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Why Are So Many Pastors Committing Suicide?

In another church tragedy, Pastor Isaac Hunter—the son of the spiritual adviser to President Obama—has reportedly taken his own life. Hunter’s death is making national headlines because of his megachurch father Pastor Joel Hunter’s influence on the White House, his marriage troubles and an undated suicide note found last year, but his death is far from the only pastoral suicide in recent months.

Just days ago, a pastor who was grieving his dead wife reportedly shot himself in front of his mother and son, expressing that he was hearing his dead spouse’s voice and footsteps. Pastor Ed Montgomery and his late wife, prophetess Jackie Montgomery, served at the Full Gospel Assemblies International church in Hazel Crest, Ill.

In November, a Georgia pastor killed himself in between Sunday services. Larrinecia Sims Parker, wife of the Rev. Teddy Parker Jr., found the pastor in the driveway of their home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Houston County coroner Danny Galpin reports.

Why the sudden rash of pastors committing suicide? Suicide is not a new problem among clergy, but three known suicides in less than two months begs a deeper look at the issue.

There is no lack of statistics about pastors and depression, burnout, health, low pay, spirituality, relationships and longevity—and none of them are good. According to the Schaeffer Institute, 70 percent of pastors constantly fight depression, and 71 percent are burned out. Meanwhile, 72 percent of pastors say they only study the Bible when they are preparing for sermons; 80 percent believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; and 70 percent say they don’t have a close friend.

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  • godsonnzeh

    Do we know that suicide is a sin? And sealing ones exit from this world with sin is fatal to any person before God!

    • Vin

      Eternally fatal, however?

      • Michael Skok

        The only “suicide” by a saint that the Bible mentions is Samson. He asked God to let him die with the Philistines. Then he pushed the pillars of the house which resulted in his death as well as the deaths of many Philistines. The greatest “suicide” of all was Our Lord Jesus. He went up to Jerusalem to be beaten, spat upon, whipped, and crucified to pay for our sins.

        • aceituna

          Very interesting take! Would lend credence for considering the motive for the “suicide”. yet in Jesus’ case, recall what He prayed in Gethsemane, “Father, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, “thy will be done, not mine>” We can’t use this as an excuse for suicide though because we are sinful and our motive probably would be filled with sinful sidelights. Jesus was pure, “no sin found in Him” so permitting the Father to do His will was correct. In the case of Sampson, he was blinded and weakened so he probably bent to the will of God and gave his life for his country.. Is not that what we ask our soldiers to do when they enlist?

          • Michael Skok

            It’s difficult to answer. We ask our soldiers to fight, not to die. Why didn’t Samson ask God to give him his eyes back? What sin did Samson commit that he lost his eyes? God never told him he couldn’t tell the truth about his hair. He told Delilah three lies. Aren’t those three sins? I’m getting OT here. Suicide is murder. But murder is something that God can forgive.

          • godsonnzeh

            Nobody would want to take God for granted and do what he cannot change when he dies. We hear of being faithful unto death. John 5:24 is a consolation and assurance that a penitent heart and faithful person would be forgiven here because there is no repentance in grave, It is not a license that whatever I do I will be there. For he says let him that thinks that he stands take heed lets he falls,1 cor. 10:12, And Hebrews 6:4-6 says it is impossible to restored those who have…shared in the Holy Spirit and have fallen away.. assurance of salvation does not mean to take God for granted but to be happy that you are his child who have to be obedient.

    • Wayne

      SIn is Sin… Suicide is sin, and so is lying, cheating, thinking lustfully, wanting the money your neighbor makes. If you are a child of God sealed with the blood of Christ, you ARE forgiven of all past present and future sin. You will not want to sin because your nature is now to turn away from sin, but you will sin. None of us is perfect. A person who gave their heart to God and accepted Christ as their savior, though they sin, they will be found without sin in the day of judgement.

      JOHN 5:24

      “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me HAS Eternal Life and WILL NOT be Condemned; He has CROSSED OVER FROM DEATH TO LIFE”

      That is the truth of God. It is sad to know that the pressures of life, loneliness, and personal sin have caused great men to fall to suicide, but if Jesus once was their savior, He still is.

  • SniperToo

    I can understand this with an evil muslim in the white house.

  • John J Flanagan

    This is not a “rash” of pastoral suicides. It is still a very small number. Of course, Christians are not immune from emotional and psychological breakdowns, just as the general population, but the suicide rate is actually minuscule in comparison to the whole population. Don’t make this out to be a shocking discovery. ALL OF US NEED CHRIST IN OUR LIFE TO GUIDE US THROUGH THE STORMS WHICH BESET US.

  • aceituna

    This person probably never had a real faith in the true God, or he some way lost that faith along the way. He was not properly advising Obama, (or O wasn’t taking his advice), or we would have a different president. I don’t see how any true pastor would condone the actions of O in the white house.

    • Taquoshi

      Pastors, like any other person, need support. We invited one of our pastors to dinner one night and when they walked in the door, our first words were, “There is no agenda tonight.” It was amazing to see them relax.

    • Despeville

      You are a Mormon am I correct? If that is true then It does not get any more kafkaesque than you arguing from position of knowing “true God”… to condemn others as knowing Him not. Surreal.

  • Despeville

    This is second to night janitor only loneliest job in the world. The more faithful they are the more attacked they are by the fallen ones but not always. Many times they are taken out by satan because he genuinely hates every single human being. Yet God is over this too.