A Cry For Justice

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

Widows, Orphans, and the Oppressed: The Lord’s Priority. So step up to the plate, leaders!

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.


[July 27, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  (James 2:15-17  ESV)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  (James 1:27  ESV)

One of the things we do regularly at ACFJ is to call upon pastors, Elders, denominations, church members, para-church ministries, seminaries and faculty, counselors and others to roll up their sleeves and join hands with us in this battle against evil in the church. Namely, the evil of abuse. The evil of abusers and the evil of the church rendering injustice to abuse victims. You can call these victims widows and orphans, because that really is what they are. We are zealous in this work. We are outraged about this evil, especially as it is hiding in Christ’s churches. We try to be the voice of the oppressed, speaking for them and validating them.

As we do this with a hunger and thirst for righteousness, we have (more than once) been accused of being too….too what? Negative. Pessimistic. Accusatory. Judgmental. We have been told that we unnecessarily alienate people who we should be working on gaining as our allies. “We understand your point, but we don’t agree with your methods” is the line that comes our way. “You name names. You ‘attack’ godly men and women. You see abuse behind every tree. You need to chill.” That’s the thing we hear.

We reject these responses, and we believe the Lord rejects them as well. First of all, as seen in the verses cited above (and of course there are many, many others in Scripture), the Lord makes it quite plain that widows and orphans are one of His top priorities. So much so that James says that the so-called ‘Christian faith’ of a person who neglects these afflicted ones is said to be a false, worthless, dead faith that cannot save. And we can infer from James that any ‘ministry’ that neglects the oppression and affliction of widows and orphans is IM-pure and DE-filed. Polluted. Stinky. A ‘sacrifice’ that is unholy and rejected by the Lord. Have I overstated the case? No. This is precisely what God’s Word says. It’s the same thing back over in 1 Corinthians:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3  ESV)

Nothing. Hear that? Nothing.

So let me say something here, and I am going to say it very, very plainly. Some of you aren’t going to like what I say. But many of you will be shouting ‘AMEN!’ —

This ministry to the widows and orphans of our day, to the victims of the great and pervasive evil called abuse that has polluted most every local church like leaven, this ministry of ACFJ is MORE important than what so many pastors, churches, seminaries, denominations, theologians and church members are doing in the name of Christ.

That’s right. It is MORE important. The Lord says so.

If your religion that you claim is Christianity does not visit widows and orphans, the weak and the oppressed, in their need and minister to them, if that priority is not your priority, then, well let’s just put it out there — your religion is not of Christ. Just think of Jesus. Look at Jesus! Read the Gospels. What kinds of people did Jesus make a priority? Who did He say would be great in His kingdom? What do we see all through the Old Testament as well —

When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it approved, because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.  (Job 29:11-13  ESV)

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.  (Psalm 68:5  ESV)

When I was a police officer

Years ago when I was a deputy sheriff, myself and another deputy were called to a disturbance of some kind in a little, remote town way off in the boonies. It was, of course, a bar fight and as usual the combatants were big and strong. Why do they always have to be big?? Anyway, we separated them and one was particularly belligerent. I told him to leave and cool down or he would be arrested. He and his buddies just stood there. And I had an uneasy sense that, well, that I was alone. The other deputy remained several feet behind me and said nothing.

The irony was that later in the day, as drunks will do, the biggest and orneriest guy was stupid enough to drive to the jail to complain! Ha! I arrested him for drunk driving and he wanted to fight. I was young and much stronger then and had been practicing some pretty good combat moves and I threw a hold on him and he started yelling I was going to break his arm. Off to jail he went.

But all that aside, I told the sergeant later that I wasn’t real happy with the other deputy. Oh, he was there, he had the same uniform on as me, but he just stood back and said nothing. He didn’t stand beside me. And the bad guys knew it. They knew it. I knew I couldn’t count on him and they aimed all their vile words and anger at me. And guess what the sergeant’s response was? “Crippen, don’t talk like that about other officers!” I was the one who got in trouble.

Nothing has changed. I am still hearing the same responses from many fellow pastors and church leaders: “Crippen, don’t talk like that about fellow pastors. Don’t talk like that about these people; they are Christians and Christians shouldn’t bite and devour each other!” Well, I guess I haven’t learned because I am going to keep right on saying what I am saying.

So here’s the deal —

All you pastors and churches and theologians and authors and professing Christians out there — most of you are just standing back behind those of us who are waging this battle. Not all of you. We have had some pastors and others step up. But not many. And believe me, the bad guys know it. The abusers hiding in your churches, they know it. And the victims of the bad guys know it — oh boy, do they know it! They weep to the point of exhaustion because the church is failing to protect them from their abusers.

Other than those people who are dead set against divorce for abuse, those who claim we are making too big a deal out of this business….other than those types who obviously are against us, there are those of you who say you agree. You say abuse is wrong. You say it is a problem. But you stand back behind. You don’t step up to the battle line. And then you go back to doing the stuff that you do.

I’ve lost count of the number of Christian conferences against homosexuality where Christians bang the drum for ‘upholding the biblical concept of family’. But most Christian leaders are hiding their faces from the afflicted Christian victims of domestic abuse! It’s time to take your agenda not from your peers but from the Lord. Psalm 22:24 with emphasis added by Barb Roberts, to drive the point home:

The LORD has not despised or been disgusted
with the plight of the oppressed one.
He has not hidden his face from that person.
The LORD heard when that oppressed person
cried out to him for help.  (GW)  [Emphasis added.]

He’s not put off
by the suffering of the suffering one;
He doesn’t pretend He hasn’t seen him;
when he pleaded for help, He listened.  (VOICE)  [Emphasis added.]

For He has not despised or detested
the torment of the afflicted.
He did not hide His face from him
but listened when he cried to Him for help.  (HCSB)  [Emphasis added.]

For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.  (NIV)  [Emphasis added.]

For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has
listened to his cry for help  (2011 NIV)  [Emphasis added.]

For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help.  (NLT)  [Emphasis added.]

Very, very few pastors comment on our blog. We expose this evil hiding in their churches, yet church leaders and theologians for the most part are like that deputy I could never count on. You guys, so many of you don’t preach about this evil in your churches. When you plan annual denominational assemblies, you never include this issue of widows and orphans being wickedly abused in our churches as the subject of those meetings. When the subject of abuse in the church is brought up, a great silence prevails. I know. I have heard that silence. And then back you go to your comfort zones where your world will not be rocked, even though the world of the abuse victims in your churches are savagely rocked everyday. Even though many churches have abusers in key positions, faking it.

Myself and the Elders and members of our own church are dismayed and disgusted at all this. And so is the team here at ACFJ. We see for example, Reformed churches (and others also) hammering it out with each other over secondary doctrinal issues, debating, writing, accusing, dividing. So I want to tell you what the Lord thinks of this. I say it by authority of His Word. What you are doing isn’t as important as what we are doing. In fact, because of your neglect of the oppressed whom Christ loves, what you are doing isn’t important at all in His sight. The wicked still hide among you. Some stand in pulpits, others lead your worship, serve on your boards, greet people at the church door. It is a reproach to our Lord. And yet you would rather engage in debates as abstruse as whether 1/64th of an inch equals 0.4 mm or 0.3969mm.

Are you outraged about the evils we write about here at ACFJ? Are you incensed against the wicked abusers hiding in our churches? Are you enraged even that abuse victims are being sorely treated at the hands of people who claim to be Christ’s under-shepherds? Then DO something about it. Confront it in your church. Educate yourselves by reading our books. Actively engage yourselves here in the discussions on this blog. Confess your sin of neglecting the weak. Root out the “church pillars” and “eminent saints” hiding in your pews who are really abusers. Judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). Be willing to pay the price for fighting these battles, even if the cost is that you get booted out of your pulpit. Invite us to come and speak and instruct on this subject. Make abuse the focus of your annual convention, which is to say, make rendering justice for afflicted widows and orphans the focus. Then go DO something about it.

Because, brethren, if you don’t, that Day is going to see a whole bunch of wood, hay, and straw going up in smoke. Our “big things” will turn out to be “no-things” in the sight of Jesus Christ our Lord.

