A Cry For Justice

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

What is Abuse & What is the Christian Response? — by Latina Leaders Leaving Legacy

Is there someone in your life who belittles you or who makes you feel like you can never do anything right? Is this abusive? Is someone in your life being aggressive with you? Is this abusive?

To understand the signs that there is an abusive person in your life and how should you react as a Christian, you can listen to this audio file: What is Abuse and What is the Christian Response? (48 min)

When you click the link you may be invited to sign in to Dropbox. You can ignore that invitation. You don’t have to sign in to Dropbox to hear the audio.

The audio comes from Latina Ladies Leaving Legacy. The are interviewing Evaliz who earned her masters degree in Social Work from Columbia University. She describes the specific signs to look for to identify abusive behavior. And she gives scripture passages that say what we as Christians can do about it. Evaliz currently works with abuse victims and is a survivor of abuse herself.


Thanks to the ACFJ reader who shared this audio with me. I apologise for taking a while to post it.

Hotlines for those dealing with domestic abuse

Safety Planning for victims of domestic abuse

And further reading —

Frequently Asked Questions at A Cry For Justice

Why Couple Counseling is not recommended for domestic abuse

Don Hennessy says domestic abusers are like pedophiles – and there’s not much proof they’re redeemable.

For professionals who work in Domestic Abuse – (Don Hennessy series part 8)

Since the Fall, men have been sinfully disposed to oppress women — but this doesn’t mean women must remain in abusive marriages.

What does the Bible say about divorce?

God’s view of women who get targeted by abusive men (2 Timothy 3:6-7)

“Little women” have been called “silly women” which now contributes to misogyny in the church

Why did Paul call abused women ‘little-women’?

Billy Graham, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul are some of the “Untouchables” in the visible church


Billy Graham

R C Sproul with John MacArthur

One reason why the visible church is such an abuser-friendly environment is that the visible church has many people in it who are not born again. People who have not been saved. People who do not know Jesus.

Some of those people who are not born again think they are Christians and are doing their best to live like Christians without having the Spirit. They are not intentionally harming others, but because they do not have the Spirit they are easily misled by false teachers and are gullible to false doctrine.

Some of those people who are not born again KNOW they are not Christians but they portray themselves as Christians in order spread false doctrines and maraud on the genuine believers.

The false form of salvation is epidemic.

I thought I was saved for years & was not.
God made me know something was off.
I was humbled in awe when He revealed it to me.
God is exposing cheap grace & pagan ways.
(—said by an anonymous follower of A Cry For Justice)

 Now let’s discuss the “untouchables”  in the church

Jeff Crippen wrote the following in 2012:

The Untouchables Among Evangelicals 

Many years ago I remember teaching an adult Sunday school class. I read an article from a leading evangelical para-church organization which melded Christianity and Judaism, leaving the reader with the impression that one was as true as the other. A fellow who was visiting our class that day raised his hand and was obviously quite agitated. He said that he knew for a fact that this organization was a sound, Christian ministry that had done much good, and that it was absolutely terrible that I was criticizing it. He ended his critique with these words – “The next thing you will be criticizing Billy Graham.

My answer to him was – well, I won’t be talking about Billy Graham this morning, but there certainly are some very questionable methods that he has used over the years, and I would not be the only one who has pointed these things out (see Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ biography for example).

I have no doubt that as we name the names of well-known pastors and teachers who are teaching that abuse is not a biblical ground for divorce, we are going to be roundly criticized for being critical. But believe it or not, I do not enjoy doing this kind of thing. I have respected John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul over the years and in many ways I still do. But I cannot condone the fact that they are all teaching as God’s Word a terrible notion – that God does not permit divorce for abuse. That a man can beat his wife to a pulp, totally smash the vows he took as the terms of his marriage covenant, and yet the covenant remains binding upon her. …(read the full post here)
[bold emphasis added by Barb]

Jeff published that post on 5 March 2012 when the ACFJ blog was only two months old. Oddly enough, my first post at ACFJ also came out the same day as The Untouchables Among Evangelicals. We were not very good at scheduling posts back then! 

