A Cry For Justice

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

The Chameleon Nature of Evil or, “Where’s Waldo?”

2Co 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Most of you know that the sin of abuse hides. It hides in plain sight by donning a facade, a disguise, a costume of righteousness. The abuser is a chameleon, changing his outward appearance as necessary to not only blend into the current surroundings, but to even stand out a bit as an eminent example of whatever society (such as a local church) he happens to be in. I think there are some super-hero villain types in recent movies who can change their form at will?

Evil hides in plain sight. It puts on camo paint and blends, so that it looks like the “good” around it. What better vantage point to strike from? You never see it coming. Hidden in disguise it can work its harm for years, picking us off one by one. I think of the rabbits in Watership Down, willing to be domesticated and gain the comforts of it all — though it did seem that some of their neighbors myteriously kept disappearing. Oh well.

How good is the disguise? Very, very good in many cases.  So good in fact that even after we have seen it for what it really is, been stung and injured by it many times, we still find ourselves having to actively tell ourselves that it is not what it appears to be. Know the feeling? “Yeah, the guy murdered 25 people, but I talked to him and he seems such a nice guy! Hmmm. Maybe we’ve got him all wrong?”

God’s Word tells us repeatedly that we have to be on guard against evil “creeping in among us” in the church:

Jud 1:12-13 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; (13) wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Hidden reefs designed to make shipwreck of our faith, and they are sitting right beside us at the communion table! They have no fear, though they should tremble at the Lord’s wrath against them. Peter gives us the very same kind of warning (as does Paul in the Scripture cited at the beginning of this post):

2Pe 2:12-14 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, (13) suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. (14) They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

“While they feast with you….They entice unsteady souls.” Their motive is greed, self-love, a craving for self-glory. They are entitled to power and control. Did you notice the “unsteady souls” reference to those who are enticed and deluded by them? To a degree, let’s face it, that describes each one of us, especially in the days before we wised up to the nature and mentality and tactics of evil (abuse). Every Christian needs to get their “sea legs” real quickly and stand steady against these chameleons.

Here is the same thing described again by Paul:

Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

“They deceive the hearts of the naive.” They do it by using “smooth talk and flattery.” Ever hear that? It behooves us then to cease being naive to evil, just as Christ instructed us to be innocent yet wise when it comes to the machinations of the evil one.

The scene in our churches is much like one of those “Where’s Waldo” pictures in a child’s book. He’s in there, someplace. In disguise, blending in with the surroundings. Waldo is harmless, but just imagine if he were evil, hiding there like a chameleon in plain sight? Danger! “You say he’s where?” “There! Right there! Can’t you see him?”

With all of these warnings graciously given us by the Lord, why is it that it remains so easy for evil to hide in a local church? Do we think that we are wiser and better than the Lord? “Oh, no. Not here. Not in my church. Couldn’t be!”

Yes, pastor, it could be. Don’t you see him? There, right there. Sitting beside you whispering in your ear.

41 Comments

  1. fiftyandfree

    Everything about this post rings true to me, because I lived it. I was one of those naive, “unsteady souls” when I met the monster; so easily won over by his smooth talk and flattery. Now he’s attempting (and succeeding) to deceive another naive, unsteady soul and astonishingly I find myself wondering if just maybe it really was me, and just maybe he’ll treat this woman the way he “said” he’d treat me when we were dating. Does that doubt, however so miniscule, ever go away? Do we really find it that hard to accept that EVIL exists, and that evil does as evil is?

    • Jeff Crippen

      50&Free- No, it doesn’t ever go totally away and actually it shouldn’t. Those doubts mean that we are normal, not psychopaths or narcissists. That goodness through Christ does exist in us. We will never think like evil thinks, and that means that we won’t totally identify with it or come to “understand” it. George Simon’s books, In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance helped me very much in this regard. Also, Robert Hare’s, Without Conscience.

