How should a church respond when a professing Christian has been committing heinous sexual immorality?

How should a church deal with a person who has been professing Christianity, but has been committing heinous sexual immorality? The Bible’s answer to this question should tell us how The Village Church ought to have dealt with Jordan Root.

At John Pavlovitz’s article Matt Chandler, Village Church, Acts 29 Network, and The Long Overdue Funeral For Frat Boy Christianity a reader asked the following question (link):

….What would people who claim to be Christians LIKE to see The Village Church do to Jordan Root? Kick him out? Tell him he isn’t welcome anymore? Shun him? Make him draw a sign on his shirt that says he is a child molester? What would be appropriate?….

I believe that Jordan Root’s admissions to watching child porn are not anything like a full confession. My reasons? When first pressed by Karen, he admitted to viewing images of adult porn. Only when Karen repeatedly pressed him did he admit to watching child porn. And then he virtually rubbed her face in it by describing some of the porn in lurid detail — imagine how that defiled Karen’s mind! It was not a confession made in humility, nor did it have any of the signs of genuine contrition and repentance. It was squeezed out of him, and then he used the confession to HURT Karen further (by describing the images in gross detail). Want verification? See endnotes at bottom of this post for links.

Jordan used a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access some or most of the porn. That is one of the reasons why the FBI have not been able to charge him with anything. But if he were genuinely repentant, he would be giving the FBI full and comprehensive details of what he viewed, how they can verify that he viewed it so they can charge him, and how he obtained it, so that the FBI can use that info to prosecute the makers and purveyors of that child porn. Jordan has done nothing like this.

Jordan Root, if he were genuinely repentant, would have signed himself up for a five- or seven-day a week pedophile treatment program of the highest quality. He has not done anything remotely like that.

Trigger warning

From what I have read, pedophiles who watch child porn and who have engineered their careers and their working and social lives so they spend lots of time with children, are almost certainly serial child molesters of the skin-to-skin variety (not just the cyber variety). Please read The Socially Skilled Child Molester [Affiliate link] by Carla Van Dam if you don’t believe me. For details of Jordan’s professional and personal life showing that he engineered for himself LOTS of potential opportunities to gain access to children, see the bottom of this post.

For anyone who has been triggered, let me encourage you to take a break and some deep breaths…. And please note that we have two resources pages that may help you: Children of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse.

For all these reasons, I submit that Jordan Root is not repentant, and that TVC has been foolish (understatement) to accept his ‘repentance’ as genuine. It is pseudo-repentance, done for instrumental reasons, not done because he really detests his sin and wishes to flee from it.

What should The Village Church have done with Jordan?

1) Told him they didn’t credit his confession as being genuine: that they didn’t think it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Told him that they didn’t believe his claim of repentance.

2) Told him that in obedience to 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 they were putting him out of the church, i.e. excommunicating him immediately, rather than in a step-by-step process like Matthew 18. The step-by-step process of Matthew 18 is often delighted in by covert, power-and-control minded, heinous sinners: they take advantage of it and use it to win allies and do a snow job on the church, thus further abusing and marginalizing their primary victims.

1 Cor 5 (ESV subheading: Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church)

Biblical text in quotes; my applications to TVC below the quote or in brackets within the quote.

(1) It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.

Or a man has been watching images of child sexual abuse.

(2) And you are arrogant!….

Yes; you are arrogant, Village Church, for thinking you are experts who are capable of determining that Jordan’s confession is genuine!

(2) ….Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

(3) For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.

I am not telling you to do a step-by-step Matthew 18 process. I’m telling you to act pronto. Waste no time: the guy has to be put out!

(4) When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  (5) you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Handing him over to Satan is God’s commanded way of dealing with him. In the world, stripped of his ‘C’hristian façade, he will be more likely to be driven face-to-face with the consequences of his abominable sin. He will never ‘hit bottom’ while you keep him in the church where he can spin his snow job on you all. Keeping him in the church is like pouring fertilizer on Jordan’s self-deception.

(6) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  (7) Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  (8) Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Village Church: your own sincerity and truth is in question: you have failed to see your own arrogance here, and your pride is so great that you have blithely accepted the lies of a pedophile, while slandering and condemning Karen, one of the pedophile’s victims.  — And now, with Matt Chandler’s pseudo-apology delivered from the pulpit last Sunday, it looks to me like you are patronizing Karen and manipulating your congregation.

