A Cry For Justice

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

Keepin’ the Women in Line

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

***

Ok, I guess I will just open this post with the following rather long Scripture text.  We need to read the whole thing to get the gist of what’s going on –

Esther 1:10-20 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, (11) to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. (12) But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.

(13) Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, (14) the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): (15) “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?”

(16) Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. (17) For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ (18) This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. (19) If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. (20) So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.”

I really don’t need to write much more, do I?  Here we have the king and the big men of the kingdom a little bit panicked.  Maybe pretty well scared in fact.  The thing could get way out of hand.  The Queen could be heading up some kind of suffrage movement and that can’t be let go.  Harsh repercussions are necessary or every king of his own castle is going to be facing a rebellion when he gets home from work.  “There will be contempt and wrath in plenty.”   We gotta show ’em, King!  Put the hammer down on Vashti!

I would really appreciate your comments on this.  As I study the subject of  abuse and hear the stories from victims, especially victims who are Christians and have received injustice from their pastors and churches, I am seeing more clearly that whether we like it or not, we in the conservative, Bible-believing churches have to admit that we have shown partiality to men.  After all, we are men.  That is what Scripture says, and we need to obey God’s Word – men are to be pastors and elders.  But pastors and elders also need to remember that they are men.  When a woman comes in to tell us her tale of woe, how do we see her?  I am afraid that we see her as a woman – and by that I mean, as…. I’m not sure how to describe it.  As someone who is not our equal?

And if we have this kind of attitude, are we not pretty well guaranteed to be infected to some degree by the same attitude that the King and his officials were?  I think it was Elizabeth who wrote to me recently who said that she thinks pastors and churches are not giving creedance to abuse victims because they are afraid that if they do, there will be repercussions for them and the other men in the church with their own wives.

I, Anna, believe that men can be the leaders, both in their homes and in the churches, while still treating women with respect, while still listening to them, only when they first love God as they ought to. Male headship isn’t a trophy to be waved about but, rather, a trust to be honored. It is a trust that starts and ends with honoring, obeying and glorifying Jesus. When men commit their lives to Him–through continued self-examination and repentance–then they will be enabled by Him to treat others–including women–the way He would treat them. If you have any doubts as to what that might mean, then head on over to the Gospels. You will find that Jesus was gracious in His treatment of women. Period. Men in the church would do well to emulate Him. 

What do you think?  Is it true?  Are we guilty of this?  I think we know the answer – maybe we just haven’t realized it yet?

12 Comments

  1. Bev

    The most important part of these verses is the lack of “and the Lord saw that it was good.”

  2. KayE

    My experience with conservative churches is that they generally prefer to believe a man, even after he has admitted to lying. So I guess that does mean that, as a christian woman, my status is lower than a liar.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Well, yep – what can we say? There it is. Of course, the Bible is not the problem. Nor is the problem really that a church is conservative, i.e., that we believe the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God. The problem lies with us and our own sin and our creation of unbiblical traditions that we elevate to the level of Scripture. Ok, the Bible teaches men and women’s roles in marriage. We saaaay, that we realize this does not mean women are inferior to men (well, except for some ultra-fundamentalist groups that I have heard teaching that nonsense). But logs in our own eye blind us to our own sin. I do not think that conservative pastors and church leaders actively and consciously believe that women are inferior to men (except of course for those who are abusers in sheep’s clothing). Nevertheless, lurking in our minds and hearts, there can be this very attitude.

      I have taught the women’s study group at our church now for many years. Numbers of people from other churches have told me that this is odd. They think that a women’s group needs to be led by a woman who understands the emotions and needs and minds of women. I don’t believe that. I believe that genuine Christian women are CHRISTIANS, and as such, they desire the same thing all Christians desire – truth. Meat, not milk. So I teach them like I would teach men – meaty stuff. I think that much of what parades as “women’s ministry” can often turn out to be rather childish stuff that is waaay below the competency level of Christian women. Often, I think that stuff is disseminated by women themselves who have bought into the traditions we have created. Some of the strongest, most vibrant Christians I have known are women who hunger for Christ’s Word. They want the whole package, not the trinkets. They want to be taught and treated as – equals – people who have a real mind. (I think this is where much youth ministry goes wrong too. How do you minister to youth? You give them the meat of the Word and expect them to grow up. You don’t put on a 3-ring circus and treat them like mindless children).

      Yes, women are a “weaker vessel.” Does that mean their brain is weak? Or that emotionally they are a basket case? That can’t be. In Scripture and in real life, women are often the strongest Christians we know. I think it just means that men should treat women as they would something they place high value on. That men should shoulder the bulk of the burden of things when they can and not lay it on their wife. Historically, that has been the man’s abuse of the woman – to treat her as “squaw” (is that politically correct in a negative sense) so she dies before her time.

      I was VERY proud of my elder board recently. They, in and of themselves, brought up the fact that it just wasn’t right that our church bylaw only allowed male members to vote at business meetings. (We don’t vote often in our church. Constant voting is of the devil, in my opinion). So they made an amendment and at our last annual meeting, the men unanimously voted to allow all members 18 years of age and up to vote. We aren’t regressing into some unbiblical, radical feminist, Bible-denying agenda. We just did what was right and we made our church, as a result, that much less “abuser-friendly.”

