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Church Members Supporting Mary Winkler?

Church Members Supporting Mary Winkler?

2,497 views Since it was Spewed out 13 years ago at 1:26 am

I’m just watching the news regarding the arraignment of Mary Winkler. She’s the wife that’s been accused of murdering her minister husband, Matthew Winkler. Apparently she confessed to shooting her husband last week. They’re considering a pyschological examination to assess her further I suppose.

What I don’t understand entirely is the reaction from the church members.

At the courtroom the whole front row was filled with church members (and pointed out in the news as all women) that were there to support Mary. What I don’t understand is one of the comments made by Anita Whirley one of the members. It was something to the effect of “It hurts us a lot, but we’re going to stand behind her 100 percent.”

I mean I understand this must be a extremely traumatic and emotionally taxing event to experience at your church. However it’s part of the ten commandments! Number 6 “Thou Shall Not Kill”. So how can someone (especially a believer in the faith) say that they’ll stand behind her ONE HUNDRED percent? Am I misinterpreting the news? That pretty much means you support Mary Winkler killing her husband does it not? Well I’m sure Ms Whirley certainly doesn’t mean it that way, but how else are you to interpret it? In supporting Ms Winkler in any way it would seem to me you’re essentially condoning the murder.

I’m a little perplexed…it seems simple enough to me. Her husband was shot to death, she confessed to killing him.

Robert Shackleford one of the church elders warned other members not to jump to conclusions and to be careful of what they said and thought. This I understand, since if a church member said something hastily it could possibly influence this particular case. However Shackleford’s comment about understanding this situation more as time progresses really has any relevance on anything. I mean killing is killing.

Then again if one were in any of these church members / elders’ shoes, I suppose it’d be an awfully akward position having to comment, speak, preach and in general continue on with their lives normally.

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46 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Reverb, I’ve been wondering the very same thing. I mean, sure, forgiveness is a basic Christian tenet, but to see the mother and wife (a woman) so quickly and seemiingly unanimously by her conversative Christian church, seems, well, fishy.

    I have two possible conclusion (both which may be way off). 1. Is that it is an organized effort by the leadership of the Church of Christ to show off what good Christians they are. The world is watching and what a perfect way to advertise their goodness and possible win some converts.

    2. Mathtew Winkler, the slain pastor, was gay (or bisexual). I mean what else could galvanize so much support around the murderer. I can imagine if Pastor Winkler did have same-sex attractions (especially if he acted on them) congregants would totally side with his wife.

    Again, I may be way off and these folks are just super duper Christians modelling how to turn the other cheek. I guess we shall see (or maybe not–the motive, like many ministers with same-sex attractions may forever be in the closet).

  2. Gravatarreid

    dude, i have no idea what’s going on in those people’s heads. i think they are trying to be pc, to be honest. it’s strange to me, too, because anyone can tell from reading through the old testament that god TOTALLY doesn’t dig that stuff and that he went to extreme measures to rid the earth of it in different times & situations. since jesus came along people have adopted this whole “love covers everything” attitude (which is great), but i agree that these people have a responsibility to distinguish whether they are supporting her actions or her as a person. according to how things are coming across, it just seems like they wouldn’t care if it happened all over again. man, this is just all around wierd.

  3. GravatarJ

    As a believer, I commend their stance. Murder is no different than any other sin according to the bible. If you are a believer, I would guess since you have been saved you have sinned, correct? A sin is a sin in the eyes of the Lord. It was yours and mine that put Jesus on the cross. He forgave us and continues each time that we sin against Him. That congregation is practicing the love of the Father. She apologized…she is forgiven. There is no condemnation in Christ. No, does that mean anyone condones it? Absolutely not, it means she is being afforded the grace and mercy that our Father shows us daily. I think a lot of people can learn a/b our Father through their actions.

  4. GravatarForgiver

    Mathew Winkler was my preacher and he was an awesome man, and Mary is an awesome woman. What Mary did was wrong no matter what reason she had for doing it. Nothing we do or say is going to bring Mathew back. Mary asked God for forgiveness and she asked our congregation for forgiveness and if God can forgive her we can too. By no means is anyone supporting the fact that she killed her husband but we do support the fact that she is sorry and has asked for forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross for the remission of our sins and Mary is included. No sin is greater than another in God’s eyes. We miss Mathew greatly and we miss Mary and the girls. What’s done is done and now all we can do is continue to pray for Mary. Also keep the girls in your prayers as they have a long road ahead of them.

  5. Gravatarbrad

    This is true, Jesus Died for all sins. Dont forget that Moses also murdered a man. We must understand that this is what faith in Jesus is all about. He died so that we dont have to pay the price for our sins. This is so very unfortunate, especially for the children, and it is important that we keep them in our prayers as well as Mary. If she accepts Jesus as her lord and SAVIOR, she will be among the elect with her husband. The faith of a christian is about grace. This grace is what allows us to “turn the other cheak.” No one, Im sure, in the congregation approves of the murder, but it is not our vengence to lay out. Please pray for Mary and her three children.

