Man at Center of ‘Church Plant’ Tattoo Fundraiser Video Back in Rehab

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:

Thad Pinch receiving a tattoo. Photo credit Christian News Network

Thad Pinch receiving a tattoo. Photo credit Christian News Network

On June 28th, 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 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. (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:

One of the men at the center of a controversial online video featuring a young man obtaining a tattoo and vaping at a fundraising effort for the tattoo artist’s part in their group’s proposed church plant is now back in rehab after continued drug use, a public statement released by his elders outlines.

“The elders of Apologia became acquainted with the past sinful patterns in Thad’s life very early on,” the statement reads in part. “There were issues related to drug addiction and serial adultery that ultimately led to Thad going to a long-term Christian recovery program in Georgia.”

“Over the course of our time with them we had to confront instances of substance abuse which never ultimately stopped,” it outlines.

As previously reported, on June 22, Marcus Pittman, the head of Apologia Studios in Tempe, Arizona, posted a provocative live, public video of the tattoo fundraiser to social media, which he gave the questioning title “Apologia Studios Tattoo Parlor?!” (View here.) Apologia Studios is a part of Apologia Church, led by Jeff Durbin, which is seeking to plant a new church in Kauai.

In the footage, Apologia member Thad Pinch had a Greek “Chi-Rho” symbol tattooed on his arm in the ministry’s studio, as a tattoo artist from the congregation had offered his services to help raise funds for his part in the church planting effort.

“This is actually a fundraiser for our Apologia Kauai church plant, so people of the church are donating to have another member of the church tattoo them so they can go to Kauai and we can plant a church there,” Pittman explains. “So, it’s pretty cool.”

Pittman and Pinch—as well as others—jest with each other during the video, and Pinch vapes on a vaporizer at one point while he is being tattooed.  Continue reading


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