Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

+++One of the Worst Letters I Have Seen From a Pastor to an Abuse Victim

I think this is one of the most cruel letters from a pastor to an abuse victim that I have seen. While it is very similar in ways to others I have read, it is remarkably deceptive in a number of ways. The “love” words it uses. The selective and dishonest quotes it lays on her. And the not so veiled threat of “obey us or else.” Names have been removed and replaced with [wife] and [husband] for the protection of the victim. The victim/survivor who sent it to me has given full permission to publish it. Her abuser used emotional, spiritual, sexual, and economic oppression against her over a period of many years. Keep that in mind when you read what this “pastor” and his elders say to her here. Many, many thanks to her from all of us.
Oh, and this is not some isolated, independent pastor and church. This is a mainline, conservative Presbyterian denominational church — the PCA — that applauds itself in the seminary preparation of its pastors.
So, here you go. As for me, let me say that reading this was like reading a letter from the prince of darkness, a cunning liar working to enslave. I was very tempted to insert my comments into the letter but decided it would be best if you read it for yourselves and put your comments here on the blog. I will provide just a few questions to provoke our thinking as you read it.

  1. Who is a Christian according to this pastor?
  2. What does “redeeming a marriage” mean? Is that a biblical concept?
  3. How often does this pastor claim to know the thoughts and feelings of the victim?
  4. How many abusive, oppressive marriages, according to this pastor, must we expect the Lord to “redeem”?
  5. What kind of authority does this pastor claim to have over the victim?
  6. Do you see guilting statements leveled at the victim?
  7. Is marriage an “inviolable bond”
  8. Who is the pastor accusing of “abandonment”? The abuser or the victim
  9. For all of his talk of how grieved he is for her, does this pastor really “feel” for her?

And one final point as you begin. This letter quotes a paragraph from the PCA Position Paper on Divorce and Remarriage. That paper recommends that abuse is abandonment and grounds for divorce. BUT THIS PASTOR AND ELDER BOARD ONLY QUOTED ONE PARAGRAPH THAT SOUNDS LIKE IT SUPPORTS THEIR CHARGE AGAINST HER! They conveniently left out the rest of  what the Position Paper said. That is rank deception and spiritual malpractice. We will include the rest of that committee’s statement at the end of this post.
Dear [wife’s name],
We grieve, along with you and [husband], at the present state of your marriage relationship. We know, both from Scripture and experience, that marriage is hard. Even as Christians we sin against one another. Even as Christians we hurt one another. We acknowledge that the emotional wounds that are inflicted in this most intimate of human relationships are real, painful and deep. We believe that even the best Christian marriage is comprised of two redeemed sinners who will inevitably sin against the One before whom our vows are made and the one to whom our vows are given. Your marriage is no different. Sin has occurred, both willfully and unintentionally, as both you and [husband] have acknowledged.
We also want you to know that we have appreciation for how someone can feel so hurt, so overwhelmed, so alone, so utterly hopeless after years of living in a situation that they believe there remains only one option open to them—leaving.
Yet we also believe that a Christian marriage, no matter how shaky its foundations or deep the patterns of sin, can be redeemed and restored by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not that the gospel is a magic wand, nor will necessarily repair things overnight, but we believe it provides the resources we need to walk the hard road of repentance, reconciliation and restoration. When someone has been living within a dysfunctional marriage for so long, often doing so in secret, it is very easy to assume that nothing will ever change. That is our natural human response; understandably so.
This is one reason why God has placed us in community with one another and under the shepherding of those who are entrusted to care for us. One of the roles that our church community and leaders play in our lives is to remind us and call us to respond to life and circumstances in a way that lines up with the gospel we profess. Sadly, in your decision to withdraw from your marriage you have also withdrawn from your church family and the counsel of those who care deeply for you and [husband].
We acknowledged that you have been sinned against in your marriage. [Husband]  has acknowledged this to you and to us. He has expressed remorse and repentance. He has sought counsel and accountability. In saying this, we in no way want to minimize the pain you have experienced. But we also understand that it is easy to respond to sin against us with our own compounding sin.
And it is for this reason that there is a certain difficulty in writing this letter to you. But our hope is that you will see this letter as a demonstration of our love for you by warning you of the seriousness of your actions. We understand that only God can evaluate the human heart, but we must tell you that the decisions you have made are not consistent with how the Bible describes a follower of Jesus Christ.
The marriage relationship we enter into before God is an inviolable bond. Sadly, because of sin, this can be and is broken by adultery. We are grateful that there have been no reports in your marriage of such serious sin that could in fact become grounds for permissible divorce. However, there is another sin that can occur that is tantamount to divorce, and that is abandonment. Our view is that Scripture teaches that abandonment is not necessarily grounds for divorce, but rather effectively is a divorce. In other words, when one leaves or abandons a marriage for unbiblical grounds, they have essentially created a divorce.
When you initially left months ago, we were hopeful that it would be a temporary season that would provide clarity and a willingness for both of you to begin moving towards reconciliation. Sadly, it has not. In fact, as the months have passed it appears to us by your actions that you have only grown in your commitment to abandoning the marriage and not seeking reconciliation.
While Scripture does permit a “season of separation” for prayer, by mutual consent, it does not permit an extended, unilateral leaving of the marriage. Some might argue that there is allowance for separation without divorce, but a careful reading of Scripture does not support such a position. 1 Corinthians 7, verses 10 and 11, are key verses of instruction to two spouses, both of whom are believers:

To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

In these verses, Paul tells the Christian wife not to “separate from” (chorizo) her Christian husband, and likewise tells the husband not to “divorce” (aphiemi) his wife. In the context of Greco-Roman practice, the verbs used for “to separate from” and “divorce” are used synonymously. The critical point here is that Paul is telling them not to “divorce” each other. In other words, Paul uses Greek words which in this context are referring to divorce, not separation as we know it. Here is what one highly-regarded New Testament scholar, Gordon Fee, writes concerning this important passage of Scripture:

Much has been made of the use of the verb “to separate oneself from” (chorizo), in distinction from the verb used in vs. 12-13, “to divorce” (aphiemi). But that probably reflects our own urgencies for greater precision. Divorce in Greco-Roman culture could be “legalized” by means of documents; but more often it simply happened. In this culture divorce was divorce, whether established by a document or not. Either the man sent his wife away (=”divorce” in the sense of v. 12), or else either of them “left” the other (=”to separate”)…Ordinarily when the wife “divorces” she simply leaves her husband (“is separated” from him); the same verb is used in v. 15 of a pagan partner of either sex who leaves, and occurs regularly in the papyri for mutual divorce (agreeing “to separate from each other”). On the other hand, a man ordinarily “divorced” his wife (“sent her away”); nonetheless in v. 13 the wife can do the same.

This is how our own PCA denomination position paper addresses these verses:

We tend to interpret verses 10-11 in terms of modern day separation rather than divorce. But the Bible does not deal with the idea of separation as a “half-way house” step as we know it. Perhaps the biblical writers were so committed to the permanence of marriage that they did not want to study ways to effect temporary separation. But more likely, it was the fact that separation in first century society was de facto divorce. That these verses were clearly referring to divorce is evidenced by the fact that the believing wife is called “unmarried” (agamos) in verse 11.

In short, what we believe Scripture teaches is that there are only two conditions Christian spouses can live in: married or divorced. There is no space for those who remain married yet live separated/estranged. Such a condition is not marriage, but is in essence a divorce.
Again, we cannot emphasize enough our understanding of and compassion for the level of pain and disappointment you have experienced in your marriage over the years. We believe that repentance and forgiveness must happen. We believe that sinful patterns and behaviour must be addressed. We do not believe, however, that the action of leaving your marriage is an acceptable, biblical, God-honouring response to these difficulties.
As a church community we expect each of us to respond to sin — our own and others — from a position of brokenness and humility, seeking repentance where necessary and granting forgiveness where required. [Wife], our call to you is to faithfulness to your vows before God, trusting that his grace is sufficient and that his gospel offers full provision for what you need. Our call to you is to begin to take the necessary steps towards reconciliation and healing of the breach. Our call to you is to come under the care and counsel of brothers and sisters who love you in Christ and desire to see you and [husband[ flourish and strengthened.
[Wife], we love you, and even though it would be easier to do nothing, we hope that this letter will be seen by you as evidence of our love and concern for you, and of our love for the honor of Christ supremely.
On behalf of the Session,
_____________, Pastor/Teaching Elder
And here is “the rest of the story” that this pastor and his elders deceptively and dishonestly failed to include in this letter. This is from the PCA position paper which you can find on ourresources page or through PCA History (see pp 227-228).

