Twisted Theology Produces a Den of Abusers Parading as “the church”

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.


[October 2, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

With remarkable frequency we meet abuse victims, mostly Christians, who originally met their abuser in a local church. Or in a Christian college or similar setting. In the church! Why? How can this be?

Well, the answer is not only that abusers are exceptionally deceptive, but churches far and wide have embraced such unsound, twisted theology and warped handling of the Scriptures that evil, unregenerate people are readily embraced and pronounced “saved.” This is why, as we have said before, how we answer the apparently simple, but not so simple question — “Just who is a Christian?” — sets the course for what follows.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  (Romans 8:5-9  ESV)

I know of a professedly “Christian” organization that repeatedly announces its “Christian” mission. It hammers that mission statement home to all of its employees and insists they get on board showing “the love of Jesus” to the world. And yet all kinds of vile language is habitually practiced and tolerated in this “ministry”. People who are in no way Christian, who don’t even profess to be Christian, are told to get on with the mission.

What does this tell us? It tells us that this “ministry” is in fact essentially universalistic in doctrine. That is to say, everyone is capable of being a Christian. Everyone is a Christian — as long as they mouth the “mission.” And this is precisely what is going on in so many local churches today. People who have not repented, who still walk in sin, but who mouth the right “Jesus” words on Sunday (or on Facebook) are pronounced saved and born again and the rest of us are told that the only real sin we could commit is to call such counterfeits on the carpet. That, you see, would be judgmental. And we must not be judgmental, you know.

So what happens? The local church becomes the field of play for the wicked looking for an easy target.

The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.  (Proverbs 21:10  ESV)

Here comes young Sally who has been taught all the typical distortions about love, forgiveness, patience, and submission and BAM! He sees her, gets his hooks into her, and you all know the rest of the story from there.

Jesus came to a den of thieves like this and cleaned house. It’s long past time that we do the same. To refuse to repent and throw out the soul-thieves, is to participate in their evil and to be condemned right along with them.

These three passages are warnings to churches that are giving house room to abusers and exposing vulnerable folk to the predations of abusers.

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”….And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.  (Revelation 18:1-3, 11-13  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.  (1 Timothy 1:8-11  ESV)  [Emphasis added.]

If slaves should escape from their masters and take refuge with you, you must not hand them over to their masters.  (Deuteronomy 23:15  NLT)

[October 2, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to October 2, 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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (October 2, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


19 thoughts on “Twisted Theology Produces a Den of Abusers Parading as “the church””

  1. I used to think folks who were trying to be Berean and posted blogs with things on it like ‘Ten so-called Christians God won’t let into Heaven’ and ‘Test Yourself to See if you are in the Faith’ were judgemental legalistic religionists. Now I no longer see anyone who insists on establishing a biblical list of evidence of the Holy Spirit bringing conviction as automatically a legalist.

    But what I am thinking is that this whole practice of calling an altar call, having people repeat a prayer and come down to the front and then assuring folks that this proves they are genuinely saved is dangerous. They don`t even ask if you are feeling conviction of sin or awareness that you are dishonoring God and living in disobedience to Him in your life before leading you in that prayer and then pronouncing you saved. I know a fellow who went to an evangelistic crusade to get off booze and was miraculously delivered. Yet his lifestyle of adultery and selfish narcissism, and sense of entitlement was unchanged and when he was caught sinning he thought grace meant he just had to say ‘sorry’ and everyone should drop the matter; he was quick to get bristly if pressed to submit to a process of getting down to the roots of his issues. But he never went back on the booze so that meant he must have been genuinely saved.

    So churches are full of people who have been given assurance they are saved because of outward symbols like baptism and being led in a sinner’s prayer and yet who have no life in themselves and who get turned off of salvation because they didn’t experience any real change or power in their lives. One guy in the 80s called it getting their “Gospel shots”, enough of the Gospel to be inoculated against it. However I think that if churches took sin much more seriously than they do and taught the whole Bible, so that the hearers could say ‘I am the man’ or ‘I am the woman’ of whom thou speaketh, false converts would not feel comfortable in church like they do now and Christians seeking to overcome the flesh would have more impetus to do so. People won’t help you if they think you are merely getting your feet wet in a puddle; they will throw you a life preserver if they think you are drowning in the sea and even jump in if it looks like you are going under because they can see that it is life and death. And the one in the water (sin) will not reach for the life preserver if he thinks his feet are merely wet and he can step out of the puddle at any time but he will gladly accept it if he realizes the water is fathoms deeper than he can even see, and full of monsters of the deep and he is going to die in it if he doesn’t get help.

    1. I have heard it said “a weak view of sin produces a weak view of salvation.” These folks do not take seriously the utter ugliness of sin and the fact that Jesus had to die a horrible death to pay for the sin of every human who ever lived.

