man’s sin was public, and we didn’t go looking for it (it wasn’t hidden, but laid bare for all the world to see), I confess I called him out for the wrong reason.

I posted an apology on my website within just a few days of that exchange. I acknowledged that it was wrong, sinful because my heart was wrong in why I did it, and I asked for forgiveness. I also sent an apology directly to Ergun Caner through a mutual acquaintance, who assured me he would receive it. I told him I was open to apologizing in person if he cared to call me. I also said I was wrong on something else that was gnawing at me but hadn’t received the kind of push-back this other issue did, which is that I gave credence to a rumor I had heard. I apologized for that also and asked forgiveness. It was after this, but not merely because of this, that I decided to make changes in the focus of my wider ministry—especially the radio broadcast. (This was prompted by the godly concern of my friends.) I asked three men to hold me accountable to make sure my radio program was tempered with a new spirit and that my outrage be tempered. The last several weeks after making these changes have been like a vacation. They’ve been nice. I’ve been throwing my newly found spare time into personal evangelism, open air preaching, and even something I haven’t done in years — recreation. I felt back on track and in the Lord’s will.

But then nearly a month later, last Tuesday, Ergun Caner’s son committed suicide. I don’t believe my four-comment and rather cordial exchange with him had anything to do with it. (I don’t think any reasonable person would if they knew all the facts.) But frankly, we don’t know for certain what factors led to his suicide, and I’m not sure we ever will. (Apparently, the official cause of death has not yet been determined).

But in certain online forums, there was an immediate rush to tie the young man’s suicide to that brief social-media exchange with me more than a month earlier. One prominent commentator from a secular news network was asked by the Caner family to provide commentary within a few days of their son’s death. That writer blamed “cyber bullying” and “thuggery.” Some of the Caner’s associates have accused me of “cyber-stalking”; “harassing”; and “bullying” the young man. People are angry. They want someone to blame.

For the last week and a half, I’ve made no attempt to defend myself. The facts are a matter of public record, and even though the whole tragedy pains me deeply, I have made no attempt to erase the record of my exchange with the young man. I wish to be completely transparent. What I don’t want to do and what I refuse to do is minimize my own wrong.

It’s true, to my shame, that when I commented publicly about the inconsistencies in the young man’s testimony — and especially when I referenced my concerns about his father — I did not do it in the right spirit or out of the right motivation. It was sinful for me to challenge him publicly like that. I was not thinking or acting pastorally in how I addressed him. I certainly would have treated one of my own flock differently, albeit still directly. My heart leans strongly toward gentleness when dealing similar issues here. And yet when dealing with these issues out there, I have been too hard. I understand why some would say, “Why are you different out there than you are here?” I have been at war for three years. It is hard being both pastor and warrior. They don’t go well together. So I’ve kept them separate. That’s the best explanation I can give.

The irony is that about three weeks ago I made known to you, my flock, that I was walking away from these conflicts. It was too late to spare me from the consequences now engulfing me. In one sense, I am reaping what I sowed. When you live by the sword, you die by it .

Let me say this in all sincerity: I am profoundly sorry that Braxton Caner ended his life. Knowing now that this young man struggled with that level of despair, I am even more sorry that my interaction with him was adversarial rather than pastoral. News of his death hit me hard, and I was immediately smitten with shame for the lack of grace in my public interaction with him. All the combined invective that has been aimed my way in recent days does not even begin to equal my own grief and contrition. If these events (and my confession) ultimately end any influence I might ever have, I will accept that as our sovereign God’s perfect will.

I do realize that God never needed me to right every wrong in the denomination. He can settle his own accounts. His arm is long, both to save and to bring vengeance. In my zeal, there has been a disconnect between my theology and my methodology. I do know God is sovereign— and yet, I’ve relied too much on my own strength and not solely on the Spirit in my earnest desire to see justice prevail. That’s sin, even if the cause is right. I confess it.

Let me repeat: I never should have briefly interacted with that young man on the 2nd day of July, because my heart to him was not pastoral. Some have accused me of far worse things. Some seem determined to exploit a tragedy for theological and political gain. That’s wicked.

Nor do I wish to elicit anyone’s sympathy. Our prayers must be with the Caner family. Their grief can’t be overstated. And I sincerely grieve with them in their sorrow (Romans 12:15).

