Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Could Your Abuser be a Christian? No!

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 2:9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

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.

I am not sure precisely why so many professing Christians insist that a person who habitually walks in sin could still be a Christian. But I run into such people regularly. I have on occasion had some of them get quite angry with me when I tell them that their abuser is most definitely not a Christian. Once I even had a family member of a sociopath who had murdered his wife/victim tell me that they still believed the murderer could have been a Christian. And yet:

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.

The only way that someone can maintain that a RASN (reviler, abuser, sociopath, narcissist) could be born again is by denying and ignoring the mass of Scripture which teaches the exact opposite. And I think another reason for this fantasy thinking is that RASN’s themselves cast a cloud of confusion and deception around themselves which envelops those who know them. In other words, the primary source of this lie that a RASN can still be a Christian….is the RASN himself. Why would anyone even consider that a RASN could be regenerate? Because the RASN himself/herself puts on that disguise.

We have been enveloped in widespread false doctrine perpetuated by naïve and false teaching in the churches. By a false gospel, actually. God loves everyone the same. Jesus died for the sins of everyone. We are all sinners. We must not judge. And on and on the lies go. What is ignored is the Word of God itself. All you need do is read the short epistle of 1 John to disprove it all, let alone all the rest of the New Testament, including much of the Old as well.

One of the biggest and most widespread examples of this false gospel is found in what we call “the Bible belt” region of the United States. Of course the lie is to be found in local churches all over the nation, but I point to the Bible belt “christianity” as a clear example. Churches on every corner. Big buildings. The cultural norm is (perhaps this is decreasing these days) is to be a church member. And yet, how do the majority of these “christians” live? They walk in sin. For all their talk about being born again, they are the same old creatures they have always been. And the preachers love it so. It is a RASN friendly environment.

So, be sure of this. Stop listening to what people say and start listening to what God says. Pick up your Bible for yourself and stop “tweaking” its plain words so that they fit what people have told you it means. I pointed out the black and white statements in 1 John once to a seminary professor I had. He had been teaching that we are Christians even if we do not acknowledge Jesus as Lord and obey Him. So I showed him 1 John. His answer? “Well, you see, John is the more black and white writer of the New Testament whose writings must be balanced with the rest of Scripture.” In other words, this PhD – holding professor in a conservative Bible seminary just brushed off God’s own Word. And by the way, a year or so later that same professor abandoned his wife and children and took off with a woman he was counseling. He jettisoned his profession of Christ and took up a career as a lawyer.

I have found that in local churches, in seminaries, in denominational organizations – this plain, clear teaching of God’s own Word is dismissed and rejected. The mass of professing Christendom energetically defends and teaches that a person can continue to walk in unrepentant sin and still be a child of God in Christ. Why? I suspect the reason lies in the fact that this majority group in the visible church consists of people who are not born again themselves, so they must perpetuate a false gospel which excuses them for the evil, unrepentant lives they themselves are living.

Mat 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

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4 Comments

  1. Amen! It is unbelievable how many professing “Christians” walk in known sin and yet insist they are saved. One woman I know says that she was born again decades ago, but went through a period of years when she was “backslidden,” during which time she lived a very sinful life. She believes that she was still saved, only that she was not walking with the Lord. I have told her that I don’t believe she was a born-again Christian all those years ago. Her response is that she was saved, just not living like it.
    She would not have gone to heaven while she was practicing numerous known sins. We are either new creations in Christ, or we are not. We cannot be a child of God and live like we are a child of the devil.

    That is just one example of the massive deception that the enemy has over people. It is so sad that people do not believe the Word of God and twist it to mean whatever fits their lifestyle. It is also deadly because they will end up in Hell for eternity.

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  2. Wendy

    This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life and even recently the pain was brought back up again as I began reading a book by Naghmeh Panahi called, I Didn’t Survive. It is bringing up the heartbreaking pain that I struggled with growing up and I’ve been praying to God to help me and walk with me, to lead me through the pain this brings.

    My biggest question was always…How can a “Christian” be truly saved and yet do abusive things to the people they should love the most? I realize as Christians none of us are perfect, but I grew up in confusion with a dad claiming to be a follower of Christ. In most ways to the outside world, he appeared to genuinely be one. Some would go as far as to say how they wished they had a dad like mine, people continually sang his praises, yet behind closed doors, he treated my mom, me, and my brother abusively. I didn’t understand how he could treat others with such kindness and yet at home could be so cruel to us. I didn’t understand and even felt guilty for questioning whether he was saved or not.

    When he died a few years ago of cancer I really struggled. The person I knew he was compared to what his persona was to himself, and the outside world was so confusing to me. To think he is in hell is heartbreaking & disturbing yet still to this day I can’t reconcile the part of him that was a liar, a deceiver, and an abuser knowing the horrible things he said and did to my mom and us kids. He remarried after he and my mom divorced from their 35-year marriage, and I found out after his death that he went on to behave abusively towards his next wife too, so there was never any repentance nor apology for that behavior, I assume he justified himself to the end.

