A Dallas megachurch has backed off and issued an apology to a former member of the church who was placed "under discipline" by church elders who believed she was acting hastily when she sought an annulment from her pedophile husband.
According to Crosswalk, Karen Hinkley (formerly Root) and her husband Jordan were recalled from their missionary service in South Asia by the Dallas-based Village Church after Jordan confessed that he had viewed online pornography involving children.
Upon returning to the U.S., the church turned the information they had on Jordan Root over to the police who, in turn, turned it over to the FBI which later declined to prosecute him. In addition to withdrawing financial support for Root, the church restricted him to certain portions of their Dallas campus -- keeping him away from all youth activities -- while he undergoes "a season of intentional pastoral care" in an attempt to get right with God again.
While the church said they would continue to financially support Karen Hinkley through August of this year, church elders were disappointed that she wanted to have her marriage to Jordan annulled and felt she was acting hastily.
In an email sent to "Covenant Members" of the church, Pastor Matt Chandler lamented the fact that she filed for annulment
"We have reached out to love and support her during this time, but unfortunately she has chosen not to accept our attempts to care for her and provide counsel. Instead, Karen limited her communication with The Village and has now stopped responding entirely," he wrote. "This began less than four weeks after Karen's return to the US when she filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church and requested to be placed back in the mission field. We encouraged Karen to slow down and allow us to walk with her in a season of healing before making these life-altering decisions, but she declined to take this step."
Chandler added, "Karen's decision to pursue immediate annulment, to decline an attempt of reconciliation, to disregard her Membership Covenant and pastoral counsel, and to break fellowship with the body has led her into formal church discipline."
The email did not go into detail over what the discipline would be.
Hinkley responded in a letter to the church, explaining, "For my own health and the health of all parties involved, I have decided it is not best for me to be in the care of the same church family as Jordan. As Jordan remains a member of The Village Church, as the leadership of The Village Church has expressed the intention to continue to care for Jordan, I am hereby withdrawing my membership of The Village Church. After a reasonable period of consideration I will commit myself to another church family."
Faced with backlash from the evangelical community, Chandler apologized in another email, saying, "In every way that we’ve mishandled this situation, along with others in the past, we repent and ask for forgiveness, before adding, " In this moment, we are clinging to that truth, knowing that we and everyone else involved in this situation desperately need the grace and mercy of Jesus."