WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) — A pastor at a Warsaw church admitted to his congregation Sunday to what he referred to as an adulterous relationship. Then, his apparent victim came forward and said she was 16 at the time.
After the tumultuous revelations at New Life Christian Church, Pastor John Lowe II stepped down, and the Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it was investigating the claims.
Video of the admission was shared widely on Facebook by an attendee. As of mid-afternoon Monday, it had more than 90,000 views.
In the video (watch above), Lowe confessed: “I committed adultery” with “one person” nearly 20 years ago, and continued the relationship “far too long.”
“I have no defense,” he told the congregation. “I committed the adultery. To say it plainly: I didn’t make a mistake, I didn’t have an issue, I didn’t have an affair, I didn’t make a misjudgment – I sinned. I need to say that, and you deserve to hear it.”
Lowe asked the congregation to forgive him for the “deep wound” he has caused, and apologized to those he sinned against. He said there was “no good answer” to why it took so long to admit his wrongs but said he has repented.
Lowe then announced he was stepping down from ministry and said he would submit to the process and recommendation of the church board.
After Lowe finished speaking, a man and woman approached the lectern. The woman told the congregation she was victimized by Lowe when she was 16, and said she’s lived in “a prison” for 27 years – not 20 years.
“You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done,” she said. “If you can’t admit to the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim here.”
She continued: “The church deserves to know the truth. This church has been built on lies, but no more. The lies need to stop.”
The woman said she spent years feeling like a “horrible person” with suicidal thoughts until two weeks ago, when her brother approached her about a memory of seeing his younger sister in bed with his pastor.
“The lies and manipulation have to stop,” she said.
After the woman left the stage, members of the congregation shouted at Lowe.
“If you did it, you need to admit it,” one man yelled.
“We need to hear from our pastor,” another said.
Lowe responded: “I told you I committed adultery and I told you it went on far too long.”
“I can’t do anything about that except to tell you, if I could go back and redo it all, I would. I can’t, and all I can do is ask for you to forgive me.”
The Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to WANE 15 on Monday that there is a pending investigation into the matter. No other information was provided, however.
Lowe was still listed as the church’s lead pastor on its website late Monday. By Tuesday, that page had been taken down.
On Monday evening, the church released the following statement regarding the incident on its Facebook page:
“On Sunday, May 22, 2022, Pastor John B. Lowe II addressed the congregation of New Life Christian Church & World Outreach (“New Life”) at the conclusion of morning worship service and confessed that he had committed adultery on several occasions and over the course of time many years ago. When Pastor Lowe offered his confession, he also announced that he would be stepping down from his ministerial role and responsibilities with New Life.
This long-held secret first came to light when a woman in the church came forward and disclosed the relationship to various people within the church. When confronted by others in church leadership concerning that report, Pastor Lowe confessed privately that the adultery did, in fact, occur. The woman in question and her family did attend together and addressed the congregation, indicating that improper sexual conduct first occurred when she was 16 years of age and continued into her twenties. She tearfully described living with deep shame and pain over the ensuing years.
In the wake of what has now been revealed, we are hurting and broken for a woman who has lovingly attended and served in the church for many years, as well as for her husband and family. It is our deepest prayer and commitment to love, support, encourage and help her through a process of healing in any way in which we are able. New Life is likewise devoted to ministering to and with all of our members through this difficult season, that we might not only survive this, but experience together abundant grace, unity healing – all for the glory of God, and the preservation of His church.
Our brokenness extends to Pastor John B. Lowe II, his wife and family as well. For 42 years, New Life has taught and preached a Cross-driven message of repentance, forgiveness and restoration; a ministry of reconciliation which has been both led and modeled by Pastors John and Debbie Lowe. As healing occurs in their hearts, their marriage and family, we are committed to demonstrating the same support, encouragement, counsel and forgiveness that has come to define the collective heart and ministry of this body. As of Monday, May 23, 2022, Pastor John B. Lowe II tendered His resignation with New Life Christian Church and World Outreach.
To all concerned, please be assured that, until now, none of this was disclosed to or known by any of the staff, ministers or personnel of New Life. As with the church in general and the public at large, we too are responding to this without anticipation; praying and striving only to see that the Lord’s good, perfect and eternal plans will ultimately and visibly prevail. Life is messy. Believers are messy. Church is messy. God is not.”Statement from the New Life Christian Church & World Outreach Facebook page
The church’s Facebook page has limited the ability to comment.