Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to "go public with her sins" and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend.
Rebecca Hancock said harassment from Grace Community Church in Mandarin over her sex life caused her to leave, but she said that didn't put an end to the problem. She said she received a letter from the church's elders telling her the church plans to make her personal life very public.
"I'm basically run out. I'm the church harlot," Hancock said.
The 49-year-old said she has been dating a man for a while and she said members of the congregation at Grace Community Church haven't been happy about the relationship.
"Because I have a boyfriend that I'm involved with … to not be married to that person is a sin," Hancock said.
She said the issue caused her to leave the church. However, she said the church has not let go of her.
The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, "you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ" … "In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to 'tell it to the church.'"
"On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends," Hancock said.
The pastor of Grace Community Church, Dr. T. Scott Christmas, told Channel 4 he had no comment.
Pastors with whom Channel 4 spoke on Monday said announcing a sin to a congregation is not abnormal. They said it's written in the Bible to punish sinners who continue to sin.
The difference in Hancock's case is that she has left the church, and the pastors said that's is usually where punishment ends.
Despite the church's letter stating its biblical backing, Hancock said she has backed out of the church and they should leave her alone because she is no longer a member.
"I am a Christian, and that will never change. My relationship with Jesus has to do with me and Jesus, and he knows my heart," Hancock said.
The book of Matthew does have three steps that the church talked about in taking action against a member who is in sin.
Hancock said she is now attending a different church, and said she is planning to send a letter to Grace Community Church to make sure it's understood that she no longer a member.