Dear Pulpit & Pen,
I may not be a theologian by career, but I assure you, I know my God.
I happen to love many of the God-fearing people that you put on blast on your site. It's evident they love God and serve Him well. You, however, might have a different god because your words and your site and everything I have seen does not represent God, the Prince of Peace, the Almighty Lord of Heavens, Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Messiah, the God of the Hebrew Bible and God of Israel, MY GOD.
For the last couple of months, you among other news sites and "Christian" blogs have been attacking (and I don't use that word lightly) Clayton Jennings specifically for his transgressions. You seem to be looking for "the truth" in your posts, but that's not what you've come up with. Here's the truth.
I had never heard of Pulpit & Pen, but I had definitely heard of Clayton Jennings. My fiance and I always love seeing his spoken word videos, we've been hoping to see him preach, and we even have JESUS, JESUS, JESUS shirts. Why? Because the man has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to preach, and I mean... PREACH. He has powerful things to say, and he 100% gets it.
You say false teacher, I say vulnerable, honest leader.
Clayton Jennings is so honest in his posts and in his videos, more honest than most speakers I've seen. In his video "Confessions" in 2015, he talks about his struggles with drugs, suicide, depression, lust, etc. That is BOLD. In a recent Facebook post, he even mentions that saying,
"When I opened up about my struggles with depression and past sins in the viral video 'Confessions', I was told by some I was making a huge mistake. They said that kind of transparency would destroy me and push people away. Thankfully I was never in this to draw people to myself in the first place.. I opened up in sermons and on my new poetry cd about my battles with lust and sex before marriage. I wanted people to know that they weren't alone in their struggles, and that I'm not a perfect person by any means. Before I ever opened up to my followers about these things, I had repented of them, and I went to my leadership and family for counseling and help... Because of repentance and faith in Jesus, I was able to overcome those things."
How do you deem that as anything other than honorable, honest, truthful, vulnerable, and REAL? We need more leaders who are willing to admit to their faults.
You say not seeking restoration the right way, I say who are you to define an individual's healing process?
Let me first note that in your second of TEN posts about this "scandal," you ended by saying, "We believe that Clayton can be forgiven under the blood of Christ, with a repentance-producing faith in the Gospel. We wish him well, but he simply cannot continue to lead women." That's a lie. He has come out and said that he repented, admitted to his faults, and still, you demand nothing less than him disappearing from the world.
I won't lie. Knowing a passionate, God-fearing, talented pastor such as Clayton Jennings stumbled in such a large, physical and now public way is disheartening. However, it is much more disheartening to see the way you "Christians" are responding.
In an article you posted, contributed by Jeff Maples, it claims that Clayton's mentors explanation that he was "seeking restoration" was wrong because it was "focused on Clayton’s restoration, not about reconciliation with God, seeking forgiveness and salvation in Christ, and making amends with the women (of whom the rest had not come forward yet) that he abused." Talk about putting words and actions into someone's mouth. Who are you to A) decide how his restoration and soul searching, reconciliation and so on is to go and B) act like you know exactly what his mentor meant when he used the word restoration?
When I was leading a small group of high school students, I was not following Christ the way I was supposed to in my personal life. When I repented of it to my mentor and director, I was told I needed to take some time away from leading to grow closer to God, get things sorted and seek "restoration" if you will. That was the BEST thing for me. I took about a month off, redirected my focus on God, came out in repentance of my sin, and started anew because THAT'S WHAT MY GOD IS ABOUT. So why don't you think that is possible for Clayton?
Clayton screwed up, and you even mention that he admitted to the accusations, he came clean and repented, so why are you still holding the sword to his throat and begging for blood? You have NO IDEA what is going on in his mind and heart. God does, and that's all that should matter to anyone. If God wants him off the pulpit, I fully believe he will strike him down and stop him from preaching, but I do believe that Clayton is changing lives for the better, bringing them closer to God and that's where God wants him. He does need time to step back, heal, get things right, but it seems clear to me that over the last year, he has been doing that. He even took time off of social media between November 4th and December 24th this year. It's called progress, look it up.
Also, you, along with Polemics Report, have posted articles discussing the specific matter of confession, and I just want to address it briefly here. The demand is so high for a public confession of Clayton's sins.. You show me where in the Bible it says that we must confess to millions of strangers. It says "to one another" (James 5:16), so who are you to define who he needs to confess to? He's admitted he confessed to his father, I'm sure he's confessed to his wife, based on some of his posts and videos. Also, you complain about how his public confessions are too "vague"? The main point of confession is to humble yourself before God, and He knows the heart. When Jennings expresses his sin in "vague" ways, it doesn't matter because he's thinking about the specific things, and God hears his thoughts. We don't need to.
You say cease and desist, I say don't hide.
