A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Barbara Roberts is giving up writing for the public

I have decided to give up writing for the public. I made this decision about 3 a.m. on Friday 22 April. I had been very depressed and suffering from high anxiety and insomnia for weeks, if not months, before I made the decision. I had also been battling suicide. That night it became really clear to me: either I keep on battling thoughts of suicide, or I give up writing; either I continue feeling suicidal (risking breaking the commandment Thou shalt not kill.) or I give up writing thus breaking the promises have I made to my readers and failing to fulfil my intention to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage and write a second book. I decided to give up writing….and immediately felt enormous relief because the suicidal ideation had stopped.

Since then, my counselor has formed the view that I am suffering from burn-out. He told me that recovery from burn-out takes an average of five years. When he had burn-out, it took him seven years to recover!

I do not know whether this decision is for the remainder of my days on this earth, or whether it means I am taking a long “sabbatical”. All I know is that if I even think about continuing to write or picking up writing again at some later stage, the anxiety and tears rise up like a flood and I have to divert my thoughts very quickly.

I appreciate what my assistant, Reaching Out, said when I told her my decision:

The promises you made to ACFJ readers (and potentially to others) to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage or write a second book were made under different circumstances — there is no way you could have known when you made those promises what the future would bring. And if trying to keep those promises keeps you away from everything that brings you life, joy, etc., the promises aren’t worth anything, and trying to keep them would imply the books are more valuable than your life.

I will keep both of my blogs online (this one, and Mystery of Iniquity).

I may, if I feel like it, update, simplify and amend the FAQ pages.

If my conscience really compels me, I may amend a few of the existing posts by adding a caveat to Jeff Crippen’s posts where he teaches that Christians are not sinners.

My assistant, Reaching Out, might sometimes write a simple post or do a variation on re-blogging. While considering this possibility, she is not giving any undertakings. If she does publish any new posts, they will not be open to comments. From time to time, she or I may add a link to an existing post.

I will keep comments open at this blog, but I can’t promise to do so indefinitely. I don’t know what will transpire in my life. If a survivor were to pour out her / his story in a comment and I were not able to reply in the way I have done in the past, that would be a dereliction of my duty of care to hurting survivors. Therefore, if I no longer have the will or energy to respond to commenters who pour out their gut-wrenching stories, I may close the blog to comments.

I will be not be shutting down ACFJ’s Facebook page. If I were to shut it down completely, the evidence of Ps Jeff Crippen’s mistreatment of me would be no longer visible. It’s important to keep that evidence online because Sister links to it at her blog, Sister’s Blog. I will keep ACFJ’s Twitter account going for the sole purpose of publicizing any new posts that Reaching Out might publish; very few follow the ACFJ Twitter account anyway.

This blog will likely have to change its appearance and layout, because the support for WordPress’s Classic Editor will be stopping soon. This may affect the ACFJ posts, pages, and comments. My assistant, Reaching Out, will make these changes. Please pray for her. She is a godsend!

The annual amount I receive as an Amazon Associate at this blog (US$90) is less than the cost of keeping the blog online and ad-free (US$138). So it is ethically okay for this blog to keep participating in the Amazon Associates Program.

What has worn me out?

In no particular order: Pandemic fatigue. Being disregarded by so many other advocates. Being scorned and even slandered and bullied by some advocates. Being misunderstood by most church leaders who have read my book or taken a look at my blog. Being lied to by some really eminent men in Christendom who indicated they read my book when they had not. Receiving fewer and fewer comments at this blog. Being ignored, and in some cases blocked, by abuse advocates on Twitter. Feeling too old to learn new techno skills….and annoyed that technology keeps demanding I learn new skills in order to stay in the loop. Having survivors appreciate it when I point out the dynamics of abuse and how churches mishandle it, yet most of those survivors do not appreciate it when I write in-depth posts about Christian maturity and interpreting scripture. Being too tired to do all the hard work that’s required to publish another book, which would entail finding a new book designer (my last book designer gave up his business and became a truck driver!) and learning the ropes of publishing in the digital age. It’s too emotionally risky for me to do all that again only to face more disregard and misunderstanding from the church for any new book I published. Feeling like I’m speaking into the wind.

A word to my few faithful readers

I know I have a few readers who have appreciated the depth and complexity of what I have written. I thank each and every one of those readers, your feedback is one of the things that kept me going for so long. Bless you. May you continue to hold up your candles and spotlights to shine the truth on abuse in the church. Even if that only means telling yourself the truth when no one else will believe you.


Further Reading

We must also build up — by Sarah McDugal. Gives good advice about how to discern a good leader or advocate from a not-so-good leader or advocate. Note: while I think her post sets out some good principles, I not convinced that Sarah McDugal has consistently followed those principles in her own career as an advocate.

