Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Don't Listen to People who want to ride the fence

This is a grass roots movement — bottom up. The higher up levels in ministries and denominations will never listen unless there is a ground swell from lowly Christians. I dont see us dialoguing with the power brokers because they would only be trying to trick us into believing that they really do care about justice. Historically that is always how it goes down.
Here is a quote from Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther. There is a lesson here for us about people who claim to be our friends but want to ride the fence so they don’t suffer any loss. They say things like: “Surely it is fine to point out error and to criticize certain things, but you must not go too far. If you will just not cross ‘the line’ then we can all work together and you won’t alienate people from you and….” on it goes.
Anyway, here is what Bainton wrote:

Glapion had previously approached Frederick the Wise with a very engaging argument. Luther’s earlier works, he claimed, had warmed his heart. He thoroughly agreed with the attack on indulgences and saw in The Freedom of the Christian Man a wonderful Christian spirit.
But when he had read The Babylonian Captivity, he was simply aghast. He could not believe that Luther would acknowledge the book. It was not in his usual style. If he had written it, he must have done so in a fit of passion. In that case he should be ready to have it interpreted in the sense of the Church. If he would comply, he would have many supporters. The matter should be settled in private, else the Devil would stir up contention, war, and insurrection. No good could come of public controversy, and only the Devil would profit from Luther’s appearance at Worms.
Bainton, Roland H. (2013-08-06). Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Kindle Locations 2480-2486). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.

Hmmmm . . . .no good can come of public controversy? Let’s just keep our little negotiations in the back rooms and put on a show of unity for the good of Christ, you know. That’s how this thing goes.
The fact is that we are going to tick people off in this ministry of exposing evil in the churches. We bring things out into the light because these denominations and ministry leaders and so on won’t listen unless the heat and light gets put on them. We all know this. This “keep it secret, keep it safe” business is what abuse victims run up against all the time.
And don’t forget – in most cases even if the pressure becomes powerful enough so that these entities begin to take action, announce change, implement programs, etc. – they are only doing so because their hand was caught in the cookie jar. Not because they are genuinely repentant and have come to see truth. This is why I always say, throw the bums out.


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  1. Amy

    When my abusive ex walked out 11 years ago, I think the saddest thing that happened was when someone from my former church, who I considered a good friend, said to me, “Well, I can’t take sides, but I love you and am here if you need anything.”
    My heart dropped when she said that to me and I knew I couldn’t go to her for anything because the reality was, if she ‘couldn’t take sides’ she certainly wouldn’t be on my side. And the reality was, she had already taken sides just by saying that.
    Sadly, I hear this same thing from women leaving abusive marriages, that their church sits on the fence and tells them they could never take sides. That statement alone should be a red flag as to where the church stands on abuse. You either side with the righteous or you stand with the wicked, and if they choose to stay on the fence, they still have one leg on the side of the wicked.

  2. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always takes sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor

  3. walkinginlight

    I agree. Throw the bums out!!! COWARDS have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven. People who say not to implement God’s instructions in Ephesians 5 are phony false Christians. These are what I like to call “cherry pickers”. They only pick scriptures to obey so that it keeps them comfy and there is nothing to loose by doing so, and the scriptures that call for real obedience and action they ignore. . . . . . to their own peril. It gets harder and harder to find like minded brethren right now. That is why this ministry here is such a HUGE blessing to me.

  4. Rowan on the high mountain

    Your position is the one I’ve arrived at, too. Most serous wrong is done by a coalition of stupid and cowardly people going along with the actively evil. That’s how we end up with poisoned churches and totalitarian governments, because too many people are willing to stay “neutral” to preserve their position. When I was young, I felt more sympathy with those who I assumed were merely afraid or naïve, but their tendency to equivocate and make excuses shows their co-operation with evil is a choice for their own benefit. As wise people have pointed out, neutrality always benefits the wrong-doer, the abuser, the oppressor.
    So many Christians try to blur the line between instances of our everyday fallibility as human beings and acts of deliberate harm. Even at our best, we’re going to slip up, be late, forget things, get a little greedy, not do enough for others, and–of course!–we ought to readily forgive slights and minor wrongs. But choosing to control or hurt people, is not a slip or mistake, but a strategy for getting one’s way. No Christian would make that choice.
    I’ve known people who call themselves Christians who seem more disapproving of social gaffes than of outright mistreatment (as long as the latter takes place behind closed doors where they won’t be annoyed by the screams)–as if it were less forgiveable for an absent-minded person to frequently arrive late to services than for a man to abuse his wife.

    • GrayRock

      “as if it were less forgiveable for an absent-minded person to frequently arrive late to services than for a man to abuse his wife”
      To them it is. Decades ago, I came to the conclusion that the church follows the Broadway motto “The show must go on.” A perfect facade is everything. Therefore, yes indeed, the screams of the abused would only annoy them.
      But then: How do you throw out people at the top of denominations who do not serve God but other masters, possibly even a very dark master?

