Earlier this week, we reported that Acts 29 leader and pastor of Village Church, Matt Chandler had stepped down in accordance with the recommendations of his fellow elders after he revealed that he’d had what was described as an “inappropriate” texting relationship with a woman other than his wife.
To be clear, it was always our contention that either this situation was overblown, or something wasn’t adding up. On our part, we urged caution and I confronted several people on social media, even those who would be considered discerning Christians, around speculating further about Chandler than what was revealed. One blogger, Elizabeth Prata, went as far as to accuse Chandler of “adultery” even though there was and still is no evidence of such.
While we disagree with Prata on this, we do understand that Chandler’s elders decided that his “course joking” did rise to the level of sin worthy of disciplinary action. But not all course joking is necessarily sexual and we believe patience is a virtue when leveling accusations against anyone, especially an elder—whether or not we believe that elder is disqualified for other reasons.
Yesterday, a close friend and associate of Matt Chandler, who is also one of the original advisory board members of the “gay Christian” organization called Revoice, Preston Sprinkle, published an open letter on Instagram further detailing the Chandler situation.
In the letter, Sprinkle stated that he’d “looked extensively into all the stuff involving Matt Chandler on the Village Church” and that he’d “talked to Matt twice and talked to a woman who’s been on staff at the church for over 18 years.” He said that not only has the secular media portrayed this in a bad way, but even the church had framed it in terms where it could be “misconstrued.”
Sprinkle said that the woman Chandler had been texting told Chandler “don’t you dare apologize; you did nothing wrong,” and that both Chandler’s wife and the woman’s husband were fully aware of the texting situation and neither was concerned. The “course joking,” Sprinkle said, had nothing to do with sexual or lewd jokes but rather was about alcohol. According to Sprinkle, it was the woman’s friend, who follows a strict “Billy Graham rule,” who became upset and confronted Matt.
“All this to say, I have no problem still having Matt speak at the Exiles conference this year,” Sprinle said in his letter. “I mean, if we applied the same standard to all the speakers, I’m not sure I’d be able to have any speakers at the conference.”
Make what you will of this revelation, but we do believe we were correct in urging patience and jumping to conclusions that Chandler’s situation was sexual or adulterous. While Chandler and his church may have decided that he violated the church’s policy on close personal relationships, the church did not believe that it rose to the level of permanent disqualification.
That being said, it has always been our contention that Chandler should have been disqualified long ago not because of this incident, but because of his proclivity to teach false doctrine and add social justice to the gospel in a way that distorts it, causes confusion, and causes division.
We have criticized Chandler for things like saying that Black people who aren’t woke are just trying to win the “approval” of White men, pushing progressive “woke” politics, his church writing worship songs about microaggressions, comparing Black Lives Matter leaders to biblical prophets, denouncing America as racist and demonic, declaring that parts of Critical Race Theory are good (even though it’s demonic), having disdain for White people, speaking at various “woke church” social justice conferences, or sharing the stage with lesbians, racists, and charismatics all in the name of social justice.