A Cry For Justice

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

How a Sociopath took Control of a Church and Drove the Righteous Away – A Personal Encounter With Evil

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.


[September 29, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.  (Malachi 1:10  ESV)

(The following is a first hand account of an unsuspecting pastor’s sad experience with a sociopath. This pastor was alienated from his flock and ultimately driven out of his church. The wicked man remained and enjoyed power and control and the worship of the people. The pastor, now much wiser in regard to the mentality and tactics of evil abuse, tells his story as a warning to genuine pastors and churches. Here is a real-life lesson in the cunning subtlety of evil. Most all of you will recognize the very same evil tactics that have been so often used by your abuser against you.)


Many years ago I was called to plant a new church in a small community. After a number of years diligently and faithfully teaching Bible studies in homes and meeting rooms of businesses, a core of professing Christians formed with the desire to be part of a new conservative, Bible-believing church. We had very few resources but were able to use the facilities of other churches in town by holding our services on Sunday evenings.

Then, along came Jack and his family. Jack was a local businessman, a professing Christian, and everyone was excited about this new addition to the small team. Jack was very willing to do whatever he could to help. The group gladly assigned him some administrative tasks and he performed them diligently.

One day during his lunch break from work, Jack stopped by my rented office to “talk.” He said that he needed to confess to me that he had an ongoing battle with alcohol. He really didn’t ask for any hands-on help from me, but just made his confession and then asked for prayer. Of course I thought this was a noble thing. Here was a man willing to confess his sin and addiction it seemed.

Not long after Jack’s “confession,” myself and two of the fledgling church board members were at a community event attended by many people from the town. And then here came Jack. Everyone, including the rest of the crowd, noticed him. Why? Because Jack was obviously drunk. On top of that he was holding his infant child, trying to navigate up some precarious steps in his inebriation. A man I did not know shouted to everyone, “Look out for that guy! He’s drunk and he is going to hurt that baby!”

Wonderful “Christian” testimony to the community, right? But that’s not all.

Jack spotted me and the others and headed straight for us. He sat down beside us! There was no mistaking it. Everyone with me saw it. Jack was wasted.

And this is when things started to go south and really get weird.

The next Sunday, Jack acted as if that incident had never happened. This guy who was so quick to “confess” his sin to me now made NO mention of his rank, open, scandalous actions. And guess what? No one else did either, except me. At the next church board meeting I told the board members that Jack needed to be removed from his responsibilities in the church and that he needed to be confronted with his sin and disciplined if he would not repent.

Dead silence.

Then one of the board members, a long-time friend of Jack’s, spoke up. “No! He doesn’t need to be accused of sin! That was a cry for help from him to us!” Of course what this person meant was that we should do nothing except to continue to “love” Jack where he was. And that is exactly what happened. Nothing. Now keep in mind that this was most certainly not due to ignorance or lack of biblical teaching. Several of these board members had grown up in Bible churches and I had taught them myself for quite sometime. But when Jack’s buddy on the board made this “cry for help” statement, everyone else kept silent. No one backed me up. Not one. Nada.

Jack had already won. And guess what else? Jack knew that he had won.

The very next day after that board meeting, Jack waltzed into my office where there was a second desk for administrative work to be done. He sat down at that desk some 20 feet away from me, said absolutely nothing to me, and went about his paper shuffling. It was all very calculated and planned. His ally on the board had no doubt told him of my call to confront him with his sin and that nothing was going to be done. His arrival in my office the next day was a loud and clear statement from him to me that, “I am in, and soon you are going to be out.”

He was right.

Jack continued his undermining tactics to win the flock as his allies, and they followed him like lambs to the slaughter. There were one or two exceptions, but most everyone fell hook, line, and sinker for Jack’s deception. After all, siding with Jack meant lots more perks and benefits for them. Jack had money. Jack had contacts. The church just “couldn’t lose Jack.” But their pastor had become expendable, whether they admitted it or not.