Let me just be clear about the TRUTH of all of this. CLAYTON JENNINGS IS HUMAN. I know, shocking. Guess what, Paul was human too. He was KILLING people who were following Jesus, and yet, he is one of the greatest Christian leaders we know and teach about. He was crucified ruthlessly; does that make you just like those who crucified him? Because in my book, you're not doing anything different than what they did. Peter denied Jesus THREE times, and I still believe he repented and turned back to God, and I know I'll see him in Heaven one day.
In one of Clayton's videos, he is honest in saying, "I don't always win when the devil tempts me, and he tempts me a lot." Isn't that the truth for all of us? I don't know about you (anyone who writes for or follows Pulpit & Pen), but I am a sinner, and I am unworthy, just like Jennings claims to be in most of his videos. I am often tempted by the devil, and I don't always win.
Thankfully, I follow and live for a God, the same God Jennings follows, who deems me worthy ANYWAY, who finds me clean because I have repented and my sin is washed away, who thinks I am BEAUTIFUL and worthy of life not just here on earth, but for eternity in Heaven with Him. I am not better than Clayton Jennings, and I deserve just as much hate that you're spewing on him because we're all sinners here, but because of the God who sent his son to die for ALL of our sins, I get to live and breathe and speak truth and share the gospel of Jesus and devote my life to serving Him every chance I get JUST LIKE I BELIEVE CLAYTON SHOULD STILL DO.
To those who think he should stop his ministry permanently, live in a cave and hide himself, shame on you. THAT is giving into temptation of the devil. THAT is hiding when God says we can "approach God in confidence and freedom" (Ephesians 3:12), "we are free indeed" (John 8:36), and wherever the Lord is, "there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Honestly, I can't end this letter with just information about Clayton Jennings, because after skimming through and reading other articles on your website, I am burning with a passion to speak truth.
What is your ministry? To find the smallest or biggest "scandals" of pastors and blast them "in the name of God"? Mark Driscoll came and spoke at my church a year or two ago and talked about the repercussions of some of his mistakes of pastoring. He was so humble, honest, real, and I couldn't have been more burdened for the pain he was caused by the church and by people like you. Jesus would NEVER do what you're doing. Our goal as Christians is to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Galatians 5:13-14). You must really hate yourselves.
This whole thing seriously breaks my heart. Your whole website is run off of the indiscretions of Christians, and you blast people on social media for their sins. Now, I agree with the basic principle of exposing false teachers, and I think that's biblical, but that's not what you're doing. You're exposing humans, showing their sin for all to see and creating enemies of them for what? Do you get pleasure out of seeing God's children suffer? Because these people that you're exposing aren't false teachers, they just happen to have stumbled. They have been repentant, they have come out in honesty. Even if they haven't, that's not your call of judgment - no where in the bible does it even talk about it being okay for God's people to judge other people. Judgment is left to God, and that's how it should be and that's how it will be.
My pastor always talks about how important it is to be known more for what you're for than what you're against. That's the way Jesus lived his life. He didn't condemn the woman at the well (John 4). Did he call her out? Absolutely. Was it done with harsh accusations and ridicules? Not at all. He simply told her she needed to repent and change her ways, but He offered her living water; He offered her life. All you're doing to Clayton and the other victims of your site is offering them death, demanding their heads.
I am disheartened to hear about your struggles, but I am so encouraged to see you keep on fighting. I do think time away is crucial to get your mind and heart back on straight, but I fully trust that you are letting God guide you accordingly. Taking time away from social media or ministry until you have fully healed is good and healthy, but never let people shame you from using your God-given gift. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I do hope you might share more of your journey of healing from this. Your truth and passion are inspiring and changing lives everyday. God is using you, and this is just an attack from the enemy to try to keep you down. Do what you need to do for healing, but don't give up, and don't hide it. Be honest, share your story. More people need to know that they aren't alone and even if they've messed up, they can be healed by God and they can still be used for the glory of His kingdom.
To anyone else,
Don't let people's negative words and strangling comments drain the life from you. When you mess up, know that there is healing in the name of Jesus, and He is fighting for you. When you decide to be quiet and not share the truth of that healing, the enemy is winning. The greatest gift you have to share is your story, and God can use it (no matter how small or how many mistakes you've made) to change someone's life. So don't hide. Be bold. Live in the freedom God offers, and bring the darkness to light. Never stop fighting for the glory of God.
Pulpit & Pen,
Being a believer is about so much more than just studying the Bible. It's about learning the LOVE and GRACE of God and His son Jesus. Discernment comes from the Spirit, and the Spirit is from Jesus who is Himself LOVE. Therefore, I believe nothing full of wisdom and discernment can be filled with hate. There is a balance of truth and love, but truth MUST be covered with love. Jesus says people will know we are followers "if we love one another" (John 13:35). I'll be the first to say that I don't see Christ or love in your site, writing or words at all. Christ would have nothing to do with polemics, so why do you base your life and careers off of it? Maybe you should focus on the plank in your own eye before digging deep for the specks in others.
I think God says it pretty clearly through Clayton Jennings himself,