Transcript of Pastor Admitting to Affair with 16-Year-Old
This narrative transcript is taken from THIS VIDEO shared on Facebook by Maisey Cook.
During a Sunday service on May 22nd, Warsaw’s New Life Christian Church abruptly stopped the livestream of its Sunday service. Hours later, attendees shared the missing minutes. The official streamed video ended in the midst of the invitational, conducted by Pastor John B. Lowe. The invitational, a typical part of most Protestant services, is the portion in which a clergy member invites attendees to publicly establish or profess their faith.
Pastor John Lowe just before the livestream cuts.
After the invitational, Pastor Lowe casually introduced himself “In case you don’t know, I’m Pastor John Lowe…” to a chorus of applause. But the mood changed a moment later.
“….That’s why I’m here today. To follow the Biblical process of confession, repentance, and forgiveness. If God wants anything out of us, as we just heard, it’s to bring healing to all who are involved. I committed adultery. It was nearly twenty years ago. It continued far too long. It involved one person, and there’s been no other, or any other situation of unbecoming conduct for the last twenty years.
I will not use the Bible to defend, protect, or deflect. My past sin, I have no defense—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. I’ve been asked why did I wait so long to deal with it? Why hide it all these years?
The answer? There is no good answer. I told myself for years the silence served to protect everyone: the other person, those closest to her, from the hurt and from the public embarrassment, and I’d like to think that was true. But the truth is that silence was to protect myself as well.”
“While applying church discipline for sexual failure, for repentance, confession, and restoration, I myself had not been disciplined for sexual misconduct. I will not use the Bible to defend myself or to beat you into Scriptural submission. Twenty years ago, I repented. Now, the day for this fresh hurt, I ask you to forgive me for the deep wound I have caused. I make no excuse for my sin. The betrayal of dear friendship, trust, and love is beyond my ability to express.
The church is engaged in a healthy, Biblical process to restore your trust in the ministry here at New Life. Meanwhile, I hope you believe God called you here. Perhaps for such a time as this…”
Members of the congregation began murmuring agreement.
“To believe. To forgive. To [unintelligible] so that God can rebuild His goodness in you. For the next few weeks, while this church is in this Biblical process, please be in a lot of prayer. Stay faithful in Jesus.
To my wife and family who I have deeply hurt, I have confessed my sin. And gracefully forgiven me and expressed her love to me which also is deeply humbling.
To those that I’ve sinned against. Many years ago and recently, by keeping this in the dark, and to those of you who are wounded from this fresh hurt. To you the church: I repent. For the adultery and my silence. Please forgive me. In accordance with our church bylaws, I’m stepping down, stepping aside from ministry responsibilities and I have committed to the Lord and now to you, that I will submit to the process and recommendations of this board.”
Here, Pastor Lowe puts down the microphone. There’s a beat of silence…Then the congregation erupts into a standing ovation.
Let me repeat that.
Then the congregation ERUPTS into a STANDING OVATION.
A woman in her thirties came up to the podium, joined by her husband who said, “If you love us, please let us talk.” His wife then took the microphone.
Unlike Pastor Lowe, whose decades of ministry had given his confession a measured, reasonable tone, this young woman spoke quickly and forcefully, her voice nearly breaking into sobs a half-dozen times. One could only imagine her fright and absolute terror, and one can only imagine the strength it took to take that podium.
“For twenty-seven years, I lived in prison—it was not twenty years—I lived in a prison of lies and shame. Lying to protect the Lowe family, for years I thought I was a horrible person having suicidal thoughts, not realizing what had truly been done to me. That I was a victim.
I would still be in a prison if my brother—and many of you know him [omitted]—had not approached me just two weeks ago with what he had seen as a teenager that had bothered him all these years: his pastor, in bed, with his younger sister[she chokes back a sob] with T-shirt and underwear on.
People knew but they were too afraid to come forward. And they have now. The lies and the manipulation have to stop. I was a prisoner and you kept me in your prison. I am a prisoner no longer. I was just sixteen when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do, and I have plenty of other stories I could bring to your remembrance.”
Here the hard, halting sobs ended. This young woman sounded angry. Passing angry. Furious. And she’s right to be.
“You did things to my teenage body that have never and should never have been done. If you can’t admit the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim here. I tried to tell someone but all that was done was coverup. No one ever came to to me, no one every helped me, no one ever got me counseling. I have wanted to talk to someone all of these years and never—You have!
YOU have somebody that you’ve talked to. I never have. The church deserves to know the truth: this church has been built on lies, but no more. The lies have to stop. I could give story after story after story about what you did to me. Michael, I—your dad is not the victim here…”
Here, the pastor’s son, Michael Lowe, spoke quietly to the young woman from the pews. She replied. “A partial truth is not true.”