I do realize that I’ve been heading the wrong way in ministry, and I need to repent of that; to turn, to do an about-face, to come back. I once said (and someone made this comment into an Internet meme): “Every time we fail to repent, we fail to demonstrate a proper response to the Gospel.”

This is the best display of the Gospel, that I, in all my weakened, broken flesh can demonstrate for you. Right now, it’s all I’ve got. All I can do in the midst of the unbelievable heartache and sadness I feel for the Caner family and my own family and the giant disgrace this mess has become is demonstrate something that we’ve been praying that so many at the heart of this very controversy would do for over four years: repent. To confess sin, to change our minds in repentance toward our erred trajectory, and ask forgiveness for the ways we fall short of the glory of God.

Let me assure you of this: This terrible, terrible tragedy has accomplished two things (1) I am broken. I am unequivocally, completely broken. I am a crushed man. My spirit is crushed. I am sorrowful. I am hurting. (2) This has forever changed me, in more ways that I can currently comprehend.

With those two realities and everything that accompanies them (the arguments, the warfare, the ridiculous absurdities, sinful failures, fallacious allegations, hysterical reactionaries, capitalizing upon tragedy, and the tragedy itself) the things of the world grow strangely dim, and what seems to burst forth in high-definition clarity is a blood-soaked, rugged cross where all our sin was atoned for. At this point, to me, to this church, to this situation, I think that’s what matters most, and that’s certainly the only source of comfort: a blood-soaked, rugged cross and an empty tomb.

We don’t hide things here. We open up. We put it out there. We cling to the promise of Romans 8:1. We want to be real.

And so as my church, here’s what I need from you as I struggle with this. What I need is for you to preach to me. I’ve preached to you for more than seven years the depths, the heights, the width of God’s free grace to sinners on account of Christ’s blood upon the cross. I’ve preached to you a grace of unmerited favor as Christ Jesus died for our sins. I need you to preach to me, each and every one of you in the coming days, God’s grace that’s given to all who can say through the Spirit’s prompting, “I am a sinner.”

Transcript Source:  abpnews.com

205 comments on “JD Hall’s Public Confession Regarding His Twitter Conversation with Ergun Caner’s Son, Who Later Committed Suicide

  1. Marsha,

    Makes sense to me. Also, I am sure there are occasions where restitution is neither possible nor appropriate, even if all that is called for is an apology. For example, were a man to suddenly perceive the need to apologize to a girlfriend of some 40 years ago, the man’s wife would likely not be humored. Likewise, neither the old girlfriend nor her husband would likely be humored. I’m thinking that the same sorts of considerations would apply in the current situation between Hall and the Caner family.

    By the way, although it was not through any type of mediation program, I am familiar with a situation where a family reached out in forgiveness to somebody who had, in an accident for which there was criminal accountability, taken their son’s life. It was transformative for all. It was, to me, a picture of Jesus hanging on the Cross.

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  2. Interesting that you mention that example! A few years ago, an old boyfriend actually did contact my mother asking for contact information for me so he could apologize for his unkindness to me following a breakup in our teens forty years ago. I did not and do not want to talk to him about it. It was long ago and I accepted his apology through my mother but I really, really do not see the need to rehash the issue or make more of adolescent behavior than it was. (My husband wouldn’t care one way or the other about my speaking to him).

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  3. Marsha,

    Yikes! I thought my hypothetical was something of an absurdity, an indulgence in a reductio ad absurdum.

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  4. Thanks Kay and Lydia for the explanation about Lumpy. I have no idea what this is about or who is who in that twitter account, but how they interact with each other doesn’t look very good natured.

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  5. “One thing to consider about his confession. He used the same confession that he gave at his church as was posted publicly. That may not have been the smartest idea and could have hurt his credibility. ”

    JA, I cannot definitely prove this but I know how this works in almost all these situation. His church was contacted. And Hall knows they would find out anyway. He had no choice. He was basically running a rogue organization on their time and dollar in the guise of a “Reformation”.

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  6. “But I do know this: when a malignant narcissist wants to get the heat off them, they can work up alligator tears with the best (I have seen this up close from a very destructive church leader), but they will tend to betray themselves by their own words if you are only willing to be hard-nosed and analyze them rather than being swayed by their “brokenness”. And in this case to me the evidence of the written word is so powerful as to overwhelm any protest by Hall to the contrary.”

