A Cry For Justice

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

When Our Champions Become Our Idols

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.


[February 23, 2023: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

(1 Samuel 17:47-51  ESV)  (47) and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”  (48) When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.  (49) And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.  (50) So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.  (51) Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

David’s notoriety in Israel began that day he defeated the giant. Could anyone have set up a more dramatic, virtually “Hollywood” script? Insurmountable odds. A young shepherd boy with a, what? Slingshot? All eyes of both sides looking on. And the giant goes down. Incredible. David became a champion in Israel. Of him they would one day be singing, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands!”

But champions can become idols. We know they have been idolized by us when they can do wrong, and still be followed. It happened to David —

(2 Samuel 11:2-7  ESV)  (2) It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.  (3) And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”  (4) So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house.  (5) And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”  (6) So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David.  (7) When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going.

The champion David had become an adulterer and a murderer. Did he really think he could get away with it? To what degree had the worship of his people played into all of this?

The Bible-believing, conservative Christian church is guilty of worshiping champions. I am guilty of it, and so are you. Men and women have been raised up by the Lord and used in some very good ways among us. They have been zealous for truth in the face of its denial. They have been courageous. We have been thankful for them. We have listened to their sermons. We have gone to their seminars. We have purchased their books and been blessed.

And we have worshiped them.

Our champions have become our idols, and as fallible men they are destined to err. When they do, those who worship them are loathe to acknowledge it. We make excuses for them. Their image falls over and the hands bust off. We super glue them back on and set them back upright. We cover for them. When the world points out their errors, we still stand with our champions. “What cracks?” we ask in our denial.

And when they fall, we fall with them. The name of Christ is slurred.

We must repent of this celebrity worship.  We desperately need to heed the angel’s words to Joshua (this angel was actually probably the pre-incarnate Christ) –

(Joshua 5:13-15  ESV)  (13) When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”  (14) And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”  (15) And the commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Whose side is the Lord on? Is He a Democrat or a Republican, a Baptist or a Presbyterian? Those are the wrong questions to ask. The Almighty need not take sides, and He will not be subject to our interrogation. The question is, are we on HIS side? It is well past time for us all to take off our sandals, bow down, repent of our man-worship, and realize we stand in the presence of the Holy One.

Lord, tell us what to do. Perhaps some of Your people are just starting to listen to You.

[February 23, 2023: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to February 23, 2023 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 February 23, 2023 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 February 23, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (February 23, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. That story of Joshua and the commander of the Lord’s army is one of my favorites. Love your take on it. 🙂

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks, Ida Mae. It really is great. We need to be on His side, not insist He be on ours.

  2. Yes. God is not a respecter of persons — He isn’t impressed by a person’s fame.

    He is only wanting those with soft hearts ready and wiling to follow Him, and not subtly twist His word or ignore parts of it at the expense of other parts.

  3. anonymous

    The story is told of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius that he hired a man to follow him and when Marcus received the accolades of his people this man would remind him, “You are just a man”. Unfortunately when our champions walk by we say to them, “You Da Man”.

    • Jeff Crippen

      And when word gets around among the unbelieving world that our champions / idols are telling these horrid things to abuse victims, to abusers, and to the church in general, is it any wonder that we cannot present the Gospel to them?

      • Here’s a direct example of how and why many feminists think negatively about Christianity. I’ve copied this comment from my own blog post John MacArthur Discounts the Seriousness of Abuse [Internet Archive link] [Scroll part way down the linked page to read Louise Ormond-Plummer’s comment. Editors.]

        The comment is written by Louise Ormond-Plummer who is a feminist and not a Christian. Louise is a co-author of the book Real Rape Real Pain, Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners. Here is Louise’s comment:

        Good but frankly enraging post, lovely Barb….

        Several parts of it rankled with me, but most particularly words to the effect that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle – that, to me suggests that MacArthur thinks wives need to put up with more and worse abuse, even where that runs to incest against their children.

        When he says that you need to stay with a cantankerous or hostile husband, this is akin to saying that emotional / verbal abuse need to be tolerated interminably too. He certainly has no understanding whatsoever of the damage that abuse, including these forms, does.

        It is just so typical of men of MacArthur’s ilk to support notions that women exaggerate abuse, because he believes it should be a man’s world. He sounds very hostile and extremely patronizing, and I fear for any woman under his pastoral guidance.

        Wrong, wrong wrong on so many levels. I am happy to depths of my soul that you exist to counter this for Christian women living with abuse, Barb….

        PS. Also, what if a woman cannot leave the home? This man reminds me of why I am a feminist.

        I think this speaks for itself.

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