      And baptism has often been used as a false “salvation” when applied without repentance and true faith in Christ — especially infant baptism is held up as salvation even though a baby is not capable of having faith. Also “confirmation” in my church is thought to equal salvation because youths repeat some vows that they are told to say.

      This process brings many unbelievers into church membership and weakens the congregation. They certainly need to hear the warning you have given Pastor Jeff.

      [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

      1. I have heard it said ”a weak view of sin produces a weak view of salvation.” These folks do not take seriously the utter ugliness of sin and the fact that Jesus had to die a horrible death to pay for the sin of every human who ever lived.

        Good comment, Anotheranon; I don’t know if I have ever heard a sermon on sin come to think of it and only ones that focused on Jesus’ death and the cross at Easter time, often made palatable for general public consumption, in many of the churches I’ve been to.

    2. I had the opposite experience. The church I used to go to was so focused on sin that it’s all people talked about. I couldn’t enjoy a regular conversation about coffee or shoes. It always had to be spiritual. Even one lady told me she had sinned because she wanted a little tan on her skin. It wasn’t an obsession or anything like that. Every conversation was like this. I’ve repeated over and over in my mind these ridiculous things to the point of exhaustion. And on top of that women were nudged to be very subservient. Sin sin sin….hardly ever a mention of grace. JESUS DIED FOR MY SINS. I’m no longer in bondage. I no longer have to fear….I’m not going to spit in Jesus face by focusing only on the sin. The greater news is that He died and rose again! It’s really hard for me not to feel turned off when I hear the sin thing b / c of how it was do pounded into my head. I was so tired of the ridiculous sins I was supposedly committing. The pastor especially spoke with authority when telling us how we were sinning and he was “Always right”. No arguing with him….I’m in the angry phase still of realizing I’d been duped. So had my husband….he still attends….I’m still trying to process everything….

  2. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) call people who quit drinking but who don’t have a changed attitude / heart, DRY DRUNKS. This is my dad. He quit drinking when he nearly died but other than him not being drunk 24 / 7, he hasn’t changed a bit.

    Yet his lifestyle of adultery and selfish narcissism, and sense of entitlement was unchanged and when he was caught sinning he thought grace meant he just had to say ‘sorry’ and everyone should drop the matter

    This TOTALLY sums up my dad except the adultery part — he is grotesquely ugly on the outside as well on the inside so people stay away from him and he NEVER says he’s sorry — he thinks he’s god so why should he?

    Pastor Crippen talks about how we shouldn’t have churches that allow these types of people to feel comfortable in their sin but unfortunately this cuts down on the number of people who tithe or those who will only work for the praise they receive.

    Great thought provoking comment — thank you!

    1. When my father stopped drinking after he was arrested for DUI [Driving Under the Influence] and resisting arrest we had such high hopes that he would stop being verbally and emotionally abusive. We had always assumed that it was the alcohol that made him so mean. But he didn’t change at all and was still the cruel abuser he’d been when he was drinking. It was a shattering disappointment to know that his abusive nature was heart-deep and didn’t come out of a bottle.

  3. Sad to say, Anonymous, but I think your point about the tithing plays more of a role than perhaps is comfortable to face for churches today. So instead of the sellers of doves and moneychangers being in the temple courts, they are now in the very pulpit and pew, and no one has yet appeared to make a whip and say ‘get these things out of my father’s house’. And the bit about working for praise; why don’t folks notice that Jesus even addressed that directly:

    (John 5:44 [NIV]) How can you believe if you accept glory from one another, yet do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

    I suppose that things will only change when churches begin to notice that in spite of their going through all the same motions and doing all the same things, there is no fire upon the altar and the sacrifice is not consumed, metaphorically speaking.

  4. A confessing “Christian” man who uses porn when he has a faithful wife who loves him and tries to fulfill his desires (which should be ONLY for her), is at best a manipulative, deceitful hypocrite, much like a dog, who has been given steak by by his Master, only to retreat to a dark corner by himself, to repeatedly lick up his own vomit. He has consorted with virtual prostitutes in an even sneakier manner than picking up a woman from the street, therefore, [he thinks] God is not mocked when he proclaims his “innocence” – i.e.: “I have not touched another woman!”. I daresay that JESUS would have scathing words to say him, just as He did to the Pharisees, who loved to try getting away with as much as they could without being caught or called out for their iniquity (hidden secret sin).

