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Pastor confesses his wife’s adultery and mental illness to church

Huh.  What do you think of this excerpt?

This past Sunday, Pastor Carpenter told the Redemption World Outreach Center that his wife, Hope Hilley Carpenter, had committed adultery many times during the past ten years of their twenty year marriage.

He also told the Greenville, S.C. church that Hope voluntarily checked herself into a one-year rehab clinic where she is in isolation for evaluation. Pastor Carpenter also informed his congregation that a therapist said his wife “was the worst case they had ever seen.”

“There is a sickness, there is a whole other dual life that I am finding out that has been created,” said Pastor Carpenter. “Hope is not well. You need to know that. We don’t know what’s wrong, but these are not the actions of anybody that is right.”

Pastor Carpenter, who has three children with his wife, added, “She does not need wrath [or] anger. She needs prayer, she needs support and she needs miracles.”

Apparently, this went over well with most of the 13,000 church members, who have been showering Pastor Carpenter with prayers, flowers and cards.

Read more here…

What do you think?  Handled properly?

If you were pastor, would you continue to actively pastor your church?  Would you step down?  Would you take some time away?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Todd



34 Responses to “ “Pastor confesses his wife’s adultery and mental illness to church”

  1. Charles Rigby says:

    The pulpit is place where you expound the word not a clothes line where you hang out your laundry. While transparency is mostly a good thing protecting those you love trumps all. Remember the for better or for WORSE part of the vow. Perhaps the pastor should take some time off to deal with the situation. I often see prayer requests in the bulletin that give a name and then sY health concerns. God knows the need we just need to affirm it with our supporting faith. It sounds like this pastor may be protecting himself rather than his wife in spite of the levels of disappointment he has because if her illness. Who counsels the counselor? God does and if your not ready to go it alone with God then you have no business taking on the mantel.

    • kemi aderibigbe says:

      I think the pastor need to step down, Most of the pastors’ wife problem is either from the pastor or the church congregation. I will not judge only God know what is really going on. I am a pastor wife I hate it when pastor used pupit to their own advantage. Who know this pastor might be the cause of his wife depression. many pastors’ wife are going through major depression take Benin Hinn case for example. Pastors wake up and minister to your home first

  2. Horrifying. Her accused (not proven) adultery at least was private. His rape of her reputation was public.

    I doubt the pastor’s version of the story because a mental health professional will NEVER, during intake and during the evaluation period, take statements made (such as I have committed adultery constantly in the last 10 years) and treat them as fact. They could be lies, fantasy, metaphor, truth, or something in between.

    We don’t know this pastor’s motives and I’m sure that his heart is breaking over his marriage exploding. I feel sadness for the whole group. But his decision to destroy her reputation and name publically, outside of Matthew 18 process, is evil and destructive beyond most of our imaginations.

    • davepatchin says:

      Having watched the sermon online, what he said was after years of counseling his wife confessed to an inappropriate relationship. The confession came 3 years before the psychiatric commitment. So it is not an accusation as much as a confession of another shared publicly. But I agree it is horrifying. What he had been dealing with in private should have remained private.

      • I agree. I did not listen to the sermon but am happy to know that there was a process in place. I believe the congregation probably knew all they needed to know about this. Now the world knows and if there us recovery it will always could the future no matter what us ahead. Thanks.

  3. PM says:

    It’s sad to hear this but much of life is sad because of our brokenness. The pulpit cannot be separated from the brokenness or the joys… or the reality of the lives who speak from it. I guess this difficult truth was not shared to slander his wife or to make himself look more righteous but is probably an admission of the reality of what has been going on and his failure to know this or “rule his household well.” To me this reporting is not hanging out dirty laundry – it is a humble admission of the truth of which a congregation rightfully needs to know from their “man of God”. Major things like this cannot be hidden – they eventually come out through gossip – making it even worse… so its best to tell it like it is. Because a shepherd’s role and calling is a partnership with his/her spouse, it would have been pretty unwise for Carpenter to leave this unsaid. Think of the grace Carpenter has been exercising to not divorce his wife after 10 years of pain and unfaithfulness. Kinda reminds me of Hosea

    • Rev. Matt Parron says:

      First Hosea never preached his issues form the pulpit. That is never a place to hold yourself accountable in detail. The congregation had zero need for details. This was a travesty and a lack of protection. 1 Corinthians 13- love ALWAYS protects…he could have been accountable to the leadership and that would be enough. Yes the congregation needs to know that he is having a hard time, but to specify his wife’s sin and illness in front of everyone is nearly unforgivable.

