A Cry For Justice

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

A Slave Girl Set Free by Christ: Lessons for Us

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.

***

Luke records the following remarkable encounter between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Light.

Acts 16:16-22 ESV As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.

Now, this girl was the property of her owners. Legally. On the surface of it, Paul had no right to go meddling in her owners’ affairs. If they wanted, they could pick up Paul’s own Scriptures and cite chapter and verse for their God-given rights:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
(Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV)

Yet Luke includes this account in his Acts of the Apostles as a righteous demonstration of the freeing, mighty work of Jesus Christ over the devil.

What has all this to do with abuse? Plenty.

These Scriptures do not conflict. That is impossible. God’s Word is not yes and no, but, yes! So that when the Bible speaks of slaves submitting sincerely to their masters, it does not do so in an absolute, unbreakable, inviolable spirit. It is always a good thing for an oppressed, down-trodden person to be set free. Slave or not. In the same way, the Scriptures speak of wives submitting to their husbands. Now, however you happen to interpret that instruction, we all must conclude that surely if a slave who is owned as property can be set free from abuse, a free woman can be set free from an abusive, oppressive marriage (or a husband if it is a case of the wife being the abuser). Just as the Scriptures that speak of slaves submitting to their masters do not negate Christ’s redemption from oppression, so the Scriptures that instruct us about marriage simply cannot be taken to be given in an absolute, unbreakable, inviolable spirit. Among other things, this means that I am NOT messing with some husband’s “property” when I point his wife to freedom.

Notice one more thing that largely explains why so many churches and professing Christians will not stand with abuse victims. See what happened to Paul and Silas? The mob turned on them and beat them and would have done even more. Everyone should have been rejoicing at the slave girl’s freedom. Instead, they were riotously raging because their own personal benefits got messed with.

And so the same old story goes on….for now. But only for now.

14 Comments

  1. LorenHaas

    “Instead, they were riotously raging because their own personal benefits got messed with.”
    Jeff Crippen
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
    – Upton Sinclair

    • Jeff Crippen

      Oh man, Loren – that nails it! Sinclair knew a thing or two:)

  2. Lana

    People are selective. They will not use Peter to say slavery is okay (unless your an IFB extremest group), but will use Peter to tell women they need to be quiet and submit. 😛

    • Jeff Crippen

      Good point. Also, remember it was Peter who told the Jerusalem authorities to shove off when they ordered him to stop preaching the name of Jesus. Hmmm…that must mean that Peter didn’t believe in absolute, no-matter-what submission.

    • Memphis Rayne

      Oh? Dontcha know? “THEIR” birds do not doo doo!!

      They are trained to leave the crap at home also. = ) ok. I will stop now!

  3. Brian

    I have learned that many pastors/ministers in general may not want to recognize and address abuse within their congregations because it can literally get them fired from their “job” and mess with their careers. Think about this: if the “pillars” of a congregation are involved in some type of abuse, how long do you think it will be before the pastor that calls out the abuse either gets put out by the powers that be or loses a large portion of income when the abusers leave (and go somewhere else they can hide). It takes a man or woman of integrity to do what is right and let the chips fall where they may. Christ as our example did not ignore abusers, rather he called them out for their hypocrisy and evil hearts and evil actions. He was ultimately tortured and then crucified (indirectly) by some of those whom he had called out as evil. So, going by Christ’s example, we should be blameless and call out abuse when it comes to our attention. Abusers may put up a fight or try to discredit the person who is putting them in the spotlight, but sometimes, they will stop or go just go away. But at the very least, they are on notice that someone will not put up with what they are doing to the innocent and helpless, and they have a fight on their hands if they try to continue the abuse.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Brian – Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you! Wise insights for sure. I have confronted these these types who had been long-time “pillars” and major contributors and in most every case they left. One just flat out said “if you don’t handle this right, your church is just going to disappear.” Translated = “give me what I want and submit to my power or I will take my checkbook and leave.” Which he did. And it did and has cost us. In our 30 years of pastoral ministry, we have had to face this many times. In all, my wife and I have lost 3 jobs as a result. But our conscience is clear and we have never gone without.

      • Memphis Rayne

        I have witnessed all the above. Huge congregations that literally worship the pastor. Many young pastors in tow, reveling at a lifestyle, willing to look the other way, because they were taught “that does not exist here, maybe at home is fine, but when you come to the sparkly shiny sanctuary, with doves being released at just the pivotal moment, and all the gardenias are in bloom, and your paycheck is padded, in the name of PEACE, you must leave the messiness behind closed doors” “Now sign right here and you can be one of us”

        They may sound extreme, but it is not.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Stepford Pastors.

        Yes, the release of the doves. I wonder, do they just ignore the bird doo-doo that falls on the people’s heads? Or maybe in that setting it is considered a blessing from above?

        Ok, calming down now. Memphis feeds my sarcasm taste:):)

      • Brian

        Jeff, I am so thankful for you and your wife and your determination, conviction and integrity. I found out later afterwards that you had attended the conference here in town at a local university 5 or 6 months ago. It would have been really good to meet you in person, but at that point I had just been introduced to this blog by a friend. Someday perhaps we will make that trip out West (that I have been talking about for years) and make a point to stop in and see you guys.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thanks Brian. That would be great. Go West young man!

  4. LorenHaas

    At just the final dramatic moment, the doves are released and the inevitable happens. A small child says, “Daddy, the birds just pooped on everyone.” But Daddy responds, “No child, that is not poop. Pastor Big says God is providing us with manna.” The little child is silent for a while and in a few moments says, “But then, why isn’t HE eating it?”

  5. Finding Answers

    (Light airbrushing…)

    From Pastor Jeff’s comment Stepford Pastors.

    I was in my early teens when I first read “The Stepford Wives”. It gave me the willies, though I couldn’t understand why.

    In 2004, a movie version was released. I shuddered at the thought of watching and did not consider viewing it.

    A bit later yet, a sister-in-law commented on her first meeting with my family of origin, how we resembled cookie-cutter children.

    Stepford children.

    Children to add “gloss” to the family image, to enhance a profile, to retain a position.

    Unlike the Biblical slave girl, no one stepped in to speak words of freedom. The master remained the master.

    The difference is the subtlety of the slavery. The slave girl knew she was a slave, we did not….

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