A victim of a very deceitful, habitually lying abuser shared an interaction she had with the pastor of a church she and the abuser attended. We thank her very much for allowing us to publish what this pastor told her. As is so typical, you see here the incredible arrogance such false shepherds have and the refusal to acknowledge his ignorance about the very evils he insists that the victim submit to his counsel upon.
Here are the highlighted points of the enslaving lies the “pastor” laid upon her, followed by my comments:
1) “What is your end goal, best case scenario?” Here, in this “harmless” sounding opening question, the pastor is already trying to make the victim say that divorce for abuse is not an option and that her goal must be to stay in the marriage.
2) “Because God’s heart is for your marriage you will feel a bit of a burden.” These men play the role of Mr. Spirituality and we see this in the pastor’s words here. What does such a statement even mean? It really means nothing but is designed to present a lie in pious sounding language that deceives the victim. The Bible does not use language like this. Translated, this statement means “God requires you to remain in your marriage no matter what and if you are following His will and hearing Him, then you would feel a burden for your marriage and husband and you would stay in it.”
3) “I understand your marriage is toxic and a struggle. We know God’s heart is for marriage. Your struggles sound hard, but I don’t believe in divorce.” Incredible deceptive lies here, couched in the claim that the pastor is speaking for God. He is not. He says that God requires her to remain in a poisonous relationship and forbids divorce. “You must obey God and you must obey me” is what he is telling her.
4) “Will you do marriage counseling with your husband? Have you discussed it before? Here is the value of biblical counseling: there is accountability and lying will be exposed and confronted. Counseling brings the issues to the surface.” Only rank ignorance will employ couples counseling in a domestic abuse case. This supposed “biblical” counselor is arrogantly setting himself above all other authorities. He will not expose the lies of the abuser. He will be deceived by the abuser and in addition he will accuse the victim.
5) “My approach is what God says. It will be clear if a person is not willing to do what God has called you to do. I don’t have the full picture of what has gone on in your life. I know God’s Word is powerful and what will hinder things is you and [your husband’s] unwillingness to submit to God’s Word.” Just like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day who claimed God had sent them to speak His Word when He had not, this pastor is claiming prophetic authority for himself. “What I say is what God says. You must listen to and obey me.” Once again here he accuses the victim of sin and unwillingness to obey God.
6) “Couples counseling would expose his (the abusive husband’s) deceit.” Couples counseling will enable the abuser’s deceit. This pastor is like the false exorcists of whom the devil’s demons said “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” The pastor has no concept of abuse and its tactics, but claims he is an authority.
7) “What is the ultimate goal here? #1 Goal is that we have to honor the Lord and make much of Christ. Honor the Lord the most. Ministering by a believing wife; instead of saying ‘I can’t do it.’ You have a long history of a difficult marriage. It’s not broken beyond repair…What does it mean to honor the Lord, knowing God’s heart is for marriage? God wants reconciliation.” Beware of this kind of pious gibberish talk. It is worse than meaningless. These are the words of an out and out false prophet who is declaring “thus saith the Lord.” God Himself does not reconcile with the wicked and unrepentant.
8) “You were not in a church holding to the authority of God’s Word. You are now. My counsel to you now is to put the process [filing for divorce] on halt. Start the counseling. I don’t think divorce can be the end. So much momentum in place. You don’t grow close through divorce papers. Put it on hold. Revisit God speaking to you. Allow the church to play an active role in your life. [Your husband] said that he would be willing to do marriage counseling. I really think that that is your best option.” This pastor may as well start wearing a Pope’s costume because he is claiming that he and his “church” are infallible. “Allow the church to play an active role in your life” is really saying “you will do what I say or God’s wrath will be upon you.” And once more he is accusing the victim of being the problem.
