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.
[June 22, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Many years ago I remember teaching an adult Sunday School class. I read an article from a leading evangelical para-church organization which melded Christianity and Judaism, leaving the reader with the impression that one was as true as the other. A fellow who was visiting our class that day raised his hand and was obviously quite agitated. He said that he knew for a fact that this organization was a sound, Christian ministry that had done much good, and that it was absolutely terrible that I was criticizing it. He ended his critique with these words — “The next thing you will be criticizing Billy Graham.”
My answer to him was — “well, I won’t be talking about Billy Graham this morning, but there certainly are some very questionable methods that he has used over the years, and I would not be the only one who has pointed these things out” (see Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ biography for example).
I have no doubt that as we name the names of well-known pastors and teachers who are teaching that abuse is not a biblical ground for divorce, we are going to be roundly criticized for being critical. But believe it or not, I do not enjoy doing this kind of thing. I have respected John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul over the years and in many ways I still do. But I cannot condone the fact that they are all teaching as God’s Word a terrible notion – that God does not permit divorce for abuse. That a man can beat his wife to a pulp, totally smash the vows he took as the terms of his marriage covenant, and yet the covenant remains binding upon her.
In addition, it is in these kinds of debates that we always seem to see the idea of “The Untouchables” rise up. We have so exalted certain men and women in the church that it is strictly prohibited to ever criticize them or take them to task. Already I can hear it – “Why, the next thing this guy is going to do is criticize ____________” (you fill in the name). Can you see the danger in this? Doesn’t God’s Word actually hold a teacher to higher standard of accountability? “Let not many of you….”.
If the Apostle Paul would have followed “The Untouchables Rule” that so many Christians seem to cling to today, then the following NEVER would have happened —
(Galatians 2:11-13 ESV) But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
The fact is, most Christians do not know nor understand the mentality and nature of abuse. They are oblivious to the nature of the sociopath and psychopath. Which is to say, they have not really met evil. Abuse victims have. And that is why Christians who have been on the receiving end of the evil of abuse go ballistic when they hear leading evangelical pastors and teachers announcing that abuse is no reason for divorce. No one is untouchable in Christ’s church. Not MacArthur, not Sproul, not Piper. If we have misrepresented them by saying that they teach that a woman beaten by her husband has no biblical grounds for divorcing him, then please send the quotations to us in a reply on this blog. But don’t use the argument – “why, how dare you criticize these men of God.” The Apostle Peter wasn’t above it. Neither are we.
UPDATE (added by Barbara Roberts, 19 Aug 2018)
Jeff Crippen wrote this in 2012, when our blog was pretty new. You will have noticed that in the post Jeff said:
I have respected John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul over the years and in many ways I still do.
For nearly six years, Jeff and I co-led this blog. Jeff resigned from this blog in 2017. He is still a full time pastor. He now blogs at Light For Dark Times [Internet Archive link] and we quite often share his posts with our readers.
I want to update you on “The Untouchables” that Jeff Crippen mentioned
R C Sproul
Not long after Jeff had resigned from this blog, R.C. Sproul died and Jeff contacted me suggesting that ACFJ publish the private letter Sproul had sent to him some years previously. So I published it under our joint byline, even though Jeff was no longer co-leading the blog with me. You can read that post here: R.C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce — but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change
I am certain that since writing this post, Jeff Crippen’s respect for MacArthur has greatly diminished, and he may perhaps have zero respect for him now.
It is public knowledge that only recently The Master’s University Seminary has been put on probation by the accrediting authority. The secular authority which accredits universities has suspended The Master’s University Seminary for several reasons, one of which is a pervasive culture of bullying and another of which is lack of financial probity.
So it looks very much like MacArthur and his empire is a nest of vipers. If anyone still has respect for MacArthur, I suggest you research this. The Wartburg Watch is one of the blogs covering the story.
I recently put this post on our FB page. The post gives a clip from this YouTube video about Billy Graham. The clip shows Billy Graham being interviewed by Robert Schuler, where they are discussing salvation.
At the FB post, Pastor Sam Powell commented on what Billy Graham said in that clip:
It’s the Gospel that is at stake. If Rev. Graham’s statement is correct, then salvation is a reward for sincerity, or good intentions. If that is the case, then no one is saved, for the justice of God requires perfection and is never fooled by “good intentions”.
Many of you on this site have been abused by church leaders who refused to discipline your abusers because they “repented” and had “really good intentions”. Was that just?
Is not God always just? Does God allow wickedness to go unpunished? How much wickedness is OK and how much is too much?
Instead of relying on our sentimentality, we hear God’s word. The soul that sins shall die.
The only hope of salvation is that God provided the perfect sacrifice, without blemish and without spot. Our sins were laid on Him, and His righteousness was given freely to our account, as if we never had any sin – if only we accept it with a believing heart.
This is the only truth that sets us free. Otherwise we are held in bondage by those who promise us better ways, easier ways, just drop a few coins in and walk down the aisle one more time….
