Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  (Matt 15:8-9  ESV)

Once again today, as happens at least once every week, I spent an hour on the phone with a wonderful Christian lady who is severely traumatized, broken, and living in fear moment by moment. She is married to an abuser. The most wicked kind of abuser — the kind who claims to be a fine Christian man and who loves to quote Scripture to her. She is a member of a church, where he is a member, and all she receives from her church is more abuse while her abuser is enabled in his evil. What do you say to such a person? How can you help? Twenty years or more of living in oppression, watching your children be alienated against you by his lies? I listened. I told her she is not to blame. I told her she is married to a man possessed by lust for power and control. I told her he is not going to change and her marriage is no marriage. She asked me if she had to go back to that church. I said, “most definitely, no! Be free.”

After we hung up, my mind went to where my thoughts spend a lot of time these days. I thought about what claims to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and about how this very kind of evil this lady is sorely oppressed by has spread like leaven (as our Lord warned us it would) throughout local churches, seminaries, counseling ministries, and other Christian organizations. The visible church of our day has, it is my conclusion, been commandeered by a modern, and yet not new, version of the Pharisees and their evil leaven.

How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  (Matt 16:11-12  ESV)

A yeast cell is so small it can only be seen under a microscope. But in the right environment — warmth, the right amount of moisture, sugar to feed on — yeast ferments, the cells divide and multiply. And you see the results of yeast when it has spread though and inflated the whole lump. It puffs up the lump with air — the air of pride and arrogance. And over and over again Christians today are ignoring Jesus’ words and are giving evildoers warmth, the right amount of moisture, and sugary teaching (cheap grace), so the evildoers thrive and their leaven spreads throughout the whole lump.

Let me list just some of the man-made traditions that are parading among us as if they were the Word of God and wreaking the kind of intense pain and suffering and bondage that this lady and so many others are ensnared in today:

  • All sinners are the same. All of us are just as guilty as an abuser.
  • Divorce is the real evil of our day. Christians must not divorce and abuse is no grounds for divorce. Those who do divorce (including abuse victims) have sinned and are to be looked down upon.
  • The family is where it is at. Husbands, wives, children. As long as they all stay together they are doing God’s will. The family is the central unit of God’s kingdom and His church.
  • Marriage displays God’s covenant-keeping love to the church. If a Christian seeks divorce, they are giving a bad witness to the world because they are not ‘displaying the Gospel’.
  • Men are the priests and lords of their wives and children.
  • God’s will is that husbands and wives have many children.
  • A person can be walking in sin, habitually abusing his / her spouse, and yet must be counted as a Christian.
  • Troubles of all types are to be handled within the confines of the church, not referred to “outsiders.”
  • The pastor and Elders in their “collective wisdom” are adequate to handle anything. (One lady recently told me that when she questioned her pastor and disagreed with his command to her regarding her marriage, he said to her “now, you be careful.”
  • A husband has the right to tell his wife “you must obey me.”
  • There really is no evil in our churches. Evil lies “out there” in the world, but not among us.

I could go on and on and I am sure that most of our readers could add to this list. But my point is that these things are being held to and taught as if they are the Word of God, authoritative and binding and anyone who detours from following them is in sin.

And what I am saying is that the incredible, terrible, horrific suffering like this lady has lived in for decades and is still living in IS A DIRECT PRODUCT OF THESE PREVALENT TEACHINGS IN MOST LOCAL EVANGELICAL CHURCHES. If you think I exaggerate, then you should come listen to the phone calls and read the emails and letters we receive here at ACFJ every single DAY about YOUR churches, pastors, and the horrid injustice the majority of you deal out to these widows and orphans of our day.

Where do these traditions come from? They originate most commonly in the minds and teachings of evangelical celebrities who everyone who is anyone surely reads! Their traditions, presented as the Word of God, are picked up by pastors and Elders and seminaries and Christians far and wide and treated as if they were Gospel. But they are not.

You say I am being too hard, too negative, too pessimistic and judgmental?

Alright then, YOU talk to these daughters of Abraham who are bent and bleeding and suffering, who are searching far and wide for help, crying out for justice, and there is no one to answer. Listen to them tell what happened when they went to their pastor and church for help. Hear how they were and continue to be traumatized not only by their husband but by their “church.” And don’t tell me that I am blowing isolated incidents out of proportion! I will come unglued if you do. Your “isolated incidents” run into the hundreds and thousands and probably even tens of thousands in the pews of YOUR church and others in your town.