      At the same time, we do know an believe that evil exists. At least those of us who have experienced and “known” it. Scripture affirms this. It says that pure evil, constant evil, a perfect vacuum of goodness – exists. And that it is no mere impersonal “force” but that it resides in a diabolical person, the prince of darkness. He is the essence of evil, so that whenever he speaks, he speaks a lie. Whenever he feels or acts, he is a murderer. Always. No exceptions. At the same time, he is capable of showing up as an apparent angel of light. So subtle and crafty that his darkness can look like brilliant light. Is it any wonder then that his servants can disguise themselves in similar manner?

      Yes, those doubts about whether we are right or wrong in our evaluation of the abuser will come, but we must counter them with truth. THIS is what he said. THAT is what he did. In fact, it is what he DOES habitually, characteristically, and now, predictably.

      • fiftyandfree

        Thanks Jeff C. That’s very comforting and reassuring. I wish the occasional second guessing and doubt would vanish for good, but I’m happy to consider that it won’t simply because, like you said, I just don’t think like evil thinks, and I just cannot identify with it or understand it. To this day I cannot understand how he could have done the things he’s done and have no remorse whatsoever. It’s so foreign to the way my mind and conscience works, thank God.

    • Katy

      fiftyandfree- I still struggle with that all the time!! My ex remarried almost instantly and I still battle with those thoughts. Maybe it really was me? If he treats her so well then I must really have deserved all that evil treatment? or maybe..did i imagine some of it? or is he treating her better because she’s so much better at serving him?
      But I KNOW in my heart, that he hasn’t really changed. So I keep reminding myself, validating my memories, and being kind to myself. And I also remind myself that what he does to her behind closed doors is probably ugly.
      But yeah that has been a huge mind trip for me, it was a stumbling block for so long…having to send my babies to stay with the two of them almost immediately after all that trauma, I thought I was going to die. 😦

      • fiftyandfree

        Thanks Katy. Mine is dating now and he’s talking to the kids about marriage and step siblings. My mind is having a field day – Will he treat her better? Is he lying to her? Or did he find someone like himself this time? Do sociopaths marry each other? Are they happy together? My gut and whatever wisdom I have from having experienced his evil for so long tells me that he’s lying again, that she’s deceived, his second victim, and that he’ll abuse her too, but I’ll never know. Or will I? I wonder how long she’ll live in the “fog” before she leaves him.

      • Katy

        oh yeah, I have IDENTICAL. thoughts. glad to know someone else has the exact same hangups, lol
        Or did he find someone like himself this time? Do sociopaths marry each other? Are they happy together?
        oh YUP.
        and this one:
        is she going to call me someday and ask me questions? or will she stick it out, and someday I’ll have to sit with her in the pew at my daughter’s wedding? ugh

        seriously, I could power a hamster wheel with my brain most days. :/

    • Otter

      Fifty, we all wonder these things. I said this the other day to a friend: “I loved him so much, and he abused me so terribly. I just know he’s going to meet the perfect person immediately, and he’ll treat her like he treated me at the beginning (like gold), and they’ll live happily ever after and this woman will have the life I struggled so hard to have with him. Meanwhile, I’ll still be single at 40…and left to a life of loneliness.” I think after abuse, we are so beaten down that these thoughts just erupt from our grieving.

      I have to keep remembering the words of my wise counselor, “Yes, he may meet someone quickly, and they both may be very happy…but she’s probably going to have to be a puppet.”

    • IamMyBeloved's

      50&Free – I think this way. It may appear that we were the problem and that any new relationship our abusers may come to have, will be great, because we are not in it, having been the “problem”. But the real truth that I have to remind myself of when that time comes, is that just as no one knew what was going on behind closed doors in my house, so too, no one ever really will know what is going on behind those closed doors of the abuser and their new “love”, unless someone speaks up, and how many of us here, kept silence? The abuse may be going on, but unless the victim speaks up, no one will ever know and the little facade will just keep going on.

      • fiftyandfree

        Very true. Most of my friends were shocked when I finally started talking about what was going on. She’d have to be worse than a puppet really. She’d have to have no needs, no expectations, and she’d have to be wrong all the time because he’s always right.

