Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Churches are Practicing a Policy of Appeasement with Evil – It Has Never Worked

George Washington’s words may seem hard and cold today, but history has proven him right again and again. ‘To be prepared for war,’ he said, ‘is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.’ [Peace Through Strength, Across the Centuries: True Then, True Today by John Heubusch].

If you have ever studied the history of the second world war, you know that England, against the repeated counsel of Winston Churchill, pursued a policy of appeasement with Nazi Germany. Chamberlain came back from a meeting with Hitler waving a piece of paper in his hand and boasting he had achieved “peace in our time.” Then Hitler invaded Poland and the slaughter of millions took place.
We can find many examples, some of them very recent ones, of politicians insisting that the way to deal with tyrannical, totalitarian, oppressive regimes is to appease them. Give them what they want. Don’t upset them. This is sheer foolishness. It has never worked and it will never work. Evil is never appeased. The wicked are never satisfied.

Jer 5:26-28  For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men.  (27)  Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich;  (28)  they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

Most pastors, church leaders, and local church members teach and are taught that the way to deal with evil is to appease it. The thing disguises itself with terms like love, mercy, patience, reconcile, forgiveness and so on. God’s Word tells us plainly that we are in a war with the devil and his kingdom, that we are to put on the armor of God and stand firmly against that evil, but for all the talk about “spiritual warfare” in churches, the fact is that in practice these things are denied. Instead, appeasement is the thing exalted.
For instance, what is happening when a victim of a wicked domestic abuser comes to her pastor for help and she is told to go home and be a better wife? Be a better Christian, they tell her. Submit more. Keep the house cleaner. Overlook the fact that he reviled you last night. What is happening here? I can tell you. It’s obvious. She is being told (ordered in fact) to appease the evil man. She is being commanded, supposedly with God’s authority, to do whatever she can to appease her oppressor and he will then see the error of his ways and be satisfied. Really?

Psa 10:8-10  He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;  (9)  he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.  (10)  The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.

The Bible tells us that if we are going to enjoy peace, if we are to be victorious over the wicked man, then we must expose his evil, not keep silent about it or feed him what he lusts for. We are to put the wicked man out from among us. We are to be wise about evil and understand that its appetite for widows and orphans will never be satisfied. We are to be truly Christlike, and that means we are to deal with evil and our Lord Jesus Christ did:

Joh 8:44  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Does that sound like appeasement? I don’t think so. I don’t think they were appeased by Jesus’ words. So don’t listen to people who tell you to deal with your abuser by appeasing him. It won’t work. It has never worked. It is not God’s way.


More Thoughts on Abuse Victims as Widows and Orphans


More Thoughts on the Error of Dealing With Evil by Appeasement


  1. LG

    I’ve read every single one of [your posts] since summer last year! Thank you for writing the truth. It’s been so healing and eye-opening. This post today has me wondering something, and I know there is an answer (if not many answers): The question is: Why does an abuser/evil person go to church? Why do they sit and listen to sermons and hang out with the people if this is not who they are? Why not just stay home on Sunday mornings?
    It’s got me scratching my head! If you’ve written about this, and if you have a moment, do you mind sending me back the link?
    Thank you for all you do. I pray for you and your wife: protection as you speak truth!

    • no one down here

      Why did the Pharisees keep going to the temple all the time? Why did they continue to read and preach the Scriptures? Why did they know enough Scriptures to be able to question Christ on finer points of the law? How did they get to be the teachers/preachers of the day?
      To win:
      In order to keep winning, they have to maintain the appearance. They HAVE to convince everyone that they are really in the right … either “have done nothing wrong and poor them to have dealt with such a terrible abusive spouse…” or “yes, they have done wrong, but praise God they have been forgiven. So sad that the spouse is going on in bitterness”
      To maintain power:
      They know that so long as they are believed and doubt is cast on the victim, they still maintain power. Power over perception, power over the victim who is now searching for another church family or struggles with thoughts that God has rejected her.
      To control the situation and manage perceptions:
      Abuse is about control. They can’t effectively damage-control if they disengage. They have to weigh people’s opinions, put in a word here or there at the right time to the right people.
      This is part of the abuse. At its core, abuse is about control. All those things up there — control. Control of themselves, control of the situation, control of others. They can continue to be abusive to whichever person(s) even while they are not even in contact with said person(s).

