I started this journey nearly five years ago. Who was I? I was a nobody. No one knew who I was.
There were no “anti-JD” protest blogs. There were no “anti-JD” twitter or social media accounts. There were no angry feminists, survivor blogs, antinomians or spiritual ne’er-do-wells ranting and raving about me. Heck, there was no “JD.” There was only Jordan.
Why JD? How did that get started, anyway?
After my Modern Day Downgrade sermon, after it aired on Worldview Weekend, Pirate Christian Radio and programs and podcasts around the nation, after people soon discovered this blog, after people started listening to me and loving or hating (and little in between) me, I started to get hatemail. Like, “Go to hell, you piece of garbage” hate mail. It was soon after, being – believe it or not – “a big cream puff” (as one church member recently said), I figured it would hurt my feelings less to be called “JD” when getting cussed out instead of “Jordan.” And so, I was JD. It was also handy as the hate-calls came to my home for “JD,” because “JD” was never be available to speak. I’m the king of introverts, after all. I don’t like regular phone calls, let alone hate-calls.
It was surreal to go from nobody to an infamous nobody within a short period of time. I didn’t ask for it. It was that sermon, which in case you didn’t know, was years of pent-up indignation coming out in a 50 minute plenary talk at Reformation Montana in 2012.
Some found me refreshing. Some found me infuriating. In real truth, all I was was a small church pastor who was really ticked off. Like, really mad. My denominational leaders had lied to my face, and did it egregiously. It was about that time I read Spending God’s Money, and learned of the financial waste and cover up in the North American Mission Board. To my unbelief, virtually nobody was talking about it. They still aren’t. And so, I started talking about it.
Within the period of a few years I saw unbelievable corruption throughout the SBC. From corrupt colleges to national entities to state conventions, the corruption was then, and is now, palpable. Then, with a broader lens, I saw the same in greater evangelicalism. And beyond organizational corruption, I saw a broader Downgrade than what I could imagine.
So then, the Pulpit & Pen that you know and love, or hate, was born. We (me and my faithful cohorts) began to expose the corruption and opine on the Downgrade. Suddenly, even more people were listening.
After a while, I was given an opportunity to broadcast on the Worldview Weekend network with Brannon Howse. Suddenly, even more people were listening. I found satisfaction in more people downloading episodes of Pulpit & Pen than Albert Mohler’s The Briefing. It was rewarding to see people really care about discernment and polemics. And so, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. And work was dirty, but somebody had to do it.
Things like Thom Rainer knowing Alex Malarkey’s Heaven Tourism book was false but choosing to sell it at Lifeway anyway just made me madder. So, we released the emails proving it. Things like Lifeway lying about not selling Osteen, Meyer, and gay ‘Christian’ propaganda made me even madder. And so, we released the hidden audio proving it. Things like Ed Stetzer giving Southern Baptist data and partnering with radical Islamic extremists to teach them how to reach evangelicals made me even madder. The systemic Southern Baptist cover-up (of some) and ignoring (of others) of Ergun Caner’s false life story made me even madder. Russell Moore’s clear social-progressive trajectory, when few could see it (many more have since seen it) made me even madder.
Paul said, “In your anger, sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).
I didn’t succeed in that some of the time.
I had conversations I shouldn’t have had. I used words I shouldn’t have used. I picked fights I shouldn’t have picked. And, I suffered some of the due consequences. My hair has begun turning gray. My health is terrible. I’ve lost friends. I’ve broken fellowship with some. I regret some of it. And none of it can I take back.
War has consequences. War has collateral damage. War is hell.
Oh, there were the good times. My foxhole companions are my best friends and truest brothers. It’s nice to have dozens of emails every day from those who credit your work with their coming out of charismania or leaving their corrupt church, embracing the Doctrines of Grace or being genuinely converted. That’s butter on the bread.
There were also the bad times. I considered being called “the most dangerous man in the Southern Baptist Convention” by the 2nd VP of the convention to be a compliment at the time. I was a wrecking ball, and by golly, a whole lot needs wrecked. But after a while, being called a cotton-headed ninny-moggins all the time (and worse) gets to you. Polemics aint easily, I always say, but it’s necessary. But being the biggest target sure makes a guy take the flak. And the flak is difficult. Being at the center of a perpetual dogpile means you come out with broken bones and a bloody nose pretty much no matter what. Again, I’ve handed out blows and taken blows.
If I had one regret (and trust me, I have many), it would be that our polemics has not been seasoned with enough grace. Given the nature of polemics, and given the nature of grace, I’m not sure there ever could be enough grace. The track record of being right for Pulpit & Pen has been stellar. The track record for being gracious, not so much.
At this point in the game, I weary of it all. Who am I, anyway? I’m just a guy. I’m just a small-church pastor. I’m just a nobody who got ticked off that one time for five years. I’m just a guy who was handed a gigantic megaphone out of the blue and started speaking into it and, low and behold, people listened.
If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll just slip back into obscurity as best I can. I put in my time. I fought my battles. Every soldier has to retire at some point, even in a Holy War. There’s Gospel to preach, souls to save, kids to rear, a wife to adore, animals to hunt, guns to shoot, lawns to mow and a church to pastor.
Can I go back to obscurity? Doubtful. Will I try? Yep.
I will aspire to go back to the recluse I was meant to be. As you could probably tell, I was looking for a convenient way to slide out for a while. Maybe it’s best to just up and do it.
Concerning the details, suffice it to say that figuring out the best way to turn off a machine with umpteen different moving parts is easier said than done. We have a game plan for that. All the posts will get migrated to another’s blog. Bla bla bla. This actual domain is disappearing. All that is being ironed out. Polemics will go on, but the blogging and writing and social media, well…you can do that without me. After all, this uncircumcised Philistine known as “the Downgrade” still taunts the church, and somebody ought to shoot that sucker between the eyes. I’m rooting for you.
The podcast and Polemics Report, which takes hardly no time from me at all, for now will continue, at least until I tire of that, too. Everything else stops. Now. And I sleep well, having fought the fight. I fought it imperfectly. But I fought it. I’m pretty much done, now.
Root for me, as I keep my hand on the plow (or plows) I’ve been given.
Have I offended you? Forgive me. Have I sinned against you? Email me and let’s talk about it. Have I annoyed you? Well, it’s probably mutual. Have I helped you? Pay it forward.
If you do polemics, do it better than me. If you do discernment, be more discerning. If you write, aspire to be Doug Wilson. If you preach, desire to be Paul Washer. If you teach, desire to be James White. If you lead, desire to be John MacArthur. Or better yet, just desire to be like Jesus. For the love of all that is pure and holy, don’t desire to be like JD Hall, who by now, is just a recluse up in Montana somewhere that people used to quote or complain about.
For those of you fearless polemicists and discernment ministers who continue in your discipline, Godspeed to you. Continue to train the powers of your discernment in constant practice, so you might be skilled in the word of righteousness (Hebrews 5). Listen to the current crop of P&P contributors, the finest bunch of polemicists out there, as they trudge bravely forward.
For the tens of thousands of readers and listeners to P&P these years, thank you. Look to Christ. Be Bereans. Love the brethren. Defend the truth. And you’re not alone. Seven thousand have yet to bend their knee.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Grace, Peace, and Semper Reformanda.
JD Jordan Hall]
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