Shortly after, an unsaved man who attended the church (he paraded as a Christian) came into my office one day and pulled out a list. Every experienced true pastor knows what that means — “the list.” He had a list of complaints about my ministry. Now remember, the church-planting organization I was with at the time was still paying the large majority of my salary. And yet, here was this man complaining about the length of my sermons, about how I wasn’t personable enough, and on and on. After he left, I called the board chairman and told him about it as this man’s actions affected the entire ministry.

At the next board meeting then (Jack was in attendance), Jack’s friend on the board spoke up and said “We have a problem we need to deal with. Pastor, your sermons are just not hitting home with us.” I was teaching and preaching in the very same way I had for years, and currently was preaching expository messages through the Pastoral Epistles so that this new church could be grounded in God’s instruction for His church. This guy went on — “Now, everyone, it is the job of this board to be sure that the people in this church are hearing what they want to hear on Sundays.” Yep. He really did say that. Guess he hadn’t read the verse in those very Pastoral Epistles about people laying up ear-tickling preachers for themselves in the last days!

In other words, Jack had obviously been whispering in this fellow’s ear, winning him as an ally of evil, and putting him up to saying these things to the board. I spoke up at that point. “I have always preached God’s Word and I am going to continue to do so without change. No one is going to tell me to stop doing what Christ has commanded me to do.”

Did I receive any “hear, hear” from any other board members? Nope. Nothing. Dead silence from them. One of them later told me, “I agreed with you in my heart.” Yeah, thanks.

Before that board meeting was over, Jack got in one more dig. He had gotten wind that the other man had given me his “list” of complaints and that I had discussed that incident with the board chairman. And Jack said, with such a pious and holy look on his face and tone in his voice, “Pastor, it just makes me sick in my gut that you betrayed that man’s confidence to you by talking to someone else about his list of complaints.”

Well, the Lord is very, very good to His own. Three days later I received a letter in the mail from another church far away asking me if I would come and candidate for the vacant position of pastor in their church. I did so. They called me. And my family and I left that town and that church where we had labored so hard for all those many years. I still remember with fondness and a real sense of loss those first early days when we had nothing, met in the back room of some business, and the small group would take up an offering of a few dollars to pay for my gas expenses to drive there. The pre-Jack days, you see.

“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 2:2-3  ESV)

Something Wicked This Way Comes is the title of a book and a movie I once saw. That is how I look back now upon the day Jack showed up. Something wicked came my way.

I have never been back to that church. There is a large, fancy new church building there now. The church boasts about how the Lord has been so good to them in giving them that building and using them for the cause of the Gospel in that community. I have driven by it a couple of times and was struck with a sense of loss and sad irony. There is that building. There is that supposed church which the Lord used me to plant. And here I am on the outside. This must be very much like what an abuse victim feels when her abuser remains welcomed in the church she used to belong to.

And yes, Jack is still in. He reigns there to this day. The people say, “Oh, how Jack has grown. What a fine godly man.” I know better. I know now that Jack’s initial “confession” and even his blatant public drunkenness in front of me and other church members were all tactics of an evil man. His design was to neutralize any ability myself and the church might have to call him out on his sin. After all, he had effected a “preemptive strike” by confessing his sin to me right off! Now, so went his thinking, we could only “show him the love of Jesus.” And his tactic worked with the vast majority of the church members.

I know these things now. And more importantly, so does the Lord of the Church who sees and knows the very depths of a man’s heart. Jack will be called to account on that Day, and so will all of those professing Christians who refused to confess Christ by standing for truth and righteousness no matter the cost.

[September 29, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to September 29, 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 September 29, 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 September 29, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 29, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Wendell G

    The evil existing in churches is astounding. Once, when I was trying to enter pastoral ministry, I visited a local “community” church that I knew was without a pastor and for which I had applied. I didn’t introduce myself as an applicant. I just wanted to observe and get a feel for the church.