    How to know if it is a narcissistic apology or not? Hall has to come clean with specifics of what his rogue organization did to many people. That would include Tim Rogers, Eric Hankins, Peter, etc, etc, etc. The list is long. He has to be specific in what he did and how it was wrong. And he needs to publish it online and name names of those who were with them and list all the fake blogs, twitter accounts and what other means they used over the last 4 years. If he wants people with sense to believe him. There are too many narcissists in ministry today and his apology reeked of narcissism. It also reeked of a man who knows he is in a hairs breadth of losing his income. You think his church was shocked they were paying him all along to do this sort of thing under the guise of “Reforming”? Hall even had to assure them in his apology he would not “talk to them way”. Right. Sure. If he had the absolute power, he would.

    Over night repentance after huge pushback in social media? Not buying either. He had never been convicted before this? That is always telling. Is it Repentance worthy of bad PR? Or, the Holy Spirit? How will we know unless he does the above and comes completely clean.

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  7. If you see it as same thing, then we will have to disagree. Caner’s son is dead, JA. White cannot leave that family in peace? You think Peter is wrong to point that out? Seriously?

    I could say the same for you in putting a puff piece on Hall’s “apology” up. How is that different? He needs you to do it. Badly. Just like he needed Wade and TWW.

    I always thought victims were what it is about here. Hall is not a victim. He, White and all those other guys have been long term bullies and it continues.

    Evangelicalism is not a place I need to be anymore.

    I go in peace, I promise. But I cannot watch this anymore. I guess I have seen it way too much.

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  8. This battle will rage forever, Lydia. Last month was Braxton, maybe it will be someone on the other side next month. Yes, I believe it needs to stop on both sides. Neither side has been able to sway the other side. I don’t know what the answer is, but this is just going on a crazy cycle where I can see more and more people getting hurt. I get where you are coming from, but this is a battle that is not going to be won in our lifetime. How much time wasted on this battle is keeping others from knowing Christ? Could the energy that is spent on this back and forth stuff be taking them away from the real needs around them? That’s what I’m talking about.

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  9. Julie Anne, have you ever met James White? I have. I attended Phoenix Reformed Baptist for three weeks. Except for the pastor and his wife, and the one deacon, no one even said hello. I overheard one visiting couple who were so honored to met “the” James White. “Oh, I’m not a celebrity.” He struts around like a peacock.

    In the three weeks he only stared at me. I felt very uncomfortable. In the first Sunday School class, while staring at me, he used the illustration of “single, blonde females”.

    I agree with Lydia.

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  10. JA, Obviously, We are not talking about the same battle. I am talking about a friend defending his friends who are grieving and to be hounded not long after they buried their son. If you think pointing that out is “piling on”, we are far apart in understanding. You seem to think it is wrong to point that out and plead for them to stop? Would you not do the same for grieving friends? I don’t get it.

    Look, Caner lost his big Liberty job. (Rightly so, I was all for it) He has now lost his son. What more do they want? They don’t dog Mahaney this way who protected child molesters, blackmailed, etc.

    The bigger picture is about right and wrong. Balance. Decency,
    respect for a grieving family. I do not get where you are coming from now. Yes, this goes way back to the whole Cal/Non Cal issue and debates from 2006. Caner has paid a high price for all of it.

    This has been very triggering for me, I admit. It is back to the old tactic of the abuser winning folks over and where is the victim? Braxton who?

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  11. Lydia,

    “This has been very triggering for me, I admit”.

    Because you do see and understand the chaos! A precious boy’s life gone, hate only festering again and you of all people well know, because you are wise, it will only continue until those who teach and preach the lies of Calvinism/New Calvinism repent. This evil feeds on human beings. I have no doubt your words of knowledge are being read and we can only pray that many will repent of their evil ways.

    May God bless you, friend.

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  12. Lydia:

    I see many battles going on at the same time. It seems you are getting upset at me because you think I’m missing the battle that you feel is most important. I do see what you are seeing. However, you and I have come to different conclusions about the appropriate way of handling that battle. Are you going to be okay with us having differing conclusions? Or have I gone to the “other side” in your eyes because I have a different opinion than you about how this situation should be handled? That really is the issue now between you and me. That’s something that you’re going to have to ask yourself.

