A Cry For Justice

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

This is Where John MacArthur’s “no divorce for abuse” Leads People like Don

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.


[November 14, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Here is a “Christian” man who commented on one of our older posts (read it here) on John MacArthur’s teaching that God does not permit divorce for abuse. We did not publish his comment there, because it is so incredibly cruel. But I believe it is proper to expose the depths of spiritual abuse found in local churches in regard to domestic abuse hiding in the pews. Here is what he wrote. We have not altered the comment and the name he left as his screen name is Don Augustine, by the way:

First off the question was only about physical abuse ONLY.
Second John clearly recited biblical truths. Which is his calling.
Third has any Godly woman tried any of these truths?
Remember we live in a FALLEN world.
What God says to be true and righteous the world contradicts. This is why we have mental and physical abuse. God is ALWAYS right. The Godly woman who doesn’t make it through these truths and ends up dead doesn’t mean God is a liar. She ends up where?? Hopefully the man sees what he is doing or has done and repents and follows God before it is too late. Some couples make it out alive and well. Some couples don’t. John MacArthur is not the solution and neither are we.

Alright then, what Don is telling us is that God’s will for all abuse victims is that they remain in the abuse, submit to and respect her abuser, pray, and her goal is always to win her abuser to the Lord. And what if he kills her (either violently or as more commonly through the constant erosion of her health)? Well, Don says “Hey, no big deal really. She is in heaven.” And Don apparently would say, “Praise the Lord. He moves in mysterious ways. Que sera, sera.”

Don, if you were attending our church and you made a statement like this, you would be standing tall in front of the Elder board to give an account for these wicked words, your sin would be told to the entire church, and you would be put out of the church. Because your words are incredibly destructive. They enslave others. And we would not permit your leaven to be spread among us.

I suspect that our readers will have a few comments for you as well, Don.

One final note. This is the kind of wickedness that teachers like John MacArthur must take responsibility for. The no divorce for abuse, just trust the Lord to save your abuser, it is wrong for you to leave teaching plants the seeds for these kinds of cruel words such as Don has written. Pastors and Bible teachers and theologians do indeed have a duty to consider what their teachings are going to produce in others. If Don were a member of MacArthur’s church, I wonder if the leadership would call him to account for what he has said here? Not holding my breath.

[November 14, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to November 14, 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 November 14, 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 November 14, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (November 14, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

Grace Community Church Rejected Elder’s Calls to ‘Do Justice’ in Abuse Case — Christianity Today, February 9, 2023.

Former Elder at John MacArthur’s Church Confronts ‘Awful Patterns’ of Endangering Abuse Victims — The Roys Report, February 9, 2023.


  1. Lea

    Don is way too lackadaisical about people being murdered.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Probably because “It’s NOT Me” (i.e. not Don) “getting murdered!”

  2. Anotheranon

    If Don’s life was being threatened by his wife I wonder if he would change his tune?!

  3. joepote01

    There is so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start. And yes, as Lea said, Don is WAY too lackadaisical about people being murdered.

    Don’s question —

    ….has any Godly woman tried any of these truths?

    —makes me want to puke. Really!!! When the abuser doesn’t repent you’re going to heap blame on the victim? Yes, most have tried “these truths” as Don calls them and discovered the hard way that not even God, Himself, will over-ride human free will. He allows the abuser to continue in his sin, despite the prayers of the godly spouse.

    And then these statements:

    Remember we live in a FALLEN world.


    God is ALWAYS right.

    No duh! These are rather obvious truths to anyone with even a small glimmer of biblical understanding. The question is, how do they apply to this situation?

    It has been my experience that when people start spouting such obvious basic truths, they are usually trying to cover for their own lack of critical thought. Of course, “God is always right”….but guess what….that does not mean YOU’RE always right….nor does if mean YOUR interpretation of God’s word is correct. And when people fall back on elementary arguments like, “God is always right” that is usually a good sign they have not studied God’s word enough to know God’s heart….they’re just making broad assumptions and slapping bumper-sticker theology to every situation, whether it fits or not.

    • And then these statements:

      Remember we live in a FALLEN world.


      God is ALWAYS right.

      No duh! These are rather obvious truths to anyone with even a small glimmer of biblical understanding. The question is, how do they apply to this situation?

      It has been my experience that when people start spouting such obvious basic truths, they are usually trying to cover for their own lack of critical thought.

