When Anger is Godly

The following is a quote from Lundy Bancroft’s lecture on YouTube, the text of which has been transcribed and posted on Barbara Roberts’ [old] Not Under Bondage blog [Internet Archive link]. Barbara titled the post Lundy Bancroft says the right outlook is outrage.

As we write about abuse, as we speak about it and give counsel to abuse victims, the subject and question of ANGER frequently comes up. It arises in various ways:

1) Victims who are Christians are conflicted because they are angry, yet they think that it is a sin to be angry.

2) We feel anger when we hear victims tell us how they are being treated with terrible injustice by their churches.

3) Critics cry “foul!” when we expose and critique some beloved notable Christian leader, pastor, author, theologian’s erroneous and damaging teachings that add immense suffering to abuse victims and enable abusers. “How unkind, how unloving to be so critical of a brother in Christ! You should be ashamed!” So they are angry with us because we are angry. (Increasingly, I am convinced that these critics are motivated by a blind loyalty to their icons and would be upset with anyone who would question their chosen one for anything.)

But there is a time for anger:

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Anger in its essence is not sinful. That is obvious because God is angry. God incarnate was angry — intensely so. In fact, to not be angry is a sin sometimes:

(Matthew 23:13-25)
(13) “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.  (14) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.  (15) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

(16) “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’  (17) You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?  (18) And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’  (19) You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  (20) So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.  (21) And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it.  (22) And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

(23) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (24) You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

(25) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Bancroft refers to “dispassionate, academic” ways of writing and speaking about things. He says that those attitudes have their place, but that when it comes to the atrocious injustice of abuse, we need to be angry. He is right. Be angry and don’t sin. But be angry. “Woe to you….abusers! Woe to you false shepherds who protect the abuser!” Woe to anyone who stands in front of their congregation and authoritatively (implying his authority is from God) declares things that oppress and enslave the innocent. Woe to you who heap huge loads of guilt upon the weak! Woe to you who demand that a woman submit to her abuser and to you as her priest.

For such anger, we will be labeled “un-scholarly” and “radical” and “slanderous.” But what kinds of labels were laid on Jesus, do you suppose, when He publicly declared the iconic religious leaders and teachers of His day to be objects of God’s wrath? If God Himself is moved to wrath when the innocent are oppressed, so will His children who have become partakers of His nature.

When our critics say “why are you so angry at all of this?”, we ask them “why aren’t you?”

[June 27, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to June 27, 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 27, 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 27, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (June 27, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


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.

5 thoughts on “When Anger is Godly”

  1. Jeff, you are exactly right on this. Something very evil is at work when professing Christians refuse to protect, comfort, help and advocate for the victims of abuse. It is amazing how many believers seem to be aware of verses on forgiveness ( although they appear to be ignorant about the content) and yet they miss all of the verses that talk about justice and standing up for the weak and afflicted. Speaking Truth in Love [Internet Archive link]


    1. Dale- You touch directly upon central issues here. Distortion of biblical forgiveness and willful disregarding of justice for the weak. Ignorance can only excuse a person in these errors so far. Then we must ask, just how much of this is motivated by the fact that most people simply do not want to pay the price that is required to stand with the oppressed against the wicked.

      1. Yes Jeff, that hits the nail on the head. I would say that there are four primary reasons that professing Christians don’t want to deal with this issue. Ignorance(a lack of knowledge about the truth); Cronyism(They are protecting themselves or their buddies from the consequences of their sin); Selfishness(more concerned about their own comfort than for the needs of the afflicted); Fear(a genuine terror of what will happen). I am interested in talking with you more about your work and where you think God is leading you.

        In Christ,


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