John MacArthur’s church Elder & Professor of Biblical Counseling assumes that all Elders will shepherd well

John Street is an Elder at John MacArthur’s church and a professor of biblical counseling at The Master’s University and Seminary. In his sermon The Emotionally Abusive Marriage, he sets up a rigid dichotomy:

  • Fearlessness = godliness.
  • Protecting yourself = worldliness

(time mark 1:26:50) The effect God’s grace has in our lives is that of fearlessness. … The Bible wants you to be fearless, to stand for Christ graciously, lovingly, harmoniously, sympathetically — this is where you are most like Christ. … You main goal must be to glorify God, not just get out of a miserable marriage. … Your place there is to be a missionary in that marriage.

Street says (1:28:35): “The mentality of Christian women has radically changed over the past couple of hundred years.” To prove this claim he contrasts two examples: Sarah Edwards (whose husband was the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards), and Leslie Vernick. To listen to this section of Street’s sermon, click here. First he quotes Sarah Edwards thinking about her marriage to Jonathan Edwards:

(1:29:16) If he should turn to be cruel to me and should horsewhip me every day, I would so rest in God that it would not touch my heart or diminish my happiness. I could still go in the performance of all acts of duty to my husband and my happiness remain whole and undiminished.

Street then criticises Leslie Vernick for urging wives to set boundaries when husbands abuse them and their kids. He claims that Sarah Edwards’ approach was right because it focused on glorifying God, but Leslie Vernick’s approach is wrong because it focuses on protecting self.

Note: Sarah Edwards was speaking about a situation she did not actually have to face. Johnathan Edwards did not horsewhip his wife. Those words by Sarah Edwards were part of her account of the spiritual ecstasies she experienced during the Great Awakening in New England. Here is a screen shot of the passage from Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George M Marsden, p 246.

[Note added by Reaching Out shortly after this post was Published: If you compare what John Street said at 1:29:16 in his sermon, when he quoted Sarah Edwards, you might notice a discrepancy between what John Street said and what George Marsden wrote in his book Johnathan Edwards: A Life (see Barb’s screen shot below). John Street said “be cruel” and George Marsden wrote “be most cruel”. The omission of the word “most” by John Street might or might not have been intentional, as he might have been using a different source for his Sarah Edwards’ quote.]

It hardly seems fair that John Street would contrast Sarah Edwards’ imaginings during her spiritual ecstasies with the everyday problems which an abused woman faces.

Street cherry-picked a portion of Sarah Edwards’ account. By doing so, he laid false guilt on recipients of abuse.

After setting up this rigid dichotomy that fearlessness is godliness, but protecting yourself is worldliness, Street then admits there is a biblical theology of escape.

Street has a biblical theology of escape, but it shackles the victim in a church where the leaders are bad shepherds.

Street cites some scriptures that support the theology of escape (1:31:10) but he cautions that it takes a lot of wisdom to discern when it is biblically permissible to escape. He insists that the victim must seek the counsel of the church leaders.

(1:33:10) This is why we call this the divorce dilemma. …

1) It is critical you make this decision along with the wisdom of the Elders of your church. They are there to help you, not make things more complicated….

2) Biblical divorce is only possible in two cases: unrepentant adultery and abandonment of an unbelieving spouse. Now, does emotional abandonment equal physical abandonment? That’s a big question. And we realise that is a slippery slope once you go down it. I believe that there are situations where it’s possible that a spouse has not necessarily left the physical house but has neglected their spousal responsibilities to provide and protect…  But you have to be very careful and it take a lot of discernment if the divorce trigger is pulled on those issues. Your love of Christ must be your chief priority. Your desire to glorify Him has got to be your chief priority.

Street assumes that these days no church Elders will be bad shepherds. What a ludicrous assumption! Many passages in the Bible talk about how leaders can be bad shepherds. In his sermon, Street had actually mentioned (1:25:44) a passage where Jeremiah denounced the bad leaders of Ancient Israel. Street seems to be oblivious to his own lack of logic.

It is patently clear that bad church leaders exist today. A prime example is how Grace Community Church treated Eileen Gray. Furthermore, from all reports, there are many other women who have suffered similar abuse from John MacArthur’s organisations.

Street claims that a victim of abuse must not make the decision to divorce without consulting the church Elders. That claim cannot be supported from scripture. Hebrews 13:7 tells every believer to scrutinise and evaluate the pattern of conduct of church leaders. A believer need not obey or follow a church leader whose pattern of conduct is glaringly inconsistent with the whole counsel of the Word. I explain that argument in detail in my post What is the basis for saying Christians must obey church Elders?


Further Reading and Listening

Is it a sin to feel afraid?

1 Peter 3:6 — Sarah’s children do what is right and do not give way to fear

Should wives submit to harsh husbands just like slaves submitting to harsh masters? (1 Peter 2 & 3)

What does the Bible say about divorce?

What is the purpose of marriage? Is it to display Christ’s love for the church?

Head of Counseling at John MacArthur’s School: Wife Should Endure Abuse Like Missionary Endures PersecutionThe Roys Report, April 5, 2022.