It IS a plague

One final point. I know that some who read these words are going to be thinking — “Man, those people at ACFJ have gone over the edge. That’s all they talk about. Abuse, abuse, abuse. Why, you would think that the thing is a virtual plague in our churches.” You got it! It is indeed a plague. A plague of evil. What do you suppose the word on the street and topic of conversation was back in Europe during the black plague? Do you imagine anyone in their right mind would be saying to people, “enough of this plague talk! We are tired of hearing about it!” They couldn’t because the bodies were strewn in the streets and the cries of “bring out your dead” were non-stop.

We here at ACFJ are testifying to you right now, publicly, that we hear from myriads of Christians, mostly women, who are abuse victims — sorely oppressed. And the majority of them are oppressed by a wicked man who puts on airs as an “eminent saint” in the church. Far too many are actually pastors or missionaries or Elders or seminary professors. We have the testimonies. If that weren’t bad enough, in the vast majority of these cases we hear about how pastors and Elders and churches added to the abuse, enabling the abuser and casting out the victim. You all would hear these things too if you started standing against this evil so that the victims around you will see that you can be trusted to believe and validate them and bear their burden. Step up pastors. Step up Elders. Step up brothers and sisters, and practice what God calls, true religion.

[July 27, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 27, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

Here are some related ACFJ posts which call for men to stand up and speak out about abuse:

Non-Abusive Men: Speak Up and Stand Up — By Barbara Roberts.

Don’t Be Discouraged, by Pastor Sam Powell

Violence Against Women: It’s a Men’s Issue


  1. Ella

    Where and when can I get your book, Jeff? I gave mine away and want to order more so I can hand them out if I get the opportunity but amazon says they are temporarily out of stock (for the last 6 months). I could purchase one if I wanted to pay $50 – $100 for one, but I would rather get multiple books for that amount of money. Do you know when your book will be available again?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ella – The publisher assures me he is working on getting Amazon re-supplied, but for now you might go to Cumberland Valley Books at cvbbs.com [Internet Archive link] and order from there. They show it in inventory.

  2. Barnabasintraining


  3. Stina


  4. Mark

    I knew when I first stumbled across you blog I found one “BA” pastor. (please no offence meant, just a complement.) Your courage and biblical clarity has strengthened me and given me the courage to face the abuse that has attacked my life for many years. 35 years ago I concluded I was in a hopeless marriage situation and resigned to the role of a suffering servant. Today I face hope and a future, I thought would never exist for me.
    God bless you Jeff, I would be proud to stand next to you in this battle. People like me totally get the ACFJ message! we get it all too well.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Mark!

      • Mark

        You are SO welcome!

  5. standsfortruth

    Also pastor Jeff has an exellent 21 part audio series on sin and abuse that is very eye opening to what abuse is, and how it hides in the churches.
    We as Christians cannot continue to underestimate the devils ability to decieve, and destroy families, by remaining uneducated and in denial about this topic.
    For pastors and laymen to honestly explore and understand this subject further, will not only vindicate their conciences before God, but put them in a position to see this abuse for the life destroying evil that it is, and be in a position to actively stand against it.
    Truth never binds, but delivers and sets people free.
    So there is nothing to lose, (that has true value) and everything to gain that has deliverance and redeeming value.

    • Still Reforming

      Yes, I recently started this series and found myself both delighted and convicted. It is a brilliant series that I daresay I have never heard the likes of in any church. By and large I think the mainstream American church is weak and spineless. Pastors don’t seem willing to look internally at these things and repent, as Jeff did when this issue was first raised in his church. It’s astounding how many churches have had the same opportunity and chose to turn a blind eye and cold heart toward the targets of this evil.

  6. LH


  7. LH

    After reading this I continued on down my facebook page, and read my daily catechism post which reminded me of what you said here about caring for the widow and orphan:
    Q: What is required in the sixth commandment?
    A: The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

    I know from a single moms group that I am part of, that there are many widows and orphans out there who are barely making it, and for many of them, the church is not helping at all. (They make my continuing financial struggles, as one of the ‘widows’, look easy.) Most of us hate to turn to the government for help, but if the churches won’t do as Jesus has commanded to help the widows and orphans, then sometimes we need to. Despite being looked down upon by “good Christians” in the church who think (and tell us) that we should have stayed in an abusive marriage if we can’t make it financially on our own. And show no compassion whatsoever that that would mean letting our children continue to be destroyed by that abuse also.

    • Jeff Crippen

      LH – This is an example of professing Christians being “worse than an unbeliever” as Paul said, in not caring for their own. Christ’s body is our family. As a general rule, even the unsaved world cares for family members. Thank you for your comments here and may the Lord bless you and keep you. And I am very glad you did not stay in that abusive marriage.

    • Wendell G

      Too many churches are more interested in their buildings and programs to reach “seekers”. They pay bundles for slick music systems, fine furnishings, and fancy appointments. Their money goes to those things, useless entertainment and (in some cases) outrageous pastoral salaries, and not to those who really need help.

      Not all churches are like that and I don’t disagree with the idea of wanting people to be in a comfortable environment, but when their priority is the building and all the cuteness, while ignoring the least among them, it is a real problem. Their priorities are all out of whack!

    • Still Reforming

      LH –
      Indeed. My child and I are now on Medicaid, even though in principle I am against the government’s provision for its people in this way, but…. here we are. Abandoned by her dad / my soon-to-be-ex- …. and have I heard from my former church as to how we are? Not a peep.
      Today I shall look into food stamps.
      I’ve had zero income since the anti-husband “deserted” us (a term not used anymore in legal circles – along with “abandonment”). The spouses are viewed as equal in every way – down to my being imputed a minimum wage (that I don’t earn as I have been a stay-at-home homeschooling parent for the past decade plus a few years) – all for the sake of the formula used to calculate child support. Add that to what 50-50 “timeshare” looks on paper, and you end up with very, very little in support for the future.
      That monthly figure wasn’t even used to reimburse me for the past half year that he’s been gone, and I’ve had to provide for our child alone on zero income. The only reimbursable expenses by law are medical, dental, and educational – and even that at only 65 percent for him (35 percent for me). It doesn’t matter that I’m not yet employed.
      I’d go crazy if I weren’t so busy trying to find employment in a town that doesn’t even have a traffic light. I’m seeking locally because that’s where our child is now forced by law to attend public school (no matter that she’s excelled academically in homeschool and has a very active social life in spite of her special needs; she’s going to be ripped out of her social and academic circles thanks to husband). So I seek work in the local school system and / or any possible work I can do from home.
      As for 1 Timothy 5:8 (“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”), I guess my former church forgot about that – because the pastor knew that husband had dumped us physically and financially. When I called him to say that I’d no longer be returning to church now that husband suddenly reappeared there, the pastor just said, “I expected as much. It’s a divorce situation. It was bound to happen.”
      All that was missing was “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” I think the pastor was just as happy to see me gone, since I was the one who brought the issue of husband’s behavior to the pastor for consideration. He even told me on the phone, “You’ve put me in a very difficult position.”
      But he and my husband will both stand before the Lord some day. As will I. We’ll all have to account for our parts in this matter. And I can’t answer for them – only myself. And I remind myself continually how the Lord knows the way I take and will provide – and it will all result in His glory and the good of His people, no matter how it “feels” or uncomfortable it may be.

  8. Lighting a Candle

    You are right on track brother! A passage of scripture come to mind:

    Isa 62:1
    For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.

    The Empathy Trap, by Jane and Greg McGregor refers to non-confrontation as collusion with abuse. They describe this dynamic in their Sociopath-Empath-Apath Triad. (SEAT).
    Many churches have taken on this role of the Apathetic bystander and / or the sociopathic abuser.

    You, and this blog, on the other hand, share the same spirit Jesus did in Matthew 23. He calls out the tactics of abuse and control clearly, without apology.

    • StandsWithAFist

      Thank you for bringing The Empathy Trap to the attention of the readers here. I have read it and heartily endorse it–perhaps if I can find the link to it, Jeff or Barb can add it to the links?

