Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

The Lord Holds All Responsible When Evil is Tolerated

Rev 2:14-16  But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.  (15)  So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  (16)  Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

I am sure that most all of you know of the longstanding evils being exposed within the Southern Baptist Conference. Case after case of domestic and sexual abuse being covered up by corrupt self-seeking leaders. It has been in the news. Google it if you need to get informed.
Recently I saw a thread on this subject on Facebook and I commented there that the SBC just needs to go away. In response, an SBC loyalist replied that it is wrong to judge 15 million Southern Baptists on the basis of the sins of a few leaders. She went on to list many “good things” these SB’s are doing and said that her church and pastor are known for not being active in the SBC, though they are members. So don’t judge them, she said.

Well, I have news for her. The Lord DOES judge her church for those evils. How do I know? Just look at the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chs 2-3, such as the one quoted from above. And we can cite numbers of other examples.  Remember Achan’s sin of hiding the silver in his tent? What happened? God judged the Israelites for it.
Over and over again I hear people in Baptist denominations (and I am a Baptist) saying “Baptist churches are independently governed. We don’t have a right to interfere in the affairs of another church. Nor do the denominational leaders have a right to do so.” There. Hands washed in Pilate’s bowl. Guilt conveniently washed away.
Nope. Nope. Nope. That won’t cut it in God’s courtroom.
When wickedness is tolerated in that which claims to be Christ’s church, ALL of us have a duty to expose it and put it out from among us. In the case of this SBC lady who objects to our judgmentalism, her church is a member of the SBC. That in itself supports the SBC and it enables the evil leaders to keep on covering up wickedness. Passivity won’t cut it. The Lord calls every single one of His people to do battle with the wicked, especially when that wickedness creeps in among us in our churches.
So I won’t hear this excuse: “Don’t judge all of us based on the actions of a few.” I won’t hear it because I know that the Lord doesn’t.


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  1. Stormy

    Amen!! I’ve just about had enough of those types who trot out the don’t judge card. Thank you pastor for making it so crystal clear.

  2. Change Agent

    Christians compassionately rejecting injustice and boldly defending the oppressed would be a fulfillment of Jesus’ testimony regarding the church in John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Paul goes on further to clarify that in 1 Corinthians 11:19 there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.
    Those of us who have suffered from abuse must continue to speak out and pray that those in a position to help will do the same. Thank you Pastor Crippen for being a voice of justice.

  3. Change Agent

    We tend to overlook how pervasive abuse can be to those victimized by it. The lengths abusers go to oppress and harass their victims is multiplied by those recruited to inflict harm whether covertly or overtly. I am particularly astounded by the women who join in the mob to harm survivors. The innuendos and assumptions made to validate the abuse is definitely not in agreement with God’s word. Jesus told the disciples they did not know the Spirit that should be working to transform their thinking in Luke 9. In the same manner, hateful people attack without just cause and author havoc and confusion to keep victims from progressing. The bible states that slander is a valid sin, divorce is not. Pastor Crippen what action plan would you highlight from your book for those who are still reeling from the assaults of “Christians” who attack survivors of abuse in all forms?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Here is what I recommend:
      1. Recognize that you have probably been wrongly taught about who is a Christian. Most of the people who oppress abuse victims are not even regenerate. The rest are grossly and arrogantly naive. A Christian loves the brethren and has the Spirit to discern truth and error, good and evil. If we think that real Christians are the ones assaulting victims then our idea of Christ and the gospel will be negatively impacted.
      2. Withdraw from people who do this to you. Go no contact with any pastor or church that makes the typical demands that you stay with your abuser.
      3. Realize that the Lord is kind and merciful to His children and would never treat you the way these people do.
      4. Find (and this isn’t easy) genuine Christians who are willing to believe you and to learn about abuse and evil and all the wicked tactics and deceptions. This is why we started our online church outreach so that victims can at least have good biblical teaching and be connected with a local church that understands evil. All the better if you can find one in your own locale, but the fact is that I know victims who have searched for literally years and still keep coming up empty.
      I have had to deal with wicked hypocrite “christians” for decades in the churches I have pastored, so I know what it is like to be assaulted by them. I also know how freeing it is to come to realize that the Bible means what it says about who is a Christian and who is a counterfeit. When the dust cleared from years of battles here in our church, we have about 30 people left. No more trouble. No more assaults. No more evil legalists trying to enslave others. Just peace.

