A Cry For Justice

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

Bad News for Victims from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Holly Elliff — by Katy

[July 26, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Katy (one of our readers) suggested we highlight the errors that Nancy Leigh DeMoss lays on abuse victims in her books and other media. We asked Katy if she would review a program that Katy pointed out to us from the website Revive Our Hearts. This website purports to have as its purpose, “….calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.” If this program is indicative of the teaching found there, it would be more appropriately worded, “….calling women to bondage, emptiness, and barrenness in the Enemy.” So, here is Katy. Her comments are interspersed with quotes from the program, and the boldfacing is Katy’s:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a popular Christian author of many books for women. She leads something she calls “True Woman” conferences and has a radio program. I was first introduced to her in a church Bible study for women. We studied her book Lies Women Believe, and I felt intimidated and scared as I read her views on parenting and marriage. I was new to this church, new to the women there, and I was very recently divorced from my abusive husband. After almost seven years of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, I was looking for hope. Nancy’s book was probably the worst thing a woman like me could have been reading at that time. Her brief mention of domestic violence and her dangerous “Biblical” guidance on that topic made me toss the book.

I decided to search out her radio archives online to see if she had fleshed out her thoughts on domestic violence — which she had, in a sort of “John-Piper-clarification” way. She and Holly Elliff, a pastor’s wife in Arkansas and frequent visitor on Nancy’s program, discussed domestic violence in July of 2006. Below is a partial transcript (you can listen to the entire thing here, but it will probably disgust you if you are a survivor) :

Physical AbuseRevive Our Hearts podcast

Holly Elliff:

Maria brought up the issue of domestic violence, and what if you’re being abused in your marriage — you’re in an abusive marriage. I think that word is greatly misused in our society. So sometimes, maybe you’re in a tough marriage, like Shirley mentioned earlier, where for 29 years you’re experiencing verbal abuse. Maybe your husband is coming and going. There are tough issues.

Many times in our society that’s viewed as abuse. But you’re talking about literal, physical abuse where you’re in danger. I would say we need to first of all go to the Lord for wisdom in that circumstance because every situation is different. So there’s no way that Nancy and I could say, “Okay, this is what you do if you’re in that circumstance.”

Note well here: Nancy and Holly say that the only treatment that qualifies as “abuse” is when he is making a move to kill you. So when my husband punished me for sloppy housekeeping by not taking me to the hospital when I was in labor, and I had to give birth in my car, that does NOT qualify as “abuse” in these ladies’ world. It is easy to say heartless things like this to other women when you’ve never suffered them yourself. Also note that 29 years of being verbally ripped to shreds only qualifies as a “tough issue” for Holly. Not abuse. Why does it seem like it’s always these Pharisees that get a platform and a microphone?

Holly Elliff:

I would say we need to first of all go to the Lord for wisdom in that circumstance because every situation is different. So there’s no way that Nancy and I could say, “Okay, this is what you do if you’re in that circumstance.” I would encourage that woman to draw godly counselors around her who know her, who know her husband, who know her circumstance on a firsthand level. Go to those godly counselors — I’m not talking about just somebody in the business of counseling. I’m talking about maybe a pastor or another couple that you know has a godly marriage.

Here is the common church response. With no knowledge of the tactics used by abusers, these women shun “professional” counselors, insist that “every situation is different” because they have NO idea what the appropriate responses are, and imply that the Biblical response is to surround yourself with laypeople in the church — as if the normal couples in “Godly” marriages will have any clue what to do in this circumstance! While surrounding yourself with supportive people is essential, it doesn’t appear that this is for the purpose of saving the woman. The purpose is only to save the marriage:

Holly Elliff:

You go to him first and confront him with the truth. Then, if he doesn’t listen, you go back to him with two or three others, and you confront him with the truth. If he doesn’t respond, then you widen that circle and you draw more people into that group of folks who are helping you to face that issue.

I think if she literally is in physical danger, then with those godly friends she confronts her husband with that truth. Then I do think, at that point, there are times when she may need to separate herself — not for the purpose of severing that marriage, but for the purpose of protecting herself or her children.

The bottom line is what her heart is toward that marriage, because God’s heart is going to be redemption of that marriage. So if her desire is not just to separate — just to seek her own way, as Proverbs says — but if her desire is to separate for the purpose of physical protection, then I believe she can do that.

And here we have it. Nancy and Holly make some incredible and dangerous assumptions:

1) A woman should continue to confront a dangerous and violent man with maybe 1 or 2 untrained people from her church, repeating the process with more people if it doesn’t work. These ladies assume that this man will not kill his wife in this process before they get to “round two or three”. They also display their lack of understanding of abuse, because they seem to think he will respond to this.

2) The burdens are clearly laid on the victim, to withstand this abuse and “keep her heart right”. It is astounding that Nancy and Holly pronounce to know the will of God in these situations — that God would always desire the wife to reconcile. It is amazing to me that while Holly and Nancy have absolutely no idea what steps a woman should take in this situation, and have zero experience or wisdom to impart to women facing violence, they nevertheless know without a shadow of a doubt that God’s will is for your marriage to continue.

After I went to the women’s ministry leader and confessed what my husband was doing, my pastor took my husband to lunch. That was it. Whatever lies my husband told my pastor, once that lunch was over, my husband never returned to the church and the abuse became more violent. The pastor never once spoke to me about this, and never checked on the situation again. I have no idea what went on in that secret lunch meeting. The women’s ministry leader at my church would not help me pack my things, would not even pray with me for my imminent journey — she said she couldn’t pray for that because it was against God’s will. I had 3 babies, no job, no friends, 2,000 miles from my family, the church abandoned me, and my husband was prowling at my door threatening me with violence.

God alone rescued us. He hears the cries of the oppressed! It was clearly not God’s will for our marriage to continue, and this has been confirmed to me over and over since that time 4 years ago. I am now completely free. Being a single mom with 3 young children is a walk in the park compared to what we’ve been through, and God is doing amazing new things in our lives. To God alone be the Glory.

I think when it comes to church leaders like Nancy, Holly, John Piper and others — those without wisdom should not give counsel. These leaders simply do not have knowledge and wisdom on these issues, and it’s because they don’t care to educate themselves. What a detriment to the body of Christ!

Thank you, Katy! Excellent job giving us all a heads up on DeMoss and Elliff.

Update: November 2015 Nancy Leigh DeMoss married and now goes by the name Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

[July 26, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 26, 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 July 26, 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 July 26, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 26, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further Reading

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Says Women Victims Must Reverence Their Abuser!

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is so undiscerning she can’t recognize pagan witchcraft & heretical teachers


  1. Joe Pote

    ….those without wisdom should not give counsel.

    Nicely summarized!

    • Allie

      Nancy Leigh DeMoss does not have a clue. For one, she’s never been married. Secondly, with that being said, she’s never been in an abusive relationship. She speaks out of ignorance. But she has no idea what her words are doing to so many women. She keeps them in bondage and heaps guilt and shame on them as if they don’t already have enough. Excellent article.

  2. Desley

    It really does all boil down to an issue of arrogance and pride. They sit up on their lofty thrones and preach down at everybody else, but they are too aloof from the reality of these people and too busy in the abstract to really see. And when people confront them, even lovingly, with how they have been deeply wounded by their teachings? They accuse them of being troublemakers or chafing at “strong leadership” and authority.

    I went to see Steve Bell in concert a few weeks back and he introduced his new song “Descent,” which is a poem by Malcolm Guite put to music. It about sums it up….

    [July 26, 2022: We removed the quoted lyrics because we don’t want to violate copyright laws. Click here [Internet Archive link] for Malcolm Guite’s blog post about his poem Descent, which includes the poem and him reading his poem. Click here to hear Steve Bell sing Malcolm Guite’s poem Descent. Editors.]

    • Jeff Crippen

      Desley – wonderful! What great lyrics. And yes, pride is the issue. I agree. Ignorance coupled with arrogance is a horrid combo. And I ask people like DeMoss: where do you get your idea that you can make these pronouncements as if your word is binding on others? You might say it comes from Scripture, but how is it that we don’t see it? False prophets and prophetesses have come and gone over the ages, doing the very same thing.

      • Joe Pote

        Jeff, I think this is one of their critical logic flaws:

        ….God’s heart is going to be redemption of that marriage.

        They are making a huge erroneous assumption about God’s heart in a matter they don’t understand, while simultaneously exposing a poor understanding of the biblical concept of redemption.

        It would be more accurate to say: God’s heart is for redemption of His child from covenants of abusive bondage.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Yes, Joe. The following Scripture comes to my mind, and it would seem that people like this need to be quiet and sit back and seriously think about it —

        (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV)
        (14) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
        (15) The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
        (16) “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

        So many people have it all figured out. These kind of folk claim to instruct the Lord.

    • MeganC

      They sit up on their lofty thrones and preach down at everybody else, but they are too aloof from the reality of these people and too busy in the abstract to really see.

      Exactly. Like so many others. I call it “Marie Antionette Syndrome.” My husband said this today: “Somehow, we all think that another person’s experience isn’t important or painful because we haven’t been through it.” Why is that?! Maybe it DOES take supernatural compassion for us to understand what a person is going through….so why not ask God? Why, instead of forming their own little arrogant opinions, don’t some of these people who are speaking SO authoritatively, ask God for compassion for what others might be going through?

      • Desley

        Why, instead of forming their own little arrogant opinions, don’t some of these people who are speaking SO authoritatively, ask God for compassion for what others might be going through?

        But that would imply that you don’t know it all. In all honesty, I just do not see compassion in these people even if they were to fully understand the situation. For instance, in John Piper’s T.U.L.I.P. study he arrogantly detailed how on one occasion he berated a depressed man he was counseling for alleged distortions in the man’s thinking that may have been contributing to his depression, “How dare you!” I believe was what JP yelled at the man. As a person who suffers from depression and has scratched my way up from the pits of Borderline Personality Disorder, I was sitting there grimacing at how this would have made a depressed man feel.

        Knowing it all must feel pretty good in their superiority; but at the end of the day know-it-alls find it impossible to relate to human suffering – and even more impossible to actually want to.

    • Allie

      Great comment – it does all boil down to pride and arrogance.

  3. Anonymous

    I think that word is greatly misused in our society. So sometimes, maybe you’re in a tough marriage, like Shirley mentioned earlier, where for 29 years you’re experiencing verbal abuse. Maybe your husband is coming and going. There are tough issues.

    Many times in our society that’s viewed as abuse. But you’re talking about literal, physical abuse where you’re in danger. I would say we need to first of all go to the Lord for wisdom in that circumstance because every situation is different.

    Oh my, here we go again. One day with it happening to them, and all this would change and we have all lived through it long enough, to know that is the truth. So, the counsel here is, to ask the Lord, whether you should call the police or let him beat you to death? I personally don’t need to ask the Lord, because I know Him and I know what His answer would be.

    I would encourage that woman to draw godly counselors around her who know her, who know her husband, who know her circumstance on a firsthand level. Go to those godly counselors — I’m not talking about just somebody in the business of counseling. I’m talking about maybe a pastor or another couple that you know has a godly marriage,

    Yeah. And what about all of those women who have been isolated for 20 years and know no one at all. Or what about all those pastors who abuse their own wives, so they won’t be of any help. Hmmm. Makes things a tish more difficult, eh? DeMoss has never been married, never had children and yet sees herself as an expert in domestic issues. That should raise the ever-waving-red-flag, if anything should.

    You go to him first and confront him with the truth. Then, if he doesn’t listen, you go back to him with two or three others, and you confront him with the truth. If he doesn’t respond, then you widen that circle and you draw more people into that group of folks who are helping you to face that issue.

    What world is she from? First of all she is assuming you are dealing with a non-dangerous, “Christian”, because that is what Matthew 18 is all about. “If your B-R-O-T-H-E-R”…. And also, if they all end up dead, they would still blame the woman, for dragging them all there!

    I think if she literally is in physical danger….

    Never mind that the mental institute is awaiting your arrival from having a breakdown after years and years of mental torture. Can you see my trigger button flashing?!?

    ….because God’s heart is going to be redemption of that marriage.

    Of course. God’s heart is never toward protecting His own, but in restoring “things” and “covenants” that are killing His people. This loving God of ours is in the business of torturing His people and forcing them to live with unredeemed folk who torture them. Yep, that’s God according to them.

    So, we all know that God can redeem broken and even abusive marriages. But, that is not dependent on one person. Also, we are not talking about fixing the old, but having a completely “new” marriage, which God can also do. So, where are all those people who have had abusive spouses, who have now been redeemed and the marriage has been made completely “new” — out with the old, in with the new — to give us hope and to help us hold on? Where are they? The unfortunate thing about it, is that DeMoss and her buddy have never met them, you and I have most likely never met more than one or two and that they don’t really exist in plausible numbers, because God is in the business of freeing His people from this sick misconception of Him, not sentencing them to death or insanity here on earth, so that DeMoss and Elliff and all the others can say they were right.

    So there’s no way that Nancy and I could say, “Okay, this is what you do if you’re in that circumstance.

    I will end with this, because it is the only “smart” thing that either of them had to say.

    • Jeff Crippen

      What world are they from? A very insulated, self-made fantasy world that they call Christianity, but is not. It is a world filled with superstition. A world where things will turn out exactly as they are supposed to if we will each one just do our part. It is a world of delusion.

    • Joe Pote

      Well stated, Anon!