  9. Mary

    Yesterday I went to my women’s counselor at church for help to deal with anxiety over finding my husband doing pornography. She told me that anxiety is a sin by not trusting God. Is this sick nervous feeling about finding trash on my abusive husband web log really sin? Help me make sense of this. I am also supposed to confront my husband with two of the pastors present. I don’t feel safe with him finding out that I have been watching his web log through the router, but I have already told the pastors and agreed to a meeting. I need wisdom.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Mary – This counselor and the pastors are not demonstrating themselves to be competent to handle this situation and may well endanger you or at least subject you to more abuse and self-doubt / false guilt. You are not obligated to them in any way and you may say “no” to them at anytime, essentially “firing” them as your counselors. Your anxiety is not only natural, but it is very likely the Holy Spirit in you reacting against evil that you have discovered in your husband. Your feelings are far more trustworthy than any of these people who are telling you what to do.

    • Wendell G

      Mary, your “counselor” is setting you up for an impossible situation which you cannot win and will do nothing but make them feel good about following their “procedure”. You are the one who needs to decide what you are going to do about your husband’s porn, independently of your church. They do not control you or your relationship to God.

      The only time that they should be involved is if you are wanting to invoke church discipline to get him removed from the church. Otherwise, they have no say in the matter. Don’t let them guilt you into inaction, which is exactly what they are doing.

      • Mary

        Thanks for the comments. This counselor heard me say anxiety, looked on a chart for a Bible verse, read the verse and went into the “biblical” answer mode that didn’t relate to the situation at all. I immediately went into analytical mode over my thoughts and actions.. “Biblical Counseling” is the program she was using. I’m glad you had this post and you care enough to help. I will decide for myself on what to do next.

    • Mary, that counselor is downright foolish. She heard you mention “anxiety” went to her Biblical Counseling Prescription Book and gave you the scripture verse which would convict YOU of sin! That it totally back to front and upside down and skewed.

      She should have said Your HUSBAND is guilty of grievous sin, and you are right to be feeling anxious because this is probably going to mean major upheaval for you, as quite often men who are into porn and get found out by their wives, put their wives through hell because they don’t really want to stop using porn they just want their wife to stop complaining about it.

      You might like to read this post:

      Is it a sin to feel afraid?

    • Free

      Hi Mary,

      I’m glad you brought this up.

      You said:

      She told me that anxiety is a sin by not trusting God.

      This makes me outraged! IMO feelings are IMPORTANT clues about what’s happening. “Listen to your gut” is one I the best things I’ve heard from true believers / supporters.

      I SO LOVE TO LISTEN TO MY GUT FEELINGS NOW! IMO better to be overly cautious than deny the feelings in me. God Himself made me with feelings and these people say “feelings are unreliable and deceiving.” No, those people are “unreliable and deceiving and full of themselves” IMO.

      All my life I was called “too sensitive”. That’s garbage! I knew something was wrong!!! An abuser once said “anxiety is a spiritual condition.” How about my anxiety is a clue to the ABUSER’S spiritual condition? Like the abuser is evil and that’s why I feel awful around them and distraught when hearing their snake-like thoughts! People still act like I’m too sensitive at times. I move past their comments, quickly set them straight saying “I’m telling you what happened. I didn’t ask for your advice. Thank you.” and I move on with what I was there for in the first place. Sometimes those people even apologize.

      This whole message that “feelings are evil and unreliable” is SO TWISTED and it only serves to diminish and control others IMO.

      My kids feelings can sometimes be “very strong and escalate fast”. They’re little. Flying bugs are totally SCARY to them. I can be triggered by that type of noise at times but I know that’s bc of disgusting abuse and neglect I’ve endured. (They’ve shown signs of being abusive to me also so this makes it much harder for me- I correct that asap and firmly.) Even so I ALWAYS validate their feelings and explain to them the reality of the situation which also validates their intense fears and then I speak with them about the specific bugs, we look up info on each one, I tell them how I was terrified when I was little too, I tell them they probably will get stung once in their life and this is what happens when you do…., we talk about ways to be protected and of course I am there to slay those little pests like it’s my job and I think they love to see they can trust I come to their defense.

      I think the church ought to to do the same!

  10. JJ

    Churches just don’t see us, especially if we have left / are divorcing our abusive spouses. I think they don’t WANT to see us. The church that I was in (I have since left) would have lots of foods & goodies out in the entrance area donated by members. During the separation / divorce process my ex cut me & our three children off financially for the better part of a year. I spent everything I’d saved down to almost nothing. My children & I were hungry. Very hungry. Go to bed hungry and have a hard time staying asleep hungry. My church knew this. I was very open with them, very open in my weekly prayer request I’d tuck into the offering plate. I would have frank conversations with some of the women in leadership. They knew we were hungry, that we were getting behind on bills, that I was afraid for our future.

    But they still had the Sunday School class my kids were in pack backpacks full of food to give to the local middle school children who were poor. When my kids told the teacher that we, too, were poor and hungry, so could they please have a backpack too? Nope. Be quiet and just pack the food. It isn’t for you. My kids were so confused, they honestly had thought that since the church made a big deal out of helping poor families in the community, that meant our family too.

    And when my kids went to the food tables in the entrance to get something to eat, to quiet the rumbling in their stomachs? They were shooed away from the food tables. Shooed away by the very women who knew we were all hungry. I marched my kids back to those food tables and told them to fix themselves a plate. I then told those women that my kids were hungry and needed something to eat. That the food was all generously provided voluntarily, it didn’t come out of the church budget, and by golly my kids were going to get some.

    And when it came time to pick local families to receive the blessing of a food basket at Christmas, do you think my church approached me? No, they didn’t. I was so hurt. We’d been going to that church for several years at that point, we’d been there since it was a start-up meeting in people’s living rooms. They chose to bless people in the community, but not me or my children. We were invisible.

    • Wendell G

      That is so heart rending! A church that does that is no church, but a country club which is doing a little charity work to get points for heaven, or more likely, from man. I pray they repent, or God may repay them in kind!

      • healingInHim

        Wendell G – You stated it very well, “a country club which is doing a little charity work”. I had commented earlier that many do not talk to me now that I have been honest. Let me also clarify: they don’t know me because I have refused to come to many of their ‘fund raising’ banquets. It’s almost like I must ‘pay my way into their good standing’. And as I have mentioned in other posts, there is still much spiritual abuse within these churches.

      • JJ

        The situation is still confusing in my mind. When I first separated from my ex I felt mostly emotionally supported by my church. I could tell that a few people were suckered in by my ex’s narcissistic lies about me as he tried to turn the church against me, but only one or two people seemed to fully swallow the lines he was feeding them. As time went on, though, I could feel people start to pull away from me. It was clear I was not going to reconcile, I was going to divorce. Also, the divorce was not just due to abuse but also infidelity and extreme sexual perversion. I did not hide what I was uncovering from the pastors or women who had been mentoring me. I could feel all but a few pulling away from me even more, though. The senior pastor never once wanted to talk to me. When I asked if there could be the possibility of some church members helping with some major issues at my home (like helping me fix a gate) that I couldn’t do on my own, I was met with silence. I asked if anyone knew of food banks I could go to, but no one did, and no one seemed to deduce from that inquiry that my kids & I were in serious trouble. Deducing wasn’t really necessary, though, since every single week I’d put into my prayer request that I needed wisdom and a job. They knew my ex wasn’t paying support (or only a little bit of support), but people didn’t even offer to pray with me in person. No phone calls to see how we were doing. Even though I was transparent with what was happening, I was still asked to bring food for the food table I mentioned above! And you know what? I did. I spent some of the money my kids & I needed & brought something for the table.

        Long story short: I don’t go to that church anymore. No one has ever once called or sent a note to ask why I am not there anymore. The two pastors who did believe me and stood up with me & for me aren’t at that church any longer. I now am in the dreaded process of finding a new church. I don’t like visiting church after church. I dread that I’ll hear the kind of theology that was used against me and kept me a prisoner for so long. I join with the person below who would like to know where the “safe” churches are!

      • Daisy

        JJ, regarding your second post, that sounds familiar to my situation.

        Even though I reached out to Christians around me and asked them for help with my problem (which was not divorce, but other issues), I was either ignored, or I was told to suck it up and move on, and go volunteer to help other people. Nobody wanted to show me compassion or to help me.