  1. Applying Paul’s instruction about desertion today

Are there other forms of — separation‖ today that may be considered equivalent to this leaving of the marriage of which Paul speaks? Specifically, what about cases of habitual physical abuse? Has that person deserted his spouse to the extent we may label it de facto divorce? We must be careful not to open the floodgate of excuses. On the other hand, we need to recognize the reality of the ―separation‖. We should allow Sessions the liberty to discern with much prayer what would be the proper response in particular circumstance. Several considerations incline us to agree with those of our authorities who have maintained that desertion can occur as well by the imposition of intolerable condition as by departure itself. We are struck by the fact that, taking Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 together, it appears that the Lord concedes the necessity of the abolition of marriage in certain cases precisely so as to protect a blameless spouse from intolerable conditions. Further, taking into account both the general principles of Biblical ethics and the Scripture’s characteristic manner of ethical instruction, viz. the statement of commandments in a general form to which is added case law sufficient to indicate the manner of application, it seems to us that those Reformed authorities are correct who have argued that sins which are tantamount in extremity and consequence to actual desertion should be understood to produce similar eventualities (cf. Larger Catechism, Q. 99, A. 6).
What is more, a husband’s violence, particularly to the degree that it endangers his wife’s safety, if unremedied, seems to us, by any application of Biblical norms, to be as much a ruination of the marriage in fact as adultery or actual departure. This is so precisely because his violence separates them, either by her forced withdrawal from the home or by the profound cleavage between them which the violence produces, as surely as would his own departure, and is thus an expression of his unwillingness ―to consent‖ to live with her in marriage (1 Cor. 7:12-13; Eph. 5:28-29). Further, insofar as the ―passivity‖ of the blameless spouse is an important prerequisite in Paul‘s permission of the dissolution of marriage on account of desertion, it seems right to note that in the case of physical abuse, for example, the blameless spouse is similarly victimized. Finally, credible alternatives to this point-of-view seem to us to be wholly lacking Scriptural support. It is all very well to recommend separation as a temporal expedient to protect a battered wife, but perpetual separation amounts to a Roman Catholic doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage and could scarcely be justified as a Biblical alternative to divorce.


The Wicked Work to Alienate Others Against Us


"Friends" of Victims who Refuse to Separate from the Wicked


  1. Zadok

    Abuse of the covenant voids the covenant. ANY covenant and any form of abuse.
    Violence, ANY form of violence, against ANY family member, is abuse.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, Zadok. Thank you. And that violence very, if not most often, is not physical. You notice in Malachi that treacherously putting away an innocent spouse is acting violently:
      Malachi 2:16 ESV  “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

  2. joepote01

    That is a horrible deceptive letter!
    It is interesting that he defines leaving as the same thing as divorce, yet encourages her to reconcile.
    By his own definitions and arguments, they are currently divorced. Nowhere in scripture are a divorced couple instructed to reconcile.
    Rather, in the passage he quoted, Paul instructs to either reconcile or remain unmarried (legally divorce). Either live together in marital harmony or legally divorce are Paul’s instructions.

  3. no one down here

    and this is the type of subtlety that binds a person into an unending soul-killing hell on earth.
    On their own, without the context of abuse, violence, hatred that happens within a marriage of death, many of the statements in the letter can actually be agreed on. It is true – everyone sins. It is true – one sinner living with another sinner – definitely will result in each hurting the other. Etc. There are so many truths in there, it’s scary when you get to the end and realize that after all, the truth was changed into a lie. Satan does his work well.
    Taking Scripture out of context. Continually deceiving and wounding another person and never retracting that deceit, never apologizing for the wounds, never binding up the bleeding soul…. This is not holiness. Lies for years, decades … are supposed to be wiped clean in a moment. Just like that, the liar expects to be treated as an honest truth-teller.
    Forgiving the one sinning against you is truly freeing, and right according to Scripture. But deliberately continuing to place yourself in communion with evil (those who are characterized by lying have the Devil as their father) does not fit with the rest of Scripture – flee from evil. be wise as serpent. do not so much as associate with the wicked. do not be in communion with darkness. Throughout history, Christians have been honored in protecting victims of persecution or abandonment. The foster children whose parents treat them poorly. Jews during the holocaust. Why are there groups that are immune from this protection? rape victims get blamed. abuse victims are told to just sit and be destroyed.
    Time will tell all the things. It would be good indeed if God restored a marriage by applying the grace needed to the abusive spouse. It would be good indeed if that spouse humbled himself and admitted all the wrongs. Like Zaccheus …. Say I robbed and cheated, and I will restore over and above. Like Paul – realize they had been persecuting unjustly and spends the rest of his life restoring above and beyond in spreading God’s good gospel throughout the world.
    Such grace has not been applied when a former spouse says “but it was really her fault in the first place.” or “she invented it.” Grace has not been applied when a former spouse teaches Scripture to the kids and showers them with gifts, but showers blame and hatred on the the one who called him out in the first place.
    True repentance will show in humbling, admitting, restoring. Not lavishing continued insults.
    As always, look for the evidence.

