A Cry For Justice

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

Why Kind, Gentle, Nice Christians, Aren’t

1 Corinthians 5:1   It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.  2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

One of the greatest sources of enablement the abuser enjoys in our churches comes from what on the surface looks like the kindest, gentlest, most merciful, loving Christian in the church.  In the name of “mercy and love and grace” this kind of individual reminds us frequently that

  • All sinners are the same.
  • All of us are just as sinful as anyone else
  • God requires us to show mercy and forgiveness to all
  • Everyone is welcome in our churches

The single statement by the Apostle Paul above disproves every single one of these notions.  Notice his points very carefully:

  1. The Corinthians were sinning in a shocking way by permitting this man to continue in their church
  2. This man’s sin was so shocking that not even pagans would tolerate it
  3. The Corinthians were not showing this man mercy and love; rather they were motivated by sinful arrogance, boasting about how broad-minded they were.
  4. It was a sad, mournful situation bringing shame to Christ’s name.

Many Christians today do not like to hear about abuse and abusers in their church.  They don’t like to be told that such a person is guilty of a particularly evil wickedness.  They don’t want to be called to put that evil out from among them.  And they don’t like to hear that a person who lives like an abuser simply is not and cannot be a Christian.

Consequently, they gut the gospel of any kind of requirement for repentance.  They preach a cheap grace that does not necessarily transform a person’s life.  In their public prayers they love to announce that God loves us all, no matter what, no matter how, no matter….well, no matter.  He just loves us all and in the end most everyone is a Christian who says they are a Christian.  Including the abuser.

This is not kindness.  It is not the gentleness of Jesus.  It isn’t nice.  It is arrogance and it is sin, just like Paul rebuked the Corinthians for.  It is, shall we say, a false gospel.  And it cruelly oppresses the weak and downtrodden.

The Bible does not teach us that God’s mercy and grace are infinite.  Did you hear that?  Let me say it again.  The Bible does not teach that God’s mercy and grace are infinite.  If they were, there would be no hell.  But then, there would be no justice either and God would be found guilty of injustice.

” Let him who has done this be removed from among you.”

65 Comments

  1. Memphis Rayne

    Well its startling, this fog we refer too, seems to lay itself over the church like a glistening soft blanket of kindness, well it looks that way at first then you leave feeling damp cold and desperate. Its almost as if all humanity is removed. Dont feel, do not look beyond our blanket, just recieve our gift of ignorant warm fuzzy misty-ness? Its so terrible how they lay their own fog right on top of the heavy fog victoms are already trying to see through.

    Its really weird for me, being born again into this false cult like place? Now i am actually REALLY being born again into the truth. No wonder it was such a mind tweak. Nothing that was said or done to us once I became a christian ever jived with the holy spirit within me.
    Its as if I would of faired better had I not been a Christian. I know that is a really weird thing to say?
    But I also see now that because of the injustice we suffered we were actually able to see the truth. I see now that because of the horrible injustice we are ultimately better off, because we are no longer silent, and we are not bystanders, we are not caught up in some fake, mauck like Christianity that serves up hypocrasy and hopelessness and a whole lot of oppression. I would of rather went through what we did, than for my kids and I to end up like any of them. Talk about saving us! God is still doing that, I am so grateful that He has given my kids and I an opportunity to literally rise up from the ashes, I am REALLY incredibly thankful that we have got to a place (at least for now) where my kids and I can look critically and independently at the truth and know in our hearts and minds God is for us! All I am saying is in the big picture, I rather be on this side than the other. …..

    and when we are finally free, in every sense FREE…Im going to throw a huge party!!!!! Drink alot of smokin hot lattes and eat some chocolate. Then when I am done celebrating Im going to knock down some doors, ….err? I mean knock “ON” some doors and personally deliver some anti fog spray for the masses. = )

    • Jeff Crippen

      Go Memphis go! This is my RSVP to be at that party!

      • Memphis Rayne

        Barb the Anti Fog Spray will have “Far reaching ability” it has to spread as quickly as an abusers lie. So no worries if they wont let you on the premises you can just do a………….drive by!!! hee hee

      • LOL !

    • “Now i am actually REALLY being born again into the truth.” –– I love that!

      And you have my RSVP too! I reckon you’d throw a great party, Memphis! And love the way you are seeing and telling the truth, and are so grateful to God and passionate to be involved in His work.

      Now, what’s the recipe for that anti-fog spray? I think I could use some here in Oz. If the churches would let me onto their premises. . .

    • Memphis, or anyone else so inclined: at that party, can some of you put on a play? A drama depicting the fog, the victim’s journey, the church’s journey, the whole big and sorry saga, with hope and truth and freedom and God’s easy yoke at the end, where we all are rejoicing.

      I often dream of how this stuff could be conveyed in performance. It could be mimed and highly symbolized and stylized, with atmosphere from lighting and music. Or it could be a stream-of-conscious monologue by a survivor. Or a full-blown play with lots of speaking parts. There as so many ways this issue could be depicted in a dramatic presentation. I bet some of us could write rap lyrics, some could dance it out, some could mime, some could paint the scenery for the backgrounds….

      We have probably all seen the skits that get put on at church camps? This would be a skit that would blow away the cobwebs, I think.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Barbara – I have thought the very same thing numbers of times. A full blown play with acts and scenes. Memphis and company travel around in a big bus/motorhome and put the play on wherever they can.

      • Memphis Rayne

        I love this!!! When my kids and I are free!!! You will hear our woo hoos from all the way down here!!! Note* you may think that all of western civilization has finally collapsed, but no worries its just us, BEING FREE!!!!

        THEN!! We will all gather and get this party started!!!

        To address everybodys learning curve we most likely need to formatt these plays or skits in every form possible, I am absolutely sure we would have enough participents to do so!!

        We could use songs we have written, poetry, exerts from your books! I got you both down as my very first RSVP”s. = )

        As far as anti fog spray goes….well I like NF fog machine idea, purposely fogging up there vision like the abuser does. But I will have to make my own anti fog mist or spray, like in a personal travel ornamented bottle they can take with them , something they will desire to spray every time they are confused in a counseling session, or before they climb up on that pulpit. It has to be more addicting than the latte, so they still spray it even though they feel awkward afterwards. A free parting gift. Of course I would have to include side effects on the warning label; May cause clarity, uncomfortableness, and tightness in the neck, may lose the inability to look away, long term use will put an end to the wicked, may cause empathy towards the oppressed among you.

        Aaah!! That will be good times, good times.

      • Double LOL! I love all those ideas Memphis. :) Brilliant.

  2. Now Free

    First, we need a fog machine. A bruised and battered woman is lying on her bed. Other women, miming their frustrations, are trying to speak but are not being heard. Many women are on the stage, in long dresses, wandering around in the fog. They are searching for “something” but cannot find it. All these women are tortured beyond words, almost paralysed, but they keep wandering, still seeking what they need, whatever this need is…they are not sure. The bruised and battered woman joins them, and more and more women come to the stage and the journey for the search continues.

    The bruised and battered woman starts to sing, and in a clear voice, she voices every one of the womens’ pain and needs. The fog begins to lift. The other women join her and they all sing…a glorious and uplifting sound. The women are feeling free at last…such joy and such hope and feelings of promise are echoed in their voices and in their souls…what a great and beautiful sound and the expressions of joy and peace on the womens’ faces are palpable.

    Then a man and a woman appear. They have not been in the scene previously. They offer the women bouquets of fragrant spring flowers and soft pastel purple blankets. They give the women these gifts. They all embrace each other and speak in mime for a little while, in a peaceful way. The women wrap themselves with the blankets, and with bouquets in their arms, all of them slowly exit the stage, everyone singing a heavenly song.

    The lights become brighter. There is no fog. A strange and agitated man appears in the centre of the stage. He looks around desperately for someone, something, to give him credence. He once had a facade of greatness. It has been taken away. His pretty clothes are being taken off by the man and the woman who appeared previously, giving gifts and hope to the abused women. These clothes are his outer garments and they are being replaced by…nothing. He is being exposed for the cruel and evil person that he is. He is cold and tries to hide his almost naked body. There is no hiding. There is no warmth. There is no peace for this wicked man.

    This wicked man is being escorted off the stage by the man and woman. For the first time, the sound of speaking is heard. It is the man, who in combined rage and violent sounding fear, screams and curses at the man and woman. He is not being heard. He is being taken away to a place that is reserved for him and people like him. His screams gradually echo away.

    A large cross appears. There is light radiating from the cross. The sound of singing is heard. The song ends and a voice quotes Isaiah 35:4:
    Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

    • It sounds wonderful, but honestly unless you make it more clear who that man is, people are so blind to abuse in the church they wouldn’t understand it. Most would probably think he was just the devil, which in a way he is. Even as I read I wasn’t quite sure till the end.

      • That’s a valid point, Lynette. I think maybe a beginning scene showing the abusive man abusing the woman (who later lies on the bed) would be good. It should portray both his Jekyll and Hyde sides, her succumbing to his charm and phoney apologies, and her at some stage begging him for forgiveness for some infraction that he claimed she had done. All that could be mimed, if it were done cleverly enough. He could be gaslighting the woman in some way or other. It would be best if he didn’t use physical violence but maybe at the end of the scene he could raise his fist in a momentary threat, just to make clear that he COULD use violence should he wish to do so, but violence wasn’t necessary to obtain and maintain control over his victim.

    • I like that, Now Free. And I’m sure you’d be happy for there to be some men and boys up there among the crowd of victims. Personally I’d also like to see some of those victims in the ‘lost’ scene, crouching in balls on the floor and silently sobbing, each on her own, with no awareness of the others.

      The man who gets stripped of his fine clothes reminds me of a couple of quotes from Lundy Bancroft (pp 290 & 388 from Why Does He DO That?)

      If we can erode the ability of the abusers to gain allies, they will stand alone, and alone they are easier to stop.
      Once we tear the cover of excuses, distortions, and manipulations off the abusers, they suddenly find abuse much harder to get away with.

      • Now Free

        Barbara, thanks for mentioning about putting on a play. I felt the urge to write it, and it just came out in a stream of consciousness. I actually had fun writing it and it was very cathartic. It wasn’t meant to be complete or written in stone. :) And I did think of the abused men. I feel a lot of compassion for male victims as well.

        How about men and women miming with argumentative gestures? Some of the women would show that they are obviously the perpetrator and vice versa. That’s a very good idea Barbara, to show the crouching in a ball, sobbing. ( I didn’t cry very often, just kept the tears inside.) It might be good therapy for the people in the play and many in the audience as well. Those are excellent quotes from Lundy’s book. I need to recall more of them.

        Hey, I just thought…wouldn’t Lundy Bancroft be excellent in the play? Maybe if we do get serious about it someone can ask him?

        “Maybe work in a pastor who is not an abuser but who is being abused by various “powers” in his church and in a fog himself.”

        Jeff, you are already in the play. Remember the man and woman? It’s you and Barbara! :)

  3. MeganC

    Goodness. This is SO SO good, Jeff C. Thank you.

  4. Saved By Grace

    WOW!!! I would love to see this play. One recommended edit: not only women, but men and children should represent the abused wandering aimlessly in the fog. Women are abused, but we have heard/read testimony posted on this site and elsewhere that they are not the only ones.

    I thank my friend who introduced me to this wonderful website. I am learning a lot and hope and pray that I am better able to minister to those in need.that I encounter in my life’s journey because of what I have learned. May God richly bless each of you.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you SBG – multiplots required in it then! Maybe work in a pastor who is not an abuser but who is being abused by various “powers” in his church and in a fog himself. Then the abuse victim comes to him for help! Good to have you here.

    • Hi SBG, welcome hugs to you for joining our blog!

  5. My pastor actually preached on God’s grace this morning. He cited 1 Corinthians 5:1 to counter any arguments that “judge not lest ye be judged” meant that we were not supposed to deal with the sins of others at all. The problem was, I think, that he then tempered 1 Corinthians with Galatians 6:1, and emphasized the need for us to deal with the sins of “the redeemed” gently. That sounds fine at first, but by “redeemed” it sounded like he meant anyone who happened to be under the church steeple – not a person whose life actually evidences spiritual growth and who manifests increasingly the fruits of the Spirit.

    I’m not saying he would not judge a person’s condition before God by these things; I am only saying he didn’t factor that in to this message and I was left wondering “what about those wolves in sheep’s clothing? It is not really gracious to deal ‘gently’ with those who are seeking to devour the flock!” Suffice it to say, I am going to fire off an email later this week and ask him to elaborate a bit on that.

    • Good grief, Desley. That boggles my mind. There’s really no way 1 Corinthians 5 can mean anything other than excommunication for the wicked hypocrites practising any of the six sins listed in verse 11 who are attending church and passing themselves off as Christians.

      [11] But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. [12] For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? [13] God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

      Note: ‘reviler’ is an old fashioned word for a verbal abuser.

  6. Now Free

    Just another thought about Lundy Bancroft’s participation in the play: Maybe he could be the narrator. The play would mainly be in mime and he would “speak” for the thoughts and actions of the abused (and abuser).

    I think he would provide a great dimension in the play. With his deep understanding and compassion for the abused victims and his long association and extensive knowledge in interviewing and working with abusers, he wouldn’t need to even “act”..he would be a natural!

    Maybe nothing will come of this play but…it’s fun to conjure up the scenarios!

  7. Anonymous

    “2. This man’s sin was so shocking that not even pagans would tolerate it. ”

    I think to myself sometimes, that this is why God does not actually speak of the abuses in marriage, the way that we actually experience them. Because, it is something that God assumes we all know should never happen; and God assumes we all know it should never be tolerated, if it should never happen in the first place! I know Exodus deals with the issues of neglect and abuse in marriage, but as far as I know, God does not expressly detail what a wife should do, let’s say if her husband, verbally abuses her. The Bible does say, that no “revilers” (ie verbal abusers) shall inherit the Kingdom of God, so in that instance, I guess we could assume that on-going “reviling” from a spouse, would mean that the spouse doing the reviling, cannot be a Christian and then apply the 1 Cor. Scriptures about marriage to an unbeliever, but good luck with that! I was told that unless the Scripture actually talks about marriage, it is not applicable to marriage, so the “reviling” passages would not be allowed to be applied to your marriage. But, God does not actually address what a wife is to do, if she is married to a reviler, and I believe it is because it should not even be named among us in marriage. It should be shocking that such a thing would ever happen between husband and wife. However, I am astounded at the number of well-known Bible teachers, who look at that and say, “we all do it!”, as if God is pleased or winks or says, “That’s okay boys, I know how women are.” Piper is one of those who actually stated that all men, himself included, said things EVERYDAY, that they should not have said to their wives, that hurt their wives deeply. I think it sickens God, and I think it sickens Him, because marriage is supposed to represent our relationship with Him, and He does not do that! He does not beat his bride, nor sexually assault her, nor verbally trash her, nor financially abuse her, nor spiritually knock her around, and when we approve of those things in marriage, by silently condoning them (legal term: to be silent is said to consent!) we blaspheme God and tell the world, that this is what He is like. The Scriptures say, that the sheep will be like the shepherd who leads them. So, if the pastor is verbally trashing his wife everyday, then what does that leave the rest of the congregation with? No wonder they are so against divorce.

    Great post!
    PS Just to note: I am not speaking here of the normal disagreements or differences couples may have in marriage, some of which might be huge matters. What I am speaking of here, is abuse, and there is a difference.

    • I have even heard a famous pastor say, when talking about grounds for divorce, “If lust was grounds for divorce, we’d all be divorced, we all do it!” Um, no….I can look at a man or woman, (not in an attraction way, just thinking she is pretty) and think they are handsome/beautiful, but not automatically think of sleeping with them. Guess he forgot that according to Jesus, lust is the same thing as adultery.

      • MeganC

        Lynette — I have heard that same argument. Almost exactly in those words: “If lusting were adultery, then ALL would be guilty and we can are ALL justified to divorce each other!” I, too, don’t have to look at a man lustfully. He is made in Christ’s image and deserves to be looked upon with dignity, no matter what.

        Arguments like those you and I have heard reveal hard hearts. And that is what Jesus was trying to address when questioned by the abusive Pharisees. I can almost see the pleading in His face . . . “You’re asking the wrong questions . . . I did not mean marriage to be this way . . . Your hearts are hard — that is the issue!”

      • But then we are told that women are wired differently than men – we simply do not understand how “GOD MADE MEN.” Some, like Driscoll, go so far as to say that a woman can greatly reduce her husband’s propensity to lust if she would satisfy this “need” of his to visually feast on a woman’s body by walking around naked.

        Translation: Even if you are satisfying your husband’s sexual desires regularly, if he is lusting you are probably at least partially responsible for his sin.

      • Jeff S

        Wading carefully into this discussion (as a man) :)

        I will say that Paul does tell couples to come together regularly, but he does not identify this as a male need specifically. Our culture tends to make this a male thing, but I do not see scripture doing so. Lust and inappropriate thoughts are certainly a struggle for many people in a highly sexualized culture. I do think Christ equating lust with adultery was intending to show just how high the bar is and demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

        I see the entire paradigm of making sure to be sexy enough for a spouse as misguided and not what Paul was intending- it isn’t about what we do to “rescue” a spouse from their sinful nature- only Jesus can do that. No, it’s about how we can love and honor one another and recognizing that sex is a part of a healthy marriage (and so to abstain without good cause is not a service to God). The minute such commands in scripture become a hammer to control another person we’ve missed the point.

      • MeganC

        That is very well-said, Jeff S. And I appreciate it. As hard as a woman can try to satisfy a lust-full husband, she cannot “fix” his sin problem for him. Nowhere, in Scripture, are any of us ever held responsible for another’s sin. And, besides, that, this is tricky business. If a husband puts his wife into a position of “satisfying his sinful urges” (rather than the healthy sexual relationship between a husband and wife that Jeff S mentions), she is then, often, the object of her husband’s lust. Lusting after a wife is no different than lusting after someone in a movie or someone walking down the street. Only, it feels degrading to the wife. And is a far cry from the beauty of longing for and desiring one’s wife, out of love for her.

      • “If a husband puts his wife into a position of “satisfying his sinful urges” (rather than the healthy sexual relationship between a husband and wife that Jeff S mentions), she is then, often, the object of her husband’s lust. ”

        So true, Megan. And feeding the lust of the flesh only intensifies the problem.

  8. Katy

    Piper admits that he says things to his wife every day that he shouldn’t, that hurt her?! I want to see that interview. Seriously what the ****. I am continually floored by these guys and their “authority” on all things scripture.

    • Jeff Crippen

      So every day hurting is supposed to be what we all do in our marriages? He means it isnt right but it is the norm? Well I can say honestly that my wife and I don’t say hurtful things to one another daily, or weekly, or even monthly. So what is someone who does it daily?

      • Anonymous

        I believe it was at the middle or end of one of his videos on abuse in marriage. I found a link to one video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OkUPc2NLrM, but I think this link has been shared before. The one I am looking for I cannot find, but I think it was once upon a time, on his Desiring God website. As we know, some of those have been taken down. If I find it, I will post it here.

        Who wants a marriage like that?

      • Diane

        Amen, Jeff, to your comment. No, it is not the norm and Piper does not know that.

        And, I just checked with my husband and read him that statement, and no–my husband doesn’t do that…so I do not know where Piper is getting his revelations.

        “Piper is one of those who actually stated that all men, himself included, said things EVERYDAY, that they should not have said to their wives, that hurt their wives deeply.”

        Well…maybe he should get saved then, if he is doing that much hurting daily. Sorry, but “every day” and “hurting deeply” doesn’t sound too good, imo. Perhaps he should examine himself and see if he really is in the faith.

        I know, that is sarcastic; sorry! I get tired of seeing stuff like that. Those types of sweeping statements very much irritate me, in case no one has noticed, lol, and it seems I see so much of that. Piper doesn’t know that all men do that, or that they do it in a deep way, or even that they do it everyday. It’s all so melodramatic. But the guru hath spokeneth…so everyone must listen to him. Makes me think he has an agenda or something that has to do with books, conferences, a following… maybe.

        It reminded me of something Piper said about needing to learn kindness with his wife. If he could just treat his wife kindly. It shocked me to hear that. I’ll try to find the source. I know I heard it within the last year. I think that is an incredibly odd/strange/bizarre thing to admit in a public venue. I would think that would place his wife in an awkward position. Now people think he isn’t kind to her. How is that, in itself, a kindness to her? It’s not a kindness at all. It’s seems to be all about John Piper and his many sins.

        How anyone would listen to anything Piper has to say about how marriage should be or how men should treat their wives is an amazing sight to see, imo. Then again, maybe he didn’t really mean he had to learn to be kind to his wife. Maybe his statement was just more of a poor me, I am a wretched, miserable, sinner… look how unkind I am shock value act that appears to be the habit of some professing Christian pastors. Like Tim Challies’ recent post, for example, about how he was disturbed his cell phone went flyiing down the stairs and, from that, determined he has the sin of idolatry regarding his phone. Get real. He dropped his cell phone down the stairs. Why does that have to become a major sin excavation event in his life and a blog article with which to warn us all?

        That makes them appear so humble to others, who will then buy their books and admire their warped definition of humility, which is all about them…imo.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I get tired of seeing stuff like that. Those types of sweeping statements very much irritate me, in case no one has noticed, lol, and it seems I see so much of that.

        You are not alone Diane!

        I don’t know about what agenda these guys may or may not have, but I sure do find myself huffing a lot when I come across things they say.

        And my husband does not say things that hurt me every day. I wish Piper would not classify all men it that category. It is not normal in this house.

  9. Now Free

    Oh dear….I’ve just wasted 3 minutes of my life listening to this person so I’ll post a reply:

    His advice is harmful. It’s garbage. Why waste even a “season” enduring abuse? I wonder if the tables were turned, would he continue to spew out this rubbish?

    .

    • Has it occured to anyone besides me, that the stuff JP is saying about how mean he is to his wife in that whiny, poor me tone, sounds just a typical abusive husband? And he gets the same response other abusers get. All the compassion goes to them instead of their wives. Poor Noel.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Jodi – it does indeed sound like abuserese. Smells that way too.

      • I agree. His vague sins cause suspect also. We don’t confess vaguely….we are to confess specifically. I don’t know what he shared with his accountability people, but the whole thing is fishy.

  10. Just remembered that I have also run across sermons with titles like “Marriage is about suffering” and “What if marriage was about making you holy instead of happy?” Good gosh, why get married in the first place? No wonder the church looks like a joke when we talk about traditional marriage and the threats against it.

    • Jeff Crippen

      No kidding!

    • But then the WHOLE purpose of marriage, according to Piper, is to illustrate the relationship of Christ and HIs church. People, he says, will be drawn to Christ through this illustration.

      Right… What pulpit did he hit his head on?

      The whole concept of “suffering” in a ,marriage is antithetical to what they claim the primary purpose of marriage is! Who is drawn to miserable marriages or marriages wherein one partner is suffering at the hand of the other? What a way to “illustrate” Christ’s relationship to the church! Does Jesus mistreat and hurt his bride? Ha! Who would want it? If anything, it is a hindrance to the Gospel, and it casts a bad light on the entire body of Christ.

      This is so F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G. Bondage is what they preach. Legalism. How is it possible that some of the most intellectually superior Christians have become so blind and foolish?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Good points. Also, Christ DOES divorce from apostates. People who profess Him but then turn out to be phonies. John 15, the vine and the branches is an example of this. Now Jesus is the Vine in the New Covenant and if any Jews wanted to be in that covenant, they had to be joined to Jesus the Vine. Their old way of just being “in” because they were born as Jews and got circumcised didn’t cut it anymore. Those who refused Him were cut off and thrown into the fire. So the very BEST way of illustrating Jesus’ marriage with His Bride IS to divorce a wicked person just as Jesus divorces the wicked. I think that Hebrews 6:4-6 is addressing this very thing.

      • Right. Because they were never united to Him to begin with. They were fakes. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and did we not cast out demons in your name?” And how does he reply? “Depart from me. I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.”

        True husband’s are “one flesh” with their wives, and vice versa. The habitual mistreatment of your wife is proof that you are not a true husband, but a fake “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” (Eph 5:29)

        If someone is mistreating their spouse, it proves that although you might claim to be joined to that person, you are a liar. Just like those who claimed to be joined to Jesus, but Jesus never knew them (as evidenced by their actions, now words) and cut ties with them.

      • Anonymous

        “The whole concept of “suffering” in a ,marriage is antithetical to what they claim the primary purpose of marriage is!”

        Huge, hand clapping, standing up screaming AMEN from this corner!! I think that even after a time, it makes Christians who are in abusive marriages, wonder if they really even know God and Who He is and what He is like, when we are constantly being told that the abuse we are suffering is “Him”, using it to draw us closer to Him and make us better Christians. Really? Then why don’t I hear anyone wanting to trade places with me? If it makes us better Christians, and we should all want to be better Christians, then why doesn’t anyone want to trade places with us? If this is what being Christ’s means, then I don’t see how the world would ever be drawn to being a Christian, by watching abusive marriages. I agree, marriage is to be a safe and loving place, where no one gets “abused”.

      • “I think that even after a time, it makes Christians who are in abusive marriages, wonder if they really even know God and Who He is and what He is like, when we are constantly being told that the abuse we are suffering is “Him”

        Yes! It really messes you up spiritually. I still think that forcing people to stay in abusive marriages is nothing short of spiritual abuse.

    • this comment “What if marriage was about making you holy instead of happy?” is the very thing that kept me in bondage. A girlfriend and I would get together and talk and pray-she had a “difficult” marriage too, and she used to say this-so I kind of adopted that mindset. It sounds really good and biblical on the surface tho, which is a big part of the problem.It’s almost impossible to know how to pick it apart when you are in the middle of abuse.

  11. Katy

    Who is drawn to miserable marriages or marriages wherein one partner is suffering at the hand of the other? What a way to “illustrate” Christ’s relationship to the church!

    EXACTLY. When I heard the arguments that suffering in your marriage would bring glory to God, I can’t wrap my head around the logic! Seriously? People who don’t know God but see “his” church forcing people to stay in evil, abusive, loveless marriages as a testimony of the Gospel….are going to be *drawn* to Jesus?

    What pulpit did he crack his head on, indeed.

    And if y’all manage to find that Piper video where he admits to habitually/daily saying hurtful things to his wife I’ve got to see that. The final nail in the coffin, as it were.

    • How does the suffering that the abused spouse endure bring glory to God, when it’s all kept secret anyway, as is the nature of abuse? No one knows your suffering, so they can’t “rejoice” in your “enduring for Christ’s sake”. (I am saying this sarcastically btw). And they wouldn’t rejoice anyway, because the majority of the time, they don’t even believe you- no glory there- then they end up commiserating with the abuser- still no glory for God.So, where exactly does this glory come in? It’s all only theoretical as far as I can tell. In reality, it turns out much differently.

      • Jeff Crippen

        God is glorified in suffering by REDEMPTION from that suffering. That is what He does. He redeems. Sure, He takes us into times of suffering and trial. But not to our destruction. He promises a way of escape. He promises it will not be more than we are able to bear. And God’s trials, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, include an obvious benefit which we will see and even rejoice in – humility for Paul and more of Christ’s power in him. Bondage to abuse is only destructive. There is nothing to glory in anymore than the Jews gloried in making bricks as slaves in Egypt. No, God’s glory came in the form of Exodus and destruction of the oppressor.

      • Exactly! The very point I was trying to make.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Its the whole “You made your bed, now lay in it” mentality because afterall we have free will, then when the abuser flaunts and rules his free will of terror, then the church just assumed that was your DECISION your “free will choice”” to committ yourself to his misery, because of course we new AHEAD of time exactly what our kids and ourselves were going to suffer, we knew ahead of time we would suffer despair endlessly at his hands for the next 80 years.

        “”So suck it up sister! Be a good wife and look the other way like we do”

        “” Oh ya and dont forget to pretend your marriage is a lovely perfect picture of Christs love.
        We dont like people who tell the truth here, it makes us look bad “”

        I enjoyed reading this conversation at the same time it really got me fuming!

      • ‘we knew ahead of time what we were going to suffer. . . ”
        An older survivor of abuse I know told me that her because her husband was an alcoholic she went to AA for help. The AA philosophy she learned there was “we are all volunteers”… i.e. we volunteer to be distressed and anxious about our alcoholic spouse’s behaviour, and we can un-volunteer ourselves just by emotionally disengaging from the alcoholic, and not trying to control their drinking.

        I told this lady that’s VERY bad counsel to give to abuse victims. No abuse victim volunteers for abuse.

        In those days there were no services or supports for domestic abuse victims, but there was AA. I think this tragically bad advice must have been told to uncountable victims of domestic abuse, particularly those of the older generation. :(

  12. According to the bible, he shouldn’t even be in the pulpit.
    1 Tim 3:1- Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

  13. I don’t know whether a video clip ever existed but here is the announcement Piper made on 28 March 2010 when he was about to take unpaid leave of absence from virtually all public commitments for a period of three months.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/john-pipers-upcoming-leave

    • Katy

      oh I’ve seen Piper’s flowery statement about “tending the garden of my marriage” referred to elsewhere – but I hadn’t seen that entire letter.
      He took an 8 month total leave – no work, no writing, no social activities – to work on his marriage? and it was apparently very necessary. ..
      Since I have no frame of reference (no clue what good marriages require to stay happy) I probably shouldn’t comment.

      • Jeff Crippen

        What exactly does one do for 8 months to “work on his marriage”? “Honey, I have good news. I know I have been driving you absolutely nuts and hurting you everyday with my words, so I have decided to hang around the house with you for the next 8 months.” I mean, hey – a wife with a GREAT husband wouldn’t necessarily count that as good news. Reality check. For most all of us normal folks, taking even one month to what, read our Bible, pray, fast, read our Bible some more, contemplate, would drive us NUTS and is just plain, well, weird (unless we had a focused, profitable project to accomplish in that study time). The guy’s wife could have given him a really good practical exercise right at the get-go: “Alright then, if you are going to be here then you aren’t going to just sit around. Here’s a list. Now get to it.” “But, but…I must pray and fast and contemplate.” “Great, you do that. Just make sure you are pushing the mower while you meditate.”

        Ok, well maybe that’s not how it went down. But I suspect my scenario here would be a lot more typical and NORMAL!

        I’m off now to ask my church for an extended leave of absence. “So, you want a long period of time with no work and yet get paid for it? Here’s the number of the local unemployment office.”

      • Jeff, Piper said that in his announcement flagging that he was going to take that leave of absence, that he would be taking it without pay.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Well, it must be nice.

  14. Now Free

    Apparently he has not been “unfaithful” no “specific deed” but “ongoing character flaws.”
    Hmmm…
    This his his recounting after returning from his leave:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/john-pipers-report-on-his-leave-of-absence

    • Thank you for that link, Now Free.

    • Where is Noel’s report? I would be very curious to find out what she thought about his “garden tending” endeavor.

    • Katy

      These ongoing character flaws that may be “genetic”? If I read between the lines I see “My dad was a big jerk to my mom, and I have the same issues”
      But regardless, 8 months to ponder and sniff his own sin seems really excessive and strange unless he was abusing his wife and needed to put out some fires.
      And I also wonder why his wife is silent and doesn’t ever say much. Contrast this with Piper’s flowery 265-pages worth of journal entries. And his statement that he finds Winston Churchill’s leading the war effort at the age of 65 to be much more inspiring than retirement.
      I’m still not sensing loads of humility here. Maybe my “humility sniffer” is broken.

      • Not to mention ‘I may write a book about it…’ okay….without specifics of what he was doing…it won’t matter.

  15. Now Free

    Jeff, my kind, gentle, nice “Christian” husband actually needed to hurt me. I realize that now. It’s a warped and manipulative mind that would even think these thoughts. A husband is supposed to think of things to do and say that would please his wife, and vice versa. After I started to become more aware of how he was operating, I wondered why he would find enjoyment out of causing me pain. He loved it when I expressed hurt and his face showed his obvious pleasure in hurting me!

    He was very careful in public, including church…oh yes, especially church…to protect his carefully groomed image of a pious, friendly and charming man. It would hurt me deeply to see him fawn over the women…he really could charm them. I’m talking mostly about church here. He even fooled the pastor, I’m sure, as I never let anyone know about his abusive ways. After four decades of marriage, I don’t recall seeing him read his Bible, unless it was in church.

    Of all the people in my life, no-one has even come close to hurting me as deeply and completely as my “kind, gentle, nice Christian husband.”

  16. Anonymous

    You would honestly think, wouldn’t you, that a slap to a spouse, or a verbal thrashing, or an abusive moment, in any way, shape or form, would be such a far and distant thing for someone who had never lived in abuse, that it would cause them to take a very firm stand against it!! So, it gives me great pause, when I hear someone say that wives should take a little slap here and there, or that they should take verbal abuse or any other form of abuse, to some extent, as it causes me to think that the person speaking, finds that abuse normal or acceptable! How can it be? How can anyone think or believe abuse is acceptable, even in its “lightest” forms, and call themselves Christian? It leaves me with no other conclusion, but that they themselves abuse. What other conclusion can I come away with?

    • Certainly a person who tolerates abuse in any form is more likely to abuse. I read somewhere that religious leaders disproportionately abuse their spouses compared to the rest of the population. I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is that should give us pause for thought.

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