  6. GravatarBeth

    She did more than apologize, whether she’s sorry or not. She is behaving in a consistently protective but truthful manner. She has confessed to the act, and she rejected the bail hearing to spare her little ones as much as possible. She could have taken her chance to get bail and see her children outside of jail, but she chose to spare them as much as possible. As for the church supporting her, Christians see each other as brothers and sisters. How many of us would turn our backs on a sibling because they did something stupid or horribly wrong? Their reaction makes perfect sense to me. Supporting someone and condoning their actions are two different things. Showing Mary that they love her unconditionally, even if being in jail is determined the best thing for her, consistent with their beliefs. And no, I don’t believe its about showing themselves off to be good Christians. They are grief-stricken, but still acting in a consistent manner with their faith. To illustrate the bringin-it-home point, Jesus hanging on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  7. I’m a pastor, so perhaps you can accuse me of taking the party line! Thing is, if we’re speaking of the God of the Bible (Old and New Testaments), there is validity in both the positions. Reid, when you comment “it’s just plain weird,” God understands your confusion even if the people around you may not. God doesn’t want you or anyone else to become comfortable with death, let alone murder. However, his love for each of us is so powerful that he chooses to provide forgiveness through His Son, and that forgiveness includes all sin. The key of course is that we need to ask for and accept forgiveness, and it may be that when the church members pledge their support, it is in order to encourage her to accept forgivenss. This doesn’t mean that what she did is unimportant–as “J” noted, it cost God’s Son his life, so the price is high. Nor does their support mean that no consequences should apply-but she has lost her children and most likely her life’s freedom. This in addition to Jesus’ life may seem to be enough to them (it does to me.) As for the possible explanations for their actions, the truth may be less cynical than you suggest. They may, because of their sincere faith, wish to do what God would want of them, and not judge themselves but allow God to judge. Also, it’s a lot easier to take and keep such a stand when the person is separate from you like Mary Winkler is. If they had to face or her children daily, their responses might differ. Either way, the shock of such an event literally forces those involved to DO SOMETHING.
    At any rate, historically, Christians have frequently been persecuted (I do not suggest that voicing an opinion is “persecution”) because many of our actions simply make no sense to bystanders. Jesus warns us of this when he points out that we can hardly expect to be embraced by the same world that rejected and crucified him.

  8. One more interesting point–no one has yet commented on finding it odd that the story is ALWAYS reported as “minister’s wife murders preacher husband in parsonage home.” Maybe I’m not paying attention, but I don’t hear “steelworker’s wife killed her union husband in their home mortgaged by BankOne (or built by Bob’s Construction, etc.)

  9. GravatarClark

    Wow. This whole episode is troubling to say the least. People react to it in many different ways. It is their fundamental right. Some may wonder at the basis for forgiving Mary Winkler and think it strange. What is stanger still is why she would kill. It is perhaps a bit minimizing the gravity of the act by a mere apology within a few days of murder. An apology might suffice for gossip or an indiscretion, but murder? Sure sin can be forgiven. I am a Christian minister myself. And no not all sin is alike. God never said that. Some sins are worse than others. There should be some forthcoming explaination of why this was done. A mere marital issue is not justification for murder. That is what divorce is all about, unless of course you are Robert Blake. She not only murdered this man, thus affecting the whole congregation, but has deprived her children of their father and likely their mother. She acted in a way that I hope she spends the rest of her life in prison unless she has some compelling self defense motive.

  10. Perhaps it’s because most people look at ministers differently than the average neighbor. The minister & his family are set apart for a specific and highly visible purpose, so anything that is out of the norm is more exaggerated when they do it than when someone who is expected to, say, murder their spouse does it. Most people also don’t live in a parsonage, a house that is given to them as a dwelling for being a servant of many. Everyone else is expected to pay for what they get. Plus. it’s the media just trying to capitalize in a shallow, tabloidy fashion on every aspect of what’s gone on, to generate interest and attention for themselves. Which is wrong.

  11. GravatarPepsiGal

    This whole thing is terribly saddening. I agree with Russell Ham. Sin is sin. I am a Christian. According to the Bible, there is only 1 sin that is greater than all the rest and that is the only sin that can keep you from Heaven. That is the sin of rejection. Only Mary and God knows why she did what she did. And, it is between Mary and God. God gave his Son to die so that we might live. Jesus was a ‘perfect’ person. He was the only one who was worthy enough to die for the entire world. When a person asks for forgiveness (as I believe Mary has), the Bible says that the sin is cast as far as the East is from the West. It doesn’t take geographical genius to figure out that this statement is figurative for, there’s no way it can ever be remembered. I don’t know what order the commandments are, but there is also one that says “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. It doesn’t say, “Love they neighbor unless they kill their husband (who may or my not be the pastor of a church). I admire the church elder for his comments to the congregation on not speculating the reasons and reminding them that Mary is a part of that church. They don’t have to approve of what she did, as I’m sure they don’t. However, the Bible commands them to love her never-the-less. I’m sure they are all hurting. Who knows why she did what she did? It’s really no ones concern, but hers and God’s. She will pay for her sins, just like I will pay for all of my sins and you will pay for yours. Sin is sin and God hates it all. But, it’s the circle of life. People do things wrong. Everyone commits some type of sin every single day. That’s why there is a God. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Him.
    I think what’s more important than speculating or passing judgement is that Mary, the church, the girls, and the families directly involved need our prayers.

