Changing Subjects: The Alleged Matt Chandler “Scandal”

"...unless and until more specific information comes to light we cannot judge the legitimacy of the accusation and resulting forced 'stepping aside' of Chandler." - Roger Olson

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Bert Perry's picture

Nobody's arguing a physical relationship, or even lewdness in the text messages, so what's being referred to would be either the overall quantity of messages (time management) and/or perhaps a bit of excessive familiarity are in play.  

If that's correct, then I think that the approach is about correct, though I'd love to see him step forward and fess up to whatever did happened as well.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

One detail Olson mentions that got my attention is that all the spouses involved have seen all the messages and have no concerns.

So Olson says. I'm not sure where he got that info.

The whole thing is a little weird... But probably only because we're not privy to all the information. It's possible that lawyers are involved, or just--as Olson mentioned--insurance personnel. That would explain some of it I suppose.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Larry's picture

Moderator

So Olson says. I'm not sure where he got that info.

It was near the very beginning of Chandler's statement made in the church service.

Jay's picture

This entire situation stinks, and if I were to sum it up with a question it would be "whose best interest is being looked out for here?"

Here's what we know:

  • Chandler engaged in an 'overly familiar' relationship with a female in his church that involved "coarse and foolish talk" (contra Eph. 5, which none of us are supposed to engage in).
  • The actions were so bad that TVC had a legal firm investigate it.
  • The elders reviewed the (still private) findings and decided that Matt needed to be suspended for an unspecified length of time for whatever it is he did, nor than they assure anyone Matt will return.
  • The discipline isn't serious enough for them to answer a totally reasonable question by the congregation as to whether or not he is suspended with pay.
  • While Chandler was 'publicly rebuked' (see 1 Tim. 5:20), nobody knows what, with who, for how long, if Chandler is going to be returning, when he will return, and frankly very little else other than the 10,000+ members of that church are supposed to trust them and their handling of the situation.  Nor do we know if this was a female staff member or a female congregant.
  • This is barely a few years after TVC disciplined out the wife of a man who confessed to watching child pornography while on the mission field.

I get TVC's Board doing what's in the best interest of the megachurch, but I'm not seeing any real reason to trust their leadership or direction. If Matt confessed to the actions and is repentant, then my reading of 1 Tim. 5 is that Matt should be open about his "joking" and that the Village leadership should be able to say "Matt will be suspended without pay for 3 months" (or whatever the specifics turn out to be). Actions like this do invite more questions, as Olson noted, and I have no confidence that this situation is being handled in the Lord's best interest. It looks an awful lot like it's being handled in the church's best interest because to deal with this situation biblically and correctly might blow up the entire complex or damage it to the point where they'd have to restructure / revamp / overhaul a lot of what's done there.

I'm highly skeptical of all these explanations, and the evasiveness of the leadership isn't helping their cause. At all.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

With everything that's going on in Evangelical/Fundamentalist circles, and the way that the SBC (in particular) have been exposed for hiding and defending criminal behavior, plus the fact that "elders are to be held to a higher standard", I have a very hard time with 'trust us, we know what's best'.

Trust is based on confidence in the leaders, and confidence is based on their ability to discern and consistently apply the Word of the Lord without partiality and consistently. In this case, it seems like Matt is getting preferential treatment as so many other megachurch leaders have gotten.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Larry's picture

Moderator

How is Matt getting preferential treatment? He/they have done everything that the experts have said to do. They didn't cover it up. They had a third party investigate. They had an elder team step in. He had to make a very public confession telling exactly what he did. He has had to take a leave of absence. 

Is this a case that the eyes of lust are never satisfied? What do you want?

Michael_C's picture

Jay wrote:

  • The actions were so bad that TVC had a legal firm investigate it.

I've seen a lot of discussion and speculation elsewhere around the fact that a law firm was brought in to investigate. The church might have hired a law firm to avoid potential liability, but I think it is just as likely that they were brought in because law firms are seen as thorough and impartial 3rd parties.

Jay's picture

It isn't about what * I * want. 

It's about making sure that Chandler is held to the higher standard that elders should be held to (James 3:1), and it's about making sure that the leadership at Village isn't pulling their punches because they know that terminating him (if that is necessary) would hurt their business.  It's also about making sure that Joe Pewsitter actually knows what he is supposed to take warning about (1 Tim. 5:20) rather than getting a misdirection/minimization play from the people who are supposed to be watching out for his soul. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Larry's picture

Moderator

So you want to make sure the Chandler is held accountable to a higher standard? How is that not about what you want?

And what should they have done in your opinion? The minute the accusation was made the whole elder team was involved in it. It wasn't handled by one person. It wasn't swept under the carpet. It wasn't denied or excused. They got an outside independent third party investigation which is what everybody says they should do. So they did. They took their recommendation and put it into practice. He had to get up and confess in front of the whole church what he had done and explained it pretty clearly. They specifically said this was happening because he was being held to a higher standard. They have removed him from his role for a period of time. In other words, it seems like they did everything that the so-called experts say should be done but you are still not satisfied. So what is it you want? Be specific.