A Cry For Justice

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

12. Chris Moles has a Play Doh understanding of salvation

Chris Moles retweeted this pic which someone took of him at training for professionals who run Batterer Intervention Programs.

Chris Moles believes that an unregenerate person has the ability to choose of their own free will to follow Christ. But the Bible teaches that no person has the ability, the power, or the will to “choose” Christ unless God brings their dead spirit to life (Eph 2:1). The sin nature we inherit from Adam makes us spiritually dead and utterly resistant to the gospel. Jesus said: 

No one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me draws him. And I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

Truly truly I say to you, unless a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

The Apostle Paul agrees:

no one can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3b)

When writing to Titus (and by extension to all who have undergone the new birth), Paul said:

But after the kindness and love of our Saviour God toward man appeared,  he saved us – not for the deeds of righteousness that we have done, but of his mercy, by the fountain of the new birth, and with the renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Titus 3:4-6)

You may have heard of the Emergent Church movement. It is a mess of pottage. Chris Moles enthusiastically imbibed stuff from the Emergent Church while preparing to plant the church he pastors in West Virginia.¹ 

Chris says he does not have Reformed theology (C 4:17*). It is clear to me that Chris believes the fallen (spiritually dead) nature is not quite dead so it has the power to ‘choose Christ’ of its own volition; therefore Chris has an Arminian doctrine of salvation. This helps explain why, in practice, Chris can treat abusers as if they are already Christians.

Put on your seat belts and life-jackets to read what Chris says (emphasis added by me):

I recently spoke with a man who violence had torn his family apart. He was now living alone in a small apartment unable to see his children without supervision. He wept over what he had forfeited, and as we talked he wavered between disappointment at himself and frustration with his circumstances. I asked him to list his greatest desires in order of importance, and as you can imagine they were all good things such as seeing his family restored, for his children to know he loves them, and to control his anger. He was taken aback when I suggested that while those are good desires his primary motivation should be to please and glorify God in his current circumstances. … Christians are called to be transformed into the image of Christ. (M 105)

… the heart of pride may manifest the desire to control others. But what desires may emerge from adopting the mind of Christ…? This is a pivotal point of discussion with men who are willing to pursue change. Some men who have identified their heart of pride, their desire to control and their subsequent abusive behavior will now set admirable goals for themselves which may include many “good’ things but rarely include the biblical motivation of glorifying God. … I have encountered men who have skilfully taken aim at restoring a marriage broken by their violence, or have feverishly attempted to restore their reputation in the community, or poured resources into starting a new life but who still miss the mark. (M 105-6)

…we must hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6), and Jesus promised that if we do, we will be filled. It’s not about us, and the New Testament in particular is filled with calls to the Christ follower to abandon self, be crucified with Christ and adopt the mind of Christ. … For many men this is new theological ground. … I’m asking [the abuser] to consider what his life is really about. What does God expect of him and desire for him? He needs to consider how a God-centered life will compare to the way he has lived his life in the past.In other words, how will what God wants for you change what you want? …just as Christ wanted what the Father wanted, the person adopting the mind of Christ will want what Christ wants. (M 107-8)

There are many aspects of God’s character that we can encourage men to adopt…”The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Ex 34:6-7a). … These six characteristics stand out as the adoptable attributes consistent with the call to conformity.  (M 109)

Those four sections I just quoted are all taken from chapter 10 in Chris’s book. The only time Chris used the word “repent” in that entire chapter was when he asked us to imagine an abuser repenting (M 110). Cynical me thinks: yeah, we have to imagine abusers repenting, because in reality they so seldom repent!

Here is Chris again:

Jesus did not come to us with condemnation but with hope and salvation (John 3:17). He patiently calls us to redemption and then calls us to love one another. (M 110)

That statement is wrong because it doesn’t distinguish categories. God has provided redemption through his plan of salvation. God does not call you to redemption because He has already provided redemption. God calls you to repent of your sin and have faith in Jesus. Believe that Jesus is Lord and he came into this sin-blighted world in the flesh and died for your sin and rose from the grave, demonstrating his victory over sin, death and Satan. 

In part 6 of this series I talked about how Chris sees three stages in working with an abuser: (1) information, (2) transformation and (3) reformation. A good teacher would use properly biblical terms for (2) such as regeneration, new birth, born again. But Chris calls it “the transformation stage” as if it’s a stage in a production line.

(E 54:37) Transformation: It’s not my job; that’s the Holy Spirit. I want to encourage him to be open to the Spirit. I want to encourage him to respond to the Spirit’s prompting. I want to encourage him to repent. But that’s a job between him and God. Agreed?

Notice the internal contradiction. Chris says transformation is the job of the Holy Spirit. But a moment later he says transformation is a job between the abusive man and God.

(E 54:45) And part of the frustration is, guys, we can give all the information in the world. We can’t guarantee this will ever happen. We can gather all the data in the world  [about the tactics of abuse he has used, what he wanted to achieve with those tactics] – but we can’t guarantee the transformation is going to happen.

But when it does, we get to join him in the work of reformation: helping him put off and put on. How cool is that? How exciting is that? I’ll tell you if you see a guy who has gone up the arrow so far that he’s been violent, and he comes to a place of repentance, and then he asks you to help him learn how to be gentle. Cause you’ve been teaching him that gentleness is important, but it’s such a foreign concept to him that he says, “You know what, can you help me learn what it’s like to be gentle?” Well!!! Ummm!!! That’s good, isn’t it!”

I was recently working with an individual – we’ve been working for six months.  We spent probably five months on the information piece. It was just hard soil. Just continually pleading and pleading and pleading and pleading and pleading. And then there was that pivot point. Now our counseling relationship ended because I have certain restrictions on time frames and stuff, and I passed him off to a team. And what was cool is that this team said, “We had no idea how to get to this point, but we feel a lot more comfortable how to disciple somebody after this point.” But getting him here was nearly impossible. And it’s cool that we have this group of guys, four guys, that were like, “Alright, we know the put-ons. We know what to do.” And then to help them in that process. They’re going to spend another six months working with him on eventual repentance. Yeah, it’s cool. It’s cool. [emphasis added]

So Chris gives lip service to the fact that the new birth is a work of Spirit, but in practice he and the four men who took over that abuser’s case all believe they can coach the abuser to put off the old man and put on the new man. And Chris actually says that in the “reformation stage” the team are “working with him on eventual repentance”. So even going by Chris’s own words, the abuser was not born again in that “transformation stage / pivot point”.

