If you watch Counting On online, you know that Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, spend much of the year living in an impoverished village in El Salvador.
The Dillards have been performing missionary work together since shortly after their wedding, and while their hearts may be in the right place, the couple’s humanitarian efforts have generated numerous controversies.
From the time of their first trip to Central America, accusations that Jill and Derick were not qualified to work as missionaries were common on social media.
Jill’s midwife certification proved to be bogus, and no recognized institution would grant the Dillards a license or funding to work as missionaries.
The couple’s application to the International Mission Board was rejected, which means for the entire time they were in El Salvador, the Dillards weren’t missionaries so much as they were reality stars filming abroad.
Jill and Derick may have been hoping to have their work recognized retroactively by the leaders of their church, but now it seems those hopes have been dashed.
Sources close to the Duggar family are confirming today that Jill and Derick have been turned down by the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to the SBC’s guidelines, missionaries "must complete at least 12 college credit hours comprising three hours each of new testament survey, old testament survey, biblical or systematic theology, as well as elective courses in general ministry."
The Dillards did not meet any of those requirements.
Derick has an undergraduate degree in accounting, and Jill never attended college at all.
This means that neither the SBC nor the IMB funded Jill and Derick’s time in South America, which begs the question:
Where did the money come from?
Before their first trip, the Dillards were widely criticized for asking for money from fans in order to finance the expedition.
Numerous individuals and charitable organizations pointed out that the money would be better spent going directly to those in need, rather than to the Dillards, who don’t appear to be strapped for cash.
Questions are now being raised concerning TLC’s possible role in financing the Dillards’ travels.
Many feel that viewers have the right to know if the network is actively influencing the events of the Duggars’ lives, rather than simply documenting them.
Thus far, the network has not commented on the situation.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.