Calvinist Leader Dr Iain Campbell Dies By Suicide Amidst Allegations of Affairs and an Out of Wedlock Child. His Wife Gets Blamed!

“ Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded-Diana, Princess of Wales” ― Cathy Lowne, Speeches That Changed The World link

Special thanks to Todd Wilhelm who alerted me to this story. My rant about this story is at the end of the post. Whatever you do, do not skip the video at the end. You will laugh all weekend. Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead this weekend if you are in the US.

Dr Iain D Campbell: Who was he thought to be?

Who was Dr Iain Campbell? That is a question that many people are asking these days. The Mortification of Spin, mourning the death of Campbell, posted a link to his obituary. When this obituary was written in January 2017, the circumstances surrounding his death were not widely known. Campbell was revered within the tight knit Calvinist circles. Was he one of those Calvinistas? I have no idea but I do know that a number of those within The Gospel Coalition circles were dismayed at his passing. 

Here are some excerpts from his known biography at the time this was written.

He could have adorned pulpits in the largest cities in the world,’ writes Dr. Geoff Thomas of Aberystwyth, ‘or become a professor in an American seminary, but he valued the community which nourished and nurtured him, and he shared their values.’  To that community (Isle of Lewis in Scotland) he dedicated his life, and from it he drew the strength that supported his wider ministry.

…Iain D. Campbell was a brilliant communicator, in constant demand as a lecturer and conference-speaker.  He had a quite extraordinary fluency of speech, but the fluency was disciplined by clarity, precision and careful arrangement.  The delivery was effortless, though often passionate, the mastery of the subject complete, and while there was no trace of arrogance he spoke with the Bible-derived authority of a true preacher. 

…But he was also a master of the written word, as his many publications show, and the Free Church recognised this by appointing him Editor of its magazine, the Record, not only once, but twice.  He was still serving in this capacity at the time of his death,

…Iain D would have risen to eminence in any profession (and once toyed with the idea of becoming an SNP candidate for the Scottish Parliament), but he chose the Christian ministry, and in that chosen field he became a giant. 

He was transparent regarding his piety?

Focus carefully on the assumptions of this next paragraph and think about the term *transparent piety." It has long been an axiom at TWW that we cannot truly know what goes on behind closed doors and we must be careful not to think that we do. As we will see from this story, no one really knew him. Recently, in the Barnabas Piper situation I had people write me that claimed they knew him. One said he was *authentic.* i would assume that is an adjective that would have been applied to Campbell.

… Thanks to the marvels of modern technology these sermons were heard all over the world and within hours of his death an American pastor was writing, ‘I never met or heard Dr Campbell in the flesh, but I knew him from sermon audios, and the sermons I heard told me all that I needed to know of the man. The reason for his high reputation was obvious.  He was a man of transparent piety, for whom the Bible and the God of the Bible was a Being with whom he was familiar.  The Bible irradiated everything he said, and every application he made of Biblical truth seemed so searching and personal, even though he did not know those whom he addressed.  He knew men’s deepest needs and he addressed them with gentleness and compassion as one who felt for them, and wanted them to have the comfort of Christian peace.  His death is a loss, not only to his immediate family and to the congregations he pastored, but to the wider church across the world.’

Was Campbell, a private man, truly a hero to his family?

When this obituary was written, it had been revealed that he committed suicide. However, in the first days after his death, suicide was not mentioned. There is real truth in this next statement although the author had no idea just how right he was at the time.

  Yet, for all the consummate ease with which he presented himself in public, he was a very private man who seldom shared his feelings, and he exuded such an aura of calm competence that none of us thought to ask, ‘Are you OK?’ 

In the meantime, we have a duty of care to Iain’s wife, Anne; to his mother, Lily; to his sons, Iain and Stephen; to his daughter Emily; and to his sisters, Margaret and Alma.  He was their hero.  May they do him proud.

It really gets me irritated when websites suddenly delete a post, like this one at Reformation 21, with no explanation. They are covering up something.

They, too, posted a obituary for Campbell. Guess what? It went up and then was taken down. It appears they didn't have the guts to tell their readership what really happened with Dr Campbell. Whenever you see that happen in Calvinista circles, you can be sure that something really, really bad happened and they are embarrassed to talk about it because heroes are to be worshipped and never dissed.

