An Open Letter To Clayton Jennings

Dear Clayton Jennings,

You don’t know me but we have many things in common. Some of the things we have in common are things we can be proud of for sure. There are also things we have in common that have shaped our lives and impacted others in a way that we are ashamed of. You see I used to be a minister like you who traveled preaching the gospel to many thousands gathered at one time. Sure not as many as you but still I was focused on sharing Christ and then I like you came to the point of…

… Well let me back up a bit and explain who I am and how we are slightly connected.

Our Common Ground

I used to attended your grandfathers church. As a student of Tennessee Temple University (TTU) I sat under Dr. J. Don Jennings (your grandfather) the President of the school and Pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church. I still remember how he would challenge us to be bold, courageous and not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His sermons impacted my life as I am sure they did yours.

Not long after leaving TTU I went into full-time ministry. I was young and my desire to please God with my life drove me. God blessed and saw fit to place me in a position were I could preach the gospel to thousands. What a thrill it was to present the truth to so many folks of which many were lost and responded to the invitations when I gave them. Many folks saw me as a great minister of God but I like you knew otherwise. You see Clayton I lived a lie and just like you I fell into sexual sin. Our commonality ends here.

My Sin Broke Me

I shamed the name of Christ. I let down everyone and I knew my ministry was over. Done. Never to return. I failed my family, church and the thousands upon thousands who looked at me as a man of God. I sinned grossly against our Holy God.

Yes after much time and pain I found forgiveness and restoration in Christ however, there was never going to be ministry again. I was (as you are) disqualified. I know God restored me and presents me as faultless to the Father but I also knew my days of public ministry were over.

Consequences Of Sin

I like you was stripped of my ministry credentials. Lost almost all of my friends and gained a world of haters. I did not press forward into another ministry as you have. I only looked to Jesus for comfort and restoration which took years.

It was years before I could walk into another church with my head held high in confidence of who I am in Christ because my fall was so great and damaging to all I ministered to.

You have to ask yourself as I did how could we have acted in such a way? Our sin is sick and shameful exposing us as not godly men but as weak selfish children.  As Christian Ministers we publicly made a mockery of Jesus’ name. Godly Men live for Christ not themselves. Lost men follow their lustful desires planning and scheming to sin as we have.   Anyone with our history should question if they are a true follower of Christ.  I did just that, have you?

I’m Concerned for your Soul

The most difficult years of my life followed my sin. This is why I write to you today Clayton. I watched your haters video and have read the many articles exposing your sin and I am concerned for your health, life and soul. My road to recovery was private, long and painful. You my friend are trying to recover publicly without full repentance as you seek to deny many of your transgressions. You are in grave danger of God’s Holy Wrath. Please Clayton surrender before God’s patience with you comes to an end.

My fear is that you are unmoved spiritually by the wretchedness of your sin because you are not in Christ. I know what it is like to be in your situation. If you are indeed a child of God He will break you.  It will not be pleasant.

Those who are closest to you have called you to repent and withdraw from ministry.  These Godly men know and love you.  Do not hate those who seek to bring you to repentance.  Those who warn the body of Christ concerning you do so not out of envy or insecurity as you have charged but out of love for Christ and His Church. They are obeying God’s command to warn the flock of sinful men like you and me.

Clayton Jennings,  For the sake of Christ, His church and your soul I implore you to repent.

Sincerely,

Tim Hurd

 

Note: After ten years of discipleship, restoration and sanctification God graciously placed the author in ministry once again however, not as an elder or pastor.

6 Comments
  1. jenny colognesi 4 weeks ago

    the priest is in error….we , according to the apostle Paul are called to judge….Paul says “I you cannot judge these matters between you, how are you then being able to judge angel. ?

  2. Father Chris Shelton, F. C. J. 6 months ago

    We are all sinners. We all fall from grace. We all come short of God. It is about us as His servants. If you see someone do wrong, then you go to that person in private. And you explain to that person in private out of charity. If you take the courage to talk to the person in private then you must also have the courage to walk and support him through this journey. You do not judge that person, nor do you disgrace him nor belittle nor mock that person. We are not to condemn or condescend on that person who has sinned. It is a purely private matter for Mr. Jennings to repent. How do we know that he has not repented deeply and was sorry for his sin. We dont know. It is not for us to know. It is between God and Reverend Jennings. God does restore those to the ministry when a minister has fallen from grace. It may or may not be in the same ministry. God may put Reverend Jennings back into the same ministry. When a minister falls from grace Jesus will restore that minister to ministry. St. Peter betrayed Jesus. St. Peter was also restored to the same ministry after he was forgiven by Jesus. A minister who has fallen from grace and is not restored to ministry by God is the one who still is not right with Jesus. No matter how long it takes Christ will restore that person to ministry. Its not up to us. Its up to Christ and no one else. I know how Jennings may or may not have screwed up. I have been there as a sinner. Everyone sins.
    But saying that God wont restore a person to ministry after they have fallen and was forgiven is being judgemental. And perhaps that is why a person is still not back in ministry is because of their pride.
    God does use the broken. And yes Jennings is a sinner like the rest of us. But he does bring the ministers back into public ministry exactly where He wants them.
    Focus on your own sin so that you can ask God to forgive you. Be Christlike. That means watch an hour in prayer quietly with God. watching this way with Christ is how He wants us to be like Him. This helps us to develop our relationship with Christ and His Father. Its about Christ and not us. If Christ wants to restore the minister, then that is HIS wish. That is not for us to decide. If Jesus has restored Jennings to ministry then it is His Will Be Done. Not our own.
    In His Service,
    Fr. Christopher

    • Author
      Tim Hurd 6 months ago

      I am not sure you know what judging others means. You state we ought not do this or that in your comment which of coarse is judging us.

      We know Clayton has not repented when confronted privately because we confronted him privately. We know he is currently under church discipline due to his unrepentant sin by the testimony of his (now former) elders and mentors.

      Jesus has not restored Jennings to ministry. Clayton is running from Jesus in flat out rebellion.

      • Fr. Chris 6 months ago

        Its not our call to make of whether or not Jesus has restored Jennings to ministry. Being under discipline means exactly as it is. That a person is under accountability with his superiors. He is set on a path to recovery. When the time is right God will restore to his proper place and time. It is not anyone’s call to say God will not restore him to ministry or not. Have one not removed the boil from his own eye before he tries to lance the boil from a nother person’s eye? If one has not come to glory to God for forgiveness of his own sins then he will be judged by God himself. You have met with him privately. Then your duty has ended. God will deal with him now.
        St. Matthew 7:1 Judge not, lest ye be judged like wise.

    • Jacqui Courtney 5 months ago

      Fr. Chris – Thank you for speaking with a voice that embraces Christ values. I agree with everything you said 100%. You are truly a man of God and show the love of God in all you have said. Bless you.

  3. John Wilkinson 1 year ago

    Let’s hope he reads this and takes it to heart.

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