Rom 16:17-19 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (19) For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
In the soon to be four decades in which I have been a pastor, I have seen the visible church become more like a den of robbers than the body of Christ. What would you experience if you checked into a robbers’ den? A thieves’ hideout? Oh it looked good on the outside – a nice place to stay you thought. But inside? Well, you were preyed upon. Not prayed upon. Preyed upon. Beaten. Robbed. Turns out the place was filled with the wicked.
I don’t need to tell most all of you who follow this blog that this is precisely what happens to oppressed, abused people in their local churches. Preyed upon. Beaten. Robbed. Like some horror movie script, the pastor and saints turn out to be on the devil’s side and protect the evil oppressor instead of rescuing the victim.
As a result, I am concluding that the real church, that body of believers who really are believers, are scattering. And has that not been the case down through the history of the church? Christ’s flock is scattered by wicked shepherds.
Jer 10:21 For the shepherds are stupid and do not inquire of the LORD; therefore they have not prospered, and all their flock is scattered.
Jer 23:2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD.
The times – they are a-changin. I used to tell people “be sure you plug into a local church.” Now, I don’t know where to send them in most cases. Recently I spoke with a man I had never met before and in the course of our conversation I told him about this blog and the work I do to expose evil abusers in the church and help their victims. He said “That is the problem I have with the church. My wife’s father is a well-known, popular pastor. But he abused all his kids horribly all the time they were growing up.” I suspect that man may well have been a Christian, but he and his wife have been scattered by false shepherds.
My own congregation is very small here locally. But we take much encouragement from knowing that many, many more believers are really part of our church though they live all over the country and even the world. And most all of them are not in a local church. Why? Evil shepherds have scattered them.
This business has become so widespread that I conclude this: the majority of the true church, Christ’s remnant, is probably going to be found outside the walls of local churches. And if that be the case, then this whole mechanism we call social media and the internet is a gift from God. The scattered flock can be fed, led beside still waters, and their souls restored.
Jer 23:14-16 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.” (15) Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.” (16) Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.
One day the Lord is going to come. He is going to gather all of us who have been scattered. On that day His true church will be seen by all and the counterfeits will be put out of sight forever.
Until then, do not be surprised if you must, more often than not, go “outside the temple” to find Jesus.
We’re in the catacombs.
Excellent post, Pastor Crippen!
However, it is a very, very sad, but true assessment of the condition of the “church.” Going to church is not an option for me due to several reasons, including those you cited above. I was ignored and abandoned by two different churches who knew me and my ex and the fact that he tried to kill me by strangulation. In fact, I saw 2 people out in public from the first church who knew what happened and they asked how I was doing. When I replied, “Not good,” they just turned and walked away without saying a word. That was awful and very painful.
Many of the churches in my area knew us and I cannot imagine walking into any of them at this point. The first question would be, “Where’s Alexander?” (not his real name) The reality of what happened would not be well received or dealt with according to Scripture if they knew. The last person I told replied by saying, “Life happens. I still have the highest respect for you and Alexander.” How that man could say that is beyond me. Apparently, a “Christian” man strangling his wife was not a big deal to him. The church has really lost the basic decency and integrity that Jesus taught if it was ever part of their world view.
I used to feel bad about not going into a church building for worship and fellowship, but I am way past that. I worship the Lord at home on a daily basis and, thanks to you, other Internet resources and my personal Bible study times, I continue to grow in understanding of Scripture.
I keep connected to the true church with several genuine believers who have stood by my side through enormous, horrific trauma and they still encourage, pray for and love me now as I continue to recover and regain my strength in the Lord. Of course, the Lord is my number one source of strength and support. He is my Rock and the Healer of my heart, mind and spirit. I am much more spiritually and emotionally healthy now than I was with my ex and I thank God every day for that.
