JD Hall, founder of Pulpit and Pen, ‘disqualified’ from ministry by church in Montana

(RNS) – The founder of a controversial Christian website, known for his criticism of evangelical leaders as being too liberal, has resigned from his church for “gross sin”.

Montana pastor Jordan Daniel “JD” Hall is no longer listed as pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Sydney, Montana and has been removed from the staff of Protestia, a website originally known as Pulpit & Pen.

Although the church has yet to publicly acknowledge Hall’s departure, as of Sunday, June 26, the church’s leadership page is no longer available. Also on Sunday, Protestia released a statement saying Hall had resigned as pastor of Fellowship Baptist and was “disqualified from pastoral ministry.”

“Earlier this week, the Protestia team received allegations of gross sin committed by our brother JD Hall,” the statement read. “After correspondence with Fellowship Baptist Church leaders, we learned that JD had been determined by the church to have disqualified himself from pastoral ministry, had resigned from the pastorate, and had undergone a process of discipline by the ‘church. Due to JD’s removal from pastoral ministry, we have also removed him from ministry with Protestia.

Hall’s resignation is the latest bad news for the Montana pastor and blogger.

In February, Hall filed for bankruptcy after being sued for defamation over an article the Montana Gazette, another Hall publication, published about Adrian Jawort, a Native American activist. Then in mid-May, he was arrested for drunk driving and carrying a concealed weapon while intoxicated.

RELATED: JD Hall, Pastor and Founder of Pulpit&Pen, Admits Fabricated Story About Trans Activist

Hall later settled with Jawort, retracting the story that sparked the lawsuit and issuing an apology, saying he fabricated the story. As part of the settlement, Jawort can bring a $250,000 claim against Hall in bankruptcy court. Hall is currently facing an additional lawsuit filed by the WhiteFish Credit Union, for articles published in the Montana Daily Gazette, according to the Sydney Herald.

In the past, Hall’s congregation — a self-proclaimed independent fundamentalist, creationist Six-Day Baptist Church — has stood by its pastor, despite his legal troubles. The church released a statement supporting Hall in February, saying he faced “trials and persecution” from liberal activists.

“We rejoice in the persecution and suffering of our pastor for the sake of our Lord, Christ. And we, as a congregation, support him 100%, as has already been established by the unanimous and united voice of our congregation,” the statement read.

After Hall’s arrest, the church also released a statement of support, saying Hall suffered from a vitamin deficiency that caused “poor coordination, slurred speech, shifting of words.” The church also said at the time that Hall was overworked and would take several months to rest. According to this statement, Hall could not return to work without his wife’s approval.

Hall pleaded not guilty to the drunk driving and weapons charges. He also addressed the church after his arrest, according to the church’s statement in May.

“He solemnly warned us to be ready for what the enemies of Christ would do to his situation and to be prepared,” the statement read. “The congregation has spoken openly to assure Pastor Hall that he shouldn’t be ashamed, that we don’t care what the world thinks, because we know the truth.”

It is unclear whether Hall’s departure from the church is related to his previous arrest.

Hall is best known for his role as the founder of Pulpit & Pen, where he criticized what he saw as liberal and worldly influences affecting the evangelical church and in particular the Southern Baptist Convention. Regular targets for the site included Bible teacher Beth Moore, former Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore (no relation), Religion News Service columnist Karen Swallow Prior, former SBC president JD Greear and Tennessee preacher and Trump supporter Greg Locke.

After Facebook banned the Pulpit&Pen, the site was renamed “Protestia”. Hall also runs the Gideon Knox Group, which runs a collection of church-based media sites and other media ministries, including the Polemics Report, the Bible Thumping Wingnut podcast network, and an AM radio station.

Hall’s church echoed his political views. In addition to listing the church’s views on the Bible, the Trinity, baptism and other Christian doctrines, the community’s Baptist statement of faith includes a “repudiation of the social justice movement, the critique, liberation theology and Marxism in all its forms. ”

The church also offers vaccine exemption letters for religious freedom.

Fellowship Baptist did not respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.

After Hall’s resignation, Protestia distanced itself from the church.

“While the church’s decision to accept JD’s resignation from pastoral ministry leaves us no choice but to regard the allegations against him as credible, we are unable to determine their veracity with certainty and therefore cannot discuss the details of the charges for fear of being guilty of gossip,” according to the Protestia statement.

RELATED: Montana pastor JD Hall, founder of Pulpit & Pen, charged with DUI, carrying a weapon

Jerry B. Hatch