So what do I tell people like this wonderful, suffering Christian mother who really is giving her life for her children? What do I tell them when they ask if there is anything we at ACFJ can do to open the eyes of their pastors and church members to the nature and mentality and tactics of abuse — of evil? What do I tell them? I will tell you what I am telling them increasingly:

Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.  (Matt 15:14  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

“Oh, Jeff. No, no, no. You can’t say that about your fellow pastors and churches.” Yes, I can. And I do so on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Want to prove me wrong? Then explain to me and all of our readers why the “clergy” of our day is not perfectly described by Christ here as well —

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.  (Matt 23:4-7  ESV)

Proper response by a Pharisee to these charges?

And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.  (Act 9:4-9  ESV)

Three days and three nights, blind, sitting there, devastated by the realization that he had been persecuting the very Lord he claimed to be serving.


This post was written primarily by Jeff Crippen, with a few additions by Barbara Roberts.

[July 18, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to July 18, 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 18, 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 18, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 18, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

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

Twisted Bible verses found in the Patriarchal Bible

The idolatry of marriage — the church is putting marriage on a pedestal

John Piper’s Divorce Doctrine: Opinion Turned Into God’s Law

Abusive Marriages Portray God’s Covenant With His People? — Really?

On the notion that marriage always displays God’s covenant-keeping love for the church:

John Piper teaches that marriage — the institution of marriage and therefore all actual marriages — displays and portrays the covenant-keeping love of God. And he most certainly teaches that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church (Ephesians 5). Piper never sees the husband as the church in that Ephesians 5 analogy; he sticks to the script that he thinks he sees in Ephesians 5. He says the wife represents the church and the husband represents Christ.

He never inverts that Ephesians 5 metaphor in how he applies it to men and women; he never talks about an abusive husband as being the picture of the church, because the husband, in Piper’s concrete and blinkered mind, can only ever represent Christ. Piper just seems to ignore the fact that abusive husbands are pictures of Satan persecuting the church and keeping her in bondage, rather than pictures of Christ caring for the church.

I guess if you could push Piper and nail him down on this, he might readily concede that abusive husbands are displaying Satan not Christ. But he would never say that that allows the wife of an abuser to divorce and remarry a true Christian husband if she so chooses, because for Piper, the principle that trumps all other principles is that The Chief Purpose of Marriage is to Display the Covenant-Keeping Love of God for the Church.

Nothing can uproot this fixity in Piper. He is so single-minded on it that he devoted THREE CHAPTERS to it in “What Jesus Demands of the World”. And guess what? In that book, Piper devoted one skimpy shallow paragraph to the command of Jesus that we not put our pearls before swine.  [Emphasis original.]

(Adapted from a comment Barb made here.)


UPDATE  Sept 2021:  Barbara Roberts has come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches.  He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


46 thoughts on “Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering”

  1. I am touched by your post. This morning I was reading John 13. Judas had intimate dinners with the Lord and the other disciples. He had witnessed miracles, signs and wonders. He remained unchanged, unsaved, unregenerate. Even when Jesus said someone would betray Him, the others had no clue it was Judas.

    It is not a stretch to know the very same thing happens in churches today. The scary thing is, Psalm 41:9. He that has been my familiar companion, and has eaten my bread has lifted his heel against me. I was thinking how that heel kicking someone is so violent, so hateful, as if one would be kicking someone or something that they despised. He was doing this to Jesus. Judas just got some golden coins for identifying Him.

    I’ve heard folks being sympathetic towards Judas, defending what He did. Yet we refuse to see the true violence of evil that is spiritually pictured for us in that act. Our Lord however, was greatly troubled. Violence and abuse, control, towards women and children [and any vulnerable people] is an assault against God. Evil is in the midst of their little group, and present day church groups as well. There are still unsaved, parading as disciples, betraying Him. (That is a “negativity”, I’ve been told.)
    I’ve heard preachers say how Judas will be in heaven, even after Jesus said it would be better for him if he were never born, even after the Bible says, “Satan entered Judas.”

    The warning Jesus gave to them before going to His death, about washing one another’s feet, is heart breaking. Many evangelical and charismatic teachers in the church today do not have this attitude. They are prideful, arrogant, self important, and refuse to see evil, being sympathetic only towards the Judases that are operating in secret betrayal, yet looking outwardly like a true disciple. They aren’t touched or moved by the cries of the afflicted. It is neither easy nor pleasant to see evil, and speak against it.

    You also seem “greatly troubled.” Thank you for speaking out. I can see it is a fire in your bones. May God bless and encourage you in your ministry, ACFJ. .

  2. Excellent!
    Very clear!

    Without you, and so few others, victims are left to follow the blind, ill-informed leadership of their church who, for the most part, are rigorists and are sorely lacking in true Christ-like mercy (but believe themselves to be above reproach).

