A Cry For Justice

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

John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul: A Good Word

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.


As many of you know, we have written articles on this blog site addressing the fact that both R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur do not admit abuse as a biblical reason for divorce.  We strongly disagree with them and others on this point (John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Voddie Baucham, and others).  We conclude that in most of these cases, the men are simply uninformed as to the true nature and mentality and tactics of the abuser.

This last Friday and Saturday myself and numbers of others from our church traveled up to Seattle to attend the Ligonier Ministries Pacific Northwest Conference where Sproul and MacArthur were featured speakers, along with Pastor Steve Lawson from Mobile, Alabama.  As I listened to Dr. Sproul and Pastor MacArthur, I greatly appreciated their teaching.  They were speaking about standing firm for the gospel in an age when so many professing Christians and theologians and churches are forsaking the truth of Christ.  Sproul reaffirmed the validity of the Reformation of the 16th century and told us that Rome has never changed its position on justification to this day.  He called us to stand firm for the deity of Christ, as he reviewed for us the trinitarian battles that have taken place down through church history.  John MacArthur emphasized the importance of not yielding to the notion that people need not actually hear of Jesus Christ to be saved.

This was a very good and profitable conference.  And I wanted to tell you all about it on this blog because I think that we all need to beware of an error that can be a common pitfall to people who have had bad experiences with the church.  The error, as I see it, is that of totally rejecting everything a Christian pastor or theologian teaches simply because we believe that they are in error on another particular point.  Now, of course, if that point is an integral part of the gospel and they are rejecting it, then we must reject them entirely.  But I have to say that anyone who totally discards every single book or DVD series or podcast ministry of teachers like Sproul and MacArthur is going to be short-changing themselves greatly.

I suppose that a significant part of this issue has to do with idolatry.  What I mean is this:  Christians are given to idolizing Christian leaders and turning them into celebrities.  When we do this, we naively accept everything they say without searching the Scriptures to see if it is so.  And this error has a flip side to it as well.  Namely, when one of these idols is found to be less than perfect — such as not “getting it” when it comes to abuse — we cast them away in their entirety, just as we wrongly embraced them in their entirety in the first place. Do you see what I mean?

As a victim of abuse, you may well not choose to attend the churches that Sproul or MacArthur pastor.  You would not go to them for counseling — at least on this issue for sure.  We come right out and say to them “you are wrong on this matter of abuse.”  But I can tell you, as I have found to be consistently true over the years, that if you want to know the doctrine of salvation, or the doctrine of the Person and nature of God, or to hear about the holiness of God and many other vital biblical truths, then I tell you — go listen to R.C. Sproul.  And if you want to find out about the errors of the carnal Christian teaching that says a person can be a Christian yet never repent nor obey Christ as Lord, then get your hands on John MacArthur’s books such as The Gospel According to Jesus, or Faith Works, or Ashamed of the Gospel, and others.  You won’t find anyone doing a better job than him in opposing that false doctrine.

Let’s not idolize anyone.  No good ever comes from turning men into gods.  It leads us to embrace error, and it can also lead us into the rejection of truth.

Further Reading

When a church becomes a man’s world it has strayed from Christ’s model, and from His blessing [Internet Archive link] – by Jeff Crippen, Dec 22, 2017

R. C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce — but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change.

R.C. Sproul on Biblical Grounds for Divorce – by Jeff Crippen, March 2, 2012

Keeping the Spotlight on Prominent Teachers Who Forbid Divorce for Abuse – by Jeff Crippen, March 30, 2012

What about divorce? – our FAQ page which has links to our most helpful posts about divorce


  1. 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.


    Thanks Jeff.
    I put my hand up to having been a little guilty of this. Years ago, when I first found how bad John MacArthur’s teaching on divorce was, for victims of domestic abuse, I then had difficulty respecting him on anything else. In my case, I don’t think I had decided to reject all his work out of hand, because he was wrong on that one point. And I continue to read his work occasionally. My difficulty was more to do with how hurt I personally felt by his divorce teaching. MacArthur’s teaching rejects someone like me at a pretty core level: my personal life, my marriage status and my choices therein.