How many times is enough? Does God really save those with good intentions? I would say yes – but then who has those? 100 percent of the time, from birth until death, without once ever failing and thinking evil in his heart….Anyone qualify? I guess you need to try again, and again, and again….
[Billy] Graham’s way leads only to bondage and death.
Come to Christ and live!
And, yes, this was the same Gospel proclaimed and believed by the saints of the OT. They didn’t have the details, but they had the promise of God – that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. They had the sacrifices and the promise that God Himself would provide a lamb.
And Proverbs 8 is a glimpse of the Trinity that would be more fully revealed in the New [Testament]. I’m preaching on that tomorrow, if you would like to catch it.
Barb, sorry for hijacking your post. I so want everyone to be free of the false gospel of death that has held us in bondage for far too long, Either Jesus paid it all, or He did not. If He did, then Rev. Graham was wrong in what he said to Schuler.
BTW, Robert Schuler was a rank heretic. How’s that for stirring the pot?
Why would a satanist want to pose as a Christian evangelist?
A satanist might pose as a Christian evangelist because the satanist wanted the visible church to be dominated by people who think they’re following Jesus but they’re not actually born again / regenerated.
The more weeds there are among the wheat, the more the visible church is an abuser-friendly environment.
The false form of salvation is epidemic.
I thought I was saved for years & was not.
God made me know something was off.
I was humbled in awe when He revealed it to me.
God is exposing cheap grace & pagan ways.
(—said by an anonymous follower of A Cry For Justice)
[June 22, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to June 22, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to June 22, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to June 22, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (June 22, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
Further reading (added at the same time as the update)
Why was Billy Graham Popular with Presidents, Popes, and Other World Leaders? [Internet Archive link] — By Ps Jeff Crippen.
Every Appearance of Evil, and the Billy Graham Rule — By Ps Sam Powell.
R. C. Sproul (senior)
R.C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce — but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change — By Ps Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts.
R.C. Sproul on Biblical Grounds for Divorce — Another Aaaaargh! — By Ps Jeff Crippen.
Grace Community Church Rejected Elder’s Calls to ‘Do Justice’ in Abuse Case — Christianity Today, February 9, 2023.
Former Elder at John MacArthur’s Church Confronts ‘Awful Patterns’ of Endangering Abuse Victims — The Roys Report, February 9, 2023.
John MacArthur’s Instruction to Abuse Victims — Aaaaargh!!! — By Ps Jeff Crippen.
More on Abuse from John MacArthur — Double Aaaargh! — By Ps Jeff Crippen.
Focus on the Family & John MacArthur spout “God hates divorce.” And do they accept correction? — By Barbara Roberts.
Does John MacArthur Teach that Suffering Abuse is Meritorious Before God? — By Ps Jeff Crippen.
Do you see me? — A survivor “Jane Doe” recounts how she was abominably treated by The Master’s College and Grace Community Church leaders when she reported that she had been raped. (Those institutions are part of John MacArthur’s empire.)
Do you hear me? — Another “Jane Doe” who has suffered at the hands of the leadership at The Master’s University, Seminary and Grace Community Church.
10 thoughts on “The Untouchables Among Evangelicals”
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This is so powerful! I have thought this same thing over the years and I’d like to add that the more closely I look at these preachers who profess abuse for women, there are many other areas where they err Biblically as well. Like Satan who always lies even when he APPEARS to be telling the truth, these men seem to have the truth but are actually liars.
God worked in your life so that you would be a voice for us. Like you’ve said, this wasn’t your choice of ministry, but I can see how God wouldn’t relent. Now that you see the truth Biblically and in your life and the lives of the abuse victims you speak for, it’s even more obvious that the evil one is behind it all.
Narrow gate indeed!
This is no joke!
Could you please help me understand? What about these churchy people who throw out pieces of verses like “Do not touch the Lord’s anointed”, and God condemning Aaron and Miriam for criticizing Moses? These people idolize the abusive, condemning, blind, arrogant church leaders that crash down on the heads of the wounded victims already abused. What do you say to such people — those who love and venerate these “holy men”?
I’ve pushed back before, saying these leaders need to be called out for what they’re saying. Their secrets, lies, and corruption need exposing. And I’m silenced with, “Let the Lord will deal with them if they are doing wrong in His service. Wait on the Lord. Meanwhile, DO NOT TOUCH the Lord’s anointed!”
A lot of the verses I see say that the Lord is angry with such leaders, He said that He would deal with them in Israel in the Old Testament. But I don’t see verses that say that we, the laity, can tell people that a pastor is lying, or passages which say that we can condemn the actions of ones in authority over us. (We have left that church, but I still receive verses and warnings and mentions of “concern” about us “straying” or “bringing God’s judgment down upon ourselves” for telling what a pastor said to us, said about us to others, and now our wanting nothing to do with that pastor.)
