Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

There are Wolves Out There Parading as Christian Advocates of Abuse Victims – Beware!

Tit 1:10-11  For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  (11)  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
1Ti 6:3-5  If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,  (4)  he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,  (5)  and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
1Ti 1:3-4  As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,  (4)  nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

I am compelled to sound still another warning to everyone I can, especially to people who have been targets of abuse and who are looking for help. Just as there are scammers who prey upon the vulnerable of all kinds, there are false victim advocates/counselors who are out to prey on victims. Wicked people, as you know, often start online scams to get money supposedly to support the familes of murder victims and so on. Pure evil.

But here is the kind of person I really, really, really want to warn you all about and I really, really, really, hope you will listen and take heed. I have seen the devastation this kind of person does to abuse victims and survivors. This is the person who parades as an advocate of abuse victims, but their only real purpose is to gain glory for themselves and/or to feed their wicked lusts after gaining the trust of the oppressed. 
Now, first of all, let me say that these kind of wolves are often extremely convincing. Their disguise is such that you are just certain they are genuine and in fact unusually gifted by the Lord. You will read their articles or their books and it is really good stuff! I once, for instance, heard a man pray in our worship service whose prayer was one of the best, the most saintly, the most theologically correct that I think I had ever heard to that point. But in reality, this man was evil. In a few months his true nature was revealed. He was not a Christian at all, let alone an eminently holy person. It was all a facade and his purpose was to creep into the church, gain people’s trust, get them to praise him, and to destroy the ministry.
You cannot always discern immediately what these people are. Thus we must all proceed with much caution and be hesitant to just throw our trust out to them. The devil himself is quite a good theologian you know and able to appear as an angel of glorious light. But he isn’t. He is the devil.
What are some red flag warnings that could indicate some “therapist” or “advocate” is a wolf?

  • A focus on “fixing” the abuser by some program the person has devised
  • A focus on weird things such as searching for some demonic or satanic abuse in the victim’s background
  • A focus on fixing YOU with some oddball new-age type program or retreat (for which you pay big bucks of course).
  • A male or female “advocate” who makes you feel uncomfortable by their body language or demeanor toward you
  • Signs that the person is self-centered and self-promoting

What are the experiences of abuse victims? That is to say, what are the issues that a genuine victim advocate will realize that the victim is experiencing and that she needs help with?

  • Met their abuser in a church or Bible college, has been confused by being abused by a “christian”
  • On the honeymoon the abuser showed his true colors, morphing from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde very quickly
  • Accusations, gaslighting, guilting, shaming
  • Patriarchy on steroids
  • “Churches” and “pastors” who side with the abuser
  • Health issues from continual stress and lack of sleep
  • Sexual abuse
  • Economic abuse

So, as the Apostle John tells us (1 John 4:1), test the spirits. Use discernment with God’s Word. And don’t disregard how a person makes you feel. Most of us can look back in our lives and see that the original uneasy feeling we had turned out to be true.

Col 2:18-19  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.



This is Why Most Pastors and Churches Ally with the Abuser


A Real Case of a Pastor Lording it Over an Abuse Victim


  1. walkinginlight

    Wonderful and informative information Pastor Crippen. Thanks so much!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Same back at you, walkinginthelight!

      • Eagerlabs

        Ditto! Spot on!:) Thank you so much for the many illustrations in how evil plays out. And more importantly to me, thanks for all of your sermons and God’s truth about it all and how He promises to take care of it.us ALL! 🙂 HE is faithful! Love you guys..we pray for the local and extra local every night!:)

    • Stormy

      Definitely true—we can identify true survivors and supporters by their understanding of the dynamics that occur with abusers in the church. The horrible, covert twisting of things that causes so much pain.
      The charlatans acknowledge nothing of the depths an evil doer will stoop to destroy its prey.
      They refuse to acknowledge evil and in fact embrace it.
      The victim is cast out while the devil, (wolf in sheep’s clothing) is embraced. The wolf with its fangs still dripping blood. Fresh from his attack. The wolf is supported, the congregants, even wipe the blood off his fangs. They provide comfort to the wolf and say peace to you my brethren.
      They are in a brotherhood of evil. Justice can’t come soon enough!

  2. Truthful and concise warning. Thank you for posting this. Since 2012 I’ve been attempting to heal — a particular ministry seems untouchable. One of their counselors made a very inappropriate comment. I quickly ended the conversation but the humiliation and triggering of past abuse has obviously not left me. At the time I did not proceed with a formal complaint because I felt no one would believe “little ole me” as a opposed to a counselor representing a very well known ‘C’hristian ministry. Definitely, a wolf.