        You said,

        The senior pastor never once wanted to talk to me. When I asked if there could be the possibility of some church members helping with some major issues at my home (like helping me fix a gate) that I couldn’t do on my own, I was met with silence. I asked if anyone knew of food banks I could go to, but no one did, and no one seemed to deduce from that inquiry that my kids & I were in serious trouble.

        If you church shop, you might be able to find a church where the people actually do help other people.

        I was partially let down by some of the folks at my father’s church. I went to his church for a few months.

        However, my father and a few other guys at his church do handy-man repair work for free. My dad puts up curtain rods and fixes leaky toilets etc, for women in the area who are poor or single and cannot afford a regular fix it up guy to repair their homes.

        I have been volunteering at a local food pantry that is hosted by various Baptist churches. They also provide other services to the community for free. If you go on the internet, type in “food pantry” plus the name of your city, or the closet large city by you, you should be able to find one.

    • Round*Two

      Wow JJ!

      I am so sorry for how your church treated you! I just do not understand that mentality! I know I have been in a similiar situation while going through my first divorce but the CHURCH was there for us! I am so thankful! Even the second time around, although in a different area my church has been ’emotionally supportive’ and in some cases ‘financially supportive’. My kids are adults and on their own. They were not raised in my second marriage.
      I agree with what is being said here about the churches, however with me, I have been blessed with the help of my church. It does too hurt me to know how the ‘oppressed’ are being treated in the very place they should be getting help!

    • Barnabasintraining


      What that church did is insanely cruel. I don’t even want to know how they justified that to themselves.

    • joyisnowfree

      Oh JJ, so sorry for what happened. We were on the same boat and went thru something almost identical to your experience. We are barely getting on our feet. God has used other resources to provide. My church is aware as well, yet does nothing. I am convinced that this is very common. I wrote a poem about this problem andposted it on Facebook, to all my “Christian brothers and sisters” . Not one response. Posted it a second time, and no response. Let us be the ones who do not become like them. Ever!

      • standsfortruth

        I cant believe how cold hearted the church was to you both!
        I believe that their “secondary adjenda” was to punish you for not following their protocal with their anti divorce advice.
        So add insult to injury is their answer?
        Shame on their behavior.
        Even the unbelieving have more compassion on their own people than what those people showed you.
        BTW, Catholic churches tend to have food box donation sites that are very generous with what they give.
        Please check to see if there are some in your area.
        (I got so much stuff from them one time- it wouldnt all fit in my fridge!)
        Waaay better than these stingy sounding people have to offer, that profess to serve God with their mouths, and deny Him with their works.
        Shake the dust off of your feet, you and your family deserve way better then to be mistreated by these types of professing “C”hristans.
        So sorry you had to endure that abuse!
        As far as a good church that doesent enable abusers, I myself have not found one yet, but do consider this one my church home for now.☺

      • JJ

        I’m so sorry. I simply don’t understand why churches DO NOTHING to help. My only explanation is that we don’t contribute towards their bottom line, so we aren’t desirable. I felt like they saw me as a panhandler, even though I never once asked for money (but yes, I sometimes did ask for the leftovers from those food tables so my kids & I could have something to eat).

      • Barnabasintraining

        I believe that their “secondary agenda” was to punish you for not following their protocol with their anti divorce advice.

        I am afraid I have to agree with this. In the situation I was involved in, though, it was not secondary. Thankfully that victim was not in need of food, but she did have some other needs the church would not help with. It was clear the reason was to punish her for her for her integrity in refusing to endure the abuse any longer. It still makes me angry to think about it and hearing this food situation makes me downright furious. This is not “tough love,” it is presumptuous cruelty and has nothing of Christ in it.

      • Barnabasintraining

        And I will add that this is the exact same persecuting spirit that consumed the inquisitors of old when they said they tortured and ruined people for the sake of their eternal souls. The harming church would likely not recognize it as such, but I do. 😡

      • Daisy

        @ Standsfortruth.
        I was reading about that on another site, a Protestant lady said she fell on hard times, and she went to her Protestant church to ask for help, a $20 or $[3]0 gift card to buy some groceries, but the church wanted her to jump through 453 hoops and fill out 45 feet of paper work for a stinking $20 gift card!

        Someone else told her to go to Catholic charities, but Catholic charities are more generous and don’t make you jump through 432 hoops and fill out 56 pages of paper work for some food or help.

        I have no idea why so many Baptist churches and Protestants (and I was raised Baptist) are like this.

    • Daisy

      JJ, I am appalled and disgusted that your church (now ex church) did that to you.
      I wrote my post that is farther down the page before seeing yours, but I conveyed the same idea in my post.

      I’ve not been through anything as severe as what you did, but I saw similar reactions in Christians at local churches I went to, and from extended Christian family (most of whom are regular church goers).

      I have noticed in the years since my mother passed away, that a lot of Christians are unwilling to help the hurting and needy right around them, the people they already know…

      Yet, these very same churches and Christians are willing to spend time or money sending free shoes to poor kids in India, giving free blankets and sandwiches to homeless crack addicts on the streets, or mailing free rice and bean bucket donations to Haitians, etc, all of which is great. I think it’s great churches want to help these people, but….

      If you are an every day, average American person in some kind of trouble – you are divorced, sick, recently lost your job, you are (like I was), mourning for a deceased loved one, by golly, most Christian churches (who love to help homeless alcoholics or orphans in India), refuse to help you.

      They will scold you, tell you to count your blessings because you don’t have life as bad as orphans in India, they will refuse to give you any of their sympathy, time, money, or anything.
      I do not understand why some Christians will only help certain types of hurting people but totally stomp on or ignore other types.

      You said,

      They chose to bless people in the community, but not me or my children. We were invisible.

      The irony is that you and your children ARE “people in the community.” You are part of the community your (ex) church should have been helping!

      • Still Reforming

        You wrote: “I have no idea why so many Baptist churches and Protestants (and I was raised Baptist) are like this.”

        I think I might know why – at least in part.

        I confess that I have to repent of my own judgmental thinking in this regard.

        As a “conservative Christian,” raised in a home where it was presumed that we would go to college and all get paying jobs to provide for ourselves (except for me as a female, but my mom fought my dad to get my education paid for), there’s an underlying thought process of “if you don’t work you don’t eat,” and add to that the cultural political movement of equal rights for both genders in the sense of women now must work even if they have kids and men must have equal opportunity (as if someone were holding them back) to parent the kids – and then you get this picture of everyone working while everyone is parenting at the same time, except… in real life, it doesn’t quite play out where the kids are getting all this great equal parenting time and the adults are all enjoying full employment (and full wages) at the same time. That makes as much sense as both parents sharing in giving birth equally at the same time also.

        Whoa – I strayed a bit there in my explanation (and created one whopper of a run-on sentence), but still… I was raised with the notion of everyone being responsible to provide for his own family that getting assistance was right out of the picture. And if assistance was ever needed, it would never come from the government, but from neighbors or the local church. I have thought that way for so many decades that now that I’m in the position of needing assistance it’s hard to even think of going to the government for it. It rubs against my grain.

        I have to shake that thinking because by the same token I have held it my heart (wrongly so) against those I know who are in real need due to things beyond their control with respect to getting government assistance. I always thought that churches would provide. Always.

        But it’s not the case, so I am learning and living.

        I do believe that God will provide for us now. I don’t know how. I don’t know when I don’t know much of anything at all, but it’s a good way to get me back on my knees in repentance for my own wrong thinking and living. I may never have said to those who were on government support that it was wrong, but I confess that I always harbored that niggling idea that they shouldn’t be. That they perhaps weren’t doing enough for themselves. And I was sorely mistaken. I feel ashamed at my own lack of humility in that regard. And compassion. I was terribly, terribly wrong.

        And I also realize how wrong I was when, although I supported female friends who divorced from husbands who were not treating them well, even though I always loved and support those friends, in my mind I thought that “God hates divorce.”

        God is teaching me much through this difficult, bumpy journey – but they are all things that I feel blessed to be learning in this way.

