A Cry For Justice

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

It’s Time for Us to Listen to Jesus and Stop Believing the Traditions We Have Been Taught in Church

UPDATE  Sept 2021:  Barbara Roberts has 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.


“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.     Matthew 7:24-29

This is going to be hard to put into words, but I will try. We desperately need to stop listening to the scribes and start listening to Jesus. Even good pastors whose motives are to glorify God have in many, many cases embraced the teaching of the scribes and are passing those teachings down to their flocks, enslaving everyone. If the eye does not see clearly…. Who are the scribes today? They are theologians, authors, prominent pastors, church leaders in local churches, seminary teachers who teach the tradition of man as the Word of God. It took me years and years and years to get free of this scribal counterfeit stuff. I was trusting men instead of letting the Spirit of God in me teach me from His inerrant Word.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I still believe there is a place for pastors and teachers in the church (see Ephesians 4:11ff).  I am not saying that we should throw all books away besides the Bible and take off on our own as if we were the only ones who know anything at all and who have no need to learn from others.  If that were the case, I would be wasting my time writing this very blog post! But what I am saying is that the unbiblical, false traditions of men have brought us into bondage. Traditions about

  • marriage:  it displays the covenant love of God; ‘redeeming it’ saves society; it’s more important than the individuals within it though we don’t actually say that bluntly; the believing wife must stay married no matter what to silently evangelise her unbelieving husband; all we need to do is get gender roles **right**  (take your pick on that one!) as that will solve most of the problems
  • divorce: only for a) adultery or b) desertion but not c) abuse or d) porn addiction . . . unless the abuse or porn addiction is REALLY BAD and the church gets to define *really bad*, not the victim.  Or, never allowed period. Take your pick of traditions here, there’s a whole smorgasboard to choose from, these are only a few. In Jesus’ day they had the Pharisees, the Saducees, the Essenes, the Hilletes, the Shammaites; we have various camps today. There’s nothing new under the sun
  • remarriage: not sinful if done after a) or b); sinful if done after c) or d); can be forgiven if confessed as a sin; always sin unless other spouse has died. Take your pick again — are you confused yet? Never mind, there are enough traditions out there to suit even the tastes of the most unusual person (except the abuse victim! her traditions have been mostly scrubbed and forgotten, and in keeping with the tradition of eliding the abuse victim we mention this only in parentheses .  . . ).
  • forgiveness: seeing it as uncoupled and disattached from repentance; mandating that Christians be Peacemakers (TM) at all times thus stifling all whistleblowers in the church
  • church discipline: seeing Matthew 18:15-17 as the only Scripture for it — a passage to be cited on important occasions for the sake of appearances but rarely carried out fully
  • God’s character and qualities: cherry-picking Scripture to emphasize God’s love, patience and grace and skim over His justice, anger and wrath against sin
  • defining and ranking sin: viewing all relationship problems as mutual sins; sin-levelling; viewing all a person’s problems as evidence of their own sin, thus ignoring PTSD; defining ‘immorality’ as only flesh-on-flesh sexual sin; certain things are allowed in marriage which are not allowed otherwise —there’s a nice smorgasboard of traditions for the perverse to take their pick from, e.g. the Mark Driscoll tradition on marital sex, or the Domestic Discipline tradition on wife beating, and the mainstream mostly turn their eyes aside to this, failing to protect the sheep
  • homeschooling and other child rearing traditions

(On 12 Feb 2015 we have added this for clarification in case anyone doesn’t read the whole comments thread below. We do not think that all homeschooling traditions within Christendom are bad or unbiblical. Not at all. We are merely saying that some homeschooling traditions in Christendom have prescribing things that are not spelled out and prescribed in the Bible. See my comment in this thread.)

  • and many other traditions

Do you see what happened when Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, the closing of which is quoted above? The people were astonished. There was something radical, something refreshing and convicting and yet freeing in what Jesus taught.  There was certainty in it. There was this “but I say to you” in contrast to “Well, as John Piper teaches in his book on marriage…”. I think that when abuse victims today start to hear Christ announcing “abuse is grounds for divorce. It is a violation of the marriage covenant. You are free to leave and I will bless you as you go,” they are experiencing something quite similar to what these crowds did at the Sermon on the Mount.

Today I was reminded of all this. An abuse survivor who had been additionally abused by many churches when she sought help and protection from them, talked to me. She said to me “I have been listening to your abuse sermons and I wanted to talk to you because you are so different from the other pastors and teachers I have listened to.”  Now, I am NOT patting myself on the back here.  I am simply saying that this is an example of what happens when God’s truth is proclaimed to people who have been so long oppressed by false traditions. It is only the grace of God that He showed me His truth and enabled me to preach it.  One way He did this was to expose me to the attacks of abusers for many years and to keep me in small, isolated churches out of the mainstream of the scribes.

