An open letter to Matt Younger a Pastor at The Village Church Dallas Northway Campus. A letter challenging and pushing back against Matt Younger and calling out his treatment of Karen Hinkley. This looks at the problem with questionable authority, and how membership covenants are a new form of slavery. This also addresses issues with young pastors today.
(This post to Matt Younger at The Village Church at the Dallas Northway Campus has some instructions for you. Below you will find the video of the Imperial March. You know what it is…it’s the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars. As we are going to be talking about abuse of authority, abuse of power, and a litany of other issues I want you to play that Imperial March in the background. The video I found has 10 hours…which I think will be more than enough)
“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
Abraham Lincoln – Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863
“What I fear most is power with impunity. I fear abuse of power, and the power to abuse“
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV
Dear Matt Younger-
You and I need to have a talk. From one man to another…I would prefer to do this in person, but as you are in Dallas and I in the Washington, D.C. area I will have to write you a letter instead. You make it up to DC I would be happy to meet you. I have no problem with meeting people, actually I prefer that in all honesty. I want to be very clear that I am going to push back hard against you in this post. This is not me being mean, difficult or bullying you. This is me being blunt. Someone needs to speak out against your behavior and I have no problem lifting my voice. I am speaking on behalf of Karen Hinkley, and I will also speak up for those who have no voice. There is so much to say and so little time. One thing I want to emphasize as I set out to write a response to you Matt Younger is that I am angry. Not an emotional anger, but a righteous anger. A man’s response should be to get angry over abuse, questionable activity, and questionable behavior. Jesus tore up a temple, I believe Jesus would go into your office and throw over a desk or two. He’d probably do that to your book store as well. I read this letter that was sent out to your congregation and I immediately wondered if you were the one who wrote it Matt. It was quite a spin job in many ways, and I’m sure even the master of spin Joseph Goebbels would be impressed. I want to get into this below in further detail but you know what that letter and behavior reminds me of Matt? It reminds me of how the Mormon Church operates. You see the Mormon Church controls information internally to its members, and then it tells people on the outside something all together different. Cults and cult like movements behave in that manner…as I learned from my time in Mormonism. Mormon missionaries are taught to lie as that’s how good people get hooked and snared, and after they get baptized then the LDS Church reveals more and more to the new convert. It’s a bastardization of 1 Corinthians 3:2, from that letter that The Village Church is circulating amongst members at The Village Church it sounds like you are duplicating and twisting scripture. One more thing I want to say…in the letter that was written to the congregation it was stated that this was not to be shared with non-covenant members. Oops…I guess someone screwed up there. Let me make a recommendation to you Matt Younger. As part of the membership process for The Village Church why don’t you guys institute “Gospel Centered Polygraphs” and after putting members through a full blown interrogation every so often you can interrogate them with pleasure. That’s a good way to show your authority. Think of the questions you can ask! You can find out if people in small groups effectively shunned a person. You can even institute that members of The Village Church purchase 4 Matt Chandler books a year use a polygraph to find out if they were actually purchased, as compared to being traded or shared. So what say you! Now with that let’s get started, especially since I read your correspondence (February 11 and 20, 2015 letters) to Karen Hinkley (formerly Karen Root) at Amy Smith’s blog.
The next step in the membership covenant process of The Village Church? 😛
The Emancipation Proclamation, Authority & Membership Covenant Slavery
Matt Younger I have news for you. I don’t know if you are aware of this fact, or if the staff and elders at The Village Church know this information. But..the Civil War is over, and Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 which actually freed slaves in the states of rebellion. But in case you don’t know this slavery is illegal Matt. Karen Hinkley is not your slave. She is not to report to the Village Church plantation and serve you and other elders with “joy” while you greedily reach for more of the Kool Aid. Your letters to her were so controlling, so over the top. You’ve turned a membership covenant as a means to enslave someone. Why were you so disrespectful to Karen Hinkley Matt Younger? Do you honestly think God is honored in the way you treated her? Also what would you have done had she submitted to you? In the spirit of your precious Puritan theology would you have duplicated the Salam Witch Trials in Dallas? What would you have done Matt Younger? To illustrate the problem you have with overbearing authority let’s analyze a paragraph from your February 20th letter to Karen.
Karen it is our covenant obligation to care for you. Much more it is our desire to care for you. We are confident that The Village Church is where the Lord would have you during this season of your life. We believe that The Village can adequately care for both you and Jordan, even as you are separated. We do not see wisdom in you leaving our church for separate care.
Please note Matt all the times the word “care” is mentioned. Its overkill. First of all you treat Karen like she is a little child, and incapable of making sound decisions. But in order to show what you were doing to her, let’s take another look at that paragraph and substitute the word “control” for “care”.
