Here are some of the typical emails and letters that were sent to Stephanie by her (now ex) pastor. This is the very kind of thing that is laid upon victims by their churches. I will just post a few here and more in a subsequent post, including the formal letter of ex-communication. I will be very interested in everyone’s comments in response to what this “pastor” says in these communications to Stephanie:
Good morning, I know you are still emotional hurt and upset but It is vitally important that [Pastor’s wife] and I meet with you without [abuser] asap. I saw your messages and there is no biblical grounds for divorce by either one of you at this point. As your Pastor, I’m duty bound to warn you that to do so at this point would be a grave SIN against God. I do agree that sometime apart for both of you to get counseling would be wise but that is totally different than divorce. I have been counseling with [abuser] and the Lord seems to be doing some amazing work upon his heart. Please let me know the earliest you are able to meet.
This next one is rather long, and in fact does not include the second half in which the pastor cites scriptures to forbid Stephanie from divorcing her abuser. But here is enough to handle for now. Wicked. It is like reading a letter from the devil:
Good evening Stephanie,
I apologize for taking so long to respond to your email, but I have been praying about the best and most gracious way to respond to your last couple of emails. I will start off by saying that [his wife] and I do not cease to pray for you and your husband. I know this has been a very difficult time for both of you. Also, I want to assure you that your marriage problems over the last 36 months are not unique because when two sinners say “I do” these things are inevitable. I pray that the Lord would grant you eyes to see that he has allowed these struggles to build your marriage and to make you and your husband more like Christ in the process (Rom 8:28,29).
For clarification, I don’t have the authority to refuse to accept your resignation. The church has refused your letter of resignation because they are following the procedure prescribed in section 4 of our church constitution which states that we cannot accept a letter of resignation from a person that is under church discipline or a candidate for church discipline. I have attached a copy of the church’s constitution and covenant for you to review. Also, I have attached a copy of the minutes from the last church business meeting where the church unanimously voted to place you under the corrective discipline of suspension of privileges which included public reproof (2Thess 3:14,15).
There were a few reasons why the church voted in this matter. First, they viewed your refusal to continue to meet for counseling as disorderly conduct and rebellion against the God ordained authority of your Pastor (Heb 13:17). Secondly, your adamant pursuit of divorce without biblical grounds. Thirdly, you have not attended church since October of last year which violates section 3(a) of the church constitution which you agreed to follow when you joined the church. I have attached a copy of all of our correspondence- including all texts and emails generated over the past several months. It will be evident from these correspondences that you have refused to meet with me after the first meeting that we had in October of last year. After several attempts to have a second meeting, you finally agreed to it if you could have a third-party counselor in attendance.
I think even you would agree, after going through our biblical counseling training at the church, that two initial discovery meetings which were a month apart hardly constitutes an exhaustive effort to save your marriage. It also would not be fair to say that you tried biblical counseling and it wasn’t successful. If you can recall, you confessed to your husband at our second meeting that you left him the second time within 48 hours after our first meeting because you sinfully distrusted his word to work on improving the conditions of your house. You also asked him for forgiveness for this confessed sin against him, which he granted to you before us all.
Contrary to what you think, the issues you brought up at our initial meeting was taken seriously. I just made the statement in our initial meeting that your issues could have been dealt with in a wiser way. For example, long before you decided to leave home you should’ve come to me as your Pastor and not your mother if there had been an issue going on with your husband. Your mother has no authority over your husband, but I do as your husband’s Pastor. I would have been able to hold him accountable as I have done since our initial meeting in October.
Additionally, the emails you have been sending out to the church insinuate that your husband has not received any rebuke or correction for his behavior which is far from the truth. He is currently under going biblical counselling and has repeatedly stated that he wants to save the marriage and do improvements to the house. Also, you have already received the minutes from our first church business meeting which described how he openly confessed his sins before the entire church. In case you have forgotten them, I have provided the vows that you both made before God in a place full of witnesses. You vowed before God “to take, [abuser], to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from that day forward, for BETTER or WORSE, till death do you part….” If you notice the vow doesn’t say until he breaks his vow (or has bad communication skills, or refuses to clean the yard, fix the house in a timely manner, etc.) but “until death do you part”. Let me be clear- I have never condoned any wrong doing that your husband may have engaged in since you have been married. However, I must emphasize that you and [abuser] both have a vow and duty before God that isn’t contingent upon whether either of you are fulfilling your duties towards one another (Eph 5:22-33). Also, everyone who was a witness to these vows are duty bound to exhort you both to keep them.
In addition, the church has voted to place you under church discipline, but you are not excommunicated. Stephanie, we still consider you a beloved sister and we are prayerfully carrying out this process in hopes that the Lord would powerfully grant you reconciliation to himself and your Husband. It is vital for you to understand that Christ has given the keys of the kingdom to his church (Matt 16:19 / Matt 18:18) and when the church executes discipline on the behalf of Christ he is in the midst (Matt 18:20). This means that when the church executes discipline it is as if Christ himself was carrying it out. This is a most solemn thing to come under the corrective discipline of the Lord Jesus who is the King of Kings. Therefore, we are praying earnestly that He would grant you repentance and that you would turn from your pursuit of this ungodly, unbiblical divorce. In addition, we remain steadfast in hope that you would commit to receive biblical counseling and decide to persevere and work on restoring your marriage. The biblical counselor you selected to counsel you agrees with me and we both continue in prayer, hoping that our past few months of encouragement, confrontation, and reproofs would bear fruit and that Godly trust would be restored all around.
Lastly, regarding your last email containing a blog post titled “Thomas Cranmer on Divorce for Abuse.” I’m not sure how this is relevant to your situation because you admitted before a room of witnesses that your husband had never physically abused you and that you only felt unsafe because he put up a gate door after you left the house and that he said that you all should take a break from your parents. Also, this statement was made after your mother came to your house after midnight and refused to leave and then returned the next morning prompting your husband to call the Sheriff to have her removed. However, I would encourage you to do a little research on Thomas Cranmer before you lean upon his advice on marriage. He was credited for helping Henry VIII build a case so he could get out of his marriage to Catherine Aragon in order to marry his mistress. He also supported the principle of Royal Supremacy which gave the King legal sovereignty over the Church of England. I think a more trusted source to lean to regarding biblical grounds for divorce would be King Jesus the Christ and the Apostle Paul which I have provided there view below for you to review. You will notice that there is nothing remotely close to allowing divorce based on verbal abuse or home improvements. One would have to beat, twist, torture, and distort the scripture to get something like this from these passages. The Holy Spirit will not lead you in a direction that would contradict the plain teaching of scripture. The Apostle Paul mentions in (1Timothy 5:8) that if a man provides not for those of his household, he is worse than an unbeliever. However, in this context this passage has absolutely nothing to do with giving grounds for divorce but only exhorting adult children to take care of their widowed parents. He even tells the believers at Corinth (1Cor 7) to remain married to their unbelieving spouse if they are pleased to dwell with them. I pray you will receive this email for what it is which is Love in deed (action) and not word only.
So there it is. How can a man like this, parading as a pastor, be considered anything other than a wolf lording his false authority over Christ’s flock? As you can see from his words here, he is really presenting himself as a pope, essentially a “vicar of Christ.” If anyone disobeys him, they are guilty of disobeying Christ and on their way to hell.