True story from this past Sunday, October 13, 2013:
First of all, I’m truly sad. I’m sad about the situation, sad that Pastor Ron Carpenter and his wife are suffering at their own choices, sad that he lied and faked it – like everything was all right for 10 years without getting help from leaders in his church, sad for the church congregation, sad for the wife who is now in a psych ward due to adultery, and most of all sad that God is being dishonored by the re-defining of adulterous behavior as no longer SIN but mental illness.
Re-defining sin is a slippery slope. While we all think that this “mental illness” label is compassionate and loving, it truly is unloving to Mrs. Carpenter because what she needs is confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with Christ – not a mental illness label, a prescription for her so-called disorder whatever it may be called, and certainly not a lack of true repentance and reconciliation. This is why I hate psychology’s false teachings that oppose God’s Word in our churches – because it leads people away from Christ and true reconciliation with Him which only occurs through repentance and faith.
When the Bible is our infallible standard and we believe it was God-breathed through holy men, we cannot change it to fit our ideas (Col. 2:8). Instead, we must embrace it as truth no matter how much we do not agree with it, and we must change our thoughts to match God’s Word – not the other way around. My concern is that these people do not truly believe all of the Bible but pick and choose what they are willing to accept. They believe in miracles and healings and speaking in tongues but not the confession of sin. That’s sad.
Do I have compassion for these folks in Greenville, SC? Yes.
Do I have compassion for their choice to change God’s Word that calls adultery a sin and a violation of one of the Ten Commandments into a so-called “mental illness”? No. Not even a little bit compassionate because it is pride and arrogance and only shows me that they have more distance to fall because they have not hit the bottom yet.
They are not broken by their sin but sorry they got caught (2 Cor. 7:10) it seems by the following quotes taken from the article directly from Carpenter’s mouth:
This article and Pastor Carpenter’s comments that are quoted in it make my stomach ache. For example, one comment from the linked article above states: “Carpenter told his flock that he ‘sat through two years of grueling therapy with her to no avail’ and that the situation continued to grow worse. It got even worse, he said, when his wife confessed in 2010 that she had been carrying on an extra-marital relationship for the past five years.” So my thought is that therapy didn’t work because it made her into a mentally ill victim when she truly was responsible for her choices to commit adultery. No one is excused from adultery according to the Bible. It’s a sin and it has devastating consequences as they are finding out. It’s not God’s best for them nor is it obedient to His design for marriage.
Then, Pastor Carpenter says: “‘If I had been a regular old guy, I couldn’t have took it,’ confessed Carpenter, explaining how and why he chose to remain with his wife at the time, instead of separating.” Wow, a “regular old guy” he is NOT he says!!! He is better than that! Pride, pride, and more pride. Whew. That’s sad to me because only Christ gives us the strength to endure – not our own power.
The article also writes that Carpenter “said he chose to cover his wife with love through the ordeal, as Christ was his own covering.” Love would have been leading her to confession, biblical counseling, and possibly church discipline to get her attention that this is a serious offense against the Lord Himself and God is not pleased. Love doesn’t lie by pretending nothing sinful is happening when sin abounds.
More from the article reveals his lack of obedience to the Word of God: “After a brief breakdown and audible weeping at the rostrum, Carpenter composed himself and told the congregation that his wife does not need their wrath, and that this is not ‘just sin.’ ‘She does not need wrath [or] anger. She needs prayer, she needs support and she needs miracles,’ he said. Carpenter also pointed out that he would not be leaving or going on a sabbatical, as he had done nothing wrong.” Ok, again, he goes too far here. Yes, I agree she does not need their “wrath” but she does need church discipline which is restorative not punitive. There is a BIG difference. She does need prayer and support but not a miracle; instead, she needs repentance and not just confession (Prov. 28:13). Repent from your sin! And I disagree that “he had done nothing wrong” when he used a form of lying to cover up and pretend there were no problems. That’s lying to the body.
If my critique of these comments he made cited in the article seem too harsh, then you are misunderstanding my tone which is firm and fair. He is the one saying these audacious things that oppose the Word of God. It reeks of self-preservation not repentance.
So here’s what they should do:
1) Repent. Confess sin and give up your leadership positions at least temporarily if not permanently.
2) Seek biblical counseling. There are many great biblical counselors in the Greenville, SC, area that I know personally who would counsel them compassionately from the holy Scriptures.
3) Repent to God and publicly announce that adultery is indeed a sin and that we should not be afraid to call it “just sin” since that is what Christ died for and is the central message of the Gospel.
When those things happen, I will cheer and become their biggest fans because they will be doing what God says in His Word and honoring Him. I want to hear them truly glorify the Lord and to see them walk in His statues (Psalm 119).
-Mark (wishing we could truly see repentance and reconciliation in this situation)