John Street Praises Wife for Staying in Marriage Where She’s ‘Horsewhipped’ Every Day — 3 min clip from John Street’s sermon The Emotionally Abusive Marriage.

Leslie Vernick – various responses that domestic abuse victims have to her work

John MacArthur’s bad shepherding and how churches respond to domestic abuse.

Saiko Woods has interviewed me about the church’s responsibility to respond to domestic abuse, and how John MacArthur and Grace Community Church (GCC) treated Eileen Gray and David Gray.

In the interview, Saiko asked me six questions. I’ve put time stamps for where each question occurs in the video.

  1. What contributing factors were involved in writing your book? (3:55)
  1. Why is abuse disregarded / minimized in most churches today? (7:55)
  1. Why do you believe abuse is grounds for divorce? Does 1 Cor 7:15 allow for divorce in cases of abuse? (14:53)
  1. Does Malachi 2:16 mean that God hates divorce? (34:50) This was an impromptu question, so off the top of my head I misremembered some details of the translation of Malachi 2:16. Go here for my accurate treatment of Malachi 2:16.
  1. What are your thoughts regarding the situation with John MacArthur, Grace Community Church and Eileen Gray? (46:40) I have put a written version of my answer to this question below the video.
  1. What counsel would you give to those who are recipients of abuse? (1:01:00)

Note: My internet connection is via satellite. There are occasional times in the interview where my response seems to appear in slow motion. If I ever do another interview, I will do it from a place that has a better internet connection.

Grace Community Church ran the playbook for how to mistreat women who are victims of domestic abuse

Grace Community Church abused Eileen Gray for refusing to reconcile with her abusive husband, David Gray.

From what has been revealed in the public domain, John MacArthur and Grace Community Church ran pretty much the entire playbook of the script for how churches can abuse women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

John MacArthur alleged that Eileen Gray was in sin because she had decided “to leave her husband, to grant no grace at all, to take the children, to go away, to forsake him.” MacArthur claimed that by doing this, Eileen was rejecting “all the instruction and counsel of the Elders, all instruction from the word of God.” (Click here to see MacArthur saying those things.)

Yes; Eileen was rejecting the counsel of the Elders at Grace Community Church. But she was not rejecting all instruction from the word of God. She was in fact obeying the word of God which tells us to have nothing to do with people who profess to be Christians but are in fact grievously abusive to others.

1 Corinthians 5:11-13 says:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (ESV)

This tells us there are six sins for which professing believers should be promptly and resolutely disciplined:

  • fornication — sexual sin
  • covetousness — greed
  • idolatry — elevating something other than God to the place that only God can occupy
  • reviling — assailing with abusive and scornful language, verbal abuse, slander
  • drunkenness
  • swindling. The Greek word for swindling can also mean extortion, snatching, taking by force, predation, rape, plundering, subsisting on live prey.

The playbook of abusive churches runs like this

When a woman appeals to church leaders to protect her and her children from her abusive husband, the leaders define it as a mutual problem. They are very reluctant to see it as abuse. They insist that both spouses are contributing to the problem. They get the wife to attend couple counselling with the husband. The wife may initially be happy to attend couple counselling because she wants the abuser to stop being abusive. The counseling is run like some kind of Matthew 18 process. The husband admits to a small number of his faults, but does not admit to his many other sins against the family. The husband gets the church leaders to collude with his agenda. If child abuse is part of the allegations, the church does not report the matter to the police; instead, they deal with it ‘in house’. The church does not discipline, let alone excommunicate, the abuser. The church supports the abuser if the abuser has to attend court. The church harasses and eventually excommunicates the victim for defying the counsel of the Elders. The church leaders have happily colluded with the abuser’s agenda because it fits with their preconceived doctrines. In the following list of preconceived doctrines, I am giving a link to where this blog discusses or refutes that doctrine.

  • God hates divorce. Link
  • Abuse is not grounds for divorce. Link
  • Wives must submit to their husbands. Link
  • Church members must always submit to the Elders of the church. The Elders’ authority trumps the conscience of the person who sits in the pews. (The Elders won’t admit this is their attitude; but in practice it is.) Link
  • Women’s testimony is to be suspected, because Eve was deceived in the garden. Link
  • Women are driven by a desire to usurp the authority of their husbands; they must be put in their place. Link and Second Link
  • Forgiveness must always entail reconciliation of the relationship. In marriage, this means living together as man and wife. Link
  • When a woman discloses that her husband is abusive, she is deemed to be committing the sin of gossip. Link

Let me read to you one victim’s statement:

I can’t take my case to the Elders and ask them to excommunicate my spouse! The very thought of it terrifies me because they are saying that the problem is mutual and they’re judging me for not being submissive or loving enough, not praying enough, not wanting to reconcile. They are siding with my abuser because he’s wrapped them round his little finger.

The counsel of the Elders of Grace Community Church ran counter to the word of God.