Karen it is our covenant obligation to control you. Much more it is our desire to control you. We are confident that The Village Church is where the Lord would have you during this season of your life. We believe that The Village can adequately control both you and Jordan, even as you are separated. We do not see wisdom in you leaving our church for separate control.
Well it doesn’t work on the last word of care, but look at how it comes across in several other ways now. I did have to delete the word “for” several times. But I think this better reveals your correspondence with Karen. You’re not helping Karen you are controlling her. The way you wielded authority is abusive and questionable. You wield authority in the same way that a toddler finds a loaded hand gun in their parents bedroom. There is one thing that popped out in my mind as I saw how you used your authority Matt Younger. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 popped up in my noodle. Your authority is wrong, bordering on being cult like, and over the top. Cult is a strong word to use but some of this control that you are exhibiting reminds me of some of what I brushed up against when I explored Mormonism. What you have done Matt is that you have made authority to be your God. That is what you are worshipping. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says the only mediator between us and God is Jesus. Nothing more…and no a pastor is not a mediator. You’ve basically reduced and made Calvary meaningless because you are acting as the mediator between God and man. That is not healthy, and that is not scriptural. But I just find it rich with irony as to what your behavior symbolizes. The Southern Baptist Church has struggled with its history especially with how it was founded. Slavery and the belief that a person could be property and owned was viewed by some Baptists as being Biblical. So here you go Matt Younger, you and Steve Hardin and others are leading the charge back to the days of slavery by how you view Karen Hinkley. In addition the membership covenants are a controlling effort that is not Biblical. We can play games all night, as I am sure you are good at proof texting. But let me illustrate another way membership covenants violate scripture. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 addresses the topic of lawsuits amongst Christians. Every time you use a membership covenant, against every single member of The Village Church you are initiating a lawsuit. How you ask? Well…I’d bet my ROTH IRA that The Village Church’s membership covenant has been vetted and approved by a lawyer. Its the first step to go after someone legally. So I would suggest that in many ways your high view of scripture is actually pretty low by this kind of behavior. Membership covenants are a new form of slavery, and placing an un-necessary burden on people. Oh and Matt Younger….I know you may be quoting Hebrews 13:17 every chance you get. But I have to tell you, it’s my understanding that there are 31,103 verses in scripture. Yet many Neo-Calvinists often act as if Hebrews 13:17 is really the only verse to be used. However, when I do the math and play around with numbers that means you and others in your tribe are stuck on 0.0000321512% of the Bible. Do you really think that is how the Bible is intended to be used?
Matt Younger…in your February 11th email to Karen you write the following,“The elders of TVC cannot accept your resignation of membership. In addition should you not immediately revoke the petition for annulment, we would sadly move forward and formally discipline you as a member of the church”. Then in your letter to Karen on February 20th you write, “In addition, we have been perplexed by your decision to file for an annulment of your marriage without first abiding by your covenant obligations to submit to the care and direction of your elders. As I mentioned in my first letter, this decision violates your covenant with us – and places you under discipline. Per section 10.5 of The Village Church bylaws you are prohibited from voluntary resigning membership while subject to the formal disciplinary process. We cannot therefore accept your resignation.” Which was followed by, “Until then, your Elders are pleading with you to patiently submit to our leadership. Should you choose not to return to The Village Church, we will move forward in the next step in the process of disciplining you as a member. Please hear our appeal. The last thing we want to do is lose the privilege of caring for you in this difficult season.” Here are my thoughts to you Matt Younger. In reading these communications from you it becomes clear to me that you do not know the difference between an annulment and a divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure that declares a marriage null and void. It is usually retroactive where a marriage can be annulled from the beginning. Its as if the marriage never happened as I understand it. A divorce is a cancelation or a termination of a marriage. Matt Younger you are treating the annulment as if its a divorce. I like what Matt Redmond, a former Acts 29 pastor has written about the issue here. Plus there are scripture verses that justify divorce on the grounds of sexual misconduct. For example off the top of my head I can think of Matthew 5:32, and Matthew 19:1-9. And here is another thought that popped in my head when I was driving home from the gym today…you want to discipline Karen Hinkley for getting an annulment, but did you discipline Jordan Root for consenting to the annulment or signing any paperwork for allowing it to happen? Also another question I have is what role does Texas state law play in this? Since the state of Texas has spoken on the basis of Romans 13 shouldn’t you follow state law? But I see no basis for any kind of discipline for Karen other than for you to justify your existence in your effort to control her. That is not how discipline should be done. You are reminding me of all the reasons why I have concerns about church membership today. But before you define me as bitter, divisive and not ready to commit or lazy, I would challenge you to read this post I wrote to a pastor who shepherded my soul and to a church I became a member at.
