How should a church respond when a professing Christian has been committing heinous sexual immorality?
How should a church deal with a person who has been professsing Christianity, but has been committing heinous sexual immorality? The Bible’s answer to this question should tell us how The Village Church ought to have dealt with Jordan Root.
At John Pavlovitz’s article Matt Chandler, Village Church, Acts 29 Network, and The Long Overdue Funeral For Frat Boy Christianity a reader asked the following question (link):
What would people who claim to be Christians like to see The Village Church do to Jordan Root? Kick him out? Tell him he isn’t welcome anymore? Shun him? Make him draw a sign on his shirt that says he is a child molester? What would be appropriate?
I believe that Jordan Root’s admissions to watching child porn are not anything like a full confession. My reasons? When first pressed by Karen, he admitted to viewing images of adult porn. Only when Karen repeatedly pressed him did he admit to watching child porn. And then he virtually rubbed her face in it by describing some of the porn in lurid detail — imagine how that defiled Karen’s mind! It was not a confession made in humility, nor did it have any of the signs of genuine contrition and repentance. It was squeezed out of him, and then he used the confession to HURT Karen further (by describing the images in gross detail). Want verification? See endnote at bottom of this post for links.
Jordan used a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access some or most of the porn. That is one of the reasons why the FBI have not been able to charge him with anything. But if he were genuinely repentant, he would be giving the FBI full and comprehensive details of what he viewed, how they can verify that he viewed it so they can charge him, and how he obtained it, so that the FBI can use that info to prosecute the makers and purveyors of that child porn. Jordan has done nothing like this.
Jordan Root, if he were genuinely repentant, would have signed himself up for a five- or seven-day a week pedophile treatment program of the highest quality. He has not done anything remotely like that.
From what I have read, pedophiles who watch child porn and who have engineered their careers and their working and social lives so they spend lots of time with children, are almost certainly serial child molesters of the skin-to-skin variety (not just the cyber variety). Please read The Socially Skilled Child Molester [*affiliate link] by Carla Van Dam if you don’t believe me. For details of Jordan’s professional and personal life showing that he engineered for himself LOTS of potential opportunities to gain access to children, see the bottom of this post.
For anyone who has been triggered, let me encourage you to take a break and some deep breaths… And please note that we have two resources pages that may help you: Children of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse.
For all these reasons, I submit that Jordan Root is not repentant, and that TVC has been foolish (understatement) to accept his ‘repentance’ as genuine. It is pseudo-repentance, done for instrumental reasons, not done because he really detests his sin and wishes to flee from it.
What should The Village Church have done with Jordan?
1. Told him they didn’t credit his confession as being genuine: that they didn’t think it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Told him that they didn’t believe his claim of repentance.
2. Told him that in obedience to 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 they were putting him out of the church, i.e. excommunicating him immediately, rather than in a step by step process like Matthew 18. The step by step process of Matthew 18 is often delighted in by covert, power-and-control minded, heinous sinners: they take advantage of it and use it to win allies and do a snow job on the church, thus further abusing and marginalizing their primary victims.
1 Cor: 5 (ESV subheading: Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church)
Biblical text in italics; my applications to TVC in roman font.
(1) It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. Or a man has been watching images of child sexual abuse.
(2) And you are arrogant! Yes; you are arrogant, Village Church, for thinking you are experts who are capable of determining that Jordan’s confession is genuine! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
(3) For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. I am not telling you to do a step by step Matthew 18 process. I’m telling you to act pronto. Waste no time: the guy has to be put out!
(4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, (5) you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Handing him over to Satan is God’s commanded way of dealing with him. In the world, stripped of his ‘c’hristian facade, he will be more likely to be driven face to face with the consequences of his abominable sin. He will never ‘hit bottom’ while you keep him in the church where he can spin his snow job on you all. Keeping him in the church is like pouring fertilizer on Jordan’s self-deception.
(6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (7) Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (8) Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Village Church: your own sincerity and truth is in question: you have failed to see your own arrogance here, and your pride is so great that you have blithely accepted the lies of a pedophile, while slandering and condemning Karen, one of the pedophile’s victims. — And now, with Matt Chandler’s pseudo-apology delivered from the pulpit last Sunday, it looks to me like you are patronizing Karen and manipulating your congregation.
(9) I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—(10) not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
(11) But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality child porn or greed slaking and feeding a perverted lust for children or is an idolater has made an idol out of children’s naked bodies, reviler someone who uses verbal abuse to exert evil power and control over others, and disseminate slanderous lies about the innocent, drunkard, or swindler a cheat, e.g. someone who defrauds a woman into marrying him; someone who obtains by force or threat of force; someone who uses duplicity to break the law —not even to eat with such a one.
(12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” TVC: put Jordan out of the church. If he wants to watch your church services, let him do so online. Don’t let him onto your premises. Tell your congregation that they must not treat him like a believer.
Think my message is too harsh? Take it up with God and the Apostle Paul, not me.
As part of our duty of care, and for the sake of the children and parents who Jordan may have victimized, and here is the list Karen Hinkley provided (in the She Speaks post) of Jordan Root’s professional and social history where he may have had access to abuse children:
Jordan Root is currently a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas, License Number: 68895.
This is a list of Jordan Root’s access to children via employment and volunteer capacities beginning his freshman year of college provided by Jordan’s former wife Karen Hinkley:
- Daycare in Albany, NY (Prior to 2003 and then off and on until 2007)
- Daycare in Cedarville, OH (Period of time between 2004 and 2007)
- Summer Camp at First Baptist Dallas, Dallas, TX (May-August 2008)
- Dolfin Swim School, Dallas, TX (September 2008-July 2010)
- In Class Learning Differences Aid, Dallas, TX (September-December 2010)
- Practicum Counselor at Dallas Life, Dallas, TX (worked with families and children; January-August 2011)
- Private Children’s Swim Instructor, Dallas, TX (June-September 2011)
- Mental Health Technician at Timberlawn Mental Health Services, Dallas, TX (November 2011-March 2012)
- Therapist on the Child and Adolescent Unit at Timberlawn Mental Health Services, Dallas, TX (March 2012-May 2014)
- A substantial amount of paid babysitting over these years in Albany, NY, Cedarville, OH, and Dallas, TX
- Informal Children’s Ministry to Refugee Children in Vickery Meadows, Dallas, TX (2008-2011)
- Lived in Santa Fe Trails Apartment Complex, Dallas, TX; spent a lot of time alone with children (2008-2012)
- Volunteered in children’s and youth ministries at various churches in Cedarville, OH and Dallas, TX (and possibly Albany, NY)
- A substantial amount of unpaid babysitting over these years in Albany, NY, Cedarville, OH, and Dallas, TX
Anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Jordan Root is urged to come forward and contact local police in order to heal and protect others. In the Dallas area, contact the Dallas police child exploitation unit at (214) 671-4211. Child Help national child abuse hotline is available 24/7: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
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*Affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
For futher reading:
Applying the Law and Gospel to Victims and Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse
Verification of my statements about Jordan Root and the Village Church can be found at these posts at Watchkeep:
1. She Speaks — The Village Church protects a confessed pedophile and “disciplines” his wife
2. Karen Hinkley’s response to The Village Church 5/23/15 email sent to 6000 “covenant members” about her and Jordan Root