For nearly six years, Jeff and I co-led this blog. Jeff resigned from this blog on 25 Sept 2017. He is still a full time pastor.

I want to update you on the “Untouchables” that Jeff Crippen mentioned.

R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul died not long after Jeff had resigned from this blog, and Jeff contacted me suggesting that ACFJ publish the private letter Sproul had sent to him some years previously. So I published it under our joint by-line, even though Jeff was no longer co-leading the blog with me. You can read that post here: R.C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce – but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change

John MacArthur

I am certain that since writing his “Untouchables” post in 2012, Jeff Crippen’s respect for MacArthur has greatly diminished, and he may perhaps have zero respect for him now.

It is public knowledge that only recently the Masters University Seminary has been put on probation by the accrediting authority. The secular authority which accredits universities has suspended Masters University Seminary for several reasons, one of which is a pervasive culture of bullying and another of which is lack of financial probity. The Wartburg Watch is one of the blogs covering that story. Please do your own research on it; I don’t have time to give links.

John MacArthur has also slandered everyone in the church who is working for justice for the victims of abuse.  See Rebecca Davis’s post Social justice is not the gospel: a response to John MacArthur

And someone has created this brilliant spoof of John MacArthur being like Hitler.


And now for Billy Graham
– the big evangelist who many people don’t want to think could have been a false teacher

I recently posted at the ACFJ facebook page (link) about Billy Graham. I shared a video clip of Billy Graham being interviewed by Robert Schuller where they are discussing salvation. And I wrote on facebook:

Billy Graham gave a false gospel. He said, “They may not even know the name of Jesus but…they are saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

I have transcribed the following from the 1997 video where Billy Graham is being interviewed by Robert Schuller on “Hour of Power”.

Billy Graham:

…whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world or the Christian world or the non-believing world they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have and I think that they are saved and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.

Robert Schuller:

This is fantastic! I’m so thrilled to hear you say that – there’s a wideness in God’s mercy.

Pastor Sam Powell commented at the facebook post about what Billy Graham said in that video clip. Here is what Sam said:

It’s the gospel that is at stake. If Rev. Graham’s statement is correct, then salvation is a reward for sincerity, or good intentions. If that is the case, then no one is saved, for the justice of God requires perfection and is never fooled by “good intentions”.

Many of you on this site have been abused by church leaders who refused to discipline your abusers because they “repented” and had “really good intentions”. Was that just?

Is not God always just? Does God allow wickedness to go unpunished? How much wickedness is OK and how much is too much?

Instead of relying on our sentimentality, we hear God’s word. The soul that sins shall die.

The only hope of salvation is that God provided the perfect sacrifice, without blemish and without spot. Our sins were laid on him, and his righteousness was given freely to our account, as if we never had any sin – if only we accept it with a believing heart.

This is the only truth that sets us free. Otherwise we are held in bondage by those who promise us better ways, easier ways, just drop a few coins in and walk down the aisle one more time…

How many times is enough? Does God really save those with good intentions? I would say yes – but then who has those? 100 percent of the time, from birth until death, without once every failing and thinking evil in his heart…Anyone qualify? I guess you need to try again, and again, and again…

Billy Graham’s way leads only to bondage and death.

Come to Christ and live!

And, yes, this was the same gospel proclaimed and believed by the saints of the Old Testament. They didn’t have the details, but they had the promise of God – that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. They had the sacrifices and the promise that God himself would provide a lamb.

And Proverbs 8 is a glimpse of the Trinity that would be more fully revealed in the new. I’m preaching on that tomorrow, if you would like to catch it.

Barb, sorry for hijacking your post. I so want everyone to be free of the false gospel of death that has held us in bondage for far too long, Either Jesus paid it all, or he did not. If he did, then Rev. Graham was wrong in what he said to Schuller.

BTW, Robert Schuller was a rank heretic. How’s that for stirring the pot?

