How the Threat of God’s Wrath is Used to Silence Abuse Victims
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.
In following the story of Marie Notcheva over at Wartburg Watch, I read the following comment by a “friend” of Marie’s on Facebook. I decided to highlight this comment here in a post because THIS tactic of threatening God’s wrath for exposing evil in a church is really rather common. Here is what this “friend” had to say:
I would be very careful attacking Heritage Bible Chapel. God is VERY clear that the only reason that divorce is permitted is because of sexual immorality aka adultery or that the man is not a born again Christian and he chooses to leave the marriage. But the same is true for the wife. Romans 7:2-3 I LOVE you Marie and your family, but attacking the church that was trying to guide you biblically isn’t safe.
“Be very careful…attacking the church isn’t safe.” That is a threat. The commenter denied it when confronted, but it is indeed a threat. It is a plain attempt to enforce the ungodly, dark “code of silence” that churches, church leaders, and church members so often work to enforce. It covers for evil. It is the ally of evil.
This particular tactic goes even beyond the devilish device of charging the victim who tells with “gossip.” Here you have the claim that to expose evil in a church openly is to incur that wrath of God upon you for saying anything negative about “his” church. “You better keep looking up, Marie, because a lightning bolt is headed your way. Oh, and I only tell you this because I love you.” Yeah, right. Love. You bet.
This commenter’s language is filled with other abuse tactics as well. Consider the word “attacking.” That charges any victim who brings wickedness out into the open as being guilty of “attacking” in some mean, destructive manner. Well, we ARE attacking these kinds of things, but it is the attack God calls us to —
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Cor 10:3-6)
Notice the berating, dismissive phrase “God is VERY clear…” about reasons for divorce. What arrogance! If Scripture on this subject were so VERY clear, then why is there so much disagreement among Christians about the doctrine of divorce? Of course we believe the source of the problem rests in the failure of so many Bible “teachers” to consider the full context and character of God as they handle the Scriptures. Forget those things and you will come up with these wooden, merciless applications that bind rather than set free. But here is a person who has the audacity to announce that she and her “church” possess absolute truth which everyone else is bound to follow and if they do not, well, once again you better not be holding a golf club up in the air in a rainstorm. ZAP!
And then you have the cult-language of “attacking the church that was trying to guide you biblically isn’t safe.” Whoa! That’s a devilish masterpiece of condensed accusations: attacking, trying to guide you…isn’t safe. Pow, pow, pow. I mean, how is that kind of tactic any different at all from the brainwashing, threatening, crazy-making methods of your typical cult? It isn’t. It emanates from the same source down under (not OZ, Barbara 🙂 ).
There. Exposed. It’s raining outside. I think I will go out and listen to the thunder. No fear 🙂
Wartburg Watch now has a total of nine posts dedicated to Marie’s story. We encourage you to read the entire story starting with part 1 of Marie Notcheva’s story. TWW’s coverage of the whole saga was instrumental in getting HBC to back down. Links below:
Part VII (when the Elders finally “released” me): Heritage Bible Chapel Elders Channel Pharaoh and let Marie go
Part VIII (when it hit front page of local newspaper): Marie Notcheva’s Story of Church Abuse Featured in Sentinel and Enterprise News