    There are a lot of dynamics at play here if you think about it. In our abusive churches, we were told how to think, whose side to stay on and in our zeal to protect others from abusive people/churches/doctrine, sometimes we can behave the same way. I have had to wrestle with the same issues on my personal situation with O’Neal and Miano. Have I gone too far sometimes? I’ll bet I have.

    Is it respectful to push someone to “our side?” How do we show love and grace? I know that all of the blogging/tweeting that I did in the early days did nothing to bring that next group out of BGBC. They left after they wrestled on their own and when CON hit them in a personal way. Then they had to come to our own conclusions. It was when they came to their own conclusions, on their own timing, that they became free. I have to allow that for you and you have to allow that for me.

    You guys, this is where the rubber meets the road here in relationships. These are difficult waters to navigate.

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  13. Julie Anne,

    I’m not Lydia of course, but like her, I disagree with you on JD Hall’s sincerity. I was also part of an abusive church, took on the sociopath who headed it, and lived to experience something that I can only describe as a spiritual rape, so I’ve experienced abuse. I also lost my closest friend to suicide as a teen, and so far as I know was the last one at school to see that friend alive, and saw people, even faculty, being very crass and cold-hearted about my friend’s death. So this is also very triggering for me,

    But whatever, matters not, I could be wrong about Hall, you could be wrong, God only knows. But our disagreement here does not put us on opposite sides of anything but this one issue.

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  14. TD,

    I’m really okay with that. All I was saying was in *that* phone call, when it was explained to me in depth, it made me think there could be some truth to his repentance. I do want to still believe in a God who can soften hearts. I hope I’m right. I may not be. We’ll all find out, won’t we?

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  15. “I see many battles going on at the same time. It seems you are getting upset at me because you think I’m missing the battle that you feel is most important. I do see what you are seeing. However, you and I have come to different conclusions about the appropriate way of handling that battle. ”

    JA, I don’t think any of us are the Holy Spirit for anyone else. it is not about which battle I think is most important. It is about victims of long time cruelty who have just buried their son. Will the Caners be in sin now if they don’t buy the public apology? (My guess is they will do just about anything to stop being hounded in public by the guys in that movement)

    I have seen this 180 before from those influenced by a certain blog pastor years ago when it comes to victims. Love and grace are not that cheap. And they are never at the expense of others. But many really promote that. It reminds me of the victims sitting alone in the courtroom while the church rallies around the abuser and say, “see how much grace we have”! It becomes about instant public love and grace for the abuser/bully, etc. In this case,a pastor.

    When the one thing the “Christian” abuser (pastor!) needs is for folks to let them come to their own conclusions–the hard way– away from ministry limelight. Quietly encourage them to rethink what they believe. Not hound them for years, either.

    But must we be their PR spin machine, too? Why can’t we say, time will tell and move on? Why do we have to promote it? About the only thing it teaches anyone is that some well placed public words work. (By the way, you do know the apology was not 48 hours later. That was spin. And it was not to a “friend”…more spin)

    Repentance is hard and grueling. A “From…..to” metamorphosis does not happen overnight for those immersed in something they have fervently believed is Christianity. It is totally different from repenting as an unbeliever. (A whole topic within itself!) It does not happen because public pushback or fear of losing one’s job. It comes from a conviction of right and wrong while right in the middle of it.

    Those who are convicted usually end up in oblivion with no press or publicity. We don’t get to hear about them. Do you realize JD will have to rethink most of what he believes about his ministry of “calling other Christians out” and being the arbiter of what is sin and what is not for others in Christendom. Even his belief that love is harsh and cruel to the Glory of God will have to change.

    Rethinking what I believed took me years and I was not in a pulpit teaching others. Even though I would not be permitted to speak in most churches, I still know for a fact I was in no way a good choice to teach anyone anything.

    You can do whatever you want as this is your blog. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your allowing me to dissent and plead a case. Which I realize I am over pleading and need to get on with my real life. :o)

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  16. Lydia,
    I think you just said what I was trying to say regarding this whole fiasco right here:

    Which I realize I am over pleading and need to get on with my real life. :o)

    All of the back and forth really and truly accomplishes very little and we have no control over how people respond or when they come to our way of thinking – lol. It’s futile.