I believe this response comes from an uncomfortable truth. Calvinists claim that you are *free to obey.* But some of their celebrities do not seem to be very obedient. So they must hide their sin and pretend that all is well.

Now, if you click on that link, you get:

The Revered Dr Iain Campbell is alleged, by the testimony of his wife, to have had 7 affairs and fathered an out of wedlock child!

The Herald (Scotland) reported the following in Free Church in 'complete shock' after claims minister Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell had seven affairs:

It has been claimed the 53-year-old father-of-three who was minister at the Point Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, took his own life after his wife Anne, 54, discovered the illicit relationships.

…Mr Robertson said the Church would investigate the claims about Mr Campbell, also a former Moderator, at presbytery level and that pastoral care would be given to those affected in the congregation.

He said: "The Church in the Western Isles will do what they can to help support the family."Local congregations are where the pastoral care will primarily take place. "Any investigation will take place at a presbytery level in the Western Isles."

There is an accusation that he also fathered a child out of wedlock.

According to the Herald Scotland

It is also claimed that Mr Campbell, a father of three and Free Church of Scotland minister at the Point Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, fathered a child outside his marriage.

These alleged claims go back as far as the 1990s.

The Herald Scotland also reported on the time line of the affairs.

It is also understood allegations could date as far back as the 1990s.

Dr Campbell committed suicide after allegedly being confronted by his wife about his double life.

Dr Campbell was determined to take his life. This was not a simple cry for help.

It is important to understand that Campbell attempted to suicide when confronted by his wife by taking a bunch of pills. He was revived at a local hospital where it is reported that he then successfully committed suicide by hanging himself in the hospital.

It would seem that the hospital will need to up  their suicide prevention precautions. He had already attempted suicide once. Why was he left alone? That hospital rushed him to another hospital in Glasgow but it was too late. This was reported here.

After first taking an overdose, he hanged himself in hospital in Stornoway. He died later in Glasgow.

The suicide occurred immediately after his wife confronted him about the affairs and a possible out of wedlock child.

“It is said Anne (his wife) was suspicious about Iain’s activities, and confronted him at the manse [vicarage] allegedly after finding compromising emails in his computer trash files,” another local source told the paper.

His widow, Anne, has asked the Free Church of Scotland to investigate and throw out the involved women.

His widow, Anne, wants the alleged paramours kicked out of the church and she is naming names.

An article in the Sun titled CHURCH SEX CLAIMS: Married reverend found hanged is accused of having SEVEN mistresses – and his wife ‘wants them kicked out of the church’ found the following:

Today, allegations have emerged that his 54-year-old wife Anne has called on seven women to be kicked out of the church for adultery.It’s after she allegedly discovered evidence that her husband had been leading a double life for years.

The Free Church of Scotland, also known as the Wee Frees, has launched an investigation into the allegations while the accused mistresses are believed to have called in the lawyers

…“Anne is wanting all this to go in front of a church court and for them to throw them out of the church for adultery. “It will cause havoc with their marriages and the entire Free Church.”

The Sun reports that an investigation has begun.

A spokesman for the Free Church of Scotland said: “We can confirm that the Free Church of Scotland is investigating allegations made in connection with the late Rev Dr Iain D Campbell.

The leaders are not sure if these allegations are true and, interestingly, are not sure if they will ever find out the truth.

Could there be a cover up in the works? Apparently the affairs are thought to have been with members of his church. This is on a tiny island in Scotland. It shouldn't be that hard to figure this out. My guess is that Anne is going to push them.

“In terms of where we are at, we would always say anyway that our theology is such that we believe any human being can stumble and fall. "I’m not in any position to make any kind of judgment and I think that’s basically the same for everybody else."

He added: "We will find out if the accusations against him were true or we may not find out.

Sadly, it appears that church folks are now blaming Campbell's widow, Anne, for making him unhappy!

According to the Daily Mail:

'Even though she’s a widow people are saying Iain had a difficult home life and there’s a lot of anger towards her.’