  4. Michael Kowalson says:

    There is so much possibility to this. I share incredulity at the way it appears to have been handled. However for a one year rehab clinic to accept her – she had have admitted the issues and likely been recommended through intervention or counseling. The pastor would have to do SOMETHING to explain the absence of his wife for the next year. Rumour was going to happen no matter what. The modern version of privacy didn’t exist in biblical times and warnings of gossip also come to mind. The additional commentary on the worst case they’d ever seen seems to fall squarely into the gossip category.

    After dissecting what little information is included – I cannot condemn the pastor for what he did but would have said things differently. It is at least partially about maintenance of an image and that part is sad.

    In reality, this pastor should be taking sabbatical – to get counselling for himself and his family – paid for and while he is still being paid by the church.

    To address Rev. Barnes – I would challengehim to show me biblically what a pulpit is for – or biblical examples or justification for Any part of how we do church today. I would suggest that kind of thinking is exactly why we are losing our audience. If the pulpit is not a place that also includes personal revelation, authenticity and honesty – it becomes merely a place of platitudes. Our culture is sick to spritual death of Christian platitudes!

    • Michael Kowalson says:

      Pleas forgive me Rev. Barnes – I meant to address Mr. RIGBY

      • Charles Rigby says:

        No one is minimizing the complexity of this issue or am I trying to demeaning the pain that is being addressed. Leadership is a lonely business. I am sure that the Sunday morning the pastor addressed thus in the pulpit was not the first revelation if this problem. The question that looms before me is how many people can really handle this level of transparency. I find out that while some want to share you problem so they can support you most don’t want to know the details that only cause them anguish that is beyond their ability to help. There are levels of confidence to be considered. The pulpit remains a metaphor for public exposition of presenting a. path for redemption and victory. If you want to use it as a small group interactive exchange so be it. I just believe as Jesus did. There are some crosses you must bear alone. I don’t know how long the pastor has been a thus church but discretion us still important when you are in leadership. So I guess we’ll agree to disagree.

  5. Gail says:

    Having lived with a spouse with tremendous mental health issues that have caused him to act out in incredible ways of immoral behavior for the last 12 years of a 15 year marriage, I think I can understand the pastor.

    Until you take your loved one to a mental institution and leave them there, you cannot begin to understand the anguish this man has apparently lived with for some time. Perhaps his wording could have been different But I support his transparency.

    I believe this is what people need to see, men and women church leadership be transparent. I have worked in other churches where things were left hidden and it always led to more speculation and gossip. It always felt like a cover up to the congregation who knew something was wrong.

    We should not sit in condemnation but pray for this family. I hope his church will give him some time off to heal. In a world where people get divorces in some states in 90 days or even less and with the divorce rate in our churches equal to that of non believers, I admire his willingness to stay in the relationship.

    I hope his wife gets the help she needs. And that a great testimony is born from this situation.

    Maybe there are crosses we have to bear alone, but I think the Bible is pretty clear on sharing our faults, asking others to pray, being in relationships where burden sharing is ok. Jesus bore his cross alone but Jesus was the Son of God. We aren’t. I find great health in my own marriage by sharing my burdens. There are pieces of our story that I share publically and others that are kept more for a small group setting or my closest prayer partners.

    I thank God every day that I wake up with a clear mind. And I thank him for the grace he has shown in my husband. He is so much better. We share a wonderful life together, but he still have mental issues and unless God completely heals him, he always will. But God’s grace is sufficient for us all.

  6. Barry says:

    I do not think this was handled properly. This was a tragedy (unfortunately a more and more typical) and a shame, it’s pitiful. The call for compassion is correct. I have known Ron since his freshman year in college, and I have attempted to reach out to him in the past about things I had seen in his demeanor in the pulpit. So what have we heard? One side of the story. Hope does not have platform to give her side. After being a pastor and counselor for more than thirty years, I know there is always two sides to every story. His “confession” to me was a real reminder of Jimmy Swaggart’s confession, however; Rev. Swaggart confessed his own sin, took responsibility for a terribly dysfunctionally home relationship. I did not hear that in Ron’s confession. His slight attempts at admitting shame for having to admit his wife’s sin to me seemed to be pleas for pity and served to exonerate him in every way. Another sad hugely public event taking place in the world of megachurches where the leader is without accountability. I do not want to sound like I am judging him, just making observations. Now is the time, these are the days that all leaders must establish accountability relationships with people who will stay things like “stop” or “no” or “it’s too much about you now, and the Lord is becoming secondary.” It is a sorry state of affairs when so many leaders are left to handle the responsibility of enormous “success”, and what it becomes is a cult of personality rather than the glorification of the Lord Jesus.