The Elders were colluding with the abuser’s agenda. The Elders may or may not have realised that they were colluding with the abuser’s agenda, but they were. And they haughtily, pridefully, do not accept rebuke. To this day, they still have not admitted how unjustly they treated Eileen.

Don Hennessy has coined the word “psychephile” for a man who abuses his female intimate partner. We all know that pedophiles target children for sexualized abuse. The word “psychephile” combines the root of ‘psyche’ meaning mind or spirit, and ‘phile’ which comes from the Greek for friend.  A psychephile targets the psyche of the woman he has selected as his target for a long term intimate relationship.  (More on that here.)

Hennessy uses the word “psychephile” in order to emphasise that it is by befriending the mind of the woman that the abusive man can establish, maintain and intensify his control of another adult.

Here is a quote from Don Hennessy’s book How He Gets Into Her Head

The psychephile is a man who gains control of the mind of the target woman so that he can dictate the level of intimacy and sexual activity in the relationship. (173)

The main reason why any woman becomes trapped in an abusive relationship is because a skilled offender decided to target her. …. When we look for any explanation for the continuing abuse by analysing the character or the behaviour of the sufferer we not only further abuse the woman but also begin the process of colluding with the abuser.

This collusion is the lifeblood of the skilled offender. He has drawn us over to his worldview. …. In a very subtle, covert and powerful way he has targeted us all. We have all been targeted without even knowing it. We are all subjected to the same tactics as the target woman and sadly we are all capable of colluding with the abuser. (22-23)

This is exactly what happened in John MacArthur’s church. David Gray was a skilled offender. From the fact that he is serving a long sentence for aggravated child molestation, corporal injury to a child, and child abuse, we know that at least some of his sexual preferences are to indulge in pedophilia and incest. He would have selected Eileen Gray as his wife because she is kind, loyal, dedicated and truthful. He would have befriended her mind in order to be able to satisfy his selfish and criminal sexual preferences.

Eileen sought help from the church because her husband was abusing the children. David Gray was also abusing Eileen, but she sought help mostly for the children — she put her children’s needs before her own. David Gray drew the church over to his worldview. The church blamed and shamed Eileen and the church supported David. The church colluded with the abuser. They colluded because the church leaders are themselves abusers (spiritual abusers at the very least).

The leaders of Grace Community Church have bought right into the twisted doctrines which abusers have been infiltrating into churches for centuries.


Further Reading, Listening and Viewing

EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur Covered Up Pastor’s Sexual Abuse, Witnesses Say  — Trigger WarningThe Roys Report, April 19, 2022.

Sharon Woods, Saiko’s wife, was a recipient of abuse from age 12 to 27, before she married Saiko. She talks about this in eight videos at Love Life and Marriage With The Woods (unscripted). Note, Barb has watched the series and recommends it apart from one thing: at the end of Part 7 they recommend Nouthetic or Biblical counselling. Those kinds of counselling have a bad track record when it comes to abuse, see here and here.

Is Abuse Grounds for Divorce?Part 1Part 2Part 3 — Saiko Woods’ sermon series. Saiko provides biblical reasons and support as to why divorce is permitted in cases of physical, verbal, emotional abuse, desertion and / or abandonment in marriage and why remarriage is allowed for the innocent spouse. Note: Barb Roberts has not listened to these sermons yet.

Find Saiko Woods on Facebook, Twitter, Book Chapter Verse, and SermonAudio.

Buy Not Under Bondage. Please read my book in conjunction with my article Church discipline and church permission for divorce: how my mind has changed

FAQ — the most common questions asked by victims of domestic abuse

What does the Bible teach about sexual abuse?

Saying no to sex with one’s spouse

The Levite’s Concubine — How the domestic abuser gets the religious community to collude with his agenda.

What is coercive control?

Couple counselling is not recommended for domestic abuse

Don Hennessy Digest

John MacArthur publicly shamed and excommunicated a mother for refusing to reconcile with her abusive husband

How Christians Have Created an Abuser-Friendly Social Context

Don Hennessy on systemic abuse in Ireland

This post is about social workers and the justice system taking children of protective mothers. While it focuses on Ireland, we can all learn from it because the Irish Republic is not the only country where the system is set up to favour abusers.

The Alliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice (ABC) is an advocacy group for mothers in the Republic of Ireland. ABC is advocating on behalf of mothers and children who are the victims of state abuse carried out by Tusla (Ireland’s Child Protection Agency), the Gardai (Ireland’s National Police and Security Service) and the Family Law Courts.

Some mothers who went to Tusla to protect their children from domestic violence and child sexual abuse have found themselves under scrutiny. Tusla has taken children away from abused mothers and put them in the custody of the abusers. It seems like the system is set up to enable abusers to have increased access to children. The system does not protect children, it gives security to the abusers.

Don Hennessy spoke at the press launch of ABC’s report The Triad Rules: Tusla, Family Court an Garda Siochana.

What follows is my transcription of the main things that Don Hennessy said.