    May God richly bless you as you continue!

  3. Thank You Pastor Jeff and Barbara!!! This message is so important. Its so refreshing to be able to come here and hear the real Gospel of Christ that sets the captives free.

    I used to wonder why we never heard any sermons about the one thing that Jesus actually HATES. The thing that Jesus mentioned twice just in case we had missed it the first time.

    Jesus said that He HATES the deeds of the Nicolaitans which means “to conquer the laity” i.e. “bring the people under control.”

    1. Hi Avid Reader, that definition of ‘Nicolaitan’ is interesting. Can you please give us the source or link? Some commentaries I’ve read say that no-one these days knows what that term meant back in the first century AD.

      1. Sure, no worries.

        One of the best studies on Nicolaitanism that I’ve seen is the book Charismatic Captivation by Dr. Steven Lambert which was written in response to the Shepherding Movement. That book is very heavy reading but goes really deep in studying the specific verses that are being twisted to manipulate people in the church. For example, he has a great chapter on the difference between true vs. false unity in the church.

        On page 41, he writes that “Nicolaitans” is a compound Greek word made from two other Greek words: “Nikao” meaning “to conquer” and “Laos” a term used in the time of the early church to describe “congregational believers.” He writes, “Combined these two components precisely convey the overall primary goal of the Nicolaitans which was to “conquer the laity.””

        The rest of the book is a very intense theological study on the spirit of Nicolaitanism manifesting through manipulation and control in the church. He writes:

        The teaching and practices of the Nicolaitans and the modern Discipleship teaching and practices are virtually identical….advocating a counterfeit authority system which in effect supplants apostolic authority (page 5).

        “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16) The truth revealed in this verse that no one member of the body of Christ can possibly possess within himself the totality of the “mind of Christ” shatters the notion that the chief leader is the exclusive “visionary” for the group with a direct line to Heaven and the dumb sheep just aren’t qualified or spiritual enough to hear anything from God so their objections must be “a rebellious spirit.” (Pages 157-158)

        Now just for the record, I don’t agree with some things that he says in the book. But there’s plenty of room in the body of Christ for different believers to reach different conclusions on the same verses.

        While we’re on the subject, I hope you don’t mind me saying this but when I read those Bible commentaries that say no one really knows what such and such means—that tells me to keep digging deeper because there has to be an answer somewhere even if maybe that particular theologian hasn’t taken the time to really study it out. God wouldn’t put something in the Bible, emphasize it twice and then not allow us to figure it out. Why can’t these theologians put more time and effort into their research instead of taking the easy way out?

  4. Thank you for being an oasis in a desert. Thank you for speaking words of life. Thank you for having compassion and not turning away but hearing the cries of the “Widow’s and the Fatherless” and giving them a voice. God bless you.

  5. Love this, love this, love this. so healing to a soul. All you have to do is look at a woman who is following the above teachings and you can see she is weighed so heavily down by the burdens of the pharasaical teachings and the light has gone out of her spirit. Good thing she is staying so she can live out freedom in Christ right? No, she is in bondage.

    1. Exactly, Sarah…

      I wish I could do a Saturday Night Live Skit about this. Not b/c it’s funny at all but b/c it’s THIS sick and twisted that it should be shown and mocked publicly IMO.

      It would be great if the snakes just had sermons like this (instead they mix this garbage with a tiny bit of truth and further deceive and stare more sheep — shame on these wicked ones):
      [Eds: trigger warning and humor warning, with humor predominant!]

      Good morning everyone. Let’s start with prayer and singing and tithing to ourselves. Let us exalt ourselves in this day that belongs to us. Let us tell you all your suffering is “for a reason” and God knows why! Let us pray for healing and for others to return to our church b/c they should be here – just look at us!

      Just stay with us, do this freedom in Christ class and be free yeahhh!!!!, keep coming to church. Amen? It will change your life!, Jesus rocks!

      Yeah!, look at all we do for you, we will counsel you for hours on end (tell you about how we “hear God” but really it’s our superstitions!) yeah!, if you could just be like US then you’ll be free (but we don’t want you free b/c we’re not even free and plus we want you under us bc we need a scapegoat to lift us up) yeah!, pray harder every day (go crazy), believe (in us like we are God), Jesus knocks and waits for you – invite Him in your heart, accept Him, He’s waiting, He won’t come in unless you invite Him, invite Him now – raise your hand, receive Him, He suffered and died for you b/c He loves you SO MUCH!, be happy like us (we are happy b/c you’re the target now and not us), your suffering is for Christ (I mean US b/c while you suffer in BONDAGE you are our scapegoat and while you suffer without end we actually have an endless purpose in “helping” you. Yeah awwww).