Again, the pastor’s son spoke to her (too softly for the microphone to pick up).
“Michael, if I had gotten counseling your dad would be in prison. It might not be the way that every time you covered up [unintelligible] my best friend was my age when your associate pastor was molesting his two daughters. And you know that! You sent him to be a pastor at another church. We can call [omitted] right now. They sat down with you and you sent [omitted] away. Don’t look at me like that. You know the truth.”
The pastor’s son shrugged and spoke too quietly to hear.
“I know, but you can tell the truth, because this is a lie—”
“I’m letting you tell it to them. Not me,” the pastor’s son says.
“You know better than…you know…”
Here the young woman’s husband takes the microphone.
“Listen. My wife—this is not just adultery. It’s another level when it’s a teenager. And I will not let this man talk about my wife like that. It happened for nine years. When she was fifteen, sixteen, the sexual [unintelligible] started. It lasted until she met me and we started dating. And this is the truth and that’s all we’re going to say except…”
The young woman leans toward the microphone. “We have numbers, you can talk to my brother…”
Her husband nods to her then pulls out a necklace and holds it over the podium.
“This necklace was Bobi’s, it was given to her by [unintelligible] and possibly other people in the office they might have received necklaces too as like a ministry gift. I’m not trying to stretch the truth here. But it was in our house and I’m giving it back.”
He drops it and the necklace rattles on the podium. He then holds up a ring.
“This is Bobi’s covenant purity ring, which she wore while this man had sex with her and she felt ashamed all these years. Wearing a [unintelligible] purity ring. She felt a lot of shame and guilt.”
Her husband, whose voice hasn’t quivered this entire time, cracks a little after he says shame. He pauses a beat before continuing.
“We are working through love and forgiveness. We are working through it. But people have to be held accountable. And they can’t just…they can’t just bamboozle people and say ‘Well, I just committed adultery.’ It was far beyond adultery. So here’s the covenant purity ring back, I don’t want it in my home.”
He tossed this to the podium as well. It bounced back, hopped along the tilted edge, then fell to the ground.
“We’re done,” the husband finished.
Her husband dropped the mic with a short squeal of feedback and the two walked off the stage, his arm at her side. Someone leaned forward and picked up the discarded ring. The congregation did nothing to stop them, but sat in stunned silence.
Then, halfway down the aisle, an off-camera male voice said, “If you did it, you need to admit it.” Scattered applause followed this and another voice repeats “If you did it, you need to admit it.”
Pastor John B. Lowe stepped up to the podium again and answered the angry attendees. “I told you I admitted adultery. I told you that it went on far too long.”
“Did you do it?” a member asked. Another voice said, “That’s all we need to know.”
“Yes, we did—”
The person recording the video now interrupts him. “You didn’t tell them she was fourteen years old.”
“No,” the pastor corrects her. “She was sixteen.”
“Sixteen years old, okay,” Pastor Lowe continued. “And it was wrong. I can’t say it, I can’t make it right. I can’t make it any better. That’s just the way it is.”
Several members shout at him at once, and the pastor replied, “It’s not all true, but yes, that did happen.”
More shouts from the congregation.
“She should have. I can’t do anything about that except tell you that if I could go back and redo it all, I would. All I can do is ask you to forgive me and I’m doing what the Bible process or what the Biblical process is in the church, I’m stepping down, stepping aside, and, uh, it’s been twenty years, I guess that doesn’t count for anything. We love them. I deeply hurt them. I deeply hurt you. I ask you to forgive me, and that’s all I can do.”
The video cuts to a closing prayer, then ends.
Author’s note: Portions that I could not understand were labeled unintelligible. I omitted some names, although you can find them in the linked video below. If anyone requests I use their full name in this, I’d be happy to change it.
Two remarks in closing:
1.) I am, absolutely and utterly, in awe of this young woman’s bravery. To stand before the congregation and reveal the most traumatic moments of her life to a hostile audience…astounding. She didn’t shrink as she spoke, but grew to anger and then rage. Good people like that, man or woman, have character as hard as a brick fist. Anyone on the receiving end should be trembling.
2.) The reason I am posting this story has nothing to do with traffic or revenue or recognizing a timely Indiana tale. It’s the last image in the video, where Pastor John B. Lowe answers the angry accusations and then joins in the prayer. Dozens of church members embraced a man who ended a young woman’s childhood with years of shame and guilt, and then turned his “confession” into a self-serving sermon. It was one thing: manipulation.