Pastor Jaddeus Dempsey from the Impact City Church in Pataskala explained in a video that he was trying to teach a lesson about Easter and the love that Jesus felt for mankind as he willingly endured crucifixion.
"This was completely my idea," he said.
"Again, I let the students know there was no repercussions whatsoever.
"In fact, even several of the students felt bad afterwards, and I told them it was what I had asked them to do.
"My intention was to show them how much Jesus loved them and I loved them as a student leader for almost four years now."
However, in the video, the church's lead pastor Justin Ross said the incident was "inappropriate" and had gone "too far" in teaching students about the crucifixion.
In the disturbing video, a group of students surround the pastor as he is spat on and slapped. At times, students can be heard laughing and asking if they can have another turn.
However, some of the youngsters also asked others to stop.
The pastor later took off his shirt and picked up a knife.
"Are you serious?" one student said.
"Don't do it hard," another urged.
The church has said in a statement that its board of directors have launched a review and investigation, and the church will fully cooperate and implement their recommendations.
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