By the way, the man I recently told about what happened is a pastor at a church in the same state where I live. I have known him and his wife for many years. Unbelievable…
Here in Oregon a couple of years ago an elder in a supposed “Bible” church murdered his wife and children and then killed himself. The “church” members interviewed by the news media and online all said what “a wonderful Christian man” he was and they just couldn’t understand what went wrong. They held a funeral service for all members of that family, including the murderer, together and pronounced them all healed and in heaven together. They call that God’s grace. Myself and God’s Word call it the heresy of universal salvation (sin all the more so grace can abound), a false gospel, pronounced anathema by the Lord.
Count me in as a scattered sheep. And as part of the “Church of the Internet’s True Shepherds (and Followers) of the REAL JESUS” which minister to abuse victims and survivors. Such as this priceless blog and those of other advocates for abuse victims’ within the church and other AWOKE ministers. Also Pastor Crippen’s and others’ sermons educating about and exposing the tactics of abusers and evil wearing christian costumes.
I grew up in a family of professing christians with several original “shepherds” who are now ordained christian ministers and elders. Their “mantra” was always and still is exactly what you referred to, Pastor. Sinning continually? Intentionally? Repeatedly? No change in one’s sin behavior or their stony heart or no evidence of ANY change after the Holy Spirit supposedly took up residence in one’s heart upon one’s “salvation”? Not a hint of evidence of “FRUIT” of salvation after repeating the Sinner’s Prayer after being spoonfed the words by these “shepherds” (“Say this after me…”) who, by the way, harbored MUCH secret sin in their own lives (not so secret though!)
The answers to all these questions?⬇️
No problemo!! Grace covers it all!! God doesn’t care about your sin anymore!! He doesn’t even see it!! He doesn’t care about His people being holy and not being in bondage to sin or darkness anymore!! You’re FREE TO SIN FREELY NOW!! Hooray!! Congratulations!! You’ve gotten a “forever free pass” into heaven no matter what you do or don’t do!! You are going to heaven because you said the Sinner’s Prayer!! That’s ALL IT TAKES!! You didn’t even have to mean the words you repeated after me or even believe them. You said them. Good enough.
THAT’S the “Good News/Gospel” they spread. It sickens me. A “clan/cult” of predators, perverts, utter counterfeits, ravenous wolves and Holy Hypocrites galore were the “fruit” of that abomination “Gospel”.
My abuser parents kept up physically, verbally and mentally abusing all of us children FREELY. Father sold porn (“home business”) and was addicted to watching hours of porn daily and was a sexual deviant in our home FREELY-all in front of us children (along with enabling mother they both were covert and overt sexual incest child abusers to us too). This perversion all still goes on. The evil that was taught by these false shepherds produced such widespread wickedness, enabling and covering up of heinous abuses within their own family. It proliferated because of their false teachings!!
They always did and still now stand with the known wolves and predators-not their victims ever. And they worked their way up the ladder within their visible WILLFULLY BLIND local churches. Discernment? They’ve never heard of it. It’s like everyone who is in contact-even their respective church leadership/pastors..-with this wolf/predator clan/cult must have something to hide in their own lives such that they won’t expose what they know to be abominations to God being tolerated and taught as A-OK within their flocks. Instead they PROMOTED THE FALSE SHEPHERDS! Ministers and elders now!
the Imprecatory Psalms here!!
LORD ALMIGHTY, YOU’VE SEEN IT ALL. MY WHOLE LIFE. I ASK YOU TO PLEASE ARISE FROM YOUR HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS THRONE OF JUSTICE SOON AND BREAK THE ARMS OF THE WICKED!! CRUSH THE EVILDOERS!! TURN THEIR EVIL DONE TO YOUR CHILDREN BACK ONTO THEIR OWN HEADS!! MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR SUDDENLY!!
I pray these for relief from the evil I continue to face from all of this family of cultists. Because I dared to expose the abusers. And called the police. And I called out the “ministers and elders” and other relatives who KNOW THE TRUTH AND COVER IT UP-even lying for the abusers all their lives.
They all still believe they are on their way to heaven because they said the Sinner’s Prayer many decades ago-as I was being horrifically abused by parents and it was and still is known to all of the false shepherds. And the wolves are being told by those same false shepherds that their eternal life is SAFE.
