Ministry to Abuse Victims is True Prison Ministry
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.
Hebrews 13:3, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
Prison and jail ministries are common among Christians. And they can be a very good thing. Prisoners have found Christ in their confinement.
But the prison ministry spoken of in Scripture is different. It isn’t really a ministry to the likes of the two thieves beside Jesus. When the Bible speaks of prison ministry, it is talking about ministry to Christians who have been locked up for their profession of Christ. And so you have –
Colossians 4:18, “I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.”
Matthew 25:36, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Hebrews 10:34, “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.”
Today, while there might be an occasional prisoner in this country who is in prison for his profession of Christ, it just isn’t common (though in other parts of the world it is very real). What is common here, however, is the prison of abuse. Abuse victims are in prison. They will tell you so. Just listen to their stories. Isolation. Shame. Economic deprivation. Their warden is their abuser. Abuse is a prison. There is no freedom. Their every movement is often monitored and controlled.
So, when we minister to abuse victims, we are fulfilling our Lord’s command that we remember those who are in prison. And we do it with a spirit of being in that prison with them. We are all one body. One part suffers, everyone suffers.
And therefore, it is well past time for churches to start real, biblical prison ministries. And here is a really great thing about this kind of jail ministry – we can actually spring the prisoner out and set them free.