[Note: Some have objected to mocking J. D. Hall’s “lisp,” and so a note of clarification is in order. Hall doesn’t have a lisp. He mocks his interlocutors by imitating them with a lisp. He portrays Tom Ascol as panting like a dog. Hence Hall literally panted and lisped his way through his podcast.]
What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.
Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 144
J. D. Hall is lying. Again.
Former Southern Baptist, Pastor J. D. Hall, claims in a podcast made available to his Patreon supporters that the SBC related Founders Ministries, led by Tom Ascol, is experiencing downgrade.
It’s always interesting to see the demise of an evangelical institution. That’s what we’re witnessing right in front of us. Uh, Founders Ministries, if you recall, was beaten like a redheaded step-child after they included uh a brief snippet of video – or might have even been a still frame – of Rachael Denhollander in their documentary trailer last year. Was in August. And it seems as though the sense was just knocked out of them in the process. They were taken to the woodshed by Danny Akin and Jason Allen and Albert Mohler uh being attacked by the Southern Baptist Convention’s most compromised soulless leaders uh they-they had been accused of causing division and what not basically by just reporting the words of these men-uh many had hoped that Ascol’s Founders Ministries would stand firm in the documentary, which by the way was a total snoozer. In the wake of half of the Founders Board resigning over the faux pas of-of freeze frame of Rachael Denhollander, Ascol then folded up like a cheap suit, and before we knew it, he was cracking jokes with Beth Moore making light of her sin and her gender-bending rebellion. Tom Ascol is a story of what happens to – I think – who was once a legitimately good man and sound theologian when he – when one refuses to see the wolf at the door and they get close enough to take a bite out of you. Refusing to believe that Albert Mohler is an enemy and not a friend, he was then neutered effectively by Albert Mohler. When you let the wolf get that close, and refuse to see the danger when it’s staring you in the face, this will happen to you too. Let it be a warning.
Hall jumps on Tom Ascol for (rightly) pulling a video trailer that paraphrased Ephesians on “principalities and powers” while showing a well-known abuse survivor. Hall sees this as evidence of doctrinal downgrade. Hall then chastises Ascol for daring to make a joke in the presence of Beth Moore. (Gasp!) Again, Hall thinks this is doctrinal downgrade. Meanwhile, the rest of the watching world realizes both of these are instances of being a decent human being, which is something Tom Ascol is, and something J. D. Hall could stand to learn a bit more about. Nowhere, then, does Hall establish any doctrinal downgrade with regard to Founders Ministries, either in his podcast, or in his post that it’s based upon.
J. D. Hall’s Monetary Motivation
Speaking of which, Hall’s incoherent rant doesn’t add much of anything new to his recent blog post pointed at Founders. One wonders why Patreon supporters throw their money at Hall to hear something they can already read without a fee. Hall even promises to release this episode to the general public, leaving Patreon supporters out in the cold again. What’s more, Hall’s sponsors presumably had to pay for their places in the podcast, while Conservative Resurgence Voices was advertised for free. Thanks! What we pick up from the podcast is that Hall is mad at Founders. Like, really mad. What’s less clear for those not familiar with Hall’s history of drama is why he’s mad at Founders. This post will focus on the reason Hall says he’s mad at Founders, and then explain why he’s actually mad at Founders.
J. D. Hall’s Anger Issue
In his podcast, Hall manages to take a swipe at Rachael Denhollander, several Southern Baptist seminary presidents, and of course, as is obligatory, Beth Moore. We won’t be addressing those ‘issues’ in this post, because they aren’t the real reason Hall is angry. In fact, these are not even the reasons Hall himself gives for being so upset. He whines, “I’m upset because I’m shocked that the man [Chris Bolt] is still showing his face in public given the fact that he’s been wrong demonstrably on every argument that he’s had with Pulpit & Pen since 2015.” How upset is he? Hall says, “I wanna take Chris Bolt and wring [sic] him up the flag pole as what happens when you eschew biblical discernment. You know, the book of Proverbs says that if you mock wisdom, then in your day of need she will wag her head at thee.” My understanding is that this is a guy who used to say he woke up every morning wanting to punch someone. Hall is so seething angry here that he slips and says “wring” instead of the idiomatic ‘run’ before misapplying the Bible in an attempt to threaten Bolt. He doesn’t seem to see the difference between mocking wisdom, and being amused by J. D. Hall’s untruthful tirades. They’re not the same.