Because “grace, you know”-it allows sin to abound even more. No consequences on earth or in eternity. And oh, yes, you recited the Sinner’s Prayer once way back.So, “Sin freely!!
Heresy., for sure, Pastor.
Great great post.
Z – we are working on (I may have mentioned this already) making the blog become more of a….well, church I guess you would say. So that believers with no church can not only come here and read the articles and comment, but see our Sunday morning sermons (we are working on adding video to Sermon Audio) at least by Sunday evenings, and to see and participate monthly in the communion service. Prayer requests could be announced. The fact is that after 26 years of church ministry here, the real outreach and reception has not been locally – though believe me we have tried and tried. No, the fields white for harvest you might say, the need being met, has been ministering to victims of abuse and exposing abusers and churches that support abusers. So why not do all we can to enable all of you who would desire to do so to be able to say, “Yes, I am part of a church. It is Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook, Oregon and here are the ministries we do: preaching and teaching God’s Word, believing and validating abuse victims, admonishing the wicked, sending books to abuse victims who cannot afford them, and sometimes taking up a special offering to help an abuse victim who has nothing or no one. Anyway, we are working on this and will keep everyone posted. The fact is that the “congregation” of Christ Reformation Church is far more than 30 people and it really helps us all if we know that.
According to Sermon Audio monthly reports, it appears that about 250 people every week download the sermon for that week. And several thousand each month are listening to sermons and sermon series that we have on Sermon Audio.
Wow. This counts as the first time I’ve heard a faithful Christian say these things. I adore this post! I felt as though perhaps I was alone in this. I’d written a post called The Church in Question awhile back that echoes this profoundly unheard of proposal. Commendations pastor!
Thank you Leanne. Sheep without shepherds, ravenously preyed upon by false shepherds. That has been the pattern down through biblical history and we are not wise if we think that it could not be happening in our own day.
AL emailed this comment to me:
Hear Hear! I was saved into a charismatic fellowship. Much nonsense ensued. Gothardism, Shepherding movement. Then, in a brethren fellowship, New age meditation introduced on the women’s retreat. I challenged that because I worked with an apologetics ministry; I got falsely accused of gossip. That pastor’s wife who asked me if I had an open mind is now a proponent of Lectio Divinia while her husband is head of a large denomination — whose ordination was done with great pomp. I was heartbroken from the whole conflict and quietly left.
Then I went to another church. Delighted and refreshed I was — until our pastor went to growth conferences and the church became Seeker Sensitive/Purpose Driven. Sermons became shallow so behind the scenes there was Book ‘O the Month club. But their revenues were great! I got patted on the head for not knowing about Listening/soaking prayer. Got told to squelch perfectly good initiatives and things I wrote were relegated to the background. A relative suffered in an abuse scandal. My child was pressured to get baptized when expressing reservations. I quietly left, with no one asking after me.
For a few years I kept trying to go to women’s bible studies at different churches. Some good eggs but a LOT of covert unbelievers. So good to know about narcissistic personality disorder and its variations, it is invaluable for spotting some of the false believers. One would think that narcissists would be few at introspective bible studies, but they are everywhere, from the door greeter all the way up to the highest levels. No one should get an automatic pass in your mind before proving themselves.
One of my friends from the old days invited me to his home study for ex-cultists. I felt right at home there as narcissism is the root of cults. One of the things we do is study doctrine at the library and comfort one another in our official and unofficial excommunications. What a difference when you find true believers! So refreshing.
Is the internet/blogosphere a modern day version of the catacombs?
The Catacombs: A Place of hiding and Worship For the Early Church
The catacombs were underground rooms and passageways that served as mausoleums in which the ancient Romans buried their dead. When the persecutions began and intensified under Nero, the Christians found that they could retreat into these labyrinthine networks of tunnels to escape the notice or pursuit of Roman soldiers or citizens wishing to turn them in to the authorities. The Early Church developed a vast support network and series of hiding places based on the catacombs.
Today, the Catacombs attract visitors from all over the world. The Christian Church spread throughout the world largely as a result of the persecutions by the Romans. The faithful come to see the places where the early ssaints gathered and the students of history to marvel at the sheer extent of these massive underground galleries and chambers.
