Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

This is Why Most Pastors and Churches Ally with the Abuser

1Co 5:1-2  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.  (2)  And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you….1Co 5:6  Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

Recently I was corresponding with an abuse victim whose church was commanding her to remain married to her abuser “because Jesus calls us to stay in suffering.” In the course of our conversation I told her that this church was going to welcome her abuser into the church and end up rejecting her. I am no prophet. Nor am I brilliant. It’s just that after seeing this very scenario unfold countless times it becomes a pretty safe bet to tell someone what to expect. Not too long later she wrote back and said “you called it. Yep. They invited him to be in church.”
Why is it then that churches and pastors and people who we thought were our friends end up allying with the wicked man (or wicked woman if the wife is the abuser)?

There are probably more reasons than one, but I can tell you the chief reason. Here it is:

Most churches and all abusers want the same thing. They want the victim to remain in the abuse.

Their reasons are a bit different, but they want the same thing and they work toward the same common goal. As it was in Corinth, so it is in churches today. Arrogance. The pastors and church members want the victim to remain married to the abuser so that the church can boast (to the glory of God of course) that they have “fixed” and “restored” the marriage. Halleluha, praise God, they shout. Abusers of course want the victim stuck in the marriage because they demand power and control over the victim. I suppose they kick out some Halleluha’s too. Maybe we need to coin a word for devilish halleluhas?
So perhaps I should add a third fundamental truth to the two I have already held to for quite some time now:

  1. Abusers never change
  2. A marriage to an abuser does not need to be fixed, it needs to be ended.
  3. and now – Your church and your abuser are on the same side. They are allies working toward a common goal. To keep you in the abuse.

Understand these 3 things and base your decisions upon them and you will make wise decisions and avoid all kinds of deceptions.


Abusive Tactics: The Claim to Know Our Thoughts


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


  1. joepote01

    “Most churches and all abusers want the same thing. They want the victim to remain in the abuse.”
    This is actually quite profound…and very succinctly stated.
    The abuser and the church are often allied because they share a common goal of keeping the victim in the marriage to the abuser. The church doesn’t actually want to keep her in the abuse…just the marriage…while hoping to end the abuse.
    But it really boils down to the same thing of a shared goal between the abuser and many churches to keep the victim in the marriage.
    Thank you, Jeff!

  2. walkinginlight

    I have learned sooo much from Pastor Crippen over the last five years. While informative, this post is very sad. It is one thing to have a evil abusive husband, but the church is suppose to show the heart of Christ, does not. Any one who tells a abuse victim that is in bondage and mental/emotional agony that it is God’s will for them to suffer, does not know the heart of Christ! Jesus clearly said it is not sacrifice that He wants, but MERCY.

    • Amy

      Unfortunately, it happens. I was told as a new Christian, 10 years into an abusive marriage, that it was my lot in life to stay and suffer in that marriage because that is where God placed me. 🙁
      Pretty sad, huh?
      Nowadays, when women contact me asking for help, I tell it like it is! Staying in an abusive marriage is NOT glorifying to God and God does NOT hate divorce, He hates the violence within a home which often causes divorce to become necessary.
      If only I had known these things which Pastor Crippen speaks so boldly about, perhaps I would not have waited 20 years to finally divorce my abusive ex.

  3. Amy

    Wow, what truth! I had never really thought of it this way before.
    The abuser wants their spouse to stay so they hae someone to continue controlling and so they themselves do not have to change.
    The church wants the abused spouse to stay in their marriage to be able to proclaim that marriages stay together under their watch.
    I literally sat shaking my head at the reality of this as I read your post and wondered how many churches would firmly dispute they do this?

  4. marisa

    Great piece! I seem to hear this quite a bit from some Christian writers and bloggers, as well as fellow Christians in general. There is such an emphasis on suffering, and I simply don’t understand. I realize that we often feel closer to Christ as we experience various hardships. I certainly have in the years since my divorce. We can certainly use trials and rough patches to grow in our faith. It seems, however, as if happiness has become a dirty word for Christians, replaced with “contentment” or this idea that suffering is God-honoring.
    This begs the question of when has one suffered enough? How much suffering is pleasing enough? I find myself really railing against this and wanting to shout to the heavens that Christians should be some of the happiest people on earth! Christ resides within us! We are as close as we could be! I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to come into the Christian Faith if they thought it was about suffering.
    I can’t imagine anyone ever knowingly entering a marriage if it meant suffer your way through it, no matter what is done to you~lose your sanity/health/soul, etc. but remain. Who in their right mind would do this? Marriage is not a license to abuse and neglect your spouse.
    There’s enough negative and awful things in this world~Being a Christian should be the best and most HAPPY thing ever!😊❤️

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