JD Hall, Pulpit and Pen Founder, ‘Disqualified’ from Ministry by Montana Church

By Bob Smietana
JD Hall montana disqualified removed
Pastor Jordan Daniel “J.D.” Hall, former pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Montana, in a Facebook video. (Video screen grab)

The founder of a controversial Christian website known for its criticism of evangelical leaders for being too liberal has resigned from his church for “serious sin.”

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

While the church has not yet publicly acknowledged Hall’s departure, as of Sunday the church’s leadership page can no longer be found. Also on Sunday, Protestia issued a statement saying Hall had resigned as pastor of Fellowship Baptist and is “disqualified from pastoral ministry.”

“Earlier this week, the team at Protestia received allegations of serious sin committed by our brother JD Hall,” the statement reads. “After correspondence with leadership at Fellowship Baptist Church, we learned that JD was determined by the church to have disqualified himself from pastoral ministry, had resigned from the pastorate, and submitted himself to a process of church discipline. Due to JD’s removal from pastoral ministry, we likewise have removed him from ministry with Protestia.”

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

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In February, Hall filed for bankruptcy after being sued for libel for a story the Montana Gazette, another of Hall’s publications, had run about Adrian Jawort, a Native American activist. Then in mid-May, he was arrested for driving under the influence and carrying a concealed weapon while intoxicated.  

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

In the past, Hall’s congregation — a self-described fundamentalist, six-day creationist, independent Baptist Church — has stood by their pastor, despite his legal problems. The church issued a statement supporting Hall in February, saying he faced “trials and persecution” from liberal activists.

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

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

Hall has pled not guilty to the DUI and weapon charges. He also addressed the church following his arrest, according to the church’s statement in May.

“He cautioned us solemnly to be ready for what enemies of Christ would do with his situation and to brace themselves,” the statement read. “The congregation spoke openly to assure Pastor Hall he should not be ashamed, that we do not care what the world thinks, as 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 Pulpit&Pen founder, where he criticized what he saw as liberal and worldly influences affecting the evangelical church and especially the Southern Baptist Convention. Among the site’s regular targets were Bible teacher Beth Moore, former Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore (no relation), Religion News Service columnist Karen Swallow Prior, former SBC President J.D. Greear and Tennessee preacher and Trump supporter Greg Locke.

After Facebook banned the Pulpit&Pen, the site was renamed “Protestia.” Hall also heads the Gideon Knox Group, which runs a church-based collection of 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. Along with listing the church’s views about the Bible, the Trinity, baptism and other Christian doctrines, the Fellowship Baptist statement of faith includes a “repudiation of the Social Justice Movement, Critical Theory, Liberation Theology, and Marxism in all of its various forms.”

The church also offers religious liberty vaccine exemption letters.

Fellowship Baptist did not respond to a request for comment on 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 consider the allegations against him to be credible, we are unable to determine their truth with certainty and therefore cannot speak to the specifics of the accusations lest we be guilty of gossip,” according to Protestia statement.

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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18 thoughts on “JD Hall, Pulpit and Pen Founder, ‘Disqualified’ from Ministry by Montana Church”

    1. Yes, Tim, I know of this episode on JD. Thanks for sharing here. It’s terrible when these guys live out what discerners point out. Brother Josh has gotten so much heat for his work. But he will tell you that God uses it to refine him.
      Praise the LORD, for He is merciful, gracious, long-suffering, always abounding in goodness and truth, perfectly just and perfectly forgiving. Let us bow down and worship Him alone.

  1. “Oh Foolish Galatians!” Paul warned us against the legalists, fundamentalists who are heavy on man-made law and externals, but show no love, no mercy, no compassion and no grace to anyone. Such people reimagine Jesus Christ into some malignant narcissist with a bunch of characteristics of the Devil himself. They turn Jesus into some loud mouth spouting current politics who lies, steals and cheats. Just like Hall. I wish these people would read the scriptures for themselves, instead of letting some jerk warp it into some self-serving form of b.s.

  2. Not knowing the substance and detail of the “serious sin” obstructs understanding. On the spectrum of sin & offence including Conservative and Liberal Christian and secular frames of reference, what is the act that constitutes sin/offence. Hall would then seem to be in peril on the individual plane, his life project appearing to be crashing down. Will redemption be offered him by those around him and in the wider Christian community. Could and will the Moores and Swallow and others cited contribute to that redemption process. The well written article depicts and tracks the trajectory of Hall’s apparent downfall; leaving the redemption possibility for others to address.

  3. And, all this from a “pastor’ in a small town of about 6,000 in far Eastern Montana. First and foremost, was this man in any way qualified to be a pastor? 1 Timothy 3:1–2 (ESV): The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach…”

  4. Mark Gunderson

    Hopefully restitution/justice is carried out in all realms of his life where that is needed.

    And hopefully this man finally gets some therapy.

  5. Brian Patrick

    As I spoke of the university that has been firing black faculty with no explanation–this is fishy as heck. If Pastor Hall did something worthy of disqualification from ministry–tell the world. Back yourselves up.

    As with the other case, in the lack of a fair public explanation, we would be fools not to speculate the worst.

    1. Mark Gunderson

      “If Pastor Hall did something worthy of disqualification from ministry”

      Thankfully, he is no longer a pastor and has no spiritual authority.

      “As with the other case, in the lack of a fair public explanation, we would be fools not to speculate the worst.”

      Maybe he’s been revealing his character all along and some were paying attention and some weren’t.

      1. Authority? Pastor’s don’t have ‘authority’. If anything they might be elders, that is overseers, or shepherds, but ‘authority’? I thought Christ spoke against this worldly concept.

