Hope Carpenter, Who Co-Founded Relentless Church, Defends Pastor John Gray and Wife Aventer From Critics & News Reports

Pastor Hope Carpenter, co-founder of Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina, which was rebranded Relentless Church last year, defended pastors John and Aventer Gray from critics Sunday with a public threat to critics that “I cut people.”

“I love you Pastor John and Pastor Aventer. I believe in you, I’m praying for you, I’m rooting for you. I cut people. I’ve got a knife right in that pocket book,” Carpenter declared after riling up the Relentless congregation with a message she said she got from God to “hold fast.”

Speaking at the 8:30 a.m. service where she was introduced by Aventer Gray as “one of the greatest women of God that has ever graced the earth,” Carpenter expressed her support for the couple, who succeeded Ron and Hope Carpenter.

The support comes in the wake of a slew of controversies concerning allegations of marital infidelity, the Relentless Church’s purchase of a $1.8 million home for the Grays, and John Gray gifting his wife a $200K Lamborghini. The Christian Post, the Greenville News and other media have reported on different aspects of the controversies but on Sunday, Carpenter took aim at the local news source.

“Greenville News, come on. We done went through this. Alright. I’m still here and guess who else still gon’ be here?” she said, pointing to the Grays.

“See, if I did not know what God had brought me through back here and what God brought me through 10 years ago and what God brought me through five years ago, I would not have a deep intertwined root system that would help me to be able to hold on,” Carpenter told the congregation.

In a statement, the church said: “Pastors John and Aventer did not know what pastor Hope would say. She was given the microphone out of honor. Neither our pastors or anyone in our leadership would agree with any type of communication that would encourage or incite violence against another individual or entity. While we believe Pastor Hope was joking, we completely understand how her comments could be received in today’s climate. There is no place in our society for words that could fan the flames of discord.”

In the nearly 30 years that Carpenter did ministry in Greenville with her husband, the couple faced controversies. It was in 2013 that Ron Carpenter revealed to their congregation that Hope had committed adultery multiple times over the previous 10 years and was under psychiatric observation.

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Source: Christian Post


FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Hope Carpenter was met with resounding applause before her monologue at Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., on Sunday. The crowd was excited about their guest pastor — after all, she’d led the congregation with her husband for nearly three decades before they moved their show to a church in San Jose last year.

In her return, Carpenter delivered a fervent lecture on the importance of “holding fast” to confessions of faith, a message she claimed to have received from God that morning. She appeared fatigued by the end of her soliloquy, using its closing moments to express gratitude toward the church’s new, controversial leaders — pastors John and Aventer Gray — who stood directly behind her.

“I love you Pastor John and Pastor Aventer. I believe in you,” Carpenter said. “I’m praying for you. I’m rooting for you!”

Then, her monologue took an abrupt, violent turn.

“I cut people. I got a knife right in that pocketbook,” Carpenter said, gesturing toward her seat. “Greenville News, come on. We done went through this. I’m still here, and guess who else is still going to be here?” She pointed to John Gray, who nodded in agreement.

The crowd roared once again.

The apparent threat toward the Greenville News, a daily newspaper, comes after the outlet published several stories casting a negative light on the Grays. In December, for example, the outlet reported on John Gray’s purchase of a $200,000 Lamborghini as an anniversary present for his wife. In a tearful Facebook Live video, the pastor maintained he used “not a nickel, not a penny” of church funds to buy the car.

In January, the paper published a story after a reader tip revealed Gray was living in a home worth $1.8 million funded by Relentless Church. Officials at the church told Greenville News the home was included in a compensation package for the pastor, adding, “This is a practice that is done with every denomination in the nation.”

Then, in late March, John Gray asked churchgoers to help bankroll a $250,000 repair to the church’s roof. Gray told his congregation that the church was millions of dollars in debt, Greenville News reported, and suggested the money could be raised easily if 2,500 people gave $100.

He offered to pay $300 himself, but reportedly gave those in attendance a deadline of April 3 to raise the rest of the money.

Earlier that month, the pastor and his wife appeared on a daytime talk show to deny rumors of an extramarital affair. While on air, Gray defended the Lamborghini purchase as well as his 2018 visit with President Trump to discuss prison reform. He was publicly criticized for meeting with the president and accused by some of being a “pawn” for Trump, according to the Greenville News.

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Source: Washington Post