A Cry For Justice

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

John Piper: we are doing what you want Christians to do!

Theology and church and mission are marked by an overarching godly male leadership in the spirit of Christ with an ethos of tender-hearted strength, contrite courage, risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to sacrifice for the sake of leading and protecting and providing for the community. All of which is possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus.”

“It’s the feel of a great, majestic God who is by His redeeming work in Christ inclining men to humble Christ-exalting initiatives and inclining women to come alongside those men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.

These are the words of John Piper. He spoke them at the 2012 pastors conference hosted by Desiring God ministry. (See the Christian Post report here.)

In his speech, Piper said God’s intention for Christianity is for it to have a “masculine feel.” But I’m not going to tackle his assertion about ‘masculine feel’ here. I’m going to take him at face value and call him to follow through on what he professes to believe.

Mr Piper, I’d like to offer you a chance to do what you proclaim.
Why not join us in calling on the church to wake up and deliver justice to victims of domestic abuse
?

At this blog we are doing exactly what you described as good Christianity.  We have godly male leadership being taken by Ps Jeff Crippen,  in the spirit of Christ with an ethos of tender-hearted strength, contrite courage, risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to sacrifice for the sake of leading and protecting and providing for the community.  The great, majestic God is by His redeeming work in Christ inclining men like Jeff to humble Christ-exalting initiatives, and inclining women like myself to come alongside those men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.

So John Piper, why don’t you join us?
Is your ‘masculine Christianity’ really what you say it is? Is it really protecting and providing for the community – the community of domestic abuse victims who are being mistreated by their churches and have often had to leave churches that side with abusers.  There is a vast community of such survivors: we are only seeing the tip of this iceberg on this blog. They are out there, silenced, isolated, humiliated, shunned, maligned, ashamed, bewildered,  and hurting.  This is a giant opportunity to practice what you preach, Mr Piper. Please come on board!

13 Comments

  1. Amen!

  2. Anonymous

    Is that “crickets chirping”? *sigh* So much silence.

    • Yes. The silent treatment. One of the forms of emotional abuse.

      • anonymous

        You do not deserve a reply because you have been too bold and have asked difficult questions (which is an action often translated by male leadership as “disrespect” or “attempting to usurp the man’s role”… At least that is what I have found in my own situation). Sigh.

  3. Jeff Crippen

    Does the Holy Spirit indwell women as well as men in the New Covenant era? And if He does, then does He gift and lead women as well as men?

    Acts 2:17-18 ESV
    (17) “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
    (18) even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

    So, in John Piper’s church, what happens if a woman is led to a “humble, Christ-exalting initiative” and makes it known to the church leadership? Or to her husband? Is this leading discounted? Does Piper believe such initiatives will only be given by the Spirit to men?

    • anonymous

      Probably

    • Anonymous

      In our old Church, the women were not allowed to pray, only the men. I cannot even imagine what would have happened, if one of us would have been an “Anna” from the New Testament, and prophesied too!

      I have been told, that there are also some Churches now, that supposedly only have the men as “heads of households”, listed as members. The women and children are not listed individually as members. His name is the only name listed as a member. However, my understanding is that the women and children are still required to take their own vows to join the Church. Also, the women and children who are members, are not allowed to vote on anything pertaining to the Church. The husband is the only one who has a vote. I suppose this could work where there was no abuse, and the husband truly loved his wife and was laying down his life for her and was a godly, trustworthy man. However, that is not the real world for lots of Christian women.

  4. Laura

    I would like to thank you for the encouragement and validation that i have received recently from your work. I wish that I had found this forum three years ago! Even after over 20 years of living with a verbally and emotionally abusive man, the involvement of the church was the single most tramatic experience of my life. I trusted that they would help me but from the onset when they told me “You won’t love him but you will be taking him back.” all of their actions were designed to lay guilt on me to force that end result.

    Concern for one of my sons, who was mimicing his father’s actions, led me to call the church.
    At the pastor’s request, I documented five typewritten pages of incidents of my husband’s abuse . Included was his reckless driving with children in the car, assaulting a man at another church, screaming at and threatening me regularly, encouraging our son to call me profane names, etc. I thought that at least one of these events would cause them to question my husband’s right to membership in the PCA.

    The pastor took my husband to lunch but other than that, did nothing. After 10 months, I discovered that my husband had a secret two-year relationship with a former co-worker.
    When I informed the church that I now wanted to pursue divorce, I was told to take back the unfaithful spouse like Hosea. Also I needed to win my husband over…I might be triggering him. I was told that there are always two people to blame for marriage issues. I was questioned about idols in my heart by their counselor which cost me $1100 for her involvement while my husband was never directly confronted with his sin. He was not repentant and threatened me, saying that he wanted to see me dead and he wanted to find a way to kill me without getting caught. I spent almost two years trying to be submissive to the church as they did all that they could to penetrate the bondaries I set up to protect my family. I was so distraught and confused at that point-afraid for our safety but wanting to please the Lord and respect the church. I wondered why i viewed scripture so differently than they did-was I even a Christian? They offered no spiritual guidance-it was like a spiritual desert. Thankfully, the Lord himself held me up.

    After 1 1/2 years of dealing with the church’s lack of direction, my health began to break down due to stress. I went to the local abuse center and they listened to me advising me that I was in a dangerous situation. Finally, I notified the pastor that I was leaving his church. On the way out, his children chided my daughter with ‘God hates divorce.” The pastor told me that my conscience would bother me if I filed for divorce and I received a letter saying that God was not pleased with me. I saved all of the letters that I received from the church and now can’t believe how abusive they themselves were. They were a terrible witness for my extened family and friends, as some of them have told me this is why they don’t go to church. Sadly, at this point I would recommend that anyone in an abusive relationship not go to the church but to the abuse crisis center. Even Dr. Phil gives more useful advise. I am praying that your work will be the catalyst for reform in the church before the church becomes completely obsolete on this subject. Thank you, again. You are a blessing!

    • Dear Laura, thanks so much for telling us this story. I am posting your piece as a new post because I think it would be good for all our readers to see it and offer you encouragement. Bless you!

    • Reader-Survivor

      .
      Laura,
      .
      [[[[[You stated: “Even after … living with … abusive man, the involvement
      of the church was the single most tramatic experience of my life.
      I trusted that they would help me but from the onset when they told
      me “You won’t love him but you will be taking him back.” all of their
      actions were designed to lay guilt on me to force that end result.”]]]]]
      .
      The encounter that you had with your church is so common among
      Christian abuse victims and survivors that it (sadly) is almost to the
      point that people now ‘expect’ the church to side with the abusers
      and to minimize the damage to the life of — or even turn against —
      the person who is being targeted by the abuser / perpetrator.
      .
      There is no doubt in the mind of many Christian survivors of abuse
      (and their non-Christian family and friends who care about them) that
      “the local Church” (and it’s narcissistic, non-empathetic, bullying and
      almost sociopathic leadership) will often engage in such uncaring and
      hostile reactions toward the target-victim-survivor about the abuse now
      becoming ‘public’ (or otherwise ‘undeniable’ as, let’s face it, many times
      “the church” already ‘know of’ or ‘suspected’ the abuse) — that the only
      term that can then be used for said church is that of of “CO-Abuser”.
      .
      Once these churches (and their leadership) decide to become a CO-Abuser of
      the Christian target-victim-survivor — they often then have the gall to turn around
      and — (having, via their betrayal and cowardice, caused an all new “Trauma Bond”
      on this person) — try to use the resulting F.O.G. (fear, obligation and guilt) to then
      leave the person wandering emotionally-“blind” and groping for support anywhere.
      .
      The reaction of “the church” in general, and local churches in particular, to those
      who have been targets-victims-survivors of domestic abuse is one of the main
      reasons that I (as a Believer in Christ) have been totally turned off from “church”.
      .
      Cruelty, Indifference, Apathy, Selfish Gain and Hypocrisy are just about the only
      behaviors that I have commonly seen among “church goers” (and I will not even
      get into the issue of ‘cliquishness’) — and until “the church” repents of continuing
      to “harbor” unrepentant-abusers — the cycle-of-abuse will continue in “christian”
      homes found everywhere and the ‘gospel’ of Christ will be made into a mockery.
      .
      — R.S.
      .

      • Dear R.S. would you like to put your commment on the new post we just put up, where we featured Laura’s piece as the post body? If so, please do so; that will keep the topic all together, so to speak. Thanks for you comment. I love the term “co-abuser”.

  5. Reader-Survivor

    .
    Thanks Barbara — and I have
    posted at that page as well.
    .

  6. Finding Answers

    From Barb’s original post: “There is a vast community of such survivors: we are only seeing the tip of this iceberg on this blog. They are out there, silenced, isolated, humiliated, shunned, maligned, ashamed, bewildered, and hurting. ”

    This quote was posted almost six years ago…sadly, the only thing that appears to have changed is the increased size of the community…and the number of survivor / calling-out blogs.

    Piper certainly hasn’t…

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