  2. Brenda R

    The abuser always gets his way no matter how he has to do it. If meanness doesn’t work, false kindness might. He will make it look like he has changed in front of others to make his victim look crazy or selfish and the church says, he is so nice, he is hurt by you leaving him you just need to go home and work it out. They see Dr. Jeckyl while I see Mr. Hyde.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Brenda – and when there is a Jekyll and Hyde, Mr. Hyde is ALWAYS the real person. Because the rule is – sheep don’t wear wolve’s clothing, but wolves love to wear wool.

      • Marah

        One thing I’ve heard over and over from my husband is that it’s wrong to define our relationship by the worst parts of it, by the worst things that happen. I’m also told repeatedly that I’m too negative. The point is always that if I focus on the negative, which I am nearly always prone to do, he can’t win.

        From my perspective, it feels like if the foundation is rotten, the whole relationship is unhealthy. His point is that I can focus on the negative, or I can focus on the positive…and he chooses to focus on the positive. And he would also argue that the foundation isn’t rotten, but that there are a few issues that are “off.”

        I’m starting to think that this sort of thing is a combination of reframing reality and minimizing my perceptions and feelings.

      • I’m starting to think that this sort of thing is a combination of reframing reality and minimizing my perceptions and feelings.

        I’m thinking that you are right. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Matt. 12:33). Your husband claims he’s focusing on the positive but in fact he’s producing bad fruit, so his tree must be bad. Part of his bad fruit is that instead of loving his wife as Christ loved the church, he’s denying your feelings and perceptions and minimizing the sinfulness of his sins.

      • Marah

        Wow, Barbara, that is a very interesting perspective. Isn’t it funny how some things appear so obvious when someone else points them out?

        It’s okay – and healthy – for me to call Mr. Hyde by his real name.

  3. Lisa

    I have been away from my abuser for 3+ years now. At first there was doubt in every area of my life. I would hear his voice critiquing every move I made, I would find myself still doing things the way I know he would want. It really affected the way I dealt with the kids (8). He always set them against me and yet required I be the disciplinarian, not for the infractions I think they did but for the ever elusive and changing, sometimes really illogical, rules he would make. We also homeschooled and I could never do that correctly either.

    The first thing Christ worked on me about was the doubt about leaving my abuser. It cost us our church and entire homeschooling community of 18 years. I grew closer to Christ than I ever had been before. Part of the reason was that He was MY God now and not what my ex told me He was, which was a cold, woman hating, full of rage and judgemental God. I had to learn who I was as a LOVED daughter of God. Even in this area I was damaged. Once I knew Christ loved me and there was not any doubt, then I knew without doubt what I had to do regarding my abuser.

    Now I think the doubt comes like the ocean, ebbing and flowing. However, I do see a marked decreasing like the stream that once flowed heavy from the winter run off, now flowing gently and evaporating in the SON.

    Now as I have learned how to identify abusers and their tactics, Christ is going through my past regarding my abuser (in my mind & heart), and he is cleaning up various residual areas of doubt. A couple of recent ones is how the abuser would always change the plans last minute or procrastinate needed fixing around the house or doctor appts for the kids, the situation would get so bad that I had to step in and get something fixed or take the kids to the doctor, or even just make a decision without hum because part of his tactic would be to be unavailable for literally weeks (away from the home “working”). When he found out what i had done, I would be berated as a rebellious wife, in front of and to the kids, and to our friends. It would be all about how I am trying to control everything, how I just want it all done my way and at my time. We went a year without a bedroom for one of my sons because the abuser hated that son (his own flesh). I would have to fix all my own appliances, at the sacrifice of knowing how rebellious I was being, but I had 7 kids at the time and needed to do laundry. There were a lot of times like this and he would use those times to “prove” to the kids and friends my character. Now i see that actually i was taking the control away from him and doing what needed to be done by him, thus cutting his game short. I now know i was not being rebellious. that doubt was there for a long time.
    Another example was the constant danger he put us all in every time we got in the car. Until recently I thought he was just a bad driver. He would almost go off the road ALL the time. Now I realize that it was another game, when he would see that I was relaxed he would swerve. When the kids didn’t hear him, ever needing to be in the center of their worship, he would swerve or “brake check”, giving everyone in the car whiplash. He would laugh it off.

