Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Still Another Example of a Pastor and church adding to a victim's suffering

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.


Another Accusatory Letter from Pastors to a Victim


Wayne Grudem isn't Sorry for the Damage He has Done to Abuse Victims


  1. R

    You left the abuser’s first name in there once, so you might want to go back and take that out for her confidentiality.

    • Thanks for catching that, R.
      I have fixed it.

    • Be free

      The letter is as evil and 100% spirituality abusive. As you said very typical, and so common.
      To the recipient of the letter: The letter is loaded with hideous distortions of Christ’s love and a complete dismissal of the abuser’s repeated decisions to deceive and harm, let alone the fraudulent representation he used to get you into the legal marriage. This a not a blessed situation, please know you’re not their first abuse victim or their last – meaning both the ex spouse abuser and the church “leaders” that are abusing as well. This is the all too common script they use, the garbage seems the only appropriate place to file this – there’s something to be said about ceasing all contact.
      Be strong, be free and keep moving forward away from them – all of them.

  2. wingingit

    I love how these arrogant pastors think they can “allow” other grown adults to do anything at all.
    Nowhere does scripture teach that we need permission from other people to live our lives.
    The concept of a pastor – leader – boss of God’s people is unscriptural in itself. There is a reason men should never be put on a pedestal above others. They become gods unto themselves and abuse others in their self-righteousness and pride.

    • Anonymous

      My experience has been that people chose their so-called “reality” and will do anything to make life fit neatly into that package. People make their choice and openly demonstrate this. The abuser does this as well with smear campaigns, gaslighting, and flat out lies to alter reality. This way words and actions never have to actually be demonstrated or even line up. The agenda is to brutally force their delusional made up world onto others.
      Even the court system does this. Homemaker for decades, contributing financially as needed to accommodate the breadwinner who becomes a successful business man. The judge rules financially in favor of the man because he should have the right to retire with great wealth at age 67, leaving the wife to scramble to make ends meet until she can retire and live at poverty level.
      In the end their make believe world of entitlement, domination, oppression, cruelty, gossip, slander, bias will stand before the the one true Judge. They have no fear or respect.

    • Lynn

      This pastor reminds me of a meddling neighbor who believes it’s his right to interfere in the lives of those around him in order to get the result he wants, not the result needed or desired by God or the party the decision affects. He is a curse on his neighbors and all who seek his counsel and follow his advice will be put to shame.
      Where in the Bible does God grant pastors authority to tell other people what they can and cannot do in their marriages? I can’t seem to find it? Is it 1st or 2nd Manipulations?
      Their job is to faithfully preach the word, defend the innocent, offer assistance to the oppressed, kick out the wolves masquerading as sheep; not to play God by projecting their own beliefs about marriage onto someone in their congregation who is suffering at the hands of a wicked abuser. This pastor does none of that. He uses language as a weapon to inflict more pain in the name of God, which is antithetical to who God is. He is heaping additional spiritual abuse on top of the abuse the victim is suffering under at home. There is a special place in hell for men and women like this pastor who proclaim to speak for God, yet keep his children in bondage and inflict abuse upon them.
      May God give this pastor the perfect justice in this life that his actions deserve so that God’s holy name is magnified and glorified, and the injustice caused by this man’s wicked actions would be thoroughly and publicly dealt with. Let the woman who’s endured such wickedness be set free from these abusive people and gain the healing and justice her situation calls for.

    • twbtc

      (This comment was originally submitted by “Cindy Burrell”. The comment was lost while updating the backend of the blog, so I am reposting the comment here.)

      Wingingit – My thoughts exactly!

      “Allow?” Seriously? No pastor or fellow believer has the authority to put themselves between us and the God we serve, the One who knows the truth – the One who is our ultimate witness, and the only one we need!