    In the course of a conversation with one of the deacons who greeted me, we got into a discussion about the former pastor and they were very proud to tell me that they had fired him because he dared say from the pulpit that some in the congregation just might not be saved. Well, that was just too much for them, so they apparently fired him a couple of weeks later.

    How dare he say anything that is true for most churches? There are always going to be people in the pews who don’t know Christ. He didn’t name names or even hint at who they may be, but was simply trying to get the congregation to examine themselves, but they wouldn’t have it.

    It seems that the spiritual qualifications for church leadership and service are routinely ignored in a lot of churches. The lists Paul gave to Timothy and Titus are not as important as whether a person is well-known in the community, owns a business and has secular leadership savvy. If he has lots of money, well, by golly, God must have blessed him for his spirituality. We will just look the other way as he rips off his customers, suppliers and employees.

    Oh, I could tell a couple of other stories, but that is enough for now.

  2. IamMyBeloved's


    Sometimes the righteous have to stand alone. In this day, we are not to confront real sin, the “cuz we’re all just a bunch of sinners here” attitude prevails. We are to love them through their sin, but this is not what Jesus taught, nor what He did. He loved those who came to true repentance and followed Him. A drunk with a baby. Wow.

    So sorry you have to endure this evil. I am one of those who watched her abuser be embraced and loved in his wickedness by a “c”hurch. I left there with my children, but the wicked there tried to force us back under their godless power and control and eventually ex-communicated me for not abiding with them in their sin. But I thank God for it. They have all fallen apart now and God is judging them and still no repentance. Glad I am not a part of that. The same will eventually happen to that “c”hurch in that building you speak of. God will not endure their wickedness, nor wink at it any longer. He is just. The world is unjust, but God will always lead us to His justice.

    Imagine their anger when God rescued you and you left them and took a position with real Christians. Justice enough.

    • They have all fallen apart now and God is judging them

      I’m so glad to hear that!

  3. Sarah

    Three days later I received a letter in the mail from another church far away asking me if I would come and candidate for the vacant position of pastor in their church.

    Just so you know….the oldest trick in the workplace bully’s book is to let it be known (behind the target’s back) the target ‘needs’ a new job, usually by secretly shopping out the target’s resume. Glad to know it worked out for you.

  4. Still Reforming

    “The love of Jesus” had zeal to clear the temple of evil-doers. “The love of Jesus” isn’t just that which took Him to the cross, but that which didn’t cower in the face of hypocrites and the evil in power over the people. He spoke truth and knew what they would think of Him. He stood for truth no matter the cost.

    I think the contemporary church is so mamby-pamby that “the love of Jesus” equals just being “kind” and “nice” and going along to get along. That’s my experience anyway, and it seems to be par for the course with the political correctness of this age.

    I think these experiences are a gift from God to show us what real evil is so we will be wiser and speak His truth all the more for those who have ears to hear. I hated abuse, being lied to, and manipulated for all the years I believed it and then learned not to – and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone – but….for all that, I’m thankful that God brought me through it, and I pray He uses it for the glory of His Name and His righteousness and the good of His people.

    Reading your testimony here I am stricken by the number of people who chose to stand with evil in light of having read God’s Word. They are blind. It reminds me of just how narrow the path really is. It’s a rude awakening to find out that people one thinks are the church turn out to not be, but….then God always brings His true children together in some way as only He can – and we can encourage and strengthen one another knowing He has not left us alone and that His plans and ways are higher than our own. It’s amazing to me how much He is glorified in these ways.

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      SR, YES! And I add, the love of Jesus that the apostate church equates with kind and nice to everybody, is kind and nice to all EXCEPT victims. Cruelty, indifference, and lovelessness lands on those that ask for relief from the oppression of an abuser. The mean church extends grace to the abusers. Those power mongering evil deceivers that seem to gain prominence in a typical church enjoy lots of grace. Meanwhile they and their “yes” men try to erase those which the sociopaths attempted to destroy. But, we are not destroyed, because God is good and mans power is limited. He sees their day coming and He laughs.