  5. Change Agent

    MLK Jr said “A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought, within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.”
    When we incapacitate someone with corrupt systems and then turn on them because they are blocked from advancing we have missed the mark as believers and as humans. There is no accusation in stating the truth of oppression, only a cry for justice.
    God holds all accountable who fail to act when they are aware of injustice, oppression or hear slander and participate in it.
    The movement to judge things correctly originates in the mandate of Christ.
    Jesus had no place to lay his head. He was homeless and considered cursed by God. In his darkest moment, he saved the world.
    Divorced and rejecting toxic relationships, abusers, pretense, corruption and lies.

  6. Z

    I’ve been grief-stricken by fence-riding “christian friends” and even relatives. All KNEW 100% about the abuse being a fact of my life.
    So, “throw the bums out” is what I did. No Contact. More grief though. Not that I lost anything of any value. Counterfeit christians are of no value to the Kingdom or to me. Who wants people who side with known evil even by their “neutrality” as friends or family? Not me. But it seems all their churches value them and want them as friends and “brothers and sisters in Christ”!
    The decision to go No Contact with the evil abusers and their cohorts, who refuse to risk having to “count anything as a loss” for the “gain” of obeying God, is one with very harsh consequences for the abuse victim. Isolation, loneliness, valid feelings of abandonment and betrayal (because we WERE abandoned and betrayed by people we thought were real Christians and who cared for us but weren’t and didn’t!), feelings of low self worth because we were cast off like garbage and ignored or dismissed as “not worthy” in our time of need and suffering, trust issues…and many more scars. But it needs to be done for one’s mental and physical well-being in many cases. We can’t ignore it when people show us their TRUE character (more like LACK of character or wolf in wool character). All abusers and those complicit in evil even by their “fence-riding” have no place in the life of an abuse victim once they’ve shown their true colors. Their counterfeit Christianity. And the reality is it’s MORE hurt heaped upon the already hurting VICTIM to have to do what’s necessary and cut them loose and give them over to God to deal with. And He will deal with ALL of them for us.

    • I Woke Up

      Z, this is how it happened for me as well. I always say leaving the denomination I had been an active member of for many years was like a second divorce. The cold, hard silence I received from “friends” when I left was almost as bad as the unreachable demands put on me by the pastor. I finally got the strength and courage to file for divorce, and when I needed them most, they turned a blind eye and shooed me and my three children away. This was after getting “permission” from the leadership to get a divorce! Talk about riding the fence! Then when I was joining another denomination church a couple of years later, the old church pastor wouldn’t release my membership!!! Thank God my new pastor saw through this farce of a church and told the old pastor a piece of his mind and got a formal letter releasing me from membership. Crazy!
      It will take more of us lowly voices, and it will take years and years, but the truth will win out. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jeff Crippen and all at Unholy Charade, for what you’re doing here. Keep up the good work! I’m spreading the word to friends going through their own Hell of a church whenever I can!

      • Z

        I Woke Up-
        I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to endure. I’m sure there is so much more to your story-hurts and hardships, losses…that are too long to list. As is the case I’m sure with all in this community of abuse survivors.
        Know that you’re not alone-even though I can attest that it surely feels like we are alone when we lose all that we thought were our family and friends and church community. Thank God you found an upstanding pastor and church!
        I have not been so blessed in that regard. And the chronic illnesses from years of nonstop stresses have taken their toll and make it hard to start over for me and to make new true Christian friends. This online community is a godsend. Sometimes only those who have experienced this abuse by falsely professing Christians can truly understand what we are dealing with in trying to recover our lives. God bless you!

        • I Woke Up

          Dear Z,
          You are not alone either! You are now on my perpetual prayer list. I wish I could give you a big hug! God is using you and me even when we don’t realize it. Don’t forget that. You have blessed me with your words of comraderie and concern. 🤗

          • Z

            Thank you, I Woke Up! Your support and prayers mean so much to me. THAT is what real Christians do! THAT is what “fence-sitters” deny clear, obvious, known abuse victims and cause them more harm. They are not real Christians. I know God will use our hardships and trials for our good and His glory one day. For now, I’m just letting Him slowly restore me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually-all the places the abuse targeted and harmed. I will also pray for you, my kind friend.

    • Jrouser

      Do you think that, in retrospect, the “no contact” strategy was the best path? I guess the alternative is çontact that will only prove to toxic, to be filled with gaslighting, etc.
      I am going to need to make this move.