    I find it hard to exercise the willingness to be open to a teacher in other areas of his teaching, when one portion of his teaching has so hurt or ignored me. Call me immature if you like, but pain is pain, and it’s not easy to overcome at the snap of one’s fingers.

    In my case, the pain I feel when I think about MacArthur is not just the pain of how his divorce doctrine judges me personally. It’s also the pain I feel professionally because he has seemingly never bothered to seriously consider my book. And believe me, I did email his ministry more than once, with no answer except the robot-form answer. But these big shot teachers have an army of minders who keep them shielded from little fish like me, especially when the argument the little fish is raising might rock their boats a bit. (And especially when the little fish is female?)

    But I’m glad you’ve written this post, Jeff. I appreciate being reminded to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. And btw, I admire Sproul a lot, and have found him theologically deeper than MacArthur.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, one reason I wrote this is that I could see the same tendencies in myself and it was good for me to be at that conference and hear these men in person once again. That said, I don’t take their errors regarding abuse lightly at all. I have been very disappointed these past couple of years to find out how they teach in this subject. And yes, it is frustrating that it is so difficult to get through to them, all the while they are influencing so many, many people. Thanks Barbara.

    • Donna

      Barbara, I think the reason you and I are so offended / hurt by MacArthur is because in a sense, his dismissal of your / our concerns makes him in effect, spiritually abusive to you / us, don’t you agree? I mean, think of it this way: to discount abuse as a valid phenomenon ripping a woman’s heart and soul away from the One-Flesh-intention of our Creator, to discount that, is in itself, abusive. He is abusing us who are members of the church by discounting our concerns; dismissing, minimizing, invalidating, aren’t they all tactics that our abusing husbands use? My abusive husband can be spiritually sound as far as the Gospel is concerned, but that doesn’t make it impossible for him to abuse me. MacArthur seems to me to be in the category of the subject of the book, Churches that Abuse, in his definition of what “qualifies” for divorce and what does not. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. Anonymous

    I think that it is hard for me to trust the teachings of one, who has false teaching in one area. It makes me be all the more “cautious” in reading anything by them, and that takes a lot of effort and concentration on my part, which is not relaxing for me, and I want to enjoy my reading time. My opinion has been biased and it reads through everything. Having said that, my shelves are lined with books by MacArthur and Sproul. There is also a shelf lined with books from someone I used to read, who is not involved in Federal Vision. I do not intend to discard anything from MacArthur and Sproul, because I believe the Lord will cause them to come around, with a little more educating, should they decide to really delve into the topic of marriage and divorce. Their focus is Gospel, and they have this area wrong. The other author, on the other hand, has gone to the Federal Vision wolves and it makes me wonder how much of that is intermingled in everything else he teaches. Because I believe the doctrines of Federal Vision, to be a return to Rome in many ways, my thinking is that he has somehow lost the true Gospel’s pure teaching. So, at least some of his books, will have to go.

    I am sorry, Barbara, that this has happened to you. If they would all just take the time to read your book, perhaps the Lord would use it to convert them to the truth. Maybe you could send it to them and just ask them to read it and tell you what areas they disagree with you on. We really need someone from their camp, to gain these Spiritual insights. Perhaps you have already done that. Thank you for your honesty, as it helps me, as a victim, to see that it is okay to express my own opinion, without fear.

    • Jeff Crippen

      That is a very good balance, anon. To be able to retain some and reject others that stray from the gospel itself. It sounds like you have done a good job in this area. Thanks.

  3. Diane

    Thank you for this, Jeff. I understand your point. It is something with which I have been struggling to find answers. Ihave never been a big JM fan so I cannot relate much to him. I have only read a bit of RC and do like to listen to him.

