Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Why Christian Abuse Victims Retain Their Faith

John 17:14-15, I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

The 17th chapter of John’s Gospel is known as The High Priestly Prayer of Christ.  This actually is most properly called “The Lord’s Prayer” because it is His prayer.  We have been given the incredible privilege of hearing The Son pray to The Father.  We don’t appreciate what that means right now – one day we will.
Even more incredible is that the content of this prayer is offered by Christ for us, His people.  As our High Priest, Jesus prayed for us (and continues to do so as our Intercessor).  This prayer is a perfect prayer, completely conforming to the will of the Father.  Therefore, this prayer is an answered prayer.  All that the Son requests has been, is being, or will be brought about.
Why haven’t all of you who are victims of abuse, renounced Christ a long time ago?

Why hasn’t your faith disappeared?  Why don’t you hate God?  Humanly speaking, all of these things should have happened, right?  And yet, as I have mentioned a number of times in other blog articles, the Christians I have been meeting since entering this ministry to abuse victims are the strongest Christians I have ever known.  Some of you may not think you are strong.  But the mere fact that you still love Christ, you still desire to please Him and obey Him, the fact that you get up in the morning and serve you children, read your Bible and pray is testimony to the fact that something quite remarkable has happened to you.
As a police officer in my earlier life (sometimes I think it was my former life, it seems so long ago), I had the sad duty on numbers of occasions to deliver death messages to people.  That is not fun.  And more than once, I have heard parents whose son or daughter had been killed, immediately begin to shout and scream and curse God.  Why haven’t you done that?  I can hear some of you saying to yourself, “Well, Jeff, if you really knew my thoughts sometimes, you wouldn’t be speaking so highly of me.”  I understand that.  I understand moments of intense anger at God, times when you think you never want to enter a church again.  I haven’t suffered the intensity of abuse as much as many of you have, but I can tell you that there have been moments when I envisioned driving up to my office at the church building, backing my pickup to the front door, loading all of my library of theological books and papers into it (not gently, either) and taking them to the dump to be done with it all forever.  So I know what you are thinking.
But I didn’t.  And you didn’t.  We didn’t fully and finally renounce Christ and here we are right now today still serving Him.  Why?  Because we are so tough?  Ha!  That’s a joke. Tough?  Hardly.  No, it is because, even if I had hopped in my truck and headed for the church building and started loading up all of those books, I would have known full well – “Jeff, you aren’t going to do this fully and finally.  The Lord owns you.  He isn’t going to let you.  Under all of your anger and discouragement, you know Christ loves you and has a mission for you.  You can’t leave Him.  He won’t let you.  And in fact, you don’t even want to.  Not really.”
And I have been feeling that way for 30+ years now.  Thirty years!  I have never stuck with anything that long, ever.  And there you are, many of you, 10, 20, 30, 40 years of torment at the hands of your abuser.  Terrible suffering.  Horrible confusion.  And yet – you still have your faith, set upon Christ, knowing He is the Lord and that by His blood He has redeemed you and is going to bring you safely home.  You can’t shake it.
Why?  Because Jesus Christ prayed for you.  “Father, keep __________ (insert your name) from the evil one.  Sanctify her in truth.”
He is bringing us all home.  We are all going to make it.  If you are a Christian, nothing can stop it from happening.  Not your abuser.  Not the devil himself.


Another Letter from Pastor Screwtape to a Domestic Abuse Victim


Men's and Women's Ministries as a Seedbed for Abuse


  1. anonymous

    I have often said that I am glad I knew Jesus before I knew my husband. And that is why I can look at my husband and say, “This is not what Jesus does.” I already knew the truth and that it was I cling to.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thankyou Anonymous. Truth!!

    • Hurting

      I retain my faith in God despite being at Him at times. But how I do regain my trust in ever being part of a church again? I’ve been hurt by so many churches covering up abuse, even child abuse, that I don’t know how to feel set foot in one. I love and follow God, but I can’t help but despise churches – even the good ones I can’t bare to set foot in. How do I overcome this?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Hurting- Well, first of all let me say that I am basically on the same page as you in this matter. Time after time after time, professing “saintly” christians have treated be with great evil. In EVERY church I have been the pastor of. The only time this hasn’t happened is in these past few years here in our present church, which is now quite small. The hypocrites are gone and we have the real thing. But it took years of battle. I view local churches and pastors with the same lens you do – and it is wisdom to do so. It is foolish to extend our trust to such people who have consistently proven themselves to be counterfeits, children of the devil. What I am saying is that the real church exists, that real Christians DO love one another, but such churches are hard to find. Why? Because they are growing increasingly rare as we live in these evil days. That is why we started our online church outreach and invite people to join us even though they live far away.
        I am not saying that we are the only true church. Of course not. God has His true remnant. But the real body of Christ IS a remnant. When you see big numbers of people gathering in a “church” all seemingly happy, happy, happy and claiming to know Jesus, you can just bet that the thing is a fake.
        So what I mean is that I bet you would indeed be able to set foot in a true church. You might start cautiously, but in time you would recognize by the Spirit in you that you are among true brothers and sisters who know the Lord. In such a place, evil is not comfortable and will not stay. In other words, I don’t think it is so much a matter of YOU needing to overcome some difficulty in yourself. Rather it is a matter of finding the real genuine article.

