Horrific story of spiritual abuse, mishandling of sex abuse, church membership, Matt Chandler, The Village Church, Jordan Root, pedophile, child pornography
I woke up late this morning and checked my Twitter feed to find that many of my Twitter friends were shocked and appalled at the treatment of Karen Hinkley (formerly Karen Root) by Matt Chandler’s church, The Village Church.
Amy Smith, aka @watchkeep on Twitter, is an advocate for abuse survivor, a twitterer extraordinaire, and a champion for exposing truth. She compiled a shocking article presenting primary source documents and screenshots of text messages about this situation.
We don’t need to wonder why people are leaving churches. This is a prime example of why I will never, ever, ever sign a dotted line to become a member of a church.
I will briefly summarize the story, but please read Amy’s article here: She Speaks: The Village Church protects a confessed pedophile and “disciplines” his wife, a brave young woman and missionary
Also, The Wartburg Watch will be covering follow-up stories next week. I am so grateful for Amy and Dee who expose this nonsense. Hopefully, by shining the light on these types of stories, others will not have to suffer the same kind of pain Karen has experienced.
Imagine being on the mission field in a foreign country and finding out that your husband has been viewing child pornography. Imagine having to pack up your belongings and come back home to your sending church and wonder what your future holds.
Karen released a statement. The bulk of the statement is to make sure that the truth is exposed. She rightly shares this concern:
It is my sincere hope that Jordan has not sexually abused any children, but I believe the circumstances warrant his exposure so that any victims who might be out there can be identified and given an opportunity for justice and healing.
However, these two key paragraphs are worth noting. This is a common pattern we see in churches that do not handle sex abuse cases well. They will defend the perpetrator and victims of the abuser are treated as if they are the primary problem:
The inclination towards minimization and secrecy that the pastors and elders of The Village Church have displayed is inexcusable. And the spiritual abuse I have experienced at their hands is unacceptable from those who would represent Jesus Christ. Jesus cares deeply for the vulnerable and the voiceless. He speaks strongly against those who would victimize children, and he went toe-to-toe with the religious bullies of his day who “tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23) The treatment of Jordan as the victim and me as the perpetrator by the leadership of the church is an appalling reversal that evidences priorities that are not in line with the Word of God.
And this one:
Pastors and elders of The Village Church, I urge you to rethink your hasty and public declaration of Jordan’s repentance and require him to seek out appropriate treatment for the nature and seriousness of his issues. I also urge you to conduct a thorough inquiry into how this situation unfolded and reform any policies and practices that contributed to your failure to respond appropriately.
In Amy’s blog article, you will find a note Karen wrote to the leaders at The Village Church informing them that she is withdrawing her membership from the church. She also stated that she filed for an annulment from her pedophile husband.
A week or so later, she received this letter which outlined that The Village Church was putting her in church discipline for not allowing the church leadership to “care” for her. Furthermore, her soon-to-be ex-husband was NOT put in church discipline.
We have been perplexed by your decision to file for an annulment of your marriage without first abiding by your covenant obligations to submit to the care and direction of your elders. As I mentioned in my first letter, this decision violates your covenant with us – and places you under discipline. Per section 10.5 of The Village Church bylaws, you are prohibited from voluntarily resigning membership while subject to the formal disciplinary process. We cannot, therefore, accept your resignation. – See more at: http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/#sthash.f9fRwy2Y.dpuf
The article documents statements pastors at The Village Church which defend Jordan Root, wanting to protect his reputation, for fear that people come to wrong conclusions. You really need to read the whole article and documents for yourself.