      • Z

        Dear JRouser,
        Yes, in retrospect, I KNOW going No Contact was the ONLY and RIGHT thing to do-despite the huge effect it has had on me. The truth is, continuing in relationship with my VIOLENT lifelong abusers-my parents-who physically regularly abused me all my childhood and who in my adulthood continued their abuse verbally, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They held back on continuing the physical abuse when I got married. Then they targeted both me and my husband with constant abusive behaviors every time we were in their company out of obligation or their guilting and manipulating us to see them. We tolerated it for FAR too long! We thought we HAD to keep forgiving unrepentant people who we knew were FALSE Christians-were EVIL-simply because of lifelong false teaching on “Forgiveness” by other family members who were and still are an ordained minister and an elder of a church. They and all my other relatives and church friends knew all about my parents’ abuses all my life and they never said a word or did a thing to help a terrorized little girl who was so hopeless and helpless I prayed to die regularly rather than continue to live in that house in constant terror. What kind of “Christian” relatives stand by and let that happen? Counterfeit Christians, that’s the kind.
        So, when a violent act occurred in my recent adulthood by my family-an ambush attack on me and my husband with a weapon-as retaliation for our firm boundaries around their abusive behavior were carried out (long separations with No Contact until they apologized and promised no more abusive behaviors-which always recurred!), we called the police on them. There were serious injuries inflicted. What I saw during that attack on us was pure hatred and malice and evil demonic spirits. And I knew we could NEVER be in any association with them ever again, no matter how many fake apologies they gave. There was NEVER any “fruit” of change in them. They were never sorry. They are abusers. Period. I had to accept that fact and sever all ties.
        Of course, abusers won’t just let their victims “reject them” or take back control of their lives. They mounted a smear campaign of epic proportions among my extended family, lifelong family friends, church friends. Not one relative or “friend” called to check in on me or my husband-victims of a bludgeoning weapon attack! Not one wanted to know what happened from us. ALL of whom had known me all my life and know my character and integrity and who all know how generously and compassionately and honorably I’ve treated them all their lives, especially when any of them were in need. All of whom know the lifelong abusive characters of my parents. All these people I thought cared about me all my life were nowhere to be found. And I had to face the fact that they cared MORE about themselves and any “inconvenience” the abusers might subject them to IF they had spoken up or taken the side of the victims. They didn’t want to pay a “cost” or lose any of the bribes and perks the abusers always handed out to these relatives and friends as part of their act as “good people”. Money, gifts, dinners, favors, flattery,…They were groomed and polished by the abusers to stay silent about the abuse they always knew about. I realized these aren’t the kind of people I wanted in my life. Fakes who put self-interest above righteousness. Who care more about what the abusers think of them than what GOD thinks of them. I had to “clean house”.
        And it’s HARD! Hard to start over later in life to create a new life, especially after being shattered by the betrayals and abandonments of people I’d trusted. But really, I never should have trusted people who stood by and knew first-hand that a child was being beaten regularly and they stride by and did and said nothing to help that child. I had given them all a “pass” because that’s all I knew about “family”. Abuse and keeping silent about it. It was “normal” to me until it clearly wasn’t.
        No Contact was for my and my husband’s safety first. These are violent criminals with no consciences. And No Contact means we can’t have contact with ANYONE who has contact with our abusers/attackers. After what they know, why would any professing Christian (or anyone) WANT to associate with violent, criminal KNOWN WOLVES in sheep’s clothing? Because they too are wolves in sheep’s clothing. This was a cult-like clan of people who all followed the same false teachings. Being “born again” to them meant saying the Sinner’s Prayer. That’s it! No real repentance-just lip service in a repeated prayer said decades ago. Never, ever any “fruit of repentance” or evidence of changed hearts or lives. They all think they are “born again”! Because the ordained minister aunt and church elder aunt say so. I don’t believe those false teachers have ever been born again themselves. Bad Teachers=Bad Fruit.
        Sorry this is so long but I wanted to be sure to answer your question. I do NOT regret going No Contact. It’s HARD. But it was absolutely necessary to get away from evil and all of evil’s allies. Silence, fence-sitting, neutrality..all equal complicity in evil. And it’s Biblical.
        I pray the Lord gives you strength in making your hard decision.

  7. suzzieq07

    This really meant something to me deep down. I am one of the very fortunate people who had a few friends (mostly a pastor and his wife) who did NOT sit on the fence. Little did I know that these people are so rare! Here is one scenario that came to my mind: It was after Sunday evening services. It was the habit of a few church members to meet for coffee and maybe a light snack following most Sunday services. The pastor’s wife, Sharon, and I were talking inside the fellowship hall alone, except for my husband who was standing at the side door. We must have talked longer than my husband wanted and he said, “So, are we leaving now or what?” I said, “Oh, oh, sorry, yes.” Sharon said, “You talk to your wife that way, Jerry?” To which he replied, “I wasn’t talking to HER!” To which she responded, “So, you were talking to ME?” These people were definitely NOT sitting on the fence. They saw the problem, who the responsible party was, and addressed it appropriately. Through them I gained the strength to trust my own perceptions and ultimately make the agonizing decision to end the marriage. Sharon has passed away. She truly was a righteous person in my eyes.
    Thank you for looking at the many angles of abuse. Abused people have damaged emotions which cause them to doubt their own wisdom and sanity. Even many years out, there are deep scars where healing is still taking place.

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