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  17. JA, In case you missed it and to clarify because “sides” keep being brought up. Peter Lumpkins and I are NOT on the same page concerning Hall and his apology. Not by a long shot.

    I don’t think all of it is futile. As I don’t think many folks hear other views and that makes a huge difference when one is in some of those bubbles for years.

    I can remember the first time I found anyone discussing spiritual abuse (it was not called that, btw) and I was in the very raw days coming out of being surrounded by sociopathic fake celeb pastors: It was Ingrid Schlueters blog, Slice of Laodicea. It was the first time I did not feel totally alone. She was the first person I encountered who got it. It was 2005. I could hardly believe it. And she is reformed, btw.

    So if it is all futile, why have a blog about spiritual abuse? It is good to hear differing views. And I thank you for it.

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  18. Why have a blog on spiritual abuse? For the same reason you described when you found Ingrid’s blog.

    It’s interesting you pointed out that she is reformed. (I was aware of that.) That is one of the primary reasons that I strongly dislike Calvin debates here. You were able to learn from and get hope from someone who holds to a different doctrine. I believe we can do that here, too. Those labels are divisive. Yet when we remove the label, sometimes the person beneath the label has some valuable truths to share. I don’t know how I would have survived my lawsuit without my nearly daily phone calls to Michelle, my friend who holds to reformed doctrine.

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  19. All I was saying was in *that* phone call, when it was explained to me in depth, it made me think there could be some truth to his repentance. I do want to still believe in a God who can soften hearts. I hope I’m right. I may not be. We’ll all find out, won’t we?

    __________________________

    God can soften hearts; He softened mine. God can soften JD Hall’s heart and for all I know his “apology” is actually an apology sans quotes, just mixed up with a lot of narcissism (all the “me’s” and “I’s”, peacock pride at his “household name”, a self-serving twist of fact, and various gratuitous swipes at his opponents for their “wickedness”).

    But perhaps one can’t expect a destructive, self-centered narcissist to come round all at once. This might be a tiny little cracking open of the door that years from now results in a man truly humbled and useful to the Lord. Still going through that process myself, and will not be finished til I’m gone and stand before the Lord. I’m not so great either.

    I honestly hope you’re right about him, I doubt it, but still have hope that you’re right and I’m wrong, because JD Hall is made in God’s image, however much he’s distorting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gary W,

    You’re right, but you got the general idea. 😉 But I would argue that the two go hand in hand in certain cases. A person might be so traumatized that receiving anything from the offender might be threatening, requiring some show of trustworthiness. It is inappropriate to make yourself vulnerable to someone who is untrustworthy, and receiving recompense requires some degree of vulnerability. The more complex the situation and particularly in situations involving abuse, preliminary trust-building is pretty significant. And that’s an opinion, so take it for what it’s worth. Everyone has an opinion. 🙂

    Cindy K says “Restitution, when possible and appropriate, comes after rebuilding trust.” I would reverse the order. No restitution, no trust.

    Like

  21. JA,
    “I strongly dislike Calvin debates here”.

    “Those labels are divisive”.

    Sorry, I did not know that, I have referenced Calvin and his Total Depravity doctrine several times due to yet another suicide and hoping people will begin to see a bigger problem here. I do hope you reconsider this thought. Yes, it is divisive for a reason: it contradicts the word of God. And yes each human being is valuable, so what man BELIEVES is most important! Do we need to map out with facts all these ‘fallen pastors’ who teach these lies and are causing most of the spiritual abuse in the ‘church’ in order to prove a point, doctrine matters! Lies only hurt, suffocate and even kill as we see over and over.

    As far as JD Hall’s confession, what a show and even had music. The script was read. He spoke the words, and no doubt he is very sorry for what he did to Braxton, but he does not live by the WORD or else he would run from a teaching position in a church and go get a job. He intentionally wanted to bring others down with him. There is no shame. But there is money to be made even teaching a false gospel. And telling people to preach grace to him like he has for seven years to them; preach grace. What? Does anyone see why non believers want nothing to so with Christians?

    Thank you for letting me share my thoughts JA.

    Like

  22. The fact that the church he pastored didn’t know about his online presence, and he had to explain what he had been doing for the past few years, raises more flags for me. Has he shown his church all the articles and conversations he has participated in? Is the church aware of his tactics and speech? When I say church, I don’t mean other elders. I mean the entire church.

