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.
[November 29, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Does that headline sound like a National Enquirer exaggeration? I wish it were. I want to give you a summary here of “loving Christian counsel” that was recently given to a victim of 25 years of abuse. Intense, evil, destructive abuse directed against her and against her children. It is ongoing. She has decided to separate. And this is what her Christian “friends” are telling her. I will only summarize the points so as, alas, to protect the guilty (but I’m not sure why):
1) John MacArthur and other prominent pastors / teachers say that God only allows divorce for adultery. (Actually, this individual misrepresents MacArthur, as MacArthur also allows divorce for literal desertion.) But, no divorce for abuse of any kind.
2) If you divorce your husband, it will have terrible consequences on your children.
3) Your children are indeed being hurt now, but this is part of the suffering that Jesus has called you to.
4) Our purpose as Christians is to suffer, to be crushed, to be brought to nothing.
5) God has put you (the victim) in this place of abuse so that you can suffer for Him. It is your “crown” to endure.
6) If you drop your cross at Christ’s feet and tell Him it is too hard, you will end in Hell.
7) You have a beautiful family and you need to stay there and preserve it.
Now, I need the help of all of our readers here. I take blood pressure medication and if I start responding to this wicked stuff, I’m going to blow a cork. I know, that’s not very spiritual sounding — but then, I’m just some guy who perverts Scripture so that people can divorce on a whim. I haven’t figured out yet what my critics think I would get out of that. Take note: we haven’t started taking PayPal offerings here yet.
No, I will leave the commenting to all of you. Maybe you could address, in your comments, just how this kind of terrible spiritual abuse could actually lead a suffering victim to kill herself. Is this person’s God the God of the Bible? Tell me what you think.
[November 29, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to November 29, 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 November 29, 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 November 29, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (November 29, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
Domestic Violence in the Church and Redemptive Suffering in 1 Peter — A related article by Steven Tracy.
18 thoughts on “If A Victim Divorces Her Abuser, She is Going to Hell”
If this is the God of the Bible, then why would I even want to be a part of it. People do not have enough to do, if they would spend their time loving people like Christ wanted us to do, they would not have time to conjure up this drivel. It is disgusting, that a Christian would preach this kind of stuff. Our first job and foremost in God’s eye is to protect our children. There has to be at least one sane adult in a relationship to make sure this happens. If abuse happens, you have to, if you are following God’s plan, get the children out of harms way.
Diana – exactly! Fortunately, this is not the God of the Bible. It is a false god, more akin to Baal. Any person who sits around, as you say, and thinks up these kinds of oppressive, cruel burdens, has to question if they know Christ at all. I honestly cannot fathom how a Christian could say such things. But, honestly — this actually was taken from a real letter sent to a real Christian woman who has suffered terrible abuse for decades. It is insanity.
Folks who call evil good and good evil will answer to the Lord if they sway the innocent and harm comes as a result. This man should’ve taken it to prayer if he was that concerned. It’s not like this woman hasn’t already heard the chorus of MacArthur and the others at least a thousand times.
Does he just feel the need to grind those who are already oppressed into the mud a little further?
Ticking the box so I can see the fur fly….
I do think that there are people mixed into the Christian church who really do enjoy loading oppressive burdens upon people, but like the Pharisees – there is no way in the world THEY would ever put up with this kind of abuse themselves for a second if they were on the receiving end. That is what Christ meant when He said that the Pharisees load on the burdens but aren’t willing to lift one finger themselves to help anyone carry them. A new Pharisaism has infected the conservative church and love, grace, and mercy have gone out the window. Oddly, it is the churches who minimize or eliminate the need for genuine faith and repentance who end up oppressing the downtrodden.