    • Thanks, Anon, extremely well said! I put all the quotes indented so it was easier to follow.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks, Barb! I didn’t know how to do that.

      • Ordinary readers can’t do indentations and block quotes. Only blog admins and editors can. 🙂
        I often do it with my own comments, but not often with other people’s. But yours was so good and had so many quotes in it, I wanted to make it easier to follow for our lovely, worn out, PTSD-ed readers! 🙂

  4. Jeff S

    This business of only physical trauma being important is quite a silly line to draw for people whose main priority is dealing with non-physical well being.

    I mean, if we only want to count physical trials as “real” then honestly we can throw out the take home points from just about every sermon I’ve ever heard.

    • Katy

      excellent point. Suffering and trials aren’t just cancer and car accidents. Nor are those the most important injuries, since God is concerned with our hearts and minds.

  5. MeganC

    Katy — your writing is excellent and I am awed by your story! And I feel like mine was so similar! The only difference is that we never saw our things again but that was OK. The kids and I recognize that our freedom trumps our belongings, although we did allow ourselves to grieve over lost books, photographs, toys, etc. God is in the process of replacing all of that now, anyway. But, it was the same for me — we were in Europe and a friend IN Europe paid to fly the kids and me back to the States. But, I found no support from what little family I had left here and no friends (for a while). I went to a few churches for help and they seemed to believe it was the best goal to bring my (then) husband out here to “get me”. I felt like the kids and I ran for a good year until God settled us in. Our first year was hard. And then the six months after the first year were hard. And then things got better. It is hard for me to not just throw out church. I think the kids and I were pretty destitute when I look back. And, still, the focus was on “saving the marriage”. And it seemed as though the fact that we had nothing was used against us (“If you would go back to your husband, you would have everything you need”). It was like our destitution was a tool of manipulation.

    But, just this morning, I read in Philippians that Paul, too, was disappointed in many churches (Phil 4:15-17). He seemed to have actively trained his mind, though, to focus on the one church that DID help him. I’m working on that, too, today…. Still have not made it back to church but trying to remain positive.

    • Jeff S

      “If you would go back to your husband, you would have everything you need”

      Isn’t it interesting that I can’t think of either Paul or Jesus saying anything that remotely sounds like this . . .

      • MeganC

        Amen, Jeff S!!

      • Double that Amen!

    • Desley

      Thank you, Megan, for sharing that. What a great piece of advice! I am encouraged just by reading this and can see how even in these situations where the church fails, God is working to bring about wisdom and strength in those who are trusting in Him. I thank Him for the strength He is working in you. I thank Him that He stands with the oppressed and weeps with the mourners and will make all things right. God bless you and Katy, and both of your families.

      • MeganC

        Big hugs, Desley!

  6. Jeff S

    At this point, the thing that gets me isn’t so much what these people say, because it holds no power over me, but that it takes away credibility from the Gospel. I mean, unbelievers KNOW this is garbage when they hear it. Why would anyone ever listen to what they have to say on any topic after hearing this?

    • So true. The feminist practitioners (both men and women) who work in domestic abuse are strongly against Christianity because they know how much it damages victims of abuse. They hear the stories all the time from their clients. It’s the same with the police and many lawyers and judges (the ones who aren’t abusers themselves). In my networking with secular DV practitioners, the wall of suspicion I felt as soon as I mentioned I was a Christian was…. palpable, and so high that it seemed un-scalable. Only when I was given an opportunity to present a talk to them about what I do, and said how I deplore the way churches often side with perpetrators, did they drop that wall. It was amazing. Suddenly I was accepted. I have even been labelled as a feminist by people in this network – and they meant that as a compliment (LOL!).

      The church is napalming the field of unbelievers with the ridiculous and horrendously unjust way it is treating victims of domestic abuse. How can the church go out and win souls when it’s shown itself to be a crack air-force that regularly drops bombs on innocent civilians and flies back to its safe base, remote from the carnage it has caused?

  7. Katy

    “So, where are all those people who have had abusive spouses, who have now been redeemed and the marriage has been made completely “new” — out with the old, in with the new — to give us hope and to help us hold on? Where are they? ”

    YES! Where are they? This thought has been rolling around in my mind when Christians say “God is in the business of saving marriages” – what? Then why didn’t he save mine? I prayed for 7 years that God would please help me, that he would change my husband’s heart, that he would please help me to have romantic/sexual feelings for this monster because I needed to have sex with him on a regular basis for my survival – and yet the thought of him touching made me cry!

    Why didn’t he answer those prayers? Why instead, did he miraculously reach down, pluck me and my children up, and move us to the east coast and give us a new house? and a job that I wasn’t qualified for? and a fun red golf cart with yellow flames painted on it, that I drive my kids around on as we fly through the woods with happiness and no fear?

    Why did God deliver us instead of fix my marriage??? I think we know the answer. 🙂

    • MeganC

      LOVE that, Katy. 🙂 Love it.

      I remember people asking me, “Don’t you believe that God can heal? That God can restore?”
      Oh, BOY, do I ever believe it! Because God is healing my children’s hearts and mine. He is restoring our souls. He rescued us from the one(s) who was / were destroying our souls. He is MOST DEFINITELY in the business of restoration and redemption!

      • Joe Pote


        Why didn’t God heal Israel’s relationship with Pharaoh? Why didn’t He soften Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would have compassion for his covenant partners, Israel? Why didn’t he restore that relationship, so that Israel could continue to live, in peace and prosperity in the land of Goshen, in a loving relationship with their Egyptian neighbors?

        Was it because Israel lacked sufficient faith, or because they failed to humble themselved before Pharaoh?

        No! It was because God had another plan…one He had already revealed to Abraham hundreds of years earlier.

        God’s plan was to deliver Israel from Egypt and to redeem them from their covenant with Pharaoh.

      • MeganC

        So GOOD, Joe!

      • Anonymous

        I love this Megan! I don’t know how to make people see it from that angle. But, if God’s will is that He always restores, then my 20 some years of praying for that, must just be Him torturing me to see how long I can hold out, huh? No, that is not Him. So, then I doubt…maybe my picture of Jesus is twisted and they are right! I have made my own decisions, but am learning that His decision for me, was that I could have left much sooner. I just didn’t because of fear and because of the well-doers who insisted that even though I had been asking and praying for 20 plus years, God just wanted me to wait on Him and live this way forever, if need be, to show Christ and perseverance to others.

        Read this today: Matthew 22:4-7. Jesus tells the parable here of those invited to the wedding banquet. He says that they treated it lightly and went their own way, but the rest seized His servants, treated them spitefully and killed them. Then He goes on to say how He felt about that. Verse 7: “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers and burned up their city.”

        Although this is not talking about marriage specifically, it is speaking of being married to Christ and the wedding we have been invited to, which IS the picture of what marriage here on earth should look like. See how angry Jesus is, when His people are mistreated and murdered! It says that He is furious at what they did to His people! Do we not think He is white hot with anger, the same kind that sets a city on fire, over His own being abused in marriage?!? What is wrong with the Christians, who just cannot get it?!? I feel like I have explained and explained. Perhaps what I really need to do, is just exactly what Christ said to do when you take the Gospel, and they won’t listen. Shake the dust, leave their city, and seal it with a curse!

    • Still scared( but getting angry)

      Yes, where are these marriages that have been healed?? And yes, more and more I am convinced God is in the business of taking me OUT of Egypt and captivity and bringing my kids and I to the promise land

      • Katy

        SS – I had that Egypt experience. No one can believe it when I describe how God brought us out of Texas. A place where I had no friends or family. I had nothing but a beat up minivan, 3 babies, and our clothing.

        For some reason that I can only call a miracle, my violent husband suddenly threw up his hands, walked away, and left me all of the assets. I drove out of Texas with “all the wealth of Egypt ” tied to my back, and then God brought us to the coast, gave us a house and then the job that I had never earned. I have a freedom that I never ever dreamed of. and PEACE

        One thing I have learned in the last 4 years – there is true freedom in Christ. I don’t mean that in the fake way it’s used sometimes – i mean FREEDOM. I am chasing some big dreams now and so far God’s been answering me with “yes” !

    • Barnabasintraining

      So, where are all those people who have had abusive spouses, who have now been redeemed and the marriage has been made completely “new” — out with the old, in with the new — to give us hope and to help us hold on? Where are they?

      This is a great question. I’d like to know the answer myself.

      • Jeff Crippen

        There are lots of them. In the movies, in novels – just think of Ebenezer Scrooge!

    • Barnabasintraining

      “God is in the business of saving marriages” – what? Then why didn’t he save mine? I prayed for 7 years that God would please help me, that he would change my husband’s heart

      This is something else I’m curious about. How long did you survivors try like this with no results before you knew you had to leave? Contrasted with, how long did it take before you began to see God move once you decided you had to go, and how did He lead you out?

      The first survivor I read about was Dani Moss, who tried and prayed for a great many years that God would save her marriage, with no results, until she finally heard, “you can leave.” I forget how many years. I’ll have to go look. I think it was around 20 or so.

      • Katy

        BIT – I never had a moment where I felt like God said “you can leave”. Instead, I had an experience where my husband was sitting in a chair, calmly threatening me, speaking all manner of evil, and suddenly his voice went “mute”. I couldn’t hear what he was saying but I could see his lips still moving.
        And I had this clear-as-a-bell thought in my head: “He’s leaving you now. Will you rely on Me?”
        and I said (in my mind, in despair) “On Whom else can I rely?”
        and then just like that, the sound button was back on, I could hear all of my husband’s insults, etc.
        That was my experience. It was more like a warning of what was going to happen, like preparation. And it all came to pass very quickly after that. It was very scary, but I tried to remember that God told me to rely on Him.

      • Desley

        I did have that “you can leave” experience. After becoming a Christian, I prayed for six more years and sought the help of the church for four? before I finally started to realize things weren’t going to change. I was praying angrily and desperately to God as my husband was beating on my son again, asking why He wasn’t fulfilling His “promises” to me since I was trying to hard to be submissive, to look at my own sin (there was much of that), and to have faith that he would heal my family. In the middle of me pleading with Him to change things, a thought came from left field, clear enough to almost be audible: “you can leave.” Exactly those words. I sat up straight (I had my face on the floor), shaken by the thought and asked, “how could I leave with eight children, no money, and nowhere to go?” And then I dismissed it altogether until Child Services showed up at my door and began to connect me with people who helped me to leave the next year (this past year).

        God is using Children’s Services and a shelter for abused women to help me through it. The church has only confused things for me.

    • Just Me

      Katy, That was great!!

      • Just Me

        My comment ended up in a weird spot. I’m referring to your post about riding through the woods with your kids on your really cool golf cart, with no fear. So, so fun!

  8. Barnabasintraining

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t even married.

  9. Katy

    I really truly want to hear a testimony from a women who suffered this level of abuse and her husband was miraculously changed into a loving husband, and she has no fear any longer and enjoys being with him. I’ve never met a couple like that.
    There has to be a reason for that. If God were truly in the business of saving marriage covenants (rather than people), it stands to reason that there would be couples everywhere with this history of domestic violence that are happy and healthy now. It’s almost as if God has different priorities…. 🙂

    • Just Me

      Yes! Exactly that! Thank you for putting that into words.

    • Debbie

      Isn’t it just as arrogant to say that God never does this? It is. However dependent entirely on the abusers free will. I believe your conclusions are just as rigid as the people you criticize. Possibly because it is filtered through the lens of Reformed Theology???? I have gotten much lodger thought here but I do believe marriage restoration is Gods will. However if that other person won’t bend to God, He works with that. I don’t pretend to fully understand the precise intersection between Gods will and our own free will but perhaps that’s all part of the mystery of God. You ask for an example: [example couple redacted by Eds] come to mind.

      • Hi Liz, I believe you have probably misunderstood what Katy said. Katy didn’t say that God NEVER restores such marriages, nor that he cannot do so, nor that he would not be in favour of that happening. All she said is that she doesn’t see heaps of such cases in reality, where the abuser has truly reformed and the marriage becomes the kind of marriage it truly should be. I removed the example you gave because I don’t know of that couple, and in any case, it was only one case: Katy was saying there aren’t lots of such cases. And Katy is correct: there are NOT lots of such cases.

        I doubt that where one sits in regards to Reformed Theology has all that much bearing on this question. We are talking about empirical facts: there are very few marriages in which one spouse was abusing the other and that spouse has totally reformed and no longer has any of the entitlement mentality of an abuser and has utterly ceased to exert unjust power and control over the other spouse.

        And while I have taken a different point of view to you here, I do want to extend a welcome to you to this blog 🙂 And I encourage you to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  10. Diane

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss…of the “True Woman Manifesto” fame. Ugh and double ugh.
    (If you don’t agree, I guess you are a false woman.)

    I found it very interesting that currently on DeMoss’ “Revive Our Hearts” site she has a “thank you” post for those who are helping her meet her 1.5 million “year end need”. ?? WOW.

    She is a wealthy heiress. Her dad, of course, being Arthur S DeMoss. Does she really need the donations of those less fortunate than she to meet a year end “need”?

    Someone’s home–her mom, or her own, is here as of 2009:
    Nancy DeMoss’ house [Internet Archive link]

    No credibility with me.

  11. Katy

    Megan – I totally relate. I was prepared to leave everything behind, as our lives were the only things that mattered. And we have had to “rebuild” a life of material stuff but as you say – that’s not the really important part. And before I got this job we were definitely poor and we were on some public assistance (free school lunch etc). However – that is not an indication that you are outside of God’s will. He provides for us in many different ways.