      • KayE

        I think that what you are doing is really good.So often the “women’s ministry” is just about eating cakes and socialising.That was no help to me in surviving the terrible times I had to endure alone.Truly the only thing I had to hold on to was the Word of God- and the only place I’ve been able to hear this correctly taught has been the internet.I really have been left with no where else to go.Many of the churches in my town are liberal or charismatic, and the conservative christians have tended to reject me in favour of my cruel husband.My beliefs are not liberal, but they seem to be the only churches who would care about me.Something about this isn’t right.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Kay- something isn’t right for sure. Thank you. And this is really terrible. Liberal churches, the ones that so often reject Scripture as God’s Word and even become non-churches in God’s sight, have done better it seems in confronting abuse. It seems to me that our Bible-believing churches might have largely fallen into the trap that the church of Ephesus did (Revelation 2), doing a good job of rooting out heresy but having departed from their first love. I am very sorry that you have suffered rejection, while your husband has been successful in duping your church. That is the very evil we are trying to expose and you are in no way alone in having suffered in this way.

      • annawood

        Anna here. Amen to your thoughts on women’s ministry. Socializing, while fine in it’s place, does nothing to prepare women to honor God or be prepared to “be Jesus” to those who are hurting or in need. I remember trying hard to be part of a women’s ministry, only to have the lies that had been told about me cause them to first ignore me and, when that didn’t work to run me off, push me away intentionally. {{Sigh}} All this while claiming to be “serving God”. This church was a more conservative one yet they easily believed lies told by abusers. Yet, the more liberal churches in town were busy ministering to them. Wrong. Just plain wrong.

    • ” as a christian woman, my status is lower than a liar.”
      And if so-called Christians think a women’s status is below that of a liar, how does that greatly differ from Islam:– which teaches that a Muslim’s woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a Muslim man’s testimony.
      I have heard from a strong Nigerian Christian woman who has a PhD and is one of the leaders trying to promote women’s equality in Nigerian church and Nigerian society. (She spoke in Melbourne a few years ago at the CBE conference.) She said that men in Nigeria, whether they are Muslim, Christian or have Animist beliefs, all have one BIG thing in common: they all believe that women are lower than men and must serve men.

      What a wonderful belief to bind them all together! NOT!

  3. Now Free

    I was raised in a home where the male was supreme. I will not elaborate on this matter…it’s just too painful and will sound like my parents didn’t do a good job of raising me. They did the best they could at the time, and I’m grateful.

    The sad thing is, even today, I see in my family the male children being raised about the same way. My “ex” husband didn’t care to help with our kids…didn’t ever make a conscious effort to give them positive life’s lessons that I know of, so I did this pretty well on my own and of course the Lord guided me. I could never have done this on my own. So my son is not an abusive man. But I know that if boys are spoiled, raised without proper discipline, boundaries and guidelines, they will often grow up to feel as if they are entitled to whatever they feel they want and need, to the expense of others. This in turn can lead to the development of an abusive man.

  4. Maree

    “I believe that genuine Christian women are CHRISTIANS, and as such, they desire the same thing all Christians desire – truth. Meat, not milk. So I teach them like I would teach men – meaty stuff. I think that much of what parades as “women’s ministry” can often turn out to be rather childish stuff that is waaay below the competency level of Christian women. Often, I think that stuff is disseminated by women themselves who have bought into the traditions we have created. Some of the strongest, most vibrant Christians I have known are women who hunger for Christ’s Word. They want the whole package, not the trinkets. They want to be taught and treated as – equals – people who have a real mind. ” – well said Jeff.

    I really prefer a mixed bible study group – men and women. I attend a bible study to study God’s word and don’t want to hear about housework, or listen to gossip. I’m not saying that this happens in every women’s group, but it has been my experience.

  5. Bitter But Getting Better

    Doctors tend to treat women differently from men as well. So many times women are just put on anti-depressants and sent on their way and our real issues are overlooked. I had to go to 10 doctors before I found one who would listen to me.

  6. Finding Answers

    (Airbrushing through the fog…)

    The Holy Spirit has led me to read and re-read the original post and the comments generated a number of times over the last few months.

    I agreed with the points made…wanted to add a simple smiley face or ^Like, since I had nothing of value to add.

    And in writing the tail end of that sentence, I understand why He held me back from a reply.

    Pastor Jeff wrote: “I am afraid that we see her as a woman – and by that I mean, as…. I’m not sure how to describe it. As someone who is not our equal?”

    In certain arenas, I see myself below both men and women.

    When I first started reading through the ACFJ website, I had not yet realized I have spent my entire life, both personal and professional, in abusive relationships.

    I read stories that broke my heart. I wanted to reach out, but had no words.

    I read of a depth of Biblical knowledge beyond anything heard in any ‘c’hurch I had attended.

    I read of survivors struggling in a misogynistic world, invisible no matter where they turned.

    I read of victims and their advocates, silenced by both the ‘c’hristian and secular support systems.

    I read of cruelty on so many levels, not just the visible.

    I had nothing to say. No words to encompass the unspeakable damage done under the guise of “love”.

    I had no words of comfort. No words of hope. No words of healing.

    Now the Holy spirit leads me to reply…

    I see myself as an equal to women and men in my search for God’s truth.

    I see myself as an equal to women and men in my search for God’s justice.

    I see myself as an equal to women and men in telling my story.

    I do not have words of comfort or hope.

    I only have the words to my story, the bits and pieces strewn throughout the website.

    I did not realize how accurate my screen name would prove…

    I am Finding Answers.

    • I see myself as an equal to women and men in my search for God’s truth.

      I see myself as an equal to women and men in my search for God’s justice.

      I see myself as an equal to women and men in telling my story.

      Thank you Holy Spirit for leading Finding Answers to write those words. They apply to me too.

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