      Amen! Yes indeed. Thanks for that, Joe. 🙂

  4. Seeing Clearly

    If Don were the only man who operated with this evil mindset, we could perhaps set him aside. Unfortunately, he speaks for hundreds of thousands of men who speak from a heart of white religious privilege. They are puffed up, believing they are supremely created by God. They interpret Scripture from a paradigm of elitism. In a Bible study, they craftily move themselves to the center, seeking to interpret for their own good outcome. Interestingly, I have never heard one expound on Micah 6:8. Apparently, they lost that page from their Bibles.

    How dare I say this? I am [in my sixth decade], been in the church since I was born. Always attend Sunday School, youth group, children’s choir, played piano and organ regularly, summer missionary, Bible College, wife of a minister…. Severely sexually abused by a male church member as a child, lightly sexually abused by another, verbally, emotionally, spiritually abused by many male church leaders (my availability to their destruction was because of my commitment to live within the main core of the church). My minister spouse was my greatest abuser, nearly killed me.

    Shame on you, Don. Try sitting on the floor, walking on your knees, bowing your head in humility, asking God to open your eyes to what Jesus was all about, grieving for lives lost that you never took time to know, live in silence, offer no more advice. The life you chose to live currently is sentencing women to a very slow torturous death.

    • Amen corner

      Right on! Thank you for posting [commenting]. Poignant and powerful. I am so sorry for your painful experiences. May our good Father be a healing balm to your soul.

  5. Teres

    This is the absolute truth! Before my divorce I sat under 2 pastors who were ordained at The Master’s Seminary. Though I like expository preaching their marriage counseling is horrible for the woman and gives the man permission to abuse and “manage the home” as he sees fit.

    When my x and I started going to that church he had already been abusive. We went for counseling. Pastor “A” had been there before we got there and had moved out of state. Pastor “B” is who we sat under first. He started us on “pre-marital” counseling. ??? It was more than I could take. My x made no effort at all. Pastor B left and then Pastor A returned. He was worse.

    In my spirit I started to pick up on things but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I asked people I knew who had been there before “the split”. I didn’t have to look far for my answers. I was told he always defends the man no matter what and the woman always suffers. When Pastor A was there before us there was a young couple who married and moved away. The husband returned home one night and abused her. She had no support where they were so she called her parents who immediately flew down to get her. Pastor A called her parents and commanded / demanded them to return her to her husband. It caused a split in the church when they were to be disciplined.

    Also the church had been sued by a neighbor because Pastor A took upon himself to tear out her bushes on the property line. But that was all hush-hush. This pastor asked me about my husband’s family money. I never told my x that. I already knew my goose was cooked by then.

    It seems to me this theology causes such division not only in the church but it pits husband against wife. It ought not be. He didn’t have any success with his counseling. Couples divorced and the only ones who managed to stay together went somewhere else. My church discipline was started after receiving a text from Pastor A and I responded that I no longer wished contact with him. (I left after fulfilling an obligation.) He proceeded to send me letters of how my soul was in danger and he had instructed the congregation on how I was to be treated. The steps for Matthew 18 were twisted. The times I went for counsel and help were used against me. I was accused of “slander”. ??? I worked in a grocery store where some members of the church would come in a deliberately walk by me. Pastor A did this as well.

    I had found another woman’s phone number in my husband’s truck months before I filed. He brought her to church after I left. He was never held accountable for this to my knowledge. However Pastor A had a son married and divorced. Going on a second divorce leaving a very pregnant soon-to-be ex home while bringing a new girlfriend to church. The only thing said about it was to get her saved.

    It just seems to be the norm. If the wife isn’t fully “submissive” it’s “her fault” if he finds another to replace her. I’m living in another state now and I have found a church (which took me a while to even think about going [doing?]) here where they say once the covenant is broken because of abuse it is ok to divorce. Thanks for letting me vent. However there’s a whole lot more to this story that I would like to tell. Someday.

