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News: Matt Chandler Apologizes for Lack of Compassion in Church Discipline Cases

Leaders of the Village Church said missionary needed to consult with elders before ending marriage to husband with child porn addiction.

The leader of one of America’s most influential megachurches plans to apologize during worship services this weekend for failing to show kindness and compassion to struggling church members.

Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, a multisite church based near Dallas, said elders there had been “domineering” in their approach to church discipline in a handful of cases.

That was wrong and unchristian, said Chandler, who also leads the Acts29 church planting network.

“We have sinned against some people—and we are owning that before God and specifically before the people we have hurt,” he told CT in a phone interview.

“Our desire is always to be loving and caring. It is clear that we have not communicated—in multiple cases now—the gentleness, compassion, and patience that our elders are called to walk in.”

Chandler declined to comment on specific incidents of church discipline due to privacy concerns.

His apology was prompted in large part by public criticism of the church’s handling of the case of Karen Hinkley, a missionary who faces church discipline for ending her marriage earlier this year.

Her former husband, Jordan Root, was fired as a missionary with SIM, an international missionary agency, after admitting to viewing child porn for years.

Church leaders told Hinkley that she should have consulted with them before filing for an annulment. When she tried to withdraw her membership, the Village Church placed her under discipline, citing the congregation’s Covenant Membership policies.

Until Thursday, the two sides were at a standstill.

Hinkley, who no longer considers herself a member of the Village Church, had asked its ...

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Thu, 28 May 2015 14:38:00 PDT
Why Reality TV Cant Handle the Josh Duggar Scandal

Its time for 19 Kids and Counting to come to an end.

Take it from me, a TLC viewer, former reality TV blogger, and Christian journalist: The most fascinating aspects of the Duggar family never appeared on the show that made them famous, 19 Kids and Counting.

If not focusing on a new baby or new marriage, most episodes dealt with minutia of big-family Arkansas life: They do home repairs, host a soapbox derby race, convince the littlest sister to share. This was formulaic reality TV at its lowest stakes.

As one critic wrote, “Oddly enough, despite being a show about weird culty bigots who…don’t fronthug before marriage, 19 Kids and Counting manages to be screamingly dull. Like, it would be actually more entertaining if it was literally just 19 kids sitting still and then next to them there was a guy counting.”

Of course, the Duggars’ conservative Christian beliefs and ties with Republican politics were an invisible force in the show, and those familiar with this subset of evangelicalism could easily fill in the blanks. But the Duggars rarely brought up the specific teachings or scriptural backings behind their beliefs and practices. Theirs was a “family values” program that largely skipped over where those values came from, as well as any controversy they caused.

That’s why I have repeatedly fallen into the online clickhole of Duggar news for more on their strange life: why exactly the girls style their hair and dress like they do (including wearing skirts to Crossfit); the symbolism behind naming a Duggar grandchild “Israel;” the family’s affiliation with Bill Gothard, the popular ministry leader who resigned after being accused of sexual harassment; their politicking for candidates such as Rick Santorum; ...

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Thu, 28 May 2015 08:07:00 PDT
How I Escaped from North Korea

And the crucial role the Chinese church played.

In some ways, I imagine growing up in North Korea is like growing up anywhere else. I had a father and mother who rarely failed to show me love, and my older sister looked after me constantly. I caught dragonflies with friends and waited with excitement for cartoons to come on TV.

Then, in 1995, the worst of the Great Famine descended on the land, and the privileges of my childhood were stripped away.

When I was 12 years old, my father died of starvation. Our house was taken away to repay a debt we owed a family friend. That year, my mother fled to China with my sister in search of food and money. She returned a few months later, alone. She had sold my sister into bride slavery, a common fate for young North Korean refugees. My mother believed it would be a better life for my sister than the one waiting back home.

I don’t know that she even knew what sex trafficking is; most brokers highlight the benefits of being married to a Chinese man. She was hardly the only North Korean who had to make these kinds of impossible decisions. She continued to secretly travel to and from China until she was caught by the North Korean government and put in prison.

With my whole family gone, I lived on the streets. And the possibility of ever being loved started to fade for me. Before I had a chance to decide who I was on my own terms, my identity was defined by others: homeless, orphan, beggar. When I approached people in the food courts in the city markets, they would swat me away like a fly. No one said, “I see how weary and hopeless you must be.”

Look Up

At age 15, I faced a choice: I could either starve like my father, or flee the country and hope to secure a better life outside its fortified borders. ...

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Tue, 26 May 2015 07:55:00 PDT
Major Missions Agency Picks 'Radical' New President

Megachurch pastor David Platt is now the younger face of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board.

Eight years ago, David Platt became one of the youngest megachurch pastors in America. Today the 36-year-old was announced as the next president of one America's largest missions agencies: the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Platt, who has ministered in India, Nepal, Indonesia, and an unspecified country in the Horn of Africa, replaces Tom Elliff, who at 70 is nearly double Platt's age.

Platt has pastored the 4,500-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2006, and has called Christians to a movement of radical obedience and discipleship through his ministry Radical and bestselling books Radical and Follow Me.

As head of the IMB, described by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability as "one of the leading ministries making disciples of all people to fulfill the Great Commission,” Platt will oversee 4,800 Southern Baptist missionaries serving among 787 people groups worldwide.

“We talk all the time about laying down a blank check with our lives before God, with no strings attached, willing to … do whatever He commands in order to make His glory known among the nations of the earth,” he told his church. “Over these past months, God has made it abundantly clear… He is filling in that blank check in our lives and family with a different assignment.” [Full video statement below]

Angelia Stewart, a spokesperson for Radical, spoke to Platt's past international experiences in a statement to Christianity Today.

“David Platt has traveled extensively to teach the Bible throughout the United States and around the world. His travels overseas have taken him to places like East Asia, India, ...

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Tue, 26 May 2015 07:55:00 PDT
Dealing with Secular Extremism

4 ways to calm the stormy waters around gay marriage.

Extremism in the defense of LGBT liberty is no vice.” That seems to be the Goldwateresque mantra of many well-meaning Americans today. But it has unfortunately created a rather ugly atmosphere.

The latest flash point is Indiana’s original RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) which was signed into law in April. It was designed, in part, to protect individuals and businesses from being compelled to use their creative services to celebrate, honor, or extol behavior they find morally objectionable. The presenting issue is gay marriage, and specific examples include the Christian photographer in New Mexico who was asked to photograph a gay commitment event. The courts ruled that she could not refuse to provide such services.

We believe that Christian business owners should offer ordinary services to anyone who seeks them. But like just causes taken up during other eras of American history, some extreme partisans of a fundamentally good cause (equal treatment for LGBT people) are now discriminating against others.

The current challenge to liberty of conscience is serious, and it is likely things will get worse before they get better. But we are cautiously optimistic. Time and again in American history, wiser heads, committed to living in a just and pluralistic democracy, have prevailed at such times (from the Salem Witch Trials to the McCarthy era). More important, the church has weathered worse crises in more dire circumstances here and abroad, and by God’s grace, Christ’s church still stands. May Christians be among the calmer heads who work steadily and stubbornly to create laws that protect the rights and consciences of all who live in this land.

Here are four ways we can do so amid the ...

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Tue, 26 May 2015 10:15:00 PDT
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