      We hate you and we love ourselves and we shall guilt you endlessly if you don’t receive our God ordained help. We are blessed abundantly (living superstitiously) and you are blind and hateful and legalistic! We are free in Christ! His grace His grace His grace! This is the age of grace!

      Evil? The devil has a hold of you – rebuke him! Don’t you dare say someone isn’t a believer. You accuser! It’s no wonder your husband hates you! You’re not the Holy Spirit! How dare you tell your husband what is right vs wrong. Who are you to “judge”? How dare you stand up. How dare you not submit. Your husband is “growing” in The Lord. Surely you don’t expect him to be “perfect.” You need to take control of your own life. Stop worrying about him. Do A, B and C and I’ll see you (happy by) next week. Don’t come in my church not happy about us (I mean Jesus) now!

  6. Great post, Jeff. Thank you.

    This isn’t really connected to your post, but it does illustrate the ignorance of abuse, and arrogance, that can be found among evangelical pastors:

    After my husband had recognised that he was emotionally abusive and had gone through an abuser program, my pastor told me that nothing I could ever say would convince him that my husband was abusive. Especially as my husband hadn’t hit me.

    When I said that my husband thought he was abusive, my pastor said that I had made him think so, although it wasn’t true. I said that the professionals who ran the abuser program had thought he was abusive and had accepted him onto the program. My pastor said that sometimes people see what they want to see. I told him that the other men on the program had thought he was like them (one said he and my husband were like brothers). My pastor didn’t answer that, but he didn’t change his mind.

    Although I, my husband, the kids, the professionals, the other men on the program, and my husband’s counselor all think my husband has been abusive (I say has been because I think he is changing) my pastor still thinks he is right and we are wrong.


    (This would mean that I was self-deluding, irresponsible and unbelievably dominating (able to brainwash, in fact), and my husband doesn’t have the sense to know whether he has been abusive or not. Like, thanks, pastor.)

    1. Oh wow, Grace551, you are one powerful woman eh? You’ve been able to brainwash an abusive man into thinking he’s abused you!

      Your pastor is C.L.U.E.L.E.S.S. Abusers fight intensely against recognising and admitting they are abusive. You’re an exceptional woman to have overcome all that fight.

      And can you see how prideful this pastor’s notion is? Implicit in his thinking is this idea: “She brainwashed her husband into thinking he’s been abusive, but she’s not going to brainwash ME!”

      That SuperPastor needs to read this post:
      Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All

      1. Thank you very much, Barbara. That is so soothing to hear.

        I love this ministry! Surely you and Jeff and the others will have a great reward in heaven. I am so grateful to you, and I know many others feel the same.

    2. …my pastor told me that nothing I could ever say would convince him that my husband was abusive.

      My pastor said that sometimes people see what they want to see.

      Does this sound like projection to anyone else? Or is it just me?

      1. Hi Serving Kids in Japan,
        I know what you mean, and I agree with the spirit of what you said. But I think that rather than calling it ‘projection’ I would call it simply say the pastor is falsely blaming the parishioner of character defects or sins that he has himself.

        Why do I think projection is not the right word? Dr George Simon Jr has taught me a lot about this. He is a clinical psychologist and has a lifetime of experience in working with manipulative people and those who have been oppressed and afflicted by manipulative people.

        Here is what he says about projection. It comes from his article Commonly Misused Psychology Terms – Wrap Up [Internet Archive link]

        Projection – This is often confused with the tactic of blaming others. Projection is an unconscious defense mechanism. When a person projects, they attribute intentions and motivations to others they find far too anxiety-evoking or painful to acknowledge that they harbor themselves.

        Deliberately finding scapegoats or blaming others when things go wrong or to take the heat off oneself, preserve one’s image, and manipulate others is not projection. It’s simply blaming, and it’s both a major way of avoiding responsibility and a manipulative control tactic.

  7. I was brainwashed for a long time on a lot of this. My gut told me something was wrong with the church, but I was, in a sense, groomed by my parents and the church to believe that it was my own depravity that prevented me from fully submitting to their Biblical interpretation.

    In my limited experience, only those who were abused and recognized their abuse had the scales removed from their eyes about how pervasive it is and how scripture is twisted to revictimize the victims.

    1. In my limited experience, only those who were abused and recognized their abuse had the scales removed from their eyes about how pervasive it is and how scripture is twisted to revictimize the victims.