  12. Gravatardan thompson

    These Church members are in a no win situation with the secular public and others. They commit to “stand with” Winkler. To me that only means to remain beside her as she faces the consequences of her actions. That may mean walking with her to the death chamber in prayer. I’m sure they are shocked and angered but this is what they believe is a Christlike response. I am sure some have rejected this woman but are quiet about it. If the congregation as a whole were reacting with hate and ugliness some portray as appropriate, the media and some in this forum would be mocking the “self rightous hypocrites”.

  13. GravatarPreacher's Kid

    I am a preacher’s wife and a preacher’s daughter and know all about growing up in the spotlight. It seemed we lived in a fishbowl and everyone would get mad at my dad when we acted up even though their kids were out doing worse than we ever even thought about doing. We were suppose to be perfect. Yet, the moment we were born, we were doomed because “preacher’s kids are the worst.” So many times, in our churches, we’re guilty of leaving out the biggest part….GOD IS LOVE!!!! I, too, believe that sin is sin and God hates it all, BUT (!!) he chose to forgive us of those sins. How many people can say that THEY don’t sin? I know I can’t!!! It’s not our job to cast judgement and condemn Mrs. Winkler. What she did is between her, the law, and God…not her, the law, God, and US!! Our job is to love her and pray for her and her precious children not speculate about why she did it or what’s going to happen next or who is supporting her and why they’re doing it. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

  14. GravatarASW

    What I think alot of people are missing when they hear that the congregation is standing behind Mary 100% is that they are not saying that she should just be able to walk out of the jail because she said that she was sorry. Sorry doesn’t fix something like this in this world, however it does fix it with God. The congregation is standing behind Mary knowing that she is going to have concequences here on this earth, Not encouraging anyone to let her go scott free. I would hope that if I were in such a situation that I would have friends and family to support me and take refuge in the fact that the Lord is on my side. I do not condone Mary’s actions, but am so thankful that there is a God that can wash away all of our sins no matter how “big” that sin is.

  15. GravatarKrista

    Hi All,

    That thought crossed my mind as well, but I think what they mean is that they support HER – they won’t give up on her, they care for her, they want to help her, not that they believe she is innocent or that she didn’t do something horribly wrong. Sometimes that is all you can do for a friend who does something they shouldn’t have. Certainly, I don’t think anyone thinks it was right for her to kill her husband, no matter what may have happened to cause it. But those people are showing true, real love by continuing to pray for her, visit her, stay involved in her life, rather than shunning her or hating her, as so often can happen. They are all victims of her crime, too, but are able to continue loving her nonetheless. I think that is an amazing example for us all to follow.

  16. Gravatarccmom79

    I have been reading the comments with much interest, as I can understand the point of view of all of them. I too am confused and amazed at the media attention that has been given to this case, but it happens over and over in the American media. Another point in case is the Natalee Hollaway story. Dozens of our precious children disappear every day, but most are ignored by everyone except their families. I am a member of the church of Christ and I have been appalled at the television newspeople who tried to make the church into a cult. I very much admire the elder in Selmer who admonished his congregation to “be careful what you say and even what you think”. Much damage can be done by pre-judging and engaging in gossip. I was privileged to hear a tape of Matthew Winkler’s father, Dan Winkler, address the church at Huntingdon (where he preaches) on the Sunday after his son’s death. He talked about forgiveness and how grateful his family is for the law enforcement officials who were kind to his family,and even the news media because the Amber Alert helped to find their grandchildren. As Christians we are to forgive others, but also to obey the law of the land. In this case perhaps we are to forgive Mary and pray that God will forgive her but also to accept that the law of the land cannot and should not forget her unlawful act and will punish her accordingly. As for her eternal punishment we must leave that up to God. I can only hope that if such a terrible circumstance should happen in my own family I would be able to have a forgiving heart such as the Selmer church members and the Winkler family have shown, but I am afraid that I would fall short of their example.

  17. Gravatarcarol

    My interpretation of the parishner’s statement of “forgiveness” is that they wisely considered the family situation. The three Winkler daughters are very much at the core of this misfortune. For the rest of their lives, they, above all others, will question the fate of their parents. To know that their mother was forgiven by the Church will, as the years wear on, fare far better for them than to believe that she deserved self-righteous condemnation. Hopefully, the attitude of forgiveness projected by the COC will help to set a precedence within the community for the three girls, who burden the circumstances of their father’s death.
    Perhaps, this tragedy will serve as a wake-up call for those of us who disregard the benefit of mental health therapy. It behooves all professionals, including rural ministers, to seek training so as to recognize a mental disability and the need for treatment.
    It is my opinion that Mary Winkler did not become mentally ill in a day, a month or even a year. She was fragile from inordinate stressors occuring in her life over the course of years. Her condition progressed to the point that she did not know right from wrong. Sadly, those around her did not understand the severity of her illness.

