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 26, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Awhile back, Un-Tangled made this wonderfully insightful comment here and it is so good and so true I wanted to highlight it here as a blog post of its own. See how the suffering of abuse, the personal experience of evil launched against us, leads us into an understanding of Christ and His Word in a degree of clarity that is sorely lacking among the mass of professing Christians and churches today. Increasingly I am seeing that the church, the true church, is once again meeting in catacombs and baristas and now in online locations. Christ’s people hear His voice and follow Him, and a stranger they will not follow.
Here is Un-Tangled’s comment (link):
At sites dealing with abuse, I hear survivors speak with a clearer understanding of what Biblical truths such as good and evil, repentance, forgiveness, love, reconciliation really mean than the church does. The Bible is filled with descriptions of evil people, their behaviors, and how to deal with it (which many times includes “avoid, don’t walk with, stay away from….”). Yet, the church is so unwilling to see or offend or judge evil that it has become blind, gullible, and naive. It makes me angry because the church ought to have the deeper understanding.
Sometimes it seems to me that the church has blinders on, seeing only what they want to see. A little wisdom and common sense would go a long way. Their teaching is so contrary to what the Bible actually says, that I wonder if they actually read it. It’s like they put the Bible’s book cover on their own opinions. No, it’s like they are grooming victims to accept abuse.
Abusers groom their victims to accept abuse. The Bible warns about false teachers who pretend to be righteous and are infiltrating the church. I believe that many wicked people have gained leadership in the church where they teach a message to the congregation to accept their abuse. If we can’t ever call evil by its name, if we can’t ever judge between the righteous and the wicked — or the abuser and his victim — if we must always unconditionally forgive and unreservedly accept, if no true repentance is necessary, if we must submit no matter what the other person does, then we have been groomed to accept abuse.
[July 26, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 26, 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 26, 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 26, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 26, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
18 thoughts on “If You Want to Find the True Church Today, Look for Christians Who Have Suffered Evil”
I am thinking of the majority of the Christian home schooling movement that I was part of from the late ’80s until the late ’90s. Pure patriarchy, and “submit no matter what” was the message, through and through. Grooming, grooming, grooming. And training the abusive husband, as well.
Evil, pure evil.
Profoundly and insightfully stated!
Thank you Jeff and “Un-tangled”!
And rejoicing in our suffering and trials doesn’t make sense unless we recognize that our experience at the hands evil men is what has led us to God and truth and understanding his word! How can you appreciate the psalms until you have had a persecutor like David did! Unless we were despised like Christ was! Where else is there be hope for the downtrodden and persecuted, where else are there promises for the oppressed! Who was the Sermon on the Mount given to? Where can true comfort be found? Where is our hope? We are saved through His sufferings and have identified with his unjust treatment at the hands of evil people. Life has joy and new meaning because He has led us through our trials to His truth!
Very good article!
Yes, you put it perfectly, Un-tangled. This is it. These attitudes and teachings are so profoundly opposite to the Word of God!! Thank you Un-tangled!! What also amazes me is not even the purposely evil leaders. I have learned here, and finally accepted that there are wolves in the flock, as the Word clearly states. But it is the mysterious ‘well meaning naivete’ of the other leaders that puzzles me…I thought the same to myself so many times!! Did they really read the Bible?? Is it really naivete ever??? Or are they just cowards, or seeking false peace, or even revenue for their church ‘business’ venue. Not clear on that still… Either way, it is not of God, God is Justice and Truth. This is the Devil.
Abuse shaped my growing up years. It forced my mind to cope in ways that alter emotional function. Fear permeated every waking moment. I grew up attending church. Church, people tend to do surface only. A few people with compassion really helped me. For the most part if my reality got too hard people backed off or gave pat answers that really offended me. They tried, but the reality is the gospel they were feeding me was not cutting it.
One friend said this to me: “If I was being raped, I would call out to Jesus and the rapist would stop and run away”
Those words of complete stupidness have stayed with me for over 25 years. I have been in so many different types of churches that they offer you pat answers, try to cast out demons, play the sins of the previous generation is visiting you, pray for demonic oppression to be lifted….. whatever other spiritual idea they have that might be plaguing you. You must have a bitter root, you must repent of sin when you were a child, because it is coming back to haunt you…..everything under the sun has been played on me.
I wanted reality. I wanted a real person with zero religious piety or pretense. I wanted someone who could help who knew pain, sorrow, utter bereavement of the soul. I left the church and paid a person with letters behind his name to help me. The church tried and failed greatly, although spattered in there, were a few souls who knew tragedy and pain, those, were the ones who had the greatest effect on my life. I knew I could trust what they had to say, because they KNEW, what it was like. The gospel that had the greatest affect on my healing were the ones that cried with me, cradled me and most of all believed and validated me. It was about love in action, with no, Biblical reference, no pious BS thrown at me from an empty religious vessel spouting off verses. I could spot that a mile away and it made me angry.
