Is Matt Chandler a false teacher?

Category 4

Verdict: Matt Chandler has gone off the deep end with his embrace of hyper-charismaticism and the Social Justice Gospel

Preface

Part of how this Discernment ministry operates is taking in reader questions about prevalent teachers. There were multiple requests to look into Matt Chandler, and due to him leading the field of requests, this investigation into his teachings was undergone. You can make a request here and see our answered verdicts here.

Parameters

It is understandable why someone would question whether Matt Chandler is a false teacher, given his apparent trajectory in the last few years. The major areas of concern or question are Matt Chandler’s embrace of hyper-charismaticism and social justice. The Evangelical Dark Web does not consider those who believe in the continuation of all the spiritual gifts to be in heresy, so this alone will not be used in the conclusion. The Evangelical Dark Web does consider those partaking in the Social Justice Gospel to be in heresy. This verdict will not seek to prove why the Social Justice Gospel is heretical as that has been done here. Because these are the two main areas of concern, they will be the two main areas of focus.

Bio

Matt Chandler is famous for being the pastor of a megachurch. On Village Church’s website, Chandler’s bio says this:

Before going to college, I served as a youth pastor of a small church near Houston. From there, I went to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Bible. While at Hardin-Simmons, I became the teacher of an inter-denominational Bible study for college students called Grace. I was also on staff at Beltway Park Church. After several years in Abilene, I continued my itinerant speaking ministry with a home base in Dallas.

In 2002, I became pastor of First Baptist Church of Highland Village, now known as The Village Church.

The chief influence of Matt Chandler seems to be John Piper. This influence includes but is not limited to his soteriology and belief in Christian Hedonism.

In late 2009, Matt Chandler received a cancer diagnosis. He credits God for overcoming a bleak prognosis. This verdict does not dispute God’s work in Matt Chandler’s life as it relates to healing him of cancer. This detail is worth mentioning because of possible impact on his teachings.

Village Church

Village Church is part of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The faith statement of Village Church has some noteworthy deviations.[1] The primary one being this:

Doctrine of Revelation

God has made Himself known to the world in Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and creation.

What is problematic here is that general revelation and specific revelation are conflated. In theory, a theological liberal could affirm this view of Scripture, because it views Scripture alone as insufficient in understanding the revelation of God. It also does not affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, which is a major deviation. Overall, the basic beliefs of Village Church are Calvinist and Charismatic.

Village Church Sex Abuse Scandal

A youth pastor by the name of Matthew Tonne allegedly molested a child. Matthew Chandler does not in anyway seem involved with the events; however, his and Village Church’s handling of the situation has been called into question. Rod Dreher’s article It Takes A Village To Deceive A Family includes an update with a dialog with a reader who disagrees. This is a good source for a balance perspective evaluating how Village Church handled this. What is clear is that Village Church terminated Matthew Tonne not for his criminal allegations but for alcohol abuse. This could easily be perceived as a lie to save face. However, one could question how biblical it is to terminate a pastor who has not been found guilty in a court of law. As this post is published, Tonne’s case has yet to be heard in court.[2] The Evangelical Dark Web will defer judgement until the legal matter is settled.[3] However, this scandal is worth mentioning because it could impact a minister’s qualifications.

Acts 29

Acts 29 is the organization that Matt Chandler took over after the ousting of Mark Driskoll. It brands itself as a “A diverse, global family of church-planting churches.” It’s focus on diversity appears to be the product of Ryan Kwon as much if not more than Matt Chandler. Acts 29 is worth mentioning in a verdict on Matt Chandler but is ultimately not a source for the conclusions here.

Hyper-Charismaticism

For this section, the verdict will primarily rely on the works of others who have more closely followed Matt Chandler.

In this video, AD Robles breaks down how Matt Chandler is taking an extreme position to where he is claiming random thoughts are from God and if you do not understand them yet, someday you will. This is a fringe position when it comes to charismatic theology, and AD Robles points this out also. He further notes that the only people who would attend this sermon likely were already on board with this nonsense.

Social Justice Gospel

This section will also rely largely on commentary from other sources.