  4. I Woke Up

    Thank you to the woman who allowed you to post this letter. I probably know her, or at least know of her church and/or pastor. I spent many years in this denomination. Everything for me in it was hunky dory until I allowed my marriage’s “ugly” to be seen in the effort to get help. Then I began to live the dark, dark side of the PCA. I could tell you some things that were done to me and my three boys that would make your toes curl. One day I will get the courage up to share my “letter” with you. Since I divorced my abuser and the PCA, and since I have become more vocal about my issues with the PCA, more and more women are coming to me to share their PCA abuse stories. Looking at this denomination from the outside, it is easy to see that it is becoming more and more cultish. What these men have inflicted on women will not go without the judgment of God. And make no mistake, you women and men in the PCA who are turning a blind eye: your silence makes you accomplices in these layers of abuse piled on God’s children.
    God bless you, my dear sister in Christ. I know your pain, and we are now free indeed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thankyou! I’m ready to publish that letter anytime you want.

    • Schari Baker

      Hello! I would love to hear more of your story and what you know of the PCA. I belong to a large, wealthy PCA church. My abusive marriage ended in divorce and they were extremely supportive. We had a counselor who was on staff. He did make some big, dangerous mistakes in the beginning, but once he truly realized what he was dealing with he went above and beyond to help me find freedom. He was the one, with my permission, who asked my husband to leave. The church gave me over 7000 for living expenses. They gave their armed security guards my husband’s picture so they could stop him from coming on church property since I had a protection order. They offered to bring my husband under church discipline. They did then, and still two years later, offer to come to my house periodically to help me with home upkeep. They were a rock for me. However, their counselor was very sympathetic to my situation and ran interference for me. He spoke to the elders/deacons on my behalf. I never had to speak to them even once.
      But I also know how they view women in ministry and marriage, so I feel like there’s more I’m missing.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Schari – I am very glad your church helped. You asked what more you might be missing. It is this- the large majority of pca, opc, and other churches and denominations oppress abuse victims. I could give you story after story of pca churches who minimize abuse, enable abusers, and ex-communicate victims who leave their evil spouse. They will deny it of course and pretend they want to help. But they lie.

      • Grace551

        Wow, that is amazing to hear (in all senses!) Praise God for that counselor.

  5. Debby

    Copious amounts of guilting, sin-leveling, minimizing double-speak, add 2 cups of outright lies, bake at 350 until the victim is burned beyond recognition. Perhaps the “leadership” could start their own #Abusers Lives Matter movement. Although picking off a weak vulnerable victim with a verbal 30.06 (after drawing the victim in with a “feeder” full of “We are Men of Gawd, here to help you!”) seems more their style.

  6. IamMyBeloved’s

    Oh ugh. I should probably ask permission before I just go off here, but I think I can say things here that I might have to tone down elsewhere.
    When I read this, all I hear is a satanic calmness mixed with power and control that this “board” wants to hide. Underneath they seem to be seething that they cannot Control this woman. I also hear the arrogance of “we are right and know what God would do in your life, and you do not. Why? Because we are the big boys with an Special in with God and you are just a peon who lives beneath our power and authority”. Nothing sickens me more than a group of arrogant leaders who think they’ve got all the knowledge and THEY will pass it on to the peons, IF they want to.
    This really triggered me, probably because I have sat in those same shoes, was put on trial and excommunicated. This is what I have come to realize since that time. Yes, there is a level of authority in the local Church, overseers who are meant by God to protect the sheep and gently lead them to find answers for their lives through their relationship with Christ. But that is NOT what is going on here. This kind of abuse of power is never given to leaders to enter individual homes and control them.
    I believe that God absolutely hates what these sinful, ignorant of God, power hungry men are doing. I can honestly say that I do not believe they hold the truth of the Gospel.
    In the end, God’s design originally was for a man and a woman to be married for life. That was before the fall. Since then, God’s desire is that we accept Christ, love God and love others. He knows, that because of sin, marriage can be grossly sinful and imperfect and makes allowance for such, as it is never God’s will for us to live in abuse and call it marriage.
    So, we do what God has allowed for us to do. Leave and divorce. In our healing from the mind twisting that happens in abuse, we will eventually come to fully forgive, while moving on and forward. The end.