  7. revjj says:

    I know Bro. Carpenter’s ministry well and have great respect for him. What is not being said here was that this was a “family meeting” with his church. He had no choice but to explain to his people why he was not seeking reconciliation following this one year treatment. It is interesting how people are so quick to make accusation against a man who has endured his wife having two five year affairs. Had he tried to keep this aspect secret this response thread would have been lit up with people condemning him for not standing with her. I’m refreshed to see a man who will stand up and tell the actual truth without trying to save his own hide.

    • Rev. Matt Parron says:

      JJ- If that is true then I would retract my comment because you are right. If this meeting was called to speak specifically to the issue then this is not a misuse of the pulpit it is a man being clear about his intentions and reasons and that I understand. However if she is truly mentally ill his decision not to reconcile may not be the right one, but since I cannot imagine being in his shoes I cannot judge him for what he feels God wants him to do.

    • Barry says:

      If it was meant to be a “family meeting” then it should not been have broadcast. Yes, the news would have still come out and he would have to answer public questions. But he is the one who made the decision to make a public issue of this. I appreciate his honesty as well, and I attempt to be very transparent as a pastor. No one is perfect. But Hope was NOT there to defend herself or even address what extraneous matters and pressures she was under. It was a one sided confession of someone else’s sins. He is culpable, and confessed no failure on his part.

      • Minister Jean says:

        Let’s first go back to the word of God. The Church which is an extension of Christ needs to start acting like the bride of Christ and not the world. My first observation is if we compare what the words says and what Jesus did with the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said, ” he who is without sin cast the first stone”. In that case this should have been handled differently. Secondly, Mary the mother of Jesus was initially pregnant by someone other than Joesph, the word says Joesph being a man of character thought to put her away privately. Thirdly, Christ said love your wife as I have loved the church; love, cover and protect. If she has problems and sins, what will this public disgrace and exposure do to benefit him, her their children and the name of Christ. It won’t benefit anything except selfish motives. Jesus can handle it but in a world where people are dying in Churches yet unsaved. The church leadership needs to repent, come back to God and get real according to 2 Chronicles 7. Its not about what we think. Its about what the word of God says. I’m not judging them but they need prayer and help. Where was the spirit of counsel, mite, wisdom, knowledge, reverential fear and God’s presence in this? Was Holy Spirit even consulted or perhaps a wounded, angry man reacted. Let;s all come back to what’s important souls and the Kingdom. We need to find the ancient path and follow it so other can follow us as we point them to JESUS and not we ourselves.

        • kemi aderibigbe says:

          Good talk, what most minister do this day is to used the pulpit to defend themselves or preach against people who offend them inside of preaching Christ. I really miss old time Christianity where everything is focus on God.

  8. Keith says:

    Todd, the tone of the comments so far is that this pastor’s public statements were inappropriate. Perhaps your posting the story on your blog serves to extend the offense. I live across the continent and didn’t need to know of her sin, or his in revealing it in this way.
    Let’s get some comment on how your use of social media is simply gossip. You could have told of the incident without names and place.
    Just sayin…..

    • You may have a point but it does open up a window for dialogue related to a lot of conceptions that are floating out there today. Marriage is a covenant. A Royal Grant covenant that is sealed by vows of love not tolerance. Perhaps more should be revealed in transparency before the marriage than after. There are a lot of elements in the marriage ceremony that point to this. Destruction of relationships are painful and handling them add to that pain. What if through the prayers of the faithful there was healing of the problems. The person whose side we have not heard might never want to be seen in public again. Then on the other hand she could write a book and make millions telling her story as another Christian trophy. No one knows. Don’t blame Todd. This is why leadership should understand the loneliness at the top and marriage is a oneness that protects all sides no matter what the cost. If the Bible is true and in marriage they are one then the pastor should step aside until he can find an orderly way to resolve this issue with an inner circle of confidents. We will pray for a proper outcome. To elevate a position on the back of another persons needs let alone the love of your life does not deserve the trust and respect of the very truths that are being preached from the pulpit. Both the pastor and his wife’s future will be impacted adversely because of this.

  9. Glen says:

    The ethics of sharing his wife’s sin with the congregation publicly could be debated ad infinitum.. There may be certain unique situations where it would be appropriate, and perhaps this fits the bill.