Even going by Chris’s own words, it’s clear that the the guy did not repent. Because the team still have to work a lot more with him to “eventual repentance”.

Is you head done in trying to follow Chris’s double speak? Mine almost is!

Chris and the other four men are all working under their own strength. Like the believers at Corinth who were letting the adulterer remain in their midst, they are arrogant. They only give token agreement to the idea that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit.

A spongy understanding of salvation leads to a flabby definition of a Christian

Be not deceived. For neither fornicators, nor worshippers of images, nor whoremongers, nor effeminates, nor abusers of themselves with the male sex, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor cursed speakers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)

The application form for Chris’s coaching program asks: “Are you a Christian? Please share testimony describing how you came to faith in Jesus, and your current relationship with Jesus.”

Is Chris probing to find out whether the guy professes to be a Christian and how he justifies his profession of faith? Or is he asking because he thinks an abusive man could in fact be a Christian? It’s the latter. Here it is in his own words:

Most of the men I work with have claimed to be believers. If a man comes to me and claims to be a Christian, I like to think the best but I do operate under three assumptions. That if you’re participating in this behavior —

  • it’s quite possible that you are not a believer at all, because Christ’s followers don’t do this
  • 0r it’s quite possible that you are a very rebellious believer, because Christ’s followers don’t do this
  • or, it is somewhat possible that you’re a very ignorant believer. And I will say with this category, I sometimes find this with my more fundamentalist guys who have been taught a certain way who really feel like they are really honouring Christ but they’re really being jerks.

Here’s the thing. All three of those approaches need the same answer: the gospel — clear understanding of what Jesus has called us to be. (C 29:55, boldface mine;  also see N 53:18–53:57, M 87)

Chris thinks it is possible for someone to accept salvation yet go on hating his brother or sister…and that person can be called “a rebellious Christian”. But the Bible doesn’t agree. The Bible says that anyone who hates his brother or sister is child of the devil and does NOT have eternal life residing in him, so that person cannot be called a “rebellious” Christian — or any kind of Christian.

This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister. …Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:10,15 CSB)

Here is another place where Chris shows that he thinks an abuser can be a Christian:

Statements such as “I snapped,” “I lost control,” or “My temper got the best of me” may be accurate descriptions of the man’s emotional and behavioral responses, but they are, by no means, excusable simply because we can recognize that he was angry. This is especially true for biblical counselors who are working with Christian husbands who have abused their wife (sic). (X, emphasis added)

Here is another example:

A counselee who grudgingly or deceptively moves through the process without this heart of worship more than likely lacks the unifying work of Gospel provision and continues to cultivate the heart of violence. (M 82, emphasis added)

Allow me to fix that wording for Chris. A counselee who grudgingly or deceptively moves through the process without this heart of worship is definitely unregenerate and continues to cultivate the heart of violence.

I know Chris hasn’t changed his mindset because in his March 18 2018 post he still talks as if abusers can be Christians.

Chris holds a version of Lordship Salvation theology

Chris says “rebellious believers” have accepted salvation but they’re not living under the Lordship of Christ. But “easy believism” cannot be remedied by Lordship Salvation theology, since both those theologies are wrong!

Here is proof that Chris holds to a Lordship Salvation theology:

As we move an abusive person from pride to humility or from violence to gentleness we do so alongside introducing or emphasising the need to trust in the character and work of Christ.

For example, we may walk an abusive person through the attributes of God’s character and work in the process. In addition, Gospel truth will include understanding what he truly deserves.

We highlight his sense of entitlement as sinful, as the Bible speaks to what we are truly entitled to, and that is judgment and condemnation. We also emphasise a believer’s identity in Christ. What does the Scripture say about our identity in Christ? Resources such as Milton Vincent’s “A Gospel Primer for Christians” accurately and effectively communicates these realities. (M 79, paragraph breaks added for ease of reading)

Who is Milton Vincent? He’s a graduate of Bob Jones University and The Master’s Seminary and has served as a Faculty Associate at The Master’s Seminary (link). We already know that Bob Jones University and Master’s Seminary are steeped in legalism. We know that John MacArthur blurs the Law and the Gospel, which in my opinion is one of the reasons for his very bad track record in responding to domestic and sexual abuse. (See two accounts by women who were mistreated by MacArthur and his institutions: Do You See Me and Do You Hear Me? )

Chris confuses regeneration and sanctification

Jesus knows that we struggle with pride. That is to say He knows that we love ourselves but He insists that we elevate the status of God and others. … When he comes to the end of self, the abuser must embrace humility. In much the same way that King Nebuchadnezzar declared God’s authority following his point of brokenness (Daniel 4), the abuser must abandon pride and embrace humility. The process of sanctification must take this man to the foot of the cross, and to the place of surrender. His greatest help, and his family’s greatest hope, will be found in having the mind of Christ. It is from this position that he may choose to be a person of peace and begin the arduous process of moving from creating fear to offering hope.  (M 101-2, emphasis added) 

Did Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, really and truly repent unto saving faith? Chris thinks he did. But Daniel 4-5:2 shows that although King Neb was given two powerful teaching experiences by God which resulted in him acknowledging and blessing God, yet despite all that he didn’t return to the Jews the holy vessels he had stolen from their temple.

Acknowledging God is something that demons can do (James 2:19). Blessing God is something that King Saul did: he prophesied briefly after meeting a school of prophets (1 Sam 10, 19). But he was not saved. I reckon Nebuchadnezzar’s “blessing of God” was along the same lines as King Saul’s.

Chris thinks that no one is irreparable and everyone is redeemable

[quote from that clip]: “We have an image of men in particular being vicious and rapacious, and my experience has been that they are just men, and sometimes men make mistakes, and sometimes men sin, and some times they need the sword – they need to go to jail for a while – but everybody is redeemable.” (L 3:10–3:42)

 Here is another instance where Chris teaches the same idea:

I’m not big on the words ‘broken’ and ‘healing’. I use those words, but often times they need defining. But I think we can all agree that in a sin-sick, a sin-filled world, a fallen world, we are going to encounter people that are less than whole. That are incomplete. That are cracked. Now the one thing we can agree on is no one is irreparable. Right? All of us represent that brokenness and all of us can experience fullness and completeness in Christ. And one day when we get to heaven — Well! We’ll know fully what we now know in part. (F 18:54-19:34, emphasis added)

Even if an abusive man reforms his character, he may never come to know Christ

Even if in the rare case an abusive man were to work hard on changing his character so he no longer abused any intimate partner – and even if he became a respected practitioner working ethically in the secular Mens Behavior Change movement – he may never become regenerate. He may never come to know Christ.