  3. Mam Tez

    Covert control and intimidation behind the scenes which cannot be discerned by church leadership, has been very difficult for me to believe.
    I thank everyone who is trying to educate and equip God’s people in the area of spiritual abuse.

  4. gracemercyjoy

    A systemic problem for women that want, above all, to be good Christians is that that many cultist type churches groom females to not trust their minds or their discernment. Ultimately, the lie of that is that we don’t trust that when Jesus said my sheep hear my voice and they know my voice he meant women too. Told from birth that women brought on the fall because they are easily deceived by satan I was the last person in the room that would trust my mind, reason, or sensibilities. And I’d been told if I dared confront anything “satan is having his way with your mind” Imagine a pastor siding with your abuser telling you that after you’ve been trained to trust “spiritual authority” because you are a walking deception machine?
    If all the men in the room are in agreement with that and you are trained this is the Lord speaking to you through males, or husbands abusive or not, then don’t trust your mind because your heart is deceitful above all things. This is always applied to women in particular and the word “Jezebel spirit” to women that are studious and question things. This is the recipe to create the perfect victim we become prey because we walk into the spider’s web 1/2 way trained that gaslighting is actually spiritual authority doing a spiritual reality check to set your deceitful heart straight.
    Women that leave the church to escape abuse that are not aware they are still in that enslaved mindset then turn to the experts. In the secular and now religious world the experts are mental health counselors. They often reinforce the lie that your mind is your enemy and not trustworthy.
    However the one expert above all resides in their hearts as counselor and advocates.
    A spirit of love, power and a sound mind is what God gives his children, male and female. We turn to something so inferior when we turn to people instead of the truth in God’s word, the guidance or the counselor that inhabits us. Studying the bible in depth and asking for God’s guidance with a repentant and open heart to Him is the beginning of restoring an identity broken die by the lies of the enemy. Abuse survivors more than anything need a transformed mind to understand how powerful is the wisdom and guidance God would give them in healing and restoration. The suspicion is that if women really knew who they were in Christ, they would rise up in a spirit of rebellion and take over the church. In fact, if they really knew who they are in Christ, this world would be turned on its ear.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Gracemercyjoy- this is GOOD stuff! Thank you very, very much. True truth. I hope everyone here reads what you have said here very carefully.

      • gracemercyjoy

        Wouldn’t it be glorious if survivors and those that want to help them understood that the Word is living, powerful, discerning, divides the truth from the lies and would impart all that victims need for healing?
        Healing is a restoration of their identity in Christ–there isn’t a secular expert that can impart that. But Christ can and He will. And not just impart their own healing but enable them in the power of God’s might, armed with the weapons of spiritual warfare that defeat the lies of the enemy, to set others free. Isn’t that how God creates beauty out of ashes?
        I am saddened when I meet women (and I’ve been one) still triggered, broken and unhealed 20 years after the abuser is gone. Its not what God intends and despite spending all their living on wells that have no water, and answers from experts they remain thirsty and unhealed. Living water was available all along. Freedom, redemption, and a transformed mind was available all along, but we’ve promoted the counterfeit to that far to often by suggesting the gospel isn’t sufficient and we need more….
        Perhaps bible study 101 training is the first order of business for a survivor, and how to discern using the scriptures and prayer and who are we in Christ anyway? That knowledge is the source of healing, and it is protection from further abuse
        The point of domestic violence is to rip off the God given calling and identity of a Christian woman as an ambassador of Gods kingdom and powerful in the war against the captivity and bondage that abusers are at work trying to perpetrate. How does any disciple of Christ learn who they are in Him and how to live in the power he provides without discipleship? Discipleship with proven, godly Christ followers whose lifestyle demonstrates that they understand the meaning “in Christ alone, my hope is found”

        • Jeff Crippen

          And the vast majority of what is parading as discipleship isnt. It is simply the indoctrination in the traditions of man claiming to be God’s Word.

          • gracemercyjoy

            Yes this is true. One way to tell the doctrine of men, there is no sacrificial love for the victim, its all about my own personal Christian Disneyland . No one is going out of their way for the reject, the oppressed, the unwanted. They fatten themselves at the expense of starving sheep and if you are not popular or successful by the worlds standards they shove you out the door.

    • Jeff Crippen

      PS – there are MANY such cultist churches as you describe here.

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