    However- I’m surprised at how many are missing the elephant in the room. If this man had integrity and respect for the qualifications for leadership in a church, he would humbly step down and relinquish his role as the pastor of that congregation. No matter what measure of responsibility he bears in his wife’s infidelity, his home and his marriage are not in order and this in my mind immediately disqualifies him from ministry. I Tim. 3:4-5 seems to speak to the issue clearly.

    • Barry says:

      I agree with you, Glen. I do not think it overly aggressive or critical for there to me a period of restoration, reflection, counseling. It would be more difficult for pastors of small churches, but the biblical point of view is what needs to be considered.

  10. Pastor A.M. says:

    This thread actually wreaks of judgementalism, legalism and lack of knowledge of scripture in regards to Matthew 18. Private counseling was done, it was brought before the elders, then the church publicly…a certificate of divorce for transgression is planned and its all biblical…so we must restore and move on. This incident does not disqualify the man from his post and he did nothing wrong…I saw the video and I also know that he has several enemies (both denominational pharisees and non-denominational alike). He has a right to communicate openly so that there will be no change of misrepresentation of his stance.

    Matthew 23:24 (KJV)
    24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. You made a judgement without context or details…you magnified issue of privacy but ignored the anguish of keeping the “secret” for a decade…

    This reminds me of Jobs freinds…3 were saying HE MUST have done something to deserve this! while the youngest (elihu) helped to restore him publicly and privately. Pastors are not God and when they try they miserably fail. To conclude…because I see alot of religious piety here…

    Galatians 6:1-2 (KJV)
    1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
    2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    The religious have a habit of attempting to devour their own…so in this case like a few others posting today, I choose to restore rather than condemn.

    • Barry says:

      You sound pretty judgemental to me. My problem is that among the church elite there is affirmation given by others in the same profile, and without any authority being exercised, issues are just overlooked. I know Ron, and I love him. I don’t judge him, I feel nothing but grace and mercy for him, that is what I need for myself. I am not a mega-church hater. I just know it is a tremendous blessing and responsibility. EVERY leader needs to be subject to authority. I belonged to the denomination Ron belongs to for more than twenty years. They have a restoration discipline, and if he does not take at the very least a sabbatical, then he is not following the authority over him.

    • Brother, while you may have 1) Experience with divorce or difficulties like this or 2) Have taught or preached through this topic before 3) May believe mental illness gives some sort of trump card for a spouse I encourage you to revisit the teaching on the high calling of the teaching elder found in 1 Timothy 3. Read. Study. Pray.

      Dr. Charles Stanley believed and taught a pretty clear message on what the NT teaches on the high moral calling of a pastor. Then he accused his wife of being mentally ill and divorced her. And remained in the pulpit in spite of him teaching half a dozen times that a pastor should step down in the midst of family crisis like this.

      Here we have a pretty recent example that people, even when they are smart, good preachers, famous, tend to want to keep their jobs in spite of what they said the Bible teaches for 20 years prior.

      Will Pastor Carpenter change his mind, follow 1 Timothy 3, follow Matthew 18, submit his resignation to the leadership because he hasn’t run his own house well and is not above reproach and now has ruined his reputation all over the world through this public rape of his wife’s reputation? I don’t know. I hope so.

      But brothers, let’s not take this as an example of ministry. This is a tragedy for this family and it’s being made worse because this man, his leadership, his congregation, have not been taught to know and follow the Scriptures. Instead, they appear to follow a man. They appear to love a man.

      This is horrifying.

    • Minister Jean says:

      Pastor AM,
      I like what you said about restoration but you seem to have a issue of double standards. You use parts of the word when convenient to back up your point but when it comes to the wife you don’t apply the same rule. Its sounds hypocritical to me. She also needs grace, time to heal, time to recover and a place in privacy to do this. The world does not need to know all of this. Even Jesus had 3 kinds of immediate relationships; The outer court, the inner court and Holiest of holy. So even he did not tell everyone everything. This woman’s life should not have been placed on public display on the news and the internet. That’s vicious. The rich and famous are running from media and paparazzi. Lord who is hungry for negative attention. That’s a sign of a novice. Hosea at Gods command protected Gomer. So if you are a real friend then provide Godly counsel.