      (Psalm 37:12-13 [NIV]) The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

  5. a prodigal daughter returns

    It is hard to look at the buildings that remain and know their foundations are built on the graves of the innocent. I see people throwing accolades at a former pastor when I know the true darkness he perpetrated. And I have a story that illustrates how charming sociopaths can be and how very quickly they take control.

    Sociopaths, can appear so humble. Years ago I had a friend that lived with an abusive man that was not a Christian, she wasn’t either at the time. He was a charming, handsome man. My friend told me that his first wife died of an “accidental” shooting in which the gun went off by accident. The charming sociopath had [it] in his hands at the time. He was believed. He played the sad perplexed young widower with a young son role well and women flocked to rescue him. But my friend shared that one time the widower sociopath threatened “you are going to end up like my first wife” if she didn’t do what he wanted.

    Fast forward a number of years. The man gets “saved”, he has a dramatic conversion story and quickly climbs the leadership ranks. My friend keeps her mouth shut because people didn’t know about their co-habiting history. She is already a scorned single mother willing to let the past be buried.

    I watch the man become the pastor’s best friend. He then marries the chief Elder’s daughter. The chief Elder is highly connected to the denomination leadership. The man sabotages a ministry I am in and takes it over. I watch as vulnerable women are told they have a “spirit of Jezebel” if they question him and they get kicked out of the church. He gets caught one time stepping on some “little” person so he stands up in front of the congregation with breaking voice and tears about repenting of his “pride”. People swoon at his humility, the bodies are buried, the church goes on.

    Eventually he is running the Christian school. I know that his wife babysat for a local cop whose 2 year old fell down a flight of stairs at their house and got knocked unconscious. The wife never told, a friend that was there witnessed it and no one ever told. They are wiling to lie, to cover up, anything to advance themselves and advance they do. Pretty soon the church is paying his full-time salary as he travels abroad.

    A life time of deception, advancement, the church supporting him, popularity, charm, and now accolades about what a great pastor he was (except for all those bodies). I do not know if he murdered his wife, but given the way others were treated when plausible deniability was possible, it would not surprise me. We need to pray for a spirit of discernment. If nothing else being an abuse survivor taught me that sociopaths can be very charming and deceive many.

    • KayE

      That is a scary story alright.

    • StandsWithAFist

      I believe it has been said before, but it bears repeating: beware the pity-party:

      ….listening for almost twenty-five years to the stories my patients tell me about sociopaths who have invaded and injured their lives, when I am asked, “How can I tell whom not to trust?” the answer I give usually surprises people. The natural expectation is that I will describe some sinister-sounding detail of behavior or snippet of body language or threatening use of language that is the subtle giveaway. Instead, I take people aback by assuring them that the tip-off is none of these things, for none of these things is reliably present. Rather, the best clue is, of all things, the pity play. The most reliable sign, the most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.

      Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

      • Jeff Crippen

        SWF – you nailed it with this quote from Stout. The victim ploy. The wicked play their favorite role with expertise. Thank you.

      • Moving Forward

        So very true! It went on for years before he left – the victim of anyone and everyone who treated him wrong, and when I fell out of line, didn’t take long to start appealing to people’s sympathy regarding his hard-hearted wife who refuses to communicate, and continues to this day as his allies stand firm by him, stoking his ego every time he asks. It is sad that people can be so easily duped, but then it is by a master who has spent a lifetime perfecting the art. After all, it took me 25 years to realize my fear was real – how he treated others, which was so obvious, was also how he treated me, done much more subtly. Of course, now that I am out, he has switched to a combination of obvious and subtle, but it doesn’t work any more, praise God!

      • Thanks for that quote from Martha Stout, SWIF. I agree with it, and I appreciate you putting it here.

        And….the sad and awfully difficult thing is, that when a victim comes forward and discloses the abuse she’s suffered, she can be suspected because she’s appealing to the listener’s sympathy. Catch 22.