    • Halo Effect

      Echoing the sentiment, after defamation and lack of support by “Christians” and “enlightened pastors.” After years of divorce and genuine attempts at civility one truth remains. God is a Father to the fatherless, a defender of the oppressed and sees the truth of every situation. Knowing that Jesus was intimately acquainted with gaslighting, betrayal, defamation, harassment, rejection, abuse and abandonment encourages us to stand. We choose not to let our hearts be troubled because he overcame the world. Jesus was not interested in the approval that came from people. He only looked to the Father for affirmation. There is no disappointment in trusting the one who can sustain both body and soul. Divorced 7 years and never turning back.

      • Z

        Halo Effect, I’m sorry you had to go through what you did to find out that the only One, the only True Friend we have is Jesus. And He is the only One Who truly understands our broken-heartedness and knows the weight of our crushing wounds. I couldn’t have said it any better! God bless you.

  2. Joan

    Thank you!


    “He is bringing us all home. We are all going to make it. If you are a Christian, nothing can stop it from happening. Not your abuser. Not the devil himself.”
    “AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!
    Thank you, Pastor Crippen. “Abuse victims (and survivors) are the strongest Christians I have ever known.” This is so true!

  4. katkollies

    I wish I could *love* this. Thank you. I’ve been plenty mad at God before, but still trust Him. Lord help me trust You more and more!

  5. Innoscent

    What an awesome thought that I was included in Jesus’ prayer! “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” John 17:20
    Thank you Jeff for the exhortation. Like anonymous I thank God I knew my Saviour early (35 years ago) before I knew my husband (now ex). The abuse went crescendo until one time, I remember well, as I looked at my ex-h I was so disgusted at the hypocrisy of his religion that the thought of giving up everything crossed my mind. Thank God who sustained me and I didn’t throw the water and the baby out with the bath water at the time.
    God has blessed beyond anything I could ever imagine including miraculous healing. I’ve never been so happy and strong in my life since God’s deliverance. All that past, I also see it as ‘my previous life’. I am persuaded the sufferings I went through, my faith in Christ that’s kept increasing, God is using them for a purpose, some preparation for the ‘perilous times that shall come’ (2 Tim 3.1).
    I am so grateful to God your truck stayed home Jeff, and you ‘drove’ the abusers out instead. I would have missed out on life saving guidance and comfort from God through your ministry.

  6. Anonymous

    I haven’t experienced this. I’ll probably always attend online churches from now on, though.
    I’ve been young, dumb, rebellious, kind of a haphazard prodigal child at times, so I’m grateful for God and hope to never be a part from Him. So much stupidity, so regrettable!
    There really isn’t much of any silver lining to my time of bondage with an evil abuser, but I got to see evil up close, I got to see what predatory ilk will occupy hell, and I got to experience the fragility of life and the knowledge that death can come at any time, in a flash.
    Best to get right with God and stay right with God and not entertain any foolishness. Straight and narrow! Less traveled, difficult, upward path. Very sobering to know how quickly we can be led astray, duped, deceived, manipulated, coerced, controlled, kept in bondage, and have our lives hijacked, ruined, and nearly ended at the will of a monster or his fellow evildoers.
    The only real, good, valuable, worthy thing in life is God, His Word, and being His child.
    One good moment in the midst of years of abuse and horror was when two ladies came to my door to invite me to their church. I declined as I had one, but they asked me if I was saved and if so, how did I know. I told them and their faces registered a contented happiness and it was a beautiful moment because I knew they too were Godly women and it was just a delight to be in the presence of fellow Christians. Imagine what heaven is going to be like. Filled with all such people. No more pain, suffering, shame, or abuse. No more violation. No more victimization. No, abusers, predators, or criminals either. No more perverted, violent men. None of it. No more fear.
    We are walking toward our heavenly home, passing through this foreign land.

  7. Norma

    Faith/God/Jesus, the anchor I can always cling to, that holds fast in many a stormy sea, that makes life bearableu. Thank you for your encouraging words today., Pastor Crippen.

  8. Kelly Orr

    Jeff, this was soo encouraging and truth- filled! Thank you (again) for your faithfulness to God and His Word and your persistent kindness to survivors. Your transparency and insight are so comforting.
    During one of the most painful, difficult times of my life (leaving an abusive marriage) God sustained me through His Spirit. He sustained me through Truth. And He sustained me (amazingly) through the faith that He Himself gives.
    When all that was most precious to me was wrenched away from me (by that abuser’s evil machinations) God gave me the ability to recognize that no matter what losses I endured here on earth, I would never be lost from Him. And that even if none of those precious people or things were ever returned to me, and there was only Him – He would be sufficient. Somehow, (though I could never have imagined it), because of Him, I could be ok.
    Jeff, please keep doing what you’re doing. Yes!- keep sticking with this as you have been. God is using it for much good for His kingdom.

  9. Halo Effect

    Being mocked, lied about, defamed to disrupt my life personally and professionally, the target of blameshifting after abuse is disappointing at best. When you add the betrayal of the church it feels like the weight of the ocean. Thank God that he lifts us above our feelings and promises like the man born blind, Lazarus, Job and so many others we will see a day of vindication. That is our inheritance as His saints.

    • Mhiggins

      It’s a work in progress and I am so very very thankful that Jesus is so patient with me. His patience is almost palpable.

  10. Richard

    Thank you for the encouraging read. Knowing that nothing can pluck me out of His hand is really something to hold on to.

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