Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Maintaining the Unity of the Spirit Requires Dealing With Abusers

Eph 4:1-6 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, (2) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (3) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Church unity. We hear a lot about it, but we really don’t see or experience it very often at all. Most times the “unity” in a local church is just role play. But under the surface, whoa! Constant, low-level friction. Why?
I suggest that one chief reason for this sorry situation is that most Christians and church leaders have a warped view of biblical, genuine, spiritual unity. It often is better described as “uniformity,” in which environment the pressure is on everyone to get in line. In that kind of supposed “community,” everyone is presumed to belong, and all efforts must be diligently enforced to be sure that everyone stays in the community. Everyone. Tolerance is not only the word of the day in our secular culture. It is the attitude (enforced) in our churches. To differ is to be intolerant, and to suggest that someone really does not belong….well, that is the quickest way to be censured or tossed out.
Being “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” requires, I maintain, removing wicked, unrepentant people from the community. What’s that? I shall repeat: biblical zeal to maintain Christian unity requires the expulsion of people who have demonstrated that they are not in Christ, and thus, with whom, we have no unity. THIS is walking in a manner worthy of our calling.

“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (3) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit.” 

Think about it. How can we maintain what does not exist? We are to patiently “bear with one another.” Who is the “one another”? It is believers. Those who are in Christ. Those who have one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Those who have the Spirit. That spiritual unity exists in and between all Christians.  But it does not exist with the wicked.
And therefore anyone who comes along preaching to us that we are to eagerly and patiently maintain unity with an abuser (or any other so-called brother who habitually walks in evil) is preaching some kind of “unity” that the Bible knows nothing about. Consider.  Isn’t it true? Abusers are allowed to remain in our churches in the name of “unity.” But there is no unity to maintain. Such a man is not our brother. In fact, many Scriptures tell us to separate ourselves from such people. To put them out of our churches (1 Cor 5). Not to even eat with them.
And when we wake up and do this, guess what? We are actually maintaining the unity between genuine believers that honors Christ, the Head of the body.


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  1. choclea43

    Amen…there no unity without Christ.  We r His or not. Truth or a lie. Freedom from duplicity enables us to b safe! I want to b safe! Thank You Lord for covering me with Your Love! Those who He covers may have true fellowship. 

  2. walkinginlight

    I honestly do think that most churches do not obey the Lord’s command to purge the evil out from among the brethren. I wonder what they think when they read all the bible verses that speak of this. I see most ignore the Lord’s commands about who is false and needs to go. No one wants to rock the boat or “offend” anyone by calling evil what it is…..evil! And shame on them for not making the church a safe haven for the hurting.

  3. Stormy

    Unfortunately it seems only those hurt by evil understand the destruction evil can cause. And even that takes time to understand. Most normals are in shock when as victims we try to process what’s happening.
    It seems unbelievable when faced with the reality of the conmen or women wearing a mask of fake godliness and then they are actually abusing us. The lies, smear campaigns, bullying and abuse. The church teaches we are all at fault. That’s not true with abusers. They are at fault.
    We want peace they want war. They only want to dominate not collaborate. Yet they call themselves Christians reborn of the spirit— that’s hogwash. No rebirth for them just the same devil tricks that have been used for years. When someone wants war they are not of the spirit. When someone hates you without a cause they are not of the spirit.

    • Z

      Very well said Stormy. As only a victim of this evil can put into words for those who have not experienced it, lived it, been damaged by it. 🙏🏽s for you and me and for all the others in this community. That now that we are armed with the “correct head and spirit information” thanks to these blogs, that we find our way back to some kind of “normalcy” in our lives and healing for our minds, bodies and spirits, after years, decades (a lifetime for me) of horrific abuses to our bodies, minds and souls. And the added twisted-ness of false masks of professions of “christianity” by our abusers and their allies that we had to overcome.
      Also all the false teachings that kept us in that bondage much longer than if we had been “of the world”! By trying to have “peace with those who only want war”, we were taught falsely to keep forgiving unrepentant people and habitual sinners who were harming us, who we, in fact by God’s Word, should have exposed and have had NO association with. A person of the world wouldn’t have had this additional burden of false “teachings of Christ” to overcome. We kept trying and trying because we were told by false teachers that we had to do these things to be considered “obedient to God”. They caused us to suffer much more harm than we had to and will be held accountable, as well as our abusers and their allies, for our suffering.
      May the Lord Jesus Himself take each of us by the hand, never letting go, and lead us into the healings we so desperately now need.

  4. C

    When I moved into a new area I was welcome in a church that respected diversity. Until I joined them, (well actually, until some people wanted to be first and bullied others away, and others got older or died). Then, unity was (re)defined as a pressure to conform.
    When churches define themselves as a group conform to some uniformity, spiritual growth means to outgrow their limited spirituality or theology or habits.
    Diversity is seen as a threat. So do honest questions, So does seeking thruth and righteousness.
    Yet, when they love numbers of heads they have a (nominal) policy of welcoming everybody and thus redefine Christ’s grace into tolerance.
    Or when they think that all the elect look like them, they need a success story of converting diversity into their specific ways of religious life.
    Either way, anything that is concieved as a threat to the delusion of peaceful uniformity, is cast out. Meanwhile, the abuser who knows talking the style and language of the group, is tolerated.
    Why? Maybe just because groups that pressure to conform to uniformity have mechanisms of opression already built-in.
    Didn’t Paul state that all the different people, Jews, Greeks, slaves, masters, male or female, are all One in Christ?
    If unity has to be enforced, isn’t that a counterfeit church?
    Thank you for your good thoughts pastor, and for the good comments,

  5. R

    Just a question… I fully understand the need to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing, but when you spend most of your time thinking about that and trying to root that out, don’t you end up being really suspicious and cynical of anyone new who shows up? (Or also of people who have been there a long time?) It seems like it would be hard to be welcoming when you’re doing a perpetual abuser sniff test. How do you keep from doing that?

    • Jeff Crippen

      R- actually you don’t need to sniff or be suspicious and cynical. What we need to do is educate ourselves about evil from Scripture and the wicked will reveal themselves to us. When we know for example what reviling is then a reviler’s rotten fruit will tell us what the tree is. But the worst thing we can do is blindly “think the best” of everyone in spite of the evidence of their evil.

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