So, here is what I am calling all of you to do. Stop blindly accepting these false traditions being fed to you by blind guides, crawl out of the pit they have led you into, and realize that those feelings you have down deep inside — those little nagging, troubling thoughts you have been suppressing that have been making you unsettled with what you have been taught to believe — are the Spirit of Christ seeking to lead you into Christ’s truth. I can tell you from personal experience in this journey that the scribes will hate you for it and try to shut you up. You will sometimes slide backward a bit and tell yourself “Maybe I am really teaching some far out stuff here and getting Scripture all wrong.”  But then you go back to Scripture and look at it again, closely, repeatedly, and you will conclude, “Nope. I know what this means. I know what God is saying here. And I am not going to be quiet about it.”


This post was chiefly written by Jeff Crippen, the bullet points section was elaborated by Barbara Roberts


  1. Teresa

    One more thought…it’s incredibly sad that so much of my church experience has been in the shaking off of not only obvious false teaching, but these traditions of men. It’s been a constant experience of picking meat off of bones for me, I sometimes feel like I have had to unindoctrinate myself over and over from this stuff. I sometimes feel like I am sitting alone in church wondering if I am the only one seeing this stuff? Being a berean and praying for wisdom and discernment are much more important than we even realize. This kind of bondage is actually much more subtle and sneaky than your average Word of Faith false teaching or something obvious. People question nothing, but we are commanded over and over in Scripture to question our teachers and leaders.

    • renmar

      I was going to reply a simple “Amen and amen!” to this blog post but as I read through the comments I wanted to assure you that you are not alone (as I am sure you well know from this blog!).

      I, too, for many, many years, have felt like the only one seeing the problems in the church – and there are so many in so many areas! For most of my 27 year walk with the Lord, I have felt like I have been slogging through the muck and mire to try to find clear water (I love your analogy of picking meat off bones). I praise God that He had led me to keep my nose primarily in His word, ie put away the other books and teachings unless He leads me there so as to ‘know the truth so the truth can set (me) free’,

      Most recently, through my divorce, one that I thought would never happen because, as I was told repeatedly, a good Christian wouldn’t leave a marriage, He taught taught me deeper lessons about who He is and how to follow His leading alone and about how His ways are not our ways, When He led me into divorce, and as I walked through that process, fought the battles and watched Him take care of the details in my life and take care of me and my children as He has promised me He would, and watched Him protect my homeschooling through the court system, He taught me how to take Him at His word and trust His voice right away rather than doubting and needing confirmation from others. Oh, how faithful He is when we seek Him and His kingdom and righteousness first! (Matthew 6:33) He truly does lead us into truth and freedom. It’s rarely a quick journey but it sure is a worthwhile one, even in the midst of the trials it takes to get there, for He is so incredibly faithful! Thanks for sharing, sister! You certainly are not alone! God always preserves a remnant 🙂

      • TB

        Renmar, I enjoyed your post. It sounds like you and I have many similarities. I am learning to rely on the Lord like never before this side of my salvation. My ex was always my provider, decision maker, problem solver, etc. Now he is out of the picture and God is in the driver’s seat as Lord of my life. I have never leaned in to Jesus like this before. I am being trained in hearing his voice, staying constantly in His Word, disciplining myself to not just hear or read the Word but to memorize it, know it, and get it inside of me. The truths I am realizing are hitting me like tons of bricks…in a good way. I have had so many revelations now that I am digging in. It is life changing. It keeps me hungry for more. I am thrilled at the big growth in a relatively short time. If only I had been doing this all along. Maybe I would not be divorced today. Who knows? Even so, my ex was calling me a religious fanatic toward the end of our marriage and I was no where near where I am now with God. My ex would really think I was obsessed now. LOL Nothing better than being obsessed with my Savior.

        Life outside of the dysfunction is better than I could have imagined. Fear kept me in bondage in marriage. Fear also lead me to leave. Fear told me it would be awful and that I would not make it. Fear said I would not be able to live in a nice home in a safe area. Fear said I would have to work and my kids would have to go to a bad school.

        Well, fear was wrong. God has shown himself in tremendous ways in walking with me through this tragedy. I am constantly amazed and in awe of his goodness and provision. My ex prophesied gloom and doom. God has not fulfilled those lies. He has carried my children and me and faithfully provided for us. I am so grateful.