[beginning of transcript]

First of all I just need to compliment you and all the other ladies who are involved in devising the report, coming up with the idea of the report. I feel in one way the report is quite amazing because it does something which is not done very often. It actually speaks to the people who are affected by what is going on. It doesn’t take an academic view. It doesn’t take a view of all the people who work in the field. It takes the view of the people who are affected.

The whole report — and it’s really sad that there are only women here listening to me — is actually about men. The problem that is generated is a problem that is generated by men. And these men are similar in style and behaviour to what we would have called the pedophile, and in their intimate relationships, and in their family dynamic they actually act worse than the pedophile. That might sound pretty outrageous, but they do.

I call them “psychephiles” because they befriend the mind of a mother and they twist the mother’s mind until she doesn’t know whether she is a mother or a partner or a wife or a slave. And she is unable to cope with the abuse and coercion and intimidation that she suffers on a daily basis. And yet, when she encounters the services, she gets the blame.

Now why does that happen? It happens for two reasons. First of all, the transfer of blame is the first step that the man does in the relationship, whereby he gets the woman to examine her own behaviour rather than his. And the second thing is that she accepts the blame and tells everybody that she is the problem.

And where does that leave us? It leaves us tidying up the mess that’s generated by men who are never met by the system, who don’t go to meetings, who don’t get called in by the social workers, who don’t get addressed by barristers or solicitors. Instead of that, these men walk the streets with their heads held high.

The reasons why they do it is that they can hold their heads high because they are never sanctioned. They live a life that is driven by entitlement and arrogance. You may well ask where does the entitlement come from? It comes from their belief that sexually they are superior to the women. That gives them the entitlement. And having reaffirmed their entitlement repeatedly, they end up being extremely arrogant.

In this arrogance they assess their rights over others. So you have Tusla [social workers], the Family Law Courts and the Gardai [police] all trying to deal with somebody who is asserting his own rights. They also are manipulated by these people. The manipulation goes on in every form of court proceedings, but it is even more damaging when it involves women and children. Whereas when these people who are entitled come before the judge for issues of false claims or fraud or anything like that, they don’t manage to manipulate the judge at all. But I’ve been in the courts — I attend the court as a McKenzie friend [click on the link for an explanation] or as an expert witness — and I have seen judges being manipulated and I’ve seen my clients being told, “Shut up! It’s all your fault!”

So if we are going to change, if there won’t be another press conference in 100 years time dealing with the same issue, what needs to happen is that we need to identify the problem. We need to take out the tumour that is causing all this angst, and causing all this difficulty. The tumour must be diagnosed, must be examined, sliced up, looked into. And saying what the hell is going on with a vast minority of the men in this country? Because what I’m talking about is rife.

So if we are to change anything, if we are to address the issue at ground level, which seems to be the only place to talk about it, there’s no point in taking it to parliament or taking it to the higher academic places, women need to get together, and we need, with the help of decent men, to protect the women and children of Ireland.

That’s the only thing that will be of any benefit to the children. Because if their mothers are not protected, the children certainly can’t be.

[end of transcript]

The woman sitting next to Don Hennessy in the video is Anna Kavanagh. Anna has recounted the experience of a mother of a newborn baby taken from the maternity hospital by Tusla social workers. [Trigger warning for the following link: this account will probably evoke painful emotions, especially for protective mothers who have been deprived of their children.] Click here to watch the account.


Further reading / viewing / listening

ABC’s Facebook pageAlliance of Birth Mothers Campaigning for Justice

Justice for Birthmothers — Song, composed and sung by John Spillane

Don Hennessy Digest — a list of all the posts about Don Hennessy at this blog

John MacArthur publicly shamed and excommunicated a mother for refusing to reconcile with her abusive husband

John MacArthur’s sins are in the news again. And he has not repented. This time he has been exposed for how he and Grace Community Church abused a woman for refusing to reconcile with her abusive husband.

Note: this post has updated by adding extra links in the Further Reading and Viewing section at the bottom of the post.

MacArthur and Grace Community Church ran the entire playbook of the script for how churches can abuse women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Trigger warning for the following two articles. I was triggered reading the first article. I had to read it in small doses with breaks in between. My heart goes out to Eileen Gray who was horrendously abused by John MacArthur and his ‘c’hurch.

EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur Shamed, Excommunicated Mother for Refusing to Take Back Child Abuser The Roys Report, March 8, 2022.

EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur’s Church Supported Convicted Child Abuser & Pedophile, Records ShowThe Roys Report, March 17 2022.

I don’t have the energy to write more in this post. I just ask my readers to read the two linked articles by Julie Roys from The Roys Report.

To remind people about the history of John MacArthur’s pattern of sins, I’ve given many links in the Further Reading section below.

It is good when lying leaders are exposed as wolves. But it is heavy to see so many church-attending people resist the truth even when the truth is exposed beyond a shadow of a doubt. How much heavier must it have been for our God who has known that all those leaders’ sins were being concealed for so long!

Come quickly Lord Jesus! Please help all true believers to endure to the end.