        1. Mark Gunderson

          Christ spoke against lording authority over others. That is not the same thing as having no authority.

          All positions require a measure of authority to accomplish the job, whether you’re the mail room intern or the CEO. A teaching elder/pastor requires the authority to teach, at the very least.

          1. Mark & David. I find this point interesting. Jesus, as spoken of in the NT, seems to me distinctive in the ground of his speaking. He is the author of what he speaks: he is believed and followed because others experience this active authoring; an authoring manifesting God (as spoken of in the OT, and the Jewish corpus generally). Others in the circumstance of his life may also act with authority, but the ground of that authority (power of agency one might say), is not God manifesting. For a teacher or leader of Christians, pastors say, it would seem important to more lean towards the genre of authority Jesus exemplifies; albeit perhaps never quite completely following that example.
            My sense is that secular authority, so of the latter genre, is well captured in terms of “power” (secular power). Social science then indicating how complex, and often duplicitous the ground and actuality of that power tends to be.

        2. Jennifer Eason

          Years ago I happened across Pulpit and Pen. What struck me about the tone of the writing was its anger. Always a dangerous state for a human being to linger in, anger can only be wielded righteously by God.

      2. Mark Gunderson,

        “Thankfully, he is no longer a pastor and has no spiritual authority.”

        If I had the same access to the facts as you, I’d speak more humbly. Also… I’m skeptical that you’d be so quick to crucify a progressive pastor under the same cloudy circumstances.

        “Maybe he’s been revealing his character all along and some were paying attention and some weren’t.”

        I don’t know man, Hall has shown some amazing fortitude and conviction to take on the kind of calling that he did for so long, and it cost him dearly as he surely knew. The stress ultimately got to him and did him in, but I certainly wouldn’t call that “bad character”.

        We’ve seen “pastors” that gleefully use racial slurs adored on TRR… so, I’m not sure why struggling with a *legal prescription drug* is so egregious.

        1. Mark Gunderson

          Every assumption I can recall that you have made about me has been wrong:
          Party affiliation/candidates I supported
          Where I live
          Theology. This is the one place I’ll be specific: I’m not a progressive Christian.

          Stop making assumptions about people.

          Hall is a loudmouth and a reviler, and he doesn’t just target people for theological reasons, he targets anyone he deems beneath him. This is how he has disqualified himself publicly, many times over.

          I’m sad that he has fallen into this addiction, but I’m not sad that his congregation and his fellow elders have seen that he is capable of lying directly to their faces, and to anyone else’s. “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

          Let’s repeat what his church shared when he was arrested almost two months ago:

          “Pastor Hall has suffered from documented vitamin D deficiency, which can result in poor coordination, slurred speech, word displacement, etc. This medical issue has been discussed openly for some time and has been the subject of our church’s prayers. Nonetheless, Pastor Hall felt responsibility for bringing the stain of rumor upon the church and thus offered his resignation.”

          So he had them praying for his vitamin deficiency, when in reality it was an addiction to meds. Meds, which, BTW, are a controlled substance and you cannot legally purchase in greater quantities than prescribed. Shady doctors, lying to pharmacies, or just buying them from the black market. One way or another, he was breaking the law.

          1. Brian Patrick

            Mark Gunderson,

            “Theology. This is the one place I’ll be specific: I’m not a progressive Christian.”

            You will know them by their fruit.

            “Hall is a loudmouth and a reviler, and he doesn’t just target people for theological reasons, he targets anyone he deems beneath him. This is how he has disqualified himself publicly, many times over.”

            Do you remember; Jesus reviled the moneychangers, Pharisees, scribes, and other phonies. Our LORD in the flesh–disqualified from ministry?

            “I’m not sad that his congregation and his fellow elders have seen that he is capable of lying directly to their faces, and to anyone else’s.”

            Give me documentation of his lies, please.

            “Meds, which, BTW, are a controlled substance and you cannot legally purchase in greater quantities than prescribed.”

            I’m not going to throw stones at a struggling brother. Neither of us know the circumstances of what went on. We know that Hall had the weight of the world on him due to his very unique calling–much as a hockey enforcer (fighter) is going to deal with the consequences of the sport earlier than a forward, defenseman, or goalie. Yes, he chose that life. No, that doesn’t mean it’s open season on him.

  6. The bigger they are the harder they fall – hope his cult dissolves into repentance and comes to their senses – but based on experience, only a few will be rescued (narrow is the way…)

    1. Mark Gunderson

      His church is a healthy size for the area but not large by any means (~130ish from accounts I’ve read).

      I think it’s most likely his church leadership (the two remaining elders and the deacons, who seem to be more involved than typical Baptist deacons) will not publicly make the connection between his current struggles and his past cloud of controversy.

      Because that implicates them all.

      Now that the threat of being pronounced anathema by Hall is gone, I expect some members and maybe some of the leadership to speak up privately or publicly, then leave. But I expect the same leadership dysfunction to continue whether or not they restore him to ministry. You can already read it in their latest statement. They absolved themselves of blame for rejecting his resignation the first time even though they say they’d have decided differently if they knew he had an addiction.

      We’ll see how Hall himself responds when he does. The narrative around all his setbacks this year has been exhaustion from winning so hard. Which is a funny way to describe a DUI arrest, bankruptcy, a $250k legal settlement and admission of wrong, and being removed from ministry for drug addiction.

      The Holy Spirit may yet soften his heart. He has shown a conscience before, and from what I’ve seen online he has family that love him without justifying much of his speech and behavior. Maybe they will have more of an impact on him than the sycophants who just want more sick burns on Russ Moore.

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