    • Annie

      This makes me want to cry. And scream. 😦

  6. Shaken and stirred

    Don is being a “talking head” like many thoughtless pew sitters who think regurgitating something from a super pastor makes it right and super spiritual and them in alignment with God. Not necessarily so. I wish I could remember who it was, perhaps David Seamands, who was commenting once on a pastor’s shocking lack of mercy. He was talking about a woman who had come to this pastor because she was being abused by her husband and had tried everything and nothing worked. The pastor was so full of “answers” that he said that if she tried to win him through “godly submission” and he beat her, then she was “suffering for righteousness sake”, and if he killed her, then God would use THAT to bring him to the Lord. The author’s comment was that this woman’s life had no value to this pastor. And she had already tried the “godly submission” route and it wasn’t working. Her husband had a few loose screws, not a lack of Godly example.

  7. Un-Tangled

    As I’ve read posts such as this one, I’ve often thought, “If a man was in this situation, he would never tolerate it. He would never stay in the abuse.” But although I know that there are men who are abused, I do not believe that a man in the church would ever be told “to submit to the abuse even if it killed him”. The reason? It is as it was from the beginning: The man shifts the blame to the woman. The man is always told that he is the “head of the family”, that “any problems are the fault of his wife”, and “it’s up to him to get his wife under control”. SHE is the one accused of “not submitting”, “being rebellious”, “not trusting God”. In churches that teach that abuse is no excuse for divorce, the man is never put in a position where he can’t escape. The woman is.

    • joepote01

      As a Christian man who lived 17 years in an abusive marriage, I felt very much that it was my job to “fix” the marriage and that I was responsible for the many relational shortcomings. That wrong perspective was repeatedly reinforced through sermons and men’s ministries. I felt (based on what I was taught) that if I could just love deeply enough, pray fervently enough, and believe faithfully enough that somehow, someway, it would all work out….she would draw close to Christ and our marriage would be healed and restored. Hence, when our marriage was not healed and restored, I felt it was somehow my fault for not loving deeply enough, not praying fervently enough, or not believing faithfully enough….so I doubled down….and was encouraged by the men in my prayer group to continue praying and believing….and to not let “divorce” even be a part of my vocabulary. As they would say from their naïve perspective, “Divorce happens because people make it an option.”

      Abuse is abuse without regard to gender. And when any church takes a stance of “no divorce for any reason” or even “divorce is permissible for some circumstances but never God’s best” it places a huge burden on the innocent party to try to somehow make the marriage work single-handedly….an impossibility by definition….

      • Lea

        I suspect that feeling that you need to “fix” things is going to always fall more strongly on the party who actually cares.

        What is taught in church varies I guess depending on what they think of marriage permanence in general and their view of male / female roles. Thinking that men should be in charge can fall back into thinking they can and should be able strong arm things into being fixed on their own; likewise thinking that women should just “submit” more and all will be well comes to the same place. Ultimately, it takes two people. Neither view is going to work if the other person isn’t all in.

      • joepote01

        Ultimately, it takes two people. Neither view is going to work if the other person isn’t all in.

        Exactly! 🙂

    • ….I do not believe that a man in the church would ever be told to submit to the abuse even if it killed him.

      Actually, we know of at least one male victim of abuse who got that message from an Elder in his church. The message wasn’t put bluntly, as in “Put up with it even if it kills you”, but the inference was there. And this guy (Jeff S) says he got to the point where he felt like he was dying inside and God didn’t care about him at all. He eventually left the abusive wife and is now happily married. You can read his posts here: Jeff S

    • James

      Un-Tangled, I was a man in this situation and I was counseled by an Elder from JMac’s church to remain and if I died I would die a martyr’s death. I opted not to and was basically cast out of fellowship. That’s okay with me. We all have blind spots. I’m thankful I’m alive and, years later by God’s grace, am able to serve God in whatever capacity I can. And, by the way, in our counseling session my abusive ex-wife put on such a show and she was believed. Every word. I was the villain and she was the martyr. Oh well.

  8. Stronger Now

    One of my children is currently attending a church that teaches “no divorce for abuse”. Or for adultery, even. I believe the pastor is teaching “permanence” [Permanence View]. In other words, according to my adult child, if your non-believing spouse leaves and divorces you, “not under bondage” means you are not obligated to fight the divorce, however, you are not free to remarry. EVER.

    She throws all of the usual verses at me to prove the point, and for whatever reason, she embraces the teaching. I guess legalism feels safe to them.