      That’s my experience too, MarkQ.

  8. One thing preached in Reformed churches — and I would admit is part and parcel to Reformed Theology — that really ended up being used against me by my husband is that because I am totally depraved, I don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve a good husband or to be treated well, because I deserve nothing more than hell.

    I can’t tell you how much his repeating this to me messed with me and kept me in a fog. It seemed irrefutable to me back then. I even tried to use it to “comfort” myself by thinking that at least I was saved and not going to hell; so what if I had to suffer a little here on earth?

    Of course, I now see how evil men twist Scripture and things preached from the pulpit for their own gain or agenda. It’s as if my ex-husband zeroed in on all the facets of Reformed Theology that could be used in some way to control me and keep me from getting free.

    1. What you described reminds me that abusers believe themselves to be god and they believe that they have the right to determine everyone else’s fate and to “judge” them. It’s precisely who Jesus was talking to and about when he said, “”Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37). 2 Tim 3 tells us that these people are unforgiving and unholy.

      Many people have stated that abusers also try to make everything into a moral decision. Every word the victim utters, every deep breath taken, every smile or when you don’t smile fast enough, every movement the victim makes, are all judged by the evil abuser. You are either sinning against them or they have decided to be benevolent to you by “forgiving” you the MANY sins you’ve committed against them. But per 2 Tim we know that they are unforgiving so they actually hold onto and remember every sinful act we’ve committed against them which is the opposite of how God forgives which is to COMPLETELY blot out (obliterate from the memory) the sins of his children.

    2. For too long – If anyone is teaching you that you are a Christian, yet totally depraved, then that person is in no way teaching Reformed Theology. The “T” in TULIP (total depravity) does not mean, first of all, that all human beings are as bad as they could possibly be, but that sin, at the Fall, affected man’s entire being, leaving no “island of goodness” and thus requiring God’s mercy and grace for salvation, works and merit being impossible for fallen man. But for anyone to apply total depravity to a Christian is totally depraved! Such people have been laying false doctrine on you. The Christian is no longer the old person in sin, but a new creation, a child of God, an heir with Christ, a saint. Serve that up to them next time they pull this on you.

      1. Thank you, Barbara and Jeff. The article looks really good and those are encouraging words after coming out of feeling continually beaten up over my past by my husband. I have to say, I don’t really think the church taught that Christians continue in a state of depravity so much as my husband just twisted the Total Depravity doctrine to make me question my worth and standing as a believer.

  9. Our church was always very freethinking and supportive of women, but we have a relatively new pastor. He has been with us for three years. He preaches as though he recognizes evil in the political sphere, but he cannot recognize it when it’s under his own nose. His own daughter has fled two abusive marriages; I would argue that his thinking has contributed directly to her misery. When recently confronted with an abusive husband, he attributed this man’s abusive behavior to the wife’s lack of submission. He was far more concerned with her “lack” of submission” than the fact that the husband had been physically abusive to the wife. In fact, he said he would continue to support this man while the woman stood there trembling, asking for his protection! In what world is it ever okay for a man (this man was big and physically very strong) to hit his wife? Her safety should be the very first concern of the pastor’s but there was no indication that he even believed this woman. I can no longer call this man my pastor!

    1. Hi Angry,

      Thank you for sharing this. It’s DISGUSTING and TERRIBLE what your daughter has been through. Thank you for believing her!!! and for rejecting that fake “pastor”!!!

      If you don’t mind I’ll share what it’s like to not have a mother like you. And these are the reasons why I thank you for believing your daughter. My mother has guilted me and shamed me and blamed me. She flat out denies what abuse and pain I endure. She has even sided with the abuser against me and when I tell her a detailed memory of her doing just that she conveniently just “can’t remember any of that.”!!!!!!!!

      She loves her celebrity pastor and to demand things of me even though I’m being torn apart and have NOTHING! She tithes and gives money so celebrity pastors will pray her prayer requests and she can see her name in the tv screen but she doesn’t send A DIME to her own daughter who was left with nothing and is now on welfare with young children.

      Seriously take your tithes and give it to an oppressed woman shut out from the church, people!!!! Help us!!!! Some of us are literally hungry and cold and homeless or physically sick from the stress or may soon be all of those. Some of us lose our kids because of the cunning and conniving abuser’s work!!!! We cry out have mercy on us!!!

      IMO (from what I remember of this from the Bible) it’s like the man who was freed from his large debt to the king after he begged for mercy. That man turned around and showed no mercy to another man with a small debt to him and put him in jail. The king throws that first man in jail until everything’s paid and calls him wicked. That man never received the mercy the king first gave. He used it to further his evil ways. The abuser does this. They take Jesus and use His Name for evil. They use His Name bc they want His power and they use that power to do evil. Sons of satan. Children of the devil.

