I have now been a pastor for nearly 36 years. There have been many times in this stretch of over 3 decades that I though I should “move on” to another career, or at least times of deep regret that I ever left my job as a police officer. I have missed the camaraderie of the uniform and to some degree still do.
I was a police officer on a Friday (after 14 years in law enforcement) and a pastor in the mountains of Montana just two days later. My family and I packed up our goods and headed out on the new adventure after I finished up my theological studies in graduate school.
I loved Montana. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, firewood cutting, the mountains and the lakes. Step out our door and fish in the stream. Oh sure, we didn’t have hardly any money, but this place felt like home – for a short time.
The problem wasn’t Montana. Nope. The problem was the church. Or more specifically, the majority of the people who made up that church. As I look back, I now realize that only a handful of them were genuine believers. Over the next 8 years I experienced constant friction, constant tension, repeated blowups, efforts to destroy the church by evil people, and more.
It would be the same in two more churches for the next 20 plus years.
We now have peace in our church where I have been the pastor since 1983. It wasn’t always peace here by any means. But peace was finally reached when we, by the Lord’s Word and Spirit, became wise as serpents about evil and innocent as doves in regard to it. You can read my story, which really is our story (the real believers who faithfully stood for Christ all these years) in my book, A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church.* My second book, for which this blog is named, continues the story of this exposure of evil that is without doubt in YOUR church as well – Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church*.
This series of articles (see the links below) is written for everyone, but specifically for pastors like me who wonder – “Is this really Christ’s church? How in the world am I ever going to last? I feel so often like just loading everything up, driving out of this town, and never coming back.” Well, I can tell you that if you are going to last, if your church is going to be the real flock of Christ, then you, like me, have to get wise about evil. And I can assure you that becoming educated regarding how the wicked domestic abuser operates, how he thinks, and how he hides in your church, turns out to be the key to wising up about the wicked Diotrephes type people in your church who work to undermine and destroy your ministry.
So read, and be wise. May the Lord bless you and direct you in His way,
Wisdom for Pastors Series
Pt 1 – Dealing with Domestic Abuse
Pt 2 – Believing and Responding to Victims
Pt 3 – Avoid being deceived by the abuser, put him out
Pt 4 – What a Pastor Should Not Say to an Abuse Victim
Pt 5 – We have compromised the gospel and filled pews with unregenerate people
Pt 6 – Not all sinners are the same
Pt 7 – Expose evil and remove it
Pt 8 – Cognitive dissonance hinders pastors from giving justice
Pt 9 – Resist showing partiality to the “men’s club”
*Amazon Affiliate link: See top menu bar for Amazon disclaimer
THANK YOU, Pastor Crippen, for the deep, Godly wisdom you’ve shared and for the extensive work you put into creating this series for pastors.
I have long hoped you’d put together something like this so I can forward it to the “wayward” christian pastors (and church staff and even christian congregants) who handled the horrible abuses I reported to them in all the WRONG ways you describe in these articles.
They indeed preached and displayed to me a false, perverted gospel other than Christ’s TRUE Gospel-a warped, diluted, selective, more convenient one for THEM,. One which they are more comfortable with concerning abuse in their churches. In my case, even christian leaders in church authority where there is abuse in their own “christian’ family. My abusers’ have 2 ordained ministers and a church elder in their family who are among their chief enablers/coverup allies. They have also enlisted as their allies many other “christians” who know the truth and stand either on the sidelines silent about what they know or actually arrogantly stand by the abuser’s side. Avoiding/shunning/smearing the inconvenient victim. Even causing me to be more abused and harmed until I decided it was enough. Choosing to be “duped” but not really duped at all. Just cowards and liars. Certainly no fruit of regenerate lives lived in the Spirit being displayed. And they have no fear of the Scriptural spiritual consequences of doing these things! BECAUSE they are preaching or hearing a FALSE gospel!
They and so many other pastors and church leaders and even Christians NEED to read your clear, no-nonsense, insightful, Scriptural and real life evidence-based articles in this series and then allow the Holy Spirit to reach them/teach them in their willful ignorance or, worse, their hardened prideful hearts. And then repent. For real. Maybe for the first time for some.
Z – In some ways I wrote this series for abuse victims even more than for pastors. I have found very, very few pastors who will even start to listen. But maybe there is one here and there who is confused, as I used to be, about the incongruency between what we have been taught in church and seminaries and books and what we see the Bible saying. Such a person could well be helped by this series.
It rafely surprises me anymore, but still greatly saddens me to see and hear the prolific lack of discernment and wisdom within much of Christendom. I had to go through relational, emotional, mental and spiritual hell to earn my D&W stripes, but finally recognizing the absolute necessity in life—especially Christian life—of having them, I am greatful to my Lord that I shall not go to my death without them. In His Grace and Mercy, He fills my life with opportunities to share with others what discernment and wisdom have taught me. For those opportunities, I would trade nothing.
Krikit – and that wisdom is in very short supply today. We need more and more people like you who have their eyes opened. I have found that when these truths are preached and taught, the false sheep scatter. And that is a very good thing for the real flock.
I would like to forward this to my ex who is a pastor and hospice chaplain. I don’t think he would take it too well coming from me!