Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Another Letter of Ex-Communication from a Reformed Baptist Church to an Abuse Victim

Mat 12:7  And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

Once more we have seen a victim of cruel domestic abuse (at the hands of a “Christian” spouse) oppressed and ex-communicated by the church she faithfully attended and served for years. For her protection we are not including the name of the church although the sins of these people deserve to be exposed and announced from the rooftops.  Here then is a letter from the kingdom of darkness, all the while claiming to be representing Christ:

Dear _______,
It is with deep regret that I write this letter to inform you that ________ Church voted unanimously to excommunicate you from the church according to the process in our church’s constitution and Matthew 18. This action was taken by the church after much prayer and private advisory consultation with other Pastors at sister churches outside of our congregation.
This action was taken because you refused to continue to receive counseling to save your marriage. Also, this includes your deliberate actions to pursue an unbiblical divorce and break your covenant vows that you made before God in the sight of witnesses.
This action has been taken out of deep concern and love for your soul. We will continue to pray for you and your husband that the Lord will grant you repentance and reconciliation with Christ, your husband, and this congregation.
In Christ Love,
Pastor ___________

This. This is what is going on over and over again in local churches. This is the work of Pharisees to whom Christ pronounces divine woes. It is not the fruit of the genuine people of Christ who understand that the Lord stands with the oppressed and that His Word is to be interpreted and applied according to His mercy, not according to a heavy and cruel demand of suffering and sacrifice.
I will let all of you comment and share your insights on what this “pastor” has said here, but let me say just a few things and then I turn the comments over to you:

  1. This pastor and church have no authority whatsoever to forbid this lady the right to divorce her abuser. She does not need their permission. She is not bound to submit to their “counseling.”
  2. This pastor and church have allied themselves with evil, protecting and enabling the abuser while adding to the suffering of the victim.
  3. This pastor and church have publicly slandered this lady, falsely accusing her before others.
  4. This pastor and church are lying when they claim to have love and deep concern for her soul. That is not what is motivating them at all. Rather, their motivation is one of self-serving ends and an idolatrous worship of marriage, flowing from a religion of legalism.
  5. This pastor and church have made false charges against this lady to other unnamed “Pastors” who have absolutely no firsthand knowledge of the case, and yet the church has relied upon those pastors’ verdict.

Marriage was made for man, not man for marriage. That is a lesson these Pharisees will never understand.
May the Lord bless this sister in Christ, set her free from oppression, and may He deal in His justice with this pastor and church who have so terribly treated her.


The Religion of the Pharisees (Part 3)


The Confusion of Abuse: More Thoughts on the Fog


  1. Denise

    The thing that jumped out at me is once again it’s a case of the victim being the one accused of breaking the “covenant vows that you made before God in the sight of witnesses”. She gets ‘held accountable’ for supposedly breaking vows because she is pursuing a divorce to get free from the abusive spouse who broke those vows many times over! HE destroyed the covenant between them, not her, and yet she pays the penalty many times over. The injustice of it all!

  2. walkinginlight

    Pastor Crippen, I love how you said “flowing from a religion of legalism”! Perfect description. People like this will be rebuked by the Lord when they stand in front of Him one day soon, professing their commitment to “serving Him” while having a heart of stone. Deceived souls that they are. The Lord stated that He wants “mercy” and not sacrifice. They do not listen to the Lord but do things the way they think is right. I have absolutely no patience for so called Christians of this sort.

    • Stormy

      Thank you all for sharing your stories. I’m deeply moved. I’m so sorry you all have had to suffer. I can relate. May God himself provide justice for each of us even today. God please move your mighty hand in each situation. Let us see your hand in action vindicating us all and judging the wicked. Thank you Pastor Crippen.

  3. Debby

    Thank you for your ministry of healing the broken-hearted. Your words are a balm to my soul.

    • Jeff Crippen

      You’re welcome Debby. Thank you for the encouragement.

      • Diana

        So arrogant that they believe their “counseling” can “save” the marriage. Ignorant doctors prescribing deadly medicine. Blind leading the blind.