      The SAME thing happened to me (the shaking next to the abuser and asking for protection from the pastor and being told he would be supported and that I wasn’t “yielding” to the abuser’s leadership.) They even asked if I would get tranquilizers!!!

      Oh Angry, and I appreciate your name very much. It is good and it is right to be angry about sin / abuse. And I’m very thankful so many of us here are.

    2. Yes, that man is not a pastor. He is hireling. And because he is only in the job for money and self-aggrandisement, he is a friend of wolves in sheep’s clothing. He likes their honey-tongues.

      1. I believe this pastor is sincere about his love for the Lord, but his theology drives his behavior and makes it impossible for him to take instruction of any kind from a woman or to even listen to a woman above a man. Whether he knows it or not, his sexist theology makes him an instant ally for evil men. They understand his thinking more fully than he does.

      2. Thanks for the connection about hirelings. This IS abusers and those who don’t call evil evil IMO regardless of intention. It’s one thing to be completely ignorant but it’s quite another to hear our pleas for help and remain ignorant. No excuse IMO. No excuse.

        After some of Jeff’s sermons and a million helpful posts here I actually understand the Bible now and how these things and verses and messages form Jesus Himself apply to life on earth today.

        Also I no longer blame God for the disgusting things that have happened to me. I don’t wonder about Him like that anymore.

        I realize like David’s sin with Bathsheba and the death of his child that he was punished for his sin. And I realize that Job was not being punished for sin. I see how a born again believer can go through either terrible type of events.

        With that said, for the first time in my life I TRUST God even unto death. I trust that He is not at all wicked. That He is Just and that He is not tormenting me but that evil / satan and the people working for evil do those things!!! I realize they do come as innocent sheep and as light and that they are just hirelings. They don’t care about me or my children. They care about their position or being in control or their pay or their popularity. They won’t hear and they certainly won’t do anything that’s helpful. Circles. Just circles. And that’s also what the abuser always did. Run me around in circles. Going nowhere. Numbing and exhausting circles.

        I realize that I can clearly see my sin and that I would hear the wise rebukes of other born again believers in regards to my sin like Nathanael did with David. I would welcome that! I know one other born again believer who openly stands for the truth. One!

        This is something the church and the abuser said I could never do. They say no one can say this about sin with others, in fact. They say the Holy Spirit alone does that as if the Holy Spirit is some mystical being who reveals sin only to the one who commits it and never through another born again believe pointing it out. So even when it’s already said and revealed the revealer gets the consequence not the one who did the sin! Repeated sin or not. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Sin is sin. Lay the ax don’t trim the tree people!

        To all the ones who seem sincere but “off” in their theology or whatever I’ll run. If it’s needed I’ll ask some specific questions and listen and ask some more.

        I think the wolves will be revealed and the snake skin will show. I think scripture says what a man has in his heart comes out of his mouth. I must listen CLOSELY.

        I think many will be surprised on that Day. Many are on the road to destruction and few are on the narrow path. I pray He comes fast! It’s bad here and I know it’s bad for so many of you where you are. I’m sorry! I can’t wait for our healing and freedom and safety in heaven forever!!!

        Now that I can see how the Bible clearly speaks about good and evil all over it’s chapters I wonder how on earth is this being hidden everywhere else?!

        Thank you ACFJ.

  10. Yes! This is happening here. The torment from all sides is almost unreal. But it IS real. They shun me and accuse me. They gossip about me and act like I have a disease. Like I’m some sick person (for going back to the abuser when I did).

    I asked them for help and they did what they wanted not what I asked for or needed.

    The nicest people on the outside but why then did they turn on me? Because I don’t buy the “grace for everyone” garbage. I don’t buy the “oh you claim Jesus then you’re saved! It’s so easy. That’s Jesus! You’re in! Now come, come see how you can be just like us and be blind (and don’t worry you won’t have to think for yourself or know what you’re reading. That’s what you all pay me for. Yes. We don’t stand for anything. We welcome everything and everyone. We are little copies of Jesus. We shine bright. Jesus rocks!)

    They refuse to see their teachings are what persuaded me to do that (and ultimately their silence and abuse in various ways is what led me to go back to him).

    They REFUSED and still REFUSE to hear me. And they do BRAG about their accomplishments in church. They BRAG about who they’ve discipled and what those people are doing now. So proud of their protégés. But tell me where is God? Why don’t I hear the truth there?!

