Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Why do Christians insist that Abuse Victims Return to Egypt?

Right on through Scripture, any desire to return to bondage and slavery is treated as foolish and even sinful.

And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them. Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” (Numbers 11:1-6)
They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exodus 16:1-3)

The Israelites grumbled. The Lord had done wonderful things for them by His might and power, delivering them from the harsh life in Egypt. But when the going got even a little difficult, the grumbling began. They longed for Egypt. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Abuse victims want freedom. They are enslaved and oppressed by their own personal “pharaoh” and once they begin to see just what is happening to them, they yearn for liberty.
Freedom and liberty in Scripture are good things. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Don’t let anyone trick you into returning to bondage. That is what the Bible says.
So why do so many pastors, churches, counselors, and individual Christians teach the opposite when it comes to abuse? What do I mean? The standard line — you all know it far too well — given to an abuse victim in a church is “Go back to Egypt. Go back. Return. Be enslaved. Submit to it. You’ve got a contract with pharaoh and it can’t be broken.” So the abused ones go back. And the abuse intensifies —

So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. (Exodus 5:10-12)

Why? Why is it that there are myriads of “freedom” programs (aka “ministries”) allegedly under the banner of Christ, offering liberty to captives — but not to abuse victims? “Come on, you can be free from slavery to overeating. You can be free of addictions. Here is how you can get free of co-dependency.” And on and on and on. But abuse victims? Forget it.
Think it through. How many ministries are in professing Christian churches specifically designed to set abuse victims free? You are going to have to search high and low to find one. Oh, but go looking for “ministries” (quotation marks here indicate my sarcasm) that put victims back into bondage in Egypt and you will find them all over the place. “Come on down and we will fix your marriage. Don’t even think about divorce. We will show you how to live happily ever after….with Pharaoh.”  Am I right? Of course I’m right. Because all of this is true.
Christ redeems His people. That means He sets us free. That is why He came and went to the cross. Anyone telling you to stay in Egypt is not of Christ no matter how “Christian” they might appear.


The Lord Desires Mercy, not Sacrifice – Faith Without Works is Dead Faith


Abusers Often Betray their Disguise in Subtle Ways we Must not Ignore


  1. sue

    Dear Jeff,
    and the real kicker is: it’s about impossible to submit to pharoah, because that punk keeps changing the rules.

  2. Stormy


  3. Many chose to stay in Egypt rather than face the ‘certain ‘ demise of their lives without pharaoh and the ‘leeks and meat’ of Egypt. Sometimes it is to protect their children because the courts do give unsupervised access of the children to alcoholic abusers and they stay to protect their children.
    Sometimes it is because the husbands loudly broadcast how he will decimate her financially & is actively wrecking her credit and she is vulnerable & without means to pay for this sabotage.
    God literally pulled me out of the abuse and his help and presence were so tangible but it takes faith to know God is for us and will bless and help us if we make that leap to escape from evil!
    It takes time and prayer and support for the abused to make that break for good – sometimes several trips back to Egypt need to happen for them to really digest that even though leaving Egypt is scary it is scarier to not leave!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Very true Starlight. It isn’t easy to just leave. What angers me is not victims but pastors and churches that tell them God wants them to stay enslaved.

  4. Anonymous

    What would you say if suddenly a group of men surround the abuser and start to speak into his life and mentor him? We are talking about a man who knows he crushed his wife’s spirit and killed her love for him over 23 years through his deception, manipulation, and control– emotional, psychological, indirect physical, sexual abuse. God literally downloaded information about his abusive behaviors to these men and they confronted him on separate occasions after an incident last year. After this, they claim to see true transformation and growth and sympathize with him for never having anyone to help him grow up or to hold him accountable? What advice would you give the victim of his abuse in this situation? She is being encouraged to guard herself but be open to not pass up a true miracle if his transformation is real and could lead to reconciliation. The ‘victim’ is being told at first he fought back against the change. He wanted to blame shift and minimize. What are the chances of real transformation vs. his upping his game to buffalo this group of men into convincing her to take him back?

    • Jeff Crippen

      I would immediately tell her not to believe he repented or believe such foolish men who are pressuring her. They are his allies, not hers.

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