    Here’s a scenario that breaks my heart. A young girl, barely 20 years old, marries a boy she has known since high school. He professes to be a Christian, but on the honeymoon he starts to abuse her. Within a few weeks, he is refusing to have sex, telling her she isn’t attractive, tells her she is only allowed to leave the house to go to her job, refuses to let her use their car, restricts her use of the money she’s earning (she works full time, he works part time while he goes to Bible college to become a youth pastor — and they have a several-hundred-dollar-a-month surplus), leaves huge messes around their apartment and expects her to clean up and keep the place spotless, criticizes her cooking and house cleaning, and generally makes her feel like a trapped animal. When she fails to measure up to his expectations, he flies into a rage. She walks to the store to get ingredients for a special meal for him, and he berates her for spending $3.

    They aren’t even “married” for 2 months before she leaves him. Her behavior was not spotless, and she created sufficient grounds for him to divorce her, but he doesn’t want to divorce because of the impact on his plans for becoming a youth pastor. She tries to reconcile, but he continues to ignore her needs and flies into his rages over tiny things. He commits assault, battery, and kidnapping, which she refuses to press charges for.

    She finally divorces him a year after they got “married.”

    According to this pastor, who apparently subscribes to John MacArthur’s teachings, this young lady has only two choices going forward. She can remarry this monster and continue to be abused until either he kills her or she kills herself, or dies from the stress. Or, she can remain single for the next 60 years.

    That these pastors claim to speak for God just infuriates me. They cherry-pick verses to support their point of view, and ignore so many others that reveal God’s heart for the oppressed.

    Would John MacArthur’s church call Don to account for what he has said? NO, they would applaud him! They would put him in a leadership position so he can spread his poisonous teachings to more and more abusers and their victims.

  9. Annie

    If Don Augustine ever did get married, or is still married, then what he truly believes is that he can do whatever he wants to his wife and she can’t divorce him. (A man in the church I formerly attended — and where my h still attends — actually said this to his wife. And that church (thinks) they have themselves covered by verbiage in the constitution vis-a-vis the requirement of “witnesses” to the abuse.)

    John MacArthur, then, also believes that any abuser in his congregation can also do whatever they want to their spouse, and that abuser’s victim can’t divorce him or her.

    Neither Don’s home, nor John MacArthur’s home, nor the home of any of MacArthur’s congregants is a safe place to be.

    Nor is it safe in the home of anyone who imbibes this teaching.

    By despising the safety net of divorce that God provided for His oppressed beloved ones, Don and John are actually shaking their fists in God’s face, and they are putting themselves at risk of being accomplices in the murder of many. It may take a law suit by a family member before they decide to take off their (wolf) mask.

    On every church parking lot we should see the same sign we see as we drive into our communities — “this community does not tolerate domestic violence”.

    It is a shame that our communities are more safe than our “C”hristian (not) homes and churches. And God will not hold them guiltless.

    • joepote01

      ….the safety net of divorce that God provided for His oppressed beloved ones….

      Love this phrase! Thank you, Annie!

    • Seeing Clearly

      I also embrace the active picture of abusers, and teachers thereof, shaking their fists at God (not just God’s face).

  10. Bj

    Jesus said you can divorce due to a hardened heart or infidelity, yet woman are being manipulated to go back regardless of the means, desire, or that they divorced. Isn’t it time to just support your sisters in Christ as Jesus did for the woman who washed His feet with expensive perfume and her hair? Jesus said, “leave her alone”.

    • Annie

      Yes, Bj! And it is usually construed that if, for instance, the wife files for a divorce (even if it is because she is a victim of abuse), that she is the one who is hard-hearted. Whereas, it is really only a hard-hearted man who would abuse his wife. It is double abuse: first she is verbally, physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially abused and then SHE gets the blame for being hard-hearted. ONLY in a (not) “C”hristian church.

      • Bj

        Yes, Annie, the abuse was tolerated and church was not a safe, supportive place to turn. I was the one put out of the house with no job. Now my ex-husband goes to church once a week trying to look like a good father but has never repented and told his children he was wrong all those years. No woman is at fault for abuse and resulting divorce no matter what they say. Just more abuse to clean up the mess.

    • Actually, the idea that Jesus said you can divorce due to a hardened heart is wrong. It is a VERY widespread misunderstanding of what Jesus said in Matthew 19.

      Jesus was referring to hard-hearted husbands divorcing their wives, but he was not saying that this was grounds for divorce.

      I urge you to read this post of mine: True or False? “Jesus speaks of divorce being permissible, and his reason for such is that our hearts can be hard.”