We are to suffer our crowns and crosses for the truth of Christ; that He died, that He lives; that He saves; that He loves! I do not glorify God by being crushed for the glory and pride of a man who would like me to think he is my god (my ex). I was spoon-fed everyone of these lies and I wanted to die. I prayed I would. A loving non-believer took me aside (funny who God has to use to get our attention). She told me that the God I had showed her would never expect me to suffer needlessly, dangerously like this. And that bit about the beautiful family….nothing beautiful about teaching your daughter it is okay to be abused, and knowing she probably will be, if you stay. And nothing beautiful about watching your five year old son treat women like his father does. It is a terrible consequence to stay.
Jenn – you really nailed it! Good job. I am so sorry that you had to endure lies like this and yes, I am not at all surprised that they made you want to die. People who proclaim this kind of cruel nonsense are actually killing victims. What a wonderful mercy from Christ that He sent that lady to you to help you. It seems to me that Christians can get so caught up in the minute details of Scripture that common sense goes right out the window.
Yes, I noticed that too? A beautiful family? Maybe some beautiful children and a mother who loves them (or father), but a family? No way. It is a prison.
Did anybody else notice 2) and 3) contradict each other?
I suppose I could be wrong, but I’m not so sure Jesus is the right name in 3).
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just isn’t the same….
This one is a bit stickier. Suffering is indeed part of God’s purpose for us. However, not all suffering is redemptive just because it’s suffering. By the logic of 4) and 5), we would never go to the doctor nor would there be any command to ease the suffering of the brethren, as in bearing one another’s burdens or in taking the collection from the Corinthian Christians to help the brethren in Jerusalem, mercy would be pointless, there would be no grounds for comfort, and Paul was wrong to use his Roman citizenship to avoid punishment from the Romans. It is probably not what these people meant, but this comes dangerously close to pagan fatalism such as is seen in the Hindu caste system and Islamic indifference to suffering, especially of women and children — Inshallah.
This is heresy. There is only one cross that saves and that is Christ’s. The Christian is called to bear a cross in this life, but we are not to look to our own cross-bearing for our salvation.
Barnabasintraining – this is just an excellent, biblical response and we thank you for it, and for arguing so well from Scripture. The truth of Christ sets us free, while the traditions of men enslave. Just when I think I have heard the most cruel or bizarre “counsel” given to abuse victims, along comes another one that tops it. So far, this guy’s letter tops them all for perversion of Scripture and cruelty.
I found these comments by Steven Tracy in an article [Internet Archive link]1 that Barbara Roberts referred us to —
1[November 29, 2022: We added the link to a copy of Steven Tracy’s article 1 Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective to Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that article. Scroll down to page 22 to read the comment Jeff quoted. Editors.]
Well stated, Barnabasintraining!
Did the person who wrote that diabolical stuff get his diploma of theology off the back of a cereal packet? It is Works Righteousness Theology – exactly what the Reformation opposed.
It’s so much easier to tick off the victim than tick the abuser off. Victims are polite, easy to give advice to, easy to rebuke. Abusers are the slippery opposite.
The person who wrote that guilting advice needs to be told “Get behind me Satan”. And if they take umbrage, let them quietly and temperately sit down and read all the well-argued stuff that demonstrates that abuse IS grounds for divorce (like Not Under Bondage, hey?) before they spit any more chips.
I think the guy blogs and expounds. Very doubtful he is going to listen to anyone. But at least we can use his terribly oppressive “counsel” to expose what victims are being told under the guise of Christianity. Hopefully our exposure of this wickedness will help set victims free.
Who has known the mind of God or who has been His counselor? (Romans 11:34, [Paraphrase]). I know that there is no excuse for a lot of these divorces. People just grow tired of being married or aren’t “happy enough” in their current marriage. That [it] is wrong to divorce then. But when there is physical or mental or emotional abuse going on, then tell me how that marriage glorifies God? What vow covers abuse?
An abusive marriage glorifies God only in that it provides opportunity for God to demonstrate His heart of redemption, redeeming the innocent from a covenant of abusive bondage and delivering them through the divorce.
No. She is leaving it.
Amen to that, Marie. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so true.
Well stated, Marie! Very well stated!