      • Still Reforming

        I am greatly encouraged by your comment. Thank you.
        I am still in this process – going through “dissolution of marriage” (as they now call “divorce”) and not sure of the road God will lead us down to possibly school outside of the home (we now homeschool; she has some special needs) and maybe work. I’m unafraid of either, but want to help my child through this process. I’m realizing that God does provide wisdom – and has throughout the horrible “marriage” and now this dissolution of same.
        I’m walking through past the fear and helping my child to do same. The Lord is leading us both, but I have languished in Bible study and prayer, although I do the latter, but minimally so. I am praying that the Lord lead us to a church home for healing and where we can serve Him and His people with glad hearts. I trust that He will – and lately have heard this small voice inside telling me to dream and dream big. To think of where we’d both like to go and why. To make a list of what we’d desire in a new home and to go for it. I want to be sure it’s of the Lord and not just me. Nonetheless, I’ve started with my child to do these things – to think through not just what we’d like minimally, but what we’d like totally.
        Thank you for your encouraging comment. It’s refreshing to hear from people who have made it through that dark valley and come out with healing and glad hearts, thankful for what the Lord has done and seeing Him in their lives. I see Him even in this dark place – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego saw Jesus in the fire – and know He is here. In spite of all, He remains faithful to His people, so I shall trust in His leading, no matter where or when.

  2. Teresa

    This is a summation of everything I have been thinking, feeling and living since I became a Christian 11 years ago. I know there is liberation here, real freedom in Christ but have struggled over the years with basically this one line of your article ” those little nagging, troubling thoughts you have been suppressing that have been making you unsettled with what you have been taught to believe — are the Spirit of Christ seeking to lead you into Christ’s truth”. I found your sermons on sermon audio and they have been a Godsend but I have really struggled to shake off some of the legalism and nonsense I have been taught these past few years and embrace the truth of scripture. Growing up in a background of child abuse and neglect, then much of the same in romantic relationships it’s felt like I was a sitting duck in two different churches. My background made it difficult for me to discern right and wrong when these elevated leaders, or even celebrity pastor’s teach this man made junk and people treat their teachings as truth. It’s really confusing but it’s eaten away at me all these years. Thank you for your work here, your blog and it’s articles and resources only confirm to me that I am indeed on the right track and that God really will lead His children into all truth. God bless you guys

    • Hi Teresa, welcome to the blog. We have a few Teresas here so you may want to use Teresa2 or something like that as you screen name. If you want us to alter the screen name on your published comments, email our helper The Woman Behind The Curtain at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com.

      • Teresa

        Thanks so much for the warm welcome Barbara. It’s my WordPress log in for my blog so I can’t change it. I will probably have to log out and comment anonymously ….or just enjoy reading from now on. Thanks!

      • don’t bother about changing it or logging in some other way. We can happily accommodate more than one Teresa, no worries!

  3. MeganC

    Yes, yes YES! I remember how I felt when I first found this blog and first connected with Jeff and Barb. I could not get enough of reading because it was so freeing to discover that what I felt in my heart was actually true — my ex had broken the covenant of marriage with abuse and porn and it was OK to leave. Not just OK — necessary. I know exactly what you are describing here, Jeff. The truth and freedom that Christ brings is a balm to the heavy soul. When we are able to articulate that to to others, there is a “lightening” of heart. Thank you for being that voice, over and over!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Oh yes, Meg, how I agree and know this to be true too! So thankful for this ministry and all that Jeff and Barb and others (like you Meg) have done for those of us who have been grid-locked into abusive marriages, by the scribes and Pharisees of today. I remember when I was first introduced to both of you and the “hope” God gave to me through you.

      Thank you God for giving us this ministry of hope for freedom from abuse.

      • MeganC

        Thank you, precious Iam. And I am only able to “branch out” because I was ministered to by Christ and ACFJ and a few other places and people.

        I love, love, love that we are never gridlocked when we are presented with truth . . . the truth that sets free. Keep pressing on, friend!

  4. Suzanne

    Excellent, excellent piece. I wish that this could be read out to the congregations of every church on the planet. Abuse should never be tolerated by the people of God and it’s long past time for us to learn what God has to say about it. Thank you, Jeff and Barbara.

  5. IamMyBeloved's

    To elaborate on the one section noted in this post, I was told that you can only use certain portions of the Bible for your marriage. You could not use Abigail’s example, as it was a historical account. You could not use imprecatory Psalms, etc. etc. I was not told this by my current Church, but by the “c”hurch (ie cult) I was attending who excommunicated me for telling my abuser he could not come back unless and until he got help and stopped abusing.

    I thought that I would just go straight to God on this and ask Him personally, so I began praying and asking God to show me if the imprecatory Psalms were still to be used today. I even wondered if God really vindicated His own anymore. I was so confused. So, I prayed like David prayed. Especially pertaining to the entire “dig a pit for someone else – and you will fall into it yourself”, as I was having pit after pit dug for me by my abuser. Once I began praying through those Psalms dealing with this specific issue, God showed me loudly and clearly, that He is still the same God today, as He was then! Amen! I was vindicated, as my abuser fell into the pit he had dug for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how freed I was to once again believe that every single portion and every single word in God’s Word is for today and is applicable, yes even to marriage. Yeah. Get that already! God still hates sin and God still vindicates His own and God still today, is not in the business of sin-leveling. God’s people today are still being led by the Holy Spirit. God still today, does not condone nor approve of women being abused by their husbands. God still does not say that women in marriage should understand that they are being abused because they themselves are just sinners. Huh. Imagine that!