9) “…Without grounds for divorce it [divorce] becomes a sinful thing – rebelling and not doing it God’s way. Even if [your husband] never changed God would call you to remain in the marriage. [There are] 0nly a few reasons allowed for divorce. There are two choices: keep proceeding with divorce or actually pursue reconciliation. Let’s work hard. Unless we do something different it will end in divorce. Even if it doesn’t get better, divorce is not permissible.” Lies. A lying prophet. No matter what the abuser does, this “shepherd” claims, God commands the victim to keep submitting to the abuse. This is the classic claim of these kind of “biblical” counselors. Black and white. Either…or. And the victim’s own sin is a big part of the whole trouble.
10) “I have counseled your husband to get active in the church. Let’s continue to be prayerful about things. Presently going in the direction of divorce, which is utterly opposed to God’s command in Scripture, is utterly opposed to God’s command in Scripture. Open rebellion against God’s clear command in Scripture. We can’t ignore the clear teaching of Scripture; even in a hard situation.” Huh? Here is a wicked, evil man parading as a Christian. And this “pastor” is encouraging him to “get active in the church.” Does not God’s Word plainly say that we are to put evil out from among us? Of course it does. He accuses the victim of “open rebellion” for filing for divorce. In other words, he is receiving the abuser into the church and threatening to expel the victim. He continues to speak as if he were a chosen prophet of God.
11) “I am going to pray and we will talk again later. Prayer: ‘My heart is burdened by the hurt of the [victim]. The resurrection power can transform her husband and marriage. There is value in the shadow of death. Convict her [the victim’s] heart to submit to your Word. That couples’ counseling becomes a reality. That she [the victim] will submit to you. Grant her wisdom.” His prayer is a lie. He is not burdened for the hurt of the victim. He has no concept of that hurt and he does not want to understand it. Once more we have the meaningless language couched in piety. “Resurrection power can transform…”. What does that even mean, we would ask this lying prophet. “There is value in the shadow of death.” Huh? He must be reading some mystic pietist’s writings as they whip their back and starve in a cave in the desert. And then of course still another accusation that the victim’s heart is sinning.
Do you see how the devil’s spokesmen love to use “Bible talk” that isn’t Bible at all? What I mean is that when you encounter people who put on the God-talk like this pastor does, we must realize that we are dealing with someone who is putting on a disguise that is meant to fool us. They are setting themselves up to be of a higher spiritual rank than anyone else so that no matter what they say, we must believe them. This is the enemy’s work and we must be wise to it.
One time not long ago a man came into one of our Sunday worship services. Afterward he approached me and said he was a local pastor on “sabbatical” for a year, during which God had “called” him to meet with all the local pastors and “wash the feet of the saints.” Now, first of all, most of the local pastors here are unregenerate people “shepherding” unregenerate flocks. They are not churches at all. Yet this man doesn’t question that fact. God has sent him to “wash the feet of the saints.”
And I knew he was a fraud. God had not sent him at all. That fact was exposed clearly when I told him about our ministry to victims of abusers who are hiding in churches, pointed him to my books and told him that if he really wanted to encourage me and our church, to go home and read those books and then come back and talk about this particular evil. Oh no. Such things are not for him. He does not involve himself in such “controversial” subjects you see. And we never saw him again. Good.
Whenever you have some supposed Christian pastor or “biblical counselor” talking like the false shepherd this lady encountered, you can know that you are free to walk away, to refuse his demands, and know that the Lord authorizes you to escape your abuser and walk into freedom. These false prophets have no authority over us.
Col 2:18-23 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (19) and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (20) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– (21) “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (22) (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? (23) These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Update: After the encounter with this church’s bullying pastor, the victim has left that church. Some time after the victim left, the abuser husband was baptized at that church and has since been self-righteously pressing the victim with the narrative “Are you following God’s will?” In essence his messaging is parroting what the pastor said in #5 of the above highlights. And in a recent letter to the victim the abuser (as a new ‘convert’ who loves to use “bible talk”) went beyond the question to outright accusing her of sin and unwillingness to obey God. Fortunately now the victim is attending a new church where the pastor understands her circumstance.