Joyce Meyer's Migraine

Chris Coleman is an innocent man, at least until a jury decides otherwise. But it's not looking good for him. The 32-year old has been arrested in the triple-slaying of his wife and two sons. Prosecutors say the evidence against Coleman is overwhelming.

Popular TV Evangelist Joyce Meyer is likely combating a mega-migraine as a result.

Coleman worked on Meyer's security staff. Meyer is probably longing for the day when her worst nightmare was an investigation by Senator Grassley into financial misconduct. The Better Business Bureau maintains that Meyer's ministry violates the standard for Charitable Accountability.

Not that Meyer is in any way responsible for the deaths of 31-year-old Sheri Coleman or her sons Garrett, 11, and Gavin, 9.

Well not in any major way, except, it appears that her policy prohibiting any staff members from being divorced may have given Coleman the impetus he was looking for, if he did indeed strangle his wife and two boy as charged. Police Chief Joe Edwards said Joyce Meyers confirmed no employee can be divorced.

Coleman did, in fact, resign the week before his arrest after an internal investigation by the ministry found that he failed to follow ministry policy. News reports didn't identify the nature of the policy he failed to follow but a good guess might be that it had something to do with infidelity.

Seems Coleman had been carrying on with one of Sheri Coleman's closest gal pals, Tara Lintz, of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Chris Coleman is an innocent man -- even he says so. But the evidence against him, well, that's another matter.

There's this matter of the affair.

And the threatening notes, at least one of which was sent from his work laptop at Joyce Meyer Ministries. Notes designed to make it look like somebody was upset at Sheri Coleman for all the work she did on behalf of Meyer Ministries:

“(Expletive)! Deny your God publicly or else! No more opportunities. Time is running out for you and your family.”

That threat, dated Jan. 1, referred to someone traveling to Asia, but doesn’t refer to anyone by name. Sheri Coleman participated in missionary trips to southeast Asia, including Cambodia. “Have a good time in India (expletive)!”

The second letter, again to Sheri Coleman, was dated April 27, 2009:
“I am giving you the last warning! You have not listened to me and you have not changed your ways. I have warned you to stop traveling and stop carrying on with this fake religious life of stealing people’s money. "

The note also referred to some unnamed woman. Possibly Meyer?

"You think you are so special to do what you do protecting or think you are protecting her. She is a b*tch and not worth doing it. Stop today or else. I know your schedule. … This is my last warning. Your worst nightmare is about to happen!”

Coleman had reportedly told his girlfriend that he was going to serve Sheri with divorce papers on the same day her body and that of her sons were found dead in their beds. Obscene messages were spray-painted in red throughout the house.

Good thing Meyer doesn't implement such a policy about divorce when it comes to accepting donations to her ministry, heh? Given this country's divorce rate, Meyer would stand to lose an estimated half of her annual $100 million income.


  1. Wow, that's sad.

    Is it legal to not hire someone if they're divorced? Or is it because it's a ministry, and ministries don't alway have to follow the laws in the same way?

  2. What a mess, Karen.

    I agree with you that Meyer's policies about not employing divorcees doesn't embody the Gospel.

    I'm hard pressed, though, to imagine those policies being the zenith of a slippery slope that leads to triple murder.

  3. I have to be honest, Karen. I am uncomfortable with the way you have presented this story. It seems to, at worst, blame Meyer for the deaths, and at best, it seems to pile onto Meyer who is probably feeling very hurt, troubled, anguished, and countless other emotions.
    I cannot stand Meyer's doctrine, beyond her basic understanding of Jesus as Savior. It drives me nuts. I want nothing to do with listening to her, and will steer my kids clear of her and those who preach the message that God wants you to be wealthy.
    Having said that, when I read this story, I imagine that this is devastating, and she's doing a lot of soul-searching. There's a zero percent chance she wanted this employee to murder his family. So I don't see the point in the tone in this blog post.

  4. James:

    I'd be hard-pressed to say what Joyce Meyer's reaction is to this, her attorneys, however, are working overtime to protect her interests in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sheri Coleman's family. Meyer's
    attorney Michael J. King has asked for a protective order sealing documents and answers given by ministry.
    Under the ministries proposed agreement, the family's attorney would have to obtain permission from the ministry before using the documents in memorandums, client communication and press releases because it could cause the ministry "irreparable harm" if made public.

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  6. Karen, I don't get your point. Are you saying that we should assume the worst about the motives of Meyer until proven different? Are you saying that ministries which have directives like this no-divorce rule are going to see their employees commit murder? Are you saying that because Meyer's playing CYA now that somehow she was responsible for this guy's actions? I'm not sure what you mean at all.

    I will say--and I want to do this as gently and respectfully as possible--I have been troubled by your original blog post for several hours, now, ever since I read it.

    Personally, I think Meyer's WOF doctrine is way off from true biblical teaching. But she most likely has the no-divorce rule in place because she believes it to be scriptural. And many other ministries have similar restrictions about who can be employed. I don't know that any of them have seen murder result from such rules. And I don't know that that's what you are implying here. I just know I'm troubled by the tone, the piling-on, the implicit accusation. And I don't even like defending Meyer in the process.

