John Gray
Pastor John Gray (source: Instagram)

John Gray’s Megachurch Renews Legal Dispute with Redemption Over Property Rights

By Anne Styche

Two South Carolina megachurches—Relentless Church, headed by pastor John Gray, and Redemption Church, headed by Ron Carpenter—are once again battling each other in court.

Gray’s Relentless Church of Greenville, South Carolina, filed a court motion last week seeking the enforcement of a private agreement reached last year with Carpenter’s Redemption World Outreach Center. The agreement settled an ongoing property rights dispute, asserting that Redemption has not upheld its end of the deal. 

An attorney for Relentless declined to disclose exactly what the issue is, saying only that the church is asking Redemption to comply with the terms of the agreement, The Greenville News reported. 

“Relentless seeks only to enforce the clear and unambiguous terms of the Agreement which is now being met with resistance by Redemption,” the court filing says.

The initial dispute arose when Redemption, led by founders Pastor Ron Carpenter and his wife Hope Carpenter, filed a suit in January 2020 calling for the eviction of Relentless, alleging that the church had failed to make some required lease payments. 

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Ron Carpenter
Ron Carpenter of Redemption Church preaches at an outdoor service on Dec. 20, 2020. (source: Facebook)

Gray had taken over the church in 2018 when the Carpenters left to run Jubilee Christian Center, now called Redemption, in San Jose, California. Gray rebranded the Greenville church as Relentless, but Redemption retained ownership of the 17-acre property and buildings, which the Carpenters and Redemption agreed to lease to Relentless Church during a transition period. 

Later, it was also revealed that the agreement between Redemption and Relentless required the church board to pay Ron Carpenter $250,000 for 25 years as part of a $6.25 million retirement package.

The call for eviction by Redemption came amid sex and financial scandals involving Gray, and as the Carpenters were hinting that they may return to Greenville. Relentless denied at the time that it was behind on payments. 

In October 2020, the churches reached an agreement on the issue, but the terms were not publicly disclosed.

At about the same time, Carpenter and his wife announced that they would be returning to Greenville to relaunch a church, called Redemption East

Gray, on the other hand, said in October that he would take a sabbatical as news of extramarital affairs continued to circulate. That sabbatical appears to have ended in November when Gray returned to preaching at Relentless.

Relentless spokesperson Anne Torres said in a statement to WYFF-TV that Relentless has “made every effort to be a partner in faith” under the agreement with Redemption but it had become a “distraction to the work the church has done in the Greenville community and beyond.”

Torres said the hope is that Redemption will honor the original agreement “so that we can all move forward.”

Anne StycheAnne Styche is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager. 

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11 thoughts on “John Gray’s Megachurch Renews Legal Dispute with Redemption Over Property Rights”

  1. James Lutzweiler

    Ah, too bad there are not enough wise men in the church, wise men who will judge angels, to work out this dispute. That there would be a dispute is no mud on the church. Mud is to be expected, if the proverbs are true that where there are no oxen, the barn is clean (and, of course, where there are no oxen there is also no filet mignonette). However, taking such a dispute before secular courts is not exactly what Saint Paul had in mind. Once again, here is another blotch on the gospel. Why in the world would the lost want to identify with either group that doesn’t follow their own rule book? Wonders never cease. The candlesticks of both churches cannot be removed soon enough to suit me.

    James Lutzweiler
    Archivist (1999-2013)
    Southeastern Baptist theological seminary

  2. “… required the church board to pay Ron Carpenter $250,000 for 25 years as part of a $6.25 million retirement package.”

    In addition to his salary and benefits and other perquisites. Nice work if you can get it.

  3. Megachurches should never have existed to begin with period. I don’t care how theologically sound SOME of them started off as. You don’t get saved and win souls with theology. ALL of them become corrupt to varying degrees in time and a pretty substantial portion of them STARTED OFF corrupt.

    1. “ You don’t get saved and win souls with theology.”
      Really? So how can we tell the difference between the “jesus” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the REAL Jesus of the Bible? How about the “jesus” of the Mormons (Mitt Romney) and the REAL Jesus of the Bible?
      How about the “jesus” of the so called Jesus Seminar and the REAL Jesus of the Bible?
      Are we saved by grace through faith…..or by works…..or by both?
      If theology is not important, Paul’s letters are irrelevant and the New Testament should be burned?
      In regards to the article, if God wants megachurches to exist, who are we puny human beings to tell God what to do with His church?
      Corruption? Of course!!! Just follow the money. There is no excuse. But if on the other hand, we expect a flawless church to be found……..may I suggest we/you should not attend it……since we/you would ruin it?