So this tempest in a teapot is not really about discernment at all. As always, it’s about Hall. Hall’s anger is not directed at downgrade. Hall’s anger is directed at the devastating take down of his ministry half a decade ago.
J. D. Hall’s Gay Witch-hunt
Hall tries to dismiss Bolt’s critique of Revoice – ask yourself why a supposed conservative would do that – by attempting to discredit Bolt, comparing him to a RINO and Baghdad Bob. He does so to distract from the underlying issue, which is that Bolt decisively proved Hall wrong in 2015. To this day, Hall is still trying to save face, saying he lost two contributors to his site at the time, Tom Buck and Greg Smith (an impressionable older gentleman most people do not know). Moreover, Hall claims Greg now works for him, which certainly is sad, though not surprising, given that Greg is the type that seems susceptible to being bullied by bigots like Hall.
Regarding his hit pieces on Liberty University professor Karen Swallow Prior, Hall claims that “Anyone who, looking back, can say that we were wrong, is a fool, cuz it doesn’t come from a place of truth but incredible self-delusion.” Well no, that’s quite silly. Hall was demonstrably wrong. Here are the receipts, which I encourage the readers to check out for themselves.
That last post was perhaps the most embarrassing of all for Hall. He had written that Prior thinks it’s, “commonsensical and refreshing for some dude to sit down in the stall next to my wife.” But anyone with a modicum of common sense, average reading comprehension, and basic charity, could see that Hall had completely twisted Prior’s words to fit Hall’s fake narrative. You can see it too, if you click the link above. Prior simply referenced an article from someone at Focus on the Family that mentioned unisex restrooms. In response, Hall went all pervy in trying to prove a bogus point. What Hall did not seem to understand then, and still does not see now, is that we need not agree with Prior on anything (much less everything) in order to see the misrepresentations, lies, and deceit Hall used in attacking her. Prior could be the worst liberal on the planet, and Hall would still be wrong in what he said about her, because his smear pieces are little more than self-aggrandizing lies.
At the time, Hall let out a little whimper and went away, but apparently persists in his errors to this day. He says, “Of all the work that Pulpit & Pen has ever done, I’m more proud of our reporting of Karen Swallow Prior than anything else.” But the truth that Hall does not want people knowing, and the truth that motivates him to take inexplicable shots at ministries like Founders, is that he lost almost his entire crew after maligning Karen Swallow Prior. His attempt to take her down backfired tremendously, catapulting her to fame and emptying out his “bunker.” Smith and Buck (which sounds a bit like a gun store) were not the only two members of Hall’s ‘ministry’ to flee for the hills. After Hall’s dishonesty was exposed, Tom Buck, Landon Chapman, Gene Clyatt, Garrett O’Hara, and Kofi Adu-Boahen all either distanced themselves from Hall or left his site for good, a move which should garner some level of respect for each of them.
This backstory explains why, when Prior endorsed Revoice, Hall undoubtedly felt as though he was finally vindicated. So he popped by Bolt’s now defunct blog, left an, “I told you so” comment, and when there was no response, took to slandering Bolt again. Of course, the Revoice endorsement has nothing to do with Hall’s earlier lies regarding Prior, but logic is hard for Hall.
J. D. Hall’s False Narrative
In any event, one can imagine why it might make Hall very, very angry to discover a five part series from Bolt at Founders critiquing Revoice. You see, it doesn’t fit the narrative Hall wants his audience to believe. He swears up and down that Bolt is a liberal, when Bolt is anything but. Bolt does things like sign the Nashville Statement and write critiques of Revoice at Conservative Resurgence Voices and Founders Ministries while Hall sits the bench and cries about it.
Readers will notice that Hall et al., as vocal as they are about claiming, over and over and over again, that Bolt is some sort of “liberal” or “progressive” or “moderate,” never once define what they mean by those terms, or proffer any evidence in support of the ipse dixit. People are supposed to just accept the claim based on nothing but Hall’s say-so. Hall seems to like less discernment and more cult.