        And I think that’s one reason why abusers put on the pity play — they know it mimics the genuine needs of the genuine victims, and they know that by doing it, they poison the well for all genuine victims….

    • Still Reforming

      Prodigal Daughter,

      I’ll never, ever, ever understand “accidental shootings” of one’s own child, spouse, or intimate.

      In my area, a grandfather shot his daughter and her six children before turning the gun on himself. When reading about what happened, this caught my eye: “In 2001, (the grandfather) pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after he fatally shot his 8-year-old son in the head in a hunting accident…. The story said that on a walk through the woods with (the allegedly accidentally killed child)….(the grandfather) pointed out rust on the muzzle of his rifle. The rifle fired, hitting (the boy) in the head, according to the….County Sheriff’s Office.”

      It went on to state that: “(the grandfather) was sentenced to three years in prison for the shooting.” Pretty light sentence for killing his eight-year-old son. I think the conviction wasn’t even related to the death, but to this: “(The grandfather) had a criminal record in (nearby large metropolitan area), where he was arrested in 1990 on a felony fugitive warrant. Other arrests include misdemeanor battery, drug charges and depriving a child of food and shelter. In 2001, (he) pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after he fatally shot his 8-year-old son in the head in a hunting accident….”

      So it would appear that the three-year-sentence wasn’t even for killing his son, but for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He gets out after three years and kills seven more people – all family. And all thanks to people buying into the crocodile tears of evil.

      • standsfortruth

        I see this alot on the true show called “Forensic Files”.
        Many times the public wont begin to start connecting the dots, until two or more victims die (sadly many times, years apart).

    • parishioner

      Ever notice that the word “sociopath” doesn’t appear in Scripture? God has other words for that behavior, but Christians are mostly forgetting this. Freud started publishing his theories in the late 1800s, and “modern psychiatry” was born, with all its labels (too often excuses) and pharmacology. The world has been exposed to this thinking regarding human behavior for only less than 150 years, but they act like it’s the Gospel, pun intended.

      It is NOT the Gospel. The Gospel says you have a sinful nature, you need to take responsibility for your actions, and you need to admit that you need redemption from your defacto father the devil, and transference into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. The consequences of your sinful actions are only cancelled through Jesus’ blood, which He shed for you to be reconciled with God, who wishes to adopt you as His own.

      Churches not only “enable” “sociopaths,” they also turn out those of us with legitimate prophetic gifting and the gift of discernment of spirits, etc.. The gifts are given for the body. But the body of Christ is too often not interested in the protection God wants to give it through the exercise of these gifts, and clings to its prideful label of cessationism rather than accepting leading by the Holy Spirit (with appropriate discernment by Elders, of course).

      I could tell you multiple stories of my own, both in encountering these abusers in church leadership, and in being driven out for giving godly, gentle warnings. I’ve said enough already, though, as my comment is quite long, and will leave you to contemplate what I’ve already said. JESUS LOVES HIS BRIDE!

      • Hi, Parishioner, we moderate all comments before publishing them. Sometimes this means it takes a while for a comment to be published.

  6. Sarah

    After re-reading this account, my guess is Jack is not the true abuser but their front-man. Why? Because abusers / bullies don’t do their own dirty work – they work through others. From the above description, Jack has either a touch of Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) or Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)….both are susceptible to manipulation, unaware or uncaring of social graces (he told you he was a drunk so why the surprise when he displays public drunken dangerous behavior?) and, often, use alcohol as a negative coping mechanism.

    So who [is] the real bully running Jack? His sweet, docile, passive ‘long-suffering’ wife – the ultimate pity play, right? Or, if not married, his same-description mother….

    Oh, and a word of caution for this author – please don’t think you are safe from this abuser / bully. They are patient and will be wait years, or even decades, to retaliate – like a snake in the grass. So, just as you are about to retire or move to a new position, they will strike….and attempt to destroy you. Please don’t think you are the one that got away….to the abuser, you are the one they haven’t gotten to….yet. Pray for protection and surround yourself with good folks with integrity.