…A source close to senior church figures said: ‘There was never a whisper of a rumour about affairs until after he died – on such a close-knit island they would have been very difficult to keep secret.

The *obedient* church community has snubbed Anne and she has had to flee the island.

This is a disturbing part of the story. Anne, a victim in this tragedy is being snubbed by her church. According to the Scottish Sun:

Anne Campbell, 54, was blamed by locals over the death of Wee Free (ed. Nickname of church) husband Iain, 53, on Lewis.

The churchman’s widow left after a whispering campaign blamed her for airing claims that he was unfaithful to her.

She took leave from her teaching job to escape mounting disapproval over the damage to Reverend Iain Campbell’s reputation.

…A source close to the couple in Stornoway said: “She’s not had much sympathy since it came out.

“Some people bizarrely feel she is in some way to blame for her husband’s behaviour as he was very unhappy.

“The tragedy has taken its toll on her work life — she had to leave.

“Her children are still here on the island but she had to leave with everything that was going on.” The insider said Anne left the Western Isles to stay with friends near Inverness after members of the church — known as the Wee Frees — snubbed her over the scandal.

Guess what? We are being told not to gossip about this!

What a surprise. Obviously TWW is not playing along.

Christian Today published Tragedy in Lewis: A Pastoral Response to inform us how to view this tragedy since we are too stupid to know how to do that appropriately. It has the Calvinista playbook written all over it. The following quotes are from the rather lengthy *response.*

1. Those of you who are looking for 'inside info' or salacious gossip can go look elsewhere. 

2. Weep and pray.

3. Avoid gossip.

4. People say they need to know. Why? Why does anyone, other than those directly involved, need to know?

5. I don't know what happened and I don't want to know. And those of you who claim to 'know' more almost certainly don't.

6. Trust the Church: trust the investigation process

7. Christians who see this as an opportunity to attack the Church and to justify themselves and their own cynicism.

8. (ed. Christians who respond to this) suffer from the same sinful desire to elevate themselves by knocking others down

9. (ed.This is) speculation and salacious mockery 

10. Ministry is hard. And it's often especially hard for the manse family. The pressures and temptations come thick and fast

11. Everyone becomes a self-appointed moralist and expert. The enemies of the Gospel mock – 'Where is your God now?' Or to be more precise, where is your Calvinist theology now? 

Role modeling decades of one alleged affair after another.

 Dr Campbell wrote A Christian's Pocket Guide to Sin: The Disease and Its Cure.

Dr Campbell supposedly was a Bible expert as well as an expert on sin and its cure. We are supposed to take his advice since he published this for public consumption. Those of us who are thinking individuals must wonder if Dr Campbell really was an expert on how to take on sin. I agree that he was an expert on sin-we all are. However, his life is a living picture on how he lived out his Christian walk. I am tired of reading *how to* books by Calvinistas who are experts on obedience but role model for us a life that is lacking in that area.

I get that people fall and have an affair. But 7 affairs spread over decades? This is not a one time slip. It is a lifestyle. Sorry. I don't buy it. He preached in public, he admonished us in public and now it is his turn in public. We need to understand why his head knowledge didn't become heart knowledge. If guy like this can't do it, then something is wrong with how he, and others, approach obedience and all of us need to figure it out by looking at situations like this.

My response to the allegations

  • If there is a child, DNA testing will prove an affair.
  • Since Anne has offered evidence, the investigative committee better not blow this off and cover it up.
  • The snotty church folk are snubbing Anne and blaming her for her husband's alleged many affairs? What was Campbell teaching in that church? How despicable!
  • The women, if members of the congregation, are victims of clergy abuse. I suggest that they sue the church for counseling, child support, etc. I bet the insurance company is a bit nervous these days.
  • I wonder if Anne had ever expressed any concerns to the hierarchy before this all occurred? 
  • The investigation should include a financial audit of the church funds to see if any money was paid out to any of the victims of Campbell.
  • A man who can have that many alleged affairs over a long period of time has probably covered up other things as well.This was not a trustworthy man.
  • There could be more than 7 women. These are the ones Anne found out about.
  • Campbell was an abuser of women if these allegations are true.

