Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Stephanie's Story – Part 6 – Excommunicated

There are many other emails that were avalanched onto Stephanie by her ex-pastor which also included some communications from the “biblical counselor.” All of them put the primary burden for “saving the marriage” on Stephanie rather than where it belonged, on her abuser.
Here is a copy of the letter informing Stephanie that she had been ex-communicated, “In Christ’s Love” as you notice it is signed off. The fact is that this is exactly where her ex-pastor and church had been headed in the entire process, though they would deny it. Stephanie refused to “get in line” and had to be taught a lesson as well as the rest of the women in the church.

Dear Stephanie,
It is with deep regret that I write this letter to inform you that ___________ Reformed Baptist Church voted unanimously to excommunicate you from the church according to the process in our church’s constitution and Matthew 18. This action was taken by the church after much prayer and private advisory consultation with other Pastors at sister churches outside of our congregation.
This action was taken because you refused to continue to receive counseling to save your marriage. Also, this includes your deliberate actions to pursue an unbiblical divorce and break your covenant vows that you made before God in the sight of witnesses.
This action has been taken out of deep concern and love for your soul. We will continue to pray for you and your husband that the Lord will grant you repentance and reconciliation with Christ, your husband, and this congregation.
In Christ Love,
Pastor __________

So there you have it. This scenario is being played out in local churches every single day. Many of you have been through it yourselves.
Notice that this “pastor” insists that THE way to “save the marriage” is for people to submit to his “biblical counseling” routine. Notice also that he denies that abuse is grounds for a divorce and that when a person “signs on” to a marriage with vows, the “for better or worse” includes being bound to the abuse with no way of escape.
Finally, notice the lies. He says he and the church have a deep concern and love for her soul. That is a lie. They have NO concern for her. Just like an abusive cult, they are punishing her for refusing to bow to their oppression. “Let this be a lesson to anyone else thinking about going against the Pastor!” That is what is going on here.
Well, Stephanie, their “ex-communication” is not an excommunication from Christ. You are like the man in John 9 who Jesus healed and who was then put out of the Temple for confessing Christ. And then he found Jesus outside that Temple, just as you will.
Many blessings in Christ to you, Stephanie. May the Lord use your story here to His glory and may you keep experiencing more and more freedom from the evil that has been done to you.


Stephanie's Story – Part 5 – More Letters from the "Pastor"


Preaching Perseverance and Patience to Abuse Victims? Time to get a Clue!


  1. Krikit

    It is despicable what man does in the name of God.

  2. Rae

    “Just like an abusive cult, they are punishing her for refusing to bow down to their oppression.” It’s been over seven years and I am still being oppressed by Faith bible church in Spokane. I also have letters and e mails similar to Stephanie‘s. Will I bow down? Never!!

  3. walkinginlight

    This “pastor” has not love for Stephanie. He wants to CONTROL her just like her abusive anti-husband. I know this type as unfortunately I have had them around for most of my earthly life. From father to brother to husband etc. They want you to do exactly as they tell you and if you do not “obey” their every whim, you are the bad guy! In some sick twisted way it makes some people feel “big” and “powerful” to exert control on another human being. Controllers are committing idolatry as they are elevating themselves above God. God does not even control a person like this. God gently leads while it is Satan that controls. That pastor needs to go and repent from his inflated ego disguised in piety and syrupy sweetness. I am so glad that Stephanie is free from these wicked evil men!

  4. C

    Dear Stephanie,
    Dear everyone to whom this hapenned,
    do you ever find such behaviour shown by Jesus?
    Let not fool yourself into believing that this is love, other than of power,
    that this is concern, other than of losing control,
    and a hidden threat of hell – meaning spiritual abuse of the worst kind.
    And by saying that they consulted other churches – without their names – they make it (nearly) impossible to find Christian fellowship in your area or denomination.
    Isolation – maybe even combined with the suggestion, that you need a congregation for your spiritual wellbeing or for correction – they did something like that to me.
    Yes, such isolation is an immense pain. And yet it is better to stay in the truth of Christ.
    May He give you consolation and confirmation of your walk with Him.
    And some personal hugs to you over the internet.
    Dear pastor,
    thank you for exposing these machinations for what they are,
    and for giving some spiritual home, comfort, light,… to the wounded.
    May Christ bless you all,