Further Reading and Viewing

John MacArthur’s Church Failed to Report Kidnapper & Child Molester for Two YearsThe Roys Report, April 23, 2022.

EXCLUSIVE: John MacArthur Covered Up Pastor’s Sexual Abuse, Witnesses SayThe Roys Report, April 19, 2022.

Domestic Abuse and the Church’s Responsibility to Respond — Barbara Roberts interviewed by Saiko Woods, April 5, 2022. At time mark 47:00, Barbara begins giving her thoughts about how GCC and John MacArthur treated Eileen Gray.

Head of Counseling at John MacArthur’s School: Wife Should Endure Abuse Like Missionary Endures Persecution — Sarah Einselen, The Roys Report, April 5, 2022.

A Conversation with Dennis Swanson — Dr. Dennis M. Swanson (former VP of The Master’s Seminary) joins Saiko Woods, streamed live April 2, 2022, to discuss his experience and tenure at The Master’s Seminary, his thoughts regarding John MacArthur & Grace Community Church, and other related topics. At time mark 49:00, they start talking about how GCC mistreated Eileen Gray.

MacArthur Church Elder: We’re Keeping ‘Exculpatory’ Evidence ‘Confidential’The Roys Report, March 28, 2022.

Divorcing an Abusive Spouse Is Not a Sin — Russell Moore, Christianity Today, March 24, 2022.  Click here to read why Barbara Roberts believes that Russell Moore’s arguments are flawed.

John MacArthur Pulls Out of Ligonier ConferenceThe Roys Report, March 19, 2022.

Former Master’s Seminary VP Accuses John MacArthur of PlagiarismThe Roys Report, Feb 7, 2022.

The Master’s University & Seminary Withdraws from Financial Accountability GroupThe Roys Report, Jan 31, 2022.

What’s the Truth about John MacArthur & His Ministries?The Roys Report, March 16, 2021.

Is John MacArthur’s Story about Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassination True?The Roys Report, March 5, 2021.

The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel PreacherThe Roys Report, Feb 3, 2021.

SEC Charges Son of John MacArthur & Grace to You Board Member with FraudThe Roys Report, Feb 22, 2020.

Do you see me? — A survivor, “Jane Doe”, recounts how she was abominably treated by The Master’s College (now called The Master’s University) and Grace Community Church leaders when she reported that she had been raped. Sept 18, 2017.

Do you hear me? — Another “Jane Doe” who suffered at the hands of the leadership at The Master’s University, The Master’s Seminary and Grace Community Church. Nov 26, 2017.

Billy Graham, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul are some of the “Untouchables” in the visible church — Barbara Roberts, Sept 20, 2018.

John MacArthur teaches Lordship Theology. Why is that important?  Lordship Salvation versus Easy Believism versus Reformed Theology — Barbara Roberts, Nov 27, 2017.

Focus on the Family & John MacArthur spout “God hates divorce.” And do they accept correction? — Barbara Roberts, June 6, 2016.

Messages used by psychological abusers — domestic abusers and governments

In psychological abuse, the abuser conveys messages in order to steer and control the feelings, thinking and behaviour of his target. This article compares messages used by domestic abusers with messages used by governments and corporate media. Understanding the similarities and parallels may help you make sense of the confusion that is around you. 

We will start with domestic abuse. In domestic abuse, the abuser’s target is most often his intimate partner, but he can also target his children, his in-laws and his family of origin. If you want to know how I define domestic abuse and why I usually use the male pronoun for abusers, go here.

Messages imparted by the domestic abuser to his target(s)

Trigger warning — if you are a survivor of abuse, the following messages may bring up strong emotions and memories. If you feel so uncomfortable reading these messages that you want to flick them to the back of your mind, you may be experiencing cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is stressful. But pushing it to the back of one’s mind is not the path of healing. Healing entails facing reality — exposing and rejecting the fictions which the perpetrators insist on, and believing what is true: true reality. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Very often the abuser does not convey his messages in simple sentences. Messages can be conveyed between the lines — by hints, innuendo, facial expressions, and actions that speak louder than words. However; I have put the messages below in blunt bullet points, to make it easier to objectively analyse them.

The abuser coerces his target by stating lies as if they were incontestable truths. Often his lies are barefaced false statements. The abuser insists that the problem is not in him, the problem is caused by his wife or by X.  He also insists that he knows the best way to deal with the problem.

Remember, none of the messages below really offer what they present. For example, the messages that purport to offer freedom do not in reality offer freedom to the target. All the perpetrator’s messages are designed to steer and control the feelings, thinking and behaviour of the target, for the benefit of the perpetrator. The Bible talks about this:

Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart. (Proverbs 26:24)

Let us study some messages the domestic abuser imparts to his target(s).


Personal freedom message:

  • Your behaviour in this relationship is limiting your personal freedom.
  • If you act better you will have more personal freedom.

Economic freedom message:

  • Your behaviour in this relationship is limiting your economic freedom.
  • If you act better you can regain your economic freedom. If you are more careful you can regain your economic freedom.