(9) I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people —  (10) not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

(11) But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality [child porn] or greed [slaking and feeding a perverted lust for children] or is an idolater [has made an idol out of children’s naked bodies], reviler [someone who uses verbal abuse to exert evil power and control over others, and disseminate slanderous lies about the innocent], drunkard, or swindler [a cheat, e.g. someone who defrauds a woman into marrying him; someone who obtains by force or threat of force; someone who uses duplicity to break the law] — not even to eat with such a one.

(12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”  [Emphasis added.]

TVC: put Jordan out of the church. If he wants to watch your church services, let him do so online. Don’t let him onto your premises. Tell your congregation that they must not treat him like a believer.

Think my message is too harsh? Take it up with God and the Apostle Paul, not me.

As part of our duty of care, and for the sake of the children and parents who Jordan may have victimized, here is the list Karen Hinkley provided (in the She Speaks post) of Jordan Root’s professional and social history where he may have had access to abuse children:

Jordan Root is currently a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas, License Number: 68895.

This is a list of Jordan Root’s access to children via employment and volunteer capacities beginning his freshman year of college provided by Jordan’s former wife Karen Hinkley:



  • Informal Children’s Ministry to Refugee Children in Vickery Meadows [Internet Archive link], Dallas, TX (2008 – 2011)
  • Lived in Santa Fe Trails Apartment Complex, Dallas, TX; spent a lot of time alone with children (2008 – 2012)
  • Volunteered in children’s and youth ministries at various churches in Cedarville, OH and Dallas, TX (and possibly Albany, NY)
  • A substantial amount of unpaid babysitting over these years in Albany, NY, Cedarville, OH, and Dallas, TX

Anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Jordan Root is urged to come forward and contact local police in order to heal and protect others. In the Dallas area, contact the Dallas police child exploitation unit [Internet Archive link] at (214) 671-4211. Child Help [Internet Archive link] national child abuse hotline is available 24/7: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)


Verification of my statements about Jordan Root and The Village Church can be found at these posts at Watch Keep:

1) She Speaks: The Village Church protects a confessed pedophile and “disciplines” his wife, a brave young woman and missionary
2) Karen Hinkley’s response to The Village Church 5/23/15 email sent to 6000 “covenant members” about her and Jordan Root

[September 14, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to September 14, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to September 14, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to September 14, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 14, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

What Would Walther Do: Applying the Law and Gospel to Victims and Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse — By Victor I. Vieth.

Things God Hates — Sermon by Ps Sam Powell on 1 Corinthians 5. This sermon is the 13th in a series of 22 sermons on 1 Corinthians.

The Purification of the Church — Sermon by Ps Sam Powell on 1 Corinthians 5:1-8. This sermon is the 14th sermon in a series of 22 sermons on 1 Corinthians.

13 thoughts on “How should a church respond when a professing Christian has been committing heinous sexual immorality?”

  1. Did Jordan graduate from Cedarville University? I was an employee there during the years your article indicates he was there!!! I have not heard that Cedarville has made any comments about him being a student there!! Did his wife graduate from Cedarville?

    1. We don’t know the answers to those questions, but I shall alert Amy Smith to this post so she can alert Karen Hinkley to it, and that way you may find an answer.

      Last I heard (on some blog, probably WatchKeep or the Wartburg Watch), Karen was taking time out to process everything that has happened. So I can’t guarantee she will answer here. 🙂

      1. Barbara, according to Wartburg Watch, Jordan did attend and graduate from Cedarville University and he was there while I was employed there. I fear that there is a lot more of this type of evil going on in strict evangelical churches and universities. I will see if Cedarville has made any statements about Jordan.

  2. I am so disgusted by The Village Church’s response. Where are the men in the church who will say, we messed up, we handled everything wrong, and horribly hurt the victim(s). Instead, it’s always the endless Bible verses and explanations of how they are on top of the issue and handling it perfectly according to Scripture. I wonder if these pastors would change there tune if their own daughters were one of the victims of abuse in their churches.

  3. Only when Karen repeatedly pressed him did he admit to watching child porn….It was not a confession made in humility, nor did it have any of the signs of genuine contrition and repentance. It was squeezed out of him, and then he used the confession to HURT Karen further (by describing the images in gross detail).

    This describes EXACTLY the interactions between myself and abusive husband. It takes exhausting rounds of questioning and questioning to get him to admit to even a fraction of his hidden sins — admitting really being him rephrasing to appear innocent. And after, anger-filled false accusations spewed at me to deflect from him ever admitting the truth. He also recently downloaded our entire hard drive to a portable drive that he is either keeping hidden at work or shipped to his mother out of state. He then had our hard drive COMPLETELY wiped clean, put it away and purchased a brand new one and had it installed.

