A Cry For Justice

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

Divorce and Remarriage: Barb’s talk to a church Sunday School class

I visited Ps Jeff Crippen and his wife recently and was asked to speak to the Sunday School Class (adults & older children) at Jeff’s church.

You can listen to my talk about about (1) my experience of domestic abuse, (2) how I came to write Not Under Bondage, and (3) Divorce and Remarriage, 1 Corinthians 7:15; 5:11; and Malachi 2:16.

Bear in mind that this church is a lot more aware of the issue of domestic abuse than most churches are. In 2010 Jeff preached 21 sermons on The Psychology and Methods of Sin using many illustrations from the realm of domestic abuse. He included in his sermons extracts from secular authors who specialise in domestic abuse, such  of Lundy Bancroft, and experts in sociopathy and manipulative people, such as George Simon Jnr.
So the church Jeff leads is much more open to this topic than most congregations would be. Hence, I was able to expound in more depth than I would normally be able to. Not that I get invited to speak in many churches. In fact, this was the first time I was invited to speak to a church congregation – though I have been invited to speak at a few other venues such as a conference on women’s ministry.

The congregation at Jeff’s church opened their arms and their hearts to me, bless them all.


  1. Anonymous

    What a wonderful opportunity for you, Barbara!

    I wonder what it’s like to be in a church where people are informed about domestic abuse. Based on some of the stories I have read on this site, I would love so much for some of the survivors to experience it.

    Obviously, it is possible to have a congregation that takes abuse seriously, that understands the dynamic of evil and one that advocates for the protection of victims. Praying that this would become the norm in the years and decades to come.

  2. joepote01

    Barbara, what a great opportunity, both for you and for the church congregation! That’s fantastic!

  3. Excellent talk Barbara. You have my prayers that God continues to bless your efforts. We surely do need more teaching on this. Still awaiting your book from Amazon. I am sure that it will be helpful to me, as I come across people who are in need… to offer them some hope (and your book).

    I will pray for your daughter. Deep down she knows she has a mother who loves her and has protected her. So important for a child to know that a parent will fight for their safety, you know? Our almost 14 year old son will often say (with some disdain) that he has overprotective parents, but then smiles and says he is glad. They know. He may fight us and dislike our restrictions for him, but deep down I think he is relieved.

    At the end of your talk you mentioned how victims may be counseled that they are sinners too, iow–take the log out before you look at the speck. In reading the past year about the abuses at SGM led by C.J. Mahaney, who is promoted by ALL the famous professing Christian leaders, it appears “you’re a sinner too” was and continues to be a strategy used by SGM pastors. I believe I read that it is taught by Ken Sande’s Peacemakers, which was/is heavily promoted/used by SGM. The end result is that it eliminates the status of victim. There can be no real victims because the victim is a sinner too and on equal ground with the abuser…so they declare. If there is no real victim, there is no real crime. Poof–all gone.

    I read one SGM pastor’s teaching which took it a bit further in that if you (victim) do not instantly forgive (and reconcile) with your abuser, you are actually a worse sinner than your abuser. Can’t you see how sorry the abuser is? What is wrong with you? Your abuser is apologizing and you (victim) are not receiving it. The abuser wants things to be back to normal. You (victim) are the one preventing that and holding bitterness in your heart. That is a dangerous and diabolical teaching, imo. It is, however, a convenient and very helpful teaching for abusive authoritarian type pastors, especially of the SGM shepherding variety, who wish to keep tight control over their congregants.

    I also think, and this is just my opinion, that pastors want to keep marriages together at all cost because it could affect giving. If the husband is the abuser, and most of the time that is the case, and he leaves because of divorce, who will pay the tithes now? Also, there is a divorced woman who may need help practically and financially and who wants to deal with that? Well, a true Christian pastor would, but hirelings would definitely not.

    • Thanks Diane. And yes we agree with you about how bad the Peacemakers book is. Jeff has written a post about that here. You are right about how Ken Sande’s teaching eliminates the status of victim and makes the crime evaporate in a poof of magic smoke. How so-called Christians can believe and follow this stuff, just shows how badly the church has fallen into wrong doctrine and apostasy.

      I also agree with you that the pastors are worried about the tithes. But it’s not always the domestic abuser who leaves the church, taking his check book with him. More usually, it’s the victim who leaves the church. If she leaves, it may not matter to the tithes so much because she was probably not able to make big donations to the church because she was limited in what she gave by her abusive husband. If the abuser is the one who stays in the church, he may increase his donations to impress others and buy favour from the leadership.
      Pastors can also fear a loss of tithe from other members of the church. If the leadership openly sides with the victim and excommunicates the abusive spouse, many other people in the church will be up in arms. They will claim that the leaders are being unloving, unforgiving, too harsh, too judgmental, etc. And if they get hot enough under the collar, they will leave – taking their check books with them. I believe that pastors know this in their bones, and are too afraid to ‘bring it on’, so they just prevaricate and let the victims fall through the cracks, rather than take a definite stand to vindicate and protect victims.

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