    I was actually told that unless the passage referenced marriage in it, you could not apply it to your marriage. I asked, “then what about the verse ‘do not let any corrupt communication proceed from your mouth’ – is that only for people who are not married?” No reply for that question.

    Love this post as it is timely, accurate and truth. Amazes me how we are urged to come back to the Bible and only get our answers for everything in life there and yet it is picked to death and no passages pertaining to justice and God’s wrath are allowed. We are taught to feel sorry for the people sinning against us and to just take it, as if God does not still hate the offenders’ sin, and yet we are also told to take it because God hates our own sin so much. That just makes no sense at all. We are taught to abide with the sexually immoral, because we are sinners too. We are taught there is no difference between the saved and the lost. We have even forgotten the passages in Proverbs such as “do not associate with an angry man, lest you learn his ways”, etc. I guess that also must mean that God is all done being angry with the wicked everyday now. Not–

    • Iam (((((hugs))))

      It gives me such joy to know how far you’ve come and see you proclaiming the freedom of Christ to others. 🙂 🙂

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Love, ((((hugs)))) and thanks to you, Barb.

  6. joyisnowfree

    This is very important. I see a lot of error practiced in the church today and it does become the center of man’s tradition. It is rare to see a leader teach God’s word in truth. I used to attend a church where all women were expected to submit no matter what the husband did. If these abusive issues where addressed according to God’s word, there would be correction, protection, accountability and the church would be healthy. Unfortunately, this church is where I met my soon to be x.

  7. Lisa

    It took me years and years and years to get free of this scribal counterfeit stuff.

    Yes. I am going through this process now and every layer I work through there seems to be another one beneath it. It is mind-bending work and sometimes I even have the stressful physical sensation of internal twisting or being pulled in two directions sometimes like an internal battle as I let go of deeply ingrained The-Way-It-Is’es. (Not sure how to spell that 🙂

    • The-Way-It-Is’es

      Thanks Lisa — a new saying for me to use 🙂

  8. jmclever

    One chapter in a book that I was required to read for a class talked about the effects of Christendom on Christianity. There were many. One of the most interesting ones to me was the fact that when Christianity became the official religion of the empire and pastors became employees. It wasn’t long before the prophetic voice was replaced with the endorsement of the status quo. Scripture began being interpreted in ways that did not rock the boat. Jesus was painted in the image of the emperor as someone who was aloof and far off, rather than an ever present help in time of need.

    These teachings still permeate our culture even though there is not really a Christendom these days. Consider this scenario. There is suffering in the land. Rather than tell the king / emperor / etc. that he is wicked because he is lavish on himself and does not care for the people that God entrusted to him, the priest tells the people that they are suffering for their own sins, or that God has sent this trial to test them and refine them. The people internalize these teachings. Generations later few read and interpret the scripture for themselves with the voice of the Holy Spirit in their ears. They teach what they have been taught by men, rather than hearing from God and being a prophetic voice to the people. And a suffering, abused wife is taught that her suffering is because God is testing or refining her or because she herself is sinful. The reality is that she is suffering because of the wickedness of her husband.

  9. Lisa

    It took a lot of reading and researching (so grateful for this site and some others I read) to have a transformed mind in this area of “being still In Him” hearing and applying His Word for me in my situations instead of “believing the teachings of the scribes.” I went from thinking, “Well, except if you’re married” to “Well, especially if you’re married!” i.e. “Do not associate with an angry man, lest you learn his ways” … took me almost 10 years to actually believe and apply that verse all the while sort of absorbing some of the abusers attitudes. Yuk. But, praise God for His Truth and guidance. He is faithful. One day, it finally really hit me that Jesus died on the cross and He rose from the dead FOR ME, TOO! Freedom In Him….

    • Remedy

      A hearty AMEN Lisa…..especially if you’re married!! This unique relationship should, more than any other, reflect Christ! Not be denigrated to something lower than even casual relationships in the body of Christ and the instructions we have been given on how to treat one another. It doesn’t even make sense logically. The whole counsel of Scripture.

    • Hi Lisa, welcome to the blog! 🙂 Glad to have you here.

      • Lisa

        Thank you! I really appreciate all your work and the work of your colleagues. I’ve been reading but
        not blogging for some time. What a trip!!! God is GOOD!

  10. Brenda R

    “We aren’t going to get into this whole abuse thing for one person. We don’t want to get something started.” That is what I have heard in sermon. I had one lady tell me, “it’s not the divorce dear, it is getting remarried.” I told her that I really didn’t expect to find a man that fits my belief system of what a potential mate should be at my age, but if I did, I would be free to marry him. I stay at this church to try and make a difference. It is sometimes week to week.