  4. Thank you for commenting specifically on this issue. I believe Jordan Root’s “repentance” is suspect for the reasons mentioned here, and it’s clear Karen acted in the best interests of children as well as to protect herself from being further used (abused) by a manipulator. Based on their mishandling of the situation and their spiritual abuse of Karen, TVC clearly needs help and so does Acts 29, because as an institution they do not recognize the evil in the form of abuse dynamics at work here. They need to revise their thinking on abuse or more women and children will be hurt. I hope they will go beyond a vague and generic apology to who knows who (because it wasn’t admitting the wrongful accusation of Karen as in sin) towards a total re-haul of how they view and treat victims of any kind of abuse.

  5. I just found this at another WatchKeep post Stories of the Village Church and other Abusive Church Survivors [Internet Archive link].

    Story 6
    My husband and I started visiting the Village 6 years ago and we became Covenant Members a year later. We had friends there and so it seemed like a logical step. Our friends however were on their way out as stories started to seep through the cracks about church discipline. My friend sat down with us and said that a young woman who was a member of TVC had been raped by a fellow member of TVC. The church was placing this woman under church discipline for failing to offer forgiveness to her abusers. He had confessed to the crime and had also stated his remorse and need to reform from his ways. Because he was willing to toe the line and fall under authority he would not be placed under church discipline. However the woman, who for obvious reasons, could not offer forgiveness and therefore was breaking her covenant agreement would be placed under church discipline. She had also requested that her abuser be removed from the church, which this request was denied. Even though I trusted my friends at their word I could not believe this story to be true. I thought that there had to be more to this story, that somehow there were large chunks of it missing. I could not fathom a church siding with an abuser over the victim and essentially making the victim a victim for a second time. I now know that they are absolutely capable of this.

    As time went on people in our home group would mention things about church discipline that they received. Most of this I dismissed as them just being angry at the time and that we weren’t getting the full story. The stories were not along the lines as the above story but more of members being threatened with church discipline and having their memberships removed; one of my friends actually did lose his.

    It was around this time that I really began to feel lost at TVC. There wasn’t a place for me, being a woman, that I could learn and grow; women’s bible studies were non-existent. Most everything was geared towards men and building men up. I started to vocalize this with no one really paying attention. I had at that point joined a women’s bible training program at another church (my only option for being taught) which is two years in length, a program that I thought would be so beneficial for the starving women at TVC. Each time I would voice something I was told to not worry about it and to just go to Recovery. I had been through Recovery twice at the Village and that wasn’t the place for me. Just because I wanted to learn more about the bible and have fellowship didn’t mean I needed to go to Recovery. If you are not familiar with this program it goes something like this: A sermon followed by small groups. We would sit in a circle and confess or vent our frustrations but no one is allowed to comment or offer any feedback, not even a tissue. Follow up could be done by your group leader off campus. I wanted to learn….that didn’t mean I was broken but at TVC it’s really kind of your only option.

    I was told that if I wanted to belong I could work in the nursery or answer phones maybe help teach women (teaching other women seemed pretty big to me so no issue there). However, no position that made decisions would be filled by a woman as it just isn’t biblical. I understood and accepted this but also felt that women should still be a large part of the decision making process. Which, to be fair, some woman are….their last names just happen to match one of the other Elders.

    In mid year of 2014 I was very very late on my monthly cycle, this was very scary to me as I had already suffered a tubal pregnancy that had taken one of my tubes, nearly shut down my organs and came close to killing me. I really needed to talk with someone about what I should do if it turned out my worst fears had been realized (I had an IUD removed because it was abortive in nature). There was only one woman on staff who could speak to me and she only worked part time. I would have spoken to her had I known that she existed in the capacity. Instead I had to meet with Lan. I know you don’t know Lan but he’s about 6’4″, broad and has a motorcycle mustache. He’s a good person, no doubt, but was incredibly hard to talk about my situation with. I really could have used a woman, I really needed to talk to a woman. It was hard to cry in front of him and explain that I was scared as he towered over me. It was after this that I knew I had to find a church home where women were more valued and recognized. It was then that we decided to leave.

