The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
John Lowe II, the pastor of New Life Christian Church & World Outreach in Warsaw, Indiana, recently stood before his church and admitted that he committed adultery twenty years ago. After Lowe’s “confession,” his victim, Bobi Gephart, and her husband stood before the church and told them the truth about what happened between Gephart and Lowe. First, Gephart was SIXTEEN when Lowe had sex with her. Sex with a minor is sexual abuse, not “adultery.” Lowe used his position of authority to take advantage of a vulnerable church teenager and did so on multiple occasions.
Pastor John Lowe II stepped down from the New Life Christian Church after being confronted on stage by Bobi Gephart, a 43-year-old woman who came forward with a microphone to tell their church in Warsaw, Indiana, how he’d groomed her as a teen, starting when she was 16 – the legal age of consent in the state.
Pastor Lowe II had just told the church that he ‘sinned’ 20 years ago by committing adultery, without mentioning how old the woman or girl was at the time.
He begged for the church’s forgiveness, then received a standing ovation.
Bobi then stormed towards the stage with her husband, Nate, to say it ‘was not just adultery’ because she was so young at the time.
‘For 27 years I lived in a prison… 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 and not realizing what had been truly done to me.
‘I would still be in a prison if my brother had not just approached me two weeks ago with what he had seen as a teenager that bothered him all these years: his pastor in bed with his younger sister.’
Turning to Lowe, she continued: ‘I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do.
‘You did things to my teenage body that should have never been done. If you can’t admit the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim here.’
Bobi’s husband Nate then added: ‘This is a lie. This is not just adultery.
‘It’s another level. It happened for nine years. When she was 15, 16, the grooming started.’
He presented a pearl necklace that his wife had been given by the church and a ‘purity ring’ that he said the pastor gave her during their affair.
Nate returned both items and said the pair ‘were not stretching the truth’, but encouraged other women who had been these ‘gifts of the ministry’ to return them too.
As the couple left the stage, the pastor then faced angry calls from the congregation.
‘If you did it you need to admit it!’ said one angry church-goer.
Another yelled: ‘We need to hear from our pastor!’ A third then cried out: ‘Give him the microphone!’
Lowe returned to the stage.
At first he said: ‘I told you I committed adultery and that it went on far too long.’
A member of the congregation then shouted out: ‘You didn’t tell us she was 16!’
He then relented: ‘It was wrong. I can’t make it right. I can’t make it better. That’s just the way it is.
‘It’s not all true but it did happen, yes.’
Because the legal age of consent in Indiana is 16, Lowe is not likely to face criminal charges for the relationship.
He has stepped down from the church and has been scrubbed from its website.
In a statement, the church said: ‘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.
Please watch the video below to see Lowe’s “confession,” and Gephart’s brave confrontation of the man who robbed her of her innocence.
New Life released a statement. That’s what churches do. Make of it what you will. Note the statement does not use the term “sexual assault.” Also note how it paints Lowe as a “good man, gone wrong.” And does anyone seriously believe that no one over the past twenty years knew about Lowe’s assault of Bobi Gephart? Not one person? I see a lot of whitewashing and ass protecting going on in the church’s statement, couched in religious words meant to hide the fact that they had a sexual predator in their midst. Further, it is incumbent on the church to make clear exactly what Lowe’s wife knew, and when. And finally, New Life should immediately discipline Lowe, kicking him out of the church. His criminal behavior, prosecuted or not, should be widely publicized so Lowe never has another opportunity to pastor. And it should go without saying, the church must, without delay, make a confession of its own to law enforcement.
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.
Pay particular attention to the end of the video, as the victim walks away from the platform to the back of the church. Notice what many of the congregants did. Rally around Bobi Gephart? Hell no. They gathered around the true victims in this story, Pastor Lowe and his wife. Gaze on the visage of “Christian love,” which on this night, complete with prayers and shouts of praise, gave the appearance of victim shaming. What mattered in their eyes was poor Pastor Lowe, a good man, deserving of love and forgiveness. Yes, he made a mistake, but LOOK! at all the good he has done over the years. And no doubt there will be members who will say to themselves, “well, Bobi was sixteen!” Let the victim-blaming and shaming begin. What’s next? She seduced him (as defenders IFB pastor Jack Schaap’s said about his teen victim)?
To the church members who did express their outrage over Lowe’s “confession,” thank you for speaking truth to power. It’s troubling that you are a minority at New Life, but your willingness to challenge Lowe’s “adultery” claim hasn’t gone unnoticed here in the “world.”
Lowe’s church bio states:
Pastor John B. Lowe II has been faithful in full time ministry for over 35 years. He carries a heart for the local church, yet has reached a world wide audience with an Apostolic calling. His ministry has taken him from the local church to many nations of the world where he mentors lead pastors, conducts faith conferences, marriage and family conferences and more.
Marriage and family ministry, are of high value to Pastor and his wife Debbie. They desire to impart the truth that, God is good His word is true, and it works in our lives.
Pastor John and Debbie Lowe have ministered together for many years and they emphasize living a life empowered by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Through New Life Christian Church they have started ministry to the homeless, community marriage seminars, private Christian education for 21 years, the gift of warmth program to offset heating cost in the winter to the needy, prison ministry, local jail ministry and Celebrate Recovery.
Lowe’s wife, Debra is New Life’s co-pastor. Lowe’s son, Bryan, is the associate pastor, and his daughter Brittney is the community pastor — truly, a family-run business. This alone speaks volumes.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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