    It is not surprising that I ended up marrying a man who claimed to be sold out to Christ. Although he was a new “Christian” and I could see growth, I started to see things early in marriage and throughout the marriage that didn’t set right. I attributed it to being an immature Christian. On one hand, he appeared to be growing and would open-air preach the gospel, study his Bible, and pray. For the most part, he said and did all the right things that would convince anyone he was a follower, yet again at home he would psychologically abuse me, mistreat me, and then often play the victim. He was different than my dad who was a rageaholic. His favorite tactic was long periods of silent treatment and convincing me of my total lack of worth or existence in his eyes.

    After 17 years of marriage and many years searching for answers, with the help of others, I finally started to realize that I was truly being abused. They really are amazing at manipulating, gaslighting, and convincing you that it is all your fault. The church as a whole keep women in a place of submission and I was thoroughly taught by all the many Christian marriage books that if I would only do more “things” it would fix things and my husband would stop mistreating me. He never did.

    When I started to establish and follow through on boundaries with my only expectation to be treated with kindness & respect my now ex-husband discarded me to go on to commit many gross acts of adultery, homosexual escapades, porn & alcohol abuse, misdemeanors, job firings, and to put a cherry on top of it all, requesting termination of his parental rights. I can only assume to avoid paying child support. There was shock for a period of time, but I eventually saw that who he really was never truly changed. He was not born again; he was an imposter who absolutely was able to mimic being a true Christian for a long time to get what he wanted. These men fooled MANY people for years.

    It brings a lot of pain and not much comfort knowing that some of these men will say, Lord, Lord and He will say depart from me I never knew you. As I read Naghmeh’s book, I can relate to the confusion of her husband’s behavior towards her compared to some of his outward behavior towards others. This supposed loving pastor was leading people to Christ, planting churches, being beaten and persecuted while refusing to recant his faith, while still showing love to the prisoners and guards who were beating him. At the same time throughout their marriage, he abused her physically, sexually, and verbally all while she faithfully stood by him and loved him. At one point he was calling his wife a whore on the phone from prison and demanding she cater to him to get a book deal going and secure his financial future.

    Your post came at the perfect time and in answer to a prayer. Reading the book was bringing up pain and old traumas and I needed to be reminded and hear God’s Word when it comes to wolves in sheep’s clothing again. I don’t necessarily feel a deep comfort over the fate of those who deceive, more of a heavy dull heartache. What I do feel is a freedom from confusion when dealing with these types and a knowledge that God will one day wipe away every tear and there will be no more sin and sorrow.

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    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you VERY much for sharing this with us all. It is incredible how deceiving evil can be. Satan can appear as an angel of light and it isn’t surprising that his servants can do the same. I understand how confusing these deceptions can be and how hard it is for us to grasp that a life was actually all a lie. Fortunately we have the light and truth of God’s Word to guide us.

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  3. Lynn

    Much of this comes down to how professing Christians view the characters in the Bible. They compare their actions and model their lives after Bible “Heroes” and not Christ. They seem to think “Well if Moses and David and Paul can get away with murder and still be one of the elect, then my bad behavior will be overlooked by God as well.” They misunderstand God, don’t take sin seriously, and take for granted their standing before God not thinking that they will one day be held to account for every word and deed they committed on this earth. While the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse even the deepest of sinners, without being born again and repenting of that sin, there is no hope for these hypocrites.

    The answer to their problems is Jesus, but the RASNs don’t want him. They want to be their own gods with their own kingdoms where everyone is there to serve them. If those around them don’t like it, they will punish them into submission. This is the troubling behavior we keep seeing being exposed at all levels of churches right now. God is pointing out the wolves, and the goats are sticking their heads in the sand and murmuring about how wrong genuine believers are when they share their stories of abuse and expose their hypocrisy. Why else are we seeing such a departure from what professes to be the church nowadays? The abusive pastors scapegoat, gaslight, and project onto the victims claiming they weren’t truly saved because they weren’t willing to stay in the abusive situations any longer.

    The problem being is that it is super hard to find a genuine church – even in the bible belt. It doesn’t matter if there are 3 churches within a couple of miles of where you live. It’s not a guarantee that they are genuine or equipped to deal with all the church-wounded people out there. Even if they are not corrupt, uninformed church people who haven’t endured trauma run the risk of retraumatizing those who’ve been wounded by wolves in other churches. Many times they lack compassion and wisdom due to their willful blindness.

    So let’s be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We must continue to expose the evil works of darkness when we see them and let God be our vengeance. No one escapes punishment forever. If they don’t receive it in this life, then they will get it in eternity. This may sound harsh, but we serve a just and holy God. He will not let his name be profaned indefinitely. He will punish the wicked for their evil as he promised. It will be perfect and just and glorious.

    Every human on the planet will ultimately give God glory in eternity. Where they do it depends on whether or not they have been born again. If so, they get eternity with God in Heaven and his people. If not, they get Hell, where the perfect justice they receive becomes an incense to God and glorifies his holy justice.

    If you haven’t been born again and made right with God, don’t delay. There is hope and freedom that awaits you if you repent and place your faith in Christ alone. There is trial and tribulation that awaits you. In the end, the light and momentary affliction we feel now will be replaced with such glory that we can’t even imagine. So go and be free. For whom the son sets free is free indeed.

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