    Because of the bubble in which the famous live, it is hard to see character and really know them. I go by what they teach;, but, since “angels of light” are able to teach there must be other ways to discern. I look to their character as much as i am able to ascertain.

    for example, with JM. His endorsement and promotion of CJ Mahaney is so puzzling to me and I daresay it is enough to write him (JM) off as an teacher I would read. I agree with anonymous in experiencing the difficulty of having the desire to even read JM–since he so promotes Mahaney and the abuses (practices resulting from doctrine) that have gone on under his watch. Three or more survivor blogs against Mahaney? Ane no response but promotion. How can that be?

    So I struggle with this a lot. You wrote, ” Namely, when one of these idols is found to be less than perfect — such as not “getting it” when it comes to abuse — we cast them away in their entirety, just as we wrongly embraced them in their entirety in the first place. Do you see what I mean?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, it is a struggle. We really have to rely on the Spirit’s discernment as He enables us to examine teachers through the lens of Scripture. I suppose my main purpose in this article is to encourage all of us, myself included, to falling into such a despairing mentality that we pretty much write off any pastor, any church, any ministry and totally isolate ourselves. Christ has a remnant, always. His church is true and we really do belong to the genuine body of Christ. Sometimes we have a pretty hard time finding it, but it is easy for me to fall into the Elijah syndrome – “and I alone am left.” We don’t want to promote that idea in anyone else either.

      I agree with you that when MacArthur says some of the things he has said about abuse, and showing that he doesn’t seem to get it when it comes to addressing issues of power and control in the church, it does indeed cause us to pause when it comes to listening to or reading him on other subjects and I do not blame you at all for feeling that. I have felt the same. Sproul on the other hand is easier for me to listen to, and I must say that I enjoyed his two talks at the conference immensely. I listened to MacArthur as well but find myself much more guarded while doing so

      And then there are others that we should totally reject and toss all of their books out the door. Bottom line – we have to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1) and never rely on someone simply because they are someone.

  4. Diane

    Sorry-hit post comment by mistake.

    Yes, I see what you mean in your above quote. I also see that, to me, abuse is a big thing to “not get.” I have a great marriage and wonderful husband; no abuse in my family, so I come at this with no first hand knowledge, but even I, an unlearned person in theological matters, can understand “love others as you would want to be loved.” Is that not part of the heart of the gospel?

    Are we supposed to listen to elders who do not show love?

    I have not read much by JM but using him as an example I do wonder about this. How can he promote (not just simply associate with) a man like CJ Mahaney, who has three (or more now probably) survivor blogs attesting to abuse suffered by those specifically under his watch, or under pastors under his watch (heavy shepherding going on there)? I have read since last July with great interest all that has been going with SGM- a “ministry” quite promoted by many, many of these famous pastors. I wonder about things like that–why the desire on JM’s part to promote him at his Resolve Conference for the past 7 years? Things like that cause me grief…trying to understand how one, a pastor, someone I am encouraged to imitate and be persuaded by, can evidently ignore one’s practices (Mahaney’s) just because he may say Jesus, propitiation and grace…all the right words and right doctrines…know what I mean? To know what I know about SGM and have followed its story and read all the documents and every case of abuse posted at the survivors websites…and to see the utter hypocrisy Mahaney has displayed and for these men to not get it…is an astounding site to see.

    I will stop as I fear I am bumbling around and not getting to what I am trying to say-because I cannot put it into words very well. You wrote, ” The error, as I see it, is that of totally rejecting everything a Christian pastor or theologian teaches simply because we believe that they are in error on another particular point. Now, of course, if that point is an integral part of the gospel and they are rejecting it, then we must reject them entirely. ”

    I know what you mean. I struggle with the lack of love that seems apparent in a heart that would ignore abuse. Whether teaching this from ignorance, willful disregard, or whatever the reason–it is a lack of love that I see-love to the weak and less powerful. That is not Jesus. I want to see Jesus in the pastors I listen to. Not a perfect Jesus, as that cannot be in our mortal bodies, but a Jesus in them that loves. I see so little of that…but a lot of correct gospel doctrine.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Diane – actually I think you are stating the case a lot more clearly than I did! Thanks a whole bunch. Yes, those things really do give us pause and no way should we ignore them. Your points are very meaty — just how do we respond to and evaluate someone who seems to be so oblivious to injustices that we ourselves have come to see so clearly? And not just oblivious, but actively unwilling to listen to instruction on these matters? That is no small error.