      • Wendell G

        Still Reforming,

        Don’t feel ashamed that you have to go to the government for help. I have long held that if the church did its job properly, there would be a lot less need for this, but since they don’t, you have to feed and clothe yourself and your children. You are putting in an effort to do what is right and no one can fault you for that, even if you have to go on welfare. It was intended for those who, for whatever reason cannot work or find themselves in a bind due to a major life change, and from what you describe, you have certainly had a major life change!

        Your former pastor will someday have to stand before God and give account to why he did not protect and provide for the sheep under his care and for receiving evil back with open arms!

      • Still Reforming

        Thank you, Wendell.

      • If it helps, I wrote Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link] during a period of my life when my income was the single parent pension, an income payment from the federal gov’t. Australia has a more generous welfare system than the US, and in the years I was on that pension it was even more generous than it is now. I was full time single-parenting in those years and child support from the ex was patchy. So I was extremely grateful for the government support. And I would never have thought in a million years that the church would support me.

        *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
    • JJ, I am gobsmacked at your story.

      That church with its backpacks for the poor children and your hungry children weren’t given backpacks but were supposed to pack them for other children!
      And the free food table which your hungry kids were told they couldn’t take from !!!! It is mind boggling.
      I am so angry!

      The Lord will bring them justice —and then they will remember every word of cruelty they said to you and your kids.

    • Innoscent

      JJ, I’ve been going through the same ordeal for the last year and a half and totally sympathize with you. ♥ One thing that is not understood about abuse is that there are multiple collateral damages, and one of them is financial poverty. Abuse is an ugly beast with many tentacles!
      I have heard all sorts that just added to the trauma. Some told me they assumed I had a good job and moved on, when in reality I could not even work because of PTSD. Some knew about my struggle to pay my bills and get groceries, yet did nothing. Two individuals in whom I had been confiding for a long period of time never gave me one cent, yet both are well off. The leader of the women’s group twice invited me to join their fortnightly morning meetings when she knew I did not have a car, and never offered or arrange for me to be picked up. My church contributes to disaster aid to help other neighboring countries and yet cannot see some of their own members are drowning.
      Not even a handful of people in my church have helped me with money or food, and the main assistance came from either non-Christian or other Christians. It is a sad reality that the church in general does not follow God’s command in Galatians 6:9-10: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

      One day I was conducting a Bible study which happened to be on the very topic on helping the poor, one of those well-off ladies explained how she had a food voucher for someone but felt ‘impressed by the Spirit’ to not give it to the person. When I later asked her who she had had in mind as the recipient of the voucher (I knew it was me), she said it was me. That was the last straw for me after 4 years in this church. I’ve been slowly pulling away this year, and am not attending any church at the moment. At the same time, as I stepped out in faith in God, He has provided through other avenues and opened the hearts of other people to help me. 🙂

    • Hope

      First time poster.
      I have to say, I have never heard of such appalling behavior in all my life! No wonder this country is in such deplorable condition! And is it world wide? Shameful!
      Here’s something that can be done –
      A long time ago, 20 years at least, a woman in my church (at the time) with 5 kids was left by her husband. I felt so burdened for her that I composed a letter, sent it to 20 people in our church that I knew were strong Christians, asking basically for donations. Some people gave one time, some every month. Some bought the items, some gave money. More followed, people that found out and to whom I did not send that letter. I did not know all of their names, many were anonymous. I never told the woman we helped, I just said it was from the church (it was) and that I volunteered to deliver it all, which I did. I collected food and sundries for her and delivered them to her doorstep every month for a year, until I moved away. I tutored one of her kids in math and he did very well, rather than failing – such an upset when the father just walks away.
      It was such a little thing for me to do, it felt like nothing. I never knew all those years ago how important it might really have been. She went back to school and her mother-in-law came to stay with her children for that year! She did well, it was not easy, but the monthly food etc. from my church helped. After I moved, I found out that this little letter started something, and it actually became a program to help those in need. Who knew?
      God knew.
      Sometimes, it only takes one person to do something that kick-starts the rest of the church or community into action. I always felt like it was so trivial compared to all that she was going through, I still do actually, but maybe it was good not only for her and her children, but for the church as well.
      By the way, I never bothered to ask anyone, not the pastor nor any of the elders, I just did it. Anyone can get a group of “friends” together to help another friend, even in a church with wrong attitudes.
      ~ Hope

      • What an encouraging story! I hope this story inspired other good samaritans.

        And very good point that you didn’t seek the pastor’s authority first: you just went ahead and did it.

        many blessings to you, and thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. joyisnowfree

    Very well said Pastor and straight to the point. The greatest miracle beside having Jesus as my greatest treasure, is seeing people love one another. When that ceases, nothing matters and everything crumbles along with broken lives striving to survive without any love or support. Imagine if we actually practiced what has been commanded by God? We would all experience life in-abundance.

  12. joyisnowfree

    Pastor, how can we all find a church that is similar to the one you are pastoring. Is there a list at hand that you can share on line? If possible? Since you mentioned there are only few churches in compliance with God’s word and stepping up to the plate, it would be nice to know who they are. Unfortunately I can’t go all the way to Oregon.

    • Anonymous

      Joyisnowfree and others – ACFJ has often recommended that we receive teaching / preaching via the internet until the Lord provides a true Christ-honoring church. I believe Pastor Jeff Crippen and others have live webcasts in either audio or video format.
      I have had to use this type of ministry and am grateful.

      • Still Reforming

        Anonymous –

        Thank you for this confirmation. This is what I have been coming to believe, as hard as it is, because I desperately want to be part of a local assembly – to serve and grow, but there’s just no good fit locally now that we’re not welcome at our last church because abusive husband is happily “worshiping” there. I am praying and have prayed for deliverance into the right church home, and for now, that’s a cyber community.

    • We’ve dealt with this question many times on the blog. We don’t have a list of good churches and nor are we going to create one. It would be immensely time consuming and could put us at risk if we listed a church as safe at it turned out it wasn’t. Sorry.

      We can only suggest you pray and see if the Lord guides you somewhere relatively safe. It is often a compromise, and in my experience one finds relatively sound and deep doctrine but emotional stiffness and a tendency to judge, or else one finds warmth and support but shallow or debased doctrine. . . .

      • voicewilderness1

        Hello Barbara! I am a member of LCMS. However the church my family and I go to places an over emphasis on our sinful nature, and don’t tell us who we really are in Christ. Last week our pastor called us dumb and dirty sheep. Well I am not a dirty sheep, I am a new creation in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. I’ve been washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb who is Jesus Christ. I was offended at being called a dirty sheep, which I am no longer. Hopefully other LCMS churches arw different. I’ve given up on organized religion.

      • thepersistentwidow

        Voicewilderness1, Sounds like your church is not properly applying law and Gospel in its teaching. LCMS churches make that a doctrinal priority and your church is not accurately following the denominational standards. I first encountered the concept of smelly sheep at the Orthodox Presbyterian website in this article: Domestic Violence: What’s the Church to Do? [Internet Archive link] Scroll down to the paragraph titled “Direction” for the smelly sheep reference. It appears to be a concept emerging from Nouthetic counseling which we at ACFJ do not endorse as we find it to be chock full of false teaching. Unfortunately, it is spreading into many denominations that would have previously not accepted it.

        The LCMS is the only denomination that has produced a theological position paper on domestic abuse that we endorse. See When Homes are Heartless at this site: Domestic Violence [Internet Archive link]

        I would suggest that if you are finding the preaching offensive, you should address the issue with the pastor and give him an opportunity to respond. We need to confront false teaching in our churches and not just leave that duty up to someone else. It is our Christian duty to stand for the truth and work for purity of doctrine in our churches.

        If the pastor will not address the issue, I suggest that you seek another church body. You may find another church that will be a blessing to you. Please don’t give up.

      • I’m sorry to hear that, Voicewilderness1. Maybe you might like to contact Deaconess Kim Schave to let her know about this. She is a person at LCMS who is coordinating (I think that’s the right term?) the roll-out of the training of LCMS pastors in Domestic Abuse awareness and response.

  13. healingInHim

    “Step up pastors. Step up elders. Step up brothers and sisters, and practice what God calls, true religion.”
    I have witnessed and believe that many will continue to side-step around the sin(s). I am dismayed at how many will choose to not talk with me now that I have been ‘honest’.

