A Cry For Justice

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

If you don’t have a safe church to go to

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.


Many Christians have no local church to attend where they feel safe and are being fed. For those who are in that position, we encourage you to listen to sermons and services online.

Churches, live-feed church services, and archived sermons that we recommend

Ps Sam Powell, First Reformed Church Yuba City, California

You can listen to Sam’s sermons anytime on Sermon Audio- First Reformed Church Yuba City

You can follow First Reformed Church Yuba City on Facebook. All their services are live-fed to their Facebook page. They also give a link to the sermon where you can listen to it after it has been live-streamed.

Sam Powell also posts links to his sermons on Twitter @sampowell365 

Ps Jeff Crippen, Christ Reformation Church, Tillamook, Oregon

You can listen to Jeff Crippen’s sermons anytime on Sermon Audio – Christ Reformation Church Tillamook

Sermons that are particularly helpful to victims of abuse

Most Christians who are victims of abuse are tired of having to pick up crumbs from sermons while being on hyper-alert for things the preacher says that may trigger them.

Many Christians who are victims of abuse are exhausted (and almost despairing) because they have found by hard experience that if they go to church service they have to make an immense effort to discern and cut all the bad (triggering) things that the preacher has said, in the hope of picking up a few crumbs from the sermon that will help them.

Our sermons page gives links to sermons we know have been really helpful for victims of abuse.
(you can navigate to that page anytime by clicking on Resources in our main menu)

Some of the things you will find at our sermons page:


  1. Been there

    The failure to feed the flock is a problem almost everywhere. After many years, I realized there is a problem with the sermon-centred service. You will go to XXX churches and hear XXX different messages, and virtually none will tell of Christ and Him crucified. They are weak, carnal, or plain false. They hold to the denominational line (whatever it is), and there will be sectarian error there.

    The answer lies in good liturgy. Don’t mistake me, I love a good sermon. But there is safety and nourishment in good, sound liturgy. A good liturgical service feeds, teaches, and what is more, the whole congregation is focused on Christ, not on a man preaching. A true liturgical service is Christ-centred in communion with others.

    I was amazed to discover the Reformation liturgy of Thomas Cranmer, which is about ready to pass away, but if you are lucky, you can find a church that still uses an old prayer book. The traditional Anglican prayer book was wrongly condemned by the early Puritans. As I worshiped with it every Sunday, my faith grew – especially my understanding of the seriousness of sin. I was fed. Alas, the sermon time is still a time of risk. I have heard weak and false sermons. However, the liturgy is focused on Christ and Him crucified, it is 97% straight scripture. It focuses on the Communion Service, and is Spirit-filled.

  2. Momto7

    Thanks, Barbara. I’m sure this information will be helpful to many. I have been blessed by many of the sermons by Pastor Jeff and Pastor Sam. Thank you for the work all of you are doing. It is a real blessing.

    I didn’t really understand the need to protect myself from triggering. When I first told my husband I was done, it took him 2 months to leave. During that time some sweet (but unhelpful) neighbors invited us to a study on the book “Cherish” by Gary Thomas. I couldn’t sit through it. I just kept crying and crying and ended up in the bathroom throughout. I didn’t go back, although my husband made a show of going a few more times. It has been a year and a half since we separated – a year and a half of peace, growth, learning. I am now reading “Steps to Freedom” by Don Hennessy and it is so good. I still get triggered….but now I know what it is and I give myself time to digest and understand.

    Thank you for your sensitivity and for helping us all learn to guard our hearts. May your work continue to reach far and wide and strengthen victims from the inside out.

    • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

      I am not entirely sure what the whole triggering thing is. I’m bound to have been there in the few times I’ve had to go to my old church for funerals. It’s the only time I go out of respect for the people I cared for and loved and families. This is a new one to me I’ve never heard of such, but I do understand we all have triggers and it could be almost anything. I’ve steered clear of everything but I know I go quiet when things are said around me at times or I’d completely crack up or let off steam, lol and probably say things with wrong feelings. My fear of church is meeting people and them asking questions I really don’t want to really [talk] about. My fear is meeting people I know and them wondering what has happened to me and where or how is….etc. I’ve too many hurts. This side of my struggle interests me now but I’m nowhere near free on it sadly. I feel I am no longer good enough for church but I know God accepts me as His child. 🙂

  3. Finding Answers

    Thank you for including all the links in one post, Barb – I know they are available through various other means on the ACFJ blog. I have bookmarked this page for ease of access.