  4. Schari

    This is so vile. The marriage covenant was broken by the abuser, not the victim.
    I married at 18 to a man I met at church. Over our 40 year marriage he threw a circular saw, suitcases, cell phones and dishes at me. He threw me to the ground, he shoved, kicked, slapped, punched, cornered me. He trapped me in a toilet room and repeatedly body slammed the door, beat a hole in the door and threatened to kill me as he did so. I thought I was going to die. I was hysterically begging him to stop and praying loudly. After several minutes of this, he just stopped and walked away.
    He would become enraged and drive 100 mph with our three kids in the car, weaving in and out of highway traffic. He pulled a gun in a road rage incident, with me sitting in the passenger’s seat between him and the other driver. He punched holes in countless doors and walls, broke furniture, smashed televisions, shattered glass and cell phones. He cheated with a crack whore stripper numerous times. He stole marital monies, opened secret bank accounts, sabotaged the budget to the detriment of mortgage, utilities, food and car payments. He rejected me in the marital bed for 13 years because “I wasn’t respectful enough”. He was obsessed with guns and slept with a loaded 38 revolver under his pillow just inches from my head and a loaded sawed off shot gun in a secret drawer under his side of the bed.
    He attempted suicide twice, threatened suicide three more times. One of those incidents he led police on a three hour chase, entered the tourist area of a national park with his loaded gun drawn, necessitating a negotiator and clearing the park area. He tried to kill our 25 year old son by beating him with the steel gun barrel of a 55 cal gun. He jerked our 29 year old daughter down the stairs threatening to kill her. He left me for weeks at a time, threatening suicide as he walked out. He tried to beat our son in law with a golf club. He tried to attack our son when he was a young teen with a bat. Why? Because my son was trying to protect me. The police were called and guess who was arrested? Me, for a one inch scratch on his neck, incurred as I was trying to keep him from our son. Most of this happened in front of children and grandchildren. The list goes on and on….
    When I divorced him it was with encouragement and incredible support from our PCA church at the time. They provided unlimited counseling and financial assistance. Because their counselor had counseled both of us individually, they were well aware of the problem. I never had to go before the elders for anything. The counselor ran interference for me. They literally saved my life.
    On the other hand, a former pastor we were very close to, sided with my abuser. He encouraged me to reconcile, ridiculed me, made light of the situation and completely supported the abuser. They provided lodging for him. Right now, my ex husband is a care group leader, men’s leader and deacon at his church. Needless to say, I’ve cut that pastor and his church out of my life.
    Why did I stay so long? The biggest factor was what I had been taught about marriage. I was raised to think divorce was unforgivable and God would fix everything if I was faithful. John Pipers teachings about marriage led me to believe I must suffer in that marriage to please Christ.
    God rescued me from all of that. I don’t care what anybody thinks I should have done. They didn’t live it. They don’t know what my heart was for my husband and family. It was all I ever wanted, but a wicked abuser killed the dream. These churches better be careful advising women to stay in these abusive marriages. Women and children will be killed. My ex husband would go into demonic rages where he didn’t hear or see anything but his desire to have his way. My 29 year old daughter lived with us and told me, “mom, every morning I come down the stairs, I expect to see a murder-suicide in your bedroom. “
    These churches are complicit with abusers and will bear responsibility before God.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Schari – Thank YOU very much for telling your story. I am very, very glad you had the support of that church and were able to get free. The same old outcome as regards the abuser as he oversees his care group, leading people to be twice the sons of the devil that he is. That cannot be explained as naivete on the part of that pastor and church. This is willful allegiance to the wicked.
      It amazes me how blindly loyal so many people are to John Piper. His wicked teaching enslaves, teaching that God forbids divorce for ANY reason ever. Piper uses pious words and phrases to disguise the fact that he is a preacher of a false gospel. I have never completed any of his books. A few pages in it was apparent to me that he writes in a flowery, confusing manner so that he can be slippery and hard to pin down for his false teachings.
      Thank you again, very much.

    • Schari, I appreciated the trigger warning and skimmed through what you wrote as it was so horrific that I knew that if I let the fullness of your truth sink in I might weep for days. I am so grieved to know what you and your children endured and the role the “church” played in your suffering. I am glad to know you are finally free and that you now see the truth and the heart of God for marriage – and for you. Thank you for taking the time to share. I’m sure that dark history was extremely difficult to revisit, but no doubt your testimony sends a powerful – and potentially life-saving – message to all who read it. Blessings…

      • Schari

        Cindy, thank you. It is my prayer that churches will realize these abusers are deceivers and will not change. Oh yes, just like my ex, they will cry crocodile tears, give lip service to repentance and use acts of kindness to manipulate, but they will always rage, lie, cheat, steal, abuse agains, as long as the victims are accessible.
        I also share in hope that some other victim will see the futility of staying. I gave the abuser 2/3rds of my life, forty of my sixty years. I can’t recover any of those years, but I can sound the alarm!
        And yes, it does stir up the darkness when I share. I have spent endless hours with counselors. I’m doing EMDR trauma therapy now and it has helped. I have made good progress the last three years since my separation and divorce. I don’t wish this on anyone and neither should the supposed representatives of Jesus Christ. He came to break chains and set captives free!