Stormy – well if the internet isn’t completely that yet, it could well be one day. For now the fact that so many people are not able to find a real church is certainly driving them to find alternative places to fellowship and worship. I have always been very conservative, very traditional you might say, in supporting the local church, telling people to get into a local church, etc. But that has changed. Now I tell them that sure, if there is a true church with at least a leadership of real Christians, by all means go. I don’t think any of us want to be just reactionary rebels who just want to buck traditional forms because we have an attitude. But nevertheless even for myself as a pastor, my primary source of fellowship and contact with believers besides those in our small church here, is the internet. Not with denominational conferences and so on.
I would watch your church service online. As I sit in church every Sunday I pull out my phone and read your blog, sometimes I watch your online sermons too. When the pastor starts going off on hyper grace or how “we’re all sinners” or the cringe worthy statement —when he calls everyone in the church a hypocrite. I pull out my phone and google Pastor Crippen. I also read your blog during the worship service.
The words to the songs can sometimes teach false doctrine that has been used to enslave domestic violence victims: we should die for Jesus, turn the other check, love your enemies. All great teachings in proper context, but all have been twisted to hurt victims.
Also the music ministry is extremely cliquish and exclusionary ( I’m a vocalist whose been excluded for no good reason) its hard to watch.
Yes, it has been said “when the devil fell, he landed in the choir loft.” Ha! Well I have sure seen some devils in “worship team” positions before that’s for sure. And yes, there are bad hymns. Some are very sentimental and make people emotional but they are extremely shallow or just plain false in doctrine.
We won’t be able to put our entire service on Sermon Audio because they don’t allow music (copyright problems and all that), but we will brainstorm and see what alternatives we can come up with. Maybe somehow we can put the printed order of service on the blog and we can tell everyone what hymn books we use.
Oo.. I’m excited. Count me in! I, and my family, are of the 250 each week and am constantly sharing links!:) I keep several copies of your books in my trunk too. The Lord has passed out several over the past couple of years. 🙂 It would be awesome to get a more specific time and video also! I’ll be there! (Btw..If you also notice an abundance of hits on the site until it’s uploaded each week too, that’s me eagerly clicking..lol) p.s. I always thought it would be awesome to know.do.see the outline or what’s involved in Sunday School and Bible studies also. 🙂 Have a super day everyone!
Eagerlabs- thank you! We will keep everyone informed and try to get everything set up as soon as possible. Won’t be long.
Pastor, I can’t tell you how thrilled and encouraged I am to know you are working on an “Internet-based Church”!! Especially one geared towards the needs of abuse victims. As many have already said, “COUNT ME IN!!”
Most who comment here and many others have read your books, are already following your blog, teachings and sermons as our only “church”. It would be great to have the process more ‘formalized’, if you will.
I love all the ideas you expressed like video of the sermons, communion participation, prayer requests, outlines/programs,..LOVE IT!
Alright! Thx Z. We will get things going as soon as we can.
To elaborate on the dysfunction in some music ministries in large evangelical Baptist churches I’d like to briefly share my story.
It relates to abusers in many ways and sheds light on unjust circumstances and the lack of character found in church leadership. Many of us have encountered this in various forms. This is just one observation.
As a Christian we are admonished by most pastors to use our talents to serve the lord. When we don’t offer them (anyone with a conscious) feels convicted.
It was this conviction that drove me to offer up my talents and let the music minister know of my experience. I’ve sung professionally for large crowds. I’ve received monetary compensation for my performances, years of voice lessons and much live performance experience with all sorts of bands and orchestras. My abilities, reputation, faithfulness, appearance, wardrobe, personality etc. were not questionable in any way.
During my meeting with the Lead music pastor he laid a heavy burden on me with parameters to be followed in order to be added to the ever revolving door of praise team members.
1. I had to attend 2-3 Sunday services
2. I had to attend every Wednesday choir practice.
3. After I auditioned for him in his office he sent me away to learn more harmony parts.
I learned the harmony parts and I faithfully adhered to attendance requirements. I was not boasting in my talent at all.