  7. Horrendous, and yet we keep seeing it over and over. I am continually astounded at the hardness of heart of these supposed “shepherds”. They just don’t care. They think that a husband beating or otherwise abusing his wife is just a minor little thing that he can work up some tears over and it will be fine.
    I wonder how they would respond if one of their church members treated them the way that this man treated his wife. Would they call the police?
    The double standard is revolting.
    We really, really need to clean house and get rid of these horrible men.
    It is my constant prayer that the Lord will tear down wolves and raise up faithful shepherds.


    Thank you for posting that letter, Pastor Crippen. It exposes so much of the double standards in the “church” regarding the abuser and the victim of abuse. To stay married to an unrepentant abuser is a sentence worse than death.
    That letter is absolutely nauseating and filled with so many lies! Those people who contributed to it will be held accountable by our Most High God. They will not enjoy the consequences of their unloving words and actions toward the most vulnerable of the sheep.
    It is a miracle that any victims ever get free with all the ungodly counsel they are given by people who have no idea whatsoever about the evil being perpetrated against genuine Christians in indescribably abusive marriages. THANK GOD that He opened the eyes of this woman!

  9. Rae

    How evil! Theses men in their high, lofty positions will tell the people that the victim has become friends with.. not to associate with her. I personally don’t want or need a friend who sided with the devil. Blunt?
    I’m not missing any of those from my past.

  10. Hello, Pastor Crippen. I had to wait a few days to take a look at this piece. Based on the headline, I had a pretty good idea that my grief, horror and anger were going to be just too much to handle. I tried to tackle it, but only ended up reading your preface and skimmed the rest. I simply could not get through all of the spiritual vomit spewed on that poor woman through that almost unbelievable letter.
    The truth is that God loves genuine relationship and never justifies wickedness among the things He created and deems sacred. Marriage is one of those things.
    Thank you for exposing this. Even more grievous is that I think we are all realizing that this kind of spiritual shaming is far more common than we can even imagine.
    How very far we have fallen. What must our Lord think?

  11. When talking of abusers, there is a phrase “false equivalency”. Not all sins are equivalent. Forgetting to put the the toothpaste cap back on is not equivalent to financial abuse. Being curious about adult magazines isn’t equivalent to abusive control or sexual abuse. Sometime I’m delurking to say I’m frustrated with the word sin. I hope the Bible has some teaching about “false equivalency”.
    I’m pretty horrified at this letters heartless deceit. I am so grateful she could get some wise support here.

    • “False equivalency.” This is a phrase I have never heard before, but this should be a foundational principle in biblical understanding. I’m banking that one!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Here you go. Biblical refutation of false equivalency-
      Mat 11:21  “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
      Mat 11:22  But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
      Mat 11:23  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
      Mat 11:24  But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

      • Sue

        False equivalency. Would the Biblical word be “abomination?” As in, what the Lord thinks about “false weights and measures?”

    • Innoscent

      Mediapsyche, like Cindy I’ve never heard the term “false equivalency” (or equivalence) before and it’s important to be able to put names and definitions on satanic’ sophistries and enter them in our radar systems.
      I’ve just looked it up and came across a comprehensive guide on **fallacies** that’s blowing my mind: https://simplicable.com/new/fallacies
      It also gives 8 illustrative examples of **false equivalence**: https://simplicable.com/new/false-equivalence
      Thank you so much. This is making me progress tremendously in my understanding of the tactics of Satan and abusers. One reason I love this forum is for what we learn from one another!

  12. Grace551

    //He has expressed remorse and repentance. He has sought counsel and accountability//
    If this pastor was less ignorant about abuse, he wouldn’t assume that this husband’s repentance and desire for accountability were genuine. He would know that skilled offenders are good at manipulating people to believe them and think they should be given another chance in the marriage and escape the consequences of their known behaviour.
    He would do his best to protect the oppressed rather than enabling the oppressor.

    • Even if an abuser is repentant and open to accountability, that does not obligate his victim to remain in relationship with him. There comes a point where the pain is so great, the wounds are so deep, and the trust has been so decimated that the victim’s recovery and need to procure a safe and healthy future trumps anything the abuser (supposedly) wants to do to fix it. And if he really wants to do the right thing, they he should willingly defer to whatever his victim needs to heal – including a divorce.

      • Grace551

        I agree, Cindy.

      • Innoscent

        Cindy, I also agree. Because most church leaders have no deep and true understanding of the whole process of biblical repentance and forgiveness, they won’t even consider what you rightly say about the victim having no obligation to reconcile with her perpetrator/offender.
        I’m deeply moved by your second sentence which describes my very situation. I can’t even begin to describe. The devastation was so immense that there are no broken pieces to put back together, the whole thing was ground to powder.
        It took actual miracles from God to save me and after years of rebuilding my person, I’m on my last phase, the professional/financial one. Praise be to God!
        Satan’s attempt at destroying me will only contribute to his total annihilation for ever.

        • Innoscent, I’m so sorry you have been through so much. I can relate, and I have been out for many years.
          I know it can be a very rough road. But I’m glad to know that God is making a way for you. He is so good at bringing miraculous healing and restoration in His time. Time and time again I have seen Him restore the years that the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2) I have every confidence that one day you will stand in freedom, victory and wholeness, and point to the One who brought you there.
          And I just want to add that forgiving our abusers may release us from the toxic emotional bond we have them them and release them to their own ends, but it doesn’t do anything to change them. Forgiveness is for our benefit, not theirs.

          • Innoscent

            God bless you Cindy for your words of compassion and exhortation. I’m so glad to hear of the healing and restoration of Our Lord God Almighty in your life. He’s done a lot for me already, His providence and tender care are awesome, beyond human words can describe.
            Yes God helped me in the forgiving process and freed me from any toxic emotional and sipirtual bond; I left abusers in my life in God’s hands. With God’s help I press forward in this last phase of my healing.

  13. Grace551

    I don’t recall anything in Scripture about marriages being ‘redeemed… by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ‘. Surely it is human beings that Jesus came to redeem.
    A seriously damaged marriage might be restored, but not without genuine repentance for what broke it; and that is rare from abusers, if it ever happens.

  14. Innoscent

    Such cruel verbosity… sickening! Christ would declare “woe” unto this hardhearted and blind pharisaic pastor and these wimpy elders. You can picture their council much like the Sanhedrin accusing Christ. It’s all about staying in control no matter what, and of saving the face of their nation/church, thus sacrificing the innocent. Let’s acquit Barabbas and blame Jesus.
    I searched and couldn’t find an ounce of empathy in that letter. In reality, behind their so-called love is anger at our sister for doing what’s right for her, but wrong according to them, hence escaping their perverse construct of biblical marriage. They have no clue about repentance, being born again in Christ, marital covenant, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, let alone evil and justice.
    How could these people even be church leaders in the first place?
    Truth is, just like the abusive husband, whom they side with, they are deluded, deceived and incapable of repentance. Hence they are abusers themselves and feeding the cycle of abuse.
    Reading Ezechiel 34 again it dawned on me that it’s more subtle that sheep and wolves, indeed God speaks there of “sheep” and “bad sheep” (verses 17, 20 and 22). And He will judge between the two.
    Note: the link to the PCA Position Paper on Divorce and Remarriage leads to an error page.

  15. Jade

    I was brought up as a teenager in a PCA church. I was “courted” at age 16 by the pastor’s son, who was 22. He began sexually abusing me within months, but I did not know to call it that because I was so young. After 24 years of abuse, I am breaking free.

    But of course my abusive husband has convinced the entire family that I am either just looking for someone to blame for my own guilt in failing to remain sexually pure, or have imagined/exaggerated it because I am so mentally unwell. Both his parents and my own support him. He knows EXACTLY what to say to sound holy, and his dad, the former PCA pastor, has tried to get me to sit down and shut up by sending an email out to the family about “a spirit of uncharitableness circulating.” Because of course I should just be willing to endlessly forgive, right? The fact that I want to get out and get safe means I’m just hard-hearted, obviously.

    I am so thankful that I finally found better Christian counsel! Thank God for Leslie Vernick, Lundy Bancroft (I know he’s not Christian), and you fine folks here.


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