After a three-month absence, the pastor of a Texas Southern Baptist megachurch returned to his pulpit Sunday. He had taken an abrupt leave after admitting to having an inappropriate online relationship with a woman.
Pastor Matt Chandler is the lead pastor at The Village Church, Dallas, in Flower Mound, Texas. He returned to a packed church full of congregants who applauded him , according to The New York Times.
Chandler apologised to the congregation for his “foolishness” and said, “I’m sorry, you failed me.” We were met by the Lord, and he helped us to get through. I can’t lose sight of that.
According to an email to church members, Chandler “completed all that was asked of him with submissiveness. steadfastness. and humility.
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Chandler was removed from his congregation in August following his confession that he had sent Instagram messages to a woman other than his wife. This was unwise and not prudent.
According to reports, the controversy began when a woman confronted him in the church lobby about messages he sent to one her friends on the photo-sharing app.
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Chandler did not provide any details about the exchange but stated that although the messages were not sexual or romantic, The Village Church elders deemed him to have “not used language appropriate for pastors and he didn’t model behavior that we expect of him.” According to a church statement,
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Castaneda and Heidelman were hired by the church to audit Chandler’s online activity. This was reportedly done without the knowledge of the spouses.
Following the investigation, church leaders claimed that Chandler had not met the biblical standard ministers above reproach. However, they also concluded that he was not disqualified from leading positions.
Fox News Digital reached out to The Village Church for comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.
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Chandler took a leave of absence because the larger Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination in America) was having trouble dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed this report.