A Cry For Justice

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

About Us

Jeff Crippen, author and pastor for over 30 years, and Barbara Roberts, author and survivor of domestic abuse, created this website to:

  • educate people to the abuser’s mentality and tactics
  • teach what scripture really says about abuse, marriage, and divorce
  • recommend resources for further help
  • provide a safe environment for victims of domestic abuse to be encouraged, validated, and believed.

See complete bios and contact information for Ps Crippen and Barbara Roberts below along with bios of some of the other team members.  Feel free to contact us but please bear in mind that we receive lots of emails and cannot be ‘friends’ with all our readers or share all the details of your lives, but we do try to reply to serious concerns and questions. Please give your email a descriptive subject line if you are emailing us. “Blog question” is not very descriptive. Neither is “From Susan.”  A descriptive subject line would be “My church is threatening to excommunicate me.”  A good subject line helps us sort through our inboxes and keep track of things. And if you are referring to a web site, web page or blog post, please give us the exact link. That saves us time.

Jeff Crippen (administrator) is the pastor of Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook, Oregon and has been a pastor since 1983.  Jeff has studied the subject of domestic violence and abuse since 2009.  In 2012 he co-authored a book entitled A Cry for Justice:  How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in your Church [*affiliate link]; his desire being to equip pastors, elders, church leaders and members to recognize the signs of abuse and to be prepared to help the victims.   He began this study after he and his church suffered through an incident of sexual abuse by a member of their church.  As a result he taught a 21-sermon series entitled Domestic Violence and Abuse.  Jeff and his wife Verla have been married over 40 years.  From 1971 to 1983 Jeff was a police officer.  After completing graduate studies at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon he and his family were sent to their first church in the mountains of western Montana.  They still return there as often as possible to hunt and fish.  Verla is a medical assistant at a physician’s clinic.  Their son lives in Portland, and their daughter and her husband live in Canada. This post tells Jeff’s story of how he woke up to the issue of domestic abuse.
Contact Ps Jeff Crippen:  swordtrowel@gmail.com

Barbara Roberts (administrator) was born again in her early 20s but didn’t get to church for 13 years. During this time in the wilderness she married an unbeliever and they had a daughter. After six years she left because of her husband’s abuse, was successful in gaining child custody, and started attending church.  She refrained from divorce because she thought she didn’t have biblical grounds. Four years later her husband appeared to become a Christian and they reconciled, but a year later she separated again because the abuse recurred. She started supporting other victim-survivors and eventually wrote the book Not Under Bondage [*affiliate link] and developed a website to address domestic abuse in a Christian context. She has also contributed a chapter in the book, Intimate Partner Sexual VIolence: A Multidisciplinary Guide to Improving Services and Support for Survivors of Rape and Abuse, which is an authoritative resource for all professionals who work with IPSV victims.  The chapter is called ‘Pastoral Responses to Christian Survivors of Intimate Partner Sexual VIolence’.  She knows what it is like to fight for your child in the family court, to endure post-separation abuse (especially during visitation handover), and to have to seek protection orders and report family violence crimes to the police. She was married again for two years in her fifties, but this marriage also ended because of abuse. She loves writing, supporting survivors, and networking. She lives in Australia and has a cute little black dog who has a lot more empathy than many people do.
Barbara’s author page on Amazon is amazon.com/author/barbroberts
More biographical info can be found here:  Angela Ruth Strong’s interview with Barbara Roberts
Contact Barbara Roberts:   barbara@notunderbondage.com

Persistent Widow (editor) lived years in verbal and emotional abuse.  Life was like a roller coaster with her husband’s mood fluctuating from over the top cheerful to frighteningly dark and brooding.  Not realizing that her husband was abusive, she thought that he had a severe anger management problem and tried to run her household despite his outbursts.  Over time, his good side disappeared and his anger (including calling her profane names, property damage, threats, and disappearances) was a constant in the household.  A long time PCA member, PW asked for church intervention out of concern for her children when her husband assaulted a man at another church.  The church did nothing to help.  When it was discovered that her husband had been conducting a relationship with another woman, the church pushed Peacemakers and joint marriage counseling, both of which assigned mutual blame in the problem.  PW asserts that the church did not follow discipline as outlined in the Westminster Confession, but rather church actions incited his anger to the point of death threats against her.

PW has since left the PCA and found a pleasant refuge in the LCMS.  She continues to work at ACFJ with the hope that the church at large will realize that they are harming victims of abuse and their children and reform their practices.  She laments damage done to the witness of the Christian Church by enabling abuse through bad theology and lack of empathy.

She is particularly interested in the study of Confessional Lutheranism and has previously studied the Westminster Confession and Reformed theology.  She owns a small business, enjoys many children, grandchildren, and pets, and she loves the challenge of maintaining a cottage garden.
Contact Persistent Widow: persistentwidow@outlook.com. (please be patient for a reply, but all emails will be answered)

Ellie (editor) For almost 21 years Ellie was married to a mental, verbal, and physical abuser who in addition to pornography, committed adultery with his married subordinate before Ellie divorced him.  By God’s grace and through the generosity and compassion of family, Ellie has been able to continue being a stay at home homeschooling mom to her children.  She hopes that her writing at ACFJ will bring hope and freedom to the abused and will equip others to effectively help those who are being abused.
Contact Ellie:  elliecriesforjustice@gmail.com

Wendell (editor) has been a Christian since late childhood and is a former pastor, a victim of childhood abuse and the father of a spousal-abuse victim.  It was his introduction to the abuse and subsequent divorce that his daughter suffered that brought him to the blog.  He has a special heart for the families of abuse victims and, due to his experiences fighting a former pornography addiction, has a unique understanding of that world and those affected by it.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Practical Theology and a Master of Science in Information Science.  He is currently a library automation specialist for a library system in southeastern Texas. He and his wife Zelma (who has a PhD in Educational Psychology) have been married for over 37 years.  They have two daughters who live in the same area as well as eight grandchildren.
Contact Wendell: acfjteam-wendell@yahoo.com

Deborah (contributor) is a Christ follower, a wife and a mom, a survivor of domestic abuse and a writer.  She’s a special education teacher by training but no longer teaches.  She runs a charity with her husband that helps women understand and come out of abuse.  She’s published a book of poetry born out of her healing journey, and is currently working on another book of poetry as well as a book on abuse aimed at prevention.
Contact Deborah: Deborahmom@gmx.com

TWBTC (the woman behind the curtain) has been a Christian since childhood. She is thankful for her Christian upbringing, but mixed with the truth she was taught, she erroneous believed that God hated divorce and that divorce was only allowed for cases of adultery. After 29 years of an emotional, verbal, and spiritually abusive marriage, God graciously led her to freedom. She is also blessed to have excellent relationships with her children even though they initially struggled with her decision to file for divorce and were pressured by their father to reject her.  TWBTC spends most of her time at ACFJ behind the curtain keeping things tidy and organized, and doing general blog housekeeping. If you come upon a broken link, need help navigating the website, or have a question regarding the website, please contact her.
Contact TWBTC: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

Megan C (Meg is no longer a Contributor but she is an active reader of ACFJ and a full supporter.) Meg chose to follow Christ after her parents were killed in a car accident in 1998. She attended Liberty University where she met and married a man who was studying to be a pastor. They had four children. For 12 years, Megan and her children were  mentally, verbally, emotionally, spiritually and physically abused. The marriage ended in 2011 and Megan was able to receive sole custody of her children and move on toward healing. Megan has a Masters degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Megan now resides in Colorado with her husband, Dr. David B. Cox, where she spends most of her time caring for her family and writing. Megan has a great big heart for the oppressed — all those who are abused all over the world.
Contact MeganC:   davidandmegan12@gmail.com

ACFJ is an Amazon Associate

A Cry For Justice is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  If we give a book as a link to Amazon and you click on the link and purchase the book, we receive a small percentage of the retail price (around 4 – 6%, depending on volume of sales we engender per month).