There are some additional issues I want to touch on as well Matt Younger. You see I distrust many pastors today, and for differing reasons. Its not that I distrust authority but just because someone claims to be a pastor, well that doesn’t quite do it for me. In my case you have to earn my trust. However, in addition I would never get involved with a church affiliated with “The Gospel
Corporation” whoops I mean Coalition for a number of reasons. One additional point that also troubles me deals with the seminaries that exist today. Matt Younger I have no idea of where you went to seminary, as its not mentioned on your bio. Before I get into the main analysis of seminaries today let me draw some comparisons to drive home my point. In Pakistan you have a number of Islamic schools called madrassas. They attract younger people who attend to learn the Koran and Islamic teachings. Many madrassas become indoctrination centers, and people go there get brainwashed and exit and cross the border and wage jihad in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. According to The News International, in 1947 there were only 189 madrassas in Pakistan but over “over 40,000” by 2008. When it comes to Islamic madrassas many are centers for indoctrination….its why they exist. They are not there to train people in education, they are there to recruit and create terrorists. Really many seminaries in the United States but especially three off the top of my head are just like those radical Islamic madrassas in Pakistan. Those three are Trinity Evangelical Divinity school, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here’s why I state this…those three evangelical seminaries I mentioned are not there to train and educate; they are there to indoctrinate. People graduate from those seminaries not prepared or trained for the role of pastoral counsel. To be blunt…when the sum of your education is about what to think and not how to think, what is a person to do? Matt Younger does this explain why you can’t tell the difference between a divorce and annulment? In addition just as radical Islamic madrassas attract young people in Pakistan, in the United States many young people attend places like Trinity or Southern Seminary and get indoctrinated into Neo-Reformed theology. The goal of education is to expand your mind, think critically and challenge yourself. Part of the reason why I am so grateful for having studied history both in college and grad school is that it’s sharpened my critical thinking skills. Its given me a broad perspective. I was introduced to competing lines of thought in American and European history. Take an event like Pearl Harbor or western settlement in the United States, there are many differing historical viewpoints of those events that I had to wrestle with and come to my own conclusions. This is sadly lacking today and it also explains why I think so many pastors can’t intellectually engage many people. Plus while as in Pakistan those cranked out of madrassas wage jihad many Neo-Calvinists are doing the same thing in their own respective way, and its tearing apart many churches, and leading people to give bad advice. Matt Younger your advice to Karen is not there to help her..instead it is there for one purpose and one purpose only…and that is to control her. Plus it almost seems passive aggressive to me because he goes back and forth in strong language and loving language. Am I reading you wrong Matt Younger? You have a person who is grieving her situation, her fraudulent marriage and then here is Matt Younger threatening to place her under church discipline. As they say in the United States military…”Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!”
Pastoring the Flock is a Privilege not a Right – Thoughts about Young Pastors/Neo-Calvinist Pastors
Matt Younger on February 20, 2015 you wrote the following in an email to Karen Hinkley. “It is a privilege, and yet a sober call, to be entrusted with the care of God’s flock” If you really thought it is a privilege would you have treated Karen the way that you did? Or is it about lip service in the end? Let me convey some thoughts to you Matt Younger. There are a number of Neo-Calvinist pastors who take control of their church or get their own church plant and become senior pastor who are way too young. There are many pastors who don’t have the life experience to draw from. Plus to be fair there are Pastors in non Neo Calvinist churches who deal with this issue as well. I’ve bumped into some young pastors who are arrogant and feel entitled. Matt Younger, Karen Hinkley was a gift to The Village Church. Looking at your age I’m going to guess that you came from a pretty sheltered existence. There are a number of young pastors who lack life experience and have lived in a bubble. In that bubble they drink the John Piper or Matt Chandler Kool-Aid and that is their existence. Sorry Matt…when you have your fan boy and you drool, foam at the mouth and salivate at the name of someone like John Piper that may qualify you for a position in a place like The Village Church. However, in many places and many professions that’s all you will get. Your career options are pretty limited in many ways and that is why some Neo-Calvinist Pastors defend the system and support the Reformed Industrial Complex…what else are they going to do? Do they have the education to do anything else? Its like a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan who is illiterate, doesn’t have any education and the only thing they know is how to wage jihad. What else are they going to do? Engage in warfare of course!