Only a few (a very few) abusers do the long hard work required to change into gentle, decent, non-abusive men. But many men are gentle, decent, respectful husbands and fathers without ever becoming Christians. And decent men can be just as resistant to the gospel as evil men are! Every person is resistant to the gospel unless and until God quickens their dead spirit to life.

I know of less than a handful of men who were abusers who have changed into non-abusers. Two of those cases are men who were not Christians and are still not Christians. Those two abusers both attended secular Men’s Behavior Change Programs in Australia and kept repeatedly attending and  working on their stuff until they deep down changed. They are now both working professionally in the Men’s Behaviour Change movement. One is Dave Nugent who now runs the Heavy Metal Group and was involved in the film Call Me Dad; you can see Dave talking to a group of Jewish men here. The second is Ivan Clarke who tells his story here.

The only other case I know of where an abusive man seemed to reform, is Dave Weir. He tells his story on pp.118-25 of Unclenching Our Fists. While serving a jail sentence for domestic violence, Dave was convicted of sin. He doesn’t recount that any Christian spoke to him, he simply says that he felt this from God. He says that with the help of some books and a few courses he “worked his own program”. After he got out of jail he went voluntarily to a batterer’s program. He never got his family back. But the most compelling evidence for me that Dave did genuinely reform is the way his ex-wife Leta responded at the close of his life. By the time the female author of Unclenching our Fists interviewed Dave, he had cancer of the throat and was having difficulty speaking. The interview was recorded but Dave’s speech was so hard to understand that the author couldn’t transcribe it. After Dave died, his ex-wife Leta volunteered to transcribe the interview, saying she was proud of the work Dave had done on himself (pp.186-7).

At the end of chapter 10 (M 113-4) Chris refers again to his case study of Patrick, then gives his concerns:

For the first time time since beginning to meet with Patrick, the two of you agree on nearly every point. He agreed with your view of the sinful nature of his actions, and his desire to control his wife. He also articulated that his primary concern has been himself and his own pride. He agreed as you highlighted the need to pursue a higher goal of God’s pleasure and glory. However, your request for a decision to follow Christ and abandon self was met with this phrase: “Can I get back to you on that? I guess I’ve got a lot to think about.”

1. There may be some benefit to allowing Patrick to think things over. I, however, would more than likely push the issue. I’d be suspicious that this is an attempt to establish some aspect of control, and the truth will not change in a couple of days, and the need will still be as great. Either choose life or death. On the other hand, if he insists on taking time I would allow it and plan to set ultimatums such as discontinuation of the counseling process, and completion of church discipline/excommunication or increased sanctions depending on the sources of accountability if movement did not occur before our next conversation. Everything has been exposed and the time for decision has arrived.

2. There is certainly much to celebrate. While we have yet to witness the change needed, we have been privileged to see a shift from denial, hostility and anger to one of acknowledgement and accountability. Drawing this time to a point of decision is an accomplishment, but the work is only beginning.

Only at this point does Chris tell counselors to consider finalising church discipline! So all this time Patrick has likely been participating in membership of the church while the victim has been strung out on a long thread, waiting and hoping for him to show genuine reformation, and for the church to vindicate her…

I profoundly disagree that there is “much to celebrate” in helping Patrick come this far. Bringing an abuser to the point of admitting his heart of pride and his desire to control his partner is pointless if the abuser does not truly reform. It is also potentially dangerous because Patrick has been given the idea that he has the ability in himself to decide to follow Christ. This just gives Patrick more lingo that he can utilise to convince people that he is no longer going to be an abuser.

Chris presents to abusive men a false gospel of gentle moralism. Chris would probably deny it, but his “gospel” to abusive men is pretty much a gospel of Your Best Life Now. (M 68)

Chris describes what he means by discipling men (F 42:28-47:38). But what Chris calls ‘discipling men’ I would simply describe as  wise and loving parenting of boys so they don’t have to grow up constricted in the man box, and teaching/modelling to boys and men what is entailed in being a good husband and father. Those are things which are being done by some people of other faiths and by folks who profess no particular faith. Those things are not just the province of the Christian church. Chris is arrogant to call those things “discipleship”.

I believe that what Chris is doing could be described as trying to teach men moral living: how to be honest decent men, decent husbands and fathers, decent citizens. But it’s a category mistake to call this ‘discipleship’ when men can make those changes without ever becoming true disciples of Christ!

Common sense tells us that domestic abusers who have been “church-attending, professing-believers” for decades are more evil and entrenched in their deceit than the abusive guy in his teens or early adulthood who has absorbed some traits of toxic masculinity from the world but has not been faking Christianity and using it as a cover for his abuse.

***

*Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter.
The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.

All scripture quotations are from the New Matthew Bible, unless otherwise indicated.

¹ The Oct 28 2003 rant at churchplantrant.blogspot.comHere is the all-caps wording at the top of that blog page. Truly, you can’t make this stuff up —

THE BIZARRE ADVENTURES OF TWO REDNECK GOOFBALLS WHO CONNED AN ENTIRE DENOMINATION INTO FUNDING THEIR TWO CHURCH PLANTS CHRIS MOLES IS PASTOR OF GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH IN ELEANOR, WV, POPULATION 18 IF YOU COUNT THE DOGS. SCOTT ELKINS IS PASTOR OF THE CHURCH DOWNTOWN IN HUNTINGTON, WV POPULATION ABOUT 60,000, AND THAT INCLUDES THE HIPPIES, DRUG DEALERS, AND STREET FOLK.

Further reading

Lordship Salvation versus Easy Believism versus Reformed Theology

The prevalent false gospel among us–”No one is beyond God’s mercy”

Nebuchadnezzar’s recognition of the true and living God 

Can someone be an abuser and be a Christian?