  11. Norm says:

    I believe a pastor has a responsibility to keep his congregation informed of things that impact the ministry. I believe that we are to confess our sins to one another a concept most folks shy away from. I realize this is her sin and maybe not his but do we know if she asked him to convey this to the church? However it appears to me the church handled it better than we did. I once had a young college student come to my ministry because she was pregnant and her pastor dad was afraid to tell his congregation. So he lied to explain her absence for several months. This caused much confusion in her life because he refused to let her tell anyone where she was.I tried to help her handle her pain and God blessed as He alwayss does. The bottom line is we must exercise grace just as God does with each of us every day.

  12. Glen says:

    Pastor A.M.- It seems like you are the one with the judgmental attitude. This is a public form where varying opinions can be shared openly and in a respectful manner- even if we may hold differing views on a situation.

    I don’t know to what degree this pastor contributed to what happened with his wife (neither do you or anyone in your congregation- only God knows), but t I do know that a pastor’s relationship with his spouse is supposed to be a model of Christ’s relationship with the church. When that earthly model is shattered (no matter who bears more responsibility in the break-up), it behooves the pastor out of respect for the office and what it represents, to step down and work on trying to reconcile his marriage. In other words, his marital and family relationship trumps his role as a church leader. While none of our earthly relationships are without the taint of sin, a pastor should be someone you could look to as a role model in the arena of his marriage and family relationships. If his marriage is in tatters, it does great damage to “picture” that is being presented to the whole congregation and the example that a pastor should in these areas. If you don’t agree with this, then why is there such an extensive list of the moral & spiritual qualifications for leadership found in I Tim. 3 and Titus 2?

    The Gal 6 passage you quote refers to restoring a fallen brother or sister in their spiritual relationship with the Lord, not to a position of spiritual leadership in front of God’s people. Let’s be sure we are not misquoting scripture or using out of context.

  13. From a pastoral perspective, I believe some boundaries were ignored. To confess your own sins is one thing, but to go as far as this pastor went will not serve his marriage well. I am not defending the wife, nor her alleged affairs; I just believe that it should have been handled more discreetly. My goodness, I get in trouble when I happen to mention my wife’s bad hair day from the pulpit. Perhaps, Pastor Carpenter should have sought professional counseling prior to his declaration. He may have been hurt, but how does one ever repair the marriage now?

  14. Kathryn says:

    I admire his character, strength and bravery for doing what he did. If he felt that he needed to turn to his congregation for support then that’s what he needed to do. He did not bash his wife in any way…. He’s holding her up in prayer for wellness. Everyone’s quick to judge and analyze his actions on what he should have or haven’t done….. In the end he did what’s right for him and who can argue against that.

    • davepatchin says:

      Kathryn said, “In the end he did what’s right for him and who can argue against that.”

      “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
      (Philippians 2:3-5 NIV)

      Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25 NIV)

      In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
      (Ephesians 5:28 NIV)

      • There was a movie where a son was talking with his mother about the script of a movie. He said. It’s real, it’s transparent. it’s a part of life. The mother’s reply was so is diarrhea but I don’t want to see it on the screen. Leadership is about accepting the responsibility for helping others rise to their greatest capacity for fulfillment. If your not able to fill that role step aside until you can. A pastor is more than another person in his congregation. This is not judgment it is observation and advice from one of many with decades of experience in the counseling room. We will pray for a good outcome for this man and for wisdom as the church deals with this moment in their churches journey to fulfill the great commission and nurture the communicant body to full stature in the faith.

  15. Powers says:

    I hurt for the Pastor, the family, and the Church. It’s totally inappropriate for this young Pastor to divulge this to his congregation. There is much more to the story, and I believe what is hidden will ultimately be revealed.

    I have strong doubts that there is a legitimate Psychiatric evaluation being conducted by legitimate Doctors. Certainly, there may be “therapists” involved, but Psychiatric mental institution? Really?

    Since when do you check yourself in to a one-year isolated clinic? This “Pastor” should be relieved of his position while he ministers to his first calling.

    I believe there is a deliberate fabrication of the story here – to save a lucrative position in this church.

  16. Mayflower says:

    @ Powers…I believe you are on to something…there are too many questions here that do not add up. No one who is guilty of adultery would go into a mental institution on their own volition, because they are the “worst case” to be rid themselves of adultery. If any of you undertand the full act of adultery against the spouse and know the life of an adulterer, then you would realize that her own volition to enter this mental institution would not happen at all. Yes, there’s something more to this story that meets the eye. I appreciate the Biblical comments made…I am of the opinion that this “admission” in front of God, his church, and the world” was not the appropriate way to handle this type of sin.

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