        • I fully appreciate your story – and God’s amazing redemption. I too survived 20-years of abuse, but my husband never hit me, so when I occasionally shared what was going on in our home, without fail my friends reminded me of my biblical obligation to remain to “save the marriage.” It was the Spirit who finally emphatically told me to leave and, after that, nothing anyone else said mattered.
          Also, my counselor used EMDR, and although I found it somewhat painful to revisit the junk, it was extremely validating and freeing at the same time. It’s definitely an interesting process. And I too have a ministry to women in abusive relationships – going on 10 years now.
          Again, I sincerely appreciate your transparency, your unwavering faith and your desire to bless others with God’s gracious, healing truth!

          • Stormy

            Perfect wording “Willful allegiance to the wicked” this phrase says it all.

    • Mumof9

      Dear Schari,
      After being sent a letter of ex-communication for reaching out to my fellow brothers and sisters (I was accused of gossiping, slandering, and reviling my husband and the “elders” enabling and empowering him) my 4 children and I are without a church home and searching for one that will support us.
      You mentioned a PCA Church. Could you or someone else please explain what that is? Are they all supportive of abused women and children?

      • Jeff Crippen

        PCA is Presbyterian Church in America. It is a conservative denomination. There are a few PCA churches that have supported victims but many do not. The PCA published a study committee report in the ‘90s that concluded abuse is grounds for divorce. But over and over again we see PCA leaders in churches refusing to abide by it. Proceed carefully. Pastors quickly claim they are supporters of victims but most of them are not.

  5. IrisJane

    Who broke their covenant vows?! And how dare they suggest the she needs to be reconciled to Christ, shame on them for accusing her of being unreconciled with Him! The arrogance of these false prophets needs to be thrown into the fire ASAP, unbelievable how evil and twisted their spirits are, and how dead their hearts are. Without love. Blessings to this dear lady, she’s so much better off without them!

  6. eagerlabassistants

    Neither came out and said it but did through their actions (whether abuser themselves or their allies): As with Schari and the woman of the original post, they make light of it and change the story to fit their agenda. Can’t say how many times it’s been done to me too…just start the story where it makes them *think* they look good.

  7. Mhiggins

    I was only married for 2 years. He had been a youth pastor and an assistant pastor before moving back here from the west. He was going through a divorce and had a lot to say about how badly his wife had treated him. He was very good at making it sound like the affair (…) was all his wife’s and the girl’s fault. Yes, I know that should have sent me running but by the time that he told me about the affair he had already laid the foundation for blaming it all on his wife. How she had neglected him so badly for so many years and then along comes the girl who hits on him relentlessly until he finally caved in.
    Because he was still married I wouldn’t date him and was encouraging him to reconcile with his wife. We remained just friends for a year and he would tell me all about his efforts and counseling they were doing. She really seemed to be yanking him around so I believed his accusations.
    We started dating after his divorce was final and I thought I had hit the lottery. He was so crazy about me. I was a single mom of (a child). And so badly wanted to have a Godly man in (the child’s) life. (…) There had been two times during the dating that his behavior had made me question things but it was so infrequent and not over the top. We had been friends for a year without a hitch prior to that.
    I got my first dose of reality 4 days after we married. I was so confused and scared. None of his argument seemed to make sense. My child who was raised in a house where we never even said the word suck or crap was in the next room listening to him call me horrible names and swearing like nobody had ever sworn at me in my whole life. I felt so bad for my child (…)
    From then on he was the expert at child rearing even though he had never raised a child from birth. As a dutiful wife I would try to honor his parenting even though it didn’t feel right at all.
    (Editor’s note: Details of the horrible abuse towards the child have been removed to protect the victim and her child)
    Finally I started trying to defend my child and I. That enraged him and the insults got more volitile. Threats like “I’m so mad at you I could kill you right now” or “I should put my fist through your skull” at this point I was a f***ing __________ (fill in the blank) the c word ,the b word , pathetic parent, idiot……
    (Editor’s note: Details removed for the victim’s and her child’s safety. The details tell of horrific abuse from her abuser towards her and her child. In the several churches they attended the pastors and pastors’ wives promised to help, but their involvement only made things worse. Also the advice from trained counselors was harmful.)
    The victim continues: I made the decision that I needed to save my child and even though no Christians were supporting me in this I had to divorce. (…)
    My ex is now remarried and his pastor who I told everything to has made him “pastor“ of his own congregation. With little to no oversight.
    I am having very hard time grasping the concept that he is condemned. I’m a sinner too what makes his sin worse than mine or anyone else’s. Can you help me understand this?
    Also where do I stand with God? There were times that I called him bad things and I got right down to his level and gave insults back. Doesn’t that make me an abuser?