The more healing I received and functioning I became, the reality of Jesus life was clearer than it had ever been. I listen to 3 pastors online, that know reality, speak plainly and present the gospel as is. Jesus was there for the broken hearted, the downtrodden, the hungry. I have experienced utter shatteredness in my life and it was the reality of this Jesus who pulled me through, and I had to find it on my own, because it is not easily found. The pastors who I have listened to online for the last 7 years or so have brought a reality , to the life, I had to learn by myself, I hung onto God with the thinnest of threads because there was no other hope on earth. Now, I understand, through these men inside a biblical reference what I was doing…..does that make sense?
Yes, it makes sense. Complete sense.
I grieve with you. And well done for how you have fought against the lies and hypocrisy and with such immense effort found your way out of the fog!
I added paragraph breaks (double line breaks) to your comment before publishing it. If you can do that in future it would help save us time. Thanks! 🙂
I totally agree. Once I was able to see and call the evil attacking my life “evil” my entire life has changed. God’s word now is clear from front to back, each page speaks to the opposition from evil and the grace of God to oppose evil. If a believer prays for eyes to see and ears to hear they must comprehend the presence of evil. Today I love The Lord more than ever. Appreciate His death and resurrection like never before. Through all the suffering I have endured, I’m more certain as a believer and never more on mission. I am blessed and God is glorified.
Press on my sisters and brothers, He is just beginning to use our lives in ways we never imagined.
Thank you for this Untangled and Jeff,
It is spot on.
Abusers do groom their victims to accept abuse.
Well if the leaders of the churchs are also grooming victims to tolerate and accept abuse, (oftentimes for years or decades) how could that bring about the Abundant life in Christ that the believer is suppose to be experiencing?
This formula doesent add up.
As you know, it doesn’t bring about abundant life in Christ. Of course, I suspect the abusers have the abundant life (not in Christ) because they get what they want: power and control and sometimes wealth. And when their victims don’t experience abundant life in Christ, they can always (and do) blame them for their lack of faith. The wicked always abuse their victims and then blame them.
Yes, that! When my ex would “apologize” (which was always general and never specific nor sincere) and I hesitated in my response, he would snap, “Well, look who has a bitter heart of unforgiveness! I mean, really, who can live with a wife like that? Can you blame me for losing it once in a while?!?”
Too many Christians do things that hurt others expecting to be forgiven. The answer I hear too often is, “You have to forgive me, I’m only human.” When I counter that with, “What, you don’t have Christ in you, or the Holy Spirit? If you did, you would know that you are NOT “only human” but so much more, and you would really repent instead of demanding to be let off the hook.” Needless to say, I am not always popular. I would rather speak the truth.
What seems to me on all these Scriptures dealing with evil people and avoiding, etc is that they could be applied unless you are married to one. Then, too bad for you. You’re married…..this is the aloof attitude permeated amongst most Christians.
Wow, Remedy, you just spoke the unvarnished truth!
For most in the visible church, victims of abuse are treated very differently depending on whether or not they are married to them.
Yes about marriage…but also other forms of abuse. My husband’s family was upset when they found out that we had had no / low contact with a toxic brother, even though that had been completely unaware of it for TWELVE YEARS because we didn’t make a big issue of it. They pressured us to have unlimited contact–and were mad when we refused. Then we found out that his behavior toward our son twelve years ago had been typical victim-grooming behavior of molesters so we informed them so innocent children wouldn’t be at risk. They STILL were upset that we refused unlimited contact, calling us ungracious, unloving, unforgiving, and unChristlike. One sister said, “Even though it’s possible his behavior could have been victim grooming, it also could be completely innocent….” How would she know? She was completely unaware of any details. These are all Christians–some in leadership positions.
Christians have become–at best–completely blind, naive, deceived…to what the Bible says about the wicked. The Bible says that evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, and I think we are seeing it happen before our eyes.
Very well said, “Un-tangled”.
I agree with you.
I also wonder about this regarding the abusers allies, who can often be the victims in-laws.
How can we avoid those false Christians who support the evil doer and hate us for standing for righteousness, when they may be our very in-laws? When I try to do this my abuser demands I speak with them, spend time with them, ignore their blatant lack of love or care of me (while being constantly reminded of their worship of him and his total loyalty and love to them over and above his wife). I am accused of being bitter, unforgiving, vengeful and all sorts of things. No. I just don’t want to be around false Christians that call good evil and evil good and who actively enable my abuser to continue in his unrepentant sin and abuse. Whom barely conceal their disdain for the woman who has dared to expose their family member for the wicked man he really is. It is like constantly having to dodge a bullet, praying I will not have to speak to them or spend time with them, and if I ever say I do not wish to, I get a barrage of abuse and have the bible pulled out by my lost husband to tell me what a bad Christian I am.
This reminds me of a lyric in a song by Ages and Ages, titled Our Demons [Internet Archive link]1:
[Eds have removed the quoted lyrics because we don’t want to violate copyright laws.]
1[August 3, 2022: We added a link to the lyrics of Ages and Ages’ song, Our Demons. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that link. Editors.]