A Cry For Justice

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

Should Christians Use Secular Sources for Help with Abuse?

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.

***

Recently one of our ACFJ team members found a review of our book, A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church [*Affiliate link].  The review was written by a pastor out in Montana (lucky guy!) who had received a copy from a church member. He did a very good job and we thank him for it. You can read it at Ministry Musings – Abuse in the Church: A Review of A Cry for Justice.

As any good, objective reviewer will and should do, the pastor pointed out two things in the book that he disagreed with or at least was still uncertain or uneasy about. But he said that he planned to continue to look into those issues. Wow! A pastor with an open mind! Kudos to him again.  One of the things that he said he was uncertain about is that in our book we recommend (as we do on this blog) books and resources that are produced by non-Christians. Lundy Bancroft of course is a prime example. His book, Why Does He do That?  [*Affiliate link], is one of the very first resources we recommend to victims and others who want to study the subject.

Now, I can fully identify with this pastor’s concern. There was a day when I would have been very, very hesitant to recommend secular books to someone, especially in the field of psychology. Back in the 70’s and 80’s it seemed like all the leading fundamental writers were warning us all about psycho-babble and psycho-heresy. They weren’t totally wrong, either. Let’s face it, we DO have to be constantly discerning when we are reading or listening to someone tell us things that relate to the nature of human beings.

But should a Christian ONLY read books written by Christians or use other resources that are exclusively Christian? Some Christians believe that the only source we should look to is the Bible. What about it?

First of all, if you are going to only seek help from Christian sources when it comes to the subject of abuse, good luck! Christians have been anything but diligent in this field and while there are some good resources that are Christian, the best ones have been produced by non-Christians. Hopefully that will change. In fact, most of our readers will testify to the fact that the Christian resources they sought help from actually harmed them and left them in bondage! I mean, who do you want to go to for help? Lundy Bancroft, or John Piper? The books that first opened my eyes to the nature and tactics of abuse were written by non-Christians.

And not only are many Christian resources just plain wrong in the things they say (and don’t say) about abuse, many of them are actually very bad when it comes to the supposed biblical teaching they give! Just because a book is published by Zondervan or NavPress, etc., does not give them a divine stamp of approval. And by the way, just WHO is it that has been causing the most grief to Christian abuse victims, unloading all kinds of false and unbiblical notions on them? Non-Christian authors? No way. The problem has been and remains with the professing Christians who speak and write their false notions on abuse. I am reminded of Jeremiah:

Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. I have not sent them, declares the LORD, but they are prophesying falsely in my name, with the result that I will drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.”
(Jer 27:14-15)

But there is also a sound, biblical argument for us to not be hesitant in regard to using secular resources. That is the doctrine which we call common grace. You see it in scriptures such as:

Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
(Act 14:17)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
(Psa 19:1-4)

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
(Rom 1:19-20)

Man has the capacity to look at what we call general revelation and discern certain truths. In the arena of psychology, for instance, even un-regenerate human beings can study that highest creature of God’s creation, man, and discover things that are true. Yes, the unsaved man (as Romans says) will be driven to acknowledge God as he observes the creation, but will always suppress that truth. However, non-Christians can still discover and discern truths from observing and studying God’s creation.

And that, for example, is what psychologists like Lundy Bancroft have done. He has worked with and studied thousands of abusers. He has figured them out very, very well. So a Christian who is wise will listen to what Bancroft and others like him have to say. It is really no different than going to a non-Christian medical doctor or being taught mathematics by a non-Christian.

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

42 Comments

  1. Michael Lehman

    Absolutely right. And the same could be said of seeking counselling from a secular professional, which was a point raised and commented on in a guest post on here by myself some weeks ago. Secular counsellors may not understand the way Christians view the world. But as students and observers of human behaviour, they may still see what’s real in the people they work with. If so, we can know that they only found it because ours is a universe ordered by God. In the case of abuse, a Christian victim will be far better served by a secular counsellor who understands abuse than by a well-intentioned but ignorant Christian counsellor who doesn’t. At the end of the day, all truth is God’s truth whatever channels he sovereignly chooses to reveal it to us.

    • Barnabasintraining

      At the end of the day, all truth is God’s truth whatever channels he sovereignly chooses to reveal it to us.

      Strictly speaking, this is true. I just want to issue one caveat, though, because it is common for this phrase “all truth is God’s truth” to be claimed by the New Age groups, but what they mean by it is different than what we mean by it, and there are those in the Christian arena who have thrown the entire phrase out as a consequence.

      What the New Age means by it is that anything claiming to be truth is to be regarded as truth, and is from God. So, “your truth,” which may be very different from “my truth” are still both truths that are to be equally respected as holy and valid.

      As Christians we hold to an objective standard of truth, so while all that is actually true is God’s truth in some sense, not all is to be affirmed as equal in validity and some things claiming to be truth are to be rejected with vigor.

      I know Pastor Lehman in no way means to communicate a New Age version of “all truth is God’s truth.” I only say this because of anyone out there reading who might see “all truth is God’s truth” and think we’ve gone off the deep end. 🙂

      We haven’t. 🙂

      • Michael Lehman

        Very fair disclaimer, BiT. Thanks for adding it. 🙂

  2. won't tell

    the Church has hurt me more spiritually than anyone non Christian because I expect abuse from non believers.

    Even now, i fight the scriptures that condemn me, (which come after i hang onto the grace and mercy and love verses). i fight the voices of everyone who tell me “it isn’t about you!” when i’ve asked “but what about me?”

    I fight forgive others or your father wont forgive you–which in context is at the END of the discourse beginning with “if your brother offend thee, rebuke him and IF he repents, forgive”.

    sexual abuse in a Christian home, violence, trained in denial, ignored, violent relationships, and escape from a marriage i would have “accidently” died in (ex is Chaplain, motorcycle ministry president, etc) … i am a mess from infacy.

    all this to say, secular works identified abuse, character traits of evil people, and its okay to avoid them. Church says Jesus came to save them, show mercy and grace.

    i have a wonderful Christian psychologist who is aware of the legalistic voice in me, that i have severe depression, PTSD and complex trauma, AND HIGH ANXIETY. she will teach me first about the conditions, causes, and then the Grace of God and Christ because I still don’t understand.

    grace is given without merit yet people tell me if I do this then God…. thats conditional.

    finally, i do believe those of us who are sacrificed by the ones who are to take care of us should go elsewhere. God promised a bent reed He will not break and a smoldering (flickering) flax He will not snuff. We are His body, so why do they break us and snuff us? that flicker of Hope is all we have. We represent God. why do weget blamed? yes, we chose our situations after childhood, but train a child which way to go, and when he is grown he will not depart from it. if we are trained in denial, violence, to have no boundaries, no identity, no secrets except the abuse, why do church people think we are free?
    yes, Christ sets us free, but just saying it and believing it doesn’t mean it happens over night and within their time frame. they have sins they arent free from. and I refuse to deny my feelings anymore by positive confessions.

    God say love Him with all our heart mind soul and strength. a flicker at times is all i got. isnt He understanding of that? it is all i got and I am thankful I have Him.

    i am survivng and one day i will be an overcomer, but if i should show grace and mercy to those who abuse me then those that castigate should show mercy and grace to us who have been damaged.

    and finally, Jesus said turn the other cheek. he didnt say stand in smack radius. thanks or listening

    • Barnabasintraining

      grace is given without merit yet people tell me if I do this then God…. thats conditional.

      Yes. Especially when you are supposed to unconditionally forgive them or God won’t forgive you. The double standard is blatant.

      I also don’t like the “not about you” mentality. If it’s not about you, then who is it about? Everyone is “you” to themselves. Thus it’s impossible to really apply that to life because if everyone always thinks it’s not about them but about someone else, eventually you are going to have to be someone else’s someone else, and then what? Because at that moment it becomes about you, but it’s never allowed to be about you….

      It’s supposedly always about “others” but there are never any actual “others” since at some point for each of those “others” it’s going to be about them — or from their perspective, about “me.” At some point we are all going to become someone else’s “other.” Someone has to be on the receiving end, but then it’s about “you” (or “me”) from the receiver’s perspective, but that’s not allowed. And if you take the view of receiving from them for their sake, to give them the blessing of giving, then you have denied them the blessing of giving because you have refused the benefit they sought for you by disallowing it to be about you.

      (I hope that makes enough sense to not make any sense. If you see what I mean.)

    • Katy

      i fight the voices of everyone who tell me “it isn’t about you!” when i’ve asked “but what about me?”

      I have seen this. It is so ugly, and I weep for the people who used it against you. They are so ignorant that they have failed to be Christ to you, and in so doing have made themselves tools of more violence.

      Foolish Christians who think that they are single-handedly stamping out the selfishness in other people by forcing a woman to suffer abuse in a MARRIAGE, which was ordained by God for your comfort and love.!! People reap what they sow – and if they sow this kind of merciless destruction in other people then I shudder to think what consequences they will eventually see in their own lives.

    • Jeff Crippen

      won’t tell – you have already come a long way, as is evident from the many insightful statements and questions you have written here. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to hear more from you.

    • So much respect for you! You said it all. Diane

    • Won’t Tell, I **love** what you’ve written. Thank You 🙂

    • cindy burrell

      Hello, Won’t Tell.

      I am so sorry that you have endured what you have. Many of us have attempted to live under the same kinds of backward “Christian” logic. In truth, those teachings defy the very nature of God and His heart for marriage. “Love, honor and cherish” applies to both parties in a marriage, yet far too often the church unwittingly becomes the abuser’s most powerful ally and enabler.

      Dear friend, stand on what you know to be true – that what you endured was wrong. It was unbiblical and it was sin and forgiveness only releases someone from our inclination to seek revenge. Forgiveness does not automatically make the offender safe or obligate you to have a relationship with that person. It breaks the bond of sin that binds us to them.

      You are among friends here who understand the harm caused by abuse. The more you learn about the dynamic the sin of abuse and God’s heart for marriage, the stronger you will become. Keep on seeking and you will find – and heal!

      Cindy

    • Just Me

      Won’t Tell – That verse about forgiveness makes me feel anxious too. Have you read the definition of unforgiveness that’s here on the blog under “Triggers Are Not a Sign of Unforgiveness”? It says “Unforgiveness on the other hand is not so much emotion as it is the seeking of vengeance upon someone, rather than leaving it to God.” Seeking to protect yourself, or seeking to be away from abusers and their cronies is not unforgiveness.

    • Bluesinaminor

      “Jesus said turn the other cheek. he didnt say stand in smack radius”
      love this.

    • Anonymous

      Your post was heartbreaking and true to my life as well. Some of the things I’ve thought of now that God has woken me up to the truth about evil can be taken from what you’ve written.

      “…. train a child which way to go, and when he is grown he will not depart from it. if we are trained in denial, violence, to have no boundaries, no identity, no secrets except the abuse, why do church people think we are free?”

      Perfect. This perfectly describes why we CAN’T automatically, magically turn 18 (or whatever age it is that’s considered to be a “legal” adult) and suddenly make all our decisions based on being “grown up”. This is just ANOTHER way abusers abuse us by saying that now that we’re legally an adult we should suddenly shake off the abuse, the brain-washing, the lies, the evil, rape, molestation etc., and get on with the business of making all our choices based on that “we’re all grown up now.”

      Is there a class we were supposed to have taken before we turned legal age that teaches us all truths of all time so that we can superimpose them on our mind and therefore not make any mistakes? (I must have missed it.) Does everyone else know all the truths and I’m just a slow learner, lazy, stupid or obstinate and thus deserve to be punished? Where is this love that we talk about? Oh, it only extends to the unrepentant. Those of us who feel the deep shame and guilt of our abuse apparently aren’t extended this branch of love. (Instead, we are told to take the responsibility for OUR part in it. UNBELIEVABLE!) It’s just another example of un-empathetic people putting themselves in place of God by acting like they are MORE empathic than Him because THEY can forgive an unrepentant pedophile, an unrepentant wife abuser, an unrepentant demon, and deny one of God’s own children grace, love, mercy or respect. How many times did Jesus heal on the Sabbath then get accused by this very same type of person? The kind who follow all the rules, recite scripture, know just the right tone of voice to use to look like they care while implying that we’re too shrill or too hard to please, but THEY will tolerate our insanity because THEY ARE SO LOVING AND UNDERSTANDING. (Was that a little too shrill for you? Bummer dude.)

      This is how asinine it is to expect us NOT to be affected by our childhood and to have all the answers at legal age. Most of us didn’t even know how badly we’d been abused until decades after we became legal adults. Decades of MORE abuse because we had been trained to welcome it and invite it in, then we are blamed that we somehow wanted it because we’d never been allowed to hate evil and turn (run) from it. Can anyone see just how badly we’ve been abused by evil and demons masquerading as angels of light in our churches?

      Thank you for sharing your heart. I’m always amazed that ANY of us can wake up from the fog of lies that the evil one had us in, and end up with any love left at all. But THAT’S the beauty of it all. That God pulls us out of the muck and mire of evil, starts showing us the truth about Himself, about love, about abuse, and then gives a new, very different–stunningly beautiful life. Amazing!

  3. I thoroughly agree with you, Jeff. FOCUS Ministries, a Christian nonprofit organization that provides services for those in domestic violence, recommends secular books like Why Does He Do That and The Verbally Abusive Relationships.It has opened up many eyes to the mind of the abuser and the dynamics of DV. In helping the victim, we suggest they build a support system that can include the local DV crisis center for they can provide shelter and other services we cannot because we are under funded. Our clients then seek us out for a biblical perspective.

  4. I look at it this way: when the church refuses to do the work and ignores the truth, God will use other means to get the information out. We would do well to catch up and overtake the world in this area; instead it seems that many would prefer to reject anything the world has to say because we didn’t say it first.

    I just read the parable in Luke where the master invited all of these people to a party, yet they all gave excuses as to why they couldn’t make it. So he goes out and invites people from the street.

    God will not be silenced, even with the people who are supposed to be getting this stuff don’t listen to him. God said it to us first in scripture. He told us to love and do justice, to oppose evil and love mercy. That’s what this all is, in the end. And if we won’t do it, then he will use others to do it for us. Are we going to be the other brother who whines and complains that others who have opposed God in their hearts are now getting the blessing of doing his work?

    God uses prostitutes, donkeys, tax collectors, and fishermen. Let’s not forget that he is completely willing to invite a whole bunch of other people to the party if those who claim to be his friends decide to pass. Better we should live up to our identity as Christians and be a part of his work then complain that the source of good information isn’t from the right kind of people.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Amen, Jeff!

    • Just Me

      “God uses prostitutes, donkeys, tax collectors, and fishermen. Let’s not forget that he is completely willing to invite a whole bunch of other people to the party if those who claim to be his friends decide to pass. Better we should live up to our identity as Christians and be a part of his work then complain that the source of good information isn’t from the right kind of people.”

      Wow! This really spoke to me. Thank you!

    • Michael Lehman

      Beautifully expounded, Jeff. And of course one could add godless national leaders such as Cyrus along with the unbelieving rulers of every generation since Jesus’ time, whom God tells us he has sovereignly placed in office (Rom 13:1) and commands us to pray for (1 Tim 2:1f). Unbelief is no barrier to our sovereign Lord’s purposes.

    • Katy

      Amen Jeff!!

  5. Preach it, Pastor!

  6. Ken

    Great issue to consider! I think it is perfectly legitimate to consider outside, extra-biblical sources in our thinking and deciding, but we should prob. keep an eye out to see that we do not give those sources authority over the Bible, when they clearly contradict one another. Moses was “educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.” (Acts 7:22), Daniel excelled in the educational system of the Babylonians, and was given a prominent role in that empire, without corrupting or compromising his faith (Dan 1), Jesus quoted common idioms of His day, “But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ (Matt 16:2), Paul quoted from the poets of the Greeks (Acts 17, “As some of your own poets of written…”), and Jude included extra-biblical sources in his short letter, more than once! (The Assumption of Moses, and the account of Enoch’s ascension/rapture). So, it seems to me that there is good precedent to fully take advantage of the wisdom and learning of the surrounding cultures that we find ourselves, always bringing their conclusions and assertions before the Word of God.

    • Absolutely. And that’s the reason we NEED to heed this stuff, because people of scripture are the only ones who will be able to filter it through scripture. The world holds no such allegiance. But turning a blind eye to these resources, we allow the lies to coexist with the truth, because surely unbelievers are going to have wrong ideas that need to be called out and addressed. This is one reason I like “A Cry For Justice” (the book) so much. Jeff has done the work of measuring his information by scripture.

  7. ranthegauntlet

    Agree,agree, agree! You could not have said this in a better or more balanced way! I am reminded that in the 1600s, Galileo was tried, found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” required to “abjure, curse and detest” his statements, and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life, because he DARED to say that the earth orbited the sun, instead of the other way around (wiki.answers). I have not found churches to be much different now, centuries later. I am still “recovering” (many years later) from the consequences of believing much Christian counsel about abuse and wifely conduct therin. Consequently, when someone tells me that they teach only from the Bible, I trust their counsel as far as I can throw a piano.

    Truth in all forms can be distorted. For clarity the Bible isn’t the highest on the list – I’ve LIVED that. I’m done with Biblical interpretations that destroy lives and faith. I choose what works and what makes compassionate sense any day. I will read Lundy Bancroft, and Barbara Roberts, and Jeff Crippen, and Melodie Beatty, and Al Miles, and Dr. Marie Fortune and Joe Pote, and…. And assume that the Jesus Who lives within me, the One who desires mercy, not sacrifice, will somehow guide me to what is OK with Him as I live it out, along with all earthbound souls also compelled to deal with this abuse-corrupted earthly life.

    And the Montana pastor? He made my day, week, month….! Thank GOD for him. I had never heard of John Piper…googled it. Yeah, well…as I said…lived that…done with that.

    Blessings, Diane

  8. won't tell

    Mr. Crippen,
    thank you. one transparency to voice: i was only married 6 weeks, the last 4 weeks were hell psychologically and spiritually, with some “minor” physical assaults.

    i agonized about leaving. i stood naked and ashamed before the holy One and promised Him if it was His Will that I stay and die so this man might come to end of himself, I would stay… and every moment of every day, I would mourn and sorrow that the god who loves me, who is my Father, my Savior who gave me a new life and the Holy Spirit who seals me unto my redemption would require that i live and die at the mercy of another. i was released to leave and to live.

    I can’t read your posts just from the position of a wife of violence… in an anti-marriage to an anti-husband. I came from abuse, and spent my life being reshattered and putting myself together again.

    I see these marriages from a child’s eyes and terror and invisibility. when you tell someone or encourage someone to keep quiet and stay in the marriage, there is no legal justice for the child.

    there is no spiritual justice for the child. there is no identity for the child… no name, just a blood line.

    i have resisted to blood… i have bled real blood. i have bled from a broken heart.

    jesus said, woe to anyone who harms these little ones. the children in abuse are harmed.

    im tired. and i need to stop. please, when anyone reads the posts about abusesive marriages, remember the woman is trying to save her children. they’re “blood”, if you turn your back on them, may be accounted to you. <— addressed to the hearts of stone, stiffnecked, whitewashed tombs

    • Won’t Tell, I’m sure you are speaking on behalf of countless others. So glad you are sharing on our blog!

      • won't tell

        Thank you for allowing me to finally have a voice. God bless

    • Michael Lehman

      WT – Thank you so very much sharing your story so transparently and honestly in just a couple of posts on this thread. Very moving and real. I’m learning a lot as a pastor thanks to your courage (and of course that of others on here too). Please keep it up so I and others can be better equipped for ministry in this tragically neglected area.

      • Michael – I have a blog which deals with spiritual abuse and have a few pastors who are regular readers. I am always so grateful for their presence because it shows their hearts of compassion. I’m also glad they continue to post there because I want my readers to know that there really are some decent pastors who care for people’s souls. I am very encouraged by seeing you here and your encouraging words to Won’t Tell.

  9. won't tell

    to stay somewhat on topic:

    i’ve been wondering if churches encourage or demand their congregation not use secular help for abuse counseling because of the “shame” factor.

    its a blot on Christianity to speak of abuse to an “outsider”. its taking the “family’s” dirty laundry outside the “family”.

    i understand Christ’s injunction to speak privately (what abused person -especially children-hasn’t already done this), then 2 or 3, etc.

    but I think it the truth is “shame” and the need to hide sin– from Adam who hid from the Lord. He was transpaprent… I am naked and ashamed. then he blamed.

    many good pastors feel betrayed that someone they know harms others. many good pastors feel “shame” they didn’t see it. many good pastors want to fix their broken sheep. but, I wonder how many real life shepherds would keep a rogue sheep in their flock that harmed the other sheep? isn’t the health of the flock most important? does the shepherd smash the rod over the injured sheep in punishment for getting harmed?

    would he not note the rogue, keep an eye on the rogue, isolate the rogue, and if needed for the peace and prosperity of the flock, rid himself of the rogue?

    right now, the parable of the lost sheep comes to mind. the shepherd realizes one is missing. the others are safe, so he searches for the lost one, finds it, and personally — with tenderness and determination– brings it to the safety of flock–under his watchful care.

    it is normal to avoid the reality of abuse in a place where one should be safe. but they are shepherds, not sheep.

    i think its time the shepherds must dig deep and decide if they are shepherds or hirelings who run when danger approaches.

    in these “last” days, lawlessness will increase. its preached from pulpits everywhere. where does the lawlessness occur? my readings see it as occuring inside the church as the “lawlessness” of the world is a given.

    and, i am fighting as i always have, the tendency to blame the abused… i learned it from infancy to blame myself {the abused) so its a sin I fight everyday.

    old and new testament demand all who love God, who IS Holy, to tend to the powerless.
    who is less powerful–the preacher? the abuser? the abused?

    be careful who you see and trust in the secular world for protection, counseling, and mentoring, but get help. its okay to ask for and receive help, and don’t stop until you find someone who hears your voice.

  10. bluesinaminor

    the problem with using ‘christian’ only resources is how does one know they are really ‘christian’? many of us married blokes we knew pretty well and were sure were ‘christians’ but we were wrong. the whole point of this blog and Jeff’s book is about wolves in sheep’s clothing hiding in the church and how they don’t have a stitch line around their necks so we can pick them. I’m pretty sure some of them wrote books. I’d rather run all sources – ‘christian’ and ‘secular’ through the filter of the Word (isn’t that what discerning means?) than accept all that is labelled ‘christian’. that got me in this mess in the first place. it is insanity to keep repeating the same behaviours expecting different results.

    • Katy

      Part of this is having the confidence to read the Word yourself and believe that the Holy Spirit can explain it to you. This has been so hard for me. I was so accustomed to letting others do the interpreting, because I would read the Bible and not understand it. It was too overwhelming to me (and it still is) so I would find someone I “trusted” and lean on their understanding.
      I still struggle…some of us are not naturally very good at reading the text and understanding what it means, and I’m definitely one of them.

      • Brenda R

        Me too, Katy. In the past few years I had to realize that people have opinions but not always the truth. I had ask God to lead and give me truth in His Word. I still find myself validating my decision to leave to those who are just finding out and finding support where I did not think it would come from. Praise God.

    • thepersistentwidow

      Bluesinaminor, very well said. We need to put EVERYTHING to the test, even the church recommending the counseling. After the craziness of the church intrvention, God opened my eyes to the fact that there were serious issues in the church itself that I never saw before. And you are right, we have to step out of it, or it is like living in a continuous loop of bad theology, thinking, and results.

  11. I have been so frustrated by the church’s lack of understanding and involvement in this area. I’m a survivor of rape and abuse. I was a believer when the abusive relationship began, but not when it ended. I felt abandoned by God and His church, and it took a long time for me to clear through the lies and find good, loving Christians. I know I am blessed in that regard. I still vividly remember a woman in my DV support group telling us how her church told her to submit to her husband’s beatings and how she would pray and pray while he hit her. I was so horrified. This is the kind of counsel churches give?!

    I try to attend a Take Back the Night event each year, and every year I am struck by the organizations represented there: excellent SECULAR nonprofits dedicated to helping victims and educating people about abuse and rape. Sadly, I know most churches would not want to be a part of such an event because they would not want to be associated with these other organizations for multiple reasons. Just think how much good the church could do, how many people we could reach, if we stepped outside our collective comfort zones. My husband and I have a God-sized dream to one day start a Christian ministry to reach out to victims and survivors of abuse, assault, and trafficking. I also dream of writing a faith-based book about abuse and assault, drawing from my own experiences. In the meantime, I see nothing wrong with utilizing the many excellent secular resources out there. I am grateful they exist.

    • Lisa, there are many Christian groups already doing work on sex trafficking. Have a look at Diane Langberg’s website and you’ll see she gives quite a few links. And Mending the Soul is into that issue too. Maybe you might end up joining an existing group rather than starting another one. But all strenght to your arm in whatever way your visions take shape.

      Yes, I too long to see churches attending Take Back the Night rallies, White Ribbon Day rallies and other such events. Holy cotton wool keeps them like two of the three monkeys — see no evil, hear no evil — but sadly, it doesn’t stop them doing no evil.

  12. Annie

    Sadly, the pastor’s reaction would also be the typical reaction of Christians, which is why I am not quick to recommend the book, in spite of how good it is.

    I would ask this pastor to seriously re-examine the position of questioning the validity of a non-Christian book simply because it is not a Christian source. The criterion for whether a book should be recommended should surely be based on its helpfulness and usefulness, not whether it is written by a Christian. I would also challenge him to critically evaluate Bancroft’s book and if there is something there that is not Biblical, to expose it. If, on the other hand, it promotes values that Christians also hold dear, commend it.

    By the way, Jeff, I don’t believe Lundy Bancroft is a psychologist. He is the founder of the first mens program in the United States, and through his first-hand knowledge of the workings of violent men, he is probably more knowledgeable than most psychologists.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Annie.

      • IamMyBeloved's

        I don’t really get the idea about no psychology, as all of our brains all work the same way! It isn’t as if the design of a Christian’s brain, somehow changes because God saved them. Their thinking gets transformed, but I have read that the actual pathways in the brain are changed when domestic abuse occurs, because we were not designed by God to endure domestic abuse. Hence, the pathways of our brains re-route, in order to allow us to compensate. Because there are forms of compensation that we can live out, that are not good, we need to understand it in order to change it and re-learn some things. I hate the belief that God holds a magic wand that He waves, whenever there is a problem with us, and just makes it all disappear. This belief usually is held by the same people, who when they are having an asthma attack, would rush to the hospital for treatment. Wise choice – so why not get some help to understand what may be wrong in our psychological makeup?

        There are other things that cause patterns to change in our brains, not just domestic violence. We have all heard and read about this phenomenon, so why should we be afraid of it? Where does the Bible say, that learning how things affect us, is a sin? The Bible says that we are to take care of our bodies, and the brain is part of that. Aren’t we to be thankful for all things? God gave us psychologists for a reason. As a Christian, you don’t have to just swallow every word. I believe God helps us discern what is good and right and truth. Even if you need a little help sorting it out, God is not opposed to anyone getting the help you need.

      • Preach it, sister!

      • Brenda R

        I have heard these things since, well, forever. Psychology of any kind was just wrong. I never did feel right about that notion, Dr.’s are Dr.’s. I never was sure what made a Psychologist different from a Dentist, Neurologist or traditional Family Dr. I like the way you put it all in perspective Iam. As long as the Psych is not going to try to sway your belief in the living God or hypnotize you and make you act like a chicken at the sound of a bell I’m not sure why people have such issue with them. I believe from specific conversations I had with ladies long ago, they felt you should be able to pray and get resolution from anything that is on your mind. Like you said, if you have an asthma attack you go to the hospital. When we have issue why not a Psych or counselor? Makes sense to me.

      • IamMyBeloved's

        If a Christian is afraid they may be persuaded to let a psychologist or even licensed counselor hypnotize them and make them act like a chicken at the sound of a bell, well then. they need to take someone with them to the appointments! There are techniques that as Christians we would not submit to and if there was pressure, then we should probably find a new doc.

        However, there are also people out there professing Christ, that believe in eastern medicine vs. western medicine and they are free to choose. So are we. I see lots of new age practice coming into the Church, and nothing gets said about that. I experienced an instance where people were encouraged to wear a certain bracelet and rub a round piece on it in a certain place on their thumbs, and it was supposed to alleviate your ailment. If you can do those things and be a Christian, then you can certainly see a licensed psychologist or counselor!

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