      • Z

        Dear no one down here,
        How perfectly you explain most of the reasons wolves keep going to Christ’s churches. Who wouldn’t when the “welcome mat” is always there for them and not for their victims?
        Your reasons are so spot-on! All of them point to keeping up the deception so they can keep up their abuses.
        The Pharisees kept up and then ramped up their charade to the point of conspiracy, violence, false charges and murdering their chosen “victim” Jesus! (But, turns out, He’s the VICTOR not their victim!)
        We know their end by reading it in God’s Word. Jesus said to Nicodemus and then carried out God’s Salvation plan that unless a person repents and is born again (evidenced by their fruit) he/she will never see the Kingdom of heaven.
        Praise God that we who truly are born again also know our end. The Lord Himself will take us home to be with Him forever. We will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    • Amy

      I believe they continue going to church because they can! And most abusers are master manipulators who are good at snowballing people and coming across as being the victim, so if the church is believing the abuser and allowing him/her to stay then why would they leave?!
      My then-husband (ex for 9 years now) walked out on me and our two boys in ’09 supposedly because I kicked him out, but I also heard the story he told how we had mutually agreed for him to leave so we could work on the marriage. Hmmmm, which was it?? Didn’t really matter which story people wanted to believe, he just wanted people to believe he was the victim and really truly wanted to save our marriage but I was the ungodly wife who refused to let him back in his own home.
      And as long as our former church, including the men’s group, continued to take him in and supposedly try to ‘help’ him, he was going to stay there because hopefully the church would come to see me in such a bad light and turn their backs on me. Which is pretty much what happened.
      I remember the pastor approaching me one Sunday after church about a month after my ex had walked out, and saying how he was seeing a change in my husband. I just stared at him because the week before, this supposedly changed man had closed out 2 of our bank accounts without my knowledge and had our tax return deposited into a bank account he had opened, and told me I didn’t deserve any of that money because I’d only contributed 2% to our family in the 20 years we were married. Changed man?? Nope, sounds like the same vindictive man I put up with for far too many years of my life and was told repeatedly how he just needed more respect and for me to be more submissive.
      I left that church not long after that exchange with the pastor and filed for divorce.
      Abusers stay in the church because they can. Thank goodness for Pastor Crippen who speaks the truth and calls out churches for allowing evil to fill their pews. I often wonder how different my story might have been if my ex and I had attended Pastor Crippen’s church 11 years ago. 😉

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thank you very much Amy. You have grown wise. You said:
        “And as long as our former church, including the men’s group, continued to take him in and supposedly try to ‘help’ him, he was going to stay there because hopefully the church would come to see me in such a bad light and turn their backs on me. Which is pretty much what happened.”
        I have seen evil and abuse fostered in men’s groups in churches and in parachurch organizations. I have come to detest them. There is almost always an aura of “chuckle, chuckle, well guys….you know women. They are always trying to pull something on us and try to boss us around. But then we’re supposed to love them, so let’s see if we can figure out how to do that.” In fact the underlying mentality is that women are all Jezebels who are out to use their feminine wiles to get what they want out of their husband.
        Now of course we all know there are wicked women too. I bet most all of us here have run into them. But these men’s ministries (I think of Promise Keepers for instance) lump all women together into one category – and it isn’t a good category. Men’s groups for the most part promote “the guys” who are meeting with just other men – no women allowed – because women just don’t understand what men need. All that kind of garbage and more.
        The fact is that I have never been comfortable in men’s groups, though over the years I have taught men’s Bible studies (I gave that up long ago. I teach Bible studies to Christians believing that all Christians need the same thing). But I was never comfortable in them. Why? Because my real friend and partner has always been my wife. And it turns out that she has never been comfortable in your standard women’s groups, womens conferences, womens retreats, etc because in my opinion and in hers not only is the leadership of those groups deficient and superficial, they also promote unbiblical notions of a woman/wife and often even promote the thinking that “well, you will never understand men…can’t live with em, can’t live without them.”
        In almost all cases, abusers are going to love men’s groups.