      And I encourage you to read my book Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link] in which I carefully analyse this. My book says that divorce IS allowed for abuse.

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

        Interesting when you look at the culture. Jesus over-rode it when He stepped in and prevented a woman from being stoned. Verbal abuse comes from a hardened heart and I divorced both.

      • Yeah, Jesus stood up against misogyny. The Pharisees were misogynists in the way they interpreted the texts about marriage and divorce. And that’s one reason why Jesus tore strips off them.

        I often ponder what Jesus was meaning to convey when He stooped down and wrote on the ground when the Pharisees brought that woman to Him saying that she be stoned. One idea I had recently is that Jesus might have been writing in the dust to mock the way the Pharisees used many convoluted words to twist God’s truth.

    • Also, Bj, allow me to give you a “welcome” to the blog. 🙂
      And I apologise for it being belated — you commented on the blog once before and we didn’t notice you were a newbie then, so didn’t give you a welcome. Sorry.

      You may like to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  11. Sister of survivor

    I just want to thank those who run and contribute to this blog, I found you about a year ago. I have shared many explanations and truths with my brother from this site and now he is finally freeing himself from his abusive wife. So often the victim just doesn’t understand what is going on if they aren’t being physically assaulted. I have also been trying to educate the family and put a name to what my brother has been enduring all these years — real abuse and control. It is the teachings like John MacArthur and others that kept him in the marriage this long. I praise God for leading me to this site so I could pass along the truth to a hurting man.

    • Hi, Sister Of Survivor. Welcome to the blog and thanks for your encouragement. 🙂

      You’ve probably already done so, but if not you might like to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety (and your brother’s safety) while commenting on the blog.

      Have you checked out the section of our Resources for Friends and Family?

  12. Lily

    We all need to be accountable, and we all need to have someone to whom we can appeal when mistreated. A long time ago our family was caught up in this “chain of command” thing and what jolted me was that I was starting to become abusive to the children. In shock at myself, I realized that it was because I thought nobody was watching and they had to keep the family secrets and because I was being abused and didn’t have anyone to appeal to, I started taking my frustrations out on them. That’s what drove me to rethink all this stuff and start climbing out of the mess we were in. Took a while, but even before internet or even books, crying out to God I did soon start to see Him in a whole different light. And for that, I didn’t even need permission from the “head”. 🙂

  13. VictimNoMore

    Don would be a hero in my old church and promoted to the position of Elder for his bravery.

  14. IamMyBeloved's

    My next blog post will be on this:

    (Psalm 58:3) The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.


    You see, Don, you are the one not able to discern the truth or use God’s Word appropriately and apply it rightly. You are a follower of man, not God. I think that God will hold you to account — in fact I know He will — for every victim you agreed to hold in a prison of abuse, even sacrificing their life for it.

    There was only one required sacrifice for all of mankind, and Jesus made that sacrifice. Women are not required to sacrifice their lives nor their health and sanity, for a wicked, wicked abuser. If you understood the Bible rightly and knew God as you seem to claim, you would know that God saves people. People do not save people. MacArthur preaches that, so why does he cross the bar here when it comes to abuse. Ask yourself that. You are using God’s name in vain when you preach these lies.

    Read your Bible, Don. And, you might want to repent. Herein lies your call to do so.

    May God judge every person who holds victims of abuse in that bondage, and then blames God for it.

  15. TruthSerum

    The devil goes to church, too.

  16. RomansEightOne

    What God says to be true and righteous the world contradicts. This is why we have mental and physical abuse. God is ALWAYS right

    Is it just me, or is he blaming women for causing the abuse??? For not following John MacArthur’s truths?

  17. 3blossommom

    How godly does a godly woman have to be? How perfect and consistent? At what point will the man be held responsible (in Don’s eyes) rather than the woman? And if she should be murdered or driven to take her own life or have a nervous breakdown and that becomes the turning point that pushes the man to true faith, would Don praise it? God save the church and the women in it from men like Don!

  18. Lily

    I’m wondering, if this mindset is taken all the way, then people in Germany should not have resisted what happened there in WWII, right? If they die, they die, “how nice, we’re in heaven”.

  19. Mary27

    Why did the Israelites flee the tyranny of the Egyptians? Why did David flee king Saul? Why did Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt with baby Jesus to escape king Herod? Why did the apostle Paul escape over the wall at night? Why did the early church flee persecution? If those godly people didn’t make it through “these truths” and would have ended up dead “doesn’t mean God is a liar”. They would have ended up where??

