Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Want to Read a Letter from Wormwood?

I did not send the prophets, yet they ran;
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
(Jeremiah 23:21)

Here is still another example of the wicked, evil filth that victims of abuse are subjected to through the hands of their fellow “christians.” In this case the abuser is in a full-time ministry position. All the time he has been “serving the Lord,” he emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and sexually abused and tormented his wife. Ultimately she realized what was happening and left him. Later, she received the following letter from one of the abuser’s colleagues. Notice that this man is a false prophet, claiming to be announcing Jesus’ very words which were given to him to speak to her.

As I was lifting you up today, Jesus brought some thoughts to mind that He wanted me to share with you. First is that out of His love for you, He has extended His forgiveness and mercy and grace to you. He has rescued you from the enemy; the enemy who only wants to destroy everything good. Jesus is light and His light He has given to you. You are a strong woman and one which He has strengthened, blessed and chosen to extend His light to the world.
There is only one thing that is standing in the way. You must, out of love for [husband] extend the very same forgiveness and mercy and grace that He has extended to you. How else can the name of the Lord be magnified on the earth? This is your cross to bear. [Husband] has been a real [expletive]. Maybe he still is. Your leaving really broke him. That took real courage on your part. Out of it, the Lord got room in [husband’s] heart that might not have happened otherwise. Praise the Lord!
Now it’s time for you to receive him back. Just as the enemy tried to destroy your family through [husband], now it is his tactic to try to destroy your family through you. Do not be fooled. You must follow the Lord Jesus Christ now in His way, just as He washed the disciples’ feet. I beg you, if you can’t find reason enough in yourself, your kids or [husband], find reason enough to love and forgive and extend mercy and grace for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus — that the enemy would be put to shame and the Lord your King will be shown as the great and wonderful Savior that He is.
Please, [husband], just as you and me, isn’t worthy in and of himself, but he has been made worthy just as you and me. Please search your heart and the Lord’s and find the courage to take up your cross. May His name and His story be made great in you, daughter of the King!

Where to even begin in commenting on this evil person’s words? As we have already noted, he is guilty of being a false prophet. He claims the Lord spoke to him and sent him, which is a lie. He incurs the Lord’s wrath upon himself for this, just as the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day did. Let’s call him Wormwood (as this letter would have fit nicely into the Screwtape Letters).
Wormwood also uses the typical pious sounding holy talk lingo that makes him sound sooo noble and saintly. It is all designed to raise himself above the victim so that he can talk down to her. “I am an ultra-holy man. You must listen to me and obey, my child.” It drips of arrogance. And threats implied.
Then of course you have the standard perversions of forgiveness and reconciliation, complete with full-blown guilting and shaming. “Jesus forgave YOU, and now look at how shabbily you are treating your husband. He’s really broken. I know these things.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, ok, he abused you. I get that. But Jesus wants you back in that marriage so you can be abused some more because that is what Jesus does with us. Just think how you can shame the enemy and bring glory to Christ by submitting to more abuse and hey, maybe even getting killed. You would be a martyr! Isn’t that glorious!”
A person who claims to be a Christian but who habitually walks in evil, is still “worthy” in God’s sight. Did you know that? This fellow says so. Fundamentally, myriads of pastors and professing Christians completely dismiss Scriptures like 1 John and insist that a person walking habitually in evil is still a Christian. Abusers are Christians. They tell us they are. “Your abuser is a Christian. He says he is. He believes in Jesus. So we are going to receive him in the church.”
Thank you, Wormwood. You have shown us who you really are.

You believe that God is one; you do well.
Even the demons believe — and shudder!
(James 2:19)


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  1. Sarah

    ” [Husband] has been a real [expletive]. Maybe he still is.”
    Maybe??? So why not focus all this pressure on the ex-husband to stop abusing and make amends – like paying full alimony, child support, for the survivors counselling, etc…
    Thank you for showing up this writer publicly. This is the best way to stop a bully and their bully buddies.
    Ps Crippen – please post the names of the authors of these letters. Once a letter is sent, there is no guarantee of privacy and the addressee can do as they please with it. Scan it, copy it, post it, share it – because there are other targets being abused in this church, right now.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sarah- agreed. We will do so when we are able to do it with the permission of the abuse victim and when it won’t compromise her safety. I agree it is great to publicly identify these wicked people.

  2. walkinginlight

    The best thing to do is completely IGNORE anything that “wormwood” has said. Judge by the word of God. No one who is born again “habitually” sins period. God has stated this in the book of first John. No good tree bears bad (evil) fruit. Just because someone holds a ministerial license does not give them the right to “lord it over” another person! I view these so called “prophets” of God as a joke wanting to elevate themselves.

  3. Mhiggins

    That was a huge trigger for me.
    Our Christian counselor did that a lot. Sometimes she would be crying saying she was having an open vision and that Jesus was sitting right next to her telling her what to say.
    I wanted so badly to be obedient that I would do what she claimed to “prophesy “. Only to my child’s and my detriment.
    I’m not sure who I was more abused by, my ex or our counselor.

    • Jeff Crippen

      There are myriads of completely unqualified counselors in the church. The iso called “biblical counselors” are the worst with rare exceptions.

  4. Holly

    Pastor Sam Powell’s (My Only Comfort) latest post “Divorce and Tempting God” may be helpful to read. It is also about not being reconciled to an abusive husband.

  5. crankybeach

    Pastor Jeff, I don’t know whether you have a policy concerning commenters posting links to other sites/blogs. If so, please feel free to delete my comment.
    Pastor Sam Powell (one of the rare few who “gets it” as you do) has a most fascinating post from a couple of days ago, in which he lays out a pretty convincing case that a wife who returns to her abusive husband (often at the insistence of one of Wormwood’s minions) may in fact be sinning by doing so. He connects a couple of dots that I had not thought of before, and backs it up with scripture. Here’s the link:

    • Jeff Crippen

      Cranky – we usually do not publish links in comments but we know Sam Powell. Thank you.

    • Mhiggins

      Wow. Something more to digest. Thanks for posting that.

  6. Maya

    I am divorced and have been for almost 7 years but still face harassment by the church and the ex. The psychological and emotional abuse as well as slander are overwhelming. Yet, God remains in control and I continue to seek out those who have not turned over to distortion and evil.

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