ACFJ is not a Women’s Rights Movement – It is a Victims’ Rights Movement
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.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. (1 Tim 5:21)
Our ministry here at A Cry for Justice has as its primary goal to expose evil, particularly as that evil hides itself in the church behind “godly” facades of false sheep wool. And more specifically, our mission focuses on the evil of what we call abuse — the wicked lust for power and control that oppresses others. To narrow the focus even more specifically, we have our sights especially set upon domestic abuse as it hides behind a Christian disguise and upon the accompanying abuse effected upon victims so frequently by their churches when they ask for help.
ACFJ then is not primarily what you might call a women’s rights movement and we thought it important to remind ourselves and our readers of this, especially since we have been noticing some comments that indicate people may be perceiving us as specifically a women’s rights movement. For example:
- “I know that the focus of your blog is to support women”
- “How can you say something so negative about a woman?”
- “We so appreciate your efforts to help women in the church”
- “You need to stand for women on this issue”
- “Please write more articles on spiritual abuse by churches”
You see our point? Yes, most of the abuse victims we deal with are women. Yes, most frequently the abusers are men. And yes, often the additional abuse meted out to victims by their churches is done by male church leaders. But certainly not always. Most of you know from hard experience that some of the cruel abuse by churches comes through the hands of women who themselves embrace the typical unbiblical notions about marriage, divorce, submission, abuse and so on. In addition, we have most certainly met genuine victims of domestic abuse who are men. And we have met thoroughly evil abusers who are women.
Therefore, if we are to expose the essence of this thing called abuse and if we are to truly minister aid to its victims, our ministry cannot be one that is a respecter of persons. We can and sometimes do talk about misogyny. But our ministry is not fundamentally a women’s rights movement. Our ministry addresses abuse and wickedness. Domestic abusers. Abusers hiding in the Christian church. Exposing them. Exposing their allies. Helping and validating their victims. Educating the bystanders who are naive. That is our mission.
Despite the accusations sometimes levelled at us by abusers, ACFJ does not have a default position of taking the side of the woman. We do have a default position of taking the side of the victim of abuse.
To slowly morph into a women’s rights movement would be a serious and debilitating error for ACFJ. Not because women’s rights are unimportant. Not because we do not support, for example, a woman’s biblical right to be regarded in the church as a full-fledged heir of Christ. Not because we do not see the evils of patriarchy. We do, as anyone reading this blog for very long knows. But because the evil of abuse is the heart of the thing we are pursuing and exposing.
One of features of the evangelical church today is the intensity of focus on gender issues. Of course some of that focus is right and proper as a response to how secular society is ‘normalizing’ same sex relationships and gender-bending. But the intensity of focus on gender in the current church goes way beyond that issue. In this intensity of focus, the egalitarian and complementarian camps are polarised. The teaching hammers gender so much of the time. If we let ourselves become just another gender-focused site, we would be of much less use than we are now. And we believe we would be failing to live up to what God and the Bible calls us to do as Christians.
We are rather certain that the enemy of our souls would be happy if we allowed ourselves to get detoured by spending more and more time speaking out for women’s rights. If we focus on women’s rights rather than on exposing the enemy’s dark deeds effected through his ministers of darkness (be they male or female) who creep in among us in the church, wouldn’t the enemy love it? We would not be rendering aid to all victims without partiality. And we would have become just another women’s rights site.
We have not gone through the Bible to tabulate how many passages focus on gender matters compared to how many focus on exposing and responding to evil. But if we did, we are pretty sure the column for evil would be way longer than the column for gender.
And at bottom, the issue is not patriarchy or misogyny, the issue is evil and sinful wickedness. Misogyny is one expression of evil, but it isn’t the only way evil takes place.