Snakes, spiders and pit bulls

Imagine if pit bull terriers and poisonous snakes and spiders were commonly used as companion animals. Imagine if they were common in homes, schools, nursing homes, churches and missionary organizations.

And now imagine that a skilled animal-handler found a way to train pit bulls, snakes and spiders so that a few of them did not bite…but the training worked on only a few of them. No matter how hard the super-skilled trainer did his or her amazing stuff, the vast majority of those animals could not be trained.

Would it be sensible to say “Let’s teach all the animal trainers to use these amazing techniques so that a few less people are hurt by snakes, spiders and pit bulls?”

Or would it be more sensible to just ban poisonous snakes, spiders and pit bulls?

Of course, the analogy is imperfect…and I mean no offence to real snakes and spiders as they have a place in the ecosystem!  But I think you get my point.

Psalm 15:1-4   NASB
O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

 

I would love to reconcile with my dad. But I need to see repentance.

I grew up in a Christian home. I should clarify, my mother’s faith was always an inspiration to me, but all I saw with my father’s so-called faith was hypocrisy and using the Bible as a weapon against others.

Then one day, my mother came to me weeping over my father’s actions towards her. She had nowhere else to go, as over the years she had become more and more isolated, and bought into the lie that as a good Christian woman she shouldn’t talk about her marriage issues with anyone and cover her husband’s sin.

She came to me out of sheer desperation because the emotional abuse had got so severe. I was shocked but strangely not surprised. I guess I had always seen my father’s antics, just was surprised how far he had taken things this time.

I begged mum to go get help from another Godly couple we know (who have been a true blessing to her through this!) I begged mum to not go back to my dad but to separate from him. Enough was enough. I told her his behaviour was abusive.

Meanwhile, I confronted my dad directly. I heard his side of the story.

I tried pleading with him initially to go get counselling. He agreed to do so, only to twist their words and use them as validation for his behaviour! I was so horrified.

At that point I realised that he was emotionally manipulating everyone (including me)!  I had never seriously thought of my dad as being manipulative, I think because growing up he used overt control and didn’t need to be subversive with me about it!

I realised at this point that pleading with him would only serve to further his cause. He wanted compassion and he wanted allies. He would just continue shifting goalposts and deflecting issues until he wore me down.

So I took a firm stand against him. I told him I would never agree with him, that what he was doing was sin and he was in a dangerous place with God.

At first he was angry with me, and then when he realised I wouldn’t sway from my convictions he told me that I didn’t have to agree with him – but I had to ‘accept’ what he was doing.

It’s just a play on words – in his mind acceptance will just flow on to agreement, and I have seen so many people fall into this trap with him already. They tell him they don’t agree, but they continue to have a relationship with him in the hope that one day he might magically change his mind. Meanwhile he tells everyone else that these people agree with him that my mother is a horrible person! These people (including family members) foolishly try to walk the path of neutrality, and they don’t realise they HAVE by default chosen a side…the side of the abuser!

I told my father I would not accept what he was doing. He threatened to not come around anymore if I was going to ‘lecture’ him every time he did (translation: disagree with him and call him out on his sin) and I told him perhaps that was best. At that moment he freaked out because his threat was just a bluff. Then he pulled out all the stops – accusing me of being a self-righteous, judgemental Christian with conditional love. According to him I was giving him ultimatums, I was threatening to cut him off (even though two seconds before HE was threatening to not see me anymore!) I was wanting to punish him. It was insane and heavy. He became desperate and bullying. After this altercation I told him repeatedly (and respectfully) to give me time and space and he refused. He attempted to bulldoze my boundaries about four times and in the end my husband had to step in and tell him he wasn’t welcome in our lives until he ‘pulled his head out’.

So now here I am. I haven’t spoken to my father in a while now. He refuses to repent or show even remorse. He has lied repeatedly. All the while he has played the victim which makes me so flipping angry, when all that has happened is a result of his choices! He has always blamed everyone else for his problems, and now he is out of control.

I feel a strong conviction in my spirit to have nothing to do with him. Until he repents. IF he repents (which I sadly fear he may never). Not to punish him, but to protect myself and my family from his evil.

Now I am struggling against the enormous pressure to resume a relationship with my dad despite his sin and lack of repentance. I hear “but he’s your dad!” Apparently, it’s acceptable to cut all toxic relationships from your life EXCEPT if it’s family. And yet it’s family that can do the most damage if they are toxic.

I feel other people’s judgement, that somehow I am not a loving person because I can’t accept my dad for “who he is” and forgive him. I judge myself worst of all. I am constantly at war with myself, battling the lies my dad has spoken over me (judgmental, self-righeous, punishing him…)

I can forgive him, but I cannot comprehend a relationship with him if he is unrepentant. I don’t even know how that can work. It sends my soul into turmoil at the thought of it. I get fearful and anxious at the thought of him being in my life given his toxic behaviour.

I sometimes battle with intense anger. I wonder why I am the one with all the expectations on me to make the situation ‘right’ when I am not the one who caused all this mess – my mum and I are victims of it. Yet NO ONE except for me has stood firmly against my dad to defend my mum. All these people who know my mum’s character and can vouch for it…yet they keep trying to ‘love’ dad into repentance. It sounds so Christian, but it’s so twisted, and dad is lapping it up. It hurts my heart and I feel so alone sometimes.

It’s so jolly hard to decide not to have anything to do with your own father. I didn’t take my decision lightly, or impulsively. It’s even harder to deal with another Christian’s pressure to reconcile. I will say though, that my closest friends have been very supportive and understanding of my position and that is a true blessing.

I would love to reconcile with my dad. But I need to see repentance. Why is that so polarizing to Christians?!?!?

***

Thanks very much to Porcelain Warrior who gave us permission to publish her story as a stand-alone post.

She first put her story here, as a comment on Should biblical counselors put lots of energy into helping abusive men see their sins? (Part 8 in the Chris Moles series)

 

William Tyndale discusses faith in his Prologue to the Book of Romans

William Tyndale, 1494-1536

Faith is not man’s opinion and dream, as some imagine, and form their own ideas when they hear the story of the gospel. The cause is that when they hear the gospel or glad tidings, they fashion by their own strength certain imaginations and thoughts in their hearts, saying, I have heard the gospel; I remember the story; lo, I believe! And this they count true faith – which nevertheless, since it is but man’s imagination and assumption, does not profit. Neither do good works or a lasting amendment of life follow.

