Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Will We Justify Child-Sacrifice to Baal?

Psalms 106:37-38   They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.

The charge that Christians are sacrificing children to Baal (demons) occurred to me again this week, and I thought I recalled having written on this subject once before. Sure enough, I wrote this article way back in early 2012 and it remains true today. It is worth repeating. Not because I wrote it, but because it is true. Local churches, pastors, writers, and many Christians in general are guilty of this evil when they demand that an abuse victim and her children remain in bondage.
Israel became conformed to the pagan idolatry in the Land.  They did what the Psalmist describes — they sacrificed their children to the demons (Satan is behind all idolatry).  They made them “pass through the fire.”  Now, here is quite an incredible thing.  The conservative church today decries abortion (and so do I).  We call abortion the slaughter of the innocents, and so it is.  The enemy is behind it.  But…

What are we doing when we tell a woman (and sometimes a man) that no matter how badly she is abused, she and her children must stay in that marriage, in that home, and bear their cross for Jesus?  How is it possible that something so parallel to sacrificing sons and daughters to demons can possibly be Christ’s calling to His people?  In fact, we should assume that such cruel advice is nothing more than forcing a victim to sacrifice her children to a false god we have created — called, “marriage.”   Which, of course, is not biblical marriage at all.
Now, let me be very clear.  Many abuse survivors feel a load of guilt for not removing their children from the abusive environment sooner than they did.  We should not increase that guilt and, in fact, should help lift it from them.  Abusers are incredibly deceptive and it takes quite a long time to understand it and even longer to decide how to get out of it.  The guilt lies with the abuser, not the victim.  But, to spread the guilt around further — there is plenty of blame to be put upon anyone (frequently fellow Christians) who insist that the victim and her children must remain in that terrible environment and suffer.
I say again, this seems to me to be nothing less than insisting that a downtrodden victim of abuse is required by God to sacrifice her children to Baal.


Marriage is Made for People, Not People for Marriage


Don't Fall for the Abuser's "Repentance" — Lessons from Zacchaeus


  1. Change Agent

    Thank you for this post. You had another one where you referenced how it is abusive to the children to character assassinate the parent directly to or in front of the children. Please keep praying for all of us who are battling this storm with young children.

  2. walkinginlight

    Hmmm, now I’m wondering if by my mother staying with a highly abusive husband (my dad) who beat my sibling and myself as kids if this might be why I unknowingly married a very mentally and emotionally abusive husband? I do vividly remember as a eight year old child going up to the altar at our church and asking Jesus to save me from my sins. I understood the gospel and knew what I was doing. I also had a very close Christian girlfriend who became involved in witchcraft that was disguised in “Christian terminology” and her little girl started having horrific nightmares. I remember reading this scripture verse way back and saw the connection. But as far as I was concerned for my spousal choice, is does give me something to really think about. The Lord is full of grace and mercy and has been healing my heart and giving me strength that could only come from Him.

    • Change Agent

      I am so glad that the healing power of Jesus is actively moving in your life. It is true that those of us who were “programmed” to have a high tolerance for abuse can be led to recreate the abuse cycle with those who have familiar characteristics to those of the abuser. Subconsciously, we may be drawn to the dysfunctional dynamic in an effort to redeem it. It takes firm self-awareness (which comes through relationship with Christ) and considerable resolve to establish and maintain boundaries with those who actively seek to erase your separateness and dominate you.

      • Jeff Crippen

        An excellent way of describing it. “Programmed to have a high tolerance for abuse.” Most of which is done under the false title of “biblical teaching.”

  3. No one down here

    My husband also practiced witchcraft.

  4. Amy

    I carry so much guilt for staying so long in an abusive because as my oldest son has spat at me lately, my choice to stay became his choice by default. 🙁 I struggle these days with the guilt and regret, and yet I stayed because I truly thought I was doing the right thing. I truly believed in making my marriage work, the problem was, it was only me trying to make it work while my abusive spouse was working to tear it down.

    • Jeff Crippen

      The guilt rests on the abuser and all the people who were telling you that God required you to stay. But I understand the guilt feelings. “How could I have been so stupid?” Is a common thought we all have.

      • Amy

        So hard though when my son is blaming me and holds hatred towards me.
        I’m working hard at letting it go and rest in the truth that I tried my best under the circumstances. My son will have to make peace with it and hopefully find forgiveness towards me one day.
        Meanwhile, I try to live each day full of gratitude that I’m no longer in that marriage and God has redeemed all those lost years to me in ways I never would have imagined.

  5. walkinginlight

    Thank you so much Change Agent and Pastor Crippen. Yes, I do think you are right about having been programmed for a high tolerance for abuse. That and being told by my pastor at the time that “God hates divorce.”

  6. Jade

    Pastor Jeff, I must ask you a question about this: What do I do when I am finally leaving my abuser, and he has managed to convince our children that I am lying, I am the abusive one, I am a dangerous person. Both his parents and mine have joined him in brainwashing our children. The kids all say they want to live with Dad. How can I possibly save my children?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Jade – I understand how painful this must be. I have had many children grow up in our church who now hate me because their evil parent turned them against me. So I know. What to do? There is nothing you can do except keep pressing on following Christ faithfully, praying for the children to have their eyes opened. I know other abuse survivors whose children have in fact come to see the evil of their father and realize that their mother was correct. But in the end the point you must come to realize is that you cannot save your children. They must see it. You cannot see it for them. Let them go, continue to love them, and pray for them always.

      2Co 1:8-9 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; (9) indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;

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