    • Anonymous

      Katy – God owns all the money in the world, even the money given to people in need by the State or Government. It is all His and He does with it as He pleases! It pleased Him to give it to you! The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it!

  12. Jeff Crippen

    DeMoss, Elliff, Piper, Baucham….Olympus, Zeus, Aphrodite… I have been studying Adventism of late and reading the writings of Ellen G. White, alleged prophetess. Not! I see a very troubling correspondence between the style and writings of DeMoss and Elliff and others of this same genre. It is a spirit or attitude of what I call “intrusion.” Ellen G. White intruded into people’s personal and private lives. Even into their thinking. I see her as a classic peeping-Tom sticking her nose into other people’s private lives and craving to exert control. When people like DeMoss write the books she writes and says the things she says, they do so with an entitlement to intrusion. They will tell you what to eat, what to wear, where to go, where not to go, how to speak to your spouse….and they are not at all shy about really reaming you out if they see you straying. The bottom line here is that DeMoss, Elliff, Piper and so many others need to be told to just get lost and get their noses out of peoples’ lives. No one has authority to dictate as they try to do. God does. His Word binds my conscience. But not this false pantheon of little gods. There is something very, very wrong with anyone who intrudes in this manner. They don’t think they even have to knock. They just walk right in. They are trespassers. Send them away!

    • MeganC

      You nailed it, Jeff C. Intrusion. Entitlement and intrusion. And ALL to exert control. Well-spoken.

    • Diane


    • Barnabasintraining

      They will tell you what to eat, what to wear, where to go, where not to go

      We are told specifically to avoid those who tell us to abstain from certain foods in both 1 Timothy 4 and Colossians 2. Also, we are specifically told we are free in regard especially to foods in Romans 14 and somewhere else I can’t recall off the top of my head. Corinthians somewhere I think. What in the world are they doing telling people what to eat?! Or what to wear for that matter. They cannot make moral issues out of things we are free in.

    • As a nurse who has worked in the psych side of medicine at times, I remember that word “intrusiveness” being a fairly frequent descriptor in the case notes of certain clients. Being overly intrusive was one of the things that indicated the client’s mental disorder, and the degree they were expressing their intrusive trait indicated how bad or less bad their disorder was at any given time.

      I’m not inferring any psych diagnosis for the teachers and false prophets that have been mentioned in this thread, I am simply saying that when I hear the word ‘intrusive’ I remember my time in psych nursing.

      • MeganC

        I find that VERY interesting, Barb.

      • Jeff Crippen

        I think some of them are mentals. I don’t necessarily mean any of the contemporary ones we have named here, but take Ellen White for instance. She spewed out reams and reams of written material. She claimed visions and had an angelic “visitor” regularly speaking to her. She announced that God spoke to and through her and people better obey her. Now, I gotta say, that sounds like, well…. let’s give it the 3 options C.S. Lewis gave in regard to Christ. Someone who claims these things either has to be telling the truth, a lunatic, or something worse. Ellen White was not telling the truth. Her failed prophecies prove that. Intrusion is indeed a huge warning sign that something is very wrong with someone.

        And hey, pretty cool! I used a psych word and didn’t even know it.

    • pamplamoussejuice

      Speaking of intrusive; I have spoken about my former pastor who really intruded into my life in many ways- one thing that occured was when i made the statement that it was my husband’s job to tell me if I was displeasing to him in some way- not the pastor’s. To which the pastor shook his head and said “no”. I was speechless. Of course, so was my STBE-who never has anything to say.

  13. Jeff Crippen

    As is true so often it seems, the Lord of the Rings comes to our rescue with some great quotes for such as these. Here are a few from Gandalf:

    “Be silent. Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I did not pass through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.”

    “You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!”

    “Tell me, friend, when did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?”

  14. Katy

    Jeff I did a lot of reading on Mormonism in the past, especially the polygamists, and they have scary similarities to these teachings. If you look up the book “Escape” by Carolyn Jessop on Amazon, it came out in 2008 and it is an astounding peek into that world…that poor woman escaped incredible abuse with 8 children. it has some pretty awful similarities to these Christian leaders on the subject of marriage. (maybe it’s just the strong patriarchy)

    • Jeff Crippen

      The patriarchy contributes for sure – that is where the power lies. But there also seems to be an attitude in people (in many cases, women) who ally themselves with the thing – an attitude of, hey! A new term: Matriarchy! These matriarchs also seem to get their joy from intruding and controlling. I would not be at all surprised if people like Ellen White were abusers themselves, craving power and control.

      • Barnabasintraining

        The matriarchs of patriarchy?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Yes! Matriarchy. -Archyness is bad either way

      • MeganC

        Haha, BIT! 🙂

      • Barnabasintraining

        We must be archinessless! 😀

  15. Keeping this anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this, Katy. I was leery of DeMoss but now even more so. As another commenter pointed out, DeMoss is not married but is very free to dispense authoritative advice on marriage and motherhood.

    I have not read her book “Lies Women Believe” but according to a review, she believes that Satan uses women to tear down their husbands because Eve was deceived. If you believe this logic, the woman is automatically suspect if not outright assumed to be the one at fault. If anyone has read the book and I have it wrong, please correct me. But if this is true, it makes perfect sense that she would give such advice.

    IMO, no good has come from these knee-jerk reactions in the gender wars. In some minds, feminism is the ultimate evil to the family and the church so you combat it by making sure the woman stays in her place. But they are only making matters worse by imposing moralistic behavior to combat sin. Only the gospel can do that.

  16. Katy

    Keeping Anonymous – you are very right. Your comment reminded me of another book I read last month “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert” – a testimony from a former feminist/Post Modern professor. For some reason her story also brought me a lot of hope – because it’s not about “going to war” with moralistic rules. so true.

  17. Kay

    I continue to be amazed at the ignorance of church leaders who do not recognize that abuse is rampant in our society and our churches! I experienced so much of what is shared here – trust God to heal your marriage, etc. As others have shared in their comments, since I have been free from the abuse, I have seen healing in my children, in myself and God’s blessings on our lives. I prayed for so many years to have a god honoring marriage, but it didn’t happen.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kay- The Bible is very plain. Evil exists. In fact, there is an entire kingdom of evil with its own evil prince who untiringly roams about seeking to devour. He has his emissaries whom he sends, disguised as sons of righteousness. He has his false prophets dressed as sheep. We are told this. Over and over again we are told it. But you know what? The average professing Christian, and even many pastors and church leaders, really don’t believe it. Oh they talk about it and give it lip service, but when they are actually confronted with it they practice willful naivete. There ARE evil people. Many of them. They are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, as the Bible says. It is willful disobedience and unbelief to go around declaring that God is going to “redeem” everyone and every marriage. What He does do is redeem His people and set them free from tyrrany and oppression. Honestly, I think that there are people who claim to be Christians who would insist that the Devil himself is going to be redeemed one day.

      • Joe Pote

        Ummm… I believe LDS teaches exactly that, don’t they?

      • Barnabasintraining

        Ummm… I believe LDS teaches exactly that, don’t they?

        Ack! Really?

      • Katy

        The LDS also believe that their marriages continue in heaven – they are eternal. 🙂 So even in death, there is no escape.

      • Anonymous

        So, where does this theology fit into all of this. Total depravity. I am being told, that because we are all sinners, his sin is no worse than anything I have ever done. They say, “well, he isn’t some kind of monster or something! I mean, he can be redeemed, just like you can, and because you are redeemed, it is sinful for you not to show him the way!”, even though I have been loving and forgiving and doing all I could to lead him to God for over 20 years. Books, tapes, seminars, conferences, all of it — and to no avail. So, what about this – total depravity – is it an excuse or enabler to an abuser?

      • Jeff Crippen

        This is a terribly common excuse that is used against abuse victims. Total depravity simply means that every human being, due to Adam’s fall, is born into this world with no “island of goodness” in them. That is to say, every part of man is fallen in sin – mind, spirit, emotions, body. No part escapes. This does NOT mean that everyone is as bad as they possibly could be in practice. Total depravity is radical depravity. Radical means “root.” Sin has affected us at the root of our being. But remember that Jesus said it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the cities in His day on the day of judgment. The Bible plainly says that some people are more wicked than others. That some sin is more evil than other sin. The Reformed Confessions of Faith teach this to be the case. So this whole nonsense about “we are all sinners and just as bad as anyone else and so we have to have compassion and we must forgive the abuser….” is totally wrong. The abuser, hardened in his non-conscience, pretending to be a fine Christian, craving power and control – IS a worse and more evil sinner than his victim. Therefore he IS to be treated differently, and it is gross naivety and foolishness to treat him as if he is no different than everyone else. Many abusers are just plain sociopaths with no conscience.

      • Anonymous

        Pastor Jeff – can I cut and copy your answer here and send it to someone?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Cut and paste away! If they get mad though, tell them you forgot my name:)

  18. Laurie

    It is interesting to me how folks like these can make blanket statements (You must reconcile your marriage always at all costs) while not making blanket statements (Every situation is different) but yet the enemy’s tactics and patterns are actually quite recognizable and consistent.

    • Laurie spot on. Such inconsistencies. And it’s tragic that these blanket statements are such cliches that people don’t even examine them. Then take home the pretty posy of cliches without ever wondering whether it might contain inconsistencies, let alone a serpent hiding among the pretty flowers.

  19. Jeff S

    I think the whole “God is for your marriage” thing gets into a confusion about the “will” of God.

    Here’s a good article by Sproul on that subject:
    The Will of God [Internet Archive link]

    I think you could argue that within God’s “will of disposition” he does not want any marriage to end. In the same way, God does not want babies to starve to death or women to be raped.

    However, just because God does not want these things doesn’t mean they don’t happen. If the marriage was God’s “sovereign, decretive will” not to end, then he would fix it so it didn’t have to (which means fixing the abuser), but we are not promised anywhere in scripture that it is God’s sovereign, decretive will that all marriages will be saved.

    • Desley

      Wow. Thanks, Jeff. That was hugely helpful.

      Katy, I think you are probably right in that the woman Beth Moore referred to was not being abused (I hope). But I guess it bothers me because the specifics of her situation were not clarified and I find that reckless. It may be that I am overly sensitive to these messages now, but you don’t typically find teachers making distinctions between how one would handle a troubled marriage and how one would handle an marriage marked by abuse. There were likely several abused women who walked away from that particular message believing that staying in the marriage is the right thing for them to do too. Too many blanket statements with no regard for who might be listening, I think. DV is enough of a problem that people probably should clarify these things when broaching the subject of marital problems. I hope I am making sense.

      • Yes, it is reckless, but I would say it is worse than reckless. It’s professional negligence and malpractice.


        In law, malpractice is a type of negligence in which the professional under a duty to act fails to follow generally accepted professional standards, and that breach of duty is the proximate cause of injury to a plaintiff who suffers harm. It is committed by a professional or her/his subordinates or agents on behalf of a client or patient that causes damages to the client or patient.

        If there is a contract involved, it might be called misfeasance.

        The expressions misfeasance and nonfeasance, and occasionally malfeasance, are used in English law with reference to the discharge of public obligations existing by common law, custom or statute.

        Definition and relevant rules of law
        When a contract creates a duty that does not exist at common law, there are three things the parties can do wrong:

        Nonfeasance is to ignore and take no indicated action – neglect.
        Misfeasance is to take inappropriate action or give intentionally incorrect advice.
        Malfeasance is hostile, aggressive action taken to injure the client’s interests.

      • Desley

        I am keeping this info on hand.Good to know.

    • Joe Pote

      Good article! Thanks, Jeff!

  20. Desley

    Come to think of it, I recall in Beth Moore’s “Believing God” series that she also claimed to know for sure that “God is for your marriage.” It made sense at the time…that when we pray God’s will we can expect HIm to deliver, and thus pray it in faith. The example she gave of the woman commentor on her blog who was ready to pack her bags and leave her husband but “decided instead to believe God” – I wonder, did anyone from Lifeway ever correspond with this woman to get the details of her marriage problems? If they did, they didn’t elaborate to the rest of us. And yet it is clear that believing God to save our marriages WHILE WE UNPACK OUR BAGS AND WAIT IT OUT is what a person of faith does.

    It IS amazing how we take these things for granted without examining them. Where DOES God say in the Bible that He is for every single marriage, regardless of the circumstances? I have never read it.

    • You’re quite right, Desley. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that God is for every single marriage regardless of the circumstances.

      the woman … who was ready to pack her bags and leave her husband but “decided instead to believe God”

      I heard a story only recently of a woman who is married to a pastor who I’m betting is an abuser (can’t tell you the background, but there are plenty of signs). She packed her bags once to leave him but then changed her mind, being snagged by exactly that thought: “I should believe God, I should hang in and believe that God will change my husband.”

      It’s pernicious mis-teaching; it can literally be lethal. And it’s epidemic in the church.

      • Desley

        “I heard a story only recently of a woman who is married to a pastor who I’m betting is an abuser (can’t tell you the background, but there are plenty of signs). She packed her bags once to leave him but then changed her mind, being snagged by exactly that thought: “I should believe God, I should hang in and believe that God will change my husband.”
        So sad. 😦 If only..if only these people would be more responsible in what they are teaching. I realize not all of them mean to come across like this, but these same people also don’t feel the need to take extra precautions to avoid these misunderstandings either.