  4. Z

    Thank you Pastor for the steps you advise. As a person who HAS had to enact a No Contact policy with ALL the wolves involved in my abuse or in covering it up, enabling it, actively abusing by partaking in the lies and smear campaigns for the abusers with whom they’ve allied themselves, chosen to remain “neutral/silent” about known evil…
    All are my family of origin and extended family and lifelong family and church friends. All are professing “christians”. Parents and a sibling were my actual physical abusers. The other siblings were victims of the abuse also but now as adults deny it and “idolize their abusers” to cope and they are actively harming me with their lies.
    Most all the others know of the truthfulness of my abuse. Some witnessed the abuse. Others strongly suspected the physical abuse by the verbal and mental abuses and threats of violence they witnessed often.
    My question, Pastor, is: What does one do when one does NOT have ANY safe people to support them or walk alongside them and weep and mourn with them. For both the lifetime of abuse AND the losses involved in having to sever all contact with most everyone who was involved or remain silent/complicit?
    I know Jesus is always with me, alongside me, weeping and mourning with me. He sees me and hears my cries, as He always has since I was a helpless brutally abused child. But HUMAN interaction and support is what we are “wired” for. Community. And I have none. Not one person other than my husband, who ALSO was a victim of my family’s abuse and the betrayal of everyone else. So he needs support too.
    No safe church other than this online one I’m so glad to be a part of. But still, not one human I or we can partner with for prayer or support in real life. That I can call when I’m overwhelmed. That checks in on me to make sure I’m OK or even alive.
    My abusers and their allies did their “smear jobs” and “intimidation jobs” so well that no one wants to get involved-even the ones who 100% believe all that I say about the abuse! Those people are afraid to “go on the record” as a supporter of me or us. They KNOW they’ll end up targeted by the abusers and I guess we just are not worth the “cost” they might (will) have to pay.
    That abandonment and all the betrayals and feelings of being worthless to pretty much everyone I thought cared about me and that I cared about and showed my integrity, character, truthfulness and many kindnesses to over a lifetime-they could sink a person at times. Overwhelming sadness.
    This online church, the blogs and the commenters have been my only lifeline to “humans” and yet that is limited in its ability to replace real human to human support and community.
    We’ve all read about or experienced the damage “Biblical Counseling” can do so that’s not even a possibility!
    Can a person in this predicament due to a massive amount of evil done her go it completely alone with Jesus? Every Christian article or study I’ve read says “human support/community” is crucial to recovery from traumas. They and I don’t diminish the healing power of Jesus. But is healing of relational traumas in total human isolation possible?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Z- Yes, a person can go it alone with Jesus. It is nice to have real Christian friends, but down through the history of the church many Christians have been so persecuted that they have found themselves all alone. Here it is:
      2Ti 4:9-18  Do your best to come to me soon.  (10)  For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.  (11)  Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.  (12)  Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.  (13)  When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.  (14)  Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  (15)  Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.  (16)  At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!  (17)  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  (18)  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      • Z

        Thank you Pastor. I declare that Scripture constantly: 2 Titus 4:17-
        “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength…”
        For sure, without Jesus, I’d not still be still standing or even alive.
        It’s HARD.
        I know life in isolation with Jesus is possible. But it’s not normal or at all easy on the mind and body.
        But I’m grateful to have the LOVE of GOD. I’m HIS child. He will replace all that I’ve lost (that which I never really had-it was all false). He will be my family and friend. He will never leave or abandon me.
        “He will rescue me from every evil deed”. And there have been many. I don’t know how. But I choose to believe by faith.
        My other declaration to calm my hurting heart and the sometimes overwhelming storm of PTSD and anxiety inside of me is Zeph. 3:17-
        “He will quiet me with HIS LOVE..”
        I need that Scripture 24/7!
        These and ALL of God’s promises, especially that “He will take me into glory” (Ps. 73:24) and “He will bring me safely into His heavenly Kingdom” (2 Titus 4:18) have been what shakily sustain me.

  5. Stormy

    Z I always relate to your posts now I know why. Thanks for sharing your heart. I can commensurate. My evil wicked neighbor turned anyone she could against me in the neighborhood. She even gathered allies in my church —people who are afraid to stand with me. When I go to my old church I see people who have been allies with other abusers. When I don’t see someone who is connected to abuse I consider myself lucky that day.
    My husband understands but it’s true that so many people just go along with it. I repeat the scripture to soothe myself. “ My God shall supply all my needs” including my need for justice, vindication and even comfort and emotional support. I also will pray that we will have support and true Christian friends in our lives. Please do it Jesus we all need it. It would mean so much.

    • Stormy

      Thank you again Pastor Crippen for supporting us in this forum.

    • Z

      I’m praying with you, Stormy, for the Lord to bring to us real, true Christian friends. Not because He isn’t enough. He is. But because it’s the desire of our hearts to be in “community” with people we can trust who can help us carry these burdens in life when they get too heavy to carry on our own and we can do the same for them. That’s the way it was supposed to work in our former “Christian” communities!
      I have a feeling that most everyone on this forum HAS BEEN this kind of friend to others. Has been a true family member to our relatives. Has been a true Christian. We’ve extended ourselves all our lives to others and now have been cast off as nothing by those same people. We thought “Christians” could never do these things. And it’s true! They aren’t Christians! That’s why they CAN do them.
      Lord, we only want the people YOU choose, YOU send, IF it’s Your will, to walk alongside us on this earth to make our hard, unjust and lonely journeys a little less lonely and heavy. Thank You Lord for ALWAYS being there for us. As Stormy quoted in Your Word-“My God SHALL supply ALL my needs”.
      I appreciate you sister Stormy! I call you friend. Even though it’s not ideal having only “online friends”, its better than not having each other-those who understand all the feelings of being a victim of horrible abuses and now trying to survive and recover in the aftermath and carnage that evil people wrought in our lives.
      Knowing THEIR END and knowing OUR END brings some comfort to us until that day when He wipes every tear from our eyes.

  6. Change Agent

    As a divorced Christian I am grateful Pastor Crippen for the distinction you made in your advice. Recognizing that those who abuse, harass and slander are not speaking in the Spirit of Christ is important. Proverbs 18:13 Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

  7. Suzzie

    Churches of ALL denominations should do a very thorough search of the ‘root’ of their doctrines. Was the root good or bad? Does it adhere strictly to the gospel as Jesus conveyed it?
    We are held to account to defend the faith and that includes being cautious of current behaviors as well as checking out the faithfulness of the early church leaders and ‘religious systems. You might find this background shocking, very shocking in deed.

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