Abuse Victims are Being Thrown to the Lions in Local Churches

1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This passage of Scripture is often misapplied to keep victims of domestic abusers in bondage. However, in this post I want to focus upon God’s promise of “the way of escape.” Obviously it is God’s will that when we are in a trial or test and we see a way of escape, we take it! After all, God Himself provides it!

Now, there are people who claim to be Christians who will tell you that it is always better (and in fact that God requires it) to remain in the trial. Even “unto death.” In other words, they promote martyrdom. Of course they are characterized by the ever-present double standard of the abuser. No way would they become a martyr, but you are required to be one.

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The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath — Sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

The Abuser Provokes His Children to Wrath
Sermon 10 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on September 26, 2010
Sermon Text:  Ephesians 6:4

Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians chapters 5 & 6 contain the Lord’s instructions to us regarding the exercise of His authority and the submission to that authority which is
to characterize the various relationships of our lives –

  • Husbands and wives
  • Fathers and children
  • Masters and slaves (employers and employees in today’s terms)

Before we are finished with this series on the topic of abuse, we will of course need to return to Ephesians 5 and deal with the whole matter of headship and submission in the husband/wife relationship. It cannot be denied that the Bible establishes a doctrine of headship in marriage, but sinful, abusive human beings have often distorted this Scripture in their attempt to justify their evil abusive practices. In particular, we want to underscore what biblical headship in marriage, in parenting, and in other relationships of life, such as in the workplace, IS NOT! 

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The Abuser Uses Language to Establish Himself on the “High Ground”

Gen 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

The wicked talk “down” to those they are trying to control and to do this, they very often open up their deceptive assault with words that are designed to establish them on the “high ground.” To make them appear superior – morally, spiritually, intellectually, superior. We are wise if we recognize this tactic. Let me try to explain and illustrate what this business looks like. Many of you will know exactly what I am talking about.

In order to shut down their target – to silence them and bring them into submission – the power and control hungry abuser will speak or write in such a way that he appears to be wiser, more loving, kinder, more godly, and purer in his motives than his target. All for the purpose of making his victim doubt herself, lose her confidence, place blame and guilt and shame upon her, even though in reality everything he is saying is a lie. Here are some real examples of this nastiness in action. The first one was targeted at me, and I have shared it before. It was written by a wicked man parading as an eminent “saint” in the church who was trying to shut me up after I had exposed evil in an organization our church used to belong to. Listen to him speak in his air of superiority:

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Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command – sermon by Ps Jeff Crippen

Bow Down — The Abuser’s Command
Sermon 4 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 15, 2010
Sermon Text:  Esther 3:5

“When we are honest, we come to the humbling realization that in each abuser is a piece of us.  Jesus recognized this when he stated that anyone who was angry with his brother has committed murder in the heart (Matthew 5:22). Here Christ eradicates any subtle distinctions we might make between degrees of violence as a way of defending our own violent thoughts or actions. Jesus cuts through to the spawning ground of violence: the human heart. Thus, the fundamental issue of violence is not one of actions but one of the condition of the heart. Until this heart condition is changed, violence will continue its ‘dynamic of growth which condemns it to increase.

The church’s failure to effectively confront the problem of wife abuse [and, we add – the church’s failure to confront the problem of the abusive, power-seeking, deceptive wolf among the sheep who is so often also an abuser of his wife and children] more than being just a reflection of a fundamental disregard for women or a fear of any challenge to a patriarchal system, is a reflection of the failure to recognize evil for what it is. Before Satan can be defeated, he must be identified. And, once identified, he must be fought on spiritual ground. The problem of wife abuse is not one of feminism, secular humanism, or a lack of headship in the home. It is the problem of evil – unseen and unopposed.” [Battered Into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home, by James and Phyliis Alsdurf]

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More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal – Sermon by Ps. Crippen

More Weapons in the Enemy’s Arsenal
Sermon 3 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
A 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 8, 2010
Sermon Text: Daniel 4

Power and control. As we have been proceeding now in our study of the Psychology and Methods of Sin as contrasted with the mindset and fruits of the Spirit, we have seen that sin craves to be God. Satan announced that he would be like the Most High. His emissaries, like Diotrephes, come to the church of Christ craving power and control, looking to enslave the people of God. All this for power and control – to be worshipped.

And so it is in such a man or woman’s family and marriage. The abusive person is all about getting and maintaining power and control over a spouse primarily and also over the children. Last time we learned that one of the most important and effective weapons in such a man’ s arsenal is secrecy. We were warned that we really do not know the abusive man – though we think that we do. We think, as he intends us to think, that he is a fine man, a nice man, a model Christian. He is the go-to guy in a church many times. But this is all a façade and mask. Behind it lurks a man whose philosophy is to be like the most high. To enslave others to the service and glory of himself. And quite often, he is a master at his craft.

We must be on guard against him. We cannot assume. We cannot afford to be duped by his ploys because if we are, his victims remained oppressed – and we can find ourselves aiding him in his purpose.

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Another Fundamental Attitude in the Abuser – Justification

1Sa 13:8-12 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. (9) So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. (10) As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. (11) Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, (12) I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

“I had to do it.” “I did it for your own good.” “You made me do it.” These are some examples of the mentality of justification which characterize the abuser’s thinking. Entitlement to power and control and justification in doing whatever is necessary to obtain and maintain unwarranted, unauthorized, power and control. This statement really defines the abuser.

You see it here in Saul. When confronted by Samuel for offering sacrifices he had no right to offer, Saul blamed first circumstances (not his fault) and then he blamed Samuel (again, not his fault). Saul was, in his thinking, justified in doing what he did.

And so it goes with the domestic abuser (and other types of abusers too). He rages at his target all evening long until she is beaten down and the children are hiding out of sight. And though later he may bring her flowers, he still believes he was entirely justified in doing this to her. And he will do it again in spite of any promises not to. After all, in the end he was just in what he did. She needed his raging punishment. Maybe he didn’t want to do it, but it had to be done, you know.

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Worship Me, or Else – The Abuser’s Command — Sermon by Ps Crippen

Worship Me, or Else – The Abuser’s Command
Sermon 2 from the series:  The Psychology and Methods of Sin
Part 2 of a 21 sermon series on domestic violence and abuse
First given on August 1, 2010
Sermon Text:  Daniel 3

I would never in my wildest nightmares dream that my husband would ever abuse me, but he did. I took our two-month old son and fled after the 4th time my husband struck me. My husband is a Christian, but his rage at things was unreal and it doesn’t take much to end a human life when one is in an uncontrollable rage. I received counsel that it was my duty to stay and suffer for Jesus’ sake…I stayed with him then, misapplying Scriptures of how I was to act. I accepted what he did or didn’t do and just tried to work on me, doing what was right.

I was beaten and emotionally abused by my ex-husband. I left for six months, but when he saw a counselor and promised reform, I returned. I was not beaten after the return, but I found that my 4-year old daughter was – and sexually abused by him as well. The pastor I spoke to, the counselor I saw, the family doctor – all Christians – preferred to believe that I was lying, or at least to blame for the trouble. Even his divorce lawyer (another Christian) condemned my soul to hell because of my hardhearted refusal to try still another reconciliation.

Even now, seven years later, no one believes the story. And at this moment he has my daughter, thanks to a court order and gross misunderstanding of a letter she wrote to [a nationally known counselor]…My daughter, now 11, is reduced to the almost suicidal state I was in. She desperately wants out.

I did not leave until after his third murder attempt on me and still I believed in a reconciliation. I kept thinking that if I would do right things, he wouldn’t get angry. He never even admitted abuse. Our marriage was so ‘perfect’ on the outside that few people believed that I had been abused.

It’s been 4 months since my husband was removed from our home by police, and most people who know about it just pass judgment on me. You don’ t know what it’s like to wake up at 3 AM with your husband standing over you, not talking, not doing anything, just staring at you. You don’t know how guilty you feel or just plain confused when people you love don’t help or won’ t get involved. You don’t know my fears as a mother of three boys, of beginning to lose the respect of my sons. I can still hear my husband screaming at me, ‘you’re a Christian and God wants us together. You leave me and nothing will go right in your life forever.” [Battered into Submission: The Tragedy of Wife Abuse in the Christian Home; by James and Phyllis Alsdurf]

Do those examples excite your interest in learning more about the psychology and methods of sin – particularly in relation to its evil desire for power and control over others? I hope that they do. Because it is my opinion that evangelical, conservative Christianity – our religion – has plenty of “dirty laundry” that needs exposure and cleaning. Evil men (and sometimes women) creep into our love feasts unnoticed –


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