Karen Hinkley, whose given name was Karen Root, got married to Jordan Hinkley in 2012, and the devout young couple immediately set out to fulfill their dream of becoming Christian missionaries overseas. They turned to the 11,000-member, Dallas-based megachurch known as The Village Church to help them fulfill what they saw as their destiny in life.
But not long after they arrived in Asia where they settled in a small village to begin their missionary work, Karen began to suspect that Jordan was not the person that she thought he was. And even after he confessed a secret to her, she still thought that something wasn’t right.
In fact, something was definitely not right. But instead of her church supporting her through her harrowing ordeal, the popular pastor, Matt Chandler, admonished Karen, prohibited her from leaving the megachurch congregation and placed her “on discipline.”
The Village, or TVC as it is known, is one of the fastest-rising megachurches in the country, and despite the fire-and-brimstone doctrine that he preaches, the handsome, 39-year-old Chandler, pictured above, has quickly become one evangelical Christianity’s superstars.
But the way he handled Karen’s chilling situation has become a black mark on Chandler’s reputation. Here’s what happened.
Thousands of miles from home, Karen confronted her husband, believing, based on his odd behavior, that he was hiding some sort of secret. Jordan broke down and confessed. He admitted to downloading pornography off the internet and using it for masturbation.
While disappointed — Jordan, after all, was known as a vociferous opponent of pornography who even bragged that he, himself, never masturbated — Karen figured she could deal with it. But she soon suspected that what she later called Jordan’s “psuedo-confession” was, itself, far from the whole truth.
When the whole truth finally came out, it was deeply disturbing. Jordan admitted that he didn’t simply masturbate to pictures of naked women — his real preference was for kiddie porn, images of pre-pubescent girls. He even confessed to pleasuring himself to pictures of babies, and to thoughts of children for whom he babysat.
When she returned to the United States, however, and told Chandler that she wanted her marriage annulled because her husband was a pedophile, his response was not what she expected. He told her that the church forgave her husband, so she was required to forgive him as well. Not only was she denied an annulment, Chandler attempted to bar her from leaving TVC.
She quit TVC anyway. But Chandler wasn’t having that either.
“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.”
Chandler did not say what the nature of the “discipline” might be. But Hinkley wasn’t about to take it. She wrote back declaring that she would now “commit myself to another church family.”
[Image via Matthew Paul Turner]