  21. Katy

    “And yet it is clear that believing God to save our marriages WHILE WE UNPACK OUR BAGS AND WAIT IT OUT is what a person of faith does.”

    oh, this is so interesting to me, because there was a time when I would have taken this for granted as well. My guess, is that the marital problems referred to by Beth Moore likely did not include abuse. But there is no way of knowing because we can’t find any of these elusive domestic violence survivors who stuck it out and have happy redeemed marriages now. 😉

    • Desley

      And you are right – where ARE they? Surely after all these years of teaching this crap there ought to be enough out there to defend the teachings.


      • Desley, I’m frightened of opening up a can of worms here, but I’ll make a few remarks. (knowing me, that could run to several paragraphs!)
        I have come across marriage rescuing type ministries that work with both the husband and the wife and that claim a fair degree of success with domestic abuse cases. But so far, the individuals who I’ve heard from who have gone to those ministries have not convinced me that there has been real and lasting change in the abusive spouse. Somehow, the testimonies seem too good to be true, too ‘gushy’, too much like they all come from the same mould and all the abusers learned the same script to testify about their reformation.

        I have read one story which seems genuine: Karen and Bruce McAndless-Davis tell their story in their own words [Internet Archive link].
        Bruce and Karen now work together in domestic abuse ministry: Karen is a counsellor, and she and Bruce together run workshops. But a quick glance at the articles [Internet Archive link] on their website will show you that they are not pushing the line that every abusive marriage can be saved.

        There is also a ministry called Changing Men Changing Lives, which is run by Ty and Barb Schroyer. They are experienced professionals in the Duluth model of Mens’ Behaviour Change Programs and Victim Support Programs for domestic violence/abuse. The Changing Men Changing Lives program is a version of the Duluth men’s program that the Schroyers have developed for abusers who profess Christianity. I am not aware of how successful they are in getting abusers to change, but they have a video on their site which shows at least one man who appears to have reformed.

        The secular men’s behaviour change programs say they are finding that some abusers do change at least to some degree or for some period of time, but those who do change tend to be the abusers who are on the milder end of the spectrum of abuse. The MIWs (monsters in wedlock – thanks Memphis for that great acronym) don’t seem to change no matter how much effort is put in to them. (Remember, I’m not an expert; I’m only passing on what I’ve gleaned by going to conferences and reading a lot.)

        What all this boils down to is that while there may be the odd story of real reformation, we aren’t hearing masses of survivors reporting that their marriages were completely transformed from being abusive to being respectful, loving and mutually enriching.

      • Desley

        Thanks for your reponse, Barbara. Right off the bat I can see some profound differences between the usual counsel to victims and what it being put forth here. I can see how their program might be effective in some rare cases. For one, Bruce is listing the ways he abused Karen in great detail. He is taking full responsiblity without minimizing, rationalizing, or blame-shifting. Second, the approach here seems to recognize that the abuser and the abused have completely different needs that should be addressed. Third, this program focuses in on the underlying beliefs and not simply external behaviours. As you know so well, this is definitely NOT the same approach that is taken by the vast majority of churches. The church allies with the abuser in minimzing his verbal/emotional/psychologlcal/economic abuse, for goodness sake. How in the world does an abuser change when the very myths (or LIES) that are allowing him to continue in his abuse are being reinforced by the very people who are claiming to help? How does he change when his wife continues to tolerate his mistreatment of her because the church is keeping her in the dark?

        If the church would even adopt the model put forth here, we might (just might) see some progress with the milder abusers and be able to salvage a very small percentage of marriages – even if they are the exception to the rule. But the church isn’t even doing that much.

        I think Katy is on to something by asking them to provide examples of success. If they cannot provide some real, concrete examples of success in their approaches and they nonetheless continue to use a proven flawed system, this is inexcusable. No. This is detestable. It is a sad, sad place we have reached when the standards of the world are higher than the standards of the church.

        But now I have to go and take a breather.

      • Joe Pote

        “Somehow, the testimonies seem too good to be true, too ‘gushy’, too much like they all come from the same mould and all the abusers learned the same script to testify about their reformation.”

        An astute observation, Barbara.

        When people are convinced that in order to save their marriage they must believe deeper, worker harder, and pray more fervently, that “believe deeper” part translates to “act like everything is going great whether it is or not.”

      • Jeff S

        Desley, my therapist used to work with domestic abusers- as in, the kind who had to be court ordered to see him. What he tells me is that he could count the number of men who “reformed” on one hand, they were the milder cases, he’s not sure years afterward if it “took” for good, and that those who claimed Christianity were the worst to work with because all they did was sit there and quote scripture to justify their actions (which he had really nothing to counter with because he doesn’t really understand Christianity well enough to point out where they were mis-applying scripture).

        He also told me that even with the handful of success stories he would not recommend the wife returning for fear of her safety.

        The only caveat to all of this is that the sample is skewed because all of these men were in therapy at a court order, so none of them were there voluntarily. But the point is, from his perspective even the success stories were hard to really count as successful.

    • Joe Pote

      “oh, this is so interesting to me, because there was a time when I would have taken this for granted as well”

      Same here, Katy. It was such a part of the culture in which I was raised, that I never even thought to question whether it was truly a biblical perspective.

      I wonder, now, whether that part of our cultural belief system doesn’t originate more from pagan religions proliferated thru fairy tales and Disney movies…

  22. Tersia

    I fully agree that people without experience should not give advice. I was given the book “Lies Women Believe” by a church member. It was about 7 years ago, when I really started talking to my “friends” at church about what my husband was putting us through and that I no longer could take it. So they gave me that book. I never really read it, just skimmed through it here and there but got the feeling that I should not read the book. Now I am glad I did not.

    I was living with an abusive husband since 2000. I got to a point that I had to write down what was happening and have actual records of what was going on. I always thought that I could make it, it was just me and I was the one that had to change. But my kids started telling me that they did not think it was wise for us to live with this mean person anymore. And what followed was amazing. In [month redacted] 2012 I heard “it is time to leave”. I had seen an attorney about filing for divorce in June and he told me that I had to leave the house in order for him to serve my husband papers. All scared not knowing how I was going to pull this off, I was terrified. I asked the Lord to please help me through this. I know it was time and HE was telling me to leave.

    [Date redacted], my husband and I had a fight on the phone about money and paying bills. I got home before he did so I started making supper. He walked in and started screaming at me. We ended up with a yelling match in the bedroom as I just had enough and could take it no more. He grabbed his wallet and took out some cash, grabbed me by the back of the head and started shoving the money into my mouth saying “I hope this tastes good!”. I had the spaghetti spoon in my hand and started hitting him on the face to try and get him off of me as I was pinned to the bed him leaning on top of me. I got him off and grabbed my phone and called 911. Long story short he cut my lip in the process and that is what finally got him hauled off to jail after the 3rd 911 phone call in 3 months. I asked the cops when will he get out of jail and they said it could be as early as in the morning. I said, “well he will just come back here!” and the cop indirectly told me that I should not be here when he got out of jail.

    That weekend prior, I had an acquaintance tell me that they were leaving town as their job had finished they were working on, and had another week left on their furnished apartment and wondered if I knew someone who needed it. I called them up and moved into the apartment that evening. Was able to stay there for the week ’til we were able to move into an unfurnished house lent to us for 2 months free of charge. We went and got our beds from the house before he got out of jail. While in jail, I was able to serve him with the intentions of divorce papers, an order of protection, and the state served him papers on Criminal Domestic Violence. He stayed in jail for 3 days ’til his dad bailed him out. He went to stay with his parents and have been there ever since.

    We were able to move back into our home on Labor Day weekend, and he was told that he was not allowed to come close to our home at all. The sheriff had already escorted him to our home to get his things out while we were at a safe house. My family and friends have really taken care of us in many ways and I see it as God taking care of us. The church is not the only one that has to take care of us. God speaks through individuals to help each other out. Since then every door has opened to proceed with my separation and in 6 more months I am filing for divorce.

    As he speaks to my friends to get to me indirectly, I see that he has not changed and that his intentions are all wrong. He told one friend that the only way he will get me back is for him to get a job. He tells my mom to tell me to tell my attorney to put a stop to the order of protection and to realize I am wrong and to let him back home. She said “NO!” The kids tell me that he keeps telling them to tell me to let him back home, and their answer is “NO WAY!”

    I was able to give my kids the best Christmas in 14 years, all with him not being here. We are so much happier and the kids are adjusting very well. A year ago I was struggling trying to make it with food stamps, and a husband that refused to work. I have not gone a day without being able to pay my bills or buy food, and I actually have money left over after each paycheck. The Lord does take care of us and opens doors and / or windows where He wants us to go.
    But it all comes down to experience. Until a pastor’s kids go through an abusive relationship, they will never understand what we go through or what it is all about.

    [For safety and protection, the dates were redacted. Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    • Desley

      What, I wonder, was going through their minds when they gave you that pathetic excuse for a book?!? But what wise children you have! Wisdom revealed to babes, for realz. I am so happy for you that you are free! 😀 God bless you!!

    • Tersia, that’s a great story! Hugs to you, and your cool kids!

      You were so ‘lucky’ he physically assaulted you and you had the split lip and blood to prove it so the police charged him. And so you then could get the protection order. Many victims tell me that their state laws don’t provide protection orders unless there is evidence of physical violence. Uugh. Here in Oz, in my state, we can get protection orders for all sorts of domestic abuse: financial, social, psychological/emotional, stalking, getting other people to abuse on the perpetrator’s behalf… anything that is a pattern of conduct that causes the victim to live in fear.

    • Katy

      God bless you Tersia, yes God uses individuals to help us, not just church leadership, and yes he opens the doors in the way He wants us to go! THANK GOD you never read Nancy’s book, and I promise you the women who gave it to you probably thought you needed to work on your “gentle spirit” and tattling on your husband’s abuse was not showing him proper “reverence”. These people are crazy, but you and your kids are going to be fine!

      • Desley


      • pamplamoussejuice

        Why is it that so many people (women and men) in the church, assume that having a meek and quiet spirit means having a mostly closed mouth and a whispery voice? There is no room in the church for a woman like me: assertive, opinionated (of course only in a good way)- studied in the Scripture- able and willing to teach (but no takers).

      • Me too, Pamplamouse.

    • Joe Pote

      What an encouraging story, Tersia! Sounds like you and your kids are doing great!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      I hate to say this, but it is probably good that you have the evidence and that you had to call 911 those times, because I have been asked several times, “Well, have you ever HAD to call the police?”, instead of, “SHOULD you have ever called the police?”, and because my answer is, “no I have never actually called the police, but my children almost did”, they don’t think the abuse was all that serious. At least not serious enough to leave the marriage.

  23. Del Davis

    We may want to save our marriage, and God may want to save our marriage, but that pesky abusive husband thinks everything is just fine.

    • Desley

      and he isn’t getting much reason to question that from the church either, is he?

      • Del Davis

        Got that straight, Desley! My former church thinks my husband is just fine and I’m the crazy one.

      • pamplamoussejuice

        Months after leaving my husband, I left my church. A few months later I get an email from one of the elders (who, by the way, never said a word to me about my situation while I was still at church) basically telling me what I needed to do to reconcile my marriage- even tho he admitted he didn’t know that much about my situation. Of course he mentioned the evil of Eve wanting to control her husband,etc…….
        I ignored it.

      • Katy

        Pampla — that is so horrid! Why would that man presume to stick his nose in where he has no knowledge, and instruct you on things he doesn’t understand? And by email! (he was smart to do it by email – less messy for him, so he can just judge you from on high without the messiness of dealing with an actual person or having to hear any unseemly details in response)
        I hate to say it but I don’t feel any urge to defend the church, and if it withers up and dwindles down to having to meet in tents, then maybe that would be the best thing.

      • Jodi

        Katy, just another example of someone with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.

      • Jeff Crippen

        And throw in a pinch of arrogance to the mixture. Ignorance + Arrogance = ???? Trouble?

  24. I just sent a message to the Revive Our Hearts website using their web-email form, telling them the link to this post and suggesting they read it.

    • Anonymous

      Good work, Barb. This is the only way that people will have their eyes opened or at least consider opening their eyes! They think they know the Gospel so well, but they are missing some very important aspects and need to own up to it. Thanks for doing this.

      • I also submitted a comment on the True Woman blog [True Woman is now Revive Our Hearts. Editors.], at a post they wrote in 2010 about Holly Eliff. All I said in my comment was “There is a post about Holly Eliff and Nancy Leigh Demoss at the blog A Cry For Justice.” – and I gave the link to this post here at ACFJ.
        I’m pleased to see they have published my comment. You can see the post here Holly Elliff’s Life . . . Eight Kids Later and scroll down to find my comment.

  25. pamplamoussejuice

    To add another thing. My former (I almost typed “old women’s group” – but that made it sound like my group was just old women! LOL!) women’s group studied the book “Lies Women Believe” and it was very distressing to me. I didn’t even realize I was abused at that point – but I knew something was very wrong and this woman – who wasn’t married was trying to tell me it was all my fault. I at least knew that wasn’t true. The pastor’s wife, who led it, would give examples of her sins against her husband as cautionary tales to the rest of us (correcting her husband’s grammar, trying to give him directions while driving and then crying when he reprimanded her) (she claimed that was her being manipulative or something nonsensical like that) – these were examples supposedly of the what a gentle and quiet spirit is NOT. ???????? I knew there was no way in Hades I could EVER live it up to this standard – and I would question why God made me the way the He did, if I was supposed to be like this.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I hope that pastor’s wife wakes up one day. In some ways you have to feel sorry for her. And yet, she is a danger to others because she is teaching that stuff.

    • Katy

      My study group (that was using “Lies Women Believe”) had the exact same dynamic. The leader of the group described how she was being rebellious against her husband by getting addicted to “couponing” – how it was insulting him and his ability to provide. Lord have mercy, I don’t know how I made it through that particular study. They were sweet women, truly, but I could never fit in. 🙂

      • pamplamoussejuice

        That was the same pastor that spiritually abused me, so I’m pretty sure she is living with an abusive man – she has given herself no other choice but to blame herself.
        Katy – I’m with you! I never fit in with these church ladies either. If I find someone more like me, we end up huddling together “outside the camp”. I have basically had it with church as well.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Fully understood, Pampla. I feel the same way. But what I have to remind myself of is that there is the “church” and then there is the “church.” I bet that you have not had it with the true church, the real body of Christ. The trick is for us to find it! Many times that “church” as defined as a building with a pastor that meets in that place….is not a church at all. And of course, even the very best visible churches in this present world contain a mixture of true Christians and false ones. The challenge is to find one where the genuine believers are in charge!

      • MeganC

        Jeff C….I have recently grown into a better understanding of what you are saying about the Church vs the church (lowercase “c”). It was a great comfort to me to see Paul’s disappointment in, not just one, but many churches. Something he would never forget. And then, to see him rejoice in the ONE CHURCH that actually helped him during the time of hardship he describes. Here are the verses:

        You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out — and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity. (Phil 4:15-17 The Message)

        Lately, I have been trying to train my mind to focus on “my Philippian Church” — comprised of about 15 people scattered all over the globe (no two attend the same venue!). I am determined, now, to be grateful for these folk (all ya’ll included) and then train myself to better recognize wolves. I think, by doing these two things and by praying, God will help me to be able to attend church again. It will be different this time. I am so glad for the break.

      • Meg, you’ve just given us another phrase for our Glossary….”Philippian church”….the people on this blog are my Philippian church, for sure.

      • Just Me

        So couponing is labelled “rebellious” but porn is considered to be “every man’s battle.” Doesn’t it seem like they blow up a woman’s sin to gigantic proportions while minimizing a man’s sin?

      • There’s room for satire here:
        Couponing: Every Woman’s Battle
        Who wants to write that skit for performance at the next church camp?

      • MeganC

        That made me laugh out loud, Barb. 🙂

      • Katy

        Pampla, I have given up on the church lady Bible studies, but I do still attend my church just because I feel like if there is someone there who needs help – I should be there! Just in case God would use me to encourage someone else. It’s really hard to find a body of believers that you can be free in, to be who God made you to be, where the fellowship is honest. But I keep hoping. Although I try not to “challenge” my church leadership in a way that would brand me a problem (har har), I do stand up for things that I know are right. I am not afraid to go against them (as humbly as possible 😉 😉 That’s for Nancy.) on the stuff that matters.

      • Jeff Crippen

        There are always plenty of professing Christians who try to lay human traditions on us and try to tell us that these traditions are Scripture. That is what DeMoss and others are doing. God’s instruction to us:

        (Col 2:8-10 ESV) (8) See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (9) For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, (10) and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

      • SJR

        Are you sure we weren’t in the same ladies group? Lol.

      • Kind of Anonymous

        It was insulting to him and his ability to provide??? Well, maybe if she was putting on a performance in his face of “Look honey, even though you barely give me what a woman in the fifties would get to buy food for her family, with couponing I’ve been able to pull it off anyway, what do you think of that you big chump”? But somehow I seriously doubt this was the case. Talk about inventing cardboard sins. I think most men would be proud of a wife who finds deals on things and stretches family resources. If not, then he is likely pretty insecure.

      • Debbie

        Nitpicking to the extent of declaring the frequent use of coupons to be an insult to a husband’s capacity as a provider is the sort of perspective to make wives paranoid of offending their husband’s egos. It seems like the women in Nancy DeMoss’s camp are teaching wives to not view their husbands as humans but as supernatural beings and to view themselves as subhuman creatures.

      • Finding Answers

        Debbie commented (30TH APRIL 2020 – 4:28 PM):

        Nitpicking to the extent of declaring the frequent use of coupons to be an insult to a husband’s capacity as a provider is the sort of perspective to make wives paranoid of offending their husband’s egos….

        My ex-“husband” didn’t learn the value of things like keeping a budget until AFTER we were divorced.

        I highly doubt he (my ex-“husband”) EVER learned the value of coupons, though he spent many years as a “salesman”.

  26. Katy

    Okay who said that porn is “every man’s battle”? I saw that in a previous thread. Is this just a common refrain among pastors or did somebody like Piper say that? Makes a woman never want to get married again when she hears that every man on the planet secretly watches porn. 😦
    re: couponing – Honestly. I think sometimes they pick these really minor teeny tiny things to nitpick because they are afraid to talk about anything more serious or real.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Steve Arterburn – Every Man’s Battle – Pornography

      It is the title of a best-selling book and it has a workbook and workshops and so forth.

      • Katy

        oh wow. ! I don’t know what to think of that. Every Christian man has this struggle?

      • Jeff Crippen

        More truthfully stated- EVERY Christian, man or woman, has their struggle with temptation and sin. That is what Galatians 5 is all about. And all of us are enabled to do this battle and put sin to death by the Spirit. BY the Spirit! Not by moralism, but by the Spirit of Christ in us.

      • Jeff S

        It should be noted that not every man struggles with porn, and I don’t think the book makes that claim (correct me if I am wrong). I’d say it’s pretty accurate that most men do struggle with sexual thoughts to one degree or another (and my guess is at least some women struggle with this also?), which I believe is the main point of the book.

        I can tell you my experience in men’s study groups is that porn is not taken lightly, but in some ways the drastic reaction by some men toward the “sin” of admiring a beautiful woman makes it almost equivalent to porn, and by implication reduces the serious nature of porn. I can see how this would sometimes validate porn users that their sin is just a natural struggle.

        But for my money, while I’m not always sure where the line of what constitutes “lust” is, I can tell you there is a HUGE difference between the attraction of a pretty woman on a billboard and the idea of watching a video of people publicy displaying acts of intimacy in a way intended to stimulate.

        So I guess in trying to say, take heart that not every man wants to bring porn into the home; however, every man struggles with the flesh and that includes sexual temptation to along with the rest.

      • Desley

        “I can tell you there is a HUGE difference between the attraction of a pretty woman on a billboard and the idea of watching a video of people publicy displaying acts of intimacy in a way intended to stimulate.”

        I think it is actually a myth that pornography is simply “displaying acts of intimacy in a way intended to stimulate.” In the large majority of porn, there are no acts of intimacy at all; there are abusive acts, denigrating acts (like beating women and flushing their heads in toilets), there is gang rape, and a whole onslaught of demoralzing women in the most humiliating and tortorous ways. Most times the woman herself is depicted as rejecting the abuse and rape until she finally succumbs and “realizes” she actually is finding pleasure in being mistreated.
        IMO, it is probably the myths cloaking the reality of porn that make it so appealing. But when you dig into it a little deeper, and when you realize how it ties into the global sex msrket (including the sex trafficking of women and children), what you find is wholly disturbing – and maybe even enough to repel some men from consuming it.

        Pornography sends men the wrong messages about women (that they exist for male pleasure and are inferior) and then burns it into the subconscious with the pleasure-producing endorphins. Even men who begin in soft porn most times regress into the more common hard-core stuff. In some cases now, just to give their films more shock value, they are taping actual rapes of porn actresses, where they are brutally beaten and used in abnormal and dehumanizing ways. This is why porn actresses must get through the shoots with drugs and alcohol.There are no longer any boundaries or safety for the people in the porn industry (who would believe them? Who would care?). And sadly, as I stated in the other post, these people are in pain and usually start porn when they are lured into it as vulnerable teens, after suffering childhood abuse that makes them think they are inherently sexual and worthless. Many women in porn are also coerced into it by boyfriends and husbands (just like prostitution).

        The whole industry makes me sick.

        I guess for me, I am furious any time someone calls pornography “every man’s battle” because I was coerced into prostitution as a teen and then when I was pregnant with my first child I was raped by his father after he watched porn. Yes, most people (men and women) struggle with sexual thoughts. But that is quite different than crossing a line and using real people, and watching real people be abused and humiliated for your own pleasure.

        There is a video on YouTube describing some of the conditions on set in a California workplace. It highlights just one of women who are abused on set. Shelly Lubben (former porn actress turned Christian) is appealing to have the porn industry shut down until it meets the current health and safety laws. If you do go to find it, please be advised that it is very graphic and disturbing.

      • Jeff S

        Thank you for the correction and excellent information regarding the realities of porn. I must admit ignorance to what really goes on in actual porn, as the thought of it sickens me too much to have ever watched any. I knew my original statement fell short, but it’s hard for me to describe given my non experience.

        All of this strengthens my point that porn is NOT “every man’s battle” and that the battle of striving for sexual purity in thought is not the same as striving to not use porn.

      • MeganC

        It DOES strengthen your point, Jeff S. I kinda’ smiled when I saw your post because I could tell that you did not know the extent and depth of the violence porn portrays (which encourages me very much). Knowing you, I think you would be absolutely repulsed. I accidentally glimpsed a bit of soft-porn when I was in my early 20s. I was at a friend’s house and I accidentally put in a video, thinking I was getting a movie. I was sick over it. 😦 But, from what I understand, pornography today is vile in its violence toward women and children. It absolutely distorts a view of God’s creation (humans) and perpetuates abuse in a horrid way. Appreciating beauty is normal and good. There is no fine line here between appreciating a beautiful woman (as God’s creation — created in His image) and the lust of porn. Those two postures are worlds apart.

      • Desley

        Hi again Jeff. I am sorry if I came across confrontational at all. Unfortnunately I am still learning how to channel my anger (even if it is healthy) and express it in healthy and productive ways. I didn’t get the impression at all that you were minimizing or justifying the use of porn; I thought it would be good to clarify, that’s all. And I think you’re last distinction is a good one.

        I am taken by the way you carry yourself on this blog. All of you. Thank you for being such a great example of humility.

      • MeganC

        Desley….I cannot imagine all you have been through. We all understand triggers. I admire your desire to be healthy and move forward. You are a beloved daughter of God. Hugs.

      • Jeff S

        Desley, no you did not come across as confrontational. I was thankful for you to describe what I could not (and am thankful not to be able to).

      • Desley (I wrote Katy originally, but that was a typo. sorry Katy!) – thank you so much for expressing your views about the porn industry, and for sharing about your self. You are not the only one on this blog who was a prostitute at one time. I was too. I identify very much with the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears, and I understand Jesus’ words “those who are forgiven much, love much.”
        I see that apart from Desley’s disclosure, other comments so far haven’t mentioned prostitution. That’s fine. But if anyone has anything else they want to say about prostitution, can we reserve it for another post? We don’t want this post to run wild — it’s already long and that’s okay, but we (the admins and eds at ACFJ) have realised that we need to be mindful of not letting sub-threads develop in too many directions from an original post. So, pretty please, can we not enter into a discussion about prostitution for the moment? Thanks. But of course, if any of our regular commenters want to email me privately, that’s fine.
        Of course, this is NOT an invitation for perps and pervets to email me: if they do, their messages will go straight to trash.

      • Katy

        “All of this strengthens my point that porn is NOT “every man’s battle” and that the battle of striving for sexual purity in thought is not the same as striving to not use porn.”

        Oh thank goodness that makes it clearer. I don’t think it’s good to mix the two issues – as porn is definitely in a different league, and I struggle to believe that my own dad is struggling every day against an impulse to watch degrading sex acts on the internet! I would think that kind of struggle would have “Fruit” in a man’s life that would be detrimental/visible in some way. ?

      • Desley

        “I would think that kind of struggle would have “Fruit” in a man’s life that would be detrimental/visible in some way. ?”

        I would think so too, Katy. Depending on how long he has had this problem, you might not be able to recognize what has been lost. The “fruit” in his life may even be mistaken for his personality now. If he hasn’t had this problem for long, I hope he breaks free from its grip sooner than later.

        “There is no fine line here between appreciating a beautiful woman (as God’s creation — created in His image) and the lust of porn. Those two postures are worlds apart.”

        That is a great way to put it, Megan! Claiming that men are drawn to pornography because they are drawn to beauty is akin to making a claim that you are drawn to depictions of tortured dolphins because you are drawn to the beauty of dolphins.

        Pornography isn’t about beauty; it is about marring beauty – and both men and women would do well to examine what really is drawing them to pornography. It is not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination. A few years back there were two teenagers in my city charged for urinating on a war memorial. The courts decided that they would deal with their “DISRESPECT” towards war veterans with community service at the war museum, where they would learn the history. I find it significant that urinating on a stone memorial was considered a gross form of disrespect on one hand, but yet in pornography women are constantly being urinated on –and this is not perceived as disrespect towards women? Dan Allender, in a Samaritans Purse conference, explained that our faces more deeply reveal the glory of God than anything else in nature. More than Mount Rushmore, even. Yet in pornography the face of a woman is often the target for a man to ejaculate on. What is the significance of that, I wonder? Marking territory?

        I don’t know…sometimes I wonder if we are failing to help rehabilitate porn addicts because we are failing to look beneath the surface to deal with the underlying beliefs.

        For myself, I used to be drawn to it because I hated myself for being a woman and it felt more natural to see women degraded and treated like objects. I really thought that this was normal and real. I was vehemently opposed to any idea that sex could be at all related to love. To relate sex to love would be too risky, too painful. I thought women who linked sex with love were idiots and were living in denial.

        I also know of some cases in which porn appeals to men because of their hunger for power and control. In porn, the women are the objects for the man’s more important subject. In fact, I think Lundy Bancroft talks about this in his book as well. I think we all agree that porn produces negative attitudes about women in men; but in many cases the pull of pornography is the attitude of male-superiority it is engrossed in. But yet in all of these men’s ministries, the problem is always oversimplified and again, they focus on the external behaviours rather than the attitudes that fuel the behaviour.

        Another problem I have, as I think Megan pointed out before, is that too often we are led to believe that men are tempted by some external force (namely, the women in porn) to consume porn. This myth fosters a victim mentality in men and allows them to shift the blame for their choices on to someone else – namely, the woman they are helping to harm. This is a gross overgeneralization and completely disregards the realities of the vast majority of women who enter the industry. In fact, it probably works the other way around. Women and children are more likely to be tempted (or lured) into porn because men consume it, thereby making it profitable for pornographers (and pimps) to exploit the vulnerabilities of young women and children. (Not to mention, this is a counter-biblical belief; James 1:14 insists that “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”)

  27. Anonymous

    A man’s behavior, betrays his beliefs. What a really good statement. Taken from Bruce McAndless link above, shared by Barb.

    • Jeff Crippen

      By their fruits you shall know them.

      • Anonymous


  28. Tersia

    When I went to my pastor’s wife about a year and a half ago to talk to her about what we were going through, she actually told me that my children had NO right to come to me and tell me if their dad abused them in any way, and that I was being a blasphemer to my husband by coming to her and tell her what was going on. I just had to sit down, not say a word and take what ever came my way in silence. These words were the nice way of what her actual words were. Our church also had a study on the book “Lies Women Believe” but I never went to any of their studies on anything.

    • Tersia, did you have a witness to what that pastor’s wife told you?
      Her advice could amount to criminal neglect or complicity with or failure to report a crime. Imagine if your kids got sexually molested by their father:– her advice means the kids could not tell you their dad had molested them, and you could not tell anyone in church leadership that your husband had committed the crimes!

      Mind you, if that kind of thing were to happen, the last person I’d be telling is that pastor’s wife; I’d be going straight to the police. Forget the coverup brigade at the church.

      No; don’t forget them: their sins of abuser enablement need to be denounced from the mountaintops! Ooh I’m angry!

      • Jeff Crippen

        Barbara and Tersia – My first instinct upon reading Teria’s account of what that pastor’s wife told her was to tell her to go find a lawyer and look into suing her, or at least find out who, in her state, regulates counseling. It is malpractice at minimum and I would shout it from the housetops!

      • Tersia

        Barbara, unfortunately she and I met at “Panera Bread” and no one else was with us, so no I do not have an actual witness. I did mention the incident to several church members, and their comment was “sounds about right”. One lady told me that she found out by her own experience that if something happens in a family, and the pastor and his wife determine that what happened was not abuse (if not physical, then not abuse), then our pastor and his wife most likely would not agree to do anything about the situation except to offer to pray for or with the people involved. They have a very “sweep it under the rug” mentality.

        I do not understand why this particular lady still goes there except that she is very dependent on them. She does not have a driver’s license so church members take her everywhere she has to go. But I do tell every person what our pastor’s wife said at every opportunity. At the time of this meeting, I had called the police out two times previously, but they said that unless I was physically harmed that they could not do anything, so I was hoping that if I approached the church that they might be able to help….but I found out I was wrong. The church is there for the man and lets them get away with anything. If the wife comes to the church, it is hear-say, but if the husband comes, they believe every word he says, which tells me that churches are very male-chauvinistic towards their members. I no longer attend that church. They are in contact with my husband and starting in July, were trying to counsel with him, but I have not heard a word from anyone except once from the deacon counseling my husband when he asked for my side of the story. I sent a link to my pastor to read Jeff C’s pastor-to-pastor letter and he told me it might be better for me to find another pastor (implying I should just leave the church), and that he did not appreciate me sending him that letter, and that he would not have someone like me in the congregation stirring up trouble. I have a copy of the pastor’s letter since it was an email.

        [Paragraph break added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      • 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.


        Well Tersia, it’s a shame you don’t have any witness, but never mind. I’m glad you are no longer under that prejudiced pastor and ‘his’ church. (Hmm; wonder when Jesus bequeathed it to him?)
        As Ps Crippen explains in his sermon series on The Religion of the Pharisees, true Christians will generally end up being cast out of Pharisee churches. The Pharisees often try the velvet-elbowed nudge first – “We think it would be better for you if you found another pastor,” “We are don’t think there is a place for you any longer in this church.” If that doesn’t work, they may bluntly order you to leave, while taking care to ensure there are no outside witnesses or documentation of the order. Or, if they like they phylacteries really broad and their tassels really long, they may excommunicate the Christian with all pomp and circumstance.
        But the Christian can take comfort in knowing that outside the camp there are other true Christians worshiping God in the byways and highways, who will all be revealed at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, in fact Barb, that is exactly what they did to me. Sounded their huge pomp and circumstance trumpets, revealed everything they could about me to everyone, passed their verdict that there was no abuse in the home, even with witnesses I presented to prove there was, and made a huge parade of disparaging and humiliating me, even revealing areas of abuse that no one should have ever known about and making it all public information. Hanging notices on the walls of the church, etc. They defied God’s word by refusing to listen to the witnesses. The Word says that on the testimony of two or three witnesses, a matter shall be considered true, but they didn’t care what God had to say. They were only interested in making me an example for all other women. They were basically saying, “Look here women – this is what will happen to you, if you ever state the truth and accuse your husband of abusing you!”

  29. Tersia

    Sorry, was going to add, the Bible clearly states that we are a helpmeet to our husbands, not implying that we are doormats or slaves in any form. These husbands that get offended that their wives help them by trying to save them money on, directions, or grammar are all abusive men in some sort of way.

    • Desley

      “These husbands that get offended that their wives help them by trying to save them money on, directions, or grammar are all abusive men in some sort of way.”

      I agree Tersia.

      “When I went to my pastor’s wife about a year and a half ago to talk to her about what we were going thru, she actually told me that my children had NO right to come to me and tell me if their dad abused them in any way, and that I was being a blasphemer to my husband by coming to her and tell her what was going on.”

      Nobody ever said that to me, thankfully. But I thought myself that if I talked about what my husband was doing in a group set up to “get to the bottom of things” I would be judged for being a bad wife. Doesn’t Proverbs 31 say that the husband is respected at the city gate? Why else would that be in a description of a virtuous woman unless she had something to do with that?

      It’s amazing how Scripture can be distorted with bad teaching (or no teaching!) around DV.

  30. lydia

    I have not had time to read the comments so forgive me if this is pointed out. But DeMoss had never been married and has no children. She has also been rich all her life. I cannot see her having any basic understanding at all for the types of things she so freely gives advice on. For the life of me, I cannot understand why women flock to her teachings.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Lydia – amazing, isn’t it? I mean, if I had the money and means, if I cranked out a book or two, started a radio show, then all of a sudden people start looking at me as if I had some kind of authority. But who is DeMoss? Just a person. And in fact, as you note, a person from a very non-typical fantasyland life.

      Gal 2:4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery–
      Gal 2:5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
      Gal 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

  31. Tersia

    In the front of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book she states “To my mother, who taught me to recognize many of the lies women believe and who knows the importance and power of the Truth”. The question that comes to my mind when I read that is, what did Nancy’s mom go through in her life to cause her to come up with all these lies? Was Nancy’s dad a narcissistic type of person to where he made his wife believe that everything that was going wrong in their marriage was her problem? From what I have seen and read about Nancy, she had no personal experience to give all this wrong advice.

  32. Anonymous

    Okay, I may be way off base here, but I want to share some thoughts that came to me.

    When these people like Eliff and DeMoss and others (Piper, McArthur, patriarch movement, etc.) share their views about abuse, marriage and divorce, and believe that the neutralized nouthetic or any other counsel that binds victims to an eternal life of abuse, is fair and equitable to all involved, they are doing nothing more than telling us their very poor world view — and perhaps their very poor view of the true God — Who is a God of justice and equity, mercy and grace. These views they have and counsel they give, seem to be nothing more than “politically correct counseling”, wherein no one actually gets faulted for abusing, but the blame is shared, so as to be fair, and the counselor does not really have to deal with anything hard or bear the brunt for finding the truth and delivering the victims from evil. If both parties are to blame, then the work is easy. You say you are sorry, they say they are sorry, and let’s just move along. Then when the victim cannot just move along because they are so crippled from years and years of abuse, they are faulted as the “hard one” that “can’t forgive” and must not really be a Christian. The counselors hate that their work has been made hard and that the victim refuses to go along with their “politically correct counseling”, and so they blame the victim. There is nothing biblical about it and there is nothing in the Bible that teaches or shares these views, at least that I have found. So, it came to me this morning, that the people who are behaving this way, are simply revealing that they don’t want to be the ones to say, “this is right” or “this is wrong”, because they want to remain neutral. However, we know there is no such thing as neutrality — you are either for or against. You are either teaching truth, or teaching lies. We each have a world view and it seems that they are openly sharing theirs – would it be humanism, or what? I don’t know — but it does seem that they are actually just making certain they do things the politically correct way — which is the way of the world, not God. God always wants truth revealed and always wants justice, so to try to hide it or neutralize it and diminish abuse, just tells us where people are in Christ — or not. Anyone have any thoughts?

  33. Brian

    Yes, Anonymous, I have a thought there. If a person is walking in the Holy Spirit and their motivations are not to please “man” or make a living, then I believe their advice will have a much better chance of truly helping a DV victim. Also, a person that is walking in Christ is not going to have a spirit of pride such as these authors and so many “authorities” in church organizations do. I become very leery of people that seem to have all the answers and judgements of a situation all buttoned up and ready to fire off at will. It shows a lack of humbleness before God and man and a lack of the the necessity of prayerfully trying to put one’s self in the shoes of another, which is the whole idea of being able to empathize with another’s suffering. I have also noiticed that many are willing to pass advice and judgements, yet not willing to get involved in any real and loving, helpful way. They are afraid that their involvement will tarnish their reputation or label them as bad of as meddlers within that organization. This leaves a truly helpless and needy victim even more helpless when those who say they care and love you “in Christ” just walk away. I believe it shows a person’s true relationship with their Lord if they do the right thing no matter what it may cost them in man’s view. I know too many people who are unhappy with their church’s stand on issues such as DV and other issues, yet they stay in those organizations to protect their untarnished “reputation” and maintain appearances. They “take the bad with the good”. I could not disagree more! I am raising my son outside of “church”, and I have to say I believe he is better for it. He is a sweet and caring boy that has a strong sense of empathy with others and what God is really like. I come in contact with many kids raised in churches that are little versions of their cold, judgemental parents that are part of a pharisee-type religion, and I think it is a tragedy to keep this counterfeit religion going.
    Others here have mentioned here that if experience has shown us that it is truly possible or likely for offenders to have a 100% change of heart and behavior, we would see this happening around us and in churches, but it simply is not the case. I think that for many teacher’s wacky doctrines to work, they must hold to the idea that DV victims just “hang in there” and “pray more” and “submit more” or “separate for a time”. It is a symptom of their unbiblical and unchristlike doctrines or teachings that are so rampant, yet accepted in church organizations. I stay away for this reason. If I found a church group like Jeff C’s in this area, I might give it a go again. Very hard for me to find a truly biblical, loving, group of believers in the typical “church” setting.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing here Brian. I think you are right. DeMoss in particular seems to stand in pride here, having never been married or had children. Not that one cannot give godly counsel without having experience in it, but to stick to it like glue, as if it is from God, is quite another, especially with no experience. And yes, there are no testimonies that I know of in my own life, that have seen recovery for abusers or a true changing of the heart toward God. It seems the testimonies I have heard are that the man has brief periods of change, even claiming Christ and living for God, etc., but the motive of the change is still for himself, not really ever for truly living for God. He uses God to get what he wants — his victim back in his grip.

    • Brian, you just made me see something.

      for many teacher’s wacky doctrines to work, they must hold to the idea that DV victims just “hang in there” and “pray more” and “submit more” or “separate for a time”.

      Evolutionists tell us that life evolved from lifeless chemicals and molecules over billions of years… as the chemicals just slushed around in all those lifeless ponds, somehow, just somehow that we can’t quite pinpoint yet, some molecules configured together into living cells complete with immensely complex chains of DNA, nuclei, membranes, the means of self-reproduction, etc. etc. Billions of years of hanging in there and lo and behold, magic! Life sprang from non-life!
      Many bible believers ridicule this notion, asking ‘How can life come from non-life, no matter how many billions of years you wait?’
      But those same bible believers are telling oppressed victims in dead marriages “Just hang in there – life will come!”

      Reality: if you hang out in a dead lifeless pond, you may die.

      • Katy

        Nabal and Abigail have been on my mind for four years Desley. I cannot get over how she was so insubordinate to Nabal, called her husband an idiot TO THE KING, and saved all their *****es. And then God struck Nabal dead.
        Yup. You can’t read that story without picturing what our modern day Pharisees would have done to Abigail, can you?

      • Desley

        “The bottom line is what her heart is toward that marriage, because God’s heart is going to be redemption of that marriage.”

        I was just reading in 1 Samuel 25 and thought this was significant…

        God didn’t leave Abigail under the cruel hand on Nabal to suffer all the fall-out of his idiocy, God struck the “churlish” Nabal dead. Period.

        It gets even more interesting when you look up the word God used to describe the evil Nabal:

        The KJV renders it “churlish.” The word comes from the Hebrew ‘qâsheh’, which means “severe (in various applications): – churlish, cruel, grievous, hard ([-hearted], thing), heavy, + impudent, obstinate, prevailed, rough (-ly), sore, sorrowful, stiff ([-necked]), stubborn, + in trouble.”

        The same word is also used in the following passages:

        Exodus 1:13-14 – “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with HARD bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”

        Deuteronomy 26:6-7 – “And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us HARD bondage: And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression”

        Isaiah 14:3-4 – “And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the HARD bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!”

        In all three of these cases, it was that word alone [churlish] that took a good thing (regular work or service) and turned it into bondage. This means that when you introduce “churlish” to a marriage, that marriage becomes bondage by default.

        God is in the business of setting us free from bondage (as the above passages affirm). That is the heart of God. Nabal was an abusive man and this is even more clear when you consider the fact that Abigail did NOT tell her husband she was going to meet David to smooth things over with him.

        Now, God doesn’t typically deal with wicked people these days by striking them dead (what other recourse was there for Abigail in that time and culture?) but we can still see God’s heart in this abusive marriage. Why didn’t God change Nabal’s heart? Why didn’t he bless Abigail for her wisdom and godliness and then leave her to stew in her abusive marriage and trust Him? Why didn’t He blame her for Nabal’s cruelty and drunkenness– at least a little?

        He did none of the above. In fact, He Himself freed Abigail up to marry a man after God’s own heart.

        By God’s word alone we know His heart.
        Game over.

      • We have already published three posts on this blog about Abigail:
        Sapphira and Abigail, Part 1
        I’d particularly draw your attention to this comment from Jeff S in this thread, about using historical narrative to understand or confirm doctrine.

        Sapphira and Abigail, Part 2

        Learning to be an Abigail, not a Sapphira.

  34. L. Lawrence

    I just finished a post concerning the True Woman blog run by Demoss, and the false messages it sends to Christian women. Because of this post I decided to go ahead and “name-names”. Thank you for this blog!

  35. Mark

    Has even one of you ever gone to Ms. de Moss with your concerns? Have you prayed about her perceived errors? Have you told her about the damage you believe she is doing? Have you attempted to share with her the reasons that you believe she is off course? Have you read and followed the principles found in Mathew 18:15? The last time I made this suggestion it did not make it into your replies. I doubt that this one will, either. That pretty much says it all.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Mark, In Luther’s Large Catechism, the section on the commandment to not bear false witness, he addresses your concern. As you know, we feel that Ms. De Moss is publicly teaching false doctrine in her books and seminars. In that section of the catechism, paragraph 284, after explaining the proper use of Matthew 18 in restoring a brother, Luther writes:

      “…where the sin is quite public, so that the judge and everybody know about it, you can without any sin shun the offender and let him go his own way, because he has brought himself into disgrace. You may also publicly testify about him. For when a matter is public in the daylight, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying. It is like when we now rebuke the pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. Where the sin is public, the rebuke must be public, that everyone may learn to guard against it.”

    • Mark, please don’t insult us by asking if we have read Matthew 18:15 — of course we have.

      Those who publish their teachings publicly can be critiqued publicly. And the more widespread their teachings are, the more fair it is to critique them to as wide an audience as possible.

      I pray regularly for the many well known leaders who doctrines are causing harm to victims of domestic abuse — and Nancy DeMoss is in that category, IMO. I pray that God will cause their eyes to open to the true dynamics of domestic abuse and how their teaching is harming victims and enabling abusers. I ask God to break down and remove that false teaching.

      Rather than calling into question our method of critiquing Nancy DeMoss, Mark, why don’t you alert Nancy to our critique?

      And BTW, when a victim or victim-advocate objects to the wrong-doing and wrong-thinking of an abuser and his enablers, it is a standard ploy of the abuser to start criticizing the manner in which the objection is being expressed. Rather than address the substance of the objection, the abuser attacks the way in which the objection was voiced.

      Your comment, Mark, is reminiscent of this tactic.

      • joepote01

        Well stated, PW and Barbara!

        Mark, if public critique is so offensive to you…if it is a topic on which you are so impassioned that you see it as a higher concern than addressing harmful false doctrine or helping the abused and downtrodden…I might suggest you start with a petition to Amazon to eliminate their public review policy.

        Public critique of writing is a normal part of our everyday culture, and usually considered a good thing. It appears to have solid biblical basis as well. Both Jesus and Paul were very bold in publicly speaking against public sin. John the Baptist was, in fact, beheaded for exactly that…publicly addressing public sin.

    • joepote01

      Also, Mark, your comment is, itself, a public critique.

      If you are as convinced of the wrongness of public critique as you claim to be, shouldn’t you, instead, have privately emailed the blog administrators rather than publicly commenting?

    • Wendell G


      1 Timothy 5:20 (ESV) states, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”

      In the NIV, it specifically says “elders” are to be rebuked publicly. If false teaching is a sin (and it is), then we have every right and indeed an obligation to rebuke her publicly. The public nature of her comments creates widespread confusion and error and the only effective counter to that is to make our message as widespread as possible.

      You seem to want to spend much effort in deflecting attention away from the root problem of the false teaching. Perhaps you should take off the blinders and look at what she is teaching and the damage it is causing.

  36. crtruelove

    Reblogged this on Truelove Homes [This link is broken and we were unable to find a copy in the Interne Archive. Editors.] and commented:
    How important, vital even, for church leaders to educate themselves on the dynamics of abusive relationships so as to not further wound a hurting soul but help her (or him) on the road to healing and liberty in Christ. Just like there are many types of abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, spiritual), there certainly is not a “one size fits all” for the complicated relationship between victim and batterer.

  37. Valerie

    I knew that name sounded familiar but couldn’t remember why. Then I realized I had read her destructive book “Lies Women Believe”. It sent me into a depression and self loathing when I read it. I was heavy into the fog of the abuse in my marriage and desperate to find how I could make things better. So I turned to this book to see what I could change in me. Her “advice” left me spinning as each chapter seemed to squarely point the finger at me for just having too high ideals in the marriage as my sole reason for the pain I was in. On a section about “marriage lies” she states the lie is “Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage”. (I’ll give her an ounce of credit for at least qualifying with “sometimes”.) She describes a note she received from someone about how this woman humbled herself before her husband and said the more she humbled herself the more a wonderful man of God he became. Are there instances where this advice could be helpful? Yes, I believe there are. People are self centered by nature and we naturally want our own way…but it is reckless to not qualify that there ARE marriages that are downright dangerous and toxic. As Jeff would say these are instances where you apply law, not grace. There are marriages that do not operate on the spiritual realm or even a healthy one so applying a one-size-fits-all is a misguided approach at best, dangerous (even unbiblical) at worst.

    It occurs to me that when I first read this book the internet wasn’t what it is now. I didn’t have the wealth of information from things like reviews that I do now. I think it would have made a difference for me had I been able to see the reviews that I see now from others who point out the same dangerous teaching. I had no one else’s input on what was troubling me about it.

    I am nearly giddy at the thought that after writing this I am going to be throwing this book in the trash. It is the first book I’ve ever thrown away due to its content….but not likely the last. I am FREE!!!! Thank you Lord Jesus for setting me free not only from my oppressor but also the false teachings within these doctrines!

  38. StandsWithAFist

    I’m late to this thread, but here goes:
    1) Mark~Matthew 18 doesn’t apply to false teachers like Diotrophes or DeMoss.
    2) Valerie~cheers to trashing any and all books with false teaching!
    3) Tersia, Anon & others ~protect your kids and yourselves at the FIRST sign of abuse. Ellie wrote this a while back:
    Don’t Let Your Dead Body Prove That You’re Right

  39. Faith

    After reading every ones comments on Nancy DeMoss it is plain now why my husband would listen to her sometimes when he was driving to work. There was several times he purchased a CD of a program he heard. He would tell me he had something coming in the mail for me to listen to from Demoss. He thought it would really help me rethink how a good Christian wife should be.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Faith – and that same scenario probably still plays out over and over as abusers listen to her. I bet many of our readers would be happy to set Nancy up with “this really great guy” they know!

  40. bob corrigan

    I teach the Bible and have met many women who suffer abuse from their reprobate husbands. I have always advised them to press charges and consider divorce. Nowhere in Scripture is it taught that a woman should put up with any kind of abuse to her or the kids, for the sake of the marriage.
    What was the most disturbing part of many of these women’s stories is the huge number of “preachers” who tell these women that they must stay with the brutes. Makes me wonder if these preachers abuse their wives and kids.
    I went through 7 years of physical, mental and emotional abuse as a child and can state that that kind of life is a living nightmare.
    Demoss, and all of her ilk are the Pharisees of today. False teachers who are vessels of wrath, Romans, chapter 9, who treat Scripture as if it were some loose outline waiting for these to determine what God was “trying to say, but couldn’t quite get it right with the Jewish writers.
    On top of everything else, nobody who has never been married or had children, has any business teaching about those subjects.

    • MeganC

      Bob . . . It is always nice for us women-readers to hear something like this from a man! I just appreciate you so much! I, too, have found that those who oppose a woman leaving an abusive marriage have an abusive stripe of entitlement about them (at best) or are full-blown narcissist (at worst). It took me a long time to realize that! May God bless your teaching!

    • Hi Bob, welcome to the blog and thanks for your encouraging comment. 🙂

  41. Amy

    I was trying to decide if or not to buy DeMoss’ book, “Lies Women Believe” and as usual, I tend to “over-research” and landed on this site. Wow, I had no idea… OK, I think I’ll pass on the book.

    On a different note, being a married woman who always had trouble “submitting” and is yet dependent on my husband’s income with two kids, I understand why some female leaders emphasize submission. They do not speak to us normal, everyday, “real women”; they are merely speaking out against the worldly values of modern day women or the likes of Hilary Clinton. But if you look deeper into the issues, is a secular woman’s marriage that different than a Christian woman’s? Are we not all women with the same needs? Sure, our minds are centered upon different things, different wants and different priorities, but our inner needs are all the same; all of us need to be loved. A pastor I heard a long time ago said it best, “what woman wouldn’t submit if she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was loved, cherished, protected and held up to God as holy and blameless by her husband?”

    Submission happens naturally and it begins with the man, not the woman. Women are abused, because the men they are with do not follow the Lord. It’s as simple as that and in such situations, it is absolutely impossible to submit. Submission need not be taught, because it is in fact a PRIVILEGE to be able to submit to your man, because it means you have a man who is following the Lord!

    Just my two-cents’ worth.

  42. HeLives

    I stayed in my 32 year long marriage about 30 years too long thanks to this kind of teaching. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I have, only recently, begun to realize that there truly is something terrible called “verbal abuse” and I was abused by both my father and my husband. I’ve apologized to my many children for allowing them to live under such abuse although I was separated a number of times from my husband and sought multiple counselors and church leaders for help so I did, indeed, fight.

    Yes, there is an arrogance in those who teach women that if they would just be obedient “enough” or holy “enough” God would work. There is also a blindness…and that may come from having been raised by and married to a “good” man. I have a friend who is very opinionated and outspoken (sometimes obnoxiously so) but she admitted to me that it is “easy” for her to be that way because she has a good solid dad and husband who have given her confidence and stand behind her in support. She admitted that she couldn’t imagine being torn down by her husband. Perhaps some of these false teachers really believe that they are just extra-godly and fail to recognize the goodness of God in their lives.

  43. Dani

    I have listened to Nancy for years speak on different issues and found the narrow minded representation she thinks God’s Word has directed her to say as His personal mouth piece is a bit grandiose and very insensitive. Because of my personal pain I have sought out righteous counsel and too many times found these personas that are all about furthering their careers. The writer must find his or her unique niche to grab an audience in order to become successful but then to get the support of a large mainstay ministry is no small feat. The bigger ministries I think have Godly advice to give but the caveat here is to consider the source.

    Point in fact: remember when you couldn’t turn on Christian radio without hearing a Ray Boltz song playing? The 1995 release, subsequent rise to fame and recognition for THE CONCERT OF A LIFETIME by Ray is a prime example. He recorded 16 albums selling 4.5 million records, 3 Dove awards, and was a huge name for years then retired in 2004 a Christian hero. Four years passed before his ‘coming out’ interview in the Washington Blade of 2008 at which time he was completely and totally ostracized by the mega ministries and churches. The only thing that had changed was the Christian mind set toward this man no doubt he was gay while writing his songs. If you can listen to the words of Watch The Lamb, I Will Praise The Lord, or Touching Him and not feel the presence of God then I respectfully ask you; do you have a heart for God?

    One last quick point; the Bible has much to say on how slaves should respect and respond to their masters… it is all biblical does this then began to suggest a return to Slavery as a way of life, a source of cheap labor during these hard economic times? ‘No!’ you say. ‘Why?’ I ask; ‘Because it is wrong!’ you say. Well so is taking on the role of the Alpha and Omega as Judge. Consider the source when listening to these so called Christian experts because I have found that many of them truly do not have a heart for those whom they address but they do like money. If I was a mind reader I am sure the blackness in the hearts of these enlightened ones would scare the hell out of me.

    • Hi Dani, i changed your screen name as a precaution for your safety. If you don’t want the name I dubbed you with, email TWBTC twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and tell her what name you do want; as we can change it at any time. Thanks. Barb
      I presume you’ve read our New Users Info page?

  44. Wholehearted

    I agree with you wholeheartedly
    Friends ask you to forgive your husband and move back in with him
    They have no idea what they are talking about – again advice is cheap
    And usually these are single people giving you advice or people who are happily married with doting husbands!!

    [name changed by admins, to protect commenter]

    • Dear sister, you will see that I changed your screen name. I did this to protect your safety. Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment 🙂

      I invite you to read our New Users Info page, as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.
      We hope you stick around. 🙂

  45. Katie

    I think Katy left out a few important details. Nancy started off by admitting “we’re not going to do this subject justice.” She’s not on a lofty throne, she’s humbling herself and admitting her lack of experience in this area.
    Then later she (TWICE) encourages women to go to the civil authorities. She also touches on what ended up being Katy’s experience with her church (which is awful… I am truly sorry that happened to you. If you went to my church I promise I would’ve helped you pack your bags!) Nancy says “Now sometimes the civil authorities and sometimes the church authorities will not know the best ways to deal with all of this. They may misstep sometimes because they’re not accustomed to dealing with this a lot. ”
    I do agree that some of the things Holly said were not so understanding. I like to think she misspoke because I’ve always enjoyed her teaching, but I’m not sure.. She is human and a sinner just like the rest of us. Let’s give them both (and John Piper) some grace.

    • Katie, since Nancy De Moss admits that she’s not going to do the subject justice, why did she dare to talk on it in the first place? When one is speaking about domestic abuse and family violence, the risks of saying things that are inaccurate or harmful can have such horrendous consequences, one ought not declaim about it if one knows one can’t do it justice. Fools rush in . . .

      Encouraging women to go to the civil authorities is helpful, but there are problems with it too. Usually that advice is only given when the victim is has been physically assaulted — but domestic abuse often does not include physical violence and the justice system rarely has any penalty for the abuser who doesn’t use physical assault as one of his weapons.

      As for giving Holly (and John Piper) grace — what about the likes of them giving all the victims of abuse more kindness and grace! Their teachings are doing immense harm to victims of abuse. They must be held accountable. They ought to become much more informed about domestic abuse, get rid of their blindfolded doctrinal positions, apologise for the harm they have done to victims, and start making whatever reparation they can to the countless victims of domestic abuse who have been kept in the fog by their teaching.

      We have tried over and over again to tell Piper that he is very wrong on this issue. He continues to ignore us. It’s well past time for just giving him sappy grace!

    • Valerie

      Sometimes we may feel we are being more Christlike in our insistence on extending grace to someone who has made a mistake. This is a biblical principle more of us would do well to follow yet I don’t see where scripture commands us to give grace to someone who is acting like a biblical fool- meaning someone who refuses correction and does not have a teachable spirit. I am not going so far as to say any of the people mentioned are fools, but rather that we must practice discernment in our grace.

      As Barb said, the victims are the ones who need grace in their trauma. These religious leaders are not victims. Though it hurts, I can forgive someone who speaks out of ignorance. I take issue with those who speak out of ignorance but dogmatically assert that thier words are THE truth. Many of these authors have become teachers in that they don’t just write an opinion they state that their words are facts that in their estimation others need to learn. Furthermore many authors like DeMoss use shame or harshness toward those who don’t ascribe to their teaching. James tells us that not many of us should presume to be teachers because they will be judged more strictly. When someone purports themselves to be an authority on the subject they have a responsibility. It would seem that if their teachings were biblically correct then their words would bring life and produce fruit for those they claim to be giving truth to. Their words should produce fruit, not casualties.

  46. Beth

    I love Nancy Leigh DeMoss, John Piper and John MacArthur for their doctrine and solid Bible teaching, but this discussion is troubling. The title of the broadcast is “Physical Abuse” which led me to believe they would discuss the subject in depth. They barely touched on it, and there were so many qualifiers to the ‘rare situation’ in which a wife may leave her husband that the counsel is dangerous. They do not seem to understand that when a woman is in CRISIS, when she is being battered and beaten (and yes, verbal abuse IS real abuse … maybe not life-threatening in the same way but it IS abuse), she is unable to think clearly until she is in a safe place, rested and affirmed. I agree that the church needs to be involved, but this too often is an overly simplistic discussion of an immensely complex and serious problem. I am deeply troubled that they are giving SO many qualifiers to when a woman may leave, and there is so much pressure put on the woman to ‘forgive’ that, for someone who is already beaten down, this just serves to make them feel even more trapped. They shouldn’t have tackled this one (or attempted to) if they were going to over simplify the problem to the extent they did.

    • twbtc

      Hi Beth,

      Welcome to the blog!

      Often times people find it difficult to discern wrong in the teaching from leaders that they love. Yet you have made some very good and accurate observations. Thank you for commenting!

      Also, we like to direct first time commenters to our New User’s Page. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      Again, welcome!

  47. To the woman who submitted a comment on this thread saying, “whoever Shirley is, only an idiot would take verbal abuse for 29 years,” I say to you strongly: We are NOT going to publish your comment. We do not publish any comments which unjustly denigrate victims of abuse. You need to become more informed about domestic abuse. Your comment shows your ignorance and your judgementalism toward victims of domestic abuse.

    To readers who may be puzzled about what this is all about —
    (1) the comment we will not be publishing was referring to Holly Eliff’s words which are in the transcription of the talk by Eliff and De Moss in the text of this post.
    (2) I am going to email the woman who submitted the offensive comment, giving her a link to this comment of mine.

    I get outraged when I hear people calling victims of verbal abuse ‘idiots’ !!!

  48. StandsWithAFist

    Apparently it is lost on the commenter that her words are also abusive.

    Thank you Barb for NOT publishing her comments, and denying affirmation of such:
    “Not fit to print”.

  49. Freedom in Christ

    I agree that there is much error and lack of education in our Christian churches. I was kept in bond age to an abusive husband for years due to being told things like: God hates divorce,etc. But my question: what can we do to change this? I know my pastor is a good, God loving Christian, as most are. It’s difficult for one woman, who they KNOW has been abused to try to get them to understand abusers without them thinking she’s biased. Are there any organizations that are going to churches or pastors and speaking out? I wish I could do something to help educate church leaders so that other women don’t have to suffer as I did.

    • Jeff Crippen

      There are some who are. And some of the best are individuals who are locating a key person in a church who is teachable and who will learn and become wise about abuse. That person becomes a contact for abuse victims in that church. But as for pastors? Sadly many of them are not teachable. Some are abusers themselves. Many refuse to pay the price of standing with victims. And most all of these kind seem “nice.”

  50. liz

    I see that they as many people do not want to give the option of divorce and sepparation. God has the power to change people and restore marriages but both have to be willing. It is clear that this woman have God wisdom in many areas but when it comes down to relationships difficult abusive marriages they dont have a clue. Every marriage is different and sometimes the best thing to do is to leave. I dont think Gods will is to be with someone who hurts us and doesnt have any intention of changing.

  51. imsetfree

    Verbal abuse isn’t really abuse? This woman makes me feel ill. Why on earth are people with no training on abuse allowed to counsel on it?! This enrages me. And she has no right to mention “the sake of the children” if she isn’t prepared to believe that a child listening to their mother being screamed at, sworn at, threatened etc isn’t living in as much fear as a child that witnesses hitting etc. There are articles written on how children living with verbal abuse develop PTSD symptoms same as battered children

  52. Hannah

    I’m late to this thread. I was doing a Google search and saw a photo of Nancy with a man realizing she must have gotten married. I responded on a blog post on her site where I disagreed with a teaching (I forget what it was.. It just may have been on abuse) a few years ago, and they kept deleting my comments. I then asked through email why my comments are being deleted .. Do they not accept opposing viewpoints? No one returned my emails. I started listening to her radio shows early in her ministry. I ordered many CDs over the years. The last few years for some reason it’s been hard to listen to her. I just watched her testimony of marriage. Strange to me they got engaged only 6 months after wife’s passing. I’m anticipating new books with both of them authors. He does seem to have a wonderful family brought up loving The Lord. Yes it had bugged me that she always had couples on her show yet never married. And yes a heiress begging for money.. She does believe now her new husband is like Jesus as far as her submission to him. Has to be very hard for her after single so long. Wonder how she will fare relinquishing her marriage from Jesus to him. We will see.

    • Hi Hannah, welcome to the blog. 🙂

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  53. 3blossommom

    It is so kind of DeMoss and Elliff to permit a woman to leave if she is in danger. Do they honestly believe a woman needs their permission? Would they consider me in danger? My husband was only emotionally abusive and a serial philanderer. I will be undergoing STD testing again, because I know for sure he was unfaithful again. I have spent years in fear of AIDS or HPV and the possible resulting cancer. What about all the other now incurable STDs? Is this mental stress and possibility of contracting deadly health issues considered danger in their minds? I will never forget when I was reading everything possible to find answers to fix my broken marriage and I read Debi Pearl’s book. In it she said she knew of women who have been protected from STDs by God, because they were submissive and generous in bed. I honestly believed it (no more). Now, I live in fear b/c my submission wasn’t sufficient. I have spoken with my teen daughters and told them that if their future husbands were ever to cheat, hit them even once, or go into any pattern of abusive language then they are to come to me and I will help them. I don’t ever want them to feel they have to make things work with an awful man. I am thankful for a humble pastor who is not afraid to say that someone in my circumstances needs a real counselor.

  54. Hisbannerovermeislove7

    ok- she just said verbal abuse wasn’t really abuse???? what planet does she live on?????

  55. Brandie

    Wow, this is so common.

  56. Debbie

    Nancy DeMoss is sickening to me. She said that a wife that doesn’t submit bears MORE guilt than a husband that doesn’t love, and the Bible doesn’t say one word about it being MORE important for a wife to submit than for a husband to love. Some people, DeMoss included, seem to think that the husband’s duty to love his wife is only of trivial importance. If that was the case, why would Paul encourage husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church in Ephesians 5:25? That is no small duty. Do those people think Christ’s love for believers is only trivial? If so, that’s blasphemous! I appreciate those of you who look at all what Scripture says about marriage instead of only the wife’s duties. There’s much more to what the Bible says about marriage than, “wives submit.” “Wives submit” is only half of it.

    • Reaching Out

      Hi Debbie,

      For your safety and protection, I have kept only the first name in the screen name you submitted with your comment.

    • Hi, Debbie, welcome to the blog! –– and thanks for your comment. 🙂

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    • Kind of Anonymous

      If Nancy said something like that, that lack of wifely submission is a greater sin than a husband’s failure to love, I wonder what she would make of the statement —

      and the greatest of these is love.

      —from 1 Cor 13:13?

      Or what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 [NIV] —

      Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

      I don’t see that all the Law and the Prophets hang on wifely submission.

      Thinking further on relationships in which there is authority structure, fathers are instructed in Ephesians:

      Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4 NLT]

      Obviously while I’m not trying to compare wives to submissive children at all, we can see here that submission is STILL not more important than love and reasonableness. Nancy is going way beyond Scripture I think.

      • Debbie

        Nancy DeMoss apparently has only a very shallow comprehension of Scripture.

    • Hi, Debbie, you said:

      She [Nancy DeMoss] said that a wife that doesn’t submit bears MORE guilt than a husband that doesn’t love, and the Bible doesn’t say one word about it being MORE important for a wife to submit than for a husband to love.

      Do you have a link to where Nancy said that. If you can find the link, can you please share it here. Thanks!

      • Debbie

        I found that information about Nancy DeMoss in Jeff Crippen’s book, Unholy Charade, on page 123. The footnote says that statement was made by Nancy DeMoss in her book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, among some other statements by her on pages 73 – 76 [of her book]. I’ve also read Crippen’s A Cry For Justice and your book, Not Under Bondage. I found all three books enlightening regarding abuse and refreshing. I had noticed for a long time that wife abuse as a sin had largely been overlooked in most churches.

        Books by Title

        [Typo in the title of Barb’s book corrected for other commenters’ understanding. Book titles named in the comment placed in italics for clarity, and a link to an ACFJ book list added for ease of reference. Editors.]

      • Finding Answers

        Debbie commented (1ST MAY 2020 – 12:29 PM):

        I found that information about Nancy DeMoss in Jeff Crippen’s book, Unholy Charade, on page 123. The footnote says that statement was made by Nancy DeMoss in her book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free….

        In my Kindle (for a desktop PC) edition of Unholy Charade, the information referenced by Debbie starts on page 117, although the actual reference to Nancy DeMoss (listed as Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in the ACFJ Hall of Blind Guides – Christian Authors and Ministries in our Hall of Blind Guides) is on page 118, and the footnote is numbered 162.

        There are likely other references in the ACFJ Resources to Nancy DeMoss (Wolgemuth), but listing ALL the ACFJ Resources references to Nancy DeMoss (Wolgemuth) might make my comment WAY too long. 🙂

        [ACFJ references converted to working ACFJ links. Editors.]


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