    MEANWHILE I’m here with no money, no support, no justice, a bad reputation from the slander and lies, left with NOTHING.

    The abuser gets another “church” and all those who know those in that church, the sympathy, the help, the good reputation!, the friends, the stress free life, the representation, etc etc.

    And they all chalk it up to “oh her? Yeah… So sad….she just wouldn’t let us help her.” And a lot more I’m certain.


    And I get the painful memories and endless pain in my body and injustice to crush me each day. I get the shame and the hate and the glaring eyes and silent neighbors. I get the stress and the pain and all the responsibility and all the guilt that the abuser should bear.

    May the good LORD put every one of these to a double crushing of shame. I trust His justice and I am joyful in His truth and I have piece being born again through Christ and repenting of all sin and of all of these LIES.

    I’ve been in church and bible studies for so long and I’ve NEVER known God!!! How can that be?! I’ve suffered for so long not knowing Him and certainly NOT being fed.

    Now I eat! I have Him! Freely I take and I eat! Praise be to God, His glory on high!

    1. I get the shame and the hate and the glaring eyes and silent neighbors.

      The “glare.” That look from someone you may not know well or sometimes not at all, but when they see you they GLARE with hatred and the, “I know what you’ve done” stare. My son would bad-mouth me to everyone. He couldn’t make friends on his own because he was so evil and abusive but when he used me as a the reason for his abusive behavior or when he was telling others all the horrible things I’d supposedly done, people were less likely to look at HIM as the problem.

      It’s been several years since I’ve been around this child and we’ve moved since then so nobody currently in my life knows him or the lies he told about me. But I will never forget that glare and when I would see it in a strangers face, I could do nothing but remain silent. There was nothing I could say that would convince them that I was innocent or kind or that I was the actual victim because they were convinced that i was evil. And if they did realize later on that my son was evil, they STILL hated me because they believed that I was the one who caused him to be this way. Horror after horror when evil is around.

  11. Thank you for this post and to the many insightful commenters on this evil within the church.

  12. Good preachin’, Jeff and Barb. It’s crazy to think that people would rather make up their own religious traditions that puts women and children in harm’s way rather than use common sense.

    1. Yes, Julie Anne, and what about the Word of God? There are all kinds of instructions in there as to how to treat your wife, husband, children and others? Common sense is all but lost, and having been disbelieved that my abuser was abusive by every pastor I ever went to in my city, over 30+ years, I really have no evidence it ever even existed.

      1. Your comment is heartbreaking, Survivorthrivor2. I’m so sorry. I think many wives can relate with you.

  13. Grace551 I think that pastor was probably an abuser himself thats why he wouldnt admit your Husband was an abuser. He reminds me of an abusive arrogant mysoginistic “Christian” counsellor I saw once with the abuser. He tried to grind me down and defended the abuser all the way. Him and the abuser were cut from the same cloth.

    1. Thank you, Tan. That sounds a dreadful experience. It’s surprising how often church leaders and counselors make things far worse for targets of abuse, rather than helping and defending them. ‘These things ought not to be,’ as someone said downthread.

  14. Sadly, I think it’s easier for a selfish person to become a pastor than for a caring person. The selfish person gets paid to talk and finds it easy to continue since they don’t feel others’ pain. Someone who felt others’ pain may find it harder to continue.

    1. Hi Godith,
      I hadn’t seen that article until you drew my attention to it. The article is by Mark Garcia, who is a colleague of Valerie Hobbs the linguist whose work we admire and have praised before on this blog.

      I am not sure I am competent to help you understand the details of Mark Garcia’s article. I suggest you contact him if you still want help with it.

  15. My daughter and son-in-law go to church and act so holy around others but they are both wolves in sheep’s clothing. I helped take care of the babies when they were born and after but now that the children are not hard work anymore, they have both verbally assaulted me for over a decade to be able to see my grandchildren. During my last visit, which is a many-hours hour round trip and being verbally assaulted again, I finally decided I have to stay away to maintain any sense of sanity.

    I will miss my grandchildren tremendously but I can’t go there anymore. My granddaughter doesn’t even call me anymore so I know they have turned her against me.

    1. Hi Coloradolover, I removed the last part of your comment to help protect you from being identified by your daughter and son-in-law. If you feel it is absolutely safe to put it in, let us know by emailing myself or TWBTC. You can find our emails in the About tab at the top of the blog.

      The teaching your daughter is receiving from that organisation she’s involved in — the organisation looks like on of the most shonky flakey, hyped-up, money-reaping organisations I’ve ever seen in women’s ministry. I was gobsmacked in my brief look at the organisation’s website.