  18. Gravatarcathy

    I think until you have walked in the other persons shoes you have no ideal what you are talking about. Until you have a family member arrested and charged with a crime such as this, you have no reason to make accusations of what you think or believe, because you really know nothing. Just as the church member stated there is no big or little sin in God’s eyes. He died for all our sins and even though we still sin he is a forgiving God. Not that murder should be accepted, but we are not the judge. People sit in their glass houses and think how terrible it is for a person to do such a thing and yet they never consider that the things they may do behind closed doors and in their on skin is maybe more horrible if it ever came public, but they think they have it all covered and never will be found out. But that is not the case according to the Bible so everyone will have their day of judgement and some self righteous people are going to get the shock of their life. I pray for Mary, her 3 children, her father, the parents of Michael and all the church members, because that is my duty as a christian and because I know what they feel. I just pray that others will not be so quick to judge what they do not possibly know and yes, never doubt, if and when it comes home to you, you will have a forgiving heart. If you have a heart that knows an unconditional love such as the love God gives to each of us.

  19. GravatarBecky

    I agree with everything you have said as I am a Christian as well. However, I do have a question for you. If God casts my sins as far as the east is from the west, figuratively meaning that they are forgotten, then how and why will I pay for my sins if God has forgotten them?

  20. GravatarDiane

    I also am a pastor’s wife. I have a question for you to consider? Are you a friend? Most would say, ‘Yes, I am a friend.’ Though people are not perfect friends, those of us ‘in Christ’ are in the process of being conformed to Christ who is called “Friend of sinners.” For anyone who chooses to ostracize a friend, it is to pass judgment instead of compassion so you wouldn’t be a true friend to drop your friend even in light of heinous sin. The people of Mary’s church know better than anyone else since the congregation becomes an extension of family and were the latest ones a part of her life before the killing. They are following after Jesus who showed the most compassion when He suffered and died on the cross for His friends.
    Becky, you will not EVER have to pay for your sins since Jesus paid the most costly price if you put your trust in His finished work by faith.

    Though the Lord only knows if Mary was His own, it would appear the Spirit of God was working in her heart shortly after killing her husband through her humble confession.(I Jn. 1:9). Folks, we do not know our own hearts!(Jer. 17:9)I wouldn’t put it passed anyone to do what she did because we have done, what she did in her actions, in our minds. I am talking about the difficulties of life and the spiritual battle/s we face.

    Is anyone of us truly equipped to consider how to fight at any given moment especially in the midst of caring for children, a home, a congregation though they have trusted in Christ for salvation, have prayed for His help in time of need? I have been contemplating these past couple days, what it means to “guard the heart”(Prov. 4:23). How does one actually do this? My daughter and I were walking around a guardrail yesterday protecting us from falling into the bay. How do we protect the sensitivities of all of what makes us the way we are? It is really a rhetorical question since the answer lies in constantly crying out to the Lord in prayer, searching out His Word, and admitting counsel is needed. From my experience one may not want to search out another pastor when you don’t feel you can expose yourself or need another perspective or can’t talk to your husband even if he is a pastor. It is truly difficult to find someone to talk with about problems since we would be pegged, and it is hard to get out of people’s minds the pastor’s past & present struggles. Yet who will be our friend? Taking time in our busyness to develop friendships or have time in the Word, or be alone with our husbands…that is to think about our own needs is hard to come by. Let’s rather think that it is by God’s grace that we all haven’t fallen into a “10 commandment sin” yet we all have fallen when we haven’t loved God or our neighbor with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

    I will only speak from the heart when I continue with what I am going to say. Husbands, are you making light of your wife’s desperation? She is still human and not a maid. She doesn’t want to hear the latest news. She wants to hear how wonderful she is caring for the children and doing her best in the home. She needs a strong man to assist in the house regularly & not care more about the esteem he gets from his work. She needs him to guide the children so they are a joy and not a nuisance. She needs a change from the regular if anything to know you are thinking esp. of her. Not meeting her needs may lead to wrong thoughts and feelings that surely squeak their way in!

    I feel this is a call to us all to be to those who are not as likely to have a caring friend to be that friend! How does one act like they are not snooping or talking about themselves? God will give us wisdom and not a stone when we ask for it. As for those who are going through a particular external trial or perceived internal struggle…wrong thoughts that won’t go away, hurts that keep surfacing…ask God to bring along that trusted someone or a believer that you don’t know (I have written for prayer to a Christian ministry on the web and the Lord has blessed that!!)

    For those of you who struggle but manage to make it through, realize there are those who cannot as readily, and use your experience for God’s glory in someone’s life. Struggles are deep and tear at the soul whether or not in ministry, but the pressures that can’t be revealed are keen. We have been through so much in ministry. We are part-time now which has soothed much (and have a f/t job as well), but may we keep in mind the verse that says “man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7) but God fights for us (EX. 14:14)if we ask (and I have pleaded) with Him how.