  14. joyisnowfree


  15. grace551

    Tell it, Jeff! You are so right.

  16. grace551

    JJ, I am so sorry to hear about the appalling way you and your children were treated. That church sounds like something is very wrong with it. I wonder if it even is a true church in God’s eyes. I have prayed that God will lead you to a good and loving church, and that your children will have good experiences of church to counteract these ones. All my best wishes. x

  17. Tsungilosdi

    My ex h was an associate and then later pastor of a church. He was also abusive in every way except physically. I hear he is now pastoring a church and remarried with kids. There are people who knew him from before at his old church where I had also attended because of him. I let these people know what had gone on. Guess what? Some of them are still friends with him, at least on social media. It kills me! They do not see it at all. Maybe they think I am lying. I don’t know, but it hurts. At least he wasn’t able to teach at a Christian college that he wanted to. Once I divorced him, his chances were gone of teaching. But he is still pastoring somewhere, and that is a scary thought.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Scary indeed. Especially in light of the fact that we have been contacted by numbers of other wives of pastors and missionaries with the same experiences. Wolves really do seek out the flock.

  18. emmellkaycee

    I have waited my entire life, my life as an abused kid, and my life as an abused wife to hear a man of God stand up and speak aloud these righteous things! Thank you! And may the great and I Am bless this work far and wide!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Emmel – thank you and we are very glad that you are here with us!

  19. survivorthrivor2

    This post is very timely. I have been out of fellowship, real fellowship, most of my Christian life (35 or so years and counting) as long as I have been married to my abuser. I hate phony’s, always have, and hypocrites even worse. I have gone to church, but not really been there, as long as my abuser was around, because after all, he was the nicest, funniest, most spiritually wonderful man ever! And knowing how he treated us at home, made it impossible for me to be who I really was, especially at church. I have NEVER had a pastor, my N h has had all the pastors, right where he wanted and needed them, believing the mask he was wearing was who he really was, all the while living as the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Fast forward to today, we have been separated almost a year, I have been wanting to go back to church and be in fellowship again, this time for real, on my own (I told my h we would not be going to church together), to be me. I visited a local church that I had been to before and filled out a comment card and said I would like to be called, over two weeks later, I had to call them. When someone finally came to the phone after being passed around, I told them of my situation, briefly, to be up front, but that I wanted to fellowship and worship and feel ‘safe’ (not physically safe) there given the circumstances. I had asked to talk to someone other than a lay person, which did not happen. Near the end of the conversation in which I was getting the ‘brush off’, we got disconnected somehow. I waited for a few minutes, then called them back and asked to be connected to the person I had been speaking with and gave them her name, I was left with voicemail, and no one has called back since. That was over a week ago now. So, this cycle perpetuates…..and I am left feeling and believing there is no place for me, and others like me in the church today.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Survivorthrivor2 – There is a place for you here!

  20. Seeing the Light

    I was just on Facebook and saw a FB friend of mine had shared a comment from John Piper’s FB page that was posted there yesterday: “I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey” Job 29:17. I believe that Job did that, but what is Piper doing posting that verse?

    • Robert Simpson

      STL, I suppose that Piper defines the unrighteous as those who disagree with his theology However, he has broken godly, righteous people, such as abused Christian wives by his misuse of theology.

      • Seeing the Light

        Indeed, Robert. I can’t imagine an application for that verse more appropriate than rescuing domestic abuse victims from their abusers.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Piper comes up at Spiritual Sounding Board fairly often due to his oddball tweets and comments.

      • Seeing the Light

        Thank you, Barnabasintraining. I hadn’t seen Spiritual Sounding Board before and I just checked them out.

  21. Harlequin Tabby

    One of my biggest pet peeves currently is that pastors won’t address the issue of abuse, or let anyone else in to do it for them. I would love to get up in the pulpit at our church and do a sermon on abuse. I’m well read, I know how to do research, and I have first-hand experience– but I’m female, and what’s more, I’m very young. Our church is incredible in a lot of ways (astonishingly, they are standing behind us through Mom’s divorce), but they believe in male headship, so obviously I don’t gave a chance. Oh, I could probably get them to let me host a seminar or something, but that’s not what I want. I want to get my message to everybody. To the whole church. And that’s not going to happen as long as I’m a “girl.”

    • SeeClearerNow (prev NotHeard)

      Harlequin Tabby, Thank you for your comments..that’s a large part of the reason why covering up of evil is largely ‘successful’: because of the silencing of women – to prevent ‘feminist’ thinking from ‘contaminating’ the congregation. I understand some of your frustration in being prevented from getting good information out!

  22. Daisy

    The original post said,

    The evil of abusers and the evil of the church rendering injustice to abuse victims. You can call these victims widows and orphans, because that really is what they are.

    Thank you for expanding the definition of “widows and orphans” to mean a more general sense of anyone who is suffering (especially abuse victims).

    After my mother died, no Christians I went to (including family or people at a church) wanted to help me – they would shame me over admitting that I was struggling and needed emotional support and friendship to help me get through the death (and subsequent verbal abuse from my sister, too).

    However, some of these same Christians volunteer to work for charities that help starving orphans in Haiti, and so forth.

    I think it’s great that Christians want to help literal orphans in third world countries, rescue children caught in human trafficking, and so forth.

    However, I find it very confusing, hypocritical, and painful that so many Christians are willing to help people they do not even know (such as orphans in India or Africa or where ever), but they scold and shame regular, every day Christians who live right next door to them who are going through other painful ordeals, such as sickness, divorce, or, like in my case, mourning the death of a family member.

    I have a hard time wrapping my head around how the Christians I am related to, or bump into at local churches, are so willing and eager to invest their time and money into helping homeless people downtown, or orphans in Africa, but they have nothing but impatience, harsh words, judgments, cold platitudes, or scolding to give to every day, average hurting people they meet everyday who live next door to them.

    It’s as though those types of Christians think some people are more worthy of help than others, and if you do not fall into their “you are worthy to be helped” group, they will ignore you or else be harsh with you.

    • Still Reforming


      There’s a beautiful song titled “Easy to be Hard” (from the 1979 movie “Hair,” which I don’t particularly recommend), and its lyrics express your sentiments (as they do mine):

      If you go to YouTube and type in “Easy to be Hard Cheryl Barnes” you’ll see the film version of the song, which shows the man shouting at the mother of their child, as she holds their child’s hand in the middle of Central Park, and his hippy friends all watch. Then he storms off and the hippies follow him, so she sings this song just standing there with her son watching him stomp off. (The hippies do coax him back, and she eventually joins the troupe, all living together in a la-de-da careless way.) But the song and singer are both particularly beautiful.

      In discussions like this one, I often think of these lyrics, especially the part about how people who care about strangers and social injustice can so easily dismiss those in need right in front of their noses. Perhaps it harkens back to the verses from 1 Corinthians 13:

      If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.…

  23. Valerie

    Standing ovation!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      We hear you, Valerie!

  24. Innoscent

    We see for example, Reformed churches (and others also) hammering it out with each other over secondary doctrinal issues, debating, writing, accusing, dividing. [—] And yet you would rather engage in debates as abstruse as whether 1 / 64th of an inch equals 0.4 mm or 0.3969 mm.

    Jeff, I am also getting tired and frustrated with the intellectualization to excess in the church, all the while the call of James 2:15-17 is ignored! My heart is abundantly blessed to read your post. THANK YOU!.

    Jesus exposed the pettiness of the Pharisees paying tithe on even some seeds and neglected acts of mercy and faith (Mt 23:23). Richard Wurmbrand wrote in ‘Tortured for Christ’ (p. 86-87) (a Romanian pastor tortured by Communists and Russians):

    Theologians of the West discuss trifles in the meantime. It reminds me that, while the troops of Mahomet II surrounded Constantinople in 1493 and it had to be decided whether the Balkans would be under Christian or Muslim dominion for centuries, a local church council in the besieged city discussed the following problems: What colour were the eyes of the virgin Mary? What gender do the angels have? If a fly falls into sanctified water, is the fly sanctified or the water defiled?
    This may be only a legend concerning those times but peruse Church periodicals of today and you will find that questions like these are discussed. The menace of the persecutors and the sufferings of the Underground Church are scarcely mentioned.
    There are endless discussions about theological matters, about rituals, about nonessentials.