Self-interest message:

  • Your foolish behaviour and thinking is endangering your well-being. You are sick. You are losing your marbles!
  • I care about your health. I know what’s best for you. The best way to prevent yourself from getting more sick is by doing what I say and complying with my directions.

Community interest message:

  • You are endangering the health and well-being of your family, your loved ones.
  • The more you comply with my directions, the lower the risk that your loved ones will suffer.
  • For the family to be healthy, we must work together so that all the family follows my leadership and complies with my directions.

Economic benefit message:

  •  Problem X is wreaking havoc on our finances.
  • The only way to strengthen our financial situation is to work together, recognising that I know what is best for us financially.


The abuser makes two assertions:

  • X is a danger to the health and well-being of our family and community.
  • The best way to protect them is by doing what I say and by working together to make sure that enough people do what I say.

Then the abuser asks you to imagine how you would feel if you didn’t follow his directions.

Guilt message: Imagine the guilt you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.

Embarrassment message: Imagine the embarrassment you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.

Anger message: Imagine the anger you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.

Trust in Authority message:

  • Doing what I say is the most effective way of protecting our family and community.
  • What I say is backed by authority.  (The abuser cites whichever authority suits his purposes: it could be the Bible, God, science, medicine, the law, etc.)
  • A person who doesn’t do what I say is ignoring authority.

Bravery message:

  • Marriage can be hard. To stick with your partner through thick and thin is brave.
  • We are facing a big problem. The family is under attack. Those who choose not to do what I say are lacking in courage. They are not brave.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and are still with me, let me offer you a high five!

The man whose chosen lifestyle is to abuse his intimate female partner will surreptitiously test the woman he is targeting, to see which messages are most effective on her. The author Don Hennessy explains how the male intimate abuser does that in his book How He Gets Into Her Head.

It is fitting to end this section with a prayer.

Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. (Ps 120:2)

Now, dear reader, I invite you to look at some more messages.

Messages which our governments and corporate media have been telling us for the last two years

I encourage you to think about the similarities between the government’s messages and the domestic abuser’s messages.

I compiled this list of messages from a Yale University study Covid-19 Vaccine Messaging. The study was conducted in July 2020 — months before the vaccine became available. Why am I connecting this Yale study to the government? In the last two years we have been bombarded with messages like this from government and corporate media, so it’s logical that the government used the findings of this Yale study (and probably other studies as well) to choose which messages to bombard us with in order to persuade people to get vaccinated.

When reading this list, please do not take each bullet point as incontestable truth. I noted above that many of the domestic abuser’s statements are lies. Likewise, many of the bullet point statements in this list could be lies, or at least false assumptions. For example, the government has claimed that Covid-19 has limited our freedoms, but the government measures are what has limited our freedoms.


Personal freedom message:

  • Covid-19 is limiting people’s personal freedom.
  • By working together to get enough people vaccinated, society can preserve its personal freedom.

Economic freedom message:

  • Covid-19 is limiting people’s economic freedom.
  • By working together to get enough people vaccinated, society can preserve its economic freedom.


Self-interest message:

  • Covid-19 presents a real danger to one’s health, even if one is young and healthy.
  • Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the best way to prevent oneself from getting sick.

Community interest message:

  • Covid-19 endangers the health of loved ones.
  • The more people who get vaccinated against Covid-19, the lower the risk that one’s loved ones will get sick.
  • Society must work together so that all people get vaccinated.

Economic benefit message:

  • Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on the economy.
  • The only way to strengthen the economy is to work together to get enough people vaccinated.


The government and corporate media, including big tech social media made two assertions:

  • Covid-19 is a danger to the health of one’s family and community.
  • The best way to protect loved ones and the community is by getting vaccinated and by working together to get enough people vaccinated.

Then they asked you to imagine how you would feel if you didn’t follow their directions.

Guilt message: Imagine the guilt you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.

Embarrassment message: Imagine the embarrassment you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.

Anger message: Imagine the anger you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.

Trust in science message:

  • Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the most effective way of protecting one’s community.
  • The vaccination is backed by science.
  • A person who doesn’t get vaccinated is ignoring science and doesn’t understand how infections are spread.

Bravery message:

  • Firefighters, doctors and frontline medical workers are brave.
  • Those who choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 are not brave.

Now let us reflect on the above.

The Yale researchers tried out psychological messages to evaluate how effective each message would be in changing people’s feelings, thoughts and behaviour about the vaccine. They wanted to see which messages would effectively persuade people to:

  • intend to get vaccinated
  • trust in the vaccine
  • persuade others to get vaccinated
  • be afraid of those who do not get vaccinated
  • socially judge those who do not get vaccinated.

They also contrived messages to suggest that unvaccinated people can be judged as untrustworthy, selfish, un-likeable, or cowardly (not brave).

