Thursday Thought — The Deadly Combination of Ignorance and Arrogance

Why do churches pour salt into the wound of those [domestic abuse victims] who are the most wounded?

First is the very real possibility that a given church is swarming with wolves in sheep’s clothing.  No Christians want to believe that this is true of their own church, but God has told us in His Word that there are many false prophets, and thus we should test the spirits.  He warns us that Satan can appear as an angel of light.  The servants of Satan can appear as sons of righteousness.

But even in cases when the people of the church know and love Christ and want to see people be set free from sin, we still see situations in which abusers are protected and abuse victims blamed.  Why would they minimize the abuse and render injustice to abuse victims?

A common cause for a wrong response to abuse is ignorance of the nature and tactics of abuse.  Few Christians understand the ugliness of real abuse and how abuse affects its victims.  When church leaders fail to understand a problem, they cannot deal with it properly.  But despite this ignorance, Christians commonly express a confidence that they have the ability to pronounce God’s word on the situation…

Church leaders have preached on the great doctrines of the faith, even preached them accurately.  Church leaders have taught about marriage and husbands and wives, and even taught these truths accurately.  But this wisdom and teaching has not gone far enough.

Preachers who love God have failed to paint a clear picture of abuse as sin.  As a result, the abuser can easily dismiss the preaching as being about someone else. He can sit comfortably in his Sunday seat, wearing the effective mask of the saintly Christian, confident that his church loves him and will support him if his crazy wife ever tries to talk to anyone about how he exercises his “headship.”

Church leaders have failed to understand the dynamics of abuse and have failed to listen to the words of their sermons through the ears of the abuser and the abused.  Taking Scriptures out of context and applying them without understanding, Christian leaders and the Christian community at large have shown their arrogance and ignorance in counseling victims.

(Excerpt from Pastor Crippen’s book, Unholy Charade: Unmasking the domestic abuser in the church [Affiliate link], p99-100,125)


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.


15 thoughts on “Thursday Thought — The Deadly Combination of Ignorance and Arrogance”

  1. Once you’ve been exposed to abuse in a relationship and have gone through a Bible-based recovery for DV your eyes are open to the subtle yet dangerous acts of abusers in leadership positions. It’s like your a foreigner in a ungodly place. It’s not the big things abusers may do. It’s the small jabs or word salad they punch others with. It happens to me on a regular basis. Confronting them is risky business! Especially if it’s a pastor or one of his elders. And I might add this. If your a divorced woman trying to take a biblical stand, the stand may even be more difficult. It is however the road God is guiding me to take. Not compromising! NOT going away. Satan hates it.
    God is my refuge and strength.

  2. Also of note, a practiced, narcissistic abuser is an actor in his own play. And he is really, really good at it. He draws his audience in with his mask of holiness, (sometimes) his deeds and sacrifices of spreading the gospel, so much so that no one, not even the pastor (at least at first) recognizes the evil behind the mask. As a well-practiced actor who has honed his craft (acting craft? No, more accurately “witchcraft”) sometimes for decades, he knows all the techniques, back doors, emotional seduction that draws the audience onto his stage with him. Notice the word “audience”. Not friends. Those who believe they are friends are merely props in his play and audiences to play to. Once the props / audience’s usefulness is complete, or they recognize what is going on behind the intermission curtain, especially if they go behind the curtain to confront the actor, they understand that they were, really, just useful props or useful audience members, clapping, lauding the actor in the mask, feeding the diabolical script writer wearing the mask. There truly IS a phantom of the opera. Nothing done by the masked man is for anyone’s good except his own.

    Christians who are truly following Christ are often fooled by the split personality of the abuser. Not because we are not listening to the Spirit of God, but because we SIMPLY DON’T THINK LIKE AN ABUSER. The behavior recounted by the victim blindsides us. We don’t knowingly abuse others, so we don’t recognize the traits of an abuser…until we are behind the curtain through our own experiences or walking alongside the victim / survivor.

    Thank you so much, Jeff, Barbara, Ellie and others who have invested so much of yourselves to help the uninitiated and the victims. You’ve opened up the body to reveal the cancer that must be excised. Thank you really isn’t enough. But I do look forward to hearing the Lord say to you each “well done good and faithful servant”.

    1. Yes, Thank You Pastor Jeff, Barbara, and everybody involved in keeping this blog going! I very much appreciate your work shining the light on this issue, and your support of victims.

      I think to some degree, people want to be charmed and entertained, as well as desire to maintain the status quo. Therefore, they side with the perp.

  3. Towards the end of my marriage, I rented Fireproof and watched it with my husband. There were so many messages he could have picked up on in that movie. When it was over, he just shrugged his shoulders and said that he got a lot more out of their other movie (Facing the Giants). I was depressed for a week because of this. Traditional marriage help techniques don’t work on abusers because they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior. Those outside of abuse don’t seem to comprehend how that is even possible, so they respond poorly. Btw – within three months of watching that movie I had moved out and filed [for] divorce. I forced myself to watch it, alone, a few years later just because I was tired of it haunting and traumatizing me every time I saw something about it.