    I turned in my request for removal of membership and then was asked to come in to do an exit interview as some of the things in my letter made TVC wonder if I was leaving in good standard. It was here that I met with Beth and as I opened up concerning my reasons for wanting to leave she shared with me that the survey that we had recently took had some surprising things on it. The survey pertained more to new service times etc. but women had written in the margins that they felt like 2nd class citizens and had no voice. She told me that I was saying some of the things that women had voiced. She then asked if we would stay for a while and then asked if I would write a letter to the Elders, which I did. My letter made it up the chain to the Elder’s where it fell on deaf ears. I wasn’t even granted permission to speak with anyone else about it. I was told to just be patient that they would handle it. I followed up a few more times but I was always brushed off. Beth told me that she had been fighting this same battle for 11 years and that it just wasn’t going to change so we left.

    We started to look at and try other churches which TVC found out about. We were emailed and asked if we were leaving and if they needed to go ahead and take us off of the member list. I explained that we were looking but we hadn’t found a spot and shared that we might go back to the FloMo campus. A week later I received another email informing me that we had been brought up at a Covenant Member meeting (our names placed on the big screen) as being in transition and they were praying for us to find a new place. I’m sure they meant it well but it felt like we were being pushed out. We were told we had 6 months to decide what we were going to do….2 weeks later after another email I told them to just drop our names which they immediately did. So now we are rogue sheep without a pasture!

  6. Jordan Root did graduate from Cedarville. Karen attended school in Texas. Jordan was involved in all sorts of groups that had access to children while at Cedarville. We listed those groups in Part 1 of our story on the Roots.

    Karen is doing well and getting on with her life. She may make a statement in the near future.

  7. The confusion in all of this is that we do not take the time to actually know the definitions of words and their meanings, when it comes to Christianity. Define “brother”. In Matthew 18, it says, “If your brother….” which means what to us? Define it. It also says that if he offends you, not a multitude of children whom he has been viewing through child porn. If we clearly defined the Word of God, instead of just applying it to our “friends” the way we want to, then the man would have been immediately put out of the church with no Matthew 18 process, just as you say, Barb. The problem seems to me, that we are to believe that Christ’s atoning blood makes absolutely no difference in the life of a convert; a born again believer. I just do not believe that. Instead of just practicing doctrines and denominational theology, we really should start practicing relationship with Jesus that actually makes a difference in our lives.

    Let’s also start biblically defining “repentance”. John clearly says that there is fruit in keeping with true repentance. That takes time. It is not a simple “sorry” and then the doors fly open and the offender is simply welcomed back in to the church. No. This is another phony doctrine that has been established, but it does not line up with God’s Word. Yes, initially at the time of re-birth, we take someone at their word. But, if the fruit doesn’t show up and instead rotten fruit shows up, then I am certain Jesus’ words in the Bible should still apply today!

    So, until there are clear across the border definitions for these words, we will continue to fail the true sheep while we embrace the evil. It is pretty clear from an article posted yesterday on the web, that this lumping the leaven with the unleavened is going to cost us greatly. The church is to be pure. We are not to allow sin to reign in the body of Christ. There is so much confusion about what Christianity even looks like anymore, that instead of the body being strong enough to fight the enemy of our souls, we are all blended like muddied water. How can anyone expect to see Christ clearly, in a cesspool of evil. Yuk.

  8. (Airbrushing….)

    IamMyBeloved’s commented:

    ….There is so much confusion about what Christianity even looks like anymore, that instead of the body being strong enough to fight the enemy of our souls, we are all blended like muddied water. How can anyone expect to see Christ clearly, in a cesspool of evil….

    In the past, I was unknowingly part of the muddied water. Indeed, in one case, a cesspool of evil.

    If the investment in time and learning were less, my anti-x would probably have entered the ministry. Not because of any particular calling, but because of the potential for abuse. (Omitting significant details for my protection.)

    I watched someone of a similar nature manipulate multiple congregations, using minimizing words to excuse his sin(s). (Omitting significant details for my protection.)

    In reading through the links on Karen Hinkley’s story, I am appalled at how much power TVC thought it possessed over someone’s life. (I know Pastor Jeff has addressed this concept elsewhere on ACFJ.)

    Pure idolatry. TVC is not God. Nor, apparently, do they represent Him well. (Again, there are articles and posts addressing similar topics on ACFJ.)

    I had to be isolated from all abusive relationships, including the “c”hurch, before I could begin to see God and Christ clearly.

    1. A brief clarification to my 8TH SEPTEMBER 2018 – 2:25 PM….I made a typo in my original comment.

      In my comment, I wrote:

      If the investment in time and learning were less, my anti-x would probably have entered the ministry. Not because of any particular calling, but because of the potential for abuse. (Omitting significant details for my protection.)

      The person I called my anti-x in the above quote was not my anti-x….my anti-x was my ex-husband.

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