    This church stopped passing the plate and people said you can’t do that, donations will go down. WRONG–They went up. We have boxes on the walls in the back of the sanctuary. People seem to find their way to them. So I don’t see how preaching against abuse is any different. It will be freeing to those who need it and those who don’t will stay happily married. Oh, silly me, “God Hates Divorce”. UGH!!!!

  11. thepersistentwidow

    The churches that demand obedience to their laws have lost the Gospel. The laws that they manufacture and their caricature of Jesus as a harsh task master are reminiscent of the medieval Roman Catholic Church.

    We are Christians. We have Christian liberty. Isn’t it ridiculous that we would be bound to follow laws crafted by people who don’t have to actually live with an abuser? Do they really care about the damage that abuse causes children or our physical ailments we experience living with the continual stress of abuse, for example? The damage to our children and ourselves is of greater consequence than transgressing their laws, which we will gladly do to be obedient to our Father. We will please God rather than men.

    Here is a test. If your church is telling you that you have to follow their laws to prove that you are a Christian, they are a works-righteousness church. A true Christian church will tell you that you are a Christian because you believe the Gospel, the good news that Christ died for you. God said it, we believe it. Thus, the righteous will walk by faith.

  12. Emily

    Hi Barbara, thanks for clarifying – I agree wholeheartedly…I was curious if any homeschoolers were reading this blog, too. I don’t know any in my church, but I have worked in / with many churches and i have seen/experienced a lot of ppl who misuse their position to manipulate & control others. God has even given me dreams of a spirit in my church (while I was separated) to warn me of their beliefs about abuse in my marriage. When I returned to my church, I found that everything the Holy Spirit had been showing me was true. Can’t agree with your advice enough…and thanks for the blog leads 😉

    • MeganC

      Emily — I home school. 🙂 But, when I home schooled before, it was due to pressure from the church and the seminary-atmosphere in which I found myself. It was not because it was something I wanted to do or, even, what was best for the children. I took 3 years off and then went back and started it again . . . only freely. It is much, much better this way!

      • Emily

        Wow, Megan. What a story! I remembered seeing something in your blog about a mom who got away from her abuser, but continued homeschooling..maybe that was you, or another Mama? I lost where I had seen that, but I wondered how she financially was able to pull that off? My h usually threatens me if I leave, he will quit his job and then I won’t be able to homeschool :/

      • Yes Emily, that was probably A New Free Life who you are referring to. Her blog is in our blogroll in our sidebar, but here’s a direct link:
        anewfreelife ~ Rising from the ashes of domestic violence [Internet Archive link]

      • MeganC

        No, Emily — That wasn’t me. That must have been another mother. It might have been A New Free Life. She cleans houses so she can home school her children. I DID have to put my kids in public school when I left my first husband. And they did just fine. They did great, actually. 🙂 I am so sorry for what you are dealing with with your husband. I just hate it. HATE that kind of manipulation and fear. But, rest assured, if the children ever had to go to public school, they really will be OK because they have a mama who loves them.

    • Still Scared but you can call me Cindy

      I homeschool too. In VA ,where I am, there are lots of secular homeschoolers as well as Christian. Quite a mixed, eclectic bunch that I fit into, very well. I have my last two to graduation in a year or so. One of mine wanted to try public school for high school and found it so boring he graduated a year early. I have a job whose hours allow me to homeschool. ( also, separated with much older kids)

    • Sunflower

      I homeschooled all mine. One also tried public school for a year and was bored, but enjoyed playing basketball. The school allowed them to do sports and Band while otherwise homeschooling. I babysat, gave music lessons, and played pipe organ for a church as well as pump organ for a funeral home. Did my piano exam and learned the organ at age 46 -50. I was not very well but God was good to us.

  13. Emily

    I homeschool, but I felt like God has lead me there all the way…and personally, I feel like the humanistic background of our school systems (I.e. john Dewey) has influenced so much in the secular, as well as religious arena, suggesting that parents should not be the main teachers of their kids. I really feel I was supposed to go against the grain of society to hold on to my kids. My kids have special needs and I thank God every day they aren’t on that school bus driving by. It takes so much courage, but I won’t give up when it’s the one of the few values I have held so strongly to..even though my husband criticizes me all the time for it (he would rather I be out earning a paycheck). If you know any homeschool moms on here, please connect me. 🙂

    • Emily we don’t have time to connect you with other homeschooling mums but if you go to Julie Anne Smith’s blog Spiritual Sounding Board [Internet Archive link] (look in our blog roll at the right) you will see she has lots of material about homeschooling and also she has links to online networks / forums of homeschoolers and adults who grew up being homeschooled, who are awake to the dangers of spiritual abuse, and power and control issues in Christendom. I’m not saying that all homeschooling is tinged with the abuse brush, not at all, but sometimes in some circles it has been and I believe one is wise to be alert to this so as not to get sucked in to homeschooling networks that may be promoting dangerous ideas such as hard patriarchy.

