Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Here in the very first chapters of Scripture we meet this crafty serpent. He approaches Adam and Eve as if he has come to help them. He will explain things. He will appear to be their friend and counselor. Soon they will learn otherwise when their whole world comes crashing down.
If you have read much about domestic abusers (and really, abusers of all kinds) you have probably come across the term “crazy-making.” This tactic of evil has been given various names (gaslighting being another), but whatever you call it, the design of the wicked one using it is to make a targeted victim doubt their own perceptions. To make them believe the lies the abuser speaks to them in spite of what they heard or saw themselves.
Recently we have been watching the court trial case of one “Pastor” Thomas Chantry. Go to Brent Detweiler’s or Todd Wilhelm’s blogs and you can read all about it. Chantry is an abuser of children, having been assisted for many years by power-mongers in the association he was in – ARBCA (Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America), a group our church used to be a member of. We resigned our membership (better term: we dumped them) once we saw the bullying and pharisaical character of the powers that were. Their temple has been crumbling these past few years.
Chantry used this crazy-making technique. He would befriend the families of children in his church, offer to “tutor” them privately, and then eventually assault them with a paddle or an oar until sometimes they couldn’t hardly walk. Chantry is in jail right now in Arizona charged with many more of these crimes (he was convicted on two charges already). Chantry would pretend to be the child’s friend, then quiz them on their lesson. No matter what they said or what they had written on an assignment, it wasn’t good enough and Chantry said it warranted a spanking. After having them pull their pants and underwear down so he could beat their bare bottoms, he “massaged” their bare skin to “make it feel better” after the assault. Pain, then “kindness” you see. That’s the thing. I hope Chantry spends the rest of his life in prison, then off to the fiery pit he can go where he will find out just how big a paddle God has. He shows no repentance and his kind never repent.
But let me tell you about another crazy-maker named Frank. True story. Name changed to protect the victims of his evil. Frank was an elder in his church, an apparently pious, saintly fellow, model father and patriarchal husband [don’t be partriarchal, by the way] just like so many strive to be. But in fact, Frank was a reviler. That is the biblical term for an abuser. Frank reviled his targets. Villified them. Made them out to be villains with his accusations and harsh, caustic words.
But then, in the next moment, Frank would either play the victim himself to make everyone feel so sorry for him, OR he would be so kind and sweet, offering to come over and fix that broken pipe in your kitchen you know. Pain alternating with comfort. Assault, then massage. Revile, then quote Bible verses. Frank had many people duped, even up until the time he was put out of his church when the other leaders finally sorted out what he was really up to and what he really was.
In quite a short period of time, Frank just plugged himself into another local church and soon had everyone there convinced that he was the most godly fellow on the planet. In fact, so much did they all admire him, that they made him an elder. Yep. No one in that church, by the way, ever bothered to background Frank. His former pastor and church were never contacted. After all, Frank is so obviously a fine fellow that there was no need to check up on him, right? So they get what they deserve. Unfortunately there are probably naive people there who don’t deserve him. Why doesn’t the previous church contact the leaders of Frank’s present church, you say? Because no one at the new church will listen to such “gossip and slander” against Frank, as they would classify it.
For quite a number of years, Frank taught a children’s Sunday school class. Frank’s chosen brand of crazy-making targeted the children. He used shaming alternating with “kindness.” Listen to one of his former students tell it:
There were two rows of seats in the class room. Every other week the girls would sit in the front. I didn’t like being in front because he would be closer to me which would mean I might be picked to answer a question. Every time someone answered a question wrong, everyone else was supposed to give that child “the shame sign.” This was done with their hands, striking and sliding one finger on top of another while pointing it at that person.
And here is the testimony of still another target of Frank’s methods:
Frank perpetrated a culture of ‘children are evil and they are never right,’ which is handy because as Christ said, ‘out of the mouths of babes You have called forth Your praise.’ So, Frank was an evil man and he knew that children who were the Lord’s would call him out on his evil, as I tried to sometimes.
However, painting children as little demons gave him the leverage he needed to call any child a liar if they spoke about the verbal and spiritual abuse he perpetrated. I remember very specifically that his family had a culture of shame related to ‘tattletales.’ And I believe that his end goal in that culture was to silence any little one of God who he caused to stumble.
Frank had a nasty habit of contradicting people in power. He loved using psychological warfare against his victims. The more they questioned themselves, the more they relied on him.
Frank was in charge of a children’s Sunday school class when my siblings were younger. I remember what they said about the class. The kids were required to read certain passages of scripture as homework and be truthful about if they had actually done it or not. Frank would ask for a show of hands on who had actually read the assignment. Whoever had not was called out by name and the rest of the children were to make the ‘shame’ symbol at them with their fingers. My siblings were deeply upset and cut to the quick about it. To be honest, I am quite sure that other children lied about reading it so that they would not get shamed.
Frank cultivated shame in people in order to expose them as liars and poor Christians. He had his heart set on being king for his own glory. And Frank will use his family, religion, anything…in order to obtain it.
So there you have it. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. The enemy’s servant disguised as a son of righteousness. I suppose he is fixing faucets and administering large shame doses to the new crowd now. They may never sort it out. Most of them don’t even want to.