  7. James:
    You might be over-thinking this. Then, again, maybe you are raising some questions that hadn't occurred to me. I'm simply passing along some information in the way of boy, if you thought a senate investigation was your biggest headache.
    And, yes, I can't help but wonder why the big clamp-down from within. What are they hiding and why?
    RE: divorce mandate. I'd have a lot more respect for the divorce rule if the ministry was consistent -- in other words, if they refused to accept donations from divorced people, too.
    I think it sends a mixed message -- you aren't good enough to work for us, but your money is.
    I doubt the divorce rule was the real reason for the murder, but it may have played a part in this man's whacked way of thinking. (no pun intended).
    I suspect that the investigation will reveal there was insurance money involved.

  8. Stephanie,

    My belief if that as long as a ministry doesn't take federal funds they can claim "religious exemption."

  9. This absolutley disgusts me. I have never understood how "Christian" men and women can claim to follow Jesus, yet refuse to treat others the way Jesus commanded us to. Where in the Bible does it say it's wrong to work with people who have sinned? I must have missed that part. I was under the impression that Christ redeemed us from sin and we didn't have to suffer punishment for it. I guess Joyce Meyer knows better than Christ.

  10. Emily,

    There is a clear biblical calling for leaders to be held to a higher standard, I'm not sure how that works for security personel but since he worked for a ministry (along with others on staff) it might be under that call too.


  11. When I was working in North Carolina we had several murders take place there in the Fort Bragg region -- women murdered by spouses, boyfriends, etc. In each one of those cases infidelity was an issue. Not everyone who cheats murders but one could argue that there would be a lot fewer murders if fidelty were an honored tradition.

  12. Reportedly, Joyce Meyer never contacted Sheri's family with condolences of any kind, and there has been no acknowledgment of the loss of Sheri Coleman on the JMM website, or (according to those that watch) in her TV broadcasts. I don't think the lady is "devastated." I think she's nervous about what might come out in the investigation.

    Therefore, my next question is, "Why?" What does she have to hide?

    I don't think anyone has suggested that she is in any way responsible for the murders. After all, a normal person, in seeing a divorce and knowing JM didn't approve, would find another line of work. Chris Coleman killed his family for other reasons, much closer to his heart...possibly, he wanted freedom to be with TL, or with a series of TLs. Possibly he had felt trapped from the beginning. Maybe we will find out there was an insurance policy. There is a lot still to be learned in this case. With or without the help of Joyce Meyer.

  13. Karen, there are usually several issues, one of which is infidelity. another is financial pressure, and a third is insurance. I think it definitely begins with vows taken, but not taken seriously.

  14. I've been directly affected by a moral scandal, a murder, and dozens of secret sins by someone in leadership.
    And every time I hear of something like this, I remember how hellish it was to be on the inside of it. How difficult it was to bear people's speculations.
    That's all I'm saying because God, I wish we had more of Him.

  15. Bethany,
    There's being "held to a higher standard" and then there's "being a pharisee". Not wanting someone to work in active ministry (Pastor, worship minister, teacher, elder, deacon) who is not living a Christ centered life is one thing (and yes, Biblical).

    Not allowing anyone to do office or clerical work in a "Christian workplace" because they have in the past committed the sin of divorce is an entirely different matter.

    We are not to judge others worth based on their past sins, but on the fruit they have in their lives now. If we refuse to work with others who might have "sordid" pasts we're missing out on opportunities to minister. Look at the Biblical examples of leaders, David, Paul, Moses, they ALL had past sins (adultery, murder, etc) that could keep them from serving if they were held to a "higher regard".

    I just completley disagree with your defense of her policy.

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  17. While we are on the subject, here's a post worth reading: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2009/07/marriage-as-parable-of-permane.html

  18. It's easy to tag someone as a Pharisee when they believe something we don't, and stand by their belief with actions.
    Isn't it Phariseeical, truthfully, to insist that your interpretation of Scripture--in this case, that divorced people should be allowed to work for a ministry--is somehow superior than that of those who are actually running the ministry in question?
    Again, I emphasize that is nauseates me to defend Meyer, especially when it comes to doctrine. And for the record, at my church, we have a divorced mom as on staff as a pastor. So it's not like I'm in Meyer's camp here. I'm just seeing people use judgmental tactics to make judgments on Meyer's judgmentalism. To be intolerant of her intolerance. To be Pharisee-like in the truest sense.

    I'm not saying that to lash out at anyone. I'm saying that I am still troubled by what I am reading here, including some comments. I started reading here a while ago and noticed that one of the values that is embraced here is a respect for different theological perspectives. What I am seeing in this post and accompanying comments flies in the face of that.

    Despite the later comments which shifted the focus to money and insurance, the original post still reads like an insinuation that Meyer's no-divorce policy is at least partly to blame for this murder. Not Satan. Not a chemical imbalance. Certainly not the man who actually did the murdering. No. It's somehow the fault of an evil, money-grubbing Word of Faith preacher. Let's pile on her, and read into her silence some evidence of a hard heart.

    I don't think I ought to come back here for a while. This has been very disillusioning. Some people I had great respect for have let me down.

  19. You know what really bothers me? The no divorce policy. I love Joyce and her ministry, but I am a divorcee. My husband left me and my 3 year old for another woman...how is that my fault? I don't think I should be denied employment based on that.ANYWHERE.

  20. joyce meyer is divorced, or was many years ago.