Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Come Out From Them and Be Separate – "But He's Your Husband"

2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

I once had a target of an abuser tell me how her pastor and other members of her church and her parents were pressuring her to remain married to her abuser. They were giving her the usual gibberish about divorce not being permitted by God, do a better job submitting to him, and all the typical lines used by the usual suspects in these cases.
Her response to them was classic:

If my husband were any other person who does the evil things he does, you would be telling me to have nothing to do with him. He is the very kind of person a Christian is not to be bound together with.

Many of you have caught this same kind of pressure when you were dealing with some other abuser who was, say, a close relative. “Well yes, she is a very difficult person, but she is your mother/sister/grandmother….”.  If that abuser were anyone else besides a relative, they would never be insistent that you maintain a relationship with such an evil person.
So why is it that marriage or bad luck of the draw in a close relative negates wisdom? Why are we supposedly bound to stay in relationship with evil when it is “all in the family?” There are several reasons, but I can tell you the chief one. It is because if you will keep on taking the blows dealt you by the evil person, life is easier for everyone else. Your pastor can boast that he preserved a “marriage.” Church members don’t have to admit that evil has crept in among them. Family members can keep pretending that their family is intact. And, of course, all of this is energized by the lies of the abuser himself. Lies that blame and accuse and guilt YOU.
So let me reiterate this gem of wisdom in question form, put to everyone who pressures an abuse victim to keep on keeping on in the status quo misery:

If this abuser were anyone else besides a relative by marriage or by chance of birth, would you not tell your children or your sister to stay away from him entirely? Why then are you insisting that she remain in intimate, familial relationship with this evil instead of helping her do what the Lord tells us – come out from among them and be separate?



Domestic Abuser Intervention Programs Don't Work – Don't Get Drawn in by Them


"God Can Save Anyone" – A Common Line Used to Keep Abuse Victims in Bondage


  1. Gay

    I have shared this with our pastor and my long history of living with abuse and rising above it. He’s teaching us how to counsel others.
    I hope he reads your posts. He says,”God can change anyone even a pedophile”
    I fear too many self proclaimed Christian counselors send victims right back to be further abused by such counseling. I fear for the victims and told the pastor just that. Bless you for your work. It’s meant the world to me and others I can now help because of your clear teachings. If you want to read my long letter to my pastor let me know and I’ll share it with you via email.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Would love to read it Gay. Thank you. Oh yes, “God can change anyone even a pedophile.” That same old line. God cannot and will not save anyone who is unbelieving and unrepentant. God cannot save Esau, for instance. Or Pharaoh. Or the people described in Hebrews 6:4-6 for whom repentance is impossible because they have knowingly despised Christ. So these pastors and churches and counselors who spew this false teaching of “God can save anyone” end up, as you say, enabling the wicked and adding to the oppression of the victims.

  2. cindy burrell

    Thank you, Pastor Crippen, for identifying the basic truth in this section of Scripture. It’s stunning how ungodly marriages – and other toxic familial relationships – are so often deemed exempt from its practical application!

  3. walkinginlight

    God can indeed change and deliver a person from their evil. But the problems is MOST ABUSERS ENJOY BEING EVIL AND DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE. A wise Christian counselor once said “Jesus died for all sinners, but He did not die for unrepentant sinners.” The evil must be dug out by the roots and the only one qualified to do that is the Lord. If the evil doer truly cries out to Jesus with their whole heart and really means it. Like Pastor Crippen has stated many times this is very rare as they don’t want to give up their control. Why can’t these Christian “helpers” understand this simple concept?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Good words walkinginlight! The counseling industry feeds on “redemption.” If people like abusers aren’t redeemable then they don’t need counseling. Thus the counseling folks keep insisting that they can help anyone.

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