  16. Hello,
    Very interesting site so far for me. One thing I wonder about is whether my former husband had truly been ‘born again’ in his conversion to Christ. I think that he was. He received tremendous assistance from God the first few days after making a confession of Christ. He was delivered from alcohol addiction almost straight away. … He began reading the Bible. He read it a lot. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the same time as myself [details redacted]. He started attending church regularly. I’m not sure where his relationship with Christ is at this time, but I suspect it is damaged.

    There is no doubt that I experienced tremendous abuse in our [approx three decades] marriage before I finally left. There is no doubt that he is narcissistic and an abuser. There is no doubt that he used many of the strategies that an evil abuser uses against their target. I do not know even the tip of the iceberg of what he conjured up during our marriage, I think. I have lost relationships with my children through the period of our marriage and after the divorce.

    Today he is married, I am not. He has made a no contact rule with me for the many years since we separated. He is playing the victim. I am supposedly the narcissist or abuser I would guess. My children say nothing about how he is, how he is doing, or anything about his life to me. When my former husband remarried he chose a person connected with my extended family to marry, causing hardship around holidays and family occasions. [Details redacted by Eds.]

    I suspect that former husband’s marriage is not doing well. I suspect that he is back drinking heavily. I accidentally saw a picture of him on Facebook recently. I recognized something about him at first, but it took me several minutes to realize it was a picture of my former husband. His arm was around a much younger woman who is not his present wife.

    I have had the classic symptoms of this kind of abuse. Traumatization, PSTD, depression, anxiety disorder, insomnia, closing down emotionally, low self-esteem, dysfunction and enmeshment with him. I am doing much better, but I still deal with some things. My former husband kept me in court for divorce-related matters for years. This was done through his lawyer’s tricks and ‘case management’ by the judge. The matter was finally settled in [year and other details redacted]. The legal corruption was a real eye opener for me. I was stunned by my experience in the court of law.

    Since then I have come across several narcissists in my workplace. I have been re-traumatized by one co-worker who got me fired. I don’t recognize these people right away. It takes something that they eventually say or do that makes me question them. When my antennae has been alerted I begin to see more clearly who they are. They are masked pretenders.

    1. Hi dear sister, welcome to the blog! 🙂 I changed your screen name to Questioning because you had given your real name and that’s not a good idea in your situation with your abuser and his allies still sniping at you. If you want us to change that screen name to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: — she will be happy to assist. 🙂 I also edited your comment a bit to remove details that might be too identifying.

      I’m glad you are finding our site helpful. 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, I suggest you look at our FAQs.

  17. Wow! Your list of man-made doctrines above are exactly those my abusive husband has been endlessly preaching for decades. I have been bound under this doctrine of the sanctity and eternity of the legal marriage above the safety and happiness of the believer.

    Now I seek freedom but it is so hard. I feel afraid and condemned for wanting this freedom. I have been in prison for so long. I have been terrorised and suffered violence, isolation from the world and other Christians. It is hard undoing the constant verbal pounding and indoctrination I have been under for so long. I thought if I continued to endure and to keep my own heart and soul clean that somehow God would bless me with the healing of my abuser and give us the restored family I never had as a child. My abuser knew all my hopes and yearnings and encouraged me to pray and wait for his restoration, promising that God would surely bless me and he would become that wonderful man.

    According to my husband, no one is a more sincere Christian than himself. He despises the good deeds of others as being all for show and done to impress men. Fond of accusing other Christians of fraud, it seemed too far fetched to think that this intense and insistent preacher could be an affront to God. He is gifted in speeches of repentance and confessions of his own ‘weaknesses’ (in reality very wickedness), and of how God is endlessly forgiving of him, and therefore so should I!

    He is very skilled at presenting himself as a persecuted victim, if I complain about any of his behaviour. I am told I am an oppressor and traitor. On rare occasions I have dared to call for help from the police, that I am so wicked and have been verbally resented and punished for any time he feels upset. At last I found help to get away from him yet I am told that I am tearing apart the family and stealing his inheritance and that I will have to answer before the judge of the whole earth for such treachery. Fear, obligation and guilt.

    I grapple with the FOG. But I appreciate your listing out of these doctrines. I still need to work on believing that God is really on my side as I have been deemed equally wicked for so long.

  18. (Airbrushing……)

    A long-time “friend”, a “C”hristian, attempted to “biblically word-curse” me because I took her to task for using me solely as a babysitter. I severed the “friendship”, noting she only called when she needed a last-minute babysitter, not to meet for a chat.

    A Pharisee in the guise of “friend”.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.