Just because someone has been coming to church for a long time, or possibly their entire life, it doesn’t mean they are a Christian, Chandler preached. He then set out to clearly explain the gospel as it relates to one’s relationship with God.
Chandler Warned He’s Willing to Offend
“I have a feeling that I might be guilty of some offense today,” Chandler admitted during the introduction of his sermon. “I am willing to offend with the cross alone if it provides clarity for you that brings about real life.”
“You and I are in a day and age where deconstruction and the turning away from and leaving the faith has become some sort of sexy thing to do. I contend that if you ever experience the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, actually—that that’s really impossible to deconstruct from. But if all you ever understand Christianity to be is a moral code, then I totally get it. And if you find yourself in that spot, I’m telling you, I love you right now, and we’ll sit down with you and you don’t have to punt on this thing. You might not have ever tried it,” Chandler said.
“To receive the mercy of God in your soul is to forever be changed,” Chandler preached.
Deconstruction Comment is Highly Offensive to Some
As the 35-second clip has made its rounds throughout the Twitter world, many have voiced displeasure with Chandler’s words regarding deconstruction. Many attacked The Village Church, pointing the finger directly at Chandler as emblematic of why people deconstruct.
Author of “This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang,” Christa Brown told Chandler, “This is offensive. No one deconstructs because it’s ‘sexy.’ YOU are why many deconstruct, vomiting & walking out, repeatedly, ’cause listening to the hubris of a pastor who grossly mishandled clergy sex abuse is nauseating #ThisistheSBC.” She then posted a link to The New York Times article about the church’s sexual abuse story.
“@MattChandler74 I contend that someone might ‘actually’ know the grace and mercy of God, in Christ and would still leave their church and have some ‘deconstructing’ because their church was wildly abusive or because they mishandled a case of abuse. Not because it’s ‘sexy,’” Will Robison wrote.
Adrian Gibbs, co-host of the popular exvangelical podcast “Dirty Rotten Church Kids,” wrote, “The reductive language here, ‘if you really experienced Jesus you wouldn’t deconstruct’ speaks volumes. Also, Chandler calling deconstruction a sexy fad as if we all weren’t Neo-Calvinist theobros in 2011. Pot and Kettle, Matt.”
Author Stephanie Tait said, “I don’t want to hear another warning about the evil of deconstruction from yet another man participating in the very behavior that thrust many of us into deconstruction in the 1st place. We didn’t choose this, men like Matt Chandler and the men who enable them chose it for us.” Tait also alluded to an earlier post she wrote describing how Chandler and his wife, Lauren, met at a church camp. Chandler was a 23-year-old pastor while Lauren was a 17-year-old camper she noted.
In his sermon, Chandler said that struggling and experiencing confusion can and will happen to genuine believers, but that true Christians will never walk away from Jesus. Chandler then reiterated the importance of explaining the gospel correctly, because there is too much as stake.
Watch Chandler’s sermon below: