We know that pastors are busy people, so to help them we’ve compiled this list of our best posts on why an abuser cannot be a Christian. And at the end of the list there are a few posts about what to do about it.
Truth and lies, light and darkness, cannot co-exist
What is a Christian (And Why this Question is Vital in Exposing Abuse)
More Thoughts on Why an Abuser Cannot be a Christian
Why an Abuser Cannot be a Christian: The Argument Re-stated
Episode 204: How the Bible Describes Wolves (and It’s Not Nice) — Spreaker, from iHeart
Episode 204: How the Bible Describes Wolves (and It’s Not Nice) — YouTube
The Abuser’s Claim to be a Christian Examined in Light of Prayer
The “Christian” abuser: couldn’t he be a “carnal” Christian? (Part 1)
The “Christian” abuser: couldn’t he be a “carnal” Christian? (Part 2)
The “Christian” abuser: Couldn’t He be a “carnal” Christian? (Part 3)
The “Christian” abuser: Couldn’t He be a “carnal” Christian? (Part 4)
Why Kind, Gentle, Nice Christians, Aren’t
Ongoing Pastoral Counseling of an Abuser is a Formula for Trouble
A fundamental misdiagnosis of the abuser’s problem? — an example from Dallas Theological Seminary
If the abuser shows signs of repentance, what should pastors do? And what if there is no repentance?
Avoid being deceived by the abuser, put him out of the flock (advice for pastors Part 3, by Ps Jeff Crippen)
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.
9 thoughts on “Why an abuser cannot be a Christian — a digest of articles at A Cry For Justice”
Over the last few months, as I read and interact, I have embraced the truth that my ex was not a Christian. I hold it as a true fact, but can’t internalize it. Internalizing it is a process for me that I am welcoming, slowly.
Just now, as I complete two of these articles, a movie begins to play before me. I begin with our first meetings in youth group and the circumstances surrounding his prayer of confession to receive Christ as his Savior….carrying a little NT in his pocket to high school, starting a coffee house ministry with a friend, and continuing on to college to be a minister….
That was over [four decades] ago. [Number redacted] years ago, I divorced this man with the title Rev before his name. Please pray for me as I allow myself to watch this movie in truth. The lady in the picture is a Christian. The man in the movie is a son of Satan.
Then I have to grapple with the fact that while loving God, I spent the days of my life, not in fellowship, but sleeping with the Enemy.
Am I distorting the picture? Am I missing something?
It is sad that I ask you, the truthful ones, those 2 questions. I ask them because the abuser always answered those two questions with a yes, before the words were out of my mouth. Then he explained to me why MY perceptions of most everything were incorrect.
Can you help me a little, here?
Hi Seeing Clearly, I can only collaborate with you, but perhaps it will help.
My deceiver / partner distorted my perceptions all day long throughout our marriage because he wanted me to see things through his lenses, and only through his perspective. ..to continue his facade.
He still tries to repaint the picture all the time even today..smoke and mirrors. To drag me back in.
Most of the marriage, I was submissive, and allowed him to correct the spirit of truth within me that was always telling me something different. As he insisted I had defective perceptions.
One day while on a car ride with him, I was wondering out loud, and mentioned that i wondered “why some one said what they said”. He got very upset with me, because I was questioning the motive behind someones words, and told me instead I should just deal with “the result of their words, and not question the whys of what was said”..
It confused me at the time, because I was seeking the truth, and he made me feel like I was doing something wrong in wanting to know why.
But now I see that he was afraid I might start to question some of his words and he felt the threat of my growing yearning for truth.
The picture of truth was “distorted by your deceiver”, and you were once his trusting supporter, out of your honest intentions. But he breached your trust.
As the truth of his intentions were revealed over time, you responded to it in self preservation as anyone should.
Mine is still trying to get me to doubt myself and my convictions, but I am trusting Christ to keep me focused and content with my independence.
He alone is the true Lover of our souls, for God is for us, and not against us.
Thank you for your insight which I will re-read more times today. While I am feeling off balance, I will hold fast to your last words, God is for me. Thank you.
Seeing Clearly, I very much relate to that! It was an awful realization to come to terms with. Sleeping with the enemy. Sharing the bed with him . . sleep is our most vulnerable time, and I was sharing those sheets with an evil man whose heart was stony and whose mind was bent on concocting ways to hurt me and eventually also our daughter. . .
Abusers put a LOT of energy into trying to control and manipulate the perceptions of their targets. I don’t think you are distorting the picture at all. It sounds to me from what you wrote here and all your other comments on this blog like you had very very good reasons to divorce him. And you gave the marriage a good shot, before you eventually realized it was a hopeless task and would never work.
Abusers lie. They lie chronically. They lie convincingly, sprinkling in just enough truth so that people will be beguiled by their lies. They craft falsehoods with deftness and calculated cunning to make their targets (and bystanders) think that abuse is not going on. It is covert aggression at is worst. I don’t think you are making things up. I encourage you to continue to watch that movie and keep breathing and let yourself weep and/or be angry when the tears and/or anger come up. It is hard. (hugs)
Thank you for your affirmations and hugs. I will continue to watch the movie and continue breathing. A few weeks ago, in unforeseen preparation for this time, God told me, “I AM the air you breath”. Six gentle, powerful words.
Romans 8:9 If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
In my opinion that verse sums up a lot of the confusion. This was an issue I wrestled with for some time. There is a school of thought that says we should not judge whether someone is a Christian, that this is God’s job alone. But I look at it like this example.
There is someone who comes to work and doesn’t bring lunch with them. You can tell they are hungry but they say they aren’t. They say they just didn’t feel like eating today. This goes on quite consistently. You see the person start to lose weight. At this point you can say its none of your business or you can probe further. So you ask a coworker who also notices this as odd but doesn’t care to get involved further. You run into the lunch-less person’s relative at the grocery store so you probe. They mumble something about this person having some “struggles”. You probe further and find out that indeed this person is nearly in poverty and has no money to buy food. You go to the church and they take up a collection to present to this person who doesn’t accept it well at first but then does choose to accept it. With this money they were able to get ahead and make more money with what was left over. They, in turn, thrive.
Now, if we tell ourselves the salvation of the abuser is “not our business” then we are allowing the starved person to die of starvation. We have a responsibility to preach the good news to those who need to hear it. How do we know who needs to hear it? Is it a stretch to conclude that those who don’t seem to have it are the ones who need to hear it?
Also Philippians 3:13-14 is also a good encourager for us, as the apostle Paul wrote.
“forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, i press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I believe the reason that we were “targeted by our abusers” is because we have a pure testimony, that would draw many to Christ.
Now that we are free again, or , getting free we can do just that!
Dangerous stuff we are- to the kingdom of darkness, now that we are no longer deceived.
This song may encourage you as it has me (skip the ad) because it gives the glory to Jesus. Big Daddy Weave – The Only Name (Yours Will Be) [The original link to Big Daddy Weave – The Only Name (Yours Will Be) was broken. We replaced the original link to the video with a copy of Big Daddy Weave – The Only Name (Yours Will Be) that works. Editors.]
I think an abuser would not like this song because they seek to get what only belongs to God.
Big Daddy Weave- Giving Glory to the One in whom Glory is due! Amen
I’ve been hesitant to post this because I’ve sort of been hoping someone else will come up with something similar, but so far I haven’t seen it so here goes.
I’m married to my second covert abuser….25 years the first time, 8 years single, now another 9 years to another. So about 5 years ago we went to a “Caring For The Heart” ministry for counseling. On about the third day the couple who was counseling us was praying for my h and suddenly he curled up in a fetal position and started talking and mumbling….two very different voices talking to each other. One I couldn’t understand and the other was saying, “NO! Go away!” with hand gestures as if shooing away something / someone. The husband counselor knelt by him and wrote down what he was saying and then they prayed for him for about 15 minutes and then all was “normal” again. Now this was just a normal counseling, nothing of this sort was expected.
Then months later there were a few times when we would try to pray together (he avoids doing that but sometimes will) and he (hubby) said he “just wasn’t getting anywhere”, that “all he was hearing was evil laughter and voices saying, “I won’t let you go.” “You’re mine.””
I’m wondering if anyone else has seen this sort of thing or has thoughts about what to do. My son recently recommended the book “Healing the Family Tree” by Dr. Kenneth McAll, written in 1956 by a doctor / psychologist / missionary, which talks about this so I wonder if God is directing [me] here.
[Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]
Sunflower, thank you SOOOOO much for posting this. I think we will make it into a stand-alone post as it is an important topic.
I am busy with family stuff right now but will reply a bit more on this thread to you later, I hope. If I don’t reply on this thread, I will certainly comment on it when we publish the stand-alone post.