According to a report from the Christian Post, a Texas megachurch pastor who stepped down from his post in late August after it was discovered he was in an "inappropriate" relationship with a woman who is not his wife had a triumphant return on Sunday.
With the New York Times reporting that Matt Chandler was greeted with "whistles and cheers" as he took the stage at the Village Church in Dallas, the Post added that it appears that all is forgiven and his dalliance has been consigned to the past.
In August it was reported that Chandler quit after his Instagram relationship with an unidentified woman became public, whereupon he told his congregation, "I fell short."
At that time, Christianity Today reported, "The relationship was not sexual or romantic, Chandler told his church, but the elders believed the frequent and familiar direct messages exchanged over Instagram were 'unguarded and unwise' and 'revealed something unhealthy in me.' Chandler said he agreed with their assessment and was grateful for the spiritual oversight."
As the Christian Post is now reporting, his departure lasted just over three months and "elders at The Village Church had announced that Chandler would return to preaching as the church celebrates its 20th anniversary."
In an email to congregants, they stated, "We asked a lot of Matt, including time spent in study and prayer, personal reflection, and multiple intensives with trusted outside experts. Matt has completed everything asked of him with submissiveness, steadfastness, and humility, and we have received positive feedback from all involved."
The report adds that Chandler's brief downfall followed his being confronted "about his behavior in the church's foyer several months ago."
"The Village Church elders commissioned an independent law firm, identified by The New York Times as, Castañeda and Heidelman, to investigate Chandler's messaging history across social media platforms, cell phone and email," the report added. "They concluded that Chandler 'violated our internal social media use policies, and more importantly that, while the overarching pattern of his life has been above reproach, he failed to meet the 1 Timothy standard for elders of being above reproach in this instance.'"
As for his Sunday resurrection, the NYT reported, "The church’s all-male board of elders joined Mr. Chandler onstage on Sunday morning, laying their hands on him in prayer. Josh Patterson, another pastor, described the group as unified in restoring Mr. Chandler to leadership," adding, "Mr. Patterson compared Mr. Chandler to an athlete who has undergone surgery on his knee and been cleared to play by his doctor, but may still feel timid about using it. 'Your knee is good,' Mr. Patterson told Mr. Chandler, to another round of sustained applause."