Earlier this year, The Dissenter reported on the expulsion of Pastors Chase Davis and Matt Patrick from the Acts 29 Network exposing a critical juncture in the Network’s trajectory, one that warranted a close examination. As we reported earlier this year, Davis and Patrick voiced their concerns about the Network’s promotion of unbiblical ideologies, such as transgenderism. What followed was not a robust theological debate, but rather a troubling disregard for their concerns and their abrupt removal from the network.
A podcast episode released recently provided a clear account of their removal. In the recorded conversation, the Network’s leadership, namely Matt Chandler, vaguely accused the pastors of being “combative” and “critical”. However, no substantial evidence was presented to validate these accusations, raising questions about the credibility of the charges.
In February, despite repeated efforts to raise their concerns with the network’s leadership, including vice presidents and regional leads, the pastors were suddenly removed from the network without warning or explanation. In an open letter to the network, Davis and Patrick wrote:
“We have been glad to partner with like-minded churches and have experienced great joy from the friendships and brotherhood in the network,” the two wrote. “However, due to various concerns with the direction and leadership of the network itself and its effect on our church-planting efforts in Colorado, our elder team has been praying and reevaluating our relationship with Acts 29.”
“We have also become alarmed by systems within Acts 29 that have led to things like women preaching and the promotion of transgenderism within Acts 29 churches,” they continued, “which go against both Acts 29’s distinctives and biblical truth.”
Davis and Patrick’s questioning and challenging of the Network’s theological direction should not be misconstrued as being combative or critical as they simply performed their pastoral duty, seeking to maintain the purity of the Gospel message. Ironically, it is the Acts 29 leadership’s lack of response to their questions that has been the cause of disarray and confusion.
The leadership of Acts 29 claimed that Davis and Patrick had publicly criticized the network. However, when pressed for specific examples of these public critiques, they failed to provide any. This lack of transparency and evidence only further shrouds their dismissal in a cloud of suspicion.
This is a concerning pattern of Evangelicalism, including the Southern Baptist Convention. Here, like Southern Baptist leadership, the Acts 29 leadership evades accountability. These pastors were asking questions about the theological direction of the network and seeking clarification on the use of their annual contribution – questions that any responsible member should be encouraged to ask. Yet, the Network’s leadership avoided addressing their concerns, eventually culminating in the pastors’ unwarranted expulsion.
Davis and Patrick’s expulsion serves as a stark reminder of what typically happens when power is exercised without accountability. They raised valid concerns, but instead of addressing them, the Network opted to remove them without providing a substantive rationale. The network’s decision appears to be driven more by a desire to quell dissent than a commitment to uphold biblical truth.
Acts 29, a network that professes a commitment to “theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation,” has clearly failed to uphold these values in its treatment of Davis and Patrick. The actions of the network’s leadership are a direct contradiction to their stated mission and principles, calling into question their commitment to theological clarity and accountability.
The actions of Pastors Davis and Patrick, despite their unjust expulsion, are commendable. They have displayed a strong commitment to biblical truth, demonstrating a willingness to face opposition in their pursuit of clarity and accountability. This should remind pastors and churches everywhere to be vigilant in the face of theological compromise and to stand unyieldingly in defense of biblical truth. Even when faced with opposition, the commitment to uphold biblical truths should remain steadfast.