  4. HealingInHim

    Thank you for this post. These men have been used to strengthen me. For the past year their sermons have been very encouraging and reminding us that for true Christians this earth is not our home; to look forward to our Blessed Hope and to be with Him, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. ❤

  5. Starlight

    I also listen to Liam Goligher of Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia as well, you have featured him here in the past with his series on Esther.
    His recent series on Song of Solomon has really brought me a new and better understanding of a previously confusing book.

  6. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    As a person who endured almost 20 years of abuse I pressed on, despite the hurts and pains, with a heavy involvement in many areas of church leadership. I find it extremely hard to even listen now to constant talk of church or organising events etc as well as things online or television etc. As I was for over 25 years a worship leader I struggle to listen to worship songs, there’s so much pain associated with it.

    I know what I believe and hold on to, but my world was shattered when my pastor and his wife turned on me after many years of asking for help.

    I never hardly missed a meeting or anything I was involved in. Sadly, my wife appeared one night at the start of a very important meeting which I was leading as worship leader. She of course hardly darkened church doors but appeared and sat right on the front row and cried so the pastor’s wife who noticed chatted with her and she [Now Free’s wife] divulged that I was getting a divorce. I had only mentioned a few days before that I could take no more of mental torture. I felt dead inside and was struggling to break free. We had tried every avenue I knew and that included seeking help from my long-term friend and pastor. We were still working it all out.

    This of course was a red rag to a bull to this ministerial couple. I feel I have lost everything and as far as all the vision and work etc I had followed God’s direction on, in a matter of days [it] fell apart. Well it actually was pulled from under me and a lot of what I know now as religious abuse followed.

    The church were only told I had left to go elsewhere, but that I was welcome back at any time. It was a bit of a farcical deception.

    My family did not fully understand either, but as leaders stayed within the church. They tried hard to keep everything quiet and tried to support me in my struggle to break free. That was certainly not always easy support, and still on many occasions I still get told that divorce etc is wrong and I’ve broken my vows. I have had many a frank discussion / disagreement on my stance to be free from abuse I was under. I’ve often stated I had to do this and I’d no other options and I did it for me not church or anyone else.

    It’s been a long, lonely road at times, but two years on, separated and approaching that final divorce settlement very soon, I am stronger in many ways.

    However, I feel guilty I cannot still bring myself hardly to a church (I struggle with funerals especially in that same place I ministered for years) or listen to things like that. It’s horrendous to have to talk to old ‘friends’ although I dearly love them. They know nothing or if they do, offered nothing to help. Many want me back, many cry when they see me. I honestly don’t know what they know or have been told or heard, but none stood behind me. None of them [who] knew anything said a word. Only one wished me all the best and told me in a letter they were sad I was leaving and valued my ministry and support to them and turned family. Only one.

    There is something wrong with me! I’m still dealing with the pain of rejection and that I’d given my life to God and serving Him in any way I could. I’ve done this since I was a child. I was totally devoted and yet I cannot bring myself back to the happy place I was in. It’s been violated I feel. Destroyed and although my struggle for freedom from a horrendous abusive marriage I still don’t feel fully free inside.

    A lot of what I say probably does not make any sense but I continually feel that I’m not good enough anymore because I don’t go to church and feel my family does look at me as second-hand, not as good as I once was. I feel terrible for it but I know they don’t understand. I was very much at the heights so-to-speak of going for great things and achieving great things for God. I never could have survived what I endured without that deep relationship with Him. The only thing that held me back was all that was secret that I hid and put on back burner when I gave myself in what ever role I did. It was like a car crash that I suddenly had all taken away. I have not lost God, 🙂 but I lost everything else. The pain of being known and serving many, to having to hide from rehashing it trying to explain myself and certainly protecting that fellowship. It would have surely split if the truth had come out. I’m glad for their sake it didn’t because many if not most are godly, lovely people who I know would have supported me and would be appalled if they knew what had taken place over years and the reaction of their pastor at that time.