  21. GravatarDexter Orman

    I support Mary and im from Selmer.. I got my reasons. but also god gives for giveness

  22. GravatarNorah S

    Diane, I agree with you and would like to add some comments of my own. I am a pastor’s wife, too, and I feel there is really no one I can talk to about my problems. I cannot talk to women at the church or even my dearest friends. I don’t know who I could turn to. I feel this is how Mary felt. She couldn’t talk to anyone. She was at the breaking point. I don’t agree with what she did, she could have walked away, but she didn’t and now, even though she is forgiven, she does have to face the consequences of her actions. May God bless those three precious little girls who will also have a very difficult time. Also God bless Mary and all the family.

  23. GravatarPepsiGal

    This message is in response to a question asked by Becky.

    “paying for your sins” is also kind of figurative. All people have sin in their life. God allows things in a persons life to happen to kind of keep his children in check. It’s kind of like my daughter talking back to me. My discipline for her is to first let her know that she cannot speak to me without respect. I respect her and she is to respect me. She always tells me that she is sorry and I believe that she means it. I immediately forgive her, because I have an unconditional love for her. Meaning, I don’t sit around and sulk about her disrespect to me and continue to remember and dwell on it or even bring it up later. I forgive and forget. But, then I may have her write sentences (something she hates). So the next time she thinks about doing that, she will remember that I am not going to like it and there will be something coming that she doesn’t like it. This is just an example, because I can’t think of another one. But, I can tell you this. I am also a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home. I went to Christian school and church everytime the door was open. So much, that I grew to hate it. I didn’t like the rules. So, when I was old enough, I decided that I didn’t need those things. And, since I was a mature adult, I could make my own decisions and I wasn’t about to do something I had hated so much. So, little by little, I started stopping the things I was always forced to do: reading my Bible daily, praying, living a Christian example, and going to church. I found that although those were the things I thought I wanted, there were reprecussions of making those decisions. Little-by-little, my life began to unravel. I won’t bore you with the details. After a long and eventful time of that, I decided I would start doing those things again. Not only did I realize how good I felt and how good my days were by doing these things, my life started getting back together and things started falling back into place just like before. I also asked God to forgive me for not putting him first in my life and for not doing the things that he expects of me. I also thanked Him for reminding me that He is the Almighty and the Controller of all. When I get to Heaven, I don’t expect that He will be bringing up this time in my life. The reason??? I admitted I made a mistake and asked for His forgiveness. He has forgiven me and He has forgotten.
    The Bible teaches us that, “He remembers no more our sins.”
    God’s forgiveness is perfect. There are no walls between you and Him because He refuses to remember the sins you confess. You have a clear record, for He has placed your sins in the “Sea of Forgiveness.” One preacher said, “God has thrown your sins in the Sea of Forgetfulness and put a sign there that reads, “No Fishing Allowed.”
    The only thing that I expect from Him is that when rewards are handed out, I may miss out on a few that I could have earned when I was trying to push Him out of my life.
    My dad is the one that convinced me to go back to church. He didn’t chastise me for not going. He just said something that I never thought of. He told me that the only thing you can take with you to Heaven is your kids. I can’t literally take them, but if I don’t show them that God should be a part of their lives, then who will show them? I can’t imagaine knowing that my kids may not go to Heaven because of me. Especially when I know I’m going. And, no matter what kind of sin I can do, I am a Christian and that will not change. That means my eternity is sealed.
    I hope I answered your question.

  24. Gravatarfred jones

    mary is weird and evil

  25. GravatarThora Jenneaux

    Killing is wrong, religion is a non-issue. Based on what people are saying, it doesn’t sound as if Mary Winkler was DEFENDING herself – which is about the only excuse for killing ….. If she’s nuts, well she still killed him and is dangerous and should be locked up …..

  26. GravatarLL

    I have only read half of the responses to the situation. But the day it occurred my thought was that there is probably only one reason why a good wholesome loving woman would kill her husband, that being if he was sexually abusing her child. I expect that is something that will never be told, especially if she is as good a woman as many have portrayed her.

  27. GravatarBino

    It is not our job to judge someone. If Mary confessed her sin to God , God already forgave her, then why can’t we? Only true christians can understand the true depth of God’s Grace. It’s unimaginable… It has unserachable depth… Because of that Grave you and me can be made righteousin Christ. Once a person repent for his/her sins and accepts Christ, he is declared as righteous. That Means, in God’s sight he/she is eligible for Heaven. I would encourage the people who criticise Mary Winkler to seek God diligently and pray to Him so you may also experience his abundant Grace.
    “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Like Mary, in one way or other you and me also falls in to the category of “ALL”.

