Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Watch Out for Wolves in Wool — a True Story of Disguises

We all know that abusers love to hide in the pews, wearing “holy” garb as a disguise. It’s one of their favorite methods, and a very effective one too.  I never cease to be amazed at how many of these mask-wearers are in churches.
Recently I did some searching online to see what had become of a fellow and his wife who I had known many years ago. They were church members and he was active not only in the church but also held a seminary degree and worked in a professional ministry setting with a well-known Christian organization. I found that he had died, as had his wife, and I located their obituaries and read them.

Now, the reason I am writing about this is to demonstrate to us all once more just how commonly things are not as they appear to be. And so it was in this case. The obituaries were lengthy and absolutely glowing. They told about the sacrificial, godly character of these folks, the self-sacrificing service for Christ, the awards for Christian service they had received, and how many lives were touched for Christ through them. Both obituaries lauded them as having run their race well and entered into the glory of their King Jesus. Hallelujahs and applause ring out.
Now, let me pop the bubble. In reality neither of these people demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Neither of them. Not even borderline. I knew them “behind the scenes.” They did not even get along well with one another. They were self-serving. They were very angry people who would punish others with that anger if they did not get what they wanted. I was the object of that anger more than once, as were many others. In my long experience with these people, I never came close to any sense of confidence that they were really genuine regenerate people. That is the real picture.
This thing is common. Very, very common. Every Christian needs to come to the realization and the wisdom of knowing that this is the very way evil comes among us and works to destroy Christ’s church and people. In disguise. In wool. Without shame, sitting right beside us and taking the bread and the cup at the communion table. We need to stop being so foolishly incredulous when a report comes our way from these kinds of peoples’ victims. “Jeff, I have to tell you – there are two Freds. The one you see at church, and the one the rest of us have to deal with through the week.”
But we are not wise. Not for the most part. Nope. Not wise at all when it comes to evil. If I were to find the people who gave the information for those glowing reports about these people whom I personally knew, and tell them the truth, they would not listen to me.
They would be angry and they would accuse me of slandering the good name of fine, Christian brethren and tell me that if I did not repent of saying these things, the Lord’s blessing would be removed from my life and ministry.
I know. I’ve heard it. And so have many of you.

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)


Our Theology of Evangelizing Hypocrites is Protecting Abusers in our Churches


Grumbling When Good is Done is a Mark of Pharisees


  1. no one down here

    A story.
    At one point I had the opportunity to have an in-person interaction with the person who abused me and the children for 15+ years.
    Through all of his interactions with me separately, it was obvious that this man was a liar, refusing to admit that he has been abusive, seeking to control every situation, handing out covert insults (doing things designed to make him look good, but if you know a few inside story details, it’s actually an insult… but done in a way that no one would ever believe you)… in short, it has remained obvious that is no actual change that has happened in his heart. He is still fully perpetuating an abusive mindset.
    Back to the in-person interaction that involved me, a child, and a third person. The performance was so incredible, I would have believed it, if I hadn’t known some inside details that indicated lies, control, manipulation, and disdain for me as a person. The third person ate it up and even handed out “good parent” praise…
    It was a chilling event.
    Praise to God because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Praise to God that He is still on the throne. He is still watching over all the events and putting everything in place to best serve His glory. Do I want to see justice done here on earth for all to see? yes. Will that happen? I don’t know. The wickedness of this man is so deep, so evil… so insidious… I understand how the wicked triumph every day. I am so thankful for the message of the Psalms that points us to God who will handle all the justice in His time.

  2. Stormy

    Just experienced this yesterday. A popular Christian retreat speaker, Christian blogger who I’ve been in churches with for years, lived in the same neighborhood, have similar friends, kids go to the same schools, been in her living room, spoken to her on the phone, worked in the church nursery yet she has repeatedly and consistently snubbed me, has never once given me a smile or a nod hello.
    It’s obvious she is not exhibiting the fruit of the spirit. Yet her friends in high places write glowing accolades and references for her to be posted on her blog. She’s been compared to well known conference speakers and it’s a joke.
    I don’t see the fruit of the spirit in her at all and before Pastors blog I’ve been confused. I’m not confused anymore. She’s not exhibiting the fruit Of the spirit with me because she doesn’t have the spirit. It’s simple. Don’t Believe the hype. If your discernment kicks in trust your gut. When people show you who they are believe them the first time.

  3. Debby

    When my dad died 20 years ago, I had to sit in the pew listening to accolades of his “great, spiritual leader” after being molested by him (which people wouldn’t have known, I get it) and having witnessed countless interactions between him and many others tghat were full of pride and self-centered glory seeking. So surely adults had witnessed this, too, yet NOBODY ever spoke to him about his behaviors and attitude, just go along to get along. Some people it’s not even HARD to discern that something is “off” and they STILL won’t say anything. Which used to surprise me but now that I’ve researched how the church responds to grossly overt and in your face massive destructive behaviors of control and abuse and not only does nothing but EMBRACES these people and CHASTISE the victim, yeah, not surprised any more. I’m actually surprised when I find people like YOU, Pastor. Smh…

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