      Uwe
      (Jude 3)
      Post Tenebras Lux

  4. >… Cynthia posted, “Later, it was also revealed that the agreement between Redemption and Relentless required the church board to pay Ron Carpenter $250,000 for 25 years as part of a $6.25 million retirement package.”
    I think it is worth re-posting again. Let this sink in for a moment.
    From the archives of, “you can best judge things/people by what they do and not by what they say.”

    This means Ron Carpenter believes the church is a business, that rewards the entrepreneur who invested the initial start up costs in a brand that belongs to him. This case could just as well be grounded in a copyright infringement, intellectual property suit. Sigh :(

    Having said that, these kinds of “packages” and golden parachutes by pastor’s and churches comprise less than .002 % of churches in the world. Most pastors, like most of you are trying to figure out how to save money in an IRA or 401k (if the church even offers one). This is an exception, a sad exception that is worth reporting, but more than likely, your church pastor is wondering how he will provide for himself in retirement.

  5. Uwe,

    Tell me which church is going to win more lost for the Kingdom on earth and execute God’s will more comprehensively: one with adequate theology and fantastic agape, or one with fantastic theology and so-so agape? You know the answer to that just as much as I do and the Apostle Paul that you cite did. (Re)-read 1 Corinthians 13. (Almost) no one is argued into heaven with cold, hard, sterile assertions. Human beings aren’t wired that way. The task of the Great Commission is to clearly preach the one true Gospel to the lost (and the message of the Gospel is very simple and straightforward) and let the Holy Spirit and irresistible grace do the rest–NOT rake in lots of money and develop a big media platform and develop a cult of personality around the charismatic pastor. After the common-sense baseline of distinguishing the real Gospel from the impostor “gospels” of the cults (a great many of which are pushed by the megachurches), theology isn’t for getting people into heaven, but building up and sharpening those who are already redeemed by the Blood. I know you know that, and I will extend you the trust that you were merely unclear about my point, so I give you the benefit of the doubt here–but if you argue with this reply as well, you won’t get a further response from me.

  6. That “retirement” pkg? Since when do true shepherds “retire”? Since when did true shepherds ever get rich from preaching the Word and shepherding the people?

    That “package” tells you all you need to know: these are businessmen, not shepherds, their churches are businesses, not expressions of Christ’s body, and their message is not the Gospel (which is not a means of gain), but “how to get what you want in life” — exactly what the world preaches, but with God’s name thrown in to make all this sound “Christian”.

    These are not 2 Christians taking each other to court, these are 2 business rivals fighting over access to the same assets, which each needs in order to make merchandise of their flocks. This shouldn’t even appear in the Religion section of the newspaper.

  7. Julie,

    I actually broke down and sacrificed the ten or twenty thousand brain cells it took to get through one of “Pastor” Gray’s very recent “sermons” at Relentless posted on YouTube. That’s about an hour of life I’m not getting back.

    Let it suffice to say that this was some of the most utterly inane and incoherent drivel I’ve ever heard from any speaker, religious, secular, formal, or on the street, sane or insane. I’d get deeper theological insight from 15 minutes of Rick Warren or 5 minutes of the aptly-named Creflo Dollar. I’d get a more scholarly speech from Donald Trump himself. The raving schizophrenic under the freeway bridge makes more sense. It would have been hilarious but it was just pathetic. All he did was hoot and howl like an abused puppy and repeat the same nonsense about “the devil’s attacks” and “intentionality” again and again. There wasn’t even remotely a theme or central point to this word vomit.

    Also gotta love his maskless preaching and (as far as I can tell) complete disregard for COVID safety!*

    You know, prior to this I would have felt bad for the scammed flock of Relentless, but after stomaching the above debacle, I am tempted to say they deserve every bit of it, so I just hope they are happy with this showmanship and nonsense. They are certainly getting what their itching ears want to hear.

    *To be fair, he did mention a “deep cleaning” of the sanctuary that would result in a lack of indoor services for one weekend.

  8. Both John Gray and Ron Carpenter are full of themselves, and both are clearly false teachers that no one should be following!

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