The money we raise from being Amazon Associates will go towards paying the annual WordPress fee to keep the blog free of ads, and sending copies of our own books to victim-survivors who are in financial difficulties or to people of influence who may be able to review and recommend our books.

We (Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts) are doing this cooperatively between us in good faith as private individuals.

May I republish something from your blog?

Apart from a few cases where a copyright notice is explicitly stated in a post, we are happy for you to re-post material from this blog. Please show common courtesy by not distorting the meaning of the material if you are only quoting parts from it.

We can’t stop perpetrators of abuse from re-posting our stuff, but we don’t give them any oxygen for doing so, so we trash the automatic notification that says “Re-posted on blah-de-blah-wordpress.com.”

If you don’t have money to buy Barb’s book

If you are a victim of abuse and can’t afford Barbara Robert’s book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, please email Barb at the address given above and explain your situation. For your own safety, make sure you use an email address that is your abuser cannot access. Barb can usually arrange for a copy to be shipped to you as a gift. Some victims can’t afford the book but are able to pay the shipping cost (using PayPal). If that applies to you, mention that in your email.
Another alternative is to ask your local library to stock it.

Help Us Spread the Word!

ACFJ has created flyers and business cards for our readers’ use.  These flyers and business cards provide information and contact details about the ACFJ website, and we encourage you to share them with domestic violence shelters, counselors, coalitions, churches, and other domestic violence resource agencies.  Click on any of the links below and you will be shown either a flyer or a business card that you can print and distribute.  You can choose between black/white or color, depending on your printing capabilities.  Print as many as you like.   Spread the Word!

Flyers

ACFJ flyer-color

ACFJ flyer-black:white

Business Cards

ACFJ business cards-blue

ACFJ business cards-blue:white

ACFJ business cards-black:white

We  have a Suggestion Box.

41 Comments

  1. Victoria Stein

    I got it! Thank you!

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Great to hear about the progress about your book. This is a needed topic. Christians need help in seeing what goes on behind the scenes, how they can be informed, and how they can be better able to help those in need.

    At the present time, I am doing copy editing on a book written by a pastor colleague in NY. His book raises the issue about sexual abuse in the family and in the church and how poorly this issue is dealt with in the church. Again, the same recurring theme–church people uninformed by the facts of abuse issues, yet so easily beguiled by the words of an abuser.

    My research was in the area of spiritual abuse among church leaders and how devastated devoted church people became after experiencing it. They didn’t know what it was–till it happened to them.

    Information about my book: ‘Spiritual Abuse Recovery’ can be found on my website: http://www.ChurchExiters.com.

    There is a growing number of people who are being informed about these negative and often hidden dysfunctions in the body of Christ. There is a greater awareness about these issues.

    Let’s network together to raise the awareness about abuse of all kinds!

    Regards,
    Dr. Barb Orlowski

  3. Hi Jeff and Anna,

    You, and those connected with your site, might be interested in the launch of a new website. It is: http://www.AbuseResourceNetwork.com.

    This new venture is a comprehensive site dealing with Abuse issues. These include: Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, Spiritual Abuse, and related topics. There are helpful links and articles which can help victims and those who desire to have answers for themselves and to help those in need.

    We seek to network with others to raise the awareness about abuse.

    Barb Orlowski

  4. Hi Jeff and Anna,

    It is so good to meet other believers who truly see the need to deal with abuse. I have also been a pastor since 1983 and my wife, Faith, and I founded a ministry in 2008, to deal with sexual abuse, called ‘Speaking Truth in Love Ministries’. It is our prayer that The Church will awaken to the need for it to deal with abuse. Our goal is to help motivate and train the Church to be more effective on this issue. I do believe that the more we can connect and collaborate as Christians in our attempts to prevent abuse and deal with it biblically when it does occur, the more we can accomplish. I would love to talk with you both some time. Faith and I may be bringing a couple of our young people on a missions trip to Big Forks Montana this summer and we are looking at traveling to Oregon and Washington to meet with other Christians and Ministries who are dealing with abuse. Our site is http://speakingtruthinlove.org

    God bless,

    Dale

    • Jeff Crippen

      Dale-

      Thank you for checking in with us. My first church was in the Seeley-Swan Valley, Montana, which is only about 45 miles south of Big Fork. Will you be at the Big Sky Bible Camp facility? I noticed that your wife has an Independent Baptist background. I come from a conservative Baptist background as well. I would be very interested in hearing from both of you how your ministry is received among independent, fundamental Baptists. I am noticing a very strange and, I suppose, sad trend. The more conservative, Bible-believing a church is (which I hope that I can say my own church is!), the greater the chance for a domestic violence abuser to hide there. I don’t for a moment think that God’s Word is the problem! But is it possible that, in our zeal to protect the inerrancy and authority of God’s Word, we have at the same time developed a hermeneutic that lends itself to the development and perpetuating of man-made traditions which have gradually usurped God’s Word? It seems to be that we can fall into the very same trap the Pharisees did, placing heavy loads upon the backs of our people, and especially upon the weak and helpless like abuse victims. Anyway, yes, it would be very good to meet you and visit sometime. I am due west of Portland, OR about 60 miles in Tillamook. Anna lives away down south in Dixie (Alabama). Blessings on you both in Christ, Jeff

  5. Do you have a facebook page?

  6. Kim

    I am not sure if this is where I type this. I found your website yesterday. I have been married 22 years and just a few months ago realized I am in a verbally/emotionally abusive marriage. Since then I have been trying to find the Truth about divorce. I come from the churches that believe in divorce only in adultery and abandonment but no one ever talks about what we are to do if we are in an abusive relationship. So they just ignore us and hope we go away?

    So I am soooo grateful to your courage, time and love to this subject. I listened to your first sermon in the series on abusers and like it so far. I am a stay-at-home homeschooler of three boys so I know the conservative lifestyle and beliefs. But we can still do and be all these things and believe divorce in cases of abuse. God loves me more than a law not to divorce and He doesn’t want his daughter treated like this.

    My next struggle will be when/if to leave. My husband is attempting to change – so far for all the wrong reasons and he just doesn’t get it. So I am wondering how long God wants me to endure. I have sensed God releasing me from my marriage. I felt this about a month ago. I know that I need to be very careful when I say I sensed God releasing me because I am human and when there is a human involved there is always room for error. But on the other hand I have been close to God long enough to know when God is speaking to me. I am not in such a hurry to leave that I have to run out the door right now as long as my husband doesn’t turn to physical abuse. I need to find a job and prepare for my departure if indeed that is God’s plan for me.

    God richly bless you. I am so thankful I found your site!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kim. Welcome! So glad you found us and we hope that this blog with all of its articles and comments (which are as instructive as the articles!) will be a huge resource for you. And further, that you might actually find some real fellowship with others here in our little blog community. Indeed it does sound like the Lord is awakening you! Barbara Roberts and I (Jeff Crippen) administer this blog and write most all of the articles. Barbara is an abuse survivor. We are both conservative and reformed in our theology, so you won’t find any pressure from us to jettison any of your Bible-believing theology. We will only try to help you sort out man-made traditions and laws that crush the soul. One, of course, is that divorce is not permissible, or that it is for adultery, or for desertion, but almost never for abuse! We reject that and fully embrace a biblical position that longstanding, unrepentant, hard-hearted breaking of the marriage vows is indeed grounds for divorce. In fact, it is the fundamental ground for divorce in any case.

      We believe that the Lord speaks to us in His Word, but we do not deny that He by His Spirit leads us. In that sense there is some inexplicable testimony of the Holy Spirit to the Christian’s spirit (see Romans 8 for example). And we have heard from our readers, most of whom are abuse victims or survivors, that they came to a point at which the Lord freed them to leave their marriage. Of course many Christians would reject such a notion of the Lord communicating in that way. But we cannot discount it. As you no doubt realize of course, the Holy Spirit will never lead us in contradiction to God’s written Word.

      If you have not yet read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? we recommend this book as a primer for everyone to begin with. Bancroft is not a Christian, but by God’s common grace and much experience with abusers and victims, Bancroft is a man filled with common sense and wisdom. This book will be an immense help to you.

      So, we hope that you stay with us, share your comments, and join us here as we all proceed in exodus to the freedom Christ intends for us. Blessings on you in Christ,
      Jeff

    • Kim,
      I would love to hear an update. Your story “is as mine”. You found this site before me and have been married fewer years. I am taking action steps and would really appreciate an opportunity to be of mutual encouragement through this site.

  7. Dear Kim, I echo what Jeff has said in every respect, and only add one more suggestion. Lundy Bancroft has another book (written after to his book “Why Does He DO That?”) which is called “Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A guide to knowing if your relationship can – or should– be saved”
    I don’t want to burden you with too much reading, and it sounds like you have already decided you will leave at some stage, but you just might like to know that that book exists. Bless you, and hope to hear more from you on this blog.

    • Kim

      Thank you for both for your encouragement. I love reading and am reading many books on this subject. I did read Why Does He Do That but want to read it again. And I will read Should I Stay or Should I go.

      God Bless

      • Joy

        Kim,
        I could have written your post. I am coming up on 23 years of marriage with 8 children. My husband and I went to speak with our pastor last night and my husband played the victim, again. He does have at least 2 personality disorders and is in counselling, but not truly getting better. Our pastor did say we need space, but is encouraging reconciliation even when I have given description of the abuse. All but our 5 year old no longer wish to speak to him including an adult daughter. Two of my daughters are in counselling. I too wonder how long do I wait. God’s timing is perfect, but how long?

      • Hi Joy and welcome to our blog. I am so sorry to hear you are in that really difficult position, and have suffered abuse for so many years.
        Your story is very similar to many of our readers. The pastor saying you ‘need space’ but none the less encouraging reconciliation – that is what pastors so often say. When pastors say things like that, it shows they do not understand abuse. Ps Jeff Crippen has written extensively on this blog about how he didn’t understand abuse for most of the 30 plus years of his being a pastor. It isn’t properly taught in seminary. Pastors will not understand it unless they have made a determined and concerted effort to learn about it (we have recommended resources on our Resources page). But sadly, most pastors don’t want to learn because they don’t think they need to.

        You ask “How long do I wait?” I think you and you alone can answer that question, but I want to reassure you and encourage you that you don’t have to listen to the advice or obey the counsel of someone, even your pastor, if that person doesn’t understand abuse. Would you take advice from a mechanic about how to treat cancer? No. You don’t need to heed the advice of your pastor if he doesn’t understand the cancer that is domestic abuse.

        It is not your fault. You are not to blame. You are free to separate from your abuser and divorce him if you wish. The Bible says so. If you want to read my book to obtain verification of this in detail, and don’t have the money to buy it, please email me and I will have a copy mailed to you.

        I would also like to encourage you to read these two posts that deals with mental illness in the abuser.
        Treating his bi-polar didn’t fix his abusiveness by one of our female readers
        Copying as a spouse of someone with an emotional disorder by Jeff S

        Basically, mental illness neither causes nor excuses abuse, although it can exacerbate it. Abusers abuse not because they are mentally ill, but because they have the abusive mentality: a mentality of entitlement and distorted thinking and beliefs. They WANT to maintain those entitled and distorted beliefs; they CHOSE to be that way, and they are very resistant to change, and very good at pretending to change.

      • Joy, can you please email me from an address where I can reply to you without risking your safety? My email address is barbara@notunderbondage.com
        If you don’t have such an email address, maybe you could ask a friend to email me on your behalf. I would like to offer more help to you.

        And BTW, you can always find my email address (and Jeff C’s and Meg’s) in the About/Contact page in the top menu of this blog. :)

  8. Heather

    Thank you for bringing this to the attention of Christians! I found your blog and am so encouraged by it. As a born again woman this allows me to breathe. So many in the church are clueless. My case is one of covert passive aggression as well as infidelity. I lost the friendships of many as well as my church when I left and divorced my husband who continues to smile and hand out bulletins on Sunday morning. Legalists are everywhere, sadly. I would encourage each woman to draw near to God and follow His Word. He is not a Pharisee. He understands and gives grace to those who humble themselves before Him.
    Whatever decision a woman makes is between her and the Lord. So much grace is needed in churches. There is always always always more to the story!

    God bless you!!!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Heather Gray! Welcome! We hope you are a regular visitor here and become part of our support community. Comment whenever you want. Always good to hear from readers and other readers like to hear from you too!

  9. Wisdomchaser

    Is there a site like yours that is specifically for incest survivors? I had a triggering situation today and really need to deal with this.

    • Jeff Crippen

      WC – Go to the Dale and Faith Ingraham’s site at http://speakingtruthinlove.org/about.html

      • Wisdomchaser

        nice site but no way to comunicate anonymously online.

      • Jeff Crippen

        I guess you would have to hit the “contact” button and email them directly. I don’t know of any other site like ACFJ but that doesn’t mean there is not one.

    • Sorry I don’t know a Christian site where you can communicate anonymously online about incest survivor issues. But if you want to email me you can.

      • Wisdomchaser

        Thanks for your efforts. I may look at some of the secular sites.

  10. As I See It Only

    I have been posting quotes from your book on FB and here is but one of many responses:

    Hi. Happy New Year! Where can I find more information on this Crippen and Wood that you reference? My wife has an X that is a narcissist and an emotional and mental abuser. This information has been so insightful and helpful for her and her children. Thanks in advance for your help..

    I want you to be encouraged, that you are responsible for helping to set these prisoners free. Of course I sent them to Amazon. Keep up the good work–people are listening!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you very much!

  11. Oasis

    Hi, I tried to send a message to your timeline on Facebook, but not sure it worked. I am in a situation and desperate for advice/opinions. Is it alright if I e-mail someone, and if so, who should I send the e-mail to? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Oasis, the best way to get our attention is by email. For myself, I can’t see anything on our FB timeline about this. I don’t think people are able to put things on the Cry For Justice Facebook page until they’ve ‘liked’ the page first. That may be the reason.

      You can send an email to any one of us, or to all three at once. One of us will respond to you.

      Also, email is more private that FB. Many abusers stalk their victims via FB. The people who run the high security shelters in my town have told me that they insist that when women are staying in the shelters they don’t use FB at all. There were finding way too many breaches of security were happening to their clients (and the shelter system overall) because of clients using FB, so they just banned it. And things have been much better since then.

  12. I was wondering what happened to the comment feed that was on the right side of the blog? It was the easiest way to keep track of what was going on all over the blog (especially when someone would comment on an older post) can we get it back or was there a reason behind its disappearance?

    • It is still there for me. Is it still missing for you?

      • Katy

        It disappeared today for while, but now I see it again! strange!

      • Jeff C fixed it :)

  13. Anonymous

    Regarding your quote from “Our Theology” section: “We say all of this because we have been hammered by critics who seem to think that anyone calling attention to domestic violence and abuse has to be part of some kind of radical, Christ-hating, liberal, feminism that is conspiring against men.”

    Oh my goodness! That sounds almost like a direct quote from my verbally abusive husband. He has used those words repeatedly over the years about me, about characters in movies, about other Christians. Shocking!

  14. I was inspired by you and posted a couple of links on my blog here http://beckylovesthelight.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/you-are-beautiful-3/

    Thank you for your ministry.

  15. newlyanonymous

    Thank you for your Resources here. I am searching them now as I weigh leaving. I just wanted to let you know that a link on your Resource page appears to be broken: Leaving An Abuser: What to Expect and how to Stay Grounded, by Cindy Burrell. Thank you and God bless you for your tremendous work here in a much needed area. You are giving those who thirst that needed water.

Trackbacks

  1. Conservative clergy’s responses to spousal abuse « Churchmouse Campanologist
  2. Domestic Violence: Captain Jean Luc Picard Has More Sense Than Many in the Church | The Wartburg Watch 2013
  3. Blog News | A Cry For Justice
  4. Attitudes that Promote Abuse in the Church: Major System Flush Needed | Christian Heritage News
  5. they took it down | Defeating the Dragons

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