    Hi Bridget:

    I wanted an opportunity to run things by JD before responding to this even though I had the answer before. Like I said earlier, I need to maintain clear boundaries on phone conversations and if something is going to be said publicly, I want to get permission first.

    Bridget, yes, the church body was made aware of what was going online.

    Ok, and Ed, I think you were asking about this. I’m not going to go back and search for the comment, but I think you asked about elders involvement and church discipline. JD’s church is elder-led. In the transcript that I posted, what was left off (and I did hear it on the podcast) was that after his confession is when the elders spoke to the Body about the situation- each of the elders spoke. He is currently in church discipline as Dee mentioned. The elders are fully in charge of this discipline process and he is submitting to them and following their guidance. I was trying to tell him that I think the elders should release a statement to that effect because the sin was a public one and it seems like the public should be addressed. It sounds like the elders are keeping it in-house. I can see both sides of that – their responsibility is within the church and they likely want to keep it in-house.

    Now, we’ve talked here on the blog about tyrannical spiritual leaders who use church discipline inappropriately. We’ve also talked about church leaders who fail to use church discipline at all (i.e., fail to discipline abusive husbands). What I heard described to me sounds like healthy church discipline with the goal of restoration and JD is aware that it’s going to take some time.

    My #1 laugh of the night is he put me in the camp of Rachel Held Evans and that people are scared of me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. JA,
    I have no idea who Rachel Held Evans is, but it might be a good thing if spiritual leaders are scared of you. You’re spreading the truthful word and others could be catching on. Their cults are at stake.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Julie Anne,

    If JD Hall issues a statement to White and the likes of John Carpenter to stop this Crusade to destroy Dr. Caner, JD’s confession might be believable.

    I got rebuked by a couple of puppets and Carpenter in February for simply pointing out they needed to tone down their rhetoric about Dr. Caner. While JD ignored my concern that his tactics were predatory.

    Their response in defending their toxic and hateful sinning against Dr. Caner “yeah but do you know what Caner did?”

    These guys need to exercise some faith and lean on the Holy Spirit and stop repetitively embracing their sinful heavy-handed Methodology . There isn’t one ounce of identifiable love or even the “tough love” they proclaimed to have had toward Dr. Caner.

    Like

  25. BTDT,
    It doesn’t matter and I suspected the Julie Anne is not scary, but what they don’t know–they don’t know. If it puts fear and/or change in them–so be it. So let them think what they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Brenda,
    I probably should have put a smiley face after my last comment. I just found the idea funny, too.

    Like

  27. I’m in complete agreement with Lydia on this issue. But before saying anything further on this, I’d like to thank JA for providing this blog and allowing us freedom of speech, something which is denied in part on some other blogs such as TWW.

    This whole situation reminds me of the good natured teenaged girl who continuously falls in love with sociopathic “bad boys”, desperately attempting to reform them. My aunt was like this and it nearly destroyed her life. This process continues to repeat itself over and over again in countless families. And now this type of thinking has infested evangelicalism. Haven’t we learned our lesson? For how long are we going to beat our heads against the wall trying to reform the Reformed?

    Notwithstanding, I do sincerely hope that JD Hall’s repentance is genuine, but I’m very suspicious and very skeptical. JD Hall needs to put action to his words. He must resign from ministry and terminate his radio program. And he needs to stop believing in a cruel deterministic god that predestines people to hell for no reason whatsoever.

    Like

  28. Ryan,

    Praise God you do see! It is not just JD Hall and Caner, I had never even heard of either of these men before tweets to the teenage boy, but it is so many ‘pastors’ who are guilty of such horrific sins and crimes while remaining behind the plexiglass pulpit. Evil will be evil. But, as long as people continue to go and pay (tithe) to see these performances, because that is what they have become, the institution will remain in business. Wherever do we find this model of ‘church’ in the Bible: filling a building to be told what the scriptures say, by an interpreter? No, when Jesus went to the temple there was teaching and questions, not sitting in silence under one man! What is different in the Protestant church from what they fled:Catholicism? I see very few differences today. Pope/Pastor? Both seem to be so very corrupt.

    I say let us focus on teaching one another the TRUTH since much of God’s word has been distorted and manipulated!