  5. Change Agent

    The pastor and his team has forgotten the following:
    Marriage is an institution celebrating the reenactment of the culminating glory of creation. When a man and woman mutually agree to walk life’s journey together in support of each other, they reflect the unity of the God-head. It is a wonderful ceremony and time in the life of two individuals joining forces. When the covenant established by this union is broken it is important to consider why God holds marriage with such high regard.
    Every enduring act and symbol in scripture is best captured by a single word, love. Love is at the root of what God champions and disdains. In the case of the sacrament of marriage, when it is lifted above the sacred creation it was designed for it is at best misunderstood. As God’s creation, we are sacred. A marriage that defaces and devalues the divine image in a person through abuse violates the covenant. God calls his people his peculiar treasure. The endearing terms he uses to describe us confides that we are precious to his heart.
    When the violated covenants are dissolved to protect the individuals involved we must be careful to value what is valuable. God never elevates tradition over treasure. Remember the pearl of great price? God describes his relationship to us in this way:
    Matthew 13:
    44“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
    45“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!
    God sent Jesus, giving everything he owned for his creation. He made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve his people. Why would we presume that he would act in a way inconsistent with his passionate protection of his children by subjecting them to an abusive marriage? God never elevates tradition over treasure. In fact, he does the exact opposite. So, we too must safeguard people not practices.

  6. IamMyBeloved’s

    Another travesty chalked up to the false visible church and its partaking congregants.

  7. Pastor Jeff,
    I started reading this blog at its beginning and your other blog before that. I was working through a difficult, heart breaking for me, situation at church caused by a church merger. The newer group dominated the established group. I was hurt by how some of the elderly were being brushed aside but thought maybe I was being overly sensitive or overly protective. I had been on the pastor search committee, so I felt partially responsible (and appalled) for what was happening. I listened to most of your sermons on abuse about the traits of the abusive person. I was hungry to know more. I spoke up one time in a business meeting with a few thoughtful comments for the now blended assembly to consider. Then I received an invitation to meet with the elder board to discuss my concerns. The letter read alright but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to be pushed to agree with their agenda, and I was emotional. Ministries I had led and been active in were being shut down or changed. My emotions were too near the surface and distrust had formed. I felt betrayed by some people I’d known as friends from our side. The whole thing troubled me. I did not meet with the elders. But it was humbling. My joy left. I grieved what had happened to a church I had served in for twenty something years. I wondered if I was thinking wrong. I couldn’t be false to myself or pretend to be what I was not, so I moved on. Letters like the one above disguise and mislead. Sometimes, though, I think there is blindness that shields people from seeing what’s really going on. Not to excuse, but the victim is not what the church has trained itself to see. Anyone, including ourselves, if we get our eyes off Christ, can become a pharisaical judge to some degree if they’re not careful. This blog’s content educates. Christ is our/your focus, life, and strength. May those whom have been wounded so terribly, be given a hope and a future. May the church be salt, light, and love to all. That will be the day, a glorious day.
    Thank you for your faithfulness. Prayers to those recovering from being devalued, diminished, mistreated, and disbelieved. God loves you so very much. He heals where we’ve been so deeply damaged. The Lord bless you and keep you.
    Bless you, Pastor Crippen,

  8. ‘Can you think of a panting, bleeding, dying Jesus, and not be filled with pity toward him?’ (George Whitefield, ‘A Penitent Heart, the Best New Year’s Gift’, in Sermons of George Whitefield [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009], p. 160)
    Those who have no compassion towards the afflicted – particularly vulnerable, oppressed followers of Christ – have no valid claim of being in Christ. The compassionless, that is, those who do not care for ‘the least of these my brothers’ of Christ (Mt 25.40, ESV), demonstrate their lack of a positive relationship with Christ by their failure to perform acts of mercy on the afflicted disciples of the Lord (Mt 25.41–45).
    To relieve the suffering followers of Jesus Christ in their distress, to welcome them when they are strangers, is looked upon by the King as though it had been done to himself (Mt 25.34–40).