      So if you you are wanting to network with other homeschoolers, I would recommend you find sites where the homeschoolers are awake to abuse issues.

      Bless you, and thanks for sharing here. 🙂

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Amen, Barb.

        Emily, the caution Barb issues here is a serious one. Too much idolatry and unscriptural patriarchy in play there among this group. It is not the home educating, it is the legalistic lists and demands that will end up undoing you. It is the wrongful interpretation of Scripture and what marriage means in God’s eyes. Watch what circles you travel in, and re-read that Deut. 6 passage again, for yourself. It is not God mandating home schooling, it is God mandating that you train your children in His Word – all the time – and to know Him and love Him. Too many misuses of Scripture by some of those leaders in that arena. Also, many of those main leaders have either fallen or have bad track records that have YET to be made public. Watch the books you read. Women writing books about how to train your daughters and be subject to your husbands – only they are written from a personal view point, not the Bible and they are written by women who have been brain-washed into believing the travesty they teach. Just a head’s up-

  14. Valerie

    Even good pastors whose motives are to glorify God have in many, many cases embraced the teaching of the scribes and are passing those teachings down to their flocks, enslaving everyone.

    Thank you Pastor Crippen for putting words to what’s been on my heart in recent weeks! While I do believe there are some in positions of biblical authority who abuse this privilege, you emphasize a great point here in that even the best intended can plug in the destination to the GPS and then blindly follow it. They put their full trust in the destination to the degree that they can get easily off course until they realize they put one letter in wrong and end up at a restaurant instead of the hospital.

    I have started to do more inductive Bible study and it has been very difficult to not use the crutch of commentaries to make sense of things at times. But just as you spoke of it saying “in the book of Piper” it is all too easy to get our knowledge of God all second-hand rather than going straight to the source. (I have not become against using commentaries and such but I recognize how they have been a crutch.)

    That nagging feeling you describe so perfectly. I have come to recognize it as the Spirit prompting me to investigate further. Your whole last paragraph speaks to exactly the specific feelings I’ve been wrestling with. Thank you for this excellent post and being willing to be bold for the truth!!!

  15. StandsWithAFist

    Ohhh boy….”them’s is fightin’ words”. This coming Sunday, the resident “scribe” will be waxing eloquent about love & forgiveness & using out-of-context meaning to guilt-trip the adult fellowship I attend. (Little mention of repentance.) This “scribe” is so off-base, so self-satisfied, so holier than all, that he is loathe to call on “dissenters”, & will scan the room looking for other’s comments so he can avoid dissent & continue in his fake pious prattle. I can hardly stomach it anymore.

    He actually opined last Sunday from Matthew 18 that when Jesus said, “If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector”, that (in said-scribe’s mind) it actually meant to “love them unconditionally, b/c Jesus loved the Gentiles & tax collectors”. I wanted to scream. This is blasphemy. Seriously. It is such shallow, self-absorbed drivel. These same scribes overlook the verses where Jesus says “they who love me, keep My commandments” or, “He separates sheep from goats, sending them (goats) to eternal punishment”, or when He criticized the churches who only wanted to be entertained but not transformed, or when sent out the twelve, and told then to “flee to the next city” (if they were persecuted), not to just stay there and submit to abuse.

    It truly sets my teeth on edge to see, hear & watch these self-appointed scribes create traditions with faulty scriptural basis. As in Matthew 23:4 “They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them.”
    I have said it before: Jesus took His whip to the temple, not to City Hall. Why? To cleanse it from the traditions that profane true worship. City Hall cannot cleanse the hearts of men–only Jesus can do that. Let the Word speak. Let Jesus speak. LET HIM SPEAK!!

    • Preach it, sister!

    • thepersistentwidow

      StandsWithAFist, it sounds like there is some very bad theology in that church. The teacher is obviously not qualified to teach and must think of himself as some kind of a prophet, with a “Thus says the Lord” mentality as ideas spring into his mind. With him interpreting Scripture according to his own fancy, it seems likely that the church is ripe for spiritual abuse from the leadership. I suggest that you consider that this is a ‘red flag’ that you are in the wrong church. It wouldn’t hurt to shop around for a church with preaching that you know comes from the Shepherd. I think that this sounds like a load of false teaching that should be avoided.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Yes, I agree tpw, about the red flags, & have been praying about another church. I am torn whether to stay & continue to speak out as Ps. Jeff wrote, “Nope. I know what this means. I know what God is saying here. And I am not going to be quiet about it”. I mentor some young women & have built relationships with them that are “safe”. Several have sought me out & I am open with them that I often differ with the teaching, and I back it up with Scripture. So, I am torn. Do I stay or do I go? If I go, do I say why? If I stay, I’m swimming against the current, and have to navigate the water. I need real food, too, but I also love these women. It is discouraging at how difficult it is to find honest, gutsy, deep teaching. The false teaching is so subtle, but so dangerous.