As I faithfully attended each choir practice and attempted to achieve perfect attendance all the while raising my kids and having a full time job.
I noticed that the praise team members that were chosen to sing on Sunday morning were
1.Never in choir practice.
2. I seldom saw them in attendance at church or practice at all.
3. Most of the praise team was comprised of very attractive 20 something females.
4. The music minister was seen chatting it up, laughing and thoroughly enjoying the attention he received from attractive members of the praise team.
4. The music minister is married yet he was reveling in the attention he was getting from other women.
5. The praise team was an ever revolving door of all sorts of people with limited abilities. No offense to the singers but Their ability to do harmony was non existent.
Here I was trying to use the gifts god has given me in the church and I’m sent away because the
“ Godly ordained music minister wanted to surround himself with the attention of other women that were not his wife”
He could not be bothered by me. Yet he fawned over and made room in the praise band for others who did not meet the same attendance requirements and vocal challenges that he placed on me.
The music minister is fully aware of my abilities yet ignored them and rebuffed my offers so that he can be praised and worshipped by the younger folks that are awed by his charisma.
I was not asking to be featured. I was not asking to be paid, I was not asking to be the church choir diva,. I was simply expecting to be added into the ever evolving rotation of participants with voices and experience that were constantly being added to the praise team.
It’s really sad. Just another reason to leave the church.
Stormy – a wolf. And what was the head pastor doing all this time allowing this to happen! What you left wasn’t a church. There are soooo many of these fake places and one of the most common evidences of the counterfeit is seen in the so-called “worship team.” Glad you are out of there.
I was so discouraged and saddened by what I experienced on the heels of abuse suffered in previous church environments I never reported this behavior from the music minister to the pastor.
The music minister is a proud “Baylor” graduate.
Anyone can google “Baylor rape sexual abuse scandal” and see the culture in these Christian colleges that produce these guys.
In addition in this part of the country having a degree from Baylor lands you a spot in the exclusive club. A Baylor degree raises their status in the eyes of others. It’s really a crazy cultural observation that makes me want to puke!
Good luck showing the Lord a Baylor diploma on judgment day.
Thanks again for the inside scoop
That Baylor rape plea deal was so horrible. The guy had to have come from money — who gets a plea deal like that? And if this is what the Christian college is churning out, what hope does any woman have in finding a man to marry who isn’t a predator, a batterer, or a rapist?
I really feel sorry for the current generation — with the internet age of porn changing and obscuring things even more. It’s not the guys who are victims, but rather the women. They have deal with these porn-addled male brains and their vile appetites.
God-fearing men — they are as rare as can be.
What I will do Is whip out my phone during the church service and listen to your sermon and re-read your blog posts and listen to any online postings that are available. I still feel the need to go to church on Sunday but gosh the wolves make me wanna run away!!
You are hilarious Pastor Crippen! Love your comment -good luck showing your Baylor diploma to Jesus on judgment day. That is so good. I want to say that to their faces. Maybe someday I will.
I never imagined I’d not be in a church, but that’s the case. When I was first betrayed by a pastor, with the evildoers being obviously sided with, it felt as though the ground had forever fallen out from underneath me. Now, I can see it as symptomatic of how abusers groom others and patriarchy.
It’s not just me, either, so I no longer need to take it so personally. And with the internet, church can happen in a variety of ways. How wonderful a use of the internet! So much of the internet’s use is negative, harmful, damaging, and evil, but in this case — having the unchurched remnant still come together and have some sort of fellowship in Christ — it’s a wonderful blessing.
JimmyHinton.com’s podcast of a week or so ago talks about survivors who cannot go to church anymore because of trauma responses. Hence, the internet, sermonaudio.com and this blog.
I’m done with any shame of not being currently churched in a traditional sense. If anything, I think we who worship privately and on our own are doing well — since we surely aren’t putting on our Sunday best to be seen at the morning church service for applause from others — if it works to go into the brick and mortar churches, by all means, good. But for those of us internet church people, I’m really glad you’re doing what you do, Pastor Crippen and TWBTC.