Previously I published a letter from a pastor to an abuse victim. You saw how that pastor did what is really the norm to be expected when an abuse victim asks for help. The thing is evil.
Well, here is a second letter from a pastor that this same victim received. Word gets around, you know. I have even known of cases where no matter what local church a victim attended in a search for a new church, the pastors had already been gossiped to about her “sin” by the original pastor.
Notice in this letter how this “shepherd” couches his unauthorized control in a vocabulary of “love.” I can tell you, there is no love in this accusatory missile. I inserted a few comments of my own in brackets:
Thank you so much for writing. I appreciate you reaching out to clarify. Again, I know that this has all been so very difficult and painful. You have my full sympathy and compassion. But I must gently and tenderly say to you again, my dear friend, that you have no grounds whatsoever for an annulment or divorce. [No, you have NO sympathy or compassion for her].
I’ve heard all the details from you and (the abuser) and for all of the reasons that I’ve already touched on in past correspondences (and which multiple other pastors have also conveyed to you) this is not justifiable. And while you may have found a few people who will tell you that you have biblical grounds, it would be akin to some pastors who tell others that they have biblical grounds to live in a homosexual lifestyle. [“Multiple other pastors” – so they have all been talking and ganging up on her. Also, anyone who tells an abuse victim they can divorce is authorizing all manner of perversion in marriage]
We both know what the plain teaching of Scripture on this is, and it’s just as clear in your situation. [Really? Plain teaching? So this guy’s view is THE view which is to be followed or else!]
You have a man who has clearly acknowledged his faults, and is willing to change his ways and reconcile. [Oh, really? And Mr. Pastor, just how do you know this? The abuser told you? Do you think you know him better than his victim?]
No sexual immorality has taken place, and while the things that (her abuser) said were egregious, they were not consistent enough to be tantamount to verbal abuse, and no physical abuse had taken place. [I deleted a paragraph here for confidentiality, but it is still more excuse-making by this pastor for the abuser]
While (her abuser) did not contribute as much as he should have financially, he was working and contributing something, and was making strides to get a better job and provide more (which was one of the reasons for his ongoing education). [The man essentially contributes nothing. He already has multiple degrees but continues to go to school, making NO strides to provide financially for her].
The bottom line is that you are legally married and are officially married in God’s eyes. Based on the entire scenario I just shared, you have no grounds to sever this marriage. And if you say that you are open to reconciliation, then you don’t pursue an unbiblical divorce, which you have no justification for, and then perhaps reconcile. You remain married and work toward reconciliation–as (her abuser) is willing to do. [Oh really. So Mr. Pastor, you know that this abuser is willing to….to do what? Change? He isn’t changing and he isn’t going to change].
Again, I share all of this in love. We never escape consequences and the discipline of the Lord when we disobey God. This will definitely end in much remorse and heartache for you, if you pursue this course of action. And most importantly, you will greatly dishonor the Lord and mar your testimony as a Christian before a watching world. I lovingly urge you to forsake this path and let the Body of Christ help you and (abuser’s name omitted to protect the victim) work toward reconciliation. With care, concern, and gentleness, [This is THREAT. “You do what I say or else God is going to smite you.” NONE of this is shared in “love.” It is an enablement of wickedness and a persecution of the downtrodden. This pastor is lying about his motives].
So there you have it. These letters from pastors are so typical, so deceiving, and sooooo damaging. They are the ones who are marring their testimony for Christ before a watching world.
I will be publishing a post soon addressing Wayne Grudem’s booklet “Divorce and Remarriage” in which he claims to have become a help to abuse victims in the church because he has now changed his views to allow for divorce in these cases. But a glaring hole in his presentation is that he never humbles himself and asks for forgiveness for all of the damage he and his ilk have done to poor, oppressed victims by insisting they must stay married to their abuser. Grudem’s approach is cold and academic. Where is his acknowledgement and confession that pastors like the ones who write these cruel letters are at best incompetents and more likely plain old false shepherds? Grudem should be angered by this widespread evil, but he isn’t. He should be shutting his mouth and admitting he is guilty of widespread harm. But nope. He keeps writing books and telling us all “how it is.”
Be quiet, Wayne. Just be quiet and go away.