    • jmclever

      StandsWithAFist, I have actually heard a similar teaching on the Matthew 18 text. That false teaching is an example of combining teachings that were given in different contexts.

      • StandsWithAFist

        Thx, JM–and my thots exactly: teachings given in different contexts, like discipline of unrepentant believers versus evangelism of unbeleivers. I am not a “Biblical scholar” but even I know the difference!

  16. Still Reforming

    Like balm to a wounded soul. Thank you. I have talked with my daughter recently about this – because we were talking about appropriate anger. Jesus had anger, but did not sin. I told her it’s okay to be angry; We don’t suppress that, but we manage it. We don’t abuse others with it, and we certainly do not sin in our anger. Hatred is not out of place either. “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13). But where are such words from the pulpit when it comes to helping the victim of abuse – the beaten man on the road passed by the priest and the Levite? On this, the pastorate is either mute or propping up the perpetrators of the abuse. Church leaders would be wise to heed the words of Jesus to the Pharisees – the many woes leap to mind.

  17. jmclever

    A caricature of Jesus…I had not considered that analogy before. But it is true that “c”hristianity is represented by a christ that has a few of the original features of the real Christ that have been so distorted as to only vaguely resemble the real thing. I looked it up and found a caricature to be “any imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.” Sadly, most do not know enough about the real Jesus to see that what is presented in many churches is distorted, inferior, and ludicrous. Thanks for the new thought 🙂

  18. Jesus' Beloved

    Thank you Jeff and Barbara for posting this. I wish I had found this 13 years ago. It would have saved me such severe pain and suffering, as well as my children. I went to the church for help with my marriage when I first became a believer, so that was 13 years ago. I remember telling someone I highly respected and thought to be the most Godly person I knew about how my husband had hit me and left a bruise, and shoved me into a wall. She asked me what my part was in that. Was I making him mad, provoking him. She said while what he did was wrong, I had to own my part in it and repent for it. I believed her.

    Other Godly women I confided in, including my then pastor’s wife, told me that I seemed to not respect my husband and adore him too much, and no wonder he treated me the way he did. I spent years trying to make a marriage work based on changing myself and showing love and affection to a man that treated me like I was worthless.

    Finally after 14 years I couldn’t take anymore and did something I should have done years ago, which I highly recommend to any woman that is being abused, or suspects she may be but is not sure yet. I quit trying to follow what others were telling me to do and stopped reading all those stupid books about being the Praying Wife who submits to everything, and I cried out to God in complete honesty: “Tell me what the truth is!!!!!” I remember screaming that one day in my home office, weeping. Lo and behold a few minutes later He answered that prayer, which is another story. But ever since that day, He’s done nothing but show me again and again and again, I was being abused and I had every right to leave. What’s more, He showed me He absolutely hated how I was treated. I wish I had asked Him sooner to tell me what HE thought about my marriage. I think He waited for years in agony, hoping that one day I would ask and then pose the next question to Him: will you get me out of this marriage? God’s answer to that question when I asked it, a resounding YES.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Jesus’ Beloved – Oh yeah, that same old line – “what was your part in it?” It’s these “other Godly women” and men who so often are the abuser’s friend and the victim’s enemy. They are arrogant, ignorant, and I think that they really get their spiritual “jollies” telling others to keep suffering, to find their own sin, and so on. It makes these kind of people feel important and superior to others. I often wonder what they would do if you started punching and pushing and threatening THEM? Surely they would instantly and calmly apologize to you for not respecting you enough and thereby setting you off. Oh yeah, right. Not!

  19. Sunflower

    I’m finding that being defensive often makes me look weak. I think if someone were to ask me today, “What was your part in it?” I would say, “My part is that unknowingly I enabled my husband to be abusive to me by not kicking him to the curb the very first time he raised his voice at me and by not getting help sooner. But I didn’t and now here we are. Will you help me?”
    Just a thought.

    • Still Reforming

      Kudos, Sunflower! Well stated indeed! I have been thinking lately that my part has been giving him “the benefit of the doubt” until I lost count …. Today I’m thinking, why did I give him the benefit of the doubt so many times? Who else do I ever have to do that with? (No one.) And does anyone ever have to do that with me? (No.) There’s a reason I have to keep giving him the benefit of the doubt – because of the simple fact that doubt exists – over and over and over again. And that’s not right. It’s not truthful. It’s not clear. By design. Confused people are easier to control.