        • Amy

          I always felt the same way as your wife about women’s groups, conferences and retreats. I went because I was supposed to as every good Christian woman did, but I just could never get past them being more of a social ring with the same clicky groups we had in high school and I never felt I fit into any of them.
          And re: the men’s group — I know at least 2 men from that former group who keep in touch with my ex to this day. He loved that men’s group because they continued to allow him to come there and get patted on the back for having to endure such an ungodly wife. Those two men who stay in contact, they are not real godly men although they’ve gained that reputation in the church — but birds of a feather…

        • Debby Seguin

          Sadly the only “women’s group” or ANY group now, that I feel safe and at ease is in dv survivor groups.

  2. DS

    I have wondered this so many times. My ex and I had been widowed in 2010. I thought he was an excellent Christian man. He had attended this Bible teaching church for 36 years during his first marriage. When we got married it became my church also. I know the pastor had wrote books. He preaches verse by verse. I agreed with them doctrinally on everything. But..my husband turned out to be very abusive.
    After a beautiful honeymoon I was the happiest woman. Was so amazed at how God brought us together. Within one month after, I knew I was in trouble. He abused me in every way and I know he only married me to use me. He is extremely lazy, he verbally abused me and emotionally and trashed everything I loved. Even so far as my family and my deceased spouse. He was childish and had tantrums. Public humiliation and to a point where he would leave a seat between us at church. We would start a Bible study with other couples but he would only go a few times and quit. I saw that he only had surface relationships. I found out from his own girls that it was not me causing this. He had treated their mother the same.She had never told anyone. He physically abused me a couple times by shoving me and left bruises.
    Finally after 3 years I worked up courage to go to one elder and his wife. They worked with us but it became a second battle for me. No matter what he did they responded with something I didn’t do right. By then I was so confused and in between the abuse he would be so loving. We had good times. Then abuse again. I wanted to get counseling. The church, in a threatening way, told me not to as it would be all about me and I would get worldly counsel. Plus, i was being selfish. They also told me to not tell my family. One elder asked, why would you? After 2 years I finally listened to my own heart. I got help and found out about personality disorders and he fit the narcissist pattern perfectly. Then it began to make sense.
    It took me two years of counseling and still trying to work on my marriage but last year, after 6 years together I filed for divorce. It has been a hard struggle even now to break through the love bombing he did but now I understand. What I don’t understand is, with fear and trembling, I finally went to the pastor directly. I was told about Paul suffering. In other words, it was my duty to suffer for Christ this way.
    As to why he went to church and kept going there has baffled me. I still don’t know but I do know he felt safe there. At one time he had even offered to drive me to see the pastor. He told me himself i would get no where with him. He was right.
    He knew the Bible well so I have thought it was a game for him to get all the knowledge he could and was just enjoying the pretense and therefore, was fun for him to manipulate the whole church. But as one of his daughters told me…he would think he would be first in line to go into heaven, because of his entitlement. All I know is he is intelligent and crafty and has all the attributes of the devil himself. He has no character at all and is not even capable of feeling any empathy for anyone. But I have wondered if he really thinks he is going to heaven??
    Divorcing was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Even walking through cancer with my first husband was not as painful and I loved him dearly for 48 years. I knew if I stayed (in my present marriage) it was killing me. When asked, my ex told me, it is worse to get counseling then divorce!
    It’s been one year since the divorce was final. I feel I need to do one more thing before i can be completely, or as completely healed as possible. I feel I need to speak with one elder and his wife and I know it would be a miracle if they listened to me. But…how many women there are going through the same and being told the same? The longer we stay, the more we can’t think for ourselves. It is too confusing. It’s just so heartbreaking and demonic.
    I do wonder if he thinks he’s going to heaven or does he know he’s a deceiver?
    Also, strange but this church preaches on church discipline. Not to punish, but to get the sinner to repent. I guess abusing your wife is not serious enough offense.
    (Editors’ note: Screen name changed to protect the commenter’s identity)