    The story keeps repeating itself. 😦 😦

  25. Seeing Clearly

    Jeff, thank you for boldly and clearly speaking out with this post.
    There are specific pastors that I would like to take it to. But these pastors know me and know of my divorce to my N-ex. They are ones who have discredited me in various scenarios through the years. So I feel disempowered.
    Yes, I have washed my hands of them. But now I circle around to ask myself if I am a coward, sort of acting like a victim? Confusion encircles me once again.

    I am having a slow, positive input with a younger family member who is in ministry. He knows me well, we dialogue, he is encountering women like me in his place of ministry, at least one is a seasoned divorced pastor’s wife. I had yours and Barb’s and one other book mailed to him. I doubt there is anyone else in leadership in his church having these conversations with him, at least not in positive ways. I have suggested he take a look at ACFJ, but warn him it could prove to be quite upsetting to him.

    Do you have any input regarding my first paragraph? Please speak boldly to me. Also, I continue to wonder how ACFJ is supported financially. Perhaps it is listed somewhere on the website and I am just plain blind.

    • Hi Seeing Clearly
      I don’t think you are or were a coward from not taking the ACFJ message / materials to the pastors who discredited you. In the way they dealt with you and your Nex, they showed they were resistant to our message and were quite happy to align themselves with abusers. I think the biblical principle that applies to you here is shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them (Luke 9:5) rather than reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (1 Tim. 4:2).

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you, Barbara.
        Yes I do need to let them go.

    • twbtc

      I continue to wonder how ACFJ is supported financially. Perhaps it is listed somewhere on the website and I am just plain blind.

      No, Seeing Clearly, you’re not blind. We don’t list our budget on the site because we don’t have one. Pastor and Barbara and the rest of the ACFJ team volunteer their time. The only exception is that the money raised through the Amazon affiliate links is used to keep the website free from ads and to pay to have the blog name, and those expenses are about $100 a year.

      • grace551

        Thank you very much to everyone who volunteers their time.

      • Seeing Clearly

        “Thank you” hardly seems adequate. I can’t begin to know all that is involved in this wonderful ministry. The hours are a large part, but also brain time and prayer time and…. You are saving lives and enriching lives. May God’s blessing continue to rest upon you.

  26. survivorthrivor2

    Randomness here……my Covert Narcissist h left a small, smooth rock with this on it, “He that is without sin among you let him cast the first stone.” Jesus Christ

    It was put where one cannot miss it at the end of the hallway….did he just call himself out?

    • Still Reforming

      Survivorthrivor2 –

      Your convert n sure goes to great lengths writing on a stone that way. I’ll never forget what someone told me once: “Some people would rather climb a ladder to tell a lie than to just stay on the ground and tell the truth.”

      My soon-to-be-ex- did the same kind of thing – leaving Scriptural messages around the house. The last one I got was a post-it note left on the kitchen table with Proverbs 14:1 on it: “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”

      Of course, within our legal system, that’s not so bad. You have to be called a swear word for it to be “abuse.” Name-calling like “nagging wife,” “dripping faucet,” “unloving,” “judgmental” and so on – even in front of the child or at high volume – aren’t illegal, and therefore to (unrighteous) attorneys, counselors, and judges, it doesn’t matter.

      • Name-calling like “nagging wife,” “dripping faucet,” “unloving,” “judgmental” and so on – even in front of the child or at high volume – aren’t illegal

        Thankfully, in my state in Australia, that kind of thing IS part of the definition of Family Violence. Emotional abuse as part of a pattern of coercive control and intimidation is included in the definintion of FV. So the courts can issue a Family Violence Intervention Order against the abuser for that kind of behaviour and then if the abuser breaches the order (and IF you have enough evidence of the breach, so it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt) the abuser can be convicted of the breach of the FV order. Such conviction is a crime, not a misdemeanour.

        This is the kind of law which is much needed around the world, to help protect victims from abusers and to restrain abusers and put pressure on them to stop what they are doing. My state is not the only place in the world with this kind of law, but to my knowledge that broad legal definition of Family violence / Domestic Violence / Domestic Abuse / Intimate Partner Violence is not at all common in the USA.

        The terminology variations — FV, DV, DA, IPV — so many different terms and acronyms for the same thing. It’s frustrating.

      • Still Reforming

        I’m glad you wrote this, Barbara. Every time I mentioned these offenses to my attorneys, they kind of nodded and acknowledged what I was saying, but never seemed bothered by it, and in fact would cite worse examples (using the “really offensive” words even in their examples) as if my testimony paled by comparison. This happened about three times in their offices, and I was “conditioned” (for lack of better word) to lower my expectations about what I could actually expect from a judge.

        Sad to say, that’s likely true because the judge never even read the Dept. of Children and Families report, but only asked if the finding showed actual illegal behavior. Since no legal line had been crossed, the report was pushed aside. No bearing on time-sharing or anything else. By the time I was before the judge, I was so prepared to not offend him in any way that I was largely silent. It all felt rather like my life at home before the abuser left, actually.

        I had even consulted a DV counselor who had Lundy’s books in his office and agreed with everything I was saying, but couldn’t be a witness in court because he said he couldn’t predict what my husband could have done in the future, but he agreed that I was dealing with domestic violence. He suggested a psych eval for my husband, but I never filed a motion, having been advised against it by my attorneys.

        I’m glad you wrote this though because I need to perhaps be active in trying to change this in some way locally. I’m not quite sure how, but I need to think and pray on this – because in large part, the “system” is stacked against an actual target of abuse. Both parents come in on equal footing if, for example, the offenses I named (which really did happen) don’t cross any legal line. It’s a shame. It’s not against the law to say the things my husband did, yelling them and even in front of the children.

        Even in mediation, which we just completed (thank the Lord), the mediator kept telling me how we as women need to help the dads parent better, like allowing them to change diapers and participate more. (Never mind that our child is almost a teen and long out of diapers. I listened graciously and only said after her lecture, “I would have welcomed that.”)

        It’s astounding how people are bending over backwards for “fathers rights” these days. A man can legally desert and abandon his family (terms no longer used in the legal process) whom he supported for more than a decade and in only one day not have to pay one red cent for them – and it’s perfectly okay in our legal system. In fact, I was “imputed” a wage that I don’t earn. (I haven’t worked for over a decade, but I was imputed a minimum wage for the purposes of reducing his child support, which was further reduced by ’50-50 timeshare. Zero alimony also.) And the past five months he’s been gone? Well, because of that imputed wage, he’s only responsible for 65 percent of past medical, dental, and educational for the child. Not her food or clothes or heat to keep her warm in winter.

        What you’ve previously written about this being an industry makes a lot of sense. We were both ordered into parenting classes after seeing the judge, as if we both need to learn something about parenting. The classes are not free, and each party pays for him- or herself. There are more than five different businesses in our small-town area offering classes from which to choose – in English and Spanish, on-line or in person. It’s not only an industry, but appears to be a thriving one at that.

      • For the convenience of readers, I’m adding a link here to what I’ve previously written about how the family court and its para-services are like an industry:
        WANTED — Fantasy Wife

  27. Round*Two

    Some people would rather climb a ladder to tell a lie than to just stay on the ground and tell the truth.

    I found that to be true as well!
    My stbx would rather have had me say the abuse NEVER happened rather than he admit that it DID happen! We couldn’t move forward because he wouldn’t admit it DID happen! However, if I had said it didn’t happen it would make me a L I A R, and that wouldn’t have been enough. Nope, I would have had to gone back and let people know that the abuse did not happen. All he cared about was his name being cleared. I STAND by what I said happened, happened!

  28. Melody


    We see for example, Reformed churches (and others also) hammering it out with each other over secondary doctrinal issues, debating, writing, accusing, dividing. So I want to tell you what the Lord thinks of this. I say it by authority of His Word. What you are doing isn’t as important as what we are doing. In fact, because of your neglect of the oppressed whom Christ loves, what you are doing isn’t important at all in His sight. The wicked still hide among you.

