Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Nope – He (or she) is NOT a Christian

1Jn 3:7-8 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

1Jn 3:10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

One of the most common lies laid upon us by wicked people, by “well-meaning” but ignorant people – is that a domestic abuser, a seeker of power and control, a “Diotrephes” who lusts to be “first” (see 3 John) – are to be regarded as brethren in Christ – just because they say they are. This willful blindness is said to be “love” and “thinking the best” or “not judging.”

All of this is nonsense in light of God’s Word.

The verses cited above by themselves expose these claims to be false, but if you want more just read through the entire book of 1 John.

1Jn 2:4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

1Jn 3:14-15 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (15) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

A person whose goal is to obtain power and control over others, who is willing without conscience to use evil tactics to obtain that power and control, who works every moment to hide behind a whitewashed disguise, is a fake, a phoney, a wolf in wool incapable of love no matter how hard he works to pretend it.

What are we to do with a wolf in wool that creeps in among us in the church. The answer should be obvious – expose him and put him out of the church. But that course seems to be odious to so many who claim to know Christ. Why? I think that the explanation lies not only in naivete about evil, but in sheer arrogance – “we are better than Jesus. We can reach some island of goodness in this wolf and save him. We will have another notch in our “saved souls log” and everyone will marvel at how loving and brave we are.”

The reality is that the wolf will still be a wolf, and will keep right on devouring the sheep, leading them astray in myriads of ways. I receive regular reports from abuse victims that such wolves are even standing in pulpits each week, pastors (“shepherds”) of local churches filled with people who refuse to see past the disguise. Once in a while the disguise will slip a little (“my, what big teeth you have”) but such slips will be quickly explained away.

Narcissists, sociopaths, domestic abusers and others of their kind are not Christians. They flunk the test – there is no love in them. They may be able to speak with “tongues of angels,” they may have “all theological knowledge,” they may appear to have incredible faith and by it be capable of constructing majestic temples (ie, mega “churches”), but it is all a sham. No love. The love of Christ is the thing that is missing. It is the sure and certain test they are exposed by.

Joh 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Beware of Alexander


The Danger of Fiction


  1. Amen! Regardless of how hard people try to “fix” a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a narcissist, a sociopath, or a domestic abuser, they will never change.

    “Can the Ethiopian change his skin
    or the leopard his spots?
    Then also you can do good
    who are accustomed to do evil.”
    Jeremiah 13:23

    Leopards cannot change their spots anymore than a habitual abuser without a conscience can be reached in “some island of goodness” inside them and be saved.

  2. Wade

    I have unfortunatly experianced this. When we felt it was safe to do so, I went to the pastor of our daughter’s church to ask him some questions. By then he was conviced the abuser was repentant and the victim was not and was vidictive. So I asked him why he thought the abuser was repentant. He gave a bunch of reasons where the abuser “checked” all the boxes. Faithful Sunday attendee, faithful midweek bible study, worshipped with “hands raised” blah blah blah….Then when I asked the pastor “would a believing repentant man come to a court of law with a prepared statement that was full of lies?” The pastor didn’t answer the question and turned it on me stating I was unforgiving. My conlusion is that wolves travel in packs.

  3. Well meaning sheep or wolves dressed as sheep?

    Thank you Pastor Crippen. I am so constantly stunned by professing believers who look the other way at wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have heard one too many stories and seen first hand pastors, elders and “community” of believers look the other way at the abuser who has years, if not decades of physical and emotional abuse of their spouses, their children, and so many others they “discipled” to, taught in Sunday school, supervised at work, etc. it goes on and on and on.

    Wade, thank the Lord you are a man who takes his parental role seriously. Your standing firm in the face of the wolf in sheep’s clothing in your daughters life is inspiring and reminds me that there are those of you out there. I did not see it in either of my birth parents, in fact it was the cowardly opposite, they might as well have adopted the abuser and swapped me out instead – so reading your post meant an extra amount. You are correct, wolves (in sheep’s clothing) DO travel in packs, they gather those that they can use in specific roles and no better to travel with a wolf in sheep’s clothing than other wolves in sheep’s clothing – and it may very well he church, friends, parents, siblings and the other weak willed family included. Once the veil is lifted and their true colors show, it’s very revealing at how many wolves there are amongst the sheep, even those you grew up with and had hoped and prayed for all those decades.


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