Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

She Came to her Own, But They did not Receive Her

Joh 1:11-12  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  (12)  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

I want to show you the fundamental reason victims of abuse are routinely and regularly rejected by their pastors and churches when they expose the abuse and ask for help. It actually is no mystery.

When Jesus came into this world as that baby in Bethlehem, He came as the promised Messiah of Israel. The Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, were His people under the Old Covenant. Jesus Himself was born as one of them, that promised Seed of Abraham. In that outward sense then, under the Old Covenant, Jesus came “to His own.”
We all know what happened. As John says, and his own people did not receive him. But then John goes on to say, but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. In other words, the TRUE children of Abraham (See Romans 2:28-29) were not the people merely descended from Abraham phyisically, but those who were of faith – those who believed in His name. THEY are the true children of God, the true Israel – Jew or Gentile.
Now, why did the Jews not receive Jesus as their Messiah king? Because he was not one of them. In fact, he told them (see John 8) that they were of their father the devil! They did not receive him because he was not one of them. The Pharisees hated him with a murderous hatred because he was upsetting their program and their status. Their power and privilege was threatened by Him.
I have seen this same pattern play out over and over and over. If you read the biographies of Charles Spurgeon and George  for instance, you will see it. Both men, wonderfully gifted and used by God for the salvation of thousands, were hated and scorned by the “clergy” of their day. They were regularly slandered and falsely accused. Why? Because they were true servants of Christ and they were, therefore, not one of the ruling caste of clergy. They were upsetting things. They were exposing the abuse and evils of the false shepherds. And these wolves hated them for it.
Think of what both Rome and the Jews did to the Apostle Paul. Think of what Rome did to the Reformers. Luther came exposing the abuses and evils and false gospel of the Papacy and they would have killed him a thousand times over had the Lord not preserved him.
Which brings us back around to the abuse victims in local churches in our day. Why are they so sorely treated and scorned and even cast out when they come for help to their “shepherds”?  I can tell you. It is because these shepherds are no shepherds at all and their flocks are flocks of goats, not sheep. That is to say, the Christian abuse victim is not one of the counterfeits. They are a threat to the power and false reputation of hypocrites. So they are told to shut up, “in the name of the Lord,” of course. And then they are put out if they don’t get in line.
I am really just beginning to see what Christ’s true church is. And I can tell you, it is rarer and smaller than most of us have been told. It does not look much like the typical local church at all in fact. Because Christ’s people love one another, they hunger and thirst for righteousness, the are poor in spirit, and they are persecuted for righteousness sake. And they love the widow and orphan.


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  1. Anonymous

    So very true. The real church is so much rarer and smaller than we ever imagined.

  2. Leonie

    Yes, this is something that any person in whose Christ spirit dwells will encounter. I used to wrack my brain trying to figure out why my ex hated me so much when I had only been kind and generous with him. Any man who actively seeks and lives by the works of the flesh will hate those who are filled with and led by the Spirit of God!

    • Jeff Crippen


    • Stormy

      My ex hated me too and was also strangely jealous of my personality. Never jealous regarding other men just jealous of me as a person it was weird. I could never understand the evil wicked mind. It was all foreign and twisted to me.

  3. Oma

    The work you do with such courage, Jeff Crippen, is appreciated more than you will know this side of heaven. Your book, Unholy Charade, for example has been such a “light shedder” to those who have no idea how to put into words the extent that domestic violence/abuse exudes evil. When we live it and like Leonie commented previously, yet we do not understand how/why our benevolence is always met with such malevolence, how can we expect those who have never lived it to grasp the pure evil that underlies the quest for power and control. You give voice to the voiceless. Merry Christmas and thank you from the depths of my heart!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Oma. Your words are very encouraging

      • Sue

        After having Christmas lunch in the neighbourhood of my church going, abusive ex husband, I came home feeling pretty triggered. So this message above came at just the right time to provide a balm for my hurt. Also watched again your sermon below and rested in God’s love, truth and justice for the oppressed. Many thanks!!

  4. C

    Thank you for these words full of truth, and also for your latest sermon – there is so much darkness that claims to be light – especially in these days of december.
    To all who have to endure abuse around Chrismas or who spend these days in lonely memories of past horrible Chrismas celebrations:
    Here is what came to my mind what Jesus would do:
    He would tell them boldly:
    You defile my father’s temple by turning it into a den of robbers. (e.g. Lk 19, 45-48)
    You defile the holy-day of love and rememberance – of how He loved the world to come here as a child – by spitting hateful comments spiced with sweet talking poison.
    You insist on keeping outward appearances and form while your hearts are full of evil (e.g. read Mt 23 or do a search on the word hypocrites).
    You insist on playing happy family while using every minute to inflict hurt, to show off, to hold power, to undo or belittle honest gifts of love, to revile or to do whatever evil comes to your mind.
    He would call out the hypocrites and call them the brood of vipers that they are,
    He would bring the truth to light and the healing to the ones that hurt.
    May the light of Christ shine into your hearts and bring comfort and joy to all of you,
    a deep blessing to you and to all you love,

    • Jeff Crippen

      And many thanks to you C.

    • Z

      Dear C,
      All you said could not have been said better! All so very true and accurate. Sadly. Too few voices to stand with those who have long been harmed and deeply hurt by abusers. Even fewer with the courage to do all the “Jesus examples/things” and Scriptural admonitions to call out the hypocrites defiling God’s temples and put them out of the sheep’s midst to protect the flock.
      I join you in praying blessings from above for all those suffering and hurting as a result of wolves being welcomed, being made comfortable being wolves in God’s churches. May the eyes and ears of those in church leadership be opened to this infestation. And may God give them hearts that turn away from protecting the wolves to instead caring for and binding up the wounds and hearts of the victims of those wolves. Lord, give them hearts that want to be like Jesus. Isn’t that their mission?

      • C

        Dear Z
        thank you,
        Prayers and blessings for you (and everyone on this blog).
        May God’s truth, justice and light become more visible in this dark world, especially for all those, who desperately long for it.

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