But true faith is a thing wrought by the Holy Spirit in us, which changes us, transforms our nature, begets us anew in God, and makes us the children of God, as you read in the first of John. A faith that is genuine kills the old Adam, and makes us altogether new in the heart, mind, will, desire, and in all our affections and powers of the soul, and brings the Holy Spirit with her.

Faith is a living thing, mighty in working, courageous and strong, ever doing, ever fruitful, so that it is impossible that the person endued with faith should not work good works. A person of faith does not ask whether good works are to be done or not, but has done them already, before mention be made of them. And he is always doing, for such is his nature now: a living faith in his heart, and the active moving of the Spirit, constrain him and stir him to this. Whoever does not do good works is an unbelieving person, and faithless, and looks around groping after faith and good works, but does not know what faith or good works are, even when he talks ever so much about faith and good works.

Faith is then a living and steadfast trust in the favour of God, whereby we commit ourselves altogether to God. And that trust is so surely grounded and sticks so fast in our hearts that a man would not once doubt of it, though he should die a thousand times for it. And such trust wrought by the Holy Spirit through faith makes a person glad, joyful, cheerful, and true-hearted, toward God and toward all creatures. And thus he or she is willingly and without compulsion glad and ready to do good to all, to render service to all, to suffer all things, so that God who has given him such grace may be loved and praised. So it is impossible to separate good works from faith, even as it is impossible to separate heat and burning from fire.

Therefore take heed to yourself. Beware of your own suppositions and imaginations, which to judge of faith and good works will seem wise, but indeed are blind, and of all things most unwise. Pray God that he will assent to work faith in your heart, or you will remain evermore faithless, however much you surmise, imagine, strengthen your resolve, wrestle with yourself, or do what you will or can.

From William Tyndale’s Prologue to Romans, Matthew’s Version Abridged (1537). The language has been gently updated into modern English by Ruth Magnusson Davis.

Unlike most of our Sunday posts, today’s post is not a sermon. But if you want to listen to a sermon, there are a vast number of Ps Sam Powell’s sermons on Sermon Audio.

Lastly, here is a hymn that one of our readers sent me.

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Further reading

The Matthew Bible is the first complete English Bible, and Ruth M Davis is gently updating it for modern readers – in this post you will find out more about William Tyndale. He translated the Greek New Testament and about half of Hebrew Old Testament, but was taken captive and martyred before he could complete his translation of the OT. His translations were incorporated in the Matthew Bible.

 

Blog News: Gift Books — New offer

UPDATE: Our supply is now exhausted.  If we receive more copies before they are released onto the market, we will let you know in this post.  

We have shared in the past about Don Hennessy’s new book, Steps to Freedom: Escaping Intimate Control. To learn more about his book see Barbara’s post: Steps to Freedom: Escaping Intimate Control – Don Hennessy’s new book

The Irish publisher Liberties Press has sold out of its first printing and has reprinted it. But book release dates differ in the non-American market from the American market. Amazon USA says the book will be available in September. And for reasons we can’t understand, Book Depository which is a UK company says it will be available in October. 

Meanwhile, Don Hennessy has generously donated copies of his book to ACFJ. As we have done in the past with other books through our Gift Book project we are making these copies available to cash-strapped victims.

If you are a victim of abuse who wants but can’t afford to purchase or is hesitate to purchase because your only credit card account is jointly shared with your abuser — a copy of Steps to Freedom, please email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com.  We presently have only a few copies of this book. We will handle requests in the order that we receive them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Chris Moles discredits and mislabels victims of domestic abuse

Chris Moles, Bethlehem Baptist Church 2017

Chris disapproves of survivors having a victim identity or victim-hood status.

He conveys the idea that victims are somehow wrong to be so aware of their victim-hood.

It’s an interesting thing in the victim-care work, that many victims’ identity will be so tied to their victim-hood status.

And one of the things biblical counselors have done is we don’t like victim status. Right? So we dismiss it, rightfully so, 90% of the time. But this percent of the time we might need to walk with them graciously to get them out of that, because we don’t want to drive them further into it – we want them to have victory right?— not be a victim.

And yet, if you’ve been a victim for 25-30 years, it’s kind of ingrained in you, isn’t it? Do you think you’re going to trust easily if you’ve been under that weight for a long time? Maybe not. We can’t guarantee because everybody’s different. But it is important to remember that victim care is a very delicate issue… you probably won’t have much control over it – you’re going to be managing it. There is no perfect intervention. (F* 15:00-15:55)

This approach pathologizes victims. It suggests that victims have actively and sinfully ‘tied’ themselves to this status. What an unjust way of perceiving the victims!

I don’t exactly know what Chris means by “victim-hood status” but I think he probably needs to stop being so negative about it. It is not a “status” that we nestle in because we want to nurse self pity or grumbling resentment. We are victims because abusers and their allies have victimized us. And because so many people in the church continue to dismiss our cries for justice.

When Chris thinks a victim is “tied to a victim identity,” he admonishes her. He urges counselors and pastors to remind victims:

This [the suffering, the victim-hood] is not who you are! …There is provision in the pain. I know you’ve been a victim.  I know you’ve been hurt and we’re going to stand with you in the gap. We’re going to address this to the best of our ability. We’re going to lovingly care for you but the reality of it is God has given you more than enough to stand strong in the face of what you’ve had happen to you. In the mean time we’re going to hold your arms up. We’re going to be part of your process because we love you. And part of the provision God has given you is us. (F 32:05)  

This teaching is unjust because it obscures the systemic abuse that victims are experiencing. It brushes off and minimizes the injustice and stigma that victims are put through not only from their abusive husbands but from their churches, their fellow Christians, and society at large.

Chris recognizes the injustice to some extent. He tells counselors, “…as you’re dealing with victims it’s important to remember the type of pressure that they are under.” (F 18:24-18:30) But it is disturbing that Chris doesn’t comprehend how pervasive this systemic abuse is for victims, even though Christian victims have told him about the systemic abuse they experience in the church (see Part 4 of this series). 