Note well: Even John MacArthur stated that Billy Graham’s gospel was fuzzy. In his sermon Deliverance: From the Temporal World to the Eternal Kingdom (Nov 5, 2000), John MacArthur said:

There is an article in a journal that comments and reviews [Billy Graham’s] autobiography “Just As I Am”.  And I think it’s worth giving you some insight into that, because I think it points out the breadth of this problem. The editor of the journal says:

“While Graham has become the very symbol of gentle, compassionate, and loving evangelicalism, he has also become the symbol for an evangelicalism that speaks cautiously, politically, and non-theologically.  He was never able to escape the fuzzy a-theological pragmatism of modern evangelicalism.  It is Billy Graham, more than any other figure in this century, who helped to create, by his overwhelming persona, the present evangelical crisis, which threatens to destroy the very institutions and causes in which Graham invested his life and energy for over 55 years.”

That is a sad statement, but it is an appropriate one in view of the facts. 

Now, here’s something to think about:

Evil people might pose as Christian evangelists and be very convincing. But many of the people they ‘lead to the Lord’ may not be truly born again because the ‘gospel’ these people have preached gives people the idea that they can be saved just by saying the sinners prayer. Or it might give people the idea they can be saved just by having good intentions and trying their best to please God. Or it might give people the idea that they can be saved by participating in the motions of the “prescribed  sacraments” such as baptism, confirmation, confessing their sins to the priest, going to church services regularly, doing penance, etc.

All those ‘gospels’ are not the true gospel. They fall short. They are sub-biblical. They do a great deal of harm because people can think they are saved when they are not saved.

Why would evil people pose as Christian evangelists? They might do it because they want the visible church to be largely populated by people who think they’re following Jesus but they’re not actually born again.

The more unregenerate people there are in the visible church, the more likely it will be an abuser-friendly environment.

When there are more weeds than wheat in the field, the wheat cannot thrive. The weeds dominate the wheat and the wheat struggles to get the sunshine and moisture which it needs to grow. And in the church, weeds can even be parasitical on the wheat… 

The false form of salvation is epidemic.

I thought I was saved for years & was not.
God made me know something was off.
I was humbled in awe when He revealed it to me.
God is exposing cheap grace & pagan ways.
(—said by an anonymous follower of A Cry For Justice)


Further reading 

Billy Graham

Every Appearance of Evil, and the Billy Graham Rule – Ps Sam Powell

R. C. Sproul 

R.C. Sproul Changed His View on Abuse as Grounds for Divorce – but to our knowledge he never publicly announced that change – Ps Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts

R.C. Sproul on Biblical Grounds for Divorce – Another Aaaaargh! – Ps Jeff Crippen

John MacArthur

John MacArthur’s Instruction to Abuse Victims – Aaaaargh!!!  – Ps Jeff Crippen

More on Abuse from John MacArthur – Double Aaaargh!  Ps Jeff Crippen

Focus on the Family & John MacArthur spout “God hates divorce.” And do they accept correction? – Barbara Roberts

Does John MacArthur Teach that Suffering Abuse is Meritorious Before God? – Ps Jeff Crippen

Do you see me? — a survivor “Jane Doe” recounts how she was abominably treated by Masters College and Grace Community Church leaders when she reported that she had been raped. (those institutions are part of John MacArthur’s empire)

Do you hear me?  another “Jane Doe” who has suffered at the hands of the leadership at The Master’s University, Seminary and Grace Community Church.

Is marriage a gospel ordinance? Does Ephesians 5 relate to unequally yoked marriages?

Many people talk about marriage as if it is a gospel ordinance and they use Ephesians 5 to back up that idea. But marriage happens in many frameworks all across humanity. Even Satanists have marriage ceremonies!

People who claim that marriage is a gospel ordinance fail to notice how Paul applies Ephesians 5 solely and exclusively to believers. It cannot be applied in any other context by definition. It can only be done in a marriage where both parties are saved. It is not possible to argue from Ephesians 5 that it applies in any other context of unequal marriages. Paul clearly intends Ephesians 5 to be for believers and believers only:

vs 23: Christ is the head of the church;

vs 24: the church is subject to Christ;

vs 25: just as Christ also loved the church;

vs 26: Christ sanctifies and cleanses the church;

vs 27: Christ presents a spotless church;

vs 29: …just as the Lord does the church;

vs 30: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.”

vs 32: “I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

So this cannot be about the gospel at all, but only about what happens after one is made alive in Christ.

This has absolutely positively nothing to do with unequally yoked marriages.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul counsels about staying in an unequally yoked marriage if the vows are not otherwise being violated. Who knows how God may work in the unbeliever there, if he/she is willing to allow the believer to live out their faith without persecuting them for it? But I do not see any such application in Ephesians 5.

Marriage cannot be a gospel ordinance because it is bilateral

Human marriage is involves vows made between two human beings so it is bilateral (bi- meaning two). The gospel promises are made by God to fallen human beings and God is the only one who keeps those promises. Fallen human being can believe and receive the promises by trusting in the Promiser though faith, but even when they do that, even when they are born again, the fact remains that the God is the author and finisher of our faith. So the gospel is about a unilateral covenant (uni- meaning one). God makes the promises, God fulfils the promises, God quickens a fallen human being’s spirit to life and makes them alive in Christ. And God inevitably works in the believer to produce the Christ likeness which is demonstrated in fruit in the life and character of the believer and evidences salvation.

God promises that no one who is in Christ will be lost.

As I said to you, my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give to them eternal life. And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to take them out of my Father’s hand. And I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30 NMB)


Thanks to an ACFJ follower who wrote some of the wording in this post.

Further reading

Salvation by Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone — a sermon by Dr R Scott Clark

Taken Captive by the Philosophies of Man – by Jeff Crippen

How can I leave when I’m the only one who is giving a gospel witness to him? – from our FAQs

Only the judgement morning will reveal who the converts really are

George Whitefield was an evangelist in the eighteenth century. He was converted in his early adulthood and then he became an ordained Anglican minister.

Whitefield held to the 5 Solas of the Reformation:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
    (Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/five-solas.html)

But in Whitefield’s day there are many ordained ministers in the Anglican church who did not truly believe those doctrines, let alone preach and practice them. The Anglican communion around the world is still in that condition today: there are many within it who do not fully believe the 5 Solas of the Reformation.

The majority of Anglican ministers refused to let Whitefield preach in their churches because he was emphasizing the necessity of the New Birth and saying that many ordained ministers were not born again and were preaching a false gospel.

Whitefield often preached in the open air because ministers would not let him use their pulpits. What is more, the crowds who flocked to hear Whitefield were too big to fit into most bricks and mortar churches. So Whitefield resorted to preaching in the open air. He often preached to many thousands of people at once. In those days there were no p.a. systems to electronically amplify sound, but God had gifted Whitefield with a powerful voice and the crowds who listened to him were often so silently attentive that his voice could be heard at long distances. 

I want to share with you a passage from the biography of Whitefield written by Arnold Dallimore. As you read this passage, think about how it contrasts with evangelists like Billy Graham who call people to come to the front and verbalise “the sinner’s prayer”.

[begin quote]

It must be explained that Whitefield made no appeal for people to make a public profession of salvation at his services. His practice…was one of making powerful application of the Gospel as he preached and of therewith leaving the Word to become operative in the heart by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He looked for the Spirit’s work in arousing the sinner to a deep, and even overwhelming, sense of his need, but this work he called, not conversion, but awakening

Many of these awakened ones sought him out in private, that they might ask his further counsel and beg a place in his prayers. So large were the numbers of those who came that he found it necessary, both in his early ministry and throughout all his later life, to announce certain hours at which he would be available for this purpose. In these interviews he taught that the illumination of the mind and the implanting of faith in the heart are entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. He urged the seeker to go directly to the Lord, entreating that this saving work might be done within him. He directed the needy soul to the Gospel promises and told him to plead them before God, and, on the basis of them, to seek assurance that this Divine work was accomplished within his heart.

Yet Whitefield gave no seeker reason to believe that such an interview was essential to, or necessarily productive of, salvation. His emphasis was ever that salvation is a Divine work, a matter between the human soul and the Lord, and many left his presence to continue to seek – some for days and even weeks – and to entreat God to make them the objects of His mercy. But numerous persons came again to Whitefield, and many others wrote to him, telling him, often with abounding joy and deep assurance, that this work had indeed been accomplished within them. Yet, even then, he still refused to count converts. He chose to wait until conversion had been manifested by months of a transformed life, and his attitude is well expressed in his words, “Only the judgement morning will reveal who the converts really are”.

¹ One of the 1739 editions of Whitefield’s sermon on The New Birth contained also ‘A Prayer for One Desiring to be Awakened to an Experience of the New Birth, and another for One Newly Awakened to a Sense of the Divine Life.’

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, by Arnold A Dallimore (The Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh UK, Carlisle PA USA, 1970; vol 1, p 137).

[end quote] 

I invite you to listen to this sermon from Ps Sam Powell: You must be born again.


Other posts that mention George Whitefield

Standing Against Abuse Requires the Making of Enemies   – a paragraph from that post:

All of us, if we are going to follow Christ and do battle for him against evil, are going to have to come to the same realization that George Whitefield did when he said, “I am fully convinced there is a fundamental difference between us and them. They believe only an outward Christ, we further believe that He must be inwardly formed in our hearts also.”  There is no middle ground. Either we stand for truth or we don’t. Either we are born again or we are dead in our sins. Either we see evil for what it is and expose it no matter what, or we compromise with it and join it.

Live by the Leading of the Spirit. Old Wineskins Cannot Accept New Wine.

The Most Common Reason Churches Enable Abusers and Oppress Victims






Female healthcare workers experience domestic abuse at higher rates than the general female population

Nearly half of female healthcare workers have experienced domestic abuse, Australian study finds

A landmark investigation into female healthcare staff in Australia has found nearly half have experienced domestic violence, including one in 10 who had been abused by their partner in the past year alone.

The study, published in the BMC Women’s Health journal, involved 471 doctors, nurses and health professionals in Victoria and is believed to be the first to examine the link between domestic violence and female medical staff.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 2.1 per cent of women in the community have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their partner in the past year, compared to 4.7 per cent of the female healthcare workers in the study.

This fits with what Don Hennessy says. Don is a relationship counselor and has dealt with thousands of men who abuse their female partners, as well as many women who have suffered domestic abuse.

Don Hennessy says that men who abuse their female intimate partners prefer to target women who are kind, loyal, dedicated and truthful. His ideas on this are spelled out in more detail here: How the male intimate abuser selects, sets-up & grooms a target woman


Further reading

Our Don Hennessy Digest gives comprehensive info about Don Hennessy and his work.

Jesus brought a gospel of peace, and the gospel brings division

Jesus told us that He came to bring division.

Do you suppose that I have come to send peace on the earth? I tell you no, but rather division. For from henceforth there will be five in one house, divided three against two, and two against three.” — Luke 12:51-52  New Matthew Bible (NMB)

The expository note says:

I did not come to send on the earth such peace as is loved by this world, which is at peace when people’s appetites and desires are satisfied, and when the evil agree with the evil. But I came with the words of very peace to destroy the peace of this world. For since the doctrine of the gospel (which teaches peace to all) will be resented by many, it cannot be but that strife will arise, even among the greatest friends, as long as those who love this world would sooner exercise cruelty towards those they love best than leave the vices they have been accustomed to. And again, those whom the fire of the charity belonging to the gospel has touched, will by no means suffer themselves to be parted from that which they have begun to cleave to. Between such persons [says the Lord] I have not come to send peace, but division.


If you’re wondering what version of the Bible I am citing here, it is the NMB which stands for New Matthew Bible.


The Matthew Bible was published in 1537, about fifty years before the King James Version was published.

The Matthew Bible was the first complete English Bible. The 1537 Matthew Bible is being gently updated for modern readers because the English that people used in the early 1500s is hard for us to understand now.

The updated version of the Matthew Bible is called the New Matthew Bible (NMB).

Click this link for more info: The Matthew Bible is the first complete English Bible, and Ruth Magnusson Davis is gently it updating for modern readers