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you VERY much DS for telling your story. Your words are good encouragement to everyone here. And wise. If that elder and his wife refuse to listen to you humbly, it will be due to their own willful blindness to evil. Blessings in Christ to you.

    • no one down here

      So sorry for what you have had to endure. Especially after a lovely first marriage, what a shock. I am so sad for this.
      A few random things that I thought. I get why they would stay in the church. but I do very much also wonder – does he know… does he know that he is deceiving everyone? secretly gloating over his power and control… does he know? Or does he think he’s going to be one of those who hears God say “Well done, good and faithful servant…” With the intellect he has, you’d think he would have to know. But if he knows, how could he do what he does?! Surely it is evidence of Christ words of there being many in that day who profess to have a reason they should enter into eternity with the Lord, but instead will be cast out. Eyes blinded, lest they should see. Ears stopped, lest they should hear. Maybe I answered my own question. As inconceivable as it seems, perhaps they really don’t know. (Not an excuse… yikes, Not an excuse!!!)
      The church I used to go to had a good 2–3 sunday school lessons dealing with church discipline a while back. Emphasis was on bringing the sinner to repentance… with the result that if repentance did not happen, the person would be excommunicated, apparently. Also apparently, verbal repentance is enough to remain in good standing. Same church is following me throughout my hopes of a new life in a new church, demanding that the new church send me back to the abuse.
      I am so thankful for the blessings beyond measure, particularly from comforting words spoken by the new pastor. I know this process of expelling all the poison is not yet finished. There are still dreadful things current and in the future that I shrink to face. Not sure when the nightmare will end. But God is always good, all the time.

  3. walkinginlight

    Dear DS,
    I am so very, very sorry you had to go through that nightmare with the master manipulator. You thought you married someone so special and good. Your story has totally cemented in my mind, that when I am free from the anti-husband I never ever want to get married ever again. These agents of the devil put on such a masquerade to trap their victim. you truly don’t see the darkness until the “I do,s” are said and the wedding rings exchanged. I wonder how many states in our country grant a annulment for such a devious deception? These abusive men should get a academy award for their acting abilities! Temper tantrums and emotionally stunted are another trait. I pray the Lord’s richest blessings to you and for your healing from the evil trauma. You are not alone.

    • frankiesmith2064

      Kudos and a hearty agreement to all the comments. I’ve observed and felt almost every feeling all of you have felt along the journey.
      Comments about women’s retreats, bible study leaders and other women’s leaders in the church I agree with wholeheartedly. The way the church embraces the bullies and shuns the victims. It’s all so disheartening and stomach turning.
      I’ve traveled in the same circles with these women’s church leadership types for years.
      Almost all of them have never once sought my company or even lowered themselves to speak to me.
      I’m considered as non existent to them. That’s a good thing because I’m invisible and hidden by a God himself from their evil. I believe it’s his supernatural protection over me that’s keeping them away from me.
      God is delivering me from evil by them ignoring me in their arrogance and cliquishness. It’s hurtful but I’m grateful.
      I pray for my children to be invisible to evil people. That they will not even be noticed or targeted by them. It seems God has answered that prayer for me as well.
      Pastor Crippen says the remnant is put outside the camp. That’s been my overall experience with many professing Christians in leadership roles.
      I’m sure we can agree that We’ve been treated 10 times worse by professing Christians than by any one who is outside of the faith.
      May God heal our hearts and provide clarity and continued comfort. Thank you Pastor Crippen snd other commenters for being the catalyst for that healing. God Bless You All.

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