      Narcissists design their actions and words to confuse and they know the playing field and who they’re playing. My (soon-to-be-ex-) recently played my mom for a fool, lying to her to get something really big from her that he wanted (and he got it), but now it’s coming around to bite his backside. As I ponder this I wondered, “Didn’t he know that he would be found out in this lie? It was so obvious.”

      And yet, I’m beginning to see what hubris and man being given over to himself and his own arrogance and pride really looks like. I see now what I’ve been reading about these past few years. He really is that narcissistic that even knowing he’d be caught in a bold-faced lie (several actually), it probably doesn’t matter to him, because he feels justified.

      Our parts as victims in all this, I’m learning, is to speak up – like you said you would – and name truth and stop protecting these anti-Christs by being silent. Speak truth and righteousness to this present evil and stop protecting it, as I have done all these years by misunderstanding Scripture and “being nice” at church, all the while identifying in snippets little bits of what was happening, and everyone else too gave my husband “the benefit of the doubt.” No more. No mas. Finito. Never again.

      • Sunflower

        Were we all actually duped by the world’s lie that everyone is born good, and that being nice to people will eventually get them to be nice to us? That there are no really evil people in the world? Is this what it has taken to wake us up? I think most of us here are a bit stunned by the idea that some people never change and don’t respond to kindness with kindness, or? I am. After all, all the nice books I’ve read show that you can bring out ‘the best’ in others by smiling, right? I have a son-in-law who truly believes that there would be no war if the leaders of countries would just sit down and negotiate. Really? You can talk sense into others? Is this where the anti-christ comes in a gives us peace at all costs? This has sure been a wake-up for me. We don’t like to think that there is a point where someone has chosen meanness so long that God gives them over to it.

      • These verses are often read and preached on, but seldom taken seriously for what they mean about the wicked.

        Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand… (Daniel 12:10)

        The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk (Rev. 9:20)

        Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. (Rev. 22:11)

        …evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Tim. 3:12-13b)

        The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:5 NASB1995)

        And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20 ESV)

  20. Persis

    Amen and keep up the good work!

    Sadly the traditions of men are the very things abusers use to reinforce their entitlement bubbles. It’s no wonder that so much “expert” advice is nothing but walking on more eggshells. They may decry outward behavior, but until there is willingness and humility to see how the tightly held tradition is aiding and abetting the abuse, they are hurting rather than helping.

  21. Karen

    Thank-you Pastor Jeff, for this post. Your timing was made perfect as it spoke volumes to me.

    God Bless you.

  22. Shell

    Mr. Crippen, I am a little concerned about homeschooling being included in this post. Sometimes, homeschooling can be part of an abusive situation. Most home schooling parents just seek to raise their children without government interference and do an excellent job. Thanks. D White

    • 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.


      Shell, it was me who mentioned homeschooling in the post. (You’ll notice that at the end of the post it mentions that I had a big hand in the bullet point section of the post.)

      Jeff and I do not think that all homeschooling traditions within Christendom are bad or unbiblical. Not at all. We are merely saying that some homeschooling traditions in Christendom have prescribing things that are not spelled out and prescribed in the Bible. See my comment in this thread.

  23. Chantal

    For YEARS in my quiet times, the Lord has brought up the verse Romans 12:18 over and over and over. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

    I read that verse hundreds of times at His leading and would even sort of get miffed at Him a little for not giving it a rest. I thought I knew what it meant. Well, it was about 2 months ago He brought it up, I think for the last time, that I finally got it. IF IT IS POSSIBLE. Guess what, sometimes, it is NOT possible. It does NOT all depend on me!!! It was the hugest epiphany ever. Now I know that He had been trying to speak to me all these years a message I guess I wasn’t ready to hear.

    After God orchestrated my husband and my separation a few months ago, every time I went to the Word, I kept expecting a message that I was doing something wrong. The message He keeps communicating to me though is .. This has been so wrong! I’m pulling you out. You’re MINE! I didn’t dream that it would be part of God’s plan for me to finally be free from 20 years of emotional abuse. I keep waiting for Him to turn me back around and knock some “scribe sense” back into me. I thought He was going to do this through a new counselor who could help me get healed enough to have feelings for my husband again.

    Nope, God led me to someone who has listened to my pain and has helped me see I can make the choice to be free from this forever and not fall into any more traps. Then this past weekend, I found this AMAZINGLY wonderful blog. I can’t stop reading it. It’s the hugest breath of fresh air that just continues the message He’s been speaking. All we really do need to do is listen to Jesus. He really is the TRUTH that sets us free, like for real.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Chantal – Many blessings on you in Christ. That is a great testimony of the Lord’s leading into freedom. Thank you!

    • Hi Chantal, welcome to our little blog and thanks so much for sharing your inspiring testimony!

      You might like to check out our New Users tab in the top menu, if you haven’t already done so.

      blessings to you

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