  28. GravatarJay

    Consider this: People who don’t know the family should be aware that Matthew Winkler’s father, Dan Winkler, is a true-to-life “Hail, Fire and Brimstone” fundamentalist preacher from the South. I know because I, along with many other Church members from the Beltline Church of Christ (Decatur, AL) were subjected to his guilt and fear ridden sermons for nearly 10 years. We are talking about a man who has serious, deep-seeded issues with control and power. Subjecting your family to this control and instilling fear in them and demanding they be “Perfect” as Christ was, is bound to backfire on you somewhere down the road (directly or indirectly). I feel sorry for Mary and Matthew’s children now because they will have to endure the same upbringing with Mr. Winkler Sr. I’m sure he’ll dish out the same destructive child rearing tactics he forcefully shoved down the throats of his own family and pass it along to his grandchildren. Does God really find favor with this destructive way of life? Does He smile when Church members go away from sermons feeling worthless and uninspired because the Preacher continually reminds them of how “sinful” they are??? Mary Winkler is the product of a repressed Church of Christ person who has a list of terrible things that happened to her throughout life which would be difficult for anyone to endure and yet, as a preachers wife you have to always remain perfect and have your “frozen smile” on for everyone to observe. It’s still not an excuse to kill someone. The Church at Selmer should be ashamed of itself for publicly announcing they support Mary 100%. You’re doing this because you’re being controlled people- controlled by a bunch of Elders who think they know what’s best for you and who don’t want you to “think” for yourselves. Trust me, no one around the country is saying, “ Wow, look at those wonderful, forgiving, church people in Selmer! My what an example they have set for the world.” It’s quite the opposite. You appear as deeply disturbed people who have forgiven someone who committed a cold-blooded murder without even knowing the facts. Would you have been so forgiving if Matthew had been the one to kill Mary???? I seriously doubt it. God is not watching you with a microscope people. You don’t have to feel like miserable sinners 7 days a week. You can think for yourselves. Let’s hope this destructive cycle of “Fear and Guilt Christianity will soon come to an end. Please pray for those three little girls. They are the ones who are going to suffer the most.

  29. GravatarCathy Walling

    My prayers are with all of you; the congregation, and the families and those that arn’t a member of our Lord’s precious body. But as a member of the Church of Christ, I can’t imagine how difficult this may be for some of you, but remember, Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Keep your faith and work out your own salvation. I thank God and praise Him, on your behave, for the love and support you have shown Mary.

  30. GravatarClark

    For me, I would very much like the police to release to the public their take on the motive for the murder. As you read these posts or hear anything in the media about her motive it is conjecture. It is not fair to either, the reputation of the deceased, the accused, and even their church. When someone is to be forgiven, it is an acknowledgement of the truth of their wrong doing, not just a blanket, “if I have done anything to offend you please forgive me.” This truthfulness allows for a much truer and deeper forgiveness. For Christians to say that all sin is alike just do not have a depth of understanding of what the Word of God teaches. Even our justice system, which by the way has much of its foundation in Judeo-Christian values, acknowledges various levels of murder. The punishment is tied to the level of murder. I would like to know what the motive was and base my forgiveness and her punishment based upon that, not conjecture about the issues of domestic abuse, infidelity, or whatever.

  31. GravatarThonas

    I’m a COC member in Pennsylvania. Just about a month before the Winkler murder our minister commented that he would not go into a jail cell with a murderer. He would not want to give him another chance to murder again. This is a understandable reaction. I told him that anyone under the right stressors can commit murder. (I do not know if he believed me. He probably excluded himself from the possibility of committing murder.) Not all murderers remain bad forever I told him. The Apostle Paul. Moses and King David are three biblical examples. I am almost certain Mary Winkler did not murder her husband for the “fun” of it. Christians especially must keep this in mind before rushing to judge her. Not all sin is premeditated and we all must keep an open heart to permit forgiveness for all types of sins. My minister has showed compassion for the Winkler’s case because he personally knows the family. This is admirable. We all need to be careful how we judge others. Hypocrisy in the church is most apparent when church members forgives it own members quickly but is unwilling to forgive outsiders or non-believers. To compound the problem, our justice system is only concern about revenge and not the “truth necessarily. The Media also feeds on sensationalism. (Did you know its almost impossible to get off with an insanity plead contrary to popular belief. Juries almost always convict because of fear that the criminal will repeat the crime again.) Mental illnesses are real diseases that can make anyone not know the difference between right and wrong. Our jails are quickly being filled with the mentally ill where they receive little or no medical help for their illness. I see little compassion in the world or the church for these victims of the system. Many of which have not committed serious crimes.

    I hope Mary Winkler is found not-guilty by reason of insanity if she is really suffering from a form of mental illness. Since she is female our justice system might give her a second chance. My prayers are for the whole family and friends. Those girls do need their mother.

  32. GravatarClark

    Hey Thonas is that spelled right??? You really have to be kidding that you hope she gets off by reason of insanity. Even if she were held to be not guilty because of mental defect, that does not mean she won’t be incarcerated for a number of years. And do these children need someone in this mental state to be caring for them. What would preclude her from “flipping out” again and killing one of the children. I hope she spends the rest of her life in prison where she belongs.

    It should also be noted for someone to be held not guilty by reason of insanity the threshold needs to be met not that a person has mental or emotional problems, but that it is serious enought that they can’t tell right from wrong. Mary Winkler “apologized” within days of the murder. This demonstrates that she knew right from wrong.

  33. GravatarMB

    none of the church members say even once that they thought Mary should go scott free basically they have just said that they love her and will love her no matter what her reasons were for what she did. Isn’t this what Jesus told us to do? “love one another as I have loved you” he did not say love one another only when things are perfect. none of us are perfect and all of us are sinners and he loves us everyone no matter what. They are loving her not expecting her to not be punished for what she has done.

