Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Part 2 – Critique of Screwtape's Letter

We continue to point out the lies and false teaching disguised as “Bible” which Pastor Screwtape and his associate, Wormwood, laid upon this man who was married to an abuser wife. As I have written before, this is a clear case of the woman as the abuser and the victim’s “church” leaders lording it over him and seeking to keep him in bondage. Here then is a second excerpt from the letter the victim received, followed by my comments:

Second, the grounds that you claim to have for divorcing Your wife are not taught in the Scriptures. Again, the Lord gave the one exception in which He permits divorce (and remarriage). As stated, there are those who also believe that Paul allows for divorce when one spouse physically abandons his/her spouse. We disagree with this view, for it would mean that the Lord Jesus did not get it right, for He said there was but one exception that permitted divorce. But you have “invented” a third reason for divorce. You have indicated that you have biblical grounds for divorcing Your wife because she has spiritually abandoned you. I know of no reputable biblical scholar that advocates that this is the teaching of Holy Scripture.
Third, the Word of God commands you to love your wife regardless of whether or not she responds to you in the manner that you expect of her. Christ loved us and won us to Himself when we were wholly in our sin, when we had no love or regard for Him. We came to love Him because He first loved us fully, sacrificially, and patiently.
Fourth, similarly, we are to overcome evil by doing good.

You see the rank arrogance continuing. Screwtape and Wormwood insist that THEIR take on Jesus’ words in Mattew 5 are the one and true interpretation, even though they acknowledge that others believe Paul teaches desertion as grounds for divorce in 1 Corinthians 7. Notice then that Screwtape admits to at least the possibility of such an interpretation, yet he still demands the victim obey him. All of this, as seen in the previous post in this series, is based upon the foolish notion that Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 was meant by the Lord to be the full, complete, comprehensive teaching on this subject. Divorce only for adultery – no other reason allowed.
When Screwtape says “I know of no other reputable Bible scholar that advocates this is the teaching of Holy Scripture,” he is willfully blind at best and most probably lying. There are many “reputable” Bible scholars and teachers who realize that actual physical desertion is not necessary for divorce.

1 Corinthians 7:13 ESV  If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

“Consenting to live with her” is not limited to physically remaining in a house. It means “consenting to live with her as man and wife, according to the vows of the wedding ceremony, and in accordance with the Scripture’s instruction that a husband is to love his wife as  himself.” But Screwtape, as is so typical of his kind, insists that the Bible always be interpreted with an absolute, wooden literalness. To him, the real spiritual meaning of the Bible is not a possibility.
Now, look at Wormwood’s words once more in this diabolic paragraph:

Third, the Word of God commands you to love your wife regardless of whether or not she responds to you in the manner that you expect of her. Christ loved us and won us to Himself when we were wholly in our sin, when we had no love or regard for Him. We came to love Him because He first loved us fully, sacrificially, and patiently.

Screwtape employs the common evil of making a husband or wife the Savior of their spouse, just as Christ saved us. IF this man will simply just keep on loving, loving, loving his abuser wife, then one marvelous day she will awaken, and come to love him in exactly the same way as Christ saves sinners.
But how does Christ save sinners? Does He only love us and love us until WE decide to love Him? Of course not. He loves the sinner, He convicts the sinner, He shows the sinner his sin, He calls the sinner to acknowledge his sin (repentance) and only then is the sinner forgiven, regenerated, and justified. But Screwtape demands, in Jesus’ name mind you, that this victim love, love, love his abuser even if she refuses to repent and acknowledge her sin. 
Also, you see that for Screwtape, the marriage vows between the victim and the abuser are only binding upon the victim. The abuser gets off free with no obligation to obey the vows. Even if she breaks the vows every day and never repents of her evil, it doesn’t matter. The victim is bound. She on the other hand can do whatever she wants.
Do you see how Screwtape and his faculty of evil church leaders actually, for all their talk about the “sanctity of marriage,” grossly degrade marriage? The vows are meaningless. An abuser’s abuse is meaningless. This thing, this monstrosity the abuser creates – that is the thing which is to be preserved at all costs. The costs of course being paid by the victim.


Part 1 – Critique of Pastor Screwtape's Letter


Update on our friend Mack's Condition


  1. Krikit

    This teaching and counsel is from the very pit of hell. I lived through it. God freed me from it. I took more than 10 years of deep spiritual struggle to overcome it. I have not set foot inside “church” doors since—over 22 years. I prefer to “assemble with the brethren” from a distance.

  2. Richard

    Thank you for this post, Jeff. I recently left MY abusive wife and moved out of state. The pastor at the conservative Baptist church we had been attending has already emailed me, asking if he can counsel and provide Scriptures. I haven’t responded, since I think I already know what he’s going to say. I have no desire to allow myself to be burdened in such a manner.
    I have to admit that going back to any church right now does not sound appealing… I’m terrified they’ll hear about my choice to leave my wife, and I’ll be bombarded with all the arguments you are refuting in these posts.
    What’s more, I was the guy who used to believe all these. I believed that if I kept loving my wife as Jesus loves His Church, she’d eventually respond. After all, Christ never gave up on His bride, so why should I, right? She hadn’t committed adultery, so I had no grounds for divorce. And since most of the time my physical safety wasn’t directly threatened (it was when she held me up with loaded shotgun), I wasn’t even really entitled to separation. (By the way, does the distinction between separation and divorce we make in US law in 2020 exist in Scripture?)
    I just had to keep forgiving and keep loving, because that’s what Jesus does for His bride.
    That wrongful mindset is part of what kept me in bondage for 12 long years. It was a prison – one I had only made for myself.
    Anyway, thank you again. Everyday the false guilt I feel lessens.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Richard. So glad to hear this. As far as I know, the Bible recognizes married or not married. The limbo of separation is often used by churches and pastors and counselors to keep abuse victims in bondage with of course the goal of making them go back to the abuser.

  3. Rae

    In reply to Jeff’s comment about married not married. I was counseled by a pastor that stated.
    “I might be separated for the rest of my life. It gives me no out to divorce”
    My comment to this post.
    Being held in limbo while the abuser pulls your strings. Emotionally Spiritually Financially In reality he got enjoyment out of knowing I was in pain and struggling to move forward… while he did what he wanted. His motive was evil. Not biblical.
    I will never beg an abuser to have a relationship Never!!

  4. Innoscent

    How ironic that Screwtape demands that Jim love, love, love his wife “sacrificially” when he himself fails to love the victim (Jim) whom he condemns based on Scriptures that he twisted. This makes him stand up for the offender (wife). What perversion of justice!
    “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 17:15 ESV
    When does Screwtape call the wife to repentance??
    Who really “invented” reasons in this matter of divorce? …. Screwtape!
    He’s so blinded by his pharisaical religion that his view of our Saviour’s love and mission is distorted, and so is his pastor’s mission. “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Mt 7.23.

  5. Anonymous

    I cannot tell you just how damaging the teaching of ‘no divorce – ever’ / ‘you’re in it until death do you part’ actually is. It’s all consuming. As a victim you feel like you cannot allow such because you’ll surely go to hell. You’ll be shunned by the church. Seen as someone who didn’t take her vows seriously and didn’t work on her marriage.
    Abusers pretend to be Christians to get you to marry them. It’s not like you go out looking to be unequally yoked. Maybe some do, but I didn’t. And it’s not like abusers ever stop lying and deceiving.
    Then come the Bible verses about divorcing and then marrying another makes you an adulterer.
    Then there are the Bible verses about adulterers aren’t going to heaven.
    Then there is the Bible verse about how if you vow to God something, you better fulfill that vow or you condemn yourself with it (something like that).
    Then there is the church pressure of ‘forgive, forgive, forgive’ so even if the abuser does commit adultery then that ‘out’ is not seen as a legitimate ‘out’ as the wife is expected to forgive and forget the adultery and only a bad wife would divorce on such basis..
    It’s hard to think clearly about all this because it brings it all back up. I just wanted to please God. I wanted to have a good, Christian life and got ruination, destruction, injuries, devastation, and I’m a totally ruined person because of it all. Like most cases of severe abuse and violence, it only stops when the victim is dead or disabled.
    I fervently prayed for death. So many times, the abuser very nearly succeeded in getting me to suicide. It came so, so close, nearly on a daily basis for a good while. He was relentless. He worked so hard at it and I nearly did. He had me so convinced I wasn’t worthy of the air I breathed, the space I took up, the food I consumed and that everyone would be so much better off if I killed myself. He had me convinced that I was the perpetrator and that I tortured him and he was my victim. And he had the neighbors and everyone else convinced that I was this bad person, that I was mentally ill, that I was an evil abuser, that he was the victim, the poor, poor entrapped victim who tried so hard to help me. I was brainwashed into believing it, too.
    People have to understand that abusers are of the devil. I wish the deluge of Christian books for women, for married women, would not be mostly about keeping one’s marriage together, how to please one’s husband, and similar. I suspect the person reading the most of those books is a victim who doesn’t need to be counseled on how to be a better wife as nothing she does will ever please a sadist who is intent on destroying her for his murderous ego and sadistic bloodlust.
    I don’t know what God thinks about this all. But it was so close. He was relentless. He was so intent on it. He was afraid of going to jail so he wanted to make sure he succeeded in inducing my suicide. That’s how bad things get with a predator.
    And today? He looks like the good one and people are convinced I’m the bad one, deserving of continued abuse, targeting, victimization, harassment, etc. Isn’t that something?
    Sacrificial love is heavily preached to women and we are told to be all sacrificing, and it’s helpful to predators because they don’t have to work so hard to enslave the target because she’s been trained to be all-forgiving, all-merciful, all-generous, all-caring, all-self-sacrificing, and so forth.
    I suspect that some of the worst cases, with the worst abusers, are the ones where almost nobody knows anything about it because the abuser has broken down the victim that badly and achieved nearly 100 percent total control.
    Plus the church teachings about gossip and don’t say anything negative about anyone… and if you point the finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you… and be loyal to your husband and kept everything private between him and you otherwise you are disloyal and bad… and make sure you take the log out of your own eye before you concern yourself with a speck in someone else’s eye… and turn the other cheek… and the list goes on.
    I’m thankful Pastor Crippen and TWBTC are helping to teach me the Bible again as those awful Christian living books and Christian marriage books lead you down the wrong path and you end up misunderstanding things and further entrenched.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Anonymous. This is truth. They are indeed children of the devil, just as Jesus told the Pharisees (John 8)

      • IrisJane

        I second R’s comment, Anonymous, thank you for sharing, so very sorry for all you had to endure. I can relate to all of it on many levels and I’m sure others can as well. The true victim’s road is a very lonely one to travel on and reading comments such as yours, as well as the others that post here, makes it a bit less lonely.
        I’ve literally been shunned by everyone in my immediate circle for telling the truth. Some how the abusers can be continually nasty over decades, but just by switching on the flatterer/helper/giver persona, they can fool everyone and make all the cruel ugliness disappear and be then viewed as saints and victims, while the real victim, by sticking to the truth, gets condemned for life. It’s evil and unjust, and so confusing, and yes, of the devil.
        God’s blessing, comfort, peace and courage to all, it’s such a battle. Thank you for being on the front lines with us Pastor Crippen, many are being strengthened and truly helped.

        • Jeff Crippen

          You’re welcome. Thank you for your encouragement

        • Anonymous

          Thank you, IrisJane, for your comment and for sharing what you did. I wonder if it isn’t helped along by the fact that people don’t want to believe they are allied with evil and that evil lurks comfortably among them and so the victim’s truth is unsettling. It’s easier to believe the lies from the abuser than be saddled with hard truths as told by the victim.
          Whatever the rationale, it stinks for victims. It’s very helpful to know other victims have been shunned too. It’s maddening when people are so enamored with the abuser and so hateful of the victim.
          Yes, finding Pastor Crippen and the online church and the books has been a lifesaver. Same with everyone who comments and shares. People who get it and are in the know.

          • IrisJane

            Yes Anonymous, people don’t want to believe they are allied with evil, or even that such evil could exist in a ‘Christian’, despite the evidence, but I’ve also sadly come to realize that those that are aligning themselves with the abuser are covertly evil themselves and are wolves as well.
            Some are just purely ignorant of God’s truth about wicked people in the church and the continual love and forgiveness mantra is all they know. The new age book ‘Jesus Calling’, and others like it are a huge problem as well in keeping millions of women totally blind and ignorant about evil, in others and in themselves. They continually fall for the abusers poor me tactics and excuse their horrible behaviors, then they think they can play Jesus and save them by loving on them…how foolish they are.
            Others I believe are just thoroughly covertly wicked themselves, and as Dr. George Simon has stated, they just don’t care.
            It does stink for the victims. As you said previously, all we wanted was to have a good Christian life, but I’ve since learned that for many that means a warriors life…I wish that had been taught in my church, the dumbed down sunshine and rainbows sermons don’t do much in helping to stop the abusers or help the victims.
            But praise God, as difficult as it is, we’re being taught now and can see through all the lies and deceptions…and are ‘in the know’.
            And may God bless our knowing and help us to navigate through the destruction, and to honor Him in the process.

        • Z

          Dear Anonymous and IrisJane,
          It helps me too to know I’m not alone in the nearly identical experiences I’ve suffered at the hands of professing “Christians” I’ve known all my life. The shunning, targeting, ostracizing, lying, smearing…I get it all too well. Know that neither of you are alone on your lonely roads. They may be narrow roads that few find, but they are the RIGHT roads. Despite the horrible outcomes we endure now because we told the truth about the evil of abusers.
          Praying for you both as well as all those on here who suffer as we do. May God bless and keep you. ♥️

          • Anonymous

            Dear Z and IrisJane,
            Yes, It is as you say, “the shunning, targeting, ostracizing, lying, smearing” . And a person can usually take it if they are otherwise getting along in life, but when it’s piled on, after the damage, injuries, abuse, and violence of an abuser and his allies, it’s so, so PAINFUL.
            And I’m with you, IrisJane, in that I think many are covert abusers themselves and they run as a pack, protect their own, help other abusers because they are children of the devil and such is what they like doing in life. Sadism is alive and well in so, so many people.
            Perhaps nobody should be looking to have a ‘good Christian life’ because it’s not real. The road to heaven is hard and not heavily traveled. And look at all of the suffering of the people in the Holy Bible. The ends of the Apostles. A ‘good Christian life’ nowdays seems to be a myth. Hence we should all be raised to be warriors from the start. Because life is war. All Christians are at war. The devil prowls about. His children are wolves, and if none of us were God’s children, I think we’d have it easier in life because the devil would already have us in his clutches, thus no need to target anymore.
            The internet is terrible for so many reasons but this is a good use. We are spread out and will almost certainly never meet in this life, and yet we have this wonderful connection and awareness of each other via the pastor’s blog.
            Hopefully more victims find this site. Same with potential victims.

          • Innoscent

            Dear Anonymous,
            You put it so well! same conclusion I came to, true Christians are at war. Church leaders should consider that the day people are born again in Christ, they are enroled in God’s army while on this earth. Smooth things and the happy-Christian-life mantra preached today are fantasy and do not prepare us for the real world down here, this earth that was hijacked by the devil, but redeemed by Christ. Alleluiah!
            Most ministers do not preach the Truth, as Paul to Timothy did, that we are in the last days, perilous times and then he gives him a detailed description (2 Tim 3.1-5) of the kind of perverted religious people, fake church among which true believers have to navigate. There’s more to fear from within than without. It’s time to prepare, to learn how to stand fast and have an experiential knowledge of what it is to be a soldier for Christ.
            The devil wants this internet shut down also, he will attack anything. So it’s vital for each one of us to be anchored in God’s Word, close to Christ in prayer and led by the Spirit at all times.

          • IrisJane

            Thank you for your prayers Z, praying for you and all others suffering abuse as well. And yes, the narrow road is a very lonely road, but thankfully we are on it together, just spread out at different mile posts.
            Blessings of safe travels to you and all others traveling on the narrow road, may God continue to direct us and keep us from enemy ambushes, and from stumbling over the rocks that they continually place all over the path with the intentions of tripping us up…we must always be vigilant.

    • R

      Oh, may God bless you, Anonymous, and redeem the years the locusts have eaten. You are worthy of the air you breathe, the food you eat, and much, much more. May God bring you peace and joy.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you, R, for your blessing and comforting message. I hope God brings me peace and joy, too. Truly it is as you say, “years the locusts have eaten”.
        May God bless you, too.

  6. Sue

    These pharisees make me sick. It’s one thing to have a cruel-hearted boss or co-worker, but way another to live with such a person. Strange how the pharisees forget Scripture after Scripture which warn us to avoid the wicked, and that fellowship with the wicked will corrupt us.

  7. This stuff makes my blood boil.
    I am convinced that biblical divorce is the most misunderstood and mis-taught of all church doctrines. I have spent years researching this subject and written a book on the same (God Is My Witness: Making a Case for Biblical Divorce.) Even since its publication, I have continued to discover even more scriptural validation that biblical divorce is indeed a right and just response to overt, habitual sin, which is absolutely consistent with the heart of God.
    With this in mind, I include here a link to a post based on a letter I wrote to a pastor regarding biblical divorce. I hope it provides a rich measure of truth and freedom and that you might share it as you have opportunity. Perhaps one day this vital understanding will be widely known and accepted.
    “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Matthew 8:32

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *