We are not making any personal aspersions or accusations against the character of any person or organization listed here. We are simply announcing that this list represents well known organisations, theologians, pastors, counselors and others who are in our opinion, not safe resources for abuse victims.
Abuse occurs in every Christian denomination. Baptists, Presbyterian, Independent, Lutheran, Reformed….all of them. Churches in some denominations, such as Baptist, are self-governing. Others, such as Presbyterian or Lutheran or Methodist (as just a few examples) have accountability of varying degrees to some governing body such as a Presbytery or Synod. We receive reports of abuse victims receiving injustice at the hands of their local church in all sorts of denominations. Therefore, we cannot wholly endorse a particular denomination as a whole as being a safe place for abuse victims.
The Lutheran Hour Ministries has produced a booklet that accurately reflects the position of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: Has God Abandoned Me? For Women Facing Domestic Violence. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has published a position paper which states that physical abuse is grounds for divorce, but we also receive numerous reports of PCA churches dealing out injustice to victims and not following that position paper. The Christian Reformed Church (CRC), similarly, cannot be endorsed as “safe” for victims as a denomination, as we have received reports of grave injustices up to the synod level; but it is devoting some resources to educating its members about abuse.
The key then is to find a local church where the pastor and leaders understand abuse and are resolved to protect victims and expose abusers. We cannot label any denomination as guaranteed “safe.” There is often a big gap between rhetoric and reality.
Any denominations that we expressly name here in our Hall of Blind guides (such as some of the “micro” Presbyterian denominations), are so infected with radical patriarchy (patriocentrism) that we would deem any of their churches to be unsafe.
Association of Reformed Baptists of America (ARBCA)
According to their website “ARBCA is an association of Reformed Baptist churches working together to faithfully hold to biblical truth and vigorously proclaim the gospel to a needy world.” However it has become public knowledge that pastor Tom Chantry, a “notable and respected” Reformed Baptists leader has been charged in the state of Arizona with multiple counts of molestation of a child and aggravated assault on a minor. As investigation continues it is becoming more apparent that there is a Code of Silence taught and enforced throughout this denomination. For more on ARBCA and the charges against Tom Chantry see this ACFJ post.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC)
This is another micro-Presbyterian denomination consisting of less than 20 churches. Extreme patriarchy is characteristic. R.C. Sproul Jr. is affiliated with one of these churches.
Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB)
While the IFB denomination does not have a governing board or one leading/famous personality, it has a well-documented legacy of fostering abuse and narcissism. Also, many of its “core doctrines” are no different than those of Bill Gothard’s ATI / IBLP.
Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)
We have a post regarding the OPC. In addition to the article that the post refers to, one of our readers brought an addition article on domestic violence from the OPC website to our attention. Here is a link to the reader’s comment and Barbara’s reply.
This fellowship of churches is marked by heavy legalism and the exercise of great injustice to abuse victims. Primitive Baptists believe they are the true church, preserved over the centuries. Most are located in the SE part of the United States. We can document a case of a victim and her family being ex-communicated by the PB church they were part of for many years.
Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS)
The flagship church in this small denomination is the Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, Joe Morecraft, Pastor.
5 thoughts on “Christian Denominations in our Hall of Blind Guides”
When I first reported my husband’s abuse to authorities, he was put on trial. I hadn’t fully grieved my marriage and hoped he would change. I also thought jail would be bad for him at that time and make him worse. The jury acquitted him, and I lost my no contact order against him. I refused to go back except certain terms (which I didn’t keep).
We got counsel through a pastor affiliated with the MN Baptist Association. He would tell us that he is weighing things evenly between us, and that both of us had a skewed perspective of reality. He treated my abuser as a Christian, despite his refusal to change. My husband used this counseling to empower himself even more. We were also told we should never record one another because it does not encourage forgiveness.
According to this pastor, I was not being submissive enough and that would provoke my husband to act. This is exactly what my abusive husband wanted him to say.
This church I went through also has a seminary. I would suggest that the standpoints of the church and its seminary enables abusers and oppresses victims, and truly does not take abuse seriously. I would also suggest that any counselors who have trained at Central Seminary may also carry this skewed view of abuse in the home.
In the home that it is okay and/or normal. I’m not trying to say the ones who trained there are abusers themselves, but that they allow it in the homes of their members (should have proofread it)
I’m very surprised that “Independent Fundamental Baptist” is not on the list. It should be! While the IFB denomination does not have a governing board or one leading / famous personality, it has a well-documented legacy of fostering abuse and narcissism. Also, many of its “core doctrines” are no different than those of Bill Gothard’s ATI / IBLP.
I wish you had a list of churches that were willing to endorse your work and thereby make it easier to find kindred souldiers.
Sorry but we can’t make a list of churches that are willing to endorse our work. There would be very few churches on the list, for starters. And even with a church that has been recommended to us by someone we trust, that church may only agree with our work up to a point, so it might still be an unsafe place for some survivors.