Grace Community Church Leaders under Fire for 'Excommunicating' Wife Who Refused to Stay with Abusive Husband
A recently uncovered video of a 2002 church service shows Pastor John MacArthur publicly naming a woman who he says “forsake[d]” her husband, a man now serving time in prison for aggravated child molestation, corporal injury to a child and child abuse.
In the video, MacArthur spoke during an evening service at Grace Community Church in California. He said he needed to talk about a “sad situation.”
“This is what the Lord wants. He wants discipline ... to be put out of the church, to be publicly shamed, to be put away from fellowship. In this case, it applies to Eileen Gray.”
MacArthur said that Gray had left her husband, David Gray, after she reported to the church elders that he was mentally and physically abusive.
He said Gray rejected “all the instruction and counsel of the elders, all instruction from the Word of God.”
He also told the church to pray for her and to “treat her as an unbeliever – for all we know, she may be.”
MacArthur has not responded to requests for comment about the 2002 sermon.
David is now serving 21 years to life in a California prison for his convictions for aggravated child molestation, corporal injury to a child and child abuse.
Gray did not report the abuse to the police and only told church elders.
It’s unclear whether Gray had already left her husband at the time of the sermon. But Gray did file for a legal separation and restraining orders against David because of his continual abuse of her and her children, for his alleged stalking and threatening to kill his family and himself.
She had also obtained a court order requiring that David’s visits with the children be monitored. The restraining order limited him from coming within 100 yards of Gray.
Gray said church leaders told her that she needed to “suffer for Jesus” and stay with her husband.
According to The Roys Report, church members and staff also reportedly visited Gray’s home and sent her letters warning that she would face church discipline if she did not obey the request of church elders’ to drop the restraining order against David and get back together with him.
The Roys Report claims MacArthur never personally talked to Gray before his sermon.
Retired Los Angeles Police Department Detective (LAPD) Nancy Nelson, who investigated David Gray’s case, said the church never reported David’s abuse to authorities.
Gray eventually reported the abuse to police in 2003.
In 2004, GCC associate pastor and assistant to Pastor MacArthur Carey Hardy was charged with two misdemeanors for failing to report child abuse and intimidating a witness. Hardy, whose case was dismissed in 2005, is no longer on staff with GCC. Another pastor, Bill Shannon, was not charged, but did have to appear at a hearing with the city attorney. Shannon is listed as a staff pastor on the GCC website.
David had taught music and Bible to children at the church from 1994 to 2001. His contract with the church was not renewed in 2001.
Also in 2001, David was hired by the L.A. Unified School District to teach music to elementary-aged kids. He worked in the school district until he was arrested in 2004, an LAPD press release said.
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.