  34. Gravatarcarol

    The first born child was named after Mary’s deceased sister. The second born child was named after the recently deceased mother of Mary. The third born child was named after the soon to be deceased husband of Mary.

  35. GravatarJeromy

    This is an old string, so probably nobody will read this. But I’m going to respond anyway because of all the absurdities in the responses.

    She’s a MURDERER. Let us have sympathy for the children, not for the murderer!!!

    If a person is held as insane by a jury, they are considered, “guilty but insane”, not “Not-guilty by reason of insanity” by law.

    Many responses talk of forgiveness for Ms. Winkler, that Jesus forgave us our sins, so we must forgive her. This is actually conterintuitive to what the bible really says. After all, what happens to a Hindu, or Muslim, an atheist, a Wiccan, upon the time of their death? According to Jesus, they spend ETERNITY in hell. And what do we, as Christians, have to say and feel about that? Where’s the forgiveness there? One sin is the same as another, yes? So let’s say that Mr. Winkler performed some awful act that shocked his wife so badly that she felt he needed to die. Mr. Winkler will be spending eternity in heaven because he was a believer, regardless of his actions, while Nadi, a Hindu who runs an orphanage in India, taking care of more than one hundred children on about forty dollars a month, caring for them and attending their every need without regard to her own needs, will spend eternity in the torturous flaming confines of hell. No need to forgive.

    Also, I saw one post that said that Christians should be careful not to favor Christians in instances like this, because Jesus loves EVERYBODY and forgives us all our sins, even died to do so, and so we should forgive not only Ms. Winkler, but also all the other murderers out there. But this is not in the bible at all. According to Jesus, he is not the “prince of peace”, but instead came to “pit father against son, mother against daughter, and husband against wife.” (Sorry, not a perfect quote. Close enough to get the meaning across.)

    As far as the post I read that said we should not “get used to murder”, as in we should not condone it, I say, “why not?” The old testament God routinely told his people to invade distant lands. On occasion, he instructed them to, “Kill all of the men, boys, infants, and sucklings. The women with child you should rip open and thrash the unborn child within. Kill all the women who have known a man, but keep all the young girls who have not known a man for yourselves.” This hardly seems to portray a God who does not condone murder.

    So, perhaps Mr. Winkler had it coming. Maybe he raped one of the children. If that is the case, I am happy Ms. Winkler killed him, and she should be given a medal for her courage.

    The problem is…WE DO NOT KNOW. So all this conjecture is just as absurd as saying that Jesus died to forgive all sinners, and then turning around to say that the people guilty of the sin of not believing will roast in hell for eternity. Totally absurd. “For God so loved the world that he created people so that he could watch most of them roast in eternal torture just because they cannot believe in an invisible, unknowable, completely unprovable creator.” Rediculous. She murdered the man. She should fry.

  36. Gravatarmrsmac

    Any thoughts on this……

    Preacher’s wife charged with murder wants to suppress confession

    JACKSON, Tenn. Attorneys for Mary Winkler, who is charged with shooting her minister husband, filed motions to keep her confession to the police from being presented to the jury.

    Winkler’s attorneys filed 25 motions last week in the McNairy County Circuit Court, some of which request the suppression of all statements she gave police and all evidence to be used against her.

    The 32-year-old wife of three was indicted a week ago in the shooting of Matthew Winkler, minister of Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer.

    Authorities say Winkler confessed to the shooting on March 22nd, but refused to discuss any reasoning she gave for the slaying.

    Her attorneys claim that Winkler’s confession wasn’t voluntary and that she was illegally arrested without probable cause.

    Winkler has also made special requests regarding the selection of her jury and asked that potential jurors be sequestered and individually interviewed.

    Her bond hearing is set for June 30th.

    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  37. GravatarDeanne

    This is in response to Jerome. I do not know that Muslims, etc… go to Hell because I can not judge or determine their eternity. I can only call on the Bible to know that you must first accept Christ in order to receive His Grace. As well I can not judge Mary Winkler and her eternity. As a Christian, I feel that it is just as important to pray for someone such as Mary as it is to pray for the children. However, my heart goes to the children. I also want to make clear that I do not believe (after reading the articles) that debt or criticism constitutes murder.

    I understand (do not agree with) you point of view. I have not always been a believer. I have asked the same questions as you are. It is hard to believe if you have no faith. That is what Christianity is based on is faith. The miracle of life alone is too miraculous to not believe in our Creator. I have always learned of too many coincidences to not believe. I know as a non Christian, it may be hard to understand. However since I have received Christ into my heart and into my life and home, my life has changed dramatically. No I have not received a big check or anything material like that but my struggles have become less and my outlook has become more. I do not believe that those who have not been introduced the Word or to Christ receive the penalty of Hell necessarily…. I do believe to accept Christ in your life only to lead of life of Sin with no repentance is not accepted in His eyes. It is my belief that we will on be standing before Him and we will all be judged. I do want to say that I do not categorize Atheist with those who practice Muslim, Hinduism, etc… To have no Faith at all is scary. Too many times I hear those who claim to be Atheist… I believe in a higher power but no particular higher power. In many cases, I have found that to translate that I believe in my life time I should be able to do what I want when I want, making no room for God… any God. This is not to say that all Atheists are like this, I am sure that there are people who claim atheism who do lead very decent lives. This is also not to say that Christians lead sinless lives. No one does, otherwise there would have been no need for Jesus to sacrifice Himself for us. Anyway, please do not shut the door on Christianity, and please do not judge Christians. Crack open a Bible, take a study…. then make your decision of the Christian lifestyle. It will make more sense to you with the knowledge.