    What scares me about the intellectual leaders who presume to tell those of us who hate dysfunction (abusive relationships) that we are the problem, is that in actual fact THEY are the problem, and we are all accountable to God for how we deal with the evil in house.
    How long, Oh Lord?
    He always leaves a remnant.

  29. S

    I’m a widow. Lost my husband to cancer a few years ago. Life has been so difficult these years since he died but it became more difficult when in the church I was treated like a criminal because I was spiritually growing. I became a threat because I defended God’s truth.

    I didn’t see God’s love in some of these people inside the church and they were confirming it with their actions. They only pretended to be something they weren’t, even to talk about compassion but only was given to specific people, they chose cliches. Its really sad this happening inside the church and no one speaks up for the oppressed or widows. People [would] rather be silent or cowards instead of obeying God and His truth and [the people] band together with evildoers.

    It amazes me how a person or person in leadership in church can stoop so low to come after a widow or anyone else in their time of distress and think that they are getting away with it. Well they are fooling themselves. This is abuse of authority and one day they are going to answer to God.

    At first they seemed to be a living church but later their true colors were showing by what they were doing and saying, which it was not love but envy and jealousy and governess [bitterness?] because of the blessings God was doing because I was stepping out in faith, but they didn’t understand this because it was not for them. It was a calling in my life because I poured out my heart to God in my loss and God put a song in my heart. I’m going to continue to pray for all these people who are oppressing the wounded.

    Another thing, I was looking for help in the churches and there is no specific help for widows. Other ateas [areas?] yes, but not widows, that is so so bad. I cry to God in my distress and try to focus on the scripture for the persistent widow. My family also turned on me so basically I’m physically by myself and no one comes to visit me.

    It’s so true what the Bible says about people being lovers of themselves and that the love of most will grow cold, I’ve experienced [this] personally, its so true but so hurtful and sad. I thought church leaders were supposed to be encouraging loving uplifting to people in time of need… Instead they tear into the wounded. That is not love and that is not from God. We are supposed to speak up against injustice but who is actually doing that? God bless. Please pray for me because I’ve been having health issues for years but it’s gotten worse with everything that has happened.

    • healinginhim

      Dear S, it’s very sad to hear of how you’ve been treated and yet many of us would not be surprised because we have become victims for “asking questions and for growing in the Truth”.

      Thank you for sharing your life. Wish I lived closer to be a friend to you. I am in an abusive circumstance involving the man I married, adult children, siblings and sadly the lack of local church support. I have been without a church fellowship for many years and one of the reasons is because of experiencing the spiritual abuse you’ve received.

      Praying for you. ❤ ((hugs)) ❤

  30. Lori

    Thank you for this. I’ve been utterly tormented over a man that I know, a very close member of my family, no less, who had himself ordained a minister, online. I’ve only known him to brutally hurt his widowed mother by means of ignoring, even on Mother’s Day and Easter. He was rude to her and his awful wife wished the woman dead for decades. This dynamic duo did the same thing to his sister and her children, cruelly ignoring and embarrassing them at every turn as they sought protection from a pedophilic sort.

    As I write this, the minister is helping himself to the estate of his now dead mother, tearing up occasionally when he confesses that nobody will ever love him like she did. Does he change his ways? No. Why? Because he’s rotten. His wife was a woman who pulled her pants down for every date she ever had and lives only to torment the just with her indignation as it’s all she knows. Misery loves company. My question: how can someone as bad as this guy get ordained? This is blasphemy! Can we shut it down? Help!

    • The reason guys like him can get ordained is that the visible church has many unregenerate people in it, including many unregenerate leaders. Discernment is sorely lacking because spiritual things can only be discerned spiritually and an unregenerate person is doesn’t have the Spirit to help them discern truth from falsehood.

      There are quite a lot of pastors, Elders and church board members in the visible church who are actually wolves. And there are many more who have been snowed by the wolves.

      We cling to Christ. And we ask God to expose and root out the corruption.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Yes, so true, many wolves,

        and many more who have been snowed by the wolves.

    • And welcome to the blog, Lori! 🙂

      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

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      For your safety’s sake, you may want to change your screen name to something other than Lori. If so, just email TWBTC (The Woman Behind The Curtain). Her address is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

  31. Anon552

    I am crying out for justice in [country redacted]. I was divorced by husband over a decade ago, the church has not helped us we have been abused sexually verbally by church. I will cry until God moves in this nation. I loved your truthful words bless you.

    • Welcome to the blog. 🙂
      What you’ve suffered from your church is awful….and sadly, it is all too common for churches to behave that way.

      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at our FAQ page.

      And by the way, as a precaution for your safety I changed your screen name to Anon552.

  32. Marla

    I totally agree with you. How can the church demand money from the poor who are disabled, on government assistance, and have no believing family members who will help them? I live an apartment building that is filled with mentally ill people, weak, sickly individuals who are disconnected and labeled because they don’t have personal resources. I am convinced that if the church would minister to their own with compassion and in practical ways, the lost would take notice of the love Christians have for one another and be more affected for Christ than by the practice of putting our money into efforts at their evangelism. They accept help but see our neglect of our own, our absence in their lives. These unbelievers tolerate the presentation of the message so they can get free stuff and sometimes the church tries to bribe them into making hasty decisions for Chost evendors when they lack an understanding of the claim of Christ, an inaccurate understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as presented in Scripture. I’m not saying we shouldn’t help them but doesn’t the the Bible say we are to especially minister to those who are in our natural families, and those who are believers in our churches? This includes going to visit them and giving them practical help in personal not condescending ways.

    I know many weak, frail, vulnerable mentally and physically ill young and older persons who are isolated and afraid to go back to the churches because they were given lectures, and attempted deliverance when they are God-fearing saints who have ministered to others with their prayers, Gospel testimony, and substance when they were able. Now they are under a cloud of guilt and hopelessness because they have been rejected and shamed, instead of encouraged and made to feel like part of the family of God, which in fact they are. They have been rebuked for their lack of faith because hyper-faith people in our churches insist if they had enough faith they would not be suffering but walking in Divine health, and living in prosperity.

    Doesn’t the Word of God tell us to know those who labor among us? But how can we when we have no access to these ministers, we don’t know their character, we only hear them speaking from a pulpit, talking at us, and never to us as individuals. They want to count us as members, receive our tithes and offerings but often don’t know our names when they see us. We seem to be a means to an end, for their own benefit, their profit, and valued as those who sustain their buildings and projects. I’m totally convinced this is not what God intended.

    This can’t continue especially in light of the increasing loss of our Christian freedoms. We have no guarantees of continued monies and programs or protection from the government. Pillow prophets are saying all is well and the future looks great but fail to see the coming persecution and the real possibility that the preaching of the Gospel will soon be considered hate speech, like it already is in many countries. I’m with you, what can we do?

    • Hi Marla, welcome to the blog! 🙂

      You asked “what can we do?” I don’t have answers for everyone else, but I think the true Christian faith is held by very few, and they are mostly not in church leadership. They congregate and ‘share fellowship’ on the internet, and they expose the false teachings that are prevalent in so many churches especially megachurches. The ‘prosperity gospel’ is one of those false teachings, but there are many many others.

      And we can pray that God will expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing and convict the nominal believers who clog the visible church and make it so hard to true believers to find genuine fellowship.

      I invite you to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, you might like to look at our FAQ page.

      Again, thank you for your comment.

  33. My Hope Is In Thee

    Excellent article. I just happened upon your site by accident, although I don’t believe in accidents. Everything is in the hands of the Lord. When I was going to church in my teen years. Visiting the widows, shut-ins, needy and lost was a Christian’s desire.

    I was a victim of abuse by a spouse. It’s a horrible experience. No one has no [any?] idea unless they have been a victim. And I’m speaking of verbal and emotional abuse also. I’m now a widow only because my husband passed away five years ago. I live alone with no family close by. I’ve had severe surgery and can’t attend church as I so much desire. Seeing to these needs in Christians and pastors in any. Community is something you never see anymore. Thank you for speaking out.

    Did anyone ever read the word of God where He opposed or abused a widow or fatherless???

    • Dear sister, welcome to the blog and thanks very much for your comment. 🙂

      We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

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