  4. I’m really struggling with anxiety / panic attacks and depression this week. I shared information about abuse with someone who was struggling with concerns about a relationship her adult son was in. She asked questions and I tried to answer them with info and with my personal situation with abusive family. I thought she was understanding, but then she wrote:

    “Do well and make peace with your family. Dump psychology – whenever it diverges from sound biblical wisdom. And, here it does. It should set off alarm bells, but we don’t hear them, sometimes; especially when we’re frightened. I know you have a great deal of fear; but sound counsel is to make peace wherever and whenever possible. …You’re a tremendous person who has gotten off-kilter with your family; they may not be ideal, but they are still your family.
    And, the same goes for me. We must not encourage one another in our bitterness; but exhort ourselves to purity in love and deed. And reconciliation.”

    I feel so battered by people. Why can’t they ever understand? Are we only supposed to paint smiles on our faces and pretend everything is ok? Are we supposed to live in torment in order to keep relationships with people who mistreat us just because they are “family”? Sometimes I feel as if I am screaming inside and no one hears me.

    1. This person has a very deadly combination – arrogance and ignorance. Not a safe person. She is simply spewing the typical contemporary “Christian” party line planks that always end up oppressing victims and enabling the wicked. Most of these types don’t understand because they don’t want to understand.

    2. I was not the abused…but I walked extremely close to her as the sister I didn’t have born to me. Over the 6 years of rejection, separation, divorce, post-divorce harassment she and I both learned there are people one just can not divulge information to. There were people we learned the hard way that had to be blocked on social networks. There were others that we felt the warning ripples in our stomachs, so we kept quiet around them. And, sadly, like the Samaritan who was compassionate and cared for the injured Jew while his own people shunned him, sometimes the secular help available is more compassionate than the off-the-cuff ‘Christian’ lay ‘counselors’, because they have no blinders of or rigid self-anointed restrictions of “this is what a ‘Christian’ should do”. Family can be some of THE worst pain inflictors and self-righteous Christians, who have read the Bible–but not studied it–are right behind them.

      Abused women HAVE TRIED to make “peace”, over and over and… One spouse was not intended to be the sole responsible person for the marriage flying. And a plane can’t fly with only one wing. Forgiveness (not extracting revenge but leaving it up to the Lord) can be a continual effort since offenses from an abuser don’t stop until he dies or has a true “come to Jesus moment”…which is rare since by their actions they believe they are God. Reconciliation is an entirely different animal altogether. Reconciliation requires trust.

      I hate snakes (human or animal). I have shot them point blank, beat them with a hoe until they died in self-defense. Thankfully, none were poisonous, though the areas I have lived have had rattlesnakes. However, I would never attempt to reconcile with a poisonous snake because the only trust that exists between us is that I trust it will bite me the first chance it gets. (I watched my “sister” attempt to reconcile many times with her abuser and she got bitten each time; every encounter for any reason was an opportunity for that snake to bite her and he did…repeatedly.) Therefore I avoid snakes. I will also avoid any person that tries to make me reconcile with any kind of a snake because, knowing my aversion to them, that person would not have my best interests at heart. No where in our Bible does it instruct us to reconcile with evil-doers.

      Might I humbly suggest that if this person, or others you are not convinced are safe, tries to discuss the matter again, if possible, a gentle “This is a deeply personal matter. I’m not ready to discuss it at this time.” might be in order? There is no obligation on your part to answer questions, listen to, or take advice from people who are clueless, insensitive, know-it-alls, or have shown themselves to be not on the side of justice but appeasement…YOU appeasing the abuser, of course, nothing having to do with the unlicensed adviser putting themselves at risk of the abuser themselves by standing up with you. If a person is put off by your decision to not discuss the matter, you have your answer instantly regarding if they are safe or not.

      Father, by the power of Your precious Holy Spirit, would You please give our sister unexpected discernment of spirits and of the attitudinal “spirits” of those who would give her unsafe counsel? I ask this so that she will be able to recognize unsafe people and that she would be divinely guided towards those that care enough to truly help. I ask that You bring along side someone who is willing to walk with her through the ups and downs of emancipation from evil. Give her rest tonight, lift the depression, remind her of Whose she is, bring clarity to her mind. In the name of Jesus our chain breaker, amen.

      1. II really care about how people who are struggling with abuse and try to help them. I was trying to help my friend. But I find that more times than not, people can’t seem to understand abuse and they condemn the victim for the actions she takes to protect herself or her family. It’s very discouraging, and I wonder if there is ANYONE we can ever honestly share anything with or if we are doomed to just talk about shallow stuff that doesn’t matter, each painting smiles on our faces while we cry alone in the dark. It’s a very lonely existence if we can’t ever be real, but more and more I really would prefer to not have people in my life.