Matt Younger being a pastor should be a privilege and in your communications to Karen you treat it like a right as you trample her in the process. Many pastors treat and approach people almost as if they are your personal ATM. Or they are your ticket to a middle class existence with a nice house. The people don’t exist for your benefit Matt Younger. You as a Pastor should exist for them. Your communication reveals a sense of entitlement and that is outright wrong. You have a lot of repenting to do Matt. I can’t believe I read the letters and communications that I did. If you think that is normal or healthy…Good God! I sincerely hope you will search your heart and examine your conscious in light of those emails and treatment. The fact that you are known and being discussed in such a way on blogs like mine, Amy Smith’s, Julie Anne Smith’s and Wartburg Watch should give you pause. That should force you to step back and ask yourself some hard, hard, questions. One more word of advice….I’d refrain from any more Kool-Aid. The Kool Aid has clouded your judgment and your ability to make sound and healthy decisions. Now I do believe you can redeem this mess. It will be hard but you can do it. In all honesty Matt that is what I want to see. I want to see individuals like you, Matt Chandler and Steve Hardin own this mess and repent. I’d love to hear you say, “You know…I screwed up. I’m wrong.” When I speak on the phone in a few days with Dee Parsons who writes Wartburg Watch and is plastering your name all over the internet I’d love to hear from Dee how you are working hard to rectify the situation. If you need help I’ll extend a hand and be glad to help you out of this mess. I’m not blowing smoke, I know what it feels like to repent and do the hard work. You have to do it with Karen Hinkley at some point. I repented to 140 people, read the third part of my story and if you need help than I can reach out to Dee Parsons. But Matt, if all this falls on deaf ears and none of it convicts you let me just say the following. If you can’t understand why you are wrong, how your behavior is wrong, how your treatment of Karen Hinkley is wrong….well…then you shouldn’t be a pastor. If you can’t understand what I am saying above which is very blunt then you should NOT be a pastor. If you can’t see your errors then I recommend you find a new line of work.
Your Treatment of Karen Hinkley
Matt Younger your treatment of Karen Hinkley was wrong. I am amazed that you could so easily go back and forth from sympathy to church discipline almost in the same breath. And to hammer that discipline repeatedly while Karen is coming to terms with the annulment of her marriage to a man who gets sexually aroused to 4 year olds up to pre-pubescent girls just stuns me. Where is your human compassion? How is your behavior grace filled? According to your bio Matt Younger you and your wife have a daughter Caroline. Would you have wanted Caroline to be treated in the exact same manner? If Caroline found herself in a similar situation would you want her to be treated the same way, hammered, treated like a child, and bullied? If this is “Gospel Centered” then really Matt, you and the Village Church, and the rest of the Neo-Calvinist movement need to disappear off the face of the earth. In addition to hurting people, you are hurting the Gospel, and you are giving justification to atheism. There are atheists who are created by such dastardly behavior. I read the story of one recently and I plan to write an open letter to her and apologize on behalf of the Christian faith for what her Baptist church put her through. I don’t blame her for walking away from Christianity. In my own way…I did the same thing for years.
I’d really love to see you resolve this, and here’s some suggestions for you Matt Younger. First you are going to rescind that action of discipline. Second you are going to accept Karen’s resignation. And then in time through perhaps through a third party you are going to write Karen a letter of apology. You are going to treat Karen Hinkley in the same way you would want your daughter Caroline to be treated.
In closing Matt Younger I want to dedicate this song to all those trapped at The Village Church and those enslaved under your “care”. Not long ago Tenth Avenue North released a song called “For Those Who Can’t Speak”, which dealt with human trafficking. This song I would also suggest deals with those trapped or enslaved in oppressive cultures and I would like to dedicate it to those stuck in The Village Church. Have you seen these lyrics?
I have dreamed of a kingdom coming where
Evil drowns in mercy streams
I want to see those rivers of justice
So I use my voice for those who can’t speak
I will use my voice for those who can’t speak
I to want to see a kingdom where I never hear or another situation like what Karen Hinkley has endured. I don’t want to read or hear of any other situations where you treat another person like this again Matt Younger. I long for a day when the abusive Neo-Calvinism system drowns. The way Karen was treated is evil Matt. It is uncalled for and it is barbaric. As I write this I am concerned for others who are trapped in Matt Chandler’s church. They may not have a voice, but I do. And I will keep raising it for their behalf. I long to see justice and to see those enslaved in The Village Church be free and I don’t want this infection or disease to hurt other people in other Acts 29 plants. They are just as precious and to be treated with respect, love and kindness. Are you hearing me Matt Younger?
Again this is a talk from one man to another. Let Karen Hinkley go, stop harassing her, let her be in peace. In the eyes of the Lord she is special…treat her with love and grace.