My response to the Pastoral Response

  • This post is not gossip. It is evaluating the life of a man who may have been leading a double life for decades while being extolled as a great Calvinist teacher. Whatever he taught, it didn't make a difference in his life.
  • Anybody who read anything by Campbell, heard anything by Campbell, or heard about the wonderful ministry of Campbell, has a right to know that the guy may have been a charlatan and abuser of women.
  • Could it be that Campbell used his pastoral ministry as a cover to abuse women? 
  • No one gets to hide behind a curtain of piety. 
  • I have news for pastors. Their job is not more stressful on family life than many others like single moms who work two jobs, doctors, air traffic controllers, intelligence agents, etc. Sorry-Campbell doesn't get a pass for decades of alleged abuse of women because he was stressed *in the manse.*
  • Of course the author doesn't want to know the details. It might cause him to question his paradigm for pastoral ministry or maybe it will cause him to confront something he is hiding in his own life.
  • No, I don't trust the investigative process in many churches. Let me remind everyone of the accusations against Sovereign Grace Ministries. Then there are other churches which have covered up child sex abuse and molestation of women. Other churches which have treated women who are victims of domestic violence like trash, etc. Why should we trust the process? It is being run by sinners who might cover up years of abuse because they are covering up sin in their lives.
  • Yes- I do want to question his Calvinist theology as it is applied in the church and in the lives of leaders. We have been lectured about the freedom to obey and get daily missives of this sin and that. Heck, even loving our dogs can be sinful. It does not appear that a Calvinist theologian was able to overcome his own demons over decades. So, how is Calvinism going to help the rest of us?
  • Yes, I do weep and pray. I weep over victims of clergy abuse, something that was not mentioned in the "Pastoral Response." I weep over a wronged wife who is being snubbed by good, obedient, Calvinist church people, something else that wasn't mentioned.
  • Finally, given the paucity of obedience in this situation and others, I frankly don't care if the author thinks I am being salacious or a gossip. The supposed moral high ground in the Calvinist camp appears to be forgotten when it comes to Calvinist celebrities. They will get passes, investigations will stall, and a wife will be blamed because, after all, it is all about protecting the patriarchy of the pulpit.

My rant is now over. I look forward to your comments this weekend. 


I want to leave you all with one of the funniest videos I have ever seen. It is titled "BBC Interview: Kids Burst Onto Scene And Hilarity Ensues." I bet you will watch it more than once. If BBC removes it, here is a link to it embedded at NPR. Keep your eye on the door in back of the interviewee.


Calvinist Leader Dr Iain Campbell Dies By Suicide Amidst Allegations of Affairs and an Out of Wedlock Child. His Wife Gets Blamed! — 601 Comments

  1. Notice: Undefined variable: button in /home/guswo2wr8yyv/public_html/tww2/wp-content/plugins/quote-comments/quote-comments.php on line 127

    My heart DOES indeed ache for Anne and her children, and for the unsuspecting husbands of those seven women, not to mention the child out of wedlock who may or may not be aware of his/her origins. I do not sympathize with Dr. Campbell, nor with the church at large insofar as they cover up their sin, whilst throwing stones at the world. This is deplorable on the part of any, be they the church or Hollywood or the press or politics (and each of these entities has their own ‘moral’ code). Hypocrisy is malodorous, no matter where it comes from. I think that if you – the author of this blog call yourself a Christian, however, you should be a bit more careful about the level of relish shown (perhaps disguised as a righteous desire to expose). If you are not a Christian, then perhaps you should focus on being a reformer in your own camp. If you are a Christian, the proper response to a tragedy like this one is (1) take heed, lest you fall, (2) do not give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme – that is, to give the world one more reason to reject Christ and His gospel because of a fallen one, (3) seek to be discreet about such matters so as to prevent others from being hardened to the true message of the gospel, which is in no way discredited by the failures of some. Exceptions never over-turn the rule – they only underscore them. Furthermore, the church is not a museum of paragons, but a hospital of sinful, human patients who see their need of Christ, Who came into this world to save the sick, not the the self-deceived ‘healthy ones’. Peace to you – whoever you are.