    Like

  29. Ryan,

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Until one walks away from a false god, will history not repeat itself? God says we are to let judgment begin in His house, the people not a building. There were many words spoken that never should have been spoken in this confession (he was not standing up there to call out others sins!) in my opinion it only created more wrong (sin) than good. You see, this is the problem with the belief, you can do nothing good! It is ever so true. Believe them and flee from them!

    Like

  30. JA –

    Thanks for the response to my questions.

    I see that JD did explain to his church what he had been doing. I guess I assume that his church knew about about the radio program. It seems odd to me that his church didn’t appear to know about his personnel crusades on Twitter and blogging forums until he told them in his confession.

    Like

  31. I believe we have witnessed a confession and apology from JD. Repentance, however, isn’t something that can be determined at the same time. Change in actions and attitudes will determine if repentance has taken place, and it takes time for those things to be witnessed. A confession and apology do not mean that the person is automatically trusted and goes on as if nothing happened, especially if there was abuse involved. Boundaries and guidelines would need to be invoked for abuse. Sometimes trust is broken for good and never returns. In all cases, changed actions over time are the hallmarks of repentance. I hope we see this come to fruition with JD, his buddies, and Caner.

    Like

  32. Bridget,
    That doesn’t surprise me any. The pastor at my church uses twitter, but I don’t use it so I have no idea what he’s doing on there. I’m hoping it isn’t anything that would be wrong, but I really don’t know.

    Like

  33. The church’s (Two) that I go to have Facebook pages, but that is to inform the congregation, or anyone else, what they are doing as a whole church, etc.  No politics whatsoever.  No twitter, etc.  People’s personal accounts are just that, personal.  There is no spying going on, etc.  Outside of this sphere, I don’t know many people that use twitter.  Facebook is popular here.  And that is uplifting, not putting down people.

    Ed

    ________________________________

    Like

  34. I hope JD Hall’s repentence is genuine. I see the same problems with what he said as others do but perhaps he is just not ‘getting it’ and that will take some time.

    The larger issue for me is the hatefulness among Christians that has become increasingly evident to the public. We are not known for our joy in The Lord and our kindness to others these days. No, we are known for our homophobic rhetoric and abortion protests and nastiness to others who differ on non salvation issues of theology.

    I posted on TWW about following a link to an article on a Christian foundation website that someone provided because I wanted to read about the topic. That article was fine but when I returned to the home page I clicked on an article about Billy Graham and the article just trashed him! Now think about this, were I a potential or new Christian, chances are that he might be one of the few Christians leaders I knew. And what would I read but an article calling him a heretic!

    It is good to call out abuse and other wrongdoing in the church and to discuss theological teachings that lead to abuse. I think it is right and healthy and only can only encourage potential believers to see that we want our churches to be free from these things and to deal with them swiftly and appropriately if they do happen. I am not talking about thise discussions. But on the other hand, every time I see someone call themselves a Christian on social media and write vile things to atheists, gays, liberals and people of different denominations, it makes me sick.

    And personally, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me I couldn’t be a liberal feminist and a Christian over the last thirty years. It is getting very old.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Ed,
    The church I attend has a website that we can go to. I don’t do much on FB and until recently was holding out like the plague not to use it at all. But, there were just some things I couldn’t avoid using it for. The pastor’s tweets are, from what he says, something to do with the sermon usually. I think he uses it for outreach, but I don’t know that for a fact or going to even try to find out. Email is used for prayer requests and updates.

    Like

  36. Brenda,

    Truth be told, I really hate social networking.  I like privacy.  I don’t like seeing other people’s dirty laundry, nor do I like airing mine.  I don’t even like cell phones.  I think that if someone wants to make a phone call, go home, or use the payphone down the street. 

    But, like you said, these days, some things are necessary. 

    Ed

    ________________________________

    Like

  37. JA,

    Believe it or not, yes.  But they are far and few between.  If I can remember, I think I’ve seen maybe 3 or 4 in town.  I don’t know if they work or not, tho.  Maybe they are just there as a historical display now? LOL

    Ed

    ________________________________

    Like

  38. Julie Anne,

    I would find it more encouraging if Pulpit and Pen ended, And those associated with Pulpit end their Twitter, Facebook and Radio etc altogether and end all relationship within Social Media.

