Thursday, August 7, 2014

J.D. Hall and the Troubled Conscience

There's all kinds of stuff all over the internet regarding the suicide of Braxton Caner following his conversations with J.D. Hall. Unfortunately, I'm not incredibly surprised this kind of thing happened. I've only briefly interacted with J.D. Hall on Facebook in the past but he exhibited certain traits that I've noticed among certain types of pastors whom I've known in real life and on the internet that have resulted in scandals, church-splits, and even criminal charges. They exist across denominational lines but most of these types tend to be pastors of Baptist churches. I don't think most of these pastors would be allowed to continue or even be called into the ministry if not for Baptist church polity. Most of these pastors are also limited somewhat educationally. They have not had classes in pastoral care and taken the time to learn from the mistakes of others. They shoot from the hip and often make decisions that the average person regards as absolutely insane. They are often very kind and caring to those who praise them and hang on every word they say but personally attack anyone who questions or contradicts them. They develop a loyal following from those who regard their antics as courage and conviction.

But all of these crazy actions are the result of a troubled conscience. They do not embrace Christ's Words when He says,"Your sins are forgiven." And they do not preach these words to others. They tend to avoid preaching directly to the sins of those in their own congregation and instead preach about the sins of those (real or imaginary) of those outside of the church they serve head. They attempt to distract themselves from their own sins by preaching against the sins of others. Of course sometimes they will preach excessively about one particular sin and act as if that particular sin is unforgivable. Later it is discovered that they themselves are engaging in that very sin. Pastors who fail to deliver Christ-crucified in every sermon should not be tolerated. They are not Christian pastors. Constantly preaching against various sins is necessary but by itself will only lead to greater sin. The only real victory we kind find over our sin is in Christ-crucified and in His absolution. He washes of our sins in baptism and says, "Your sins are forgiven." In the preaching of the Word He proclaims, "Your sins are forgiven." In the Supper He feeds us with His very body and blood and says, "Your sins are forgiven."


terriergal said...

This is truly an irresponsible and inflammatory post. Wow. I'm ashamed a Lutheran would stoop to this level. I don't like JD either, but this is unconscionable to pile on JD for something happening that was NOT his fault, as well as something for which he apologized shortly after it happened (publicly and personally to Caner, through a friend, since he assumed his own attempts to reach Caner would be blocked). Knock it off. Read this instead:

Have a bit of compassion for all involved please. Ergun Caner has already enlisted his friends to tarnish his VALID critics by pegging Braxton's suicide on them. Does he really think his critics have more influence on his son than he does?

Chuck Wiese said...


I think perhaps you misunderstood the purpose of the post. I was not attempting to assign degrees of blame or take sides in this matter. My purpose was to point out a real problem in the church. Caner may be worse but Hall's problems are more common.