  5. Such great discussion here! Keep it up folks!
    I’ve not followed the Maheny and SGM controversy (there is only so much one can keep up with) but I believe your perspective is right, Diane. And the part JM seems to have played from the sidelines has to bring him into question.

    I think that Scripture has something to tell us about how we are to approach this issue. I’m thinking of where Paul rebuked Peter to his face because Peter was showing prejudice, and what’s more, it was prejudice against a lower group in society (Gentiles! Yuck! ).

    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. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
    We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
    But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 2:11-3:3 ESV)

    May I attempt a paraphrase application of this passage?

    When John MacArthur came to the pastor’s conference I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For he had been supporting Maheny for years, and still had not shown outrage about the evils that were being done by Maheny and those under his watch. And the rest of the pastors were acting hypocritically along with him, because he was such a big shot they didn’t think to question him. Or if they did, they didn’t dare utter their questions out loud.

    But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to MacArthur before them all,
    “If you are a Christian who believes that Christ is our only mediator, and upholds the priesthood of all believers, how can you endorse this guy who does heavy shepherding and constrains the consciences of his flock by his controlling teaching? How can you condone this teaching of justification by works – by obedience to one’s leaders – rather than justification by faith alone?

    Of foolish pastors! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified! Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Good job! Now, go to the next conference and…..:):) By the way, all of the questions addressed and discussed in the Q&A session at the Seattle conference, and probably others too, are taken from a questions box that conference attendees can put their questions in. Then the staff selects which ones to discuss. Problem is, I am not sure that format would get our questions through??

      • So they even have ‘minders’ to filter the questions! I can see why they might think that’s a good idea, but boy, it could create a closed shop!
        Protocols like that might lead to people having to mount demonstrations outside the auditorium! (only half joking)

      • Jeff Crippen

        Barbara – Actually, excessive insulation from input does indeed lead to demonstrations at conferences. I don’t think that has happened at Ligonier Conferences, but remember what Christa Brown’s experience was (This Little Light [*Affiliate link]) with the layers around the Southern Baptist powers to be. She and her company actually did do some picketing at SBC conferences. When you read her account of how she kept being blown off, you can see why they did picket.

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
      • Interesting! I have not yet read This Little Light [*Affiliate link], but it’s been on my list for years…
        And yes, Aussies are good at demos. In fact, my town (Ballarat) had the greatest demonstration in all Aussie history – the Eureka Rebellion – where the gold miners demonstrated against the miners’ tax. The miners had no representation in parliament, because you could only vote if you were a male landowner, And as you Yankees know, taxation without representation is wrong. The Eureka Rebellion ended up with lots of dead and injured miners, but in a few years every man got the vote, voting was no longer restricted to landowners. And some years after that, the women in Australia got the vote too. Aussie women were the first to get the vote in the whole world.

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
      • Anonymous

        Aussies are expert at mounting demonstrations., so beware!

    • PEARL

      I’ve never listened to MaHaney but this is very troubling. Are women, in their belief system, less than men; who seem to be held up as paragons of virtue by reason of their sex alone, while women are temples built over a sewer, to quote Tertullian, and are only mediated to God through their, sinful husbands rather than their sinless Savior?

  6. Marty Winn

    I understand that emotionally you feel MacArthur is wrong about divorce. Can you show Biblically that he is wrong? To my memory the only specific justification given in the Bible is adultry. I would be very interested in your answer.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, Marty. If you will search our blog under the topic “divorce” you find quite a number of our articles and I think you will be able to find our biblical arguments in them. Our arguments are not just based on emotion, but on Scripture. 1 Corinthians 7, for example, is a central passage. Desertion is a grounds for divorce and abuse definitely effects desertion from agreeing to live together with one’s spouse. Hardened, persistent, refusal to keep one’s wedding vows violates the marriage covenant and actually effects divorce. Central to this understanding is to realize that Scripture presents marriage as a covenant. It is also vital, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that you first come to understand fully the mentality and tactics of abuse. This is the common flaw in most Christian’s approach to this subject. They seek to apply Scripture to a problem and situation that they do not understand. We cannot prescribe the Scriptural remedy for something until we first know what that something is. John MacArthur, while I respect him in other areas, is simply uneducated and oblivious to the nature, mentality, and tactics of the abuser. Abuse is an evil that is not like most of the sin we encounter. It is incredibly deceptive, without conscience, and does not think like you and I do. If you want to understand abuse, start by reading Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That? [*Affiliate link] and you will be off to a good start.

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
      • Wayne Boyd

        Keep wanting to comment on JM, so I guess I’ll try here.
        JM, like many in conservative churches, does not accept the idea of emotional problems: he cannot see the effects of abuse because he does not accept the fact that a spouse or a parent can damage another’s psyche. There are only sin problems or physical illness–and illness does not contribute to one’s sinning, but is only an occassion for what is in our hearts to be displayed.

      • Yes Wayne, that kind of thinking is found in Nouthetic Counseling (often just called ‘Biblical Counseling’). It ignores and denies the effects of trauma on a person’s psyche, i.e. the effects of some one else’s sin on you. People who take this wooden and non-realistic view can do a lot of hurt and harm to those who have been abused, truamatized, raised in toxic or neglectful environments, or modelled bad behaviour by their parents and care-givers. BTW, we have tags for nouthetic counseling and biblical counseling; you might like to look the up in the tags menu at the top of the blog.

      • PEARL

        It seems to be the same type of denial that validated slavery. I think these men actually believe they own their wives so the wife, in their eyes, (the abuser and sadly the elders) see no recourse for the victim. How is abuse justified when the second greatest commandment says that you are to love your neighbor as yourself? That isn’t just talking about not doing bad things to your neighbor but actively pursuing their good. Abuse does neither. Abusing one’s spouse makes as much sense as cutting off your nose to spite your face. It smacks of insanity. The slaveholders jumped through all sorts of hoops to validate slavery when the true estimation of it was to imagine it being done to you, how you would feel about the degradation, dehumanization, torture and brutality. If JMAC truly believes what he preaches regarding our behavior after our profession then what does the abuser’s behavior say about his eternal soul? Actions speak louder than words. Jesus said to run when you are being persecuted, Paul said to seek your freedom. The arm does not bear the sword in vain. When I was abused, I didn’t go to the Church, I went to the arm that bears the sword and obtained my freedom.

    • Hi Marty, my book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion [*Affiliate link] sets out detail and careful argument based on all the divorce texts in the bible (other than Jer. 3) and demonstrates that divorce is allowed for
      1) adultery
      2) desertion by an unbeliever
      3) abuse (which is desertion-by-pushing-away, otherwise called “constructive desertion”) .
      The reason divorce is allowed for abuse is that although the victim of the abuse may be the one who flees the marital home, it is the abuser’s conduct which should be construed as causing the separation.
      (‘construed’ ~~ ‘constructive’ desertion; a term used in English divorce law before no-fault divorce came in)
      The arguments Jeff and I mount for divorce for abuse are not based on emotion. They are based on sound, careful and unbiased reading of Scripture. I suggest you read the arguments in depth before jumping to conclusions about our so-called ’emotional’ motivation. You can find links to summaries of my divorce teaching on the Resources page of this site.
      Thank you for visiting our site and taking part in the discussion.

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
  7. Marty Winn

    Thanks for your responses. I was only aware of this blog post and did not know this site or the commenters had books in support this idea. I thought the post stood alone. The post had no Biblical support.

    • Jeff Crippen

      You’re welcome, Marty. No problem. We appreciate your question and input — and your insistence that Scripture must be our final authority.

  8. Anonymous

    Although I do understand the point you are trying to make with this post , I personally have a very difficult time learning about the nature of Jesus from pastors who show no compassion for the abused .. It’s these types of teachings that nearly cost our lives and I do not take this issue lightly . I do like RC Sproul and it grieves me deeply that he holds this position . John McArthur I have never listened to and probably won’t . I am also not Reformed so I would disagree with these guys on other matters as well ..

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anon, I know exactly what you mean. I wrote that post sometime ago and I have to admit, the more I am learning about abuse and how victims are treated by churches that believe these guys’ position on divorce and women and so on, the harder it is becoming for me to swallow them. Like you I like RC Sproul. MacArthur has become harder and harder for me to listen to and I think I am pretty much arrived now at not using any of his material.

  9. Kim

    I am coming at this kind of backward from the rest of you. I have been a “follower” of JM and have enjoyed much of his teaching. Now as I discover I have been living under abuse I am rethinking my beliefs on divorce – which have come from the conservative point of view such as JM. This is probably because I have been so far from divorce (or thought I was) that I didn’t really research it in depth and just believe what was taught from the pulpit (there is so much to study and so little time :). Now that I am researching it I am finding your site a breathe of fresh air and huge encouragement. I agree, part of the reason JM and others like him take this stand is they don’t understand the abuse. Now I am in a bit of a lonely place because my church and close circle of friends agree with the stand JM takes and so I am apprehensive of their response to my new belief in divorce. Thank you for this article it has been a comfort to me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kim- Thank you for this. I wrote a more critical article on this blog about MacArthur’s position on divorce and abuse (Does John MacArthur Teach that Suffering Abuse is Meritorious Before God? ) Like you, over the years, I have respected him and used his material. In the last few years I have been disappointed in his unreasonable insistence that everyone embrace his views on eschatology. But my biggest disappointment has been since I found out what he teaches about abuse not being grounds for a divorce. This simply blows me away. He is so widely accepted by so many Christians that his teaching on this has done and is still doing horrendous damage to victims of abuse and enabling abusers.

      We really empathize with you, knowing that as you say you will no doubt be rejected by fellow Christians who will accuse you of sinful divorce. This blog community consists of many Christians who have been through these very experiences. You are very, very welcome to join us!

      We highly recommend Barbara Roberts’ book Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link] and David Instone-Brewer’s Divorce and Remarriage in the Church [Affiliate link]. For very practical instruction from a non-Christian counselor, expert on abuse, see Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link] Top notch stuff!

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
  10. Anon

    One thing I really admire about you is your humility and willingness to learn about this issue. Thank you so much for bringing this into the forefront of discussion . John Piper is one for me that I refuse to listen to anything that comes out of his mouth . I know lots of people love and admire him and that’s ok , but I cannot listen to someone who shows no willingness to even reconsider his theological position on this issue and thinks he is being loving and God honoring by telling women to take it for the team ..

    • Jeff S

      I’ve never been a fan of MacArthur, and John Piper is an issue for me for the same reasons you mention. The video of him telling women to submit to physical violence for a night is inexcusable.

      RC Sproul is the teacher I listen to the most via podcast, and I’m convinced he has a lot of views I disagree with, but there’s a difference between what he believes and what he teaches. It comes into his examples from time to time, but ultimately I see a level of humility in Sproul that I respect. He also keeps the main things the main things (most of the time).

      RC Sproul Jr, however, is another matter.

      • Jeff Crippen

        I’m with you on this point by point. In yesterday’s sermon I named John Piper as an example of the religion of the Pharisees in his abuse of abuse victims. Time to name names. RC Jr. is of the same ilk and in ways worse.

      • PEARL

        I agree on Piper, cannot even stand his voice, and it always concerns me to see another church bringing his ideas on board.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Anon. In fact in last Sunday’s sermon I named John Piper and told how his position on no divorce and his attitude toward victims is an example of the religion of the Pharisees. It is time to name names.

  11. Anonymous

    I need to listen to some of your sermons on abuse and direct my momma to your site.. I think it would be very healing for our family to hear these..

  12. Anon

    Are there any specific ones you would recommend?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Anon – go to our sermonaudio web page at sermonaudio.com/crc Click on the “sermon series” menu and you will find the series on domestic violence – 21 sermons. Just start at sermon #1 and away you go!

  13. Anon

    Thank you!

  14. A Bruised Reed

    As a victim of abuse, you may well not choose to attend the churches that Sproul or MacArthur pastor.  You would not go to them for counseling — at least on this issue for sure.  We come right out and say to them “you are wrong on this matter of abuse”

    I, in fact, was a member of RC Sproul’s church and when I went to our elder and our associate pastors for help, they believed my lying, abusive husband, told me they see no evidence of abuse, my husband professed his undying love for me, and there would be no church discipline. Although I knew that would probably happen, I am certain the Lord was nudging me to bring this matter to the church.I promptly left the church and told them I was doing so. My husband and daughters still attend church there. The Lord has graciously provided another local body of Christ who love me, support me, believe me, and care for me and accept me. Praise God!

    • Jeff Crippen

      A Bruised Reed – I wrote that blog post quite some time ago when I suppose that I was guarding myself from being too critical, rejecting men like this and their ministry entirely when they have done and do some good. However, over time I have come to a point when I would be less hesitant to give them any credit. RC has waffled on this issue of abuse, and his son RC Jr. is no friend of abuse victims either. I am very glad you left that church and continue to be free.

    • Hi A Bruised Reed, welcome to the blog 🙂

  15. Denise

    This is a good reminder Jeff and thank you for being teachable. Perhaps because they are faithful to the Gospel they might have a naive notion that wolves who abuse their families would not be comfortable sitting under their teaching.

    It’s these teachers who teach the true gospel that need this teaching of marriage and divorce. I would agree not to throw the baby out with the bath water. However, we still need, in love for the church and for the teachers themselves, to keep correcting them.

    I planted that seed with my pastor and it took him nine months to finally see things my way; thanks to this blog. Unfortunately he left our church last month. I feel like I’m back at square one.

    I’m especially discouraged since one of the elders gave a sermon last Sunday emphasizing the need to “stay married”, with the exception of unrepentant adultery with an actual third party and desertion. I know this is not biblical. They are about to revise our church’s bylaws on the issue of marriage. This worries me.

    I live in MacArthurville. (Near The Master’s College and Seminary). Almost every church in my area that has sound core doctrine was taught under MacArthur, so he is very influential.

    I’ve ran into John MacArthur and had a couple of conversations with him over the years. He is more touchable and approachable than one may think. I would keep urging him and his staff on this issue of abuse and divorce.

    God bless you all!

  16. PEARL

    Thanks, I was going to throw out all the Tabletalks I had yet to read.

    • PEARL

      My predicament with reading them is that they also give a platform to the men of CBMW and RC Jr. is back writing for them and he is on their CDs again. I agree with Anon that there is a serious lack of love from elders in these groups.

  17. Finding Answers

    Reading this in 2018 is like watching a movie unfold in slow motion.

    Not only have opinions evolved / changed, but the various #MeToo scandals have erupted, broken through their bondage into mainstream media.

    Extremist points of view have reached even farther from Scriptural truth, a widely arcing pendulum, yet tolerance is heavily promoted.

    Perhaps if a return was made to actually studying Jesus Christ, His life, His repetition of servant-hood and “standing for the least of these”?

    I read with increasing horror at the abuse heaped upon those already over-overburdened and overwhelmed with trying to live up to someone else’s man-made version of the Triune God. Some “re-invent” God, Some “re-invent” Jesus Christ. Some “re-invent” the Holy Spirit. Then there are the various permutations and combinations that can be “re-invented”.

    Blind guides. Whited sepulchres. Hypocrites. Pharisees.

    Where we find abuse of power, control, and authority, we will find such as these…

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