We shouldn’t be all that surprised Chris doesn’t recognize the extent of the systemic injustice. After all, he and his buddy Jim Newheiser are contributing to the systemic abuse by casting suspicions on victims who ask good questions like “What does the Bible say about abuse and divorce?” (see part 10 in this series)

I don’t know any genuine Christian victims who self-indulgently focus on their victim-hood status or who habitually embrace their victim-hood status at the expense of their relationship with God and their love for God’s people.

But I know countless victims who are painfully aware of their victim-hood because the abusers and the churches keep on abusing and re-traumatizing them! 

If Chris really wants victims to have victory and “not be a victim,” he needs to do a lot more to expose and denounce the institutionalized and systemic abuse.

This must start with renouncing and confronting all the false doctrines and practices in churches which are contributing to the suffering of victims. And then it requires Christians to lobby their governments to bring about changes in legislation and policies so that victims will get better protection from the secular justice system and the welfare system. For example, changes which would enable victims to get protection orders for all types of domestic abuse not just physical violence, with police properly enforcing those orders. And changes in the Family Courts so that victims will not have to hand over their children to abusers for visitation or ‘shared parenting’, or (even worse) the protective parent loses custody to the abuser! And changes in the Child Support system so that it becomes harder for abusers to avoid paying proper child support.

Chris wrongly judges what constitutes ‘sinful resistance’ from the victim

Chris claims that many victims are resisting the abuse in sinful ways, repaying evil for evil. He talks quite a lot about the victim’s temptation to turn the tables and abuse the perpetrator in reaction and revenge. Here is what Chris teaches counselors:

We are permitted to resist we just aren’t allowed to resist the way the world resists.  And I think that many cases victims that we counsel are resisting in kind, rather than learning how to be kind in their resistance. Make sense? This is not killing [the abuser] with kindness. This is drawing attention to how I’m being sinned against appropriately, and prayerfully ask for repentance from that party.
If you violate me physically, if you hit me and I hit you back, we got a fight – don’t we? But if you hit me and I resist appropriately we don’t have a fight any more. Now all the onus is on you. All the weight is on you. I don’t think we do a very good job of teaching resistance in the church nowadays. (F* 39:06)

Belief and support can be incredibly empowering to victims, as it should be, but you [counselors] need to be aware that this may be the first time she’s felt powerful or in control and the temptation may be to seek revenge, hold hostage, or rely on this new found power for her safety and security rather than God. (F 40:17)

Resistance is acceptable, revenge is not. Revenge belongs to God – He will repay. Resistance is acceptable: [e.g., saying to the abuser:] “I’m not comfortable with that. This is ungodly. I’m being sinned against.” (F 40:35)

For non-violent resistance to coercive force, Chris recommends the examples Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount: turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, leave the courtroom naked [that’s his phrasing, not mine!] (F: 37:28). He also points to Romans 12 which recommends responding to enemies this way:

(Rom. 12:17-21) Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

But none of those responses by a victim would mitigate domestic abuse or overcome the abuser’s evil, because they rely on the oppressor being shamed…and in domestic abuse that seldom if ever happens. In public, the abuser usually succeeds in doing a snow job on bystanders so they never show him the contempt that he deserves. And the abuser is impervious to being shamed by his victim in private.

When the victim appropriately draws the abuser’s attention to how he is sinning against her, prayerfully asking him to repent, he will never respond positively to her appeals. But he will pay attention to what she is telling him and file it away as extra information which he can use to hone his abuse and draw the noose even tighter around her. Now he knows that tactic X is really hurting her, he might do more of tactic X. Or he might accuse her of using tactic X.  Or he might spread rumors to the church that she is using tactic X against him. Or he might diminish his use of tactic X for a while to give her the impression he is improving, while quietly escalating some of his other tactics of abuse. And he knows he can resort to tactic X again when it suits him…which he knows will be very effective because she will be really triggered when he does.

So when a victim judiciously employs non-violent resistance tactics with her abuser, the abuser typically takes whatever she does or says and turns it into bullets or landmines that he can use against her. He takes advantage of everything she does to non-violently resist him. He takes advantage of every kindness she shows him. The victim eventually finds out that the only safe non-violent resistance is taking steps outside the abuser’s knowledge, whilst validating and cultivating the secret, dignity-preserving thoughts of her heart which the abuser cannot destroy. And she finds that the best contact with an abuser is NO contact.

Here is another example of how Chris wrongly judges what constitutes “sinful resistance”. He correctly states that the abuser is probably lying; but he also asserts that the victim is probably lying:

One of the dangers for us as biblical counselors is this ‘Proverbs 18:17 trap’ — that we can play so much of our time playing private investigator [trying to work out the truth of what is happening by listening to one party then the other] till we realize both parties are probably lying to us, and there’s probably something else happening that we aren’t being told, that we can’t wait till we get every piece of information. (E 05:50–06:20)

By asserting that the victim is probably lying, Chris is contradicting himself. For Chris has observed that victims own every wrong thing they have done:

My experience with women’s groups has been that when women come into our group or when women come into counseling who have been victims, they own everything they’ve every done. “Yeah, I hit him. Yeah, I slashed his tires. Yeah, I did this.” (B 50:06)

Chris gives an example of a wife’s resistance (E 32:07–40:30). He describes how a man isolated his wife to the point of forbidding her from visiting her mother and threatening her if she disobeyed his order. Chris rightly notes that the wife might resist by deceiving her husband and making secret visits to her mother. But here’s the problem: Chris calls that sinful resistance by the wife! For all his high-sounding teaching that the church needs to balance its theology of suffering with a theology of oppression (C 18:32), Chris clearly hasn’t considered applying to domestic abuse the biblical stories of righteous deception of the wicked — the Hebrew midwives’ deception of Pharaoh for example, or Rahab’s deception of the leaders of Jericho. (For more on what the Bible says about telling untruths and deceiving oppressors, see here.)

I do not deny that some victims, sometimes, have resisted the abuse by using sinful behavior themselves. For example, if a victim seeks solace in the romantic arms of another man to whom she is not legally married, that is sin on her part. If she takes out her anger on her children, that is sinful. A Christian victim/survivor will know that those things are sins, and will confess and repent of them and seek to make whatever reparation is possible. But I am very troubled by Chris actually describing a victim’s sinful resistance as “abuse” which he does here:

Does sinful resistance need to be addressed? Yes. Not in the context of his violence but in the context of her abuse, but it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to what he is doing. (E 38:47, emphasis added)

Chris is wrong to label sinful resistance by the victim as “abuse”. Whatever the victim does, even if she sometimes uses sinful actions in resisting the abuse, it is wrong to imply – as Chris has done here – that she is abusive to the perpetrator. I shall use Chris’s definition of domestic abuse to prove my point. Chris defines domestic abuse as:

An abuse of power manifested through selfishly motivated patterns of behavior to exercise or maintain control. (C 24:40, 37:38, 55:09) 

And his longer definition is: 

A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, injure or wound someone. (B 19:00)

Victims do not evince an abuse of power manifested by selfishly motivated patterns of behavior to exercise or maintain control over their parter. Victims do not employ an ongoing pattern of coercive and controlling actions targeted at their abuser. It is not selfish to protect one’s dignity as a person made in the image of God. It is not selfish to protect one’s safety or the safety of one’s children. It is not selfish to resist evil.

We could also consider the definition of domestic abuse we use at A Cry For Justice. We define domestic abuse as a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, they keep their parter subordinated and under their control. That is the mentality and tactics of abusers; it is not the mentality and tactics of victims.

Why have I made such a big deal of Chris referring to a victim’s sinful responses to her oppressor as “abuse”? Because the abusers usually accuses his victim of being the abuser. So this is a very sore point for victims.

Chris disparages the moral integrity of victims

Chris thinks the victim needs to be held accountable to truth and called to repentance and christlike conformity:

We want to confront the abuser and comfort the victim. Does that mean the victim is sinless? No – there’s plenty of work to do there. Does that mean the abuser is an evil monster? No. But we are calling oppressors to repentance; we are calling victims back to Christlike conformity. (F 41:55)

You should not be surprised to see anger and resentment. And certainly we want to help victims move from this to Christlike conformity. But understand you are going to probably experience some of this. This will manifest itself in different ways, but certainly the weight of abuse can contribute to that. (F 22:30, emphasis added) 

Don’t pretend to be or think you’re the victim’s messiah. …They need you as a partner and an advocate. [Victims need] somebody [who] holds them accountable to truth, draws them to repentance, and then also works with the perpetrator and pulls him into repentance. (C 1:06:56)
(emphasis added)

So Chris assumes that victims are doing things wrong and they need to repent. He tells counselors they have to “pull victims back to truth”:

Jesus – how loving he was with the woman at the well.  Still calling her to truth, but doing it in a winsome way.  What about the woman caught in adultery?  (Which is a crazy story, by the way – this just goes back to that male privilege category, doesn’t it? – where was the dude?  –she was in adultery by herself?)

And yet Jesus was so patient and winsome. Really articulating and following the Law without giving to its aggression and violence. Because He says, “Yeah, the penalty is stoning and the person without sin can throw the first rock.”  Him being the only one there without sin chooses instead to show mercy.  … So when you are dealing with victims who have been isolated or hurt, labeled, conditioned, it’s important be patient but always on the side of truth. We still pull them back to truth.(F 28:00–29:11, emphasis added)   

That phrase “we pull the victims back to truth” is not in itself all that bad. On this blog, some of our work involves teaching biblical precepts for how to deal with abuse. But Chris and other biblical counselors don’t seem able rightly to divide the Word of truth, especially when it comes to the complexities of abuse. So when Chris utters that phrase, it comes across to me as haughty and arrogant.

News flash: if genuine Christians who’ve suffered domestic abuse are not walking well with Christ, it is most likely because the church has taught them so many unbiblical (untruthful) things. The victims are either trying to obey all that unbiblical teaching – which causes them to disregard the voice of their conscience / intuition / the Holy Spirit. Or they’ve given up trying to obey because the unbiblical teaching only gave them options which put them in ongoing danger from their abusers.

Chris rightly notes that victims often feel helpless, hopeless, lost and exhausted. But what does he do with that observation? He tells counselors: “we may have to be a little sparse on [giving the victims] homework” (F 26:00). How patronizing for counselors to think they can give victims homework at all! Victims of domestic abuse are usually stretched to the limit dealing with practical safety matters, housing, parenting, finances, legal stuff, etc. It is horrible to think of biblical counselors prescribing any homework to victims that might add to their burden. 

Chris allows ‘lamentation’ but he disallows ‘venting’ 

Chris encourages victims to lament along the lines of Ps 55, Ps 10 & Ps 22, but he makes a point of saying that “the goal is for the victim to lament properly” —

Lament not vent. Venting is a secular category that invites exaggeration accusation and justification, but it doesn’t invite repentance and it doesn’t invite the Holy Spirit. Venting not a scriptural principal. (L 40:15–40:58).

(source of video: L 40:14–41:58)

I agree that it is helpful to encourage victims to use the psalms for lamentation. The psalms have many examples of victims of oppression grieving, lamenting and crying out to God. But we also see the psalmists being angry at injustice, naming the evil conduct of their oppressors, rejecting their oppressors’ false accusations, and asking God to bring shame on the oppressors. It is helpful to advise victims that there is nothing wrong with praying in the style of the imprecatory psalms. Chris never mentions that, which is another ethical shortfall on his part.

What is more, Chris maligns victims when he says that “venting invites exaggeration and self-justification”. And his claim that venting is not a scriptural principal is simply ridiculous. Consider the book of Job. Rather than rebuking Job for all his venting, God gave Job a glimpse into His awesome creative and majestic power. To rebuke someone for venting is a mean-minded act.

Chris sometimes says negative things about victim advocates. And the advocates he praises are dodgy.

Certainly, Chris respects the victim-advocate who is his colleague at the county probation department (F 1:10). But he often says negative things about victim-advocates. I’ve got the impression that when Chris says negative things about victim-advocates he is mostly referring to non-Christian advocates who have secular feminist viewpoints (e.g., E: 45:45, 01:01:44). But he also says that he has received some strong opposition from Christians. (I wonder if he mean us?) 

He endorses more than one victim-advocate website run by Christians — sites which we do not endorse at ACFJ because we think some of what they say is unbiblical or inaccurate in regards to domestic abuse.

