Crime & Courts

The Scandalous Legacy Of ‘Reverend’ Reginald Wayne Miller

Sins of the father?

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When the father of pastor John-Paul Miller broke his silence regarding the suspicious death of his daughter-in-law, Mica Miller, he was returning to familiar territory. Reverend Reginald “Reg” Wayne Miller – whose “ministry” began in rural Pamplico, South Carolina five decades ago – has found himself at the center of international media scrutiny on several prior occasions. At the age of 75, Reg Miller has had decades of experience navigating scandals – most of them of his own making.

In a lengthy statement provided to The (U.K.) Daily Mail, the Miller family patriarch described his late daughter-in-law as “a very, very sick woman.”

“‘Her family refused to believe how sick she was,” he said. “She was a very, very, sick young woman.”

Reg Miller further claimed his son had nothing to do with Mica’s death – and that he was not with another woman when Mica’s life ended on the afternoon of Saturday, April 27, 2024.

“Did you see the smile on her face buying the gun?” he asked in his statement. “Is that a distraught woman? Did you ever (see) any crying or upset in her voice in her 911 call. No. Because she was in one of her psychotic states.”

Miller’s statement did not address the alleged abuse and harassment his son is said to have visited upon Mica – or similar behavior allegedly inflicted on other women dating back decades. He also failed to address any of the scandals that have landed him in the media over the years.

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Before John-Paul was born, Reg Miller had embarked on a promising career as the founder of a Bible college, pastor of one of the largest charismatic churches in South Carolina, and a televangelist with a regionally broadcast program.

The year John-Paul was born, his father – who was 30 at the time – was described by a reporter as having “the looks, the charm and, heaven knows, the ambition” to become a leading figure in the charismatic movement.

In the years that followed, though, Reg Miller’s rising star was dimmed by a series of reported improprieties and a bath house arrest that prompted him to relocate and alter his course – twice. In time, the evolution of his ministry’s business plan brought federal charges against the scandal-ridden college president. As recently as 2023, Reg Miller found himself the subject of a wave of new allegations involving inappropriate behavior on international mission trips.

FITSNews has scoured court and public records, newspaper archives and other sources for details on the storied career of this charismatic preacher man.  In particular, years of reporting by David Wren formerly of The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News helped greatly in reconstructing the timeline. 

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THE EARLY YEARS: FROM PASTOR TO FOUNDER

In 1970, Miller began preaching as pastor of Tabernacle United Methodist Church near Pamplico, S.C. Two years later, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish his own church – the Florence Tabernacle in Florence, S.C. By the mid-1970s, he expanded his influence further by founding Gloryland Bible College, which would later evolve into Cathedral Bible College.

Miller’s ministry gained considerable attention while his television program, Good Morning Jesus, aired across five states and Canada. This further amplified his reach.

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THE PTL SCANDAL

Miller’s rise to prominence during the 1970s and 1980s paralleled that of the PTL Club – the South Carolina-based television ministry of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker. Theirs was a familiar dynamic. Even those who don’t recall a word of Jim Bakker’s preaching likely recall the appearance of his singing, crying, mascara-streaming wife – or at least subsequent portrayals of her on Saturday Night Live. PTL’s fall from grace occurred in 1987 amidst financial scandals – and sex scandals. Jim Bakker admitted to a non-consensual sexual encounter with church secretary Jessica Hahn – who later became a regular on shock jock Howard Stern’s show.

As for Bakker, he was indicted on federal charges for diverting $165 million in PTL donations for his personal use. During this time, Jerry Falwell – a prominent Baptist televangelist – tried to take over PTL (initially with Bakker’s backing). Falwell’s actions were met with resistance by charismatic leaders who did not share the same doctrine. 

Charismatic churches celebrate what they call the gifts of the Holy Spirit – speaking in tongues, prophecy and faith healing – but fundamentalists like Falwell, the self appointed leader of the “Moral Majority,” do not. 

As a battle raged between the two sects, Miller seized his time to shine. In April 1987, he was featured in an article in The Los Angeles Times declaring, “I would rather see PTL close down than to see it used by Jerry Falwell when we’ve spent years building it.” 

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President Ronald Reagan meets with evangelist Jerry Falwell in Oval Office on March 15, 1983. (The White House)

Miller accused Falwell of igniting “religious warfare” between charismatics and fundamentalists – and called for the resignation of Falwell and five non-charismatic members of the PTL board. Even so, Falwell prevailed and took over the failing PTL enterprise. Despite raising $20 million to support the ministry and Heritage USA – its Christian theme park near Charlotte, N.C. – Falwell was unable to resurrect the bones of the corporation from bankruptcy.

Miller’s moment in the spotlight passed – but only temporarily. In the late 1980s, a Florence television station devoted a five-part investigative report detailing Miller’s own personal scandal. According to an affidavit filed by his former wife, Susan Miller, during their divorce proceedings, students from Gloryland Bible College accusing Miller of making sexual advances toward them. Their identities were obscured, but the allegations severely tarnished his reputation.

Susan was learning of her husband’s alleged indiscretions through other means, as well. The same affidavit from their divorce said her “world began to crumble” after she learned Miller had allegedly made sexual advances toward male Bible college students as well – incidents she learned of only after being approached by their concerned wives.

In 1993, Miller attempted to leave these bad optics behind when his family, the church and the college relocated to Myrtle Beach with a new and improved vision for his ministry. 

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THE CAMPUS ON THE STRAND

Upon arriving on the coast, Miller once again set about to fulfill his big plans. He wanted to take over a portion of the closed Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and transform it into a seminary campus for international students – while also making it the home of the Cathedral Baptist Church. 

According to Horry County property records, Cathedral Baptist Church purchased a 2.18-acre parcel from the US Air Force in September 1995 for $280,000. The acquisition of the former air base chapel was met with resistance from some redevelopment stakeholders who saw the property as valuable commercial space. Even so, the 40-year-old brick chapel became the home of Cathedral Baptist Church when services resumed there on July 30, 1995.

Miller further had his sights set on another 10 to 15 acres – including empty dormitories he wanted to acquire and use as the campus for Cathedral Bible College. Around the same time, Cathedral was approved for a student visa program – but it was never accredited through the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). The doctorate of divinity program it offered was not transferable – nor was it equivalent to college credit. 

On February 25, 2006, Reg Miller married his second wife – Leslie Oakes in Myrtle Beach. A few months later, John-Paul followed in the footsteps of his father – founding his own church. Its name? Solid Rock Ministries.  

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Leslie Miller and Reginald Wayne Miller at their February 2006 wedding. (Provided)

A few months later, in September 2006, Reg Miller was arrested in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park. The Horry County Police Department (HCPD) charged him with lewdness and prostitution after he allegedly exposed himself to an undercover officer. Though Miller entered a pretrial intervention program – resulting in the charge against him being expunged – the incident appears to have precipitated his departure from Myrtle Beach.

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ANOTHER LOCATION, ANOTHER CONTROVERSY

Following his arrest, Miller relocated to Marion, S.C. – bringing Cathedral Bible College with him. However, his troubles were far from over.  In 2012, he contracted with the Marion County Healthcare Foundation to acquire a former hospital in the hopes of turning it into a college campus.  Around the same time, Cathedral Baptist Church sold the 2.18 acre parcel it had obtained from the Air Force to Solid Rock Ministries for $300,000.

But while Miller charted a pathway forward, his “ministry” couldn’t keep its nose clean.

In 2014, eight international students accused Miller of forcing them to work long hours for little pay – while under constant threat of having their visas revoked. They described a “pervasive climate of fear” and poor living conditions, including extended periods without hot water, heat or air conditioning. The food provided to them was expired or insufficient, they added. The students further alleged that their classes were a sham, designed to exploit their labor. In defiance of federal minimum wage laws, the students reported working between 30 and 56 hours a week at the college – and at Miller’s home – for only $50 a week in compensation.

Any resistance or complaint to these conditions was met with threats to their legal status as visiting students, they told investigators.

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Booking photo of Reginald Wayne Miller. (Provided)

In the aftermath of these allegations, Reg Miller was arrested on May 14, 2014 (.pdf). His bond was set at $250,000 and in June 2014 he entered a plea of not guilty in response to the charges filed against him. Miller later changed his plea to guilty and entered into an agreement (.pdf) with federal prosecutors. As part of that deal, Miller agreed to plead guilt to fraud in foreign labor contracting, visa fraud and willful failure to pay minimum wage.

Interestingly, Miller’s federal plea agreement originally included a polygraph provision – similar to the one contained in the federal plea agreement signed by Alex Murdaugh. As part of that provision, he agreed to submit to a lie detector test when requested by the government.

Curiously, that provision was marked out of Miller’s plea agreement …

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An excerpt from a plea agreement between the United States of America and Reginald Wayne Miller. (U.S. District Court)

While Reg Miller was awaiting sentencing, his second wife sued for divorce on August 14, 2015. 

In October 2015, Miller was sentenced to time served, ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution – and given three years of supervision. Until his sentence was complete, Miller was required to forfeit his passport. 

Two years into supervision, Miller wrote a letter to the judge requesting early release – and specifically the return of his passport so he could travel the world. In his letter, Miller stated he was suffering from a heart condition. He stressed the importance of restoring his ability to travel – not so he could vacation, but because he wanted to spend his time doing mission work and establishing churches and colleges overseas.

From 2000-2015, Cathedral Baptist Church racked up thousands of dollars in state and federal tax liens. While churches are exempt from income taxes, they are not exempt from all taxes. For example, churches with employees are still obligated to pay payroll taxes. Horry County public records detail eight tax liens amounting to $14,838 in addition to a federal lien from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for $75,420 – resulting from Reg Miller’s federal charges.  

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PAKISTAN

Following his federal conviction, Reg Miller once again rebranded his organization and resumed the administration of his Bible college. He also engaged in a number of overseas missions. Last fall – about eight months prior to Mica’s death – allegations surfaced surrounding Miller’s behavior while in Pakistan. Specifically, a YouTube video featured statements from multiple Pakistani men who implored Miller not to return to their country.  

“We don’t want to work with Dr. Miller,” members of the Abundant Life Christian Assembly in Pakistan said on the video. “We don’t feel safe with him.”

FITSNews reached out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in an effort to determine whether there is an investigation into Miller’s actions in Pakistan. As of this writing, we are still waiting for their response. 

Keep it tuned to FITSNews as we continue to follow every viable lead in this case in pursuit of answers. In addition to our research director Jenn Wood traveling to Myrtle Beach, we have deployed multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests involving the many controversies and suspicions that have continued to surface since the death of Mica Miller. Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out to our investigative team at research@fitsnews.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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6 comments

tamara rhodes Top fan May 21, 2024 at 8:50 pm

Wayne. His name is Wayne Willer. Florence County knows him well.

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Morty W Top fan May 22, 2024 at 7:06 am

Sometimes you can just look at their photos and tell.

Reply
Face of a Devil May 22, 2024 at 8:47 am

No kidding, just look at Kenneth Copeland.

Reply
Melanie Thompson May 22, 2024 at 11:07 pm

WBTW News (Myrtle Beach) has a you tube short titled: Horry County Officer Signs Off For Final Time. In it are two officers: Kip Miller and his daughter Heather Miller. The bio never said if Wayne Miller had a brother. Does he? And is Heather Miller his niece?

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Ken Parnell May 25, 2024 at 11:51 pm

Thank you for bringing some light on this reprobate. I grew up with him in my church and before he got into the ministry. He was and still is a terrible human being.He was forced to leave the small town of Hemingway, SC in 1970 and he moved to Florence, SC where he began his reign of insanity. When I graduated and moved to Florence to attend the local TEC school he was in full swing and the word was already out about him and his appetites, I can’t speak to any spiritual ones but he had a pile of sexual ones.He would go around to local churches and even ones out further and tell them things like, “If you aren’t sending me money for my TV ministry then you aren’t Christians.” Sort of like ole Jimmy Ray Baker did back in the days of PTL.Over the years I moved away and wound up running across him in the local paper tip tapping in the men’s Rooms at night, yep he got arrested for solicitation and apparently he has cultivated a number of people higher up the Judicial branch of government who cut him some slack when he’s gotten busted. Then He got nailed for the federal enslavement charges, got convicted, found guilty BUT they never actually sentenced him for some reason.Now his son who has his own deviant church of whatever, has a wife who’s dead. If you ask me, that apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. I’m in hopes the police will not just sweep it under the rug and let him walk. Sadly, I’m a good son of South Carolina but don’t live there anymore as it’s a state where connections get you a lot of passes on things that should never be passed over.
At any rate, no matter how all this goes down, please know there are any number of us who have prayed and hoped that he finally got what he and his hell spawned demon child son deserve. Thank you for your being strong enough to shine the light of truth on this horrifying group.

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Marina June 11, 2024 at 12:00 pm

Does anyone know anything of his father or parents or upbring, ()Reginald/Reggie) Wayne Miller, I mean?

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