    • Dear Mhiggins,
      Thank you for sharing your story. You will notice that I edited out details for you and your child’s safety. But know that we have the unedited comment and that Pastor Crippen has seen the entire comment.
      You have two good questions at the end of your comment which Pastor will respond to. He is away at the moment but he wanted you to know that when he returns later today he will address your questions.
      Again, thank you for commenting. We are glad you are here!

      • Mhiggins

        Thank you for having this blog. It truly helps. This is the first time I have taken the time to get it all out in writing. Of course there is so much more but those are the highlights. In some ways it has felt freeing and in others brought me back emotionally to that horrible time in my life.
        I feel like this is the first step and now I want to address the counselor, the local police department and the pastors who basically ignored me and my child. I’m not sure what I’m hoping to gain. I’m not looking to shame or be angry but to learn why they did what they did. With my deepest desire I hope that they may see how their actions or lack of increased and perpetuated the evil.

        • Mhiggins,
          Yes, writing out one’s story can be helpful and hard at the same time! I am glad you are finding encouragement here.

          • Mhiggins

            Would you email me a copy of the full post? I thought I had copied it but only got half. Before I go to address the counselor I want all my ducks in a row and I won’t have to write that over again

    • Jeff Crippen

      Mhiggins – You did very well getting yourself and your child away. In regard to your first question, all sinners are not the same. The Lord will judge some more severely than others. But also notice, if you are a Christian, you are not a sinner. Try to find anywhere in the Bible where Christians are called sinners by the Lord. He calls us saints, children, sons, but never sinners. Why? Because we are born again. We still live in sinful flesh, but that does not define who we are. We desire to obey the Lord and while we sometimes sin, we are not sinners. It is not in agreement with Scripture to see ourselves as just as sinful as the wicked. Finally, your sin is covered by Christ. His sin is not. Which brings us to your thoughts about him being condemned. Everyone who is not in Christ is condemned, guilty, dead in their sin. And the ones who will bear the most divine wrath are those just like your ex who claims to know God in Christ but in fact is a phoney, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
      If you have anyone or any organization teaching you who maintains that God loves everyone in the same way and that no one is beyond His mercy, then I highly recommend that you jettison such people from your life. These common traditions of man are not God’s Word. God hates the wicked. His wrath is upon them (see Romans 1). And while He desires all men to be saved, all men will not be saved and certainly they will not be forgiven by the Lord apart from real repentance and faith. Your ex has no conscience. He is the kind that we separate from and let the Lord deal with.
      Where do you stand with God? Only you can answer that, but let me suggest that your thinking (and I understand why) is turned around on this point. What is right is that you were enraged at your evil ex and his abuse of your child. I would recommend that you cease from guilt for standing up for righteousness against dark evil. You in no way are an abuser. Abusers by their very mentality have a profound demand for power and control. They have no conscience. You are not such a person. Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Yes. That is why you were angry with him and you even, yes, cursed him. Don’t feel guilty for that.

  8. cup of Chai

    why is God and Lord Jesus silent while similar abuse on victims happen over and over in local churches?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you for this honest question. The fact is that many, many, many “churches” are places where Christ is not even present. Most people who claim to be Christians really aren’t. They are not born again. Scripture affirms this conclusion repeatedly. Now, why doesn’t the Lord intervene? Why doesn’t He strike down the wicked and grant justice to the oppressed? There are multiple reasons which we know of from His Word.

      1. His wrath is being poured out from His throne against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (See Romans 1 on this). We often don’t see it, but His curse is upon such people, not His blessing. Their families and homes do not enjoy the presence of the Spirit. And over the years you can see the bad fruit that results.
      2. There is coming that Great Day when Christ will come and judge the wicked. Read about it in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 where we are told He will come with His armies of flaming angels to deal out retribution upon the wicked who have oppressed His people.
      3. We as Christians are called to follow Christ, to walk in His steps, and that means we are largely experiencing the same path He did. Hated by this evil world, persecuted and even killed. But when He comes again He will raise us up and call us into His presence just as Christ was raised and ascended.

      His promises are certain and sure. He cannot lie. He will never, ever let the enemy snatch a single one of His flock from His hand but will bring each of us safely home. In the meantime we overcome the world in victory by the faith he has given us.

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