    It is extremely hard to have to rehash my situation and my past let alone have new people quiz me in a new church. It is hard for me as I was well known and so heavily involved, and now I feel I cannot go anywhere without question or gossip following. It is like another form of harassment.

    So am I wrong to hide away and just press on with life. I believe in time I will fully heal and in time when I am ready I can approach anything like this. I am just lost in this area and I feel I am not a very good Christian as I always preached that we should seek fellowship for support and spiritual food etc.

    I just feel awful that even hearing sermons etc brings back so much sadness and good, yet also very bad memories and hurts. It’s all too much at the moment and I feel I am letting God down and also my family. I am ashamed but I am still struggling.

    I don’t feel very Christian I guess. I know that is my fault, but I’m trying to deal with things a little at a time. It has been hard to sort out everything else. I just need time.

    Am I wrong or has anyone else felt [the] same or going through this. I’m very very much alone in everything. I’ve no real support except here.

    • Thanks for your comment! I’ll reply more when I’ve had more sleep.

    • A new name

      Now free (Formerly struggling to be free) I feel the same way, I understand. I know God wants us to:

      not forsaking our own assembling…. (Hebrews 10:25)

      –but I also know God wants us to heal and protect the one He died for (us in this case).

      There is a season for everything under the sun as Solomon said (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), that I tell myself. I feel that bringing my body to the church when my heart is screaming at me: Cover your ears…. Don’t let them hurt you even more….is a pharisaical act of my own. So I don’t go. I might be completely wrong and please help me to see it if that is the case, but I so far, can’t bring myself to it and expose me to the abuse over and over again. I don’t think God wants that either. For the time being I read and meditate on the Scriptures, I listen to sermons that teach me about the real God of the Bible not the picture the patriarchal wing wants to force on us and I worship, oh I worship my Savior, my sweet and deserving good God! I hope He will bring me to His house one day again, a real House of God, until then I will wait.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Thanks, A New Name.

    • Hello Sunshine

      Now Free, you ARE seeking:

      fellowship for support and spiritual food

      That’s what you are doing, commenting here. You are seeking fellowship that is actually supportive and nourishing, and also ministering to others. You are choosing to devote your time and energy to take part in exactly the functions of church. The function, not the form, is surely what matters. You are doing your part. As you know, the form often conceals dysfunction and it is WISE and GOOD to avoid harmful, shallow, false-religious settings. It is wise and good to practice discernment, to be wary, to take time alone, and to make time for healing.

      I have a friend who was kicked out of a church where he was a beloved member and involved in leadership for decades, in an abusive power play by the pastor. He lost almost everything and felt much like you. He eventually concluded “church is where you find it.” He looked for everyday opportunities to help people and get into deeper conversations. He found so many chances to minister and talk about spiritual matters with people in daily life that he ended up believing that intense church involvement had been a barrier to actually bringing Christ to the world. There were also things he had neglected while serving at church so much, and it was healing to concentrate more on them….things like his physical well-being….remember when Elijah was discouraged, alone, and ready to die, what God gave him first was not an admonition, a task, or an explanation, but fresh-baked bread.

      Having heard much of his situation and pain and having experienced some of it myself, I really feel for you and understand some of the awful loss, violation, ripple effects, and unexpected triggers. I do not believe you are at all unusual or wrong to feel lost or to:

      hide [away] and [just] press on with life.

      It does take lots of time. Looks to me like you have a devoted heart, talents that you continue to use out of love and hope in the Lord, a normal human reaction to long-suffering pain, excellent instincts, strength, and hope.

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Thanks Hello Sunshine.

  7. Ashley

    When I saw this recent post, I was hungry for more truth and help processing as I heal from my abusive marriage. I had previously listened to Pastor Jeff Crippen’s series on domestic abuse (twice). It was so helpful, I decided to listen to the series Wise As Serpents. I just finished the series and was blown away by how distorted my beliefs about God were and what His word really says about marriage and divorce. I was, like so many, thinking that I was pleasing God by staying married to my abusive husband.

    It feels so good to know the truth and to know that I am free.

    And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

    Thank you for bringing the truth. There is freedom in His Word, now that I more fully understand it. I appreciate this ministry. I have been able share with others what I am learning through it and the recommended resources.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Ashley, and welcome to the blog. 🙂

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