    I have encouraged these guys since February to tone down their repetitive postings and “unloving” rhetoric and mockery toward Dr. Caner. They simply rebuked and attacked me when I suggested their methodology is wrong. Condoning their sinful behavior with “yea but do you know what Caner did”

    I suggested to JD his methodology was predatory, he didn’t agree and needed to see examples. All he had to do is review his site and consider that his coverage and mockery of Dr. Caner was excessive. .

    In May, JD and the puppets had a lengthy documented debate with another teen who was the son of a leader in Ronnie Floyd’s church over a questionable video. (because of the timing, I think JD had different motives for Ronnie Floyd)

    Unfortunately, the only way I can see this remedied and for some of us to see true repentance is for JD and his puppets to end their relationship in cyber space (including Twitter, Facebook and Radio) and kill Pulpit and Pen altogether.and then disappear and preach within their own churches. (if their churches still want them to preach)

    Like

  39. Mark,

    I, too, would like to see Pulpit and Pen off of social media. It’s apparent that JD is no longer attached to the Twitter account and no longer is contributor at the P&P blog.

    Like

  40. Julie Anne,

    Isn’t Pulpit and Pen JD’s site and Dustin is one of his pulpiteers?

    If JD no longer is a contributor of his own blog then I would hope that JD would simply put a stop to it altogether.

    He may certainly end Pulpit and Pen, Twitter, Facebook and Radio, if your instincts are true and that he is remorseful and repentant of his heavy-handed methodologies..

    I hope so, when you combine Pulpit and Pens repetitive unloving Crusades to compliment the recent separate exchanges on that site with 2 different kids whose parents are involved in clergy, then if he was remorseful and repentant I would think he would want to ease some of the pain he caused and put media in his past.

    Like

  41. Ed,
    I hate to burst your bubble, but this is a social networking site. I love people and in today’s world this is the way people meet. I meet people at church, but it’s hard to make real friends with everyone’s busy lives. Being single makes it harder. Married folks hang with other married folks. I have a few lady friends that I get together with, but schedules can be a problem. No matter what time of day or night there is someone out here somewhere. I never thought it would be so easy to love people that I have never met and probably never will meet, but it is true, I do love the people here.

    Sharing my story not only helps me, but it helps others too. I go to sites where there are others who have mutual things to share and can uplift one another and share Jesus along the way. It’s not dirty laundry, it’s community.

    Blessings, Brenda

    Like

  42. Amen, Brenda!

    Ed just said that to you because he wants you to debate with him. He says he doesn’t like social networking sites, but let’s see how long he’ll stay away from debating 😉

    Like

  43. Lydia & Julie Anne,

    I appreciate your healthy & honest dialogue. Dang, I wish I could articulate what I think, like you gals just did above. I find strength from both of you. Yet, I feel for both of you. Lydia you have been around the block, so to speak, and you know & articulate how the machine works. Not implying that Julie Anne hasn’t had her share in seeing how these megastars operate. Just wanted to add my 2 cents to say, Lydia, you have taught me so much, opened my eyes to truths that I was blinded to for years. I hope you stick around… Julie Anne, I err on the side of mercy, and was torn by JD’s confession. I pray to our Lord Jesus that JD is awakening to how cruel he has been, and that he might wake up to see that his pet false doctrine is what has drove his behavior. I know it is going to sound trite or corny, but I love both of your powerful voices, and do believe you are both batting for those of us who have been crushed beyond repair from the fallout of cruel doctrine.

    Like

  44. Julie Anne,
    I have 8:59 pm. I can debate, but sometimes I just want to love on people who need it. I believe that is what Jesus would do and wants us to do as well.

    Blessings, Brenda

    Like

  45. Gail, I had a long talk with my friend, Michelle, today and I think I want to make a blog post about our conversation. I think it might help you all to understand where I’m coming from on my no-Calvin rule here.

    Because of some conversations I have had this week, I am more convinced than ever the importance of not labeling and I will have to flesh that out.

    I have to cram with homework this weekend and finals next week, so it might be a week or so until I get to this topic.

    Like

  46. Please cram with the homework & focus on your finals! Will look forward to reading what you post, when you have the time… Meanwhile everything for me is a learning curve…

    Like

  47. Pingback: Fifty Six Days | Do Right Christians

  48. Pingback: JD Hall of Pulpit and Pen Launches Voice in the Wilderness Radio | Spiritual Sounding Board

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