In this video[4] Matt Chandler is giving a sermon where he invokes many of the ideas and arguments of the Social Justice Gospel. Chandler chastises the church to suggest that Christians have “turned over their inheritance” over not fighting for social justice. Matt Chandler clearly believes that social justice is a legitimate form of justice. Consider this quote[5] from that sermon:

“Our inheritance and what we are being robbed of as believers in Jesus Christ right now in this moment is the unity of spirit between all ethnicities born of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what this passage [Ephesians 1:18] says: That our inheritance in the saints is that men and women from every tribe tongue and nation on Earth are part of our family.”

This is a somewhat Eschatological passage. When Jesus returns to establish the New Heavens and the New Earth, it will feature his followers who will be members of every tribe, tongue, and nation. This inheritance cannot be robbed or removed from underneath us. This is a promise of God. Matt Chandler wrongly assumes that perceived racial tensions in the increasingly post-Christian American society are reflective of divisions in the Body of Christ. The Social Justice Gospel often requires the misapplication of Scripture and this instance would be no exception.

Matt Chandler would be one of the biggest proponents of Eric Mason’s Woke Church movement, based off of his book. In addition to endorsing Woke Church, Matt Chandler has also lowered or added ministry criteria that are not biblical. Matt Chandler claimed he would hire an “African-American seven” over an “Anglo eight” but not an “African American six” over an “Anglo eight”[6] because that would be “tokenism.” God hates unequal weights and measures and to bring those unequal weights and measure into criteria for ministry is an affront to the church.

Conclusion

JD Hall writes in 2017[7] that the reason for the apparent downgrade in Matt Chandler’s theology was his views on spiritual gifts. This would be in line with the Evangelical Dark Web belief that the road to apostacy is paved with egalitarianism. However, we are not endorsing Hall’s conclusion, although we including it for a wider perspective and understanding. It is also worth noting that the embrace of the Critical Race Theory prong of the Social Justice Gospel began prior to 2017, certainly at or by the time of the Ferguson Riots.

The most precise categorizing on a scale of five would be a 3.75, in between being a wolf in sheep’s clothing at four and the highest warning possible without making a declaration of a false teacher at three. But how much more obvious must it be, at this point?

The conclusion made here is a difficult one to reach. A teacher who makes the “Anglo eight” comments has embraced an ideology antithetical to Scripture and should not be trusted in a church leadership position. The basic conclusion here is that Matt Chandler has the trajectory of someone who will be revealed[8] a false teacher. For now, he seems as though he is subverting the gospel with woke neo-Calvinism and hyper-charistmaticism. And so we cannot conclude this by saying “the man who beat cancer while giving glory to God for it has slipped into a heretical movement.” Because Matt Chandler is not slipping into the Social Justice Gospel, he is more precisely walking right towards it and encouraging others to do the same. This is the fruit of a deceptive force.

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[1] Deviations is meant in a statistical context, not in a degenerate one.

[2] Matthew Tonne deserves due process as well as a speedy trial, the latter he is certainly not getting as it’s been over a year and a half since his indictment.

[3] The case is in Dallas County, Texas. Case number: F-1800705

[4] Dated Jun 11, 2020

[5] Quotes were compiled by Christian Post
https://www.christianpost.com/news/matt-chandler-church-has-mostly-refused-to-participate-on-race-turned-over-inheritance.html

[6] “Anglo,” deriving from Anglo-Saxon, seems to be a rising anti-white pejorative. Perhaps there are instances where non-Woke people use the word without referencing a British war.

[7] We are assuming that JD Hall is the author in the material referenced.

[8] The author is taking a Perseverance of the Saints view with this statement.

2 comments

  1. Wow, a bit surprised you put him in Category 4 since he’s fairly orthodox on primary theological issues. I’d probably have him in Category 3 personally, where I wouldn’t recommend him especially now that he’s gone full SJW, but he still seems to believe in core doctrine.
    I’m curious where you’d place a bunch of his friends then (Piper, Platt, Mohler, Keller). I’d imagine you have Keller at Category 4 or higher since he’s even more “woke” than Chandler.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt Chandler is truly between a 3 and 4. Both his belief in the Social Justice Gospel and his hyper-charismatic beliefs eat away at the core doctrines of Christianity. His “lose your [Christian] inheritance” sermon should have caused believers at Village Church to question the direction of that church. (although I assume many in that church who have a problem with it would have already left.) Tim Keller is an interesting character. I’ll probably write an article on him this week.

      Like

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