      2. Hi Un-tangled. Yes it’s discouraging when we can’t find anyone to talk to in-depth face-to-face without being judged or told what to do. Thank God for cyberspace where we can talk at long distance anonymously, but it’s not the same as having someone compassionate beside us when the tears well up and we just need to cry. 😦

      3. Came Alongside — there is such wisdom in your post. Also, Un-Tangled, I’m sending you a long-distance cyber hug. I know the feeling. I strongly suspect there are others here, too, who have been exactly where you are. You are a light, and there are those who will do anything to extinguish light and replace it with a false “light” (which really amounts to smoke and mirrors).

  5. Came Alongside:

    Your comments on this post (and others) speak to me each time I read them.

    There is something about how you write that seeps like water through porous soil. I cannot place my finger on the “why?”…puzzling me. In one sense, I don’t know why I am surprized, considering I have greater awareness of preference of writing styles in other material I read, whether fact or fiction.

    Part of the reason may be the same as the concept of the ACFJ website…information can be read and processed in smaller, easier-to-digest pieces. Books tend to be logical and linear…this makes complete sense. Healing, however, rarely is linear or “sensible.” Very rarely does any healing “go by the book”.

    (Possible trigger warning to readers?) Perhaps the “not going by the book” healing process is part of what throws people off. They can’t “follow a manual”, checking off “lists completed”. In this, the realm of abuse is not unique.

    Consider grief. Yes, the steps are usually written in a particular order. What becomes confusing for many, whether on the outside or the inside in the grieving process, is the lack of linear processing. People may move in and out of the various steps, rarely according to “schedule”.

    Perhaps your words speak so clearly because they do not yell…

    1. …perhaps your words speak so clearly because they do not yell…

      Oh yes. A thousand times yes.

      Whereas book authors, especially if they are “Christian teachers” — counselors or pastors who have a brand name in Christendom – often yell at their readers: they use the ‘should’ word and the ‘must’ word far too often when telling the problematic reader what to do and how to think and how to feel. They patronise. They act superior. Oh, and they might preface it with a humble brag, or a disidentified (often made up) “case study” to show that they “really understand” what it’s like for afflicted lowly people who are reading their book because they are looking for answers.

      1. (Airbrushing…)

        Nailed it and Amen.

        I think I would include some of the “”C”hristian women’s ministry” authors. Some of them make my teeth ache.

        In hindsight, I remember a bucket load of books I found frustrating to read. The process in the book was like a recipe. Add these ingredients to the bowl. Stir. Add a few more ingredients. Stir. Repeat X numbers of times – one for each chapter in the book. Scoop the final mixture into an X-by-X pan and place in a pre-heated oven for the prescribed amount of time. Take out of the oven after the prescribed amount of time – no toothpick-testing for done-ness needed – and voila! You have the perfect end product. (And, by implication, if the end product “failed”, it was your fault. Didn’t stir enough. Added too much liquid. Too much salt. Didn’t take into account the higher altitude. Added the ingredients in the “wrong” order. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

        I knew the “shoulds” and whatnot bothered me and wrote it off as coming from the more “authoritarian” stance. The linear approach never “fit”. And I knew I was not the only one in these shoes.

        Now I have a deeper understanding of why the books bothered me. At the time, I was responding as an abused person, without the awareness I was an abused person. Not even on my radar. The books are dictatorial in the same way as an abuser, including the more subtle forms of coercive control. I prefer books containing the information, perhaps providing a few examples. The choice of what to do – or do not do – with what I read is mine.

        I realize the way I work isn’t for everyone, for any number of reasons. I totally get it.

        For me, it’s like learning computer application software – keeping in mind I have a computer background, at a more basic software level than most folks. 🙂 When learning new application software, I sit in front of the computer with the manual – or online help – and explore / work / learn. Yes, there are basics to learn first, but many concepts are transferable…which commands are likely to be found where, etc. I have occasionally taken a “specialized” course, depending upon my needs…the rest is trial and error. The only time things have “gone south” was when given entirely incorrect information.

        And yes, I get frustrated with poorly written computer manuals… 🙂

      2. I commented (15TH JUNE 2018 – 7:57 AM):

        And yes, I get frustrated with poorly written computer manuals… 🙂

        ….including WordPress Support pages.

        Since I wrote the comment from which I made the above excerpt, I’ve had a lot more experience using WordPress and WordPress Support pages.

        I would now write the above excerpt from my comment and my comment on WordPress Support pages:

        And yes, I get frustrated with poorly written computer manuals…including WordPress Support / “Support” pages. 🙂

      3. Finding Answers, I relate a bit to what you’re saying. I get frustrated (I actually feel strong hatred) whenever I hear or read something that purports to be the truth but is in fact a lie. Lies come in many forms and they include lies created by electronic glitches.

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