Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The True Story of "Frank" – A Crazymaking Shamer of Little Ones

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.


Legalism is Abuser-Friendly


Shedding Some Light on the Subject of Forgiveness


  1. Anon1

    So many goodies in this post. It’s difficult to read this kind of stuff because one also sees how badly mis-instructed they were. So many were raised to be silent with the “tattletales” “liars” “gossip and slander” type lessons given.
    It’s not wrong to speak truth.
    And I also appreciate reading someone else, a pastor, too, hopes certain wicked evildoers will be on their way to burn in the pit of hell. People are either for God or against God. There are no two ways about it. And abusers are of the devil. Probably about the only thing some victims have to console themselves with is the knowledge that their victimizers are going to hell. God will throw them into the pit. Society, the courts, and the powers that be are too corrupt to deliver anything much other than more injustice and victimization for abusers’ victims. It’s rare that an abuser is charged with anything or suffers any type of loss or penalties for his abuse, violence, etc.

  2. Z

    Anonymous is 100% correct. Most of the time the only peace the victims of abusers can feel is the knowledge of what the Bible says about their fate. Thrown in the fiery pit.
    We don’t get justice on this earth. Pastor Crippen, your last sentences are the reason why. “They may never sort it out. Most don’t even want to.”
    In my experience, after reporting severe criminal physical abuse with obvious serious injuries to 911/police, Christian church relatives and friends (who already knew about the long history of the abuse), church authorities (abuser and family enablers are all “professing Christian” wolves), going to court with the pictures of horrific injuries of victim only (abuser had no marks at all), showing all the above those pictures…NO justice. No support. Christians backed away even while knowing the truth. Seeing the brutality of the injuries in the pictures. Knowing the history of many years of abuses. Some are have been and still are enablers, covering it up, participating in the smear campaign against us-the exposers. Christians???
    Pastor, you were a police officer l. You enjoyed putting away the bad guys as the best part of your job. Well, the police arrested abuser based on the severely battered face (a weapon was used but hidden from police) of his victim and victim’s call to 911 for help.
    Then they also arrested the VICTIM too! With NO evidence, no marks on abuser, no 911 call from abuser. Simply because abuser didn’t immediately “confess and turn over the weapon”!!! No investigation. In what world do criminals immediately confess and give police the weapon that will put them in prison on a felony charge? And in what world does an abuser’s “word” that “he didn’t do it” carry any weight with police when the evidence of the attack (victim’s bludgeoned blunt force object injuries to face and defensive linear wounds from the weapon on the arm, used trying to block face/head from some of the many blows is right there in front of them?
    These police arrested the clear victim and the clear attacker both. Simply on the word of the criminal! No evidence needed to back up his lies.
    Pastor, they “Don’t even want to know the truth.” Even the police who we pay to protect us!
    Luckily the victim got charges dismissed. But incredibly, the abuser got charges dismissed too-despite all the obvious evidence of the one-sided abuse. A crazed violent felon has a clean record after a maniacal attack on a human being. Walking scot-free amongst the rest of unknowing society.
    “They” don’t WANT to know the truth. Then they might be obligated to do the right things.
    I’ve been advised by a wise pastor who understands these injustices on earth to pray the “imprecatory Psalms” like David did. Asking God specifically to give these evil people who do harm to God’s people ALL that they deserve. On earth and for all eternity. It does provide some comfort. God IS my God of Righteousness and Justice. He has seen all the injustices. He will act.

  3. Anne

    I had the flu, he had a bit of a cough; we went to the doctor. He played the responsible husband bringing his wife for care. We were in the exam room together. The doctor noted that I was extremely ill, told me to go home after stopping to get the Rxs filled, and to stay in bed for at least a week, not even to take a shower (I stayed sick for over 2 months).
    When it was his turn he moaned like a little brat and the doctor told him to stop whining, that I was the one who was very ill. One of the Rxs was a medicine I learned was causing a lot of bad reactions, even death, so I told the doctor I probably wouldn’t be taking it, but he said he’d give me both scripts anyway just in case I changed my mind. Then as we drove to the drug store with a pen I crossed out the one Rx that I had researched and felt uncomfortable with. Just like that! the abuser, eyes drawn into slits, on the edge of foaming at the mouth, cut into me with his tongue, “WHAT do you think YOU’RE doing to that doctor’s notes?!!! I said, “I don’t want to take it, why waste money on filling it.” He continued to snarl at me and shake his head in disgust.
    One day, after months and months of doctors’ visits, and the doctors couldn’t figure why I was so sick, hopelessness was setting in. I told the abuser that I was beside myself with worry. I leaned against his shoulder (he didn’t initiate any means of comforting me), he then said, “You’re despairing, huh.” With my head down, tears streaming down my face, I nodded, “Yes”… He then–barely–put his arms around me and said—“it will be o.k.” But deep down I got the vibes he was *glad* I was despairing. It also dawned on me, “my abuser was my rescuer.” The “rescues” were really only a shadow of caring, to make sure he appeared to care and they only came when I was at my wits end in any given situation.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Wisdom here

    • Anon1

      There’s a pattern of hurt and rescue, build up and destroy, that is common with abusers. Throughout it all, they are in complete control, deciding when each phase begins and ends. The victim disintegrates all along, and with each cycle the victim’s state is worsened.
      Abuse makes the victim sick. Toxic stress. Stress kills and abuse is probably the most toxic and stressful thing to be inflicted on a victim. It’s deadly, even if the victim continues breathing as the victim’s mind, spirit, wellness, vitality, etc. is killed.
      The “rescues” are designed to keep the victim hooked, ambivalent, hoping for some sort of end to the abuse, or lessening of the abuse, second-guessing themselves about whether the abuser really is that bad, ………………………..
      It’s all one big mind-mucking. Lives are irreparably messed up and ruined with these sicko abusers feeding on their prey. Hoping the best for you, Anne, and all others who are still being victimized, or were victimized and the shattered lives, psyches, health, etc. they must try and patch up somehow.

      • Anne

        Yes Anon1, abusers are sickos and they know exactly what they are doing. Once you get away from them everything comes into focus, you see his actions exactly for what they were. and it becomes alarming that you were being consumed in a “full blaze of hate”, but by God’s grace made it out. I believe God can transform every horrible thing the abuser did to me and bring “beauty for ashes.”

      • Anne

        [Victim’s] lives do get messed up, but I believe not irreparably, because God is in the business of transformation.

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