Hall claims, “Only yesterday, Bolt wrote an insanely long article about a Twitter dispute he had gotten into, and he referenced Pulpit & Pen as a discernment ministry with scare quotes.” Here again, Hall opines with regard to personal hurt, rather than making an actual point. He says, “I’ve realized that when someone uses scare quotes for the word ‘discernment’ they’re typically in need of it. They’re deficient in discernment when they choose to use scare quotes around it.” But Bolt isn’t questioning whether or not such a thing as discernment ministries exist, he’s questioning whether or not Hall has any actual discernment. He doesn’t. Hall’s history is one of paying lip service to the gospel while systematically turning on his mentors, friends, and elders, and railing against the reputations of conservatives like R. Albert Mohler, Jr., James R. White, and…Todd Friel.
None of this makes any sense, until one realizes how Hall thinks about himself and…Seth Dunn.
So, Hall calls Bolt a “leftist blogger,” when Bolt hasn’t actually written anything leftist, but has most recently written for conservative websites. Hall claims Bolt is pretending to be conservative to push an agenda, but doesn’t tell us why he believes that, what the agenda might be, or anything of the sort. To be fair, Hall is right that Bolt initially misunderstood a comment from Matthew J. Hall in a video discussing race, but conveniently leaves out that Bolt issued an apology and retracted his statement only minutes later. Of course, even if he hadn’t, that does nothing to establish Hall’s claim that Bolt is liberal. Hall says, “There’s hardly an issue anywhere opined about in social media where Bolt doesn’t project himself as a supposedly ‘conservative’ voice right before making a gratuitous public display of affection with the liberal position.” This would carry some weight, were it not for the fact that Hall doesn’t provide a single example of what on Earth he’s talking about. Hall claims, “If I could summarize Bolt’s position on any given topic it would be, ‘I am a true conservative, but [insert liberal position].’” This is another assertion without an argument. Hall continues, “As a supposedly ‘reasonable’ conservative, he’s a liberal on 9 positions out of 10.” However, Hall has not named even one position where Bolt is liberal. Hall goes on, “But he’s a conservative, you guys. For real. You know, because he says so.” Of course, Hall is right, merely saying one is conservative does not mean one is conservative, but then again, Pope J. Hall merely saying that Bolt is liberal does not make him liberal either.
J. D. Hall’s Founders Friendship
And so Hall, in his typical hysterical manner, questions whether Ascol has been drinking. You know, because Hall and Ascol are close friends and all. That’s how friends talk about one another.
Making light of Ascol’s recent – and very serious – hospital visit, Hall sarcastically states, “I have to wonder if Ascol’s recent health scare might have been due to an overdose of gullibility in the bloodstream or perhaps complications from a bilateral orchiectomy.” Here again, Hall is overcome with incredulity and anger.
So why is he writing at Founders Ministry [sic]? So who has promoted every liberal cause and defended every liberal leader in the Southern Baptist Convention? Chris Bolt. And he’s writing for Founders?! I am amazed, genuinely amazed, that Founders Ministries, with all of their various problems, even with those glaring issues with Tom Ascol’s discernment that he would let a festering wart of ignorance like Chris Bolt publish on their website! It’s unbelievable. So he’s writing about Revoice which, which he claims, Chris Bolt claims, that he’s against –wink wink shrug shrug – alright, I bet he is….What is wrong with Founders? They’ve lost their, their brain….I think Ascol’s rolled over, he’s shown his soft underbelly to the SBC Deepstate and now he’s just being petted like a dog rolled over on its back by Albert Mohler. ‘Please, please, don’t cast me off into the outer darkness [panting noise]. You want me to fetch? I’ll fetch, I’ll fetch. I I I I’ll heal, w w w w w whatever w w w w whatever you want Al, just d d d d don’t cast me a don’t cast me in the outer darkness keep here [panting]. Just like a golden retriever you can kick and kick and kick but it won’t ever run away it’s just a lap dog. That’s Tom Ascol. Lost his brain. Chris Bolt writing at Founders is a sad demonstration of the death spiral of that organization. Founders is what happens when you insist on keeping a seat at a table that oughta be burned down. Stop trying to save the SBC and hand it over to Satan.
So there you have it. Just give our seminaries over to Satan. Of course that’s what J. D. Hall would want. He gave up on the fight for the SBC and led his church to leave. To put it another way, Hall closes his podcast with shouts of “semper reformanda,” but proves to be a simple snowflake. And it’s good that he’s gone; he should take his ridiculous rhetoric home and let the real reformers do their work. Why warn of doctrinal downgrade trying to tear down the SBC when Hall is doing just fine at that on his own?
Diversion. Deception. Jealousy.
So-called ‘discernment ministries’ have done more harm to the conservative cause than Crit Theory ever will.