    In contrast to Don’s thinking, this was the ministry of Jesus:

    (Luke 4:18 [NIV1984]) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, TO RELEASE THE OPPRESSED….” [Capitalization done by the commenter.]

  20. cindy burrell

    It’s hard to know how to even respond to such blatant, wicked ignorance. I wonder if Don would scold the young boy who is regularly subjected to beatings by his father — “Spare the rod!” What about the wife who is compelled to have sex immediately after giving birth or after having surgery? Her body belongs to her husband.” Are all of those offenses acceptable, tolerable, unworthy of our concern?

    The God I know does not condone such atrocities. And while abuse of the body and the scars left on the flesh may be found unacceptable, the non-physical abuse is all the more egregious, leaving scars on the heart, mind and soul. But somehow that’s okay?

    That is twisted.

  21. FreeWill

    I tried these “Biblical truths” for three decades. My abuser destroyed my confidence. I struggle with C-PTSD. I lived in fear and duty, and I felt trapped. I wasted my life and energy protecting myself from the person who was supposed to love me the most. My children suffered from his abuse too. I did it because I believed the lie that if I was “faithful in prayer and submissive to my husband he would come to the Lord and change”. I am now being accused of not being a believer because I want a divorce. I am now considered the abuser for leaving him. I am accused of being “selfish” because I don’t think I should be ignored or criticized or falsely accused of various thoughts, feelings, ideas or behaviors. My accuser used this same Biblical argument as this post explains. I thank the Lord for free will and look forward to healing and no more abuse.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I changed your screen name for anonymity. Press on to freedom! And know that you are in no way alone in being accused of such things. Most all of us have been on the receiving end ourselves.

    • Hi, FreeWill, welcome to the blog. 🙂 I hope you keep coming back and sharing here. 🙂

      We always 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.

      • Annie

        Same here, FreeWill. How’s it going with the children? Bad, Bad here. But like Jacob (with Joseph) I’m trusting God has a bigger plan than I might have had.

  22. Mary

    It drives me crazy that nobody can ever see why God might be ok with an abused victim getting out. Everybody is so concerned with the abuser finding salvation through the abused. Most often that is not going to happen, in fact the chances are very very slim. Jesus said it Himself in Luke 4:24 —

    And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

    An abuser doesn’t respect the abused already, why would they listen to anything they had to say. Most importantly how will they ever be held accountable if the abused never stands up for themselves. My understanding is this. God meets me when I’m broken, destitute and can’t do anything but fall to my knees and look up, that’s where He’s the loudest. That’s where all pride goes down the drain and I scream out for help. How can an abuser ever come to that if no one ever makes them accountable. Why can’t we see that leaving an abuser is helping them too. That maybe leaving an abuser is blazing a path for God to finally have enough room to reach them. It seems so clear to me, I just don’t get how people keep missing this. Thank you for all you do, Jeff Crippen! It has literally saved my life!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      You’re welcome, Mary. The Lord is the one who really put this ministry all together at every stage. It still amazes me how He did so and how every single day we hear from people just like you. Many blessings to you in Christ.

    • Everybody is so concerned with the abuser finding salvation through the abused. Most often that is not going to happen, in fact the chances are very very slim. Jesus said it Himself in Luke 4:24 —

      And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

      Thanks for pointing that out, Mary. I’d never thought of that application of Luke 4:24 before. I think it’s spot on!

    • Anotheranon

      Wow. This just nails it. Thanks for a comment with so much common sense! Sometimes we can understand a situation better if we just look at it from the outside, like an objective third party does.

      • TruthBknown

        You can’t confess another person’s sin or change them. The current mantra “be the change you want to be” that’s being parroted doesn’t even apply to the woman who was abused.

      • Hi, TruthBknown, have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He DO That? — Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men? [*Affiliate link]

        We highly recommend it. In fact, we think it’s probably the number one book for helping victims of domestic abuse….many many victims have testified how much it helped them come out of the fog and realise they were not to blame for the abuse. And it also helps victims make decisions about how they might want to respond to the abuse. And how to recognise an abuser before one gets trapped in the abuser’s web.