    • KayE

      I do think Jack is the true abuser. Most abusers carry out abuse in person, although they are very good at getting allies to help them out. There might be a few who manage to hide behind others, but eventually their true nature shows through. Jack’s wife might be a good person or she might be an evil manipulator, but it makes no difference. Jack is fully responsible for his own actions and he has been clearly observed to be abusing people.

      • Still Reforming

        I agree with you, KayE. In my experience, the real abuser is the front man, the one gaining allies for his cause, and the one who can carry off the crocodile tears of false repentance all while slandering the real sheep of the flock. And like you said, Jack – and all abusers – are accountable for their own actions, in spite of NPD, Asperger’s, or anything else that contributes. They know what they are doing. I daresay I have more than a decade’s worth of daily experience with an Aspie, and you can work with a person who has Asperger’s. That condition doesn’t necessarily contribute to abuse or get fooled into abusing. I have far longer experience with what I think is someone with NPD or at least very close to it, and he’s an adept skilled liar who is fooling many in the professing church. He doesn’t need anyone’s help manipulating him into abuse; he’s quite capable all on his own.

      • That’s how I read it too, KayE. In fact, there is a high chance that Jack’s wife is another of his victims.

  7. survivorthrivor2

    Wow, does this hit home! Something I had long since forgotten, or really wanted to, that happened very early on in my marriage with my N-h. We had some Christian friends that I had met when I worked for the wife, as a civilian for an army base near our town. We had been invited over for dinner and a movie, it was all fine and dandy until we put in the movie. I don’t remember who selected the movie, now. But, it happened to be the old movie “Airplane”, kind of a spoof, if you will – not my kind of humor, at all. But, I said nothing as we started to watch, well it had some explicit nude scenes of women, as I vaguely remember, and I was appalled. I sat there and actually expected one of the men, or my friend to say something and perhaps turn it off and select another, but no one said a word, but you could feel the Holy Spirit in the room, and it was looming, I felt it big time!

    Finally, I spoke up and said, “if you all want to watch this movie you can, but I’m going in the other room; this doesn’t feel right to me.” All of a sudden my friend’s husband or his wife, can’t remember, popped up and agreed, and took the movie out. They were not mad or anything at me, more relieved, I felt, that someone said something….except for my N-h! He asked me to go outside with him for a second, he came unglued at me and the insults flew as he was so embarrassed that I would embarrass him! What? He was livid at me, not because the movie was inappropriate, but because I stood up and said something and our friends agreed! He was so disrespectful and it boggled my mind to see him react in this way, but I felt I had to do something. Silly, naive me – I thought what I did would be appreciated! Wow, did I have a lot to learn! Sadly….

    • Remedy

      Is this “New” husband or “Narc” husband? I have a very similar type scenario that happened many years ago, but caused a significant change in the so-called marriage. So shocking was his explosion at me, neither of us really ever bounced back from it.

      • survivorthrivor2

        Remedy, I assume you are talking to me – Survivorthrivor2? I guess this post was sort of a trigger for me, the part about being the only one standing up for one’s convictions in a situation of other Christians who just kept silent – one of them being your own husband! It is the same N-h that I was married to for decades, before we were separated, which now is almost a year and a half.

        This was early on in our marriage, should have seen things and signs much earlier than I did, I guess. I saw them, I was just in such disbelief and horror at them, I really didn’t know what to do at all. I was not raised in the church (Christian) so when I got saved, I had no ‘bad religion’ to get rid of, I believed all I was taught so easily and readily.

        I understand about never being able to bounce back from this type of situation, you feel you should, or perhaps were on the same page – then when you are blind-sided like this, it does something to you inside and you never recover because trust in who you thought that person was is shattered. I have been shattered so many, many times, but God is putting me back together now and it is so sweet and tender and loving. God amazes me everyday, because now I live in the blessing! I hope your situation is better now, all here are supportive and knowledgeable, I thank God for this blog and its followers.