    • Change Agent

      Thank you J.D. I find your words refreshing, as someone who is facing oppression and the callous response of the “church” and others who claim to advocate for justice.

  9. Stormy

    This is so typical. Here’s a typical follow up scenario—
    The evil wicked anti husband will find a new victim. After knowing the rebound victim for a couple of months they will announce their engagement to the church.
    The pastors and his wife will welcome her with open arms. The women from the church will have parties for her and even host a wedding shower for the abuser and his new victim.
    The pastor, his wife and other church members will congratulate the abuser with soothing words like this “ I’m so glad your finally happy and you found a woman who really loves you etc” all hogwash.
    The abused victim will be left reeling again from further abuse caused by fake Christians who support evil and stand with the wicked.
    All under the guise of fake Christianity, giving the wicked a free pass to continue in their wicked ways. Never holding anyone accountable for anything. It’s sickening to me. Makes my stomach turn.

  10. This is such an infuriating story, but I also have seen it enacted over and over. Blind leaders of the blind – the hardness of heart and the lies and murder of the Pharisees is alive and well in the modern church.
    Jesus was not just listening to himself talk when he commanded us to beware the leaven of the Pharisees. Just a little poisons everything.
    Stephanie, I am so sorry for this, but hold on to Christ – he said, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you for my name’s sake.”
    You are in good company. Pharisees will always cast those who are like Christ out of their synagogues.

    • Z

      Dear Pastor Powell,
      You said it all and you understand this subject so well. Your heart for victims always comes through so clearly. Thank you for always being a comfort to victims.
      And to Stephanie and all the victims of this very same pattern of abuse at home and then further abuse by “Christians” and “Pastors/Church Leaders” – I’ve been there. My heart aches for all of you because unfortunately I too know first-hand how hard it is to undergo this multi-layered abuse. Including the twisting of Scriptures that kept us in bondage to evil people for SO much longer than was necessary and even spiritual blackmail, power plays and manipulations to the point we nearly lose our faith. Spiritual disillusionment for a time for me. Woe to those in church leadership who brought us to that point.
      I also know how HARD, HARD, HARD it is to try to recover from the chronic PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, physical deterioration and ailments, spiritual homelessness…Lives totally upended by the counterfeit “christian” abusers and their allies inside and outside of “the church”.
      Add to that, many of us have had to go No Contact with abusive family and any “friends” who stood by, enabled or covered up the abuse they knew about. No Contact as well with any complicit pastors, church people and even entire churches led and duped by abusive pastors. That has left many of us without a church home and reluctant to try new churches. Trust issues. That leaves many of us without ANY support system or community of real people that ALL the relevant literature says is CRUCIAL to recovery after abuse. We are told to “find your tribe who will walk through this with you.” Where do we go to “find a community of real people”? (As opposed to an online one like this.) After what we’ve had inflicted on us by people we trusted? (My situation involved ongoing extreme physical violence.)
      So we are the ones who have to live like pariahs, modern day lepers. So alone in our attempts to recover our lives. I honestly don’t know if it can be done. (“Counseling” is another issue altogether!)
      We are the ones who will be sitting alone on the holidays while our abusers and their allies will be partying it up and conducting their wolves in sheep’s clothing acts, as usual. So sickening, unfair and not right.
      BUT–>Psalm 73!
      It saves me from the “pit” of total despair.
      I look to God’s Word and discern their end and it WON’T be the lie they tell to themselves and others!
      And I, on the other hand, am promised I will be TAKEN UP by my Lord into GLORY, ETERNALLY!!
      I’m at least now absorbing the comfort this knowledge provides, even though it means no justice on earth will likely ever happen for me. However, ALL abusers and their allies WILL get what they deserve. Eternally.
      Their “thirst”, that was NEVER for justice and righteousnessness, but instead for “war” and evil on earth, will go forever unquenched where they are going to spend eternity.
      That and JESUS, every moment of every day, one foot in front of the other, has to be enough on earth to get me to that Glorious Day promised to me.

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