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

        I checked out the book. They got the profile down — it’s so disappointing that so many men were willing to abuse and traumatize their wives. Those judgemental of those who divorced are usually the ones who stood by and watched instead of confronting the abuser.

      • Those judgemental of those who divorced are usually the ones who stood by and watched instead of confronting the abuser.

        Yes….or if they did confront the abuser, they were not canny enough to see through his web of lies and half-truths and manipulation tactics. So they became the ally of the abuser and helped the abuser keep the victim disempowered and isolated.

  23. Still Struggling

    I read this man’s comments taking notice of the capitalized words for emphasis and heard my own abuser’s voice, tone and inflection. It was triggering. His arrogance leaves no room for compassion. Apparently he thinks I’d be better off dead than divorced.

    When he says that God is ALWAYS right, I think he really means his opinion is right and everyone else is obviously wrong. Like Joe said, duh! We all know that God is always right, so what was his point? It seems to me he’s using God to make himself superior. His attitude reminds me of my husband who said early in our relationship that between himself and God they know everything there is to know. That leaves no room for disagreement….or MacArthur’s advice that I suggest he seek out help from godly men.

    • Barely Reformed

      Apparently he thinks I’d be better off dead than divorced.

      In other words, divorce is the unforgivable sin. To such men, that is what the Bible means by blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how else to interpret that.

      “Better Off Dead Than Divorced” — their marriage counseling motto.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Nailed it! Exactly.

  24. Spiritually abused

    I exposed my husband pornography / fetish addiction and his total selfishness and manipulation to the pastor a little over a year ago. These things wreaked havoc for over 20 years on our marriage.

    For a year all I got was “go home and submit more”. They gave him a few books to read (and of course “marriage counseling”) and then it was all on me to forgive and forget. I tried telling them for a year that he has not changed he was still in his addiction and defiant. I started losing weight and was emotionally distraught; I did not feel safe, it did not matter what I said they would not listen to anything. I finally left 7 weeks ago.

    The pastor’s wife, after never giving me any comfort for a year, texted me this versus two weeks ago.

    (Psalm 4:8 [NKJV]) I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    Thanks but no thanks. I guess she forgot about this verse —

    (Psalm 82:4) Rescue the poor and the helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.

    • twbtc

      Spiritually Abused,

      Thank you for your comment and Welcome to the blog!!

      Unfortunately, it sounds like you have received the typical ‘C’hristian counsel from your pastor — “submit more” and “marriage counseling” — what a dangerous duo! So glad you were able to leave.

      We encourage you to keep researching the blog and commenting. And we also 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.

      Again, Welcome!

    • Seeing Clearly

      Great reply to the lady who misuses her Bible!

  25. Tess

    constant erosion of her health

    ….yes, decades of emotional abuse causes, if not physical death, then definitely death to her mental health.

    Surely our loving Heavenly Father who desires for us a wonderful abundant life of peace and joy, would not be so cruel as to expect anyone to knowingly endure cruel treatment which damages health and well-being.

    For decades, I and many others, thought it was biblical to stay, to try to convert our abusers and so we ended up with health problems of all kinds — physical, emotional and mental.

    ….even the medical and secular world acknowledges the harm that can be done through enabling this abusive behaviour by remaining in the marital home.

    Yes, it’s heartbreaking to leave, especially where there are children to consider….but surely Father desires good things for us and this would not involve damaging our health in this way.

    Thank you, Jeff and Barbara, for the wisdom of this site which, although too late for me, will be helping many many victims. If only I had known it was ok to leave earlier, my health and quality of life would have been transformed. Thank you so much.

    • Tess, may our Heavenly Father bless you and give you every assistance on the long road of recovery.

      And thanks for the encouragement. 🙂


  26. Gothard Survivor

    I need to try to understand this thinking as I compose a letter to my daughter. These people believe that obedience is staying married unconditionally to reflect God’s character, but they do not actually believe that God loves the abused unconditionally if they make the choice to leave??

    • Jeff Crippen

      Crazy, isn’t it?

  27. questioning

    I think that divorce is permissible. [….] The Scriptures that I have difficulty with are the ones that say “no adulterer will enter into the kingdom of God”. [It also seems to say] that if a man divorces his wife, he commits adultery and he forces his wife to commit adultery, by her involving herself in another sexual relationship. This is very disturbing to me. The Bible is very explicit on its teachings about sexual sins. [….]

