This is a sad turn of events. In June, Christian News Network ran a piece entitled Tattoos For Jesus? Group Raises Funds For “Church Plant” By Tattooing Members, Sampling Booz. The group mentioned is Apologia Church in Tempe, AZ. JD Hall of Pulpit & Pen blogged about this in When “Reformed” Theology is a Cloak for Debauchery. Seth Dunn of P&P followed up on JD’s article with A Dash of Discernment and a Pinch of Aggravation: James White and Daughter Respond to Negative Coverage of Apologia Church. Dunn revealed the following:
On June 28th, ChristianNews.net published an article about two church-planting fundraising events in Tempe, Arizona. In the first event, participants were offered a flight of craft beers in exchange for donations. In the second event, tattoos were offered to help raise funds. Apologia Church, led Jeff Durbin, and its associated ministry Apologia Studios, which helmed by Durbin’s friend Marcus Pittman, were behind the overall fundraising project. The beer and tattoo fundraising events were met with contempt by popular polemicist and Pulpit & Pen founder, JD Hall, who offered scathing commentaries on the events in a blog on his website and on his podcast. A recent joiner of Apologia Church is Summer Pinch, daughter of notable podcaster and Apologist James White. Pinch and her father published a response to the coverage of the booze and tattoos events on White’s personal blog. In this response, White accused ChristianNews.net editor, Michael Marcavage (who did not actually write the article), of “yellow journalism” while Pinch accused Hall of being a “schoolyard bully.” Due to the nature of White and Pinch’s response, Pulpit & Pen offered a forum in which Marcavage and Hall can respond to these issues. Below are Q&As with both Marcavage and Hall. (Read the Q&As here)
Dr. James White addressed the brouhaha in his podcast entitled Apologia Church, Jeff Durbin, JD Hall, and “the Controversy.” Pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church was Dr. White’s guest. For nearly two hours they discussed “ReformCon, beer tasting at the Boulders, Christian News [Network], Marcus Pittman, a Thursday night tattoo session, JD Hall, holiness, sanctification, Christian freedom, and the role Internet polemics plays in creating simple falsehoods and controversies over fictional events.”
Now CNN is reporting that Thad Pinch, who appeared in an Apologia Church fundraising video receiving a tattoo, has entered a long-term recovery program. At the time of the video, Thad was Summer’s husband and James White’s son-in-law. According to CNN’s Heather Clark, the couple has divorced.
So with this background in mind, here’s CNN’s recent report on the infamous Apologia Church: