Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Churches Need to Stop Practicing Willful Blindness toward the Wicked

There are those, even among Christ’s followers, that are worse than any one can imagine them to be, and lack nothing but opportunity to show it.” (Matthew Henry)

Matthew Henry, that great preacher and Bible Commentator of old, made this statement as he was commenting on Judas’ betrayal of Christ as set out in Matthew 26. I suppose that one reason the Lord included the details of Judas’ betrayal in Scripture was to educate us not to be naive. Judas! And the rest of the disciples, that inner circle of the 12, were shocked when Jesus told them one of them would betray Him.

Over the years I have spent many, many days – years of time in fact – in what I thought were friendships with other genuine Christians, only to have time eventually prove me wrong. The disguises can be ingenious and not until, as Matthew Henry puts it, the Judas’ among us are afforded an opportunity to betray the Lord they claimed to serve, will we see their real character. Some test, some opportunity, some allure of the world or some temptation comes and these children of the devil go the way of their real master.
Is there any local church that can be certain that no Judas resides among them? I know of no such place that can have such misguided and foolish confidence. Each one of us personally, in fact, are commanded by the Lord to examine ourselves to be sure that we are in the faith and not counterfeits.
While Peter was no Judas, nevertheless even he denied Christ and he did so three times, even after Jesus warned him of the upcoming tempting trial. Peter couldn’t believe he would ever do such a thing, and yet he did. But the Lord prayed for him and he was restored. If then we must be on guard regarding our own sin, surely it should be no unbelievable thing that there may well be, and probably is, some Judas in our fellowships.
Knowing all of this then, we must ask this question – How is it that pastors and church members find it so unbelievable when one of their members or deacons or other church officer turns out to be a wicked abuser of his/her spouse? Why do they typically respond in denial of the thing?
I suggest that not only must we not deny it, we must expect it. And that is precisely what our Lord has warned us to do.


Most Local Churches are Actually Theater Stages for Performers


Pharaoh Pursuing the Israelites is a Perfect Picture of the Abuser


  1. wingingit

    But they say, “He seems like such a NICE guy”. For most Christians all it takes is outward appearance and the right words. Flattering words from an abuser are plenty to disguise his evil. I have had people literally watch me be abused right in front of them, admit that he is abusive and is doing wrong, then turn and defend him when he flatters them or gives money to their causes.
    It is sickening how quickly the professing Christian will defend the abuser, even in the face of a whole family testifying to his abuse because the pretend story is prettier and less disturbing to their delicate sensibilities.
    “But silence in the face of evil is itself evil and God will not hold us blameless, not to speak is to speak and not to act is to act” – Dietrich Bonhoffer

  2. frankiesmith2064

    Such a excellent post, and an excellent comment from Wingingit. I also love your screen name “Wingingit” I too have experienced the betrayal of false christian friends who have sided with bulllies and abusers and those who sided with the domestic abuser who professed to be a leader in the church.
    The betrayal has happened many times to me. Before this blog from Pastor Crippen I thought I was the only one suffering thru this. I cried out to God for years asking for support and I believe this blog is an answered prayer to those cries.
    Professing christian work collegues, professing christian church members, professing Christians in church leadership. People who I thought were friends. Who professed to be true Christians. Who still enjoy the praise of men who admire and look up to them for their service to the church. How this post came at just the right time. Especially the quote from Bonhoeffer!!
    Perfect if I ever have an opportunity to confront those who remained silent while I was abused I would love to quote Bonhoeffer. And I pray for the day thatGod himself will convict these wicked ones and that he will allow me to speak my mind to each of them with words of truth, wisdom and justice. But if that day never comes I will continue to pray that God himself will convict the hearts of those Judas’s.
    My prayers up to this point have all been in vain. Not a lick of conviction or repentance from the abusers and their allies.
    Their hearts are as wicked and stone cold as ever. Oblivious to their own need for repentance, , Like the Bible says the wicked have no shame. The cognitive dissonance is strong. They quote scripture, teach bible studies, smile like angels and plant churches but inside align themselves with the wicked. The Bible says we will know them by their fruit the allies are wicked themselves —wolves in sheep’s clothing. What a challenge it is to remember this. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone.

  3. frankiesmith2064

    In addition I have a horrible experience to relay that should remind us all of the importance of standing against the wicked.
    An evil neighbor abused his teenage step daughter and her friends. He raped his step daughter and raped her friend. — she was only 12 years old. I know this man to be wicked because while playing at my friends house he exposed himself to me.
    After being charged with child abuse He pretended to be an repentant alcoholic. The church members in his Church of Christ all went to his trial to support him. He was not put in jail. He got off in part due to the character witnesses from the church who testified on his behalf.
    Imagine this little child who was horribly abused receiving no justice from the church people. Seeing professing Christians defend the beast that raped her.
    Imagine the pain her family went through!
    She later committed suicide. This man left a trail of destruction everywhere he went and to everything he touched. His own son committed suicide.
    I believe this incident, this lack of justice Supported by the church’s character witnesses contributed to her broken heart and caused her in part to take her own life.
    Christians must never side with the wicked.

  4. walkinginlight

    Those wicked, wicked “church” people that did not stand up for the little abused girl, in God’s eyes are just as guilty as the man himself who hurt that precious little one. People like that disgust me!
    People who will not stand up for the innocent and righteousness sake will be severely judged by God. Shame on all people who are cowards!

  5. katkollies

    Just in case anyone isn’t aware, you can access Matthew Henry’s commentary on the entire Bible for free through the Bible Gateway app. His is one of the only free resources on there, but what a treasure!!

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