  3. voicilebois

    Oh, these phoney Pastors! One other comment of this pastor I picked up on: “This will definitely end in much remorse and heartache for you..” Yes it will as you will make sure it does thanks to your unkind and judgmental attitude. Unfortunately men tend to stick together unless truly enlightened like Pastor Crippen. I was so triggered this morning by a male friend who is still in touch with my abusive ex and also claims to be my friend. You can’t sit on the fence!
    This friend and others have been duped by my ex. I can’t put into words my feelings of frustration.

  4. It’s hard to even think straight after reading such a toxic, heartless letter that amounts to a spiritual beating.
    I must ask: How did the word get around about this victim’s situation? Isn’t the original pastor to whom she spoke bound to some respectful degree of confidentiality – if not legally, then morally? It seems Pastor #1 felt quite comfortable speaking to Pastor #2 (and others perhaps?) pronouncing his judgments and operating as a gang leader to put the squeeze on this suffering woman. Do gossip and dogpiling now qualify as godly ways of addressing abuse and ministering to victims?
    The lack of compassion, understanding and support from both of these pastors are sadly all too common, but no less appalling.
    To the woman I say: Dear one, you have a Witness above all others, and you are not alone. Many of us have been in your shoes, and we will walk with you as God leads you out of darkness and into a new life where you can experience the fullness of His healing and peace.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Cindy – this is why I never, never again will talk to other pastors and warn them if a wicked person is headed for their church. They always discount me and tell the evil person I called them. In this case, the victim was slandered by Pastor #1 to other pastors. There is no accountability nor any professional standards that bind these pastors. They get away with murder.

  5. lg

    I remember listening to a Christian counselor who wrote “5 Indicators of an Evil Heart” and who was the first person in the Christian faith who validated reasons to leave a destructive marriage – I found her illustration helpful in differentiating between a “disappointing,” “difficult,” or “destructive” marriage.
    Too often pastors, who not equipped to diagnose a marriage — or whatever reason, mostly because they don’t seem to, or don’t want to, even understand the psychology of sin, and/or have no personal experience with an abusive narcissist / sociopath. As a result, they misdiagnose destructive marriages as simply disappointing or difficult ones, similar to the way a someone might be misdiagnosed as having a chest cold, when in fact they really have lung cancer. The symptoms between a cold and lung cancer can look the same on the surface, but one (a cold) is easily treatable, while the other (cancer) is terminal and deadly.
    I noticed this with (a popular preacher’s) marriage talks – while I like a lot of things he preaches, I have never red his books or listened to his marriage talks because it is too triggering. However he puts in little snippets of his theology on marriage in his sermons. Although I appreciate how he is trying to approach the commitment from marriage from a viewpoint of NOT making marriage into an idol – which he appears to recognize is a problems in the Christian community – and instead focus on being more mission minded as a couple — he is still completely clueless and grossly misses the mark when it comes to abusive and destructive marriages, or rather when someone is married to an abusive and destructive person. Despite all of his appearances of humility, there is still a prideful arrogance in his assumption that he has the solution “making marriages work” by simply not making marriage into an idol and being more mission minded as a couple.
    In the case of an abusive and destructive marriage where there is, according to the family courts, a “breakdown in communication” – It is very rarely a two way street where both parties people are contributing to the destruction, abuse, and “communication breakdown, but rather it almost always only one person who is doing the abuse and creating destruction in his entitled quest for power and control. It is impossible to “communicate” with someone like that. They are a cancerous tumor.

  6. Em

    Somehow this just seems appropriate. I think some pastors are so misled and so convinced that they are right, that they are these who torment victims with the approval of their own consciences. They must have no actual idea of God’s justice!
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    ~ C.S. Lewis

  7. twbtc

    (this comment was originally posted by “frausiacor”. It was lost while updating the backend of the blog, so I am reposting the comment here.)

    …in not a few cases the pastors themselves are narcissists… meaning, they cannot as well empathize with the agonies of those who are undergoing narcissistic abuse…

    • twbtc

      (Original comment by Jeff Crippen. It was lost while updating the backend of the blog, so I am reposting the comment here.)

      Truth here. Yep.

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