    Here are a few passages that I refer to in order to understand what it is God wants me to do as his servant…

    Luke 17:4
    Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him.”

    Luke 17:3
    I am warning you! If another believer [ Greek your brother.] sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him.

    Acts 10:43
    He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

    Luke 6:37
    “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven

  38. Gravatarmolly

    I have lived in this area in which this murder happened for 40 years. I try not to judge people in their wrong doings, but murder is murder. She could have just clocked him with a skillet and left if she was tired of the situation, or called her father to come and get her. She is supposed to get out tomorrow on bond. There again, I don’t think that is good either. As far as the church is concerned in my opinion only, they are a good people who love the Lord and they are trying to handle this situation the best way they can. It helps to ease their hearts also by praying for her. It’s all left up to the Good Lord
    Remember: You reap what you sow.

  39. GravatarClark

    Wow the flake is getting out of jail. For months now we have listened to all sorts of speculation about the Pastor. He must have been cheating on her, he was molesting the children, he was gay yadayadayada.

    Now it seems the Mrs. was taken in on an Internet scheme and lost a bunch of money that they really didn’t have. The “abusive” husband got upset…….who wouldn’t. So she shoots him in the back when he was sleeping, yanks the phone out of the wall, takes the kids and splits. If it were a guy he wouldn’t be getting out of jail on bond. Take Scott Peterson. He didn’t want to be married either, was involved in some unseemly things and his out was murder too. She should not get out of jail, should get the death penalty. I trust that when she stands before Jesus she can give an account of her wrong doing.

  40. Gravatarmolly

    Well, good news
    She did not get out as planned.
    Something about the 1st bonding agency wasn’t up to par, and neither was the 2nd bonding agency.
    Whether he was abusive or not, it has not been told.
    Cheating on her…. not come up as of yet,
    molesting the children… not come as of yet,
    gay……. (I kinda doubt it), also not come up as of yet.
    I heard today that a girl got out of jail HERE (posted bond) I heard it was about a $400.00 bond
    She shot as killed another girl just last week. Everything is hush hush about this one, imagine that……
    A girl in Ripley TN left her baby in a hot truck and it died… she’s out on bond.
    Winkler’s lawyer also stated that the $750,000 bond was way to much for such a small town.
    Answer me this… What does this being a small town have anything to do with it? (can’t figure out that one)
    It may not be in our lifetime, but she will reap what she sowed. I still think she could have left without killing him. I hear CoC does not believe in divorce, well…… it’s alot better than murder.
    Thanks for your time

  41. Gravatarmolly

    As of today, printed in a semi local paper, she claims abuse, but didn’t reveal the type of abuse.
    Also the paper says that she might get out sometime this next week.
    Let me know if it is ok type the URL for the semi local paper

  42. Yes it’s definitely ok to post the URL

  43. Gravatarmolly

    Well good people,
    She got out today. Got in the car with her father and left for McMinnville, TN. Apparently we have a Kangaroo Court
    around here. I just can’t see it. She just didn’t have to kill him. Now watch when the trial comes up, I’ll be called. Wouldn’t that be my luck…..
    Ya’ll have a good day

  44. GravatarClark

    I would love to be the prosecuting attorney on this one. I would ask for the death penalty since it was a murder in the commission of another crime. She was kiting checks. The real issue will be whether the preacher was involved and to what extent. They are going to play upon people’s sympathies. She lies and manipulates saying she doesn’t want to disparage her husband’s name, who incidentally can’t defend himself now, yet she alludes to “life threatening circumstance” sometime in the past. What should be discussed and perhaps on a national level is whether the expression of a husbands frustration, anger, and disappointment is “emotional and mental abuse.” Unfortunately for many they are one and the same. The husband had every right to castigate her. She was committing felonies!!!! She is a coward. Not only shoots him in the back, but as he slept. Now is alluding to tearing down his character when he can’t defend himself all the while playing the victim.My God what kind of church is that. I am a minister. I wonder how she will feel about things if she is sentence to death? Divorce is a solution that certainly is prefered above murder.

  45. Gravatarmolly
    This is the local paper in my area
    This is a semi local paper

    God says forgive.
    I wonder how the people in McMinnville feel about her…
    I bet she walks.. or at least get very little time.
    we’ll have to wait and see and leave it up to the Lord.

  46. GravatarClark

    Much has been said of forgiveness on these posts. All of this would not be happening if Mary Winkler would have been forgiving of her husband or maybe understanding if perhaps he was extremely angry at her for her felonious check kiting and getting duped by some ridiculous Internet scam that threatened the family’s financial stability.

Reply to “Church Members Supporting Mary Winkler?”

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