    When a man claims to be a brother, full of God’s Holy Spirit, yet defrauds, shamelessly grieves and debases the wife of his youth in this manner; the church does her a grave Scriptural injustice by insisting she remain with such a hypocrite. They continue heaping burden and repeated griefs on her (the oppressed), rather than following the commands of Scripture to put this man out of the church for his sexual immorality. Pastors (many who themselves use porn secretly), unabashedly disobey the admonition “with such a man do not even eat”. They instead, insist a wounded wife continue to open her repeatedly shattered heart, mind, soul, body, and spirit to one who the Bible says is a reprobate, while her husband, sniffling in self-pity, retreats safely to his “accountability” group, lies to them about the nature and extent of his wrongdoing, and is held up by men of the same bent as a “repentant saint”.

    Such churches inflict further invitation to emotional and spiritual abuse to be heaped upon her at home by this one who now wishes to merely “resurrect” his reputation, but most often continues to secretly cavort as a wolf in sheep’s clothing as soon as he believes he has manipulated his way out from under scrutiny. THIS IS GANGRENE INFECTING THE MODERN DAY CHURCH – BUT OUR LEADERS ARE SILENT BECAUSE OUR PULPITS AND PEWS ARE FULL OF THESE WOLVES.

    Instead, of being protected, these precious Christian women are assaulted with emotionally abusive admonitions to just “paint the barn”, lose weight, wear lingerie (so you look more pornified), “give him more sex”, be this….be that….when the objectified beaten-down woman ALREADY CANNOT COMPETE WITH THE UNREALISTIC STANDARDS OF SHALLOW BEAUTY AND FILTH THAT IS IN THE HEART AND MIND OF HER “HUSBAND”. These are the men of Matthew 7:23, these are the men of Luke 13:28. These are the men of 2 Timothy 3:6. Their lot will be, in the words of Jesus, “assigned to a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” [Paraphrase of Matthew 24:51]. We are in the last days, Father please clean this out from among us – COME LORD JESUS!

    1. Amen to that, Sister. This is an excellent description of the condition of mainstream churches I’ve encountered.

      My wolf in sheep’s clothing ex-husband and his multiple-ally pastors had me circling the wilderness trying to revive a broken covenant marriage for decades.

      This would be an excellent thing to say to all the pastors out there that continue twist the Scriptures to suit their agenda at the cost of sacrificing God’s children.

    2. Oh this is is so good. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m copying this to read on low days.

      Yes, I’ve heard Paul Washer (who up to that point I respected somewhat) in the middle of a sermon recount how a man asked him if women should wear makeup or not, and his reply was something like; ‘brother, its a crime if some women don’t wear makeup!’ What a mean thing to say. I was listening with my adulterous, lustful abuser at the time. Made me feel so bad and made him feel further entitled and justified in his sin I am sure. I have not listened to him since, yet my abuser used to often request to listen to him of course.

      1. Anon – we have other posts if I am not mistaken addressing Paul Washer. You are correct. That is a cruel thing to say and just the kind of thing that reinforces the abuser’s mentality of his superiority over women. I initially, years ago, also thought Washer was a positive influence but as time went along and I learned more about abuse I realized that he is a legalist and embraces the same no-divorce-for-abuse-keep-submitting nonsense so many preachers do.

  5. This is a really important point. Many churches do condemn abuse, but they believe all of it happens outside of their walls. Everyone who attends a church and says they are a Christian is considered to be a good person who just loves everybody.
    All you have to do to get into the “club” is to say that you are a Christian. That’s all, nothing else. Easy. Your profession of faith will never be questioned or tested against your actions, no matter what heinous things you might do. If a “Christian” person’s actions result in hurt to someone else, it’s always assumed to be unintentional. To say anything critical about the motives of someone who calls themselves Christian is to find yourself immediately ostracized.

    Therefore churches are a playground for pathological liars.

    Bad language is the very least of the problems that churches tolerate. Most churches I’ve known have tolerated lies, slander, manipulation, immorality, oppression and injustice of others, and more — if those things are done by their members, and especially if they’re done by their leaders.

    You don’t need any theology at all to belong to “Christian Club”, you just have to turn up to the meetings and pay the sub.

  6. (Airbrushing…..)

    From Pastor Jeff’s original post:

    Jesus came to a den of thieves like this and cleaned house. It’s long past time that we do the same. To refuse to repent and throw out the soul-thieves, is to participate in their evil and to be condemned right along with them.

    More time offline to re-integrate these memories….so drained.

    I can now understand why I originally dissociated these memories. They were the straw on the camel’s back, the one added shock — physical and / or nonphysical — that had been more than I could bear.

    We are “preached at” by “C”hristians to take our pain to Jesus, to lay it at the foot of the cross.

    I had no concept of this kind of pain, no idea what to take….

    ….now I do. I take it to Jesus. I lay it at the foot of the cross.

    Twisted theology kept me believing I would find Jesus in “c”hurch. Instead I found Him in my pain.

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