Results of the study

The Covid-19 Vaccine Messaging study (archived link here) was done in July 2020. They also did a follow-up study in September 2020. The results of both studies are published here: Persuasive messaging to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake intentions (archived link here). In brief, the messages which they found to be most effective in shifting people’s thinking and intentions were the messages that induced people to think about bravery, community interest, and embarrassment. Also effective, though less so, were the ‘trust in science’ and ‘personal freedom’ messages.

I’m not surprised at the results of the study. Humans are social animals and we need the approval of others. We like to think of ourselves as brave, pro-social and sensible. If others judge us as cowardly, anti-social or foolish, we cannot thrive. For people who have previously suffered abuse, the embarrassment message would be particularly powerful because embarrassment is like shame.

Did you notice how the government messages appeal to emotions, rather than reason? That is a hallmark of psychological abuse.

Similarities between the domestic abuser’s messages and government messages

I hope you can now see similarities between the mainstream messages about Covid-19 and the messages of domestic abusers. Both are emotionally and psychologically manipulative. Both test the target to see which messages have the most power to influence the target’s feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Both make appeals to ‘authority’. Both try to control perceptions by prompting¹ people to think in certain ways and thereby deterring people from accessing and considering alternate perspectives.

I shall spell out more similarities. The domestic abuser claims that if his wife improves her behavior she will have more freedom, but the abuser’s covert bullying is what limits her freedom. The government has claimed that Covid-19 has limited our freedoms, but chiefly what has limited our freedom is the government measures.

The domestic abuser claims that his wife is mentally sick, but he suppresses all interventions that would give her relief. For example, he stops her seeking alternative perspectives from others; he runs roughshod over any boundaries she sets against his abuse; he fights against separation and divorce. The government has claimed that Covid-19 poses a grave danger to health, but it censors and forbids use of treatment protocols that have been empirically proven to be very effective in treating Covid-19 illness and preventing hospitalisation and death.

The domestic abuser claims that the only solution is for everyone to follow his directions, but when the wife and kids follow his directions, their suffering increases. The government claims that vaccination is the only solution, but many people who have taken the Covid-19 vaccination have suffered serious adverse events up to and including death. And corporate media is censoring that information.

Psychological abuse is a type of deception. Jesus warned us about deception:

Take heed that no one deceives you. …many false prophets will arise, and will deceive many. And because iniquity will have the upper hand, the love of many will abate. But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. Matt 24:4, 11-13 (NMB)

Paul warned us about deception:

Let no man deceive you by any means. For the Lord comes not unless there come a departing first and that sinful man be revealed – the son of perdition, who is an adversary, and is exalted above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he shall sit as God in the temple of God and show himself as God. … For the mystery of that iniquity does he already work, which only locks until it is taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be exposed, whom the Lord will consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and will destroy with the appearance of his coming – namely him whose coming is by the working of Satan, with all lying power, signs, and wonders, and in all the deceptiveness of unrighteousness among those who are perishing. They perish because they would not receive the love of the truth, so that they might have been saved. And therefore God will send them strong delusion, so that they will believe lies; so that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4; 7-12 (NMB)

Coda: Why are people so afraid with Covid-19?

I am amplifying Meredith Miller’s answer² to the question Why are people so afraid with Covid?

On one side, because of the messaging, people fear the virus and they fear other people who they have been conditioned to believe are dangerous and diseased.

On the other side, people have several reasons to be afraid. This side is people who are not much afraid of the virus; they do not trust the government narrative, and many of them are resisting the vaccination. Firstly, these people are afraid of the coercion and tyranny that is happening. Secondly, they are afraid of the mass formation. Mass formation is the psychological term for the mass hypnosis which has occurred in approx 30% of the population who have entirely believed the government narrative. I’ve given links below to help you learn more about mass formation. Thirdly, some individuals I know who are un-jabbed have experienced really unpleasant health issues after they were in close contact with someone who had been recently jabbed. Understandably, some of these individuals are now trying to avoid being in prolonged close contact with anyone who has recently been jabbed.



¹ An example of a government prompting people to think in certain ways: The UK government’s use of Neuro-Linguistic programming.

Another example — Hitler’s Basic Principles (abstracted from Jowett & O’Donnell Propaganda and Persuasion):

  • Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions.
  • Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.
  • Give only one side of the argument.
  • Continuously criticize your opponents.
  • Pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification.

² Meredith Miller’s testimony, Day 4 of Grand Jury trial time mark 4:13:47.

Mass Formation

Why so many have been willingly hypnotised — video interview

Mattias Desmet on Our Grave Situation — video interview

Mattias Desmet explains Mass Formation Part 1 — audio interview
Mattias Desmet explains Mass Formation Part 2 — audio interview

Mattias Desmet on Mass Formation — video interview and transcript

Further reading

Meredith Miller on abuse dynamics — from the micro to the macro level

Advocacy Journalism is Propaganda — Dr Robert Malone

I Think I’m In An Abusive Relationship – With the Government! — by Ashton Warhurst, The Daily Sceptic