Local members of Church of Christ speak out on death of Matthew Winkler

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

After a high profile murder case, the Church of Christ wants to dispel rumors of a cult in their faith.

Friday local Church members spoke out about the controversy surrounding a well-known pastor in the faith.

It's been the talk of the town across many states lately: why a minister's wife would kill her own husband.

It's the question that has been left unanswered.

Since the death of preacher Matthew Winkler, the Church of Christ has gained national attention.

Local members say the Winkler family is very prominent throughout their churches nationwide.

News 12's Diane Cho sat down with local members to see what the Church of Christ is about and whether the shooting has shaken their beliefs.

Scott Patterson, pastor of Central Church of Christ, points out Matthew Winkler's father on the back of a Bible study book the church uses often.

Last week the Winkler family became a household name, but what many don't know is that they were already a well-known and respected family within the Churches of Christ.

"Great people, real into family values, real solid, characteristics you'd want to emulate, the way they spend time with their kids," Patterson says.

Unfortunately, their churches have gained the wrong kind of national attention after Matthew Winkler was shot to death by his own wife.

"It was a shock and a sad tragedy," Patterson says. "Like a lot of folks waiting to see what the cause was, but at the same time looking at what's happened in a sense. Matt's parents have shown such forgiveness."

And that's what they say their church is all about.

"We're a non-denominational church that's trying to be just like the first century church and be true to scripture," Patterson says.

But that's not how they're being labeled. Some media outlets are comparing them to a cult.

"Unbelievable to us," says Church member Deborah Gay. "We're a Bible-based conservative group of people."

"We were disappointed. On national news they used a preacher of another faith to talk about our religious beliefs," Gay says.

While the Winkler family may have been a model family, Patterson says it only proves it can happen to anyone.

"Who knows what caused this, but we all have our stresses," he says. "Satan can get into a home, even the best of homes."

Members say the tragedy has given them strength.

"We admire the family greatly and we still do," Gay says.

Even though the big question remains...Why?


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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