In one instance where Chris does praise victim-advocates, he seems to be unaware that the advocates he is praising have been shown to mistreat at least one victim. Allow me to explain. Chris praises and quotes from the Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse (F 56:35). And as an example of empowering female leadership, Chris cites BBC’s Domestic Abuse Response team (DART) which has many female volunteers on it (F 57:25). Then he says:

I want to encourage you to empower female leadership. Key leaders to assembly team response female voices have to be a part of this.  If you’re doing victim care and 85% of victims are going to be female… Female leadership is key here. We’ve got to have females at the table. (F 57:32 -58:11)

But the fact is, there has been some poor fruit from the training Chris has given to BBC and the DART team has not helped all victims who have disclosed. In fact, BBC has publicly persecuted a victim. Here is the evidence: My Defense Against the Public Attack by Bethlehem Baptist Church — a reblog from Natalie.

Chris sometimes mutualizes the blame (sin levelling)

Here is an example of how Chris mutualizes the blame and engages in “sin levelling”. He says:

… we embrace the reality that not only did Jesus die for violent men, he hung on a cross designed for a violent man, and by a sermon on the mount type of theology, each of us have that heart of violence potential within us and so if we have no hope for the abuser then there’s little hope for us… (A, emphasis added) 

Here’s another example of sin levelling:

Domestic violence has at its very heart desires for control and sinful abuses of power which constrict a relationship to the point of little or no meaning. Purpose is swept aside for conformity and truth is replaced with manipulative communication both from the offender who controls and the victim who resists, or plays along to avoid abuse. (P, emphasis added)

Chris called the victim’s behavior manipulative. Ouch! That example illustrates how Chris fails to honor the victim’s resistance.

Hint from Barb to counselors and pastors: When you elucidate and honor the victim’s resistance, you will help her come out of the fog and recover. Biblical counselors and church leaders who want to learn how to do this can check out this pdf.

Here is one more example of Chris using language that is “sin levelling”. Many of our readers report that the words I’ve put in bold are the similar to what they’ve been told by church leaders who are pressuring the victim to take some responsibility for the problem. Chris appears to be talking about total depravity, but he doesn’t use that phrase because he doesn’t have Reformed Theology:

We live in a sin-cursed world. … The biggest difference between me and the men I have worked with is what side of the room I’m on. No; I haven’t been abusive; but my heart’s just a wicked, just as fallen, as anybody I’ve worked with. (L 6:13, emphasis added)

Chris, is your heart as wicked as an abuser’s? Really? Are you born again, Chris?

Certainly we are all born with a sin nature, but abusers have progressively and intentionally corrupted and hardened themselves, relishing and perfecting the wickedness in their hearts much more than most of us have (see here). And if someone is born again, their heart and spirit is made new in Christ; they still battle against the flesh, but are not in bondage to sin the way unsaved people are.

Given that Chris has been trained in how to run Batterer Intervention Programs, I’m astounded that he talks about abusers “losing control”:

We teach a technique known as taking a “proper time-out.” The purpose of this is to give a man a tool to use when he believes he may lose control and endanger himself and others. (M 115)

One of the myths that abusive men love to disseminate is that domestic abuse happens when the guy “loses control”. Chris ought to know this is a myth. He should not be recycling that myth.

Chris’s notions about suffering will hurt many victims

Chris talks about “couples suffering in the midst of family violence” (M 13). How misleading! In domestic abuse, “the couple” does not suffer. The victim suffers.

The abuser will most certainly suffer in eternity if he does repent unto saving faith before he dies. But in this temporal life, the abuser doesn’t suffer much for choosing to abuse the victim…so long as he can maintain control. Rather, he enjoys the perks he gets from keeping his victim under control. And even if she escapes from his control, he takes delight from being able to retaliate on her through manipulating the visible church and the secular legal system.

Here is an example of how Chris “draws the victim back to conformity with Christ”.

There is power found in enduring pain… consider it pure joy when you face trials of different kinds (James 1). We should be experiencing joy when pressure comes on us.  … There’s tons of hope here, but PLEASE PLEASE  balance the theology of suffering with confrontation of the perpetrator. Theology of suffering on its own can prove dangerous. (F 32:34 )

There are promises in our pain.(F 33:20)

Here’s another place where Chris talks about suffering:

If we’re going to talk about abuse we have to balance a theology of suffering with a theology of oppression. And what we tend to do is we tend to take 1st and 2nd Peter and we lob that onto the victim of abuse and tell her to “Suffer well. Conform to the image of Christ.” And we forget God’s call for the church to stand in the gap for the oppressed. So we put all the burden on the victims of abuse and none of the burden on the church to stand in the gap and say “Enough!”

So James 1:27 is a very culturally significant verse. “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God is this: that we care for the widows and orphans in their distress, and remain unpolluted by the world.” We no longer think like the world, and that new thought process – that Christlike thought process – calls us into mediating positions, reconciling positions that stand between the oppressor and the oppressed.

So yes; victims will suffer and that suffering can produce conformity to Christ – but not unnecessary suffering, and not suffering isolated from or removed from the intervention of the church. (L 15:45 – 17:00)

But who does he recommend as giving good teaching on the benefits suffering? Wait for it! John Piper, Justin Taylor and biblical counselors who’ve been key figures at CCEF (David Powlison, Ed Welch & Paul Tripp). We have published multiple posts warning people about Piper and CCEF.

Lastly, and most sickening of all, is what Chris says to counselors who work extensively with abusive men (in violation of the Bible’s precepts). He flatters these counselors by conveying the notion that they’re martyrs for the gospel:

Now again I’ve told you and I’ll tell you this again – I don’t have the greatest batting average.  But I don’t think any of us do.  This is not all-star weekend. Especially if it’s gone up that escalatory arrow. Don’t expect to be batting a thousand. Expect disappointment. Right? I’m not say you go in without hope. You go in with hope-guns loaded, double full barrel hope machine. But understand you’re going to experience some disappointment. And you might lose some friends. And you might suffer some heartache. But isn’t that really the call of the gospel? to identify with the suffering? So I’m not saying put yourself in harm’s way. I’m not saying make yourself a victim. I’m just saying be prepared to have some successes and rejoice in them, but don’t rely on them…. (E 57:57, emphasis added)

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*Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter.
The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.

Further reading

Abuse victims are perceived as ‘unclean’; yet they reach for the fringe of Christ’s garment

Is ACFJ Guilty of Promoting a “Victim Mentality”?

The Myth of “Stockholm Syndrome” and other labels which are used to discredit and pathologize victims of abuse