      • G’day, Survivorthrivor2, I edited out of your comment some things that I thought might be too identifying. Hope you don’t mind.

      • Remedy

        Yes, Survivorthrivor2….thank you for your response. Without giving too many details that might identify me, I cannot describe my two situations in a church where righteousness was suppressed and evil was entreated. I guess I can understand people protecting their reputations by not standing up for what was right, but the response by the ‘spouse’ in my home was by far the greatest shock to me.

        I assumed there was courage and conviction….true leadership and love of the Lord and His truth in this man. Instead I found cowardice, from a really manly guy with what appeared to have moral convictions. I discovered they were more like ‘guidelines’ in the face maybe standing alone, or with his silly misguided and rebellious wife, and reputation redefined. And I was dismissed by him.

        I assume that the Scriptures are true when they teach each one will give account to the Lord for their own life. Therefore I assume my calling as a woman doesn’t mean I can stand behind the cowardice of other men, refusing to speak or act, living in the fear of man and think I’ll get a pass because I was born female. So I stood and I spoke….to my own hurt and loss in the worldly realm.

        The twisting of truth….calling good evil, and evil good has left me in stunned silence, often….yet I know a day of the true reckoning is coming and our works will stand or fall according to the heavenly realm. I hope to hear ‘well done good and faithful servant’ in that day.

  8. Sandra

    My family is going through this right now. This young lady we love has been abused by a pastor, and has had a rough childhood, but she has now turned from victim to abuser. She has hijacked our daughter with her lies and manipulations and using my daughter’s Christianity and tender heart. Her anger is escalating because our daughter sees “some” of the unhealthy behaviors and told her they need to live their own lives and not be so very close. So, she is manipulating more than ever, and desperate. I have met with her for a year, which she has stopped totally.

    We are a church plant and I don’t think our young pastor has seen pure evil. We are trying to ask for prayer without totally ripping this young lady to shreds….she is on the warpath, getting people on her side, so we don’t want to do that. I sent an article about how people get sucked into sociopaths / borderlines and the whirlwind tornado-like life the friend lives in and how all their joy is stolen, and that the abuser will not change unless there is REAL desire to change, and he thinks the whole article is biblically off. They have not lived the mess, they don’t see. I am hoping and praying her conversion is real, but the fruit just ain’t making it real. She knows to repent and talk about the Gospel, but “WHAM!” if things don’t go her way. I am worried for the safety of my girls and the other roommates, she has my daughter convinced we are unChrist-like and her sister is the cause of all their troubles….oh boy! Any help or counsel would be appreciated….I could go on for days about all the troubles.

    [Paragraph break added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    • Hi, Sandra,
      Your young pastor is certainly naive to evil. Seminaries don’t teach it but they should!

      You may find some help in these links:

      Our category for Children and Extended Family.

      Our resources page for Family and Friends.

      Dave Orrison’s blog “Grace for My Heart”, where he has a category for the Destrucive, Narcissistic Personality [Internet Archive link]

      George Simon’s book In Sheep’s Clothing [*Affiliate link] which you can find under our Resources tab. This book is fairly short, and maybe your pastor might be willing to read it. Or your daughter.

      I would be very confident that the woman who has your daughter in thrall is not a Christian. She is faking it. To learn more, read the posts under our tag False Christians.

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

        How do I talk to our daughter, she thinks we aren’t seeking Christ and that she and this woman are. She is now starting to act like her fakeness and “nicey nicey”….I don’t know what to do as a mom, who we were such a close family and shared everything. We now walk on eggshells. How do we fight this? We are asking God to do this great miracle. My girl has pulled away from hanging so much with her, but she is doing this because we asked, not that she sees anything wrong with this woman. She likes hanging with her….is our fear real, worrying she could harm physically?

      • Sandra, those links I gave you will give you ideas about how to talk to your daughter.