    Romans chapter 7 talks about the woman not being free unless her husband dies. To me, things are not as clear as they need to be for me to understand that it is ok to remarry. I see divorce or separation as not a problem in Scripture. [….] It’s the remarriage and its consequences that are not clear to me.

    • 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.


      Hello dear sister,

      I changed your screen name to Questioning. Please give thought to whether it’s safe to use your real name on this blog. (We explain that on our New Users’ Info page.)

      I understand how and why you feel disturbed by some of the texts in the Bible which discuss adultery and remarriage. My book Not Under Bondage [*Affiliate link] disentangles all those texts which are confusing / disturbing. It took me three years to write the book.

      To get a quick snapshot of how Ps Jeff Crippen and I understand the texts about remarriage and and how they relate to the question of adultery, I suggest you look at our FAQ page What About Remarriage?

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
  28. Austin Evans

    John MacArthur does not encourage everything that this Don guy said. He doesn’t encourage women to just stand there and take beatings….in fact he says the opposite. If any of you want to know the truth, read the second question and his response to it in this Q & A session:

    Dialogue on Divorce

    Some here, including Barbara, may disagree with him about whether some cases of abuse are grounds for divorce or not, but don’t you dare pass him off as encouraging women to just endure beatings. He encourages them to get out of the situation. Read the link I posted. He believes in the optimism the Gospel provides for people to be transformed. But he doesn’t think the women has to live with that man while she prays and hopes for transformation.

    • Austin, I could have simply chosen not to publish your comment. It’s the kind of comment we often do not publish. But I’m choosing to publish it just to show our readers an example of what John MacArthur defenders often say to us.

      You asked me to read the second question and MacArthur’s answer in that link. I have read and listened to it and I am pasting it here. I am putting in bold font the most egregious parts of MacArthur’s answer. And those words of his which I have put in bold DO show that this guy Don has recounted what MacArthur teaches about domestic abuse.

      Question: Adultery is not the only extremely painful ingredient in a marriage, what do you recommend in your counseling where there is child molestation or wife beating or extreme alcoholism or some of those situations that — that become not just marginal but really intolerable for a wife we’ll say?

      John: I think 1 Corinthians 7:10 says, very simply, I’ll read it to you, that there is an answer to that, and I think perhaps that’s what is in view in this text. It says, “If she divorces” — and it doesn’t give you any reason here, it just says if she divorces — “let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband but don’t let the husband divorce his wife.” What it is saying there is there may be a situation without adultery where you divorce, and it may be — and in my mind, it’s one of those kind of situations.

      You know, I can’t counsel a mother who says, you know, “What am I going to do? This man has committed incest with my child and he beats me up and et cetera, beats up the children and so forth and so on. Do I just sit there and take it? And the chairs on my head, and the stuff he throws at me, and the cigarette burns on my arm” — battered wives and all this stuff. What do I do? Well, certainly there is nothing in the Bible that says you just stand around until you are just beaten to a pulp. You know, God has built into the human being a certain sense of self-preservation, right? And it’s normal to separate yourself in that kind of situation. And maybe that’s what Paul is thinking about. There may come circumstances where divorce occurs, but if it isn’t on biblical grounds, that’s it. I mean, you can remain unmarried or be reunited.

      But I would say that that’s only a possibility in that text. I really feel that if we are obedient to the word of God in that kind of a situation, God would give us the grace to endure a lot more severe things than we think. So, what we do is this, we counsel people this way: If you’re in an abusive situation, there’s not adultery involved, it’s just abusive, cruelty, or something like that, I don’t think, you know, alcoholism is necessarily in the same category. But where there’s beatings and where it affects you or the children, there’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t step away, get away to preserve your own health and your own safety and your own security. You don’t need to stay there and just be beaten to a pulp. God’s given us a self-defense mechanism. But I don’t think that that’s grounds for divorce biblically. I think you have to hang in there, and that’s what makes great prayer warriors, people who can turn that kind of a thing into a draw-nigh-unto-God kind of relationship. You know, when all your families have forsaken you, the Lord will be your family. [Emphasis added, some paragraph breaks added to enhance readability.]


  1. John MacArthur’s Destructive Teachings – “No Divorce for Abuse” by Jeff Crippen/A Cry for Justice blog – GBFSV SPIRITUAL ABUSE VICTIMS' RECOVERY

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