God’s Law is Spiritual, but Churches are Limiting it to Outward Actions

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

You have all heard it over and over again, right? But he never physically abused her. Therefore what the abuser has done and continues to do is not a crime. It is not really even a sin in the thinking of most Christians. Just a small thing. As long as he doesn’t hit her. That’s the thing you see.

A friend recently sent me a link to a great article by Evan Stark entitled “Re-presenting Battered Women: Coercive Control and the Defense of Liberty.”  Stark is an associate professor of public administration, director of the master’s in public health program at Rutgers Universtiy-Newark and author of the book Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life. What Stark is demonstrating  is that most domestic abuse is non-physical and can most correctly be termed “coercive control.” Furthermore, he says that this coercive control (its presence and extent) is a far more accurate predictor of physical and fatal violence than other more traditionally tracked factors. And he proposes that our statutes and laws need to be reframed so as to make these non-physical coercive control tactics criminal. In other words, we need to be pro-active and take action against these less visible yet very damaging abuse tactics. [NOTE: Unfortunately Stark’s philosophy is that we can hold abusers to a level of accountability so they will fear to abuse and might even cease being abusers. He does not like the idea that abusers should be put out of the church, but we should strive to keep them present in the church so that we can hold them accountable when they abuse. Wrong. Unbiblical. Scripture is plain that we are to put evil out from among us].

In a sense, what Stark is saying is that we need to enforce the spirit of the law, not just the overt and outward act. And is that not exactly what the Apostle Paul is saying in the above Scripture – the Law is spiritual. Paul came to realize, in considering the 10th commandment, “you shall not covet,” that God’s Law requires heart/soul obedience, not just outward conformity. This is when he knew he was condemned and guilty whereas before, he was just sure that he was righteous by his law-keeping.

So then, we are led to ask, how is it that churches are limiting domestic abuse to outward, visible, tangible acts of physical abuse? Well, he never hit you did he? That is as if to say, it is only a sin if he physically abuses you. As long as he never lays hands on you, you have no grounds to complain.

Really? Is that how God views sin? Did not Christ say that murder and adultery are most often committed in the heart though there be no outward act? That the Pharisees were whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones? But all this is apparently being ignored by pastors and churches who chant the mantra, “but he never actually physically abused you.”

The Wrong Questions are Being Asked to Discern Truth or Falsehood

Judges 12:5-6  And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,”  (6)  they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.

Some years ago a pastor from a nearby church phoned me to ask a few questions about our church.  He was sincere in motive I believe and just wanted to know if we were a true, Bible-believing and teach church or not. But he started in the wrong place. He asked the wrong questions. Here is his first:

Are you complementarian or egalitarian?

For those of you not familiar with these terms, they apply to two views of marriage. The complementarian is the model that says the husband is the head, in authority, and the wife is to submit to him. The egalitarian model puts husband and wife on equal levels in regards  to leadership, authority, etc. [We get into trouble when we start throwing these terms around because inevitably they drag us into this “authority” arena and things go south from there].

Now, in the conservative churches I was raised and taught in, the complementary model was the one embraced. After all, is that not what Ephesians 5 teaches? The husband is the head of his wife and the wife is to submit – well, yes, but….somehow or other the actual application of this Scripture has gone very wrong. But anyway, that is not my main point here.

Continue reading “The Wrong Questions are Being Asked to Discern Truth or Falsehood”

Stephanie’s Story: Part 3

[If you haven’t yet read the earlier posts of Stephanie’s story, here are the links – Part 1, Part 2]

Stephanie’s pastor and his wife continued to make excuses for her abuser’s wickedness. Now Stephanie tells us how they stepped up that pressure. We will include some of the actual emails and letters that the pastor sent her in the next installment (Part 4).  They are like letters from the kingdom of darkness.

Stephanie continues now with her story:

The pastor had ordered us that no marital issues or concerns,  or any questions we (mostly aimed at me) might have were not to be discussed with family members or church friends. Nothing could be discussed concerning our marriage and life outside the house.

I would check the church prayer list every week, and now I was wondering if I would find that the church had removed me from it. I had sent a letter to the church to be released from membership. What I did find listed on the prayer list was this: “That the Lord would grant her [ie, ME] repentence and grace to fight for her marriage.”  There was no added prayer request for my husband!

Continue reading “Stephanie’s Story: Part 3”

Until YOU Have Been the Target….

2Ti 4:14-15  Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  (15)  Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.

I wonder if Timothy believed Paul’s warning? I hope that he did. I suspect that he did. But if so, Timothy would be an exception to such warnings.

I have seen it over and over and over again. Victims, people who have been targeted by domestic abusers, sociopaths, psychopaths, wolves in wool, tell someone what the evil person is doing. Just like Paul told Timothy about Alexander. But what is the most typical reaction to the warning?

  • You are exaggerating
  • He can’t be as bad as that
  • We are all sinners, you know
  • You need to show him love. He probably had a messed up childhood

And then, throw into the mix the denials and charming wiles of the abuser and the victim’s report just blows away in the wind. Why?

Continue reading “Until YOU Have Been the Target….”

Marriage and Divorce – Getting it Right: A Sermon by Jeff Crippen

We want to make you aware that Pastor Crippen’s sermon today at Christ Reformation Church is on marriage and divorce.  Using the sermon text of Matthew 19:1-12 and scripture reading from Deuteronomy 24, Pastor reminds us of the importance of rightly handling the word of truth.  And there are very few places in the Bible that have been more abused than the words of Jesus when He speaks to the issue of marriage and divorce.

We are providing a link to the PDF, video, and audio of Pastor’s sermon, Marriage and Divorce – Getting it Right, found at sermonaudio.com.

We have also added this sermon, Marriage and Divorce – Getting it Right, to our Twisted Scriptures page located on the top menu bar under Scriptures.

For those of you who would like to follow the Sunday Service at Christ Reformation Church (CRC) weekly you may go to lightfordarktimes.com where CRC’s weekly Sunday Order of Service is published and links to the video/audio of Pastor Crippen’s sermon are provided.  All are welcome to join with the congregation of CRC online!

Fantasies and Fictions that Keep Victims in Abuse (Part 2) – Loving our Enemy

Luk 6:27  “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

We saw an example in last Friday’s post of how “christian” fiction and fantasy does great harm, especially to victims of abuse as it hides in the church. That example, published at Our Daily Bread (odb.org) referenced a fictional book that portrayed a suffering Christian man touching his persecutor and thereby healing the wicked man’s physical ailment. Wow! How incredible!  Yes, it is IN-credible. UN-believable. Because it is fiction. Yet, how often are victims of evil given these kinds of fiction to make them stay in the abuse, supposedly so that they can heal the evil heart of their abuser?

What did Jesus mean? When He tells us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us?

Continue reading “Fantasies and Fictions that Keep Victims in Abuse (Part 2) – Loving our Enemy”

Fantasies and Fictions that Keep Victims in Abuse

Our Daily Bread, a daily devotional publication, posted the following at odb.org for August 20, 2019. It was entitled Touched by Grace and written by Sheridan Voysey. Here it is:

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27)

In Leif Enger’s novel Peace Like a River, Jeremiah Land is a single father of three working as a janitor at a local school. He’s also a man of deep, sometimes miraculous, faith. Throughout the book, his faith is often tested.

Jeremiah’s school is run by Chester Holden, a mean-spirited superintendent with a skin condition. Despite Jeremiah’s excellent work ethic—mopping up a sewage spill without complaint, picking up broken bottles the superintendent smashed—Holden wants him gone. One day, in front of all the students, he accuses Jeremiah of drunkenness and fires him. It’s a humiliating scene.

How does Jeremiah respond? He could threaten legal action for unfair dismissal or make accusations of his own. He could slink away, accepting the injustice. Think for a moment what you might do.

“Love your enemies,” Jesus says, “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28). These challenging words aren’t meant to excuse evil or stop justice from being pursued. Instead, they call us to imitate God (v. 36) by asking a profound question: How can I help my enemy become all God wants him or her to be?

Jeremiah looks at Holden for a moment, then reaches up and touches his face. Holden steps back defensively, then feels his chin and cheeks in wonder. His scarred skin has been healed.

An enemy touched by grace.

Heart-warming. Touching. And total fiction. Let me clue you in – you cannot touch someone and heal them. You cannot touch someone and regenerate their evil heart. This is a false application of Jesus’ words about loving our enemies and doing good to those who persecute us. And yet this is just the kind of thing that professing Christians want to believe, so they choose to do so and then they lay these fictions on victims of abuse, insisting that the Lord requires them to endure and remain in it.

 

We do not interpret the Scriptures properly by writing fantasy stories about them. That stuff may sell like hotcakes and make publishers rich, but it is a rank misuse of God’s Word. And it does harm. Real, serious, harm.

Notice again this statement by Voysey:

These challenging words aren’t meant to excuse evil or stop justice from being pursued. Instead, they call us to imitate God (v. 36) by asking a profound question: How can I help my enemy become all God wants him or her to be?

Yes, let’s imitate God. Does God always deal with His enemies in such a way as to help them become all He wants them to be? Of course not. The implication here by Voysey is that WE can heal them. That WE can change that abuser’s evil heart by “touching them.” Well, we can’t. God can. But He doesn’t. God does not change the heart of an unrepentant, wolf in sheep’s clothing who is hiding in the pews disguised as the finest saint in the church, all the while behind the scenes wickedly abusing his wife or molesting children. In fact, the Lord tells us (see 1 Cor 5) to cast out such a person from His church.

In other cases, as we see in the imprecatory Psalms, the Lord authorizes us to pray for His wrath to come upon the wicked. Particularly upon the wicked who cruelly mistreat God’s people. What, we can ask ourselves, did God want Pharaoh to be? (See Romans 9 – “for this very purpose I raised him up”).  What of the apostate who has tasted the good gift of God (Hebrews 6:4-6) but then returned to his own vomit? The Apostle John (see 1 John 5) tells us there is a sin (and I think he means apostasy) that we are not to pray for.

So, instead of writing some damaging story line that is only fit for a comic book, how do we handle Jesus’ words? –

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27)

We will turn to that answer in the next post this coming Monday.

 

 

Continue reading “Fantasies and Fictions that Keep Victims in Abuse”