  9. Anonymous

    When Jack was “confessing” about his drinking he was actually bragging. He was revealing his true nature (which he LOVES) and also giving the pastor a preview for his planned upcoming “show”. He probably already had in mind his display with the baby and couldn’t wait to see the pastor’s response. If this is accurate about him, he already had the words he would use against the pastor depending on which way the pastor decided to handle things. If the pastor decided to love and pray over him he would’ve basked in the glory of what he considered to be his rightful worship or attacked the pastor by saying a good pastor would hold him accountable. Everything is a “test” with a sociopath — if you buy the lie he’s selling he thinks you’re stupid and gullible and therefore DESERVE to be abused, but if you don’t you are not accepting the word of god! — HIM — so you deserve to be punished. Either way you lose — sociopath wins.

    I’m so sorry for anyone who has to go through this but then I see that the understanding gained afterwards for those who search God’s word for His truth, is so unbelievably valuable. If only these abusers were fewer in number than they are and if only those of us who AREN’T abusers were educated concerning them and their tactics and how to recognize and avoid them — we might have a higher number of us actually having fulfilling walks with the Lord.

  10. John Cohen

    My family and I went through a 2 – 3 year period of the sociopathic controlling behaviour of a local bishop and other leaders of the church we had belonged to for most of our lives. We gave much service to building membership and served in numerous positions. The last few years of our association with the church became unbearable to the point that my wife put something around her neck and kicked the chair from under herself. We got to her in time to save her life but the emotional scars are deep. We have never been back to that church and my wife still suffers with the emotional trauma from the whole ordeal.

    Our whole value and belief system was systematically ripped from us as a family frequently during the 2 – 3 years. When things got as bad as they did I swore I would never take my family to that place ever again and removed us from contact with those who professed to be followers of Jesus Christ. The list of abuses seem endless from every angle. It’s very sad that one person’s unrighteous desire for power and control over others could be allowed and acceptable in a Gospel of love. We became aware through a close friend of others who received similar experiences after we had left. This manipulating evil man with his “yes” men and women went on to be promoted to a higher position where he could have even more control of unsuspecting church members.

    As a family we got through a very dark number of years after we left the church receiving hate mail, nasty emails, snubbed by many etc…. Our faith remains in Christ our rock and this has been the main strength along with other family and neighbours. We continue to hope for a brighter future and in our own small way help those we come across who are less fortunate than ourselves. May God give those who suffer at the hands of others the strength to call it for what it is and act to bring about change. I completely relate to the pastor with the “Jack” experience. Be strong and when this life is over we can hold our heads high before our Maker.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you, John. Yep, “been there, done that” as they say. Christians so often fail to heed the clear and repeated warnings of Scripture that evil ones will most certainly creep into the church to destroy. Wolves in wool.

    • Thanks, John Cohen. I heard recently that 46% of the Psalms have imprecatory passages where the psalmist calls on God to take vengeance on the wicked. The church downplays or ignores most of those passages, or dresses them up in the code of ‘niceness’. But when we tell survivors of abuse that it’s okay pray those Psalms for themselves in relation to those who abused them, it gives great comfort to survivors. Knowing that God has a coming Day of Vengeance is very comforting for those who have been sinned against. If it were not so, His justice could not be relied on.

  11. Why is this allowed?

    What happens when you have a VERY EVIL pastor who is abusing the sheep and VERY CONTROLLING and using the pulpit for bashing and telling people who to date and marry who has what I call the “Hitler” / “Napoleon” complex and unfortunately a lot of death in the church to the families. Sad to say, a lot of these people never recovered and a lot of death to the youth that tried to tell parents of behavior that rebelled. Where do you report and where is there [their?] accountability?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Why Is This Allowed? – the New Testament warns us of these types. 3 John is an example – Diotrephes. The guy who wanted to be “first” and craved power and control. The Apostle John tells us how he was going to deal with him. He would go to that church and publicly call him out and expose his sin in front of everyone. That is what needs to happen today. Genuine Christians are light. We are to expose the darkness. And if a local church will not hear and heed our warnings, we shake the dust off our feet and move on.

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