Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Watch Out for the Usual Suspects

I suppose that you get email advertisements from various Christian vendors and organizations like I do.  Here is one that just came announcing a book and a DVD series on the church:

That isn’t the greatest resolution on the picture so I don’t know how well you can read it. What I wanted to emphasize and warn you about is what I call “the usual suspects.” The evangelical church and associated organizations almost always utilize their “go to” people. Whether it be a conference or a new book that needs endorsing or some teaching series like this one, you can be sure that the list of “speakers” and authors will include the same names over and over and over. This in itself is a danger because far too many Christians consider what these people say to be “gospel.” Often it isn’t.

I don’t put all the people listed here in the same bin, but there are some names that leap right out at me and are like red warning lights flashing. One is Voddie Baucham. He is a pastor and he teaches the no-divorce-ever-for-any-reason and no remarriage unless the ex is dead positions. I confronted his teachings several years back in a blog post and I can tell you that he is not teachable. I received more nasty attacks from his follower-worshipers than just about any other article I have written. One evangelical magazine that was all set to feature and discuss my first book published the article but then all of a sudden it disappeared. The only explanation I was given was that some “influential” sources complained that I was too harsh and they had better, in the interest of their magazine, delete the article. So they did. This was very close to the time I wrote that Baucham critique.
And yet, here is Voddie on this list. We are supposed to run to listen to him teach us what God says about the church. And I am telling you, if you naively sit at these guys’ feet, you are going to have a load of bondage dumped right on you.
You also see Sam Waldron on this list. I wrote a critique of a book he wrote on how the father is the priest of the family. I pointed out how that is an unbiblical notion and that this is the very kind of thing that fuels domestic abusers in their patriarchy. Was Sam open to the criticism. Nope. He circled his wagons and stuck to his guns. And yet, like Baucham, here he is on this list of speakers.
There are other names here that I would have concerns about, but this is enough to tell me that whatever these guys are teaching about the church in this book and DVD series is nothing we need to be listening to. When they decide to do a series on how they have mistreated abuse victims and covered up for their abusers (don’t hold your breath or you will die of lack of oxygen), then I will take a listen.
And a final note: these things I am saying here are the very things that so many pastors and churches and Christians get all angry about. They insist that we have no right to speak this way about “brothers in Christ.” Well, the Apostle Paul called Peter on the carpet publicly. I think we are expected to do the same when necessary.


Resources at UC


More Wisdom About the Wicked


  1. walkinginlight

    The first red flag with anyone who names the name of Christ Jesus, would be that they are “unteachable”. This is not the Holy Spirit living inside a person. The Lord’s children are always willing to learn and be corrected. Humble and gentle. Whenever a person is spitting out venom on you, you know that another “spirit” is at work in them.
    It is so very sad that so many would rather listen to these types to keep the abused in misery and complete bondage. They do know how loving, gentle, and kind Jesus is to His children. Not wanting them to live in misery and being made to feel they are “sinning” by these “religious” people. Shame on them! Jesus said He has given life more abundantly and set the captives free!
    I honestly feel bad for those who misrepresent the Lord and destroy lives based on the “traditions of men”. Jesus said His yoke is light and humble in spirit, not like these vipers.

  2. wingingit

    And Paul said, “Alexander the coppersmith has done me great harm.”
    Vodie Baucham has done me great harm. Very great harm.
    He has done all the daughters of God great harm.
    The Church, at large, has become a bludgeon of Satan, beating the women into submission and telling them to smile and “be sweet” or suffer more beatings.
    There is no loving father in patriarchy and there are no compliments in complimentary theology.
    The evil has bled through every fiber of the fabric of the church and still the beatings continue.
    The children cry out to their mothers in pain and sadness, but their mothers can not help them, because their mothers are bleeding out.
    Sad, indeed.

  3. Name Omitted

    I’m glad this blog exists to put the word out that the ‘no divorce ever’ ‘divorced women are evil, wicked women who didn’t care about their marriages and God’s eternal wrath awaits them’ are false and man-made..
    The shame and condemnation that a divorced woman bears in most churches is very relevant to the discussion of why women stay (fear being the biggest reason). Even if it isn’t explicitly taught, it’s there in so many congregations. Divorced women are seen as evil women who didn’t care about their vows to God who would rather break up and destroy their family rather than be a good wife.
    Imagine if you put together a pre-marital counseling brochure that says,
    ‘divorce is allowed in these instances’
    ‘don’t live in bondage to evil’
    ‘abusers are evil and if your husband is beating you unconscious or attempting to kill you via strangulation, then he is not Christian, he is not a sinner like the rest of us, bumbling through life, making mistakes, and it’s not stress at work that will get better someday, but he is a criminal and it is good and right for you to call the police and leave him’
    and on down the list you could go.
    It may sound obvious to a lot of us now, but so many women raised in very conservative, Christian families don’t know these things, but rather have only heard messaging or read books that say things like
    ‘marriage is hard’
    ‘marriage is not about making you happy, but it is your cross to bear and it’s about making you holy’
    ”marriage is for life – no matter what’
    ‘be a better wife and your husband will love you more’
    ‘submit more and he won’t abuse you’
    ‘no divorce ever’
    ‘no remarriage ever’
    ‘keep it all private and secret or otherwise you’re gossiping, disloyal, and betraying him’.
    Most women in Christian circles already do take marriage seriously – too seriously – so perhaps premarital counseling could be an opportunity to teach about the blessings of divorce from an abuser, domestic violence, and crime victim support.
    Just a thought. But I’m not sure how many pastors will implement such teachings in their premarital classes or premarital counseling sessions. Simple messages like ‘here’s the DV hotline, and it’s not gossip or betrayal of your husband to call it and see if you are being abused and what your options are and they’ll be nice and supportive on the phone with you and they look forward to speaking with you and would love to have you call them’ because the abuser runs down his victim and mentally brainwashes her and torments her and verbally destroys her long before he starts beating her.
    At any rate, love this blog, Pastor! Love these posts!

    • Innoscent

      Well said Name Omitted! Premarital counselling should be done on an individual basis first and foremost. Christian counselors should be fully trained on evil tactics, DV, etc. and use appropriate communication and tool to make a thorough assessment of each marriage candidate. They want to watch for red flags. Then educate and warn the one who’s in great danger of falling prey to a fake Christian, psychopath, narcissist, etc. BEFORE they’re being led to the slaughter house!
      Love this blog too, a lifeline!! Helping me to unlearn the traditions of men and learn the Truth and stay alert and well.

    • wingingit

      Yes, perfectly said! I heard every single one of those things.
      They mess up your thinking so badly.

  4. Sue

    Dear Pastor Crippen, celeb, and even semi-celeb, preachers generally give me the willies. Those no-divorce…ever types tend to real short on empathy in other areas as well.

  5. Debby

    Excellent commentary as usual. Thank you pastor Powell for actually pastoring your flock!

  6. Joan

    Thank you!

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