Hi, MoodyMom, you said:
Well, there are no verses saying exactly that, but there are stories in the Bible where godly ‘lay-people’ criticised corrupt leaders. David was certainly anointed by God to be King of Israel, and Nathan rebuked King David when David had committed adultery. Nathan was simply a wise man who was used by God to bring rebuke to David. The Bible doesn’t say he was a Levite or a priest, so he was not of the ‘clergy class’. He was a trusted advisor of David — definitely an inferior to David in the court. And many of the Old Testament prophets were ‘lowly’ men, shepherds, etc., who rebuked the religious leaders of Israel for failing to abide by God’s Word and leading the people astray.
A big part of the problem is the current heavy emphasis on a clergy class as distinct from a lay class. In Charismatic circles, the term “God’s anointed” is used for the clergy class: the pastor and Elders, the denominational hierarchy, and so-called ‘modern-day prophets and apostles’. This is very wrong. The New Testament says that Christian leaders are to serve the sheep without lording it over them. When leaders become corrupt or start teaching wrong doctrine, we may treat them accordingly: we may expose their wrongdoing and refuse to participate with them in the works of darkness:
And we may admonish them when their actions of straying from the precepts of true doctrine are publicly evident, like Paul admonished Peter in Galatians 2:11.
One caveat: Paul the elder leader admonished Timothy the younger pastor:
This is to prevent a leader being unfairly brought down by the accusation of only one person. As we know, there can be a power-mongering Diotrephes in a congregation who likes to ruin the reputation of godly leaders in order gain more influence over the flock himself or herself. Paul probably gave this divinely-inspired advice to Timothy to limit the power of Diotrephes-types and naive or immature Christians. Otherwise it would be all to easy for such people to unseat godly leaders by making accusations against the leader that are false or are not biblically based.
Re the slap-down you get from those ‘C’hristians —
The term ‘the Lord’s Anointed’ was only used in the OLD Testament for kings and prophets. The anointing was done with oil. “The Lord’s anointed” is not a New Testament term for any church leader other than the Lord Jesus Christ! The Charismatic church pretends we can apply “do not touch the Lord’s anointed” to modern day leaders in the church, but we can’t. The Charismatic leaders have invented that idea in their pride, in order to keep the sheep under and maintain their lord-it-over position in the flock. They noticed the saying “Do not touch the Lord’s anointed” in the Old Testament and thought “Ah, that’s a great saying for us to use to squash the people in our church who are asking annoying questions or pointing out where we are straying from biblical precepts.” And because all the Charismatic leaders are copying each other, the saying has been passed from church to church and leader to leader, so that it has become an accepted TRUISM. But it’s just another of their deceiving tactics for tyrannizing the flock.
Also, in regards to their saying —
The fact is, sometimes a person’s sins are very evident and sometimes that sinner reaps painful consequences for him or herself (judgement) while still in this body. King David is an example: his extended family was very dysfunctional, a real mess, ever after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Such people may reap MORE judgement later, on the Day of Judgement, but they certainly get a measure of judgement in this life. Romans 13 and the secular courts bringing punishment on evildoers, is one place where judgement-in-this-life is alluded to in Scripture. And all the imprecatory psalms where the psalmist asks that the wicked be brought to shame. Social shame, public humiliation, is a form of judgement that some sinners experience now, in this life.
That verse does not imply that all we can do is wait on the Lord to show the sins up later and bring judgement on them. If the sins are evident now, we can call the sinner to account! Hold the sinner accountable — especially if it is a leader leading the sheep astray!
Is there anything at all in the Bible to say you can’t say the truth, and confront lying?
The implication is one does not apply critical thinking to a specific group of people or their writing / teaching.
The Holy Spirit led — and continues to lead — me to false teachings I may not realize I have learned. Perhaps the searching stems from the perennial “Why?” with which I was born – and not just applying to the Christian / “C”hristian arena.
While I have not heard “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.” applied outside the Old Testament, I have heard other phrases misused and twisted.
Unlearning false teachings can be a painful process, but living with the false teachings is akin to living with false idols.
In the end, I become stronger.
Adding on to my own comment….
In my earlier comment, I wrote:
For many individuals (including me), pain and / or various physical health issues can be consequences of various kinds of trauma.
I read (several times) an adult Bible when I was a five year old child. I’m high-functioning Asperger’s and think in pictures rather than words. As a result, I (unknowingly) misunderstood some of what I read.
As a regenerate Christian, the pain and / or various health issues in my life are a result of various kinds of trauma, NOT the consequences of sin.
I no longer misunderstand the MANY false teachings associated with ^That. 🙂
Hi, Finding Answers. 🙂
Having seen you comment on this blog for a long time, I fully agree that the pain and various health issues in your life are a result of various kinds of trauma.
I would like to offer you wording that may be helpful. I hope my wording may help many victims of abuse. 🙂 Here is my suggested wording:
As a regenerate Christian, the pain and / or various health issues in my life are a result of various kinds of trauma done to me — the sinful wicked things other people did to me. The pain and / or various health issues in my life are NOT the result or consequences of my sin; they are the result or consequence of the abuse that was inflicted on me.
Barb commented (15TH SEPTEMBER 2019 – 3:25 AM):
^That works for me. 🙂