    The more I have read in the book “A Cry For Justice”, and other books describing the abuser and his game, the more these things get cleared up in my head. It never was about me and how I could have been a better wife, more submissive wife, quieter wife, better mother, etc. it was always about him. He didn’t love, therefore I don’t think he hated. Yes he would rage at his foiled plans or an illness one of us would get (weakness). I once had to take the bus with an infant, a 1 1/2 yr old, and a 3 yr. old to go to the doctor for myself. Found out I had a 103* temp and severe kidney infection, but he wanted to go to work and told me I had to figure it out. It was all for his amusement, therefore I don’t take it as personal anymore. It would have been the same for anyone in my place, I simply played a part in his puppet show.

    • Katy

      Lisa (((hugs)))
      yes there is no doubt, all of that happened, God saw every bit of it, and your tears are collected in a bottle somewhere. He records all of our deeds, and that should terrify abusers, shouldn’t it.

    • Oh thank you Lisa. What a powerful story.

  4. Friend of the Oppressed

    Jeff, you must be one of the last Mohicans. Thank you for continually stating the issues so clearly when most of the church culture denies evil at the cost of what is righteous and true and the well-being of the flock.

    Why are the scriptural warnings of Peter and Paul ignored when they didn’t say these things “might” happen? They said they “will” happen. Satan is very clever having infiltrated the body with subtle teachings of denying emotions, denying our internal warning system. I believe emotions are tied directly to discernment. This would explain the severe lack of discernment in the church; in this case to deny seeing the wolf sitting before us, even with proof of evil.

    Then there is the problem with doing the right thing by telling the leaders of the church or congregants, “Alert! I have found a wolf in the sheep pen!” Only, the one trying to alert of the danger is turned into the villain and said to be causing dissension among the brethren, called a troublemaker, a gossip. “Where is your grace, your mercy, your love, your tolerance? Be at peace with everyone.”

    And the wolf is seated in a favored seat, with a satisfied grin on his face, and is fed more sheep. “Bon apetite, Mr. Wolf. May I wipe your mouth?”

    • Brenda R

      I tried to talk to people about the problems in my marriage. I was ducked heads with the you are dissing your husband looks. They see me as the divider of the church and marriage and not the abuser.

      • Barnabasintraining

        I witnessed a form of this too.

  5. Great observations, Jeff. You know, Paul had some evil people who worked alongside him for a while and did not see them at first. Pastors must beware. “Chameleon” is a good description, vigilance must not be abandoned, ever. I once read a book titled “The Beautiful Side of Evil.” That title comes back to my mind from time to time.

  6. thepersistentwidow

    Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

    I think that an example of this is John Piper bringing his false doctrine into the church and the strong support that he receives because of his celebrity status. The lively discussion around the one-star review that I posted for his book, This Momentary Marriage, tells the story. His supporters have no biblical argument for his position and are unsympathetic to the hurt that it causes other Christians. They reason that his doctrine should receive strong consideration because he is John Piper and they sympathize that anyone would hold him accountable, because again, he is John Piper. How dare we?

    If anyone who hasn’t done so already would please look up the review and rate my review as helpful, it would make a statement. If we get a little over 50 more helpful votes, it will rise above the many five star reviews and be the first review seen by any prospective buyer. Although he would rather blend in like a chameleon, I think that our comments are drawing attention to the controversy around John Piper’s damaging doctrine and I doubt he likes that.

    • Brenda R

      I read that book and it was used as a teaching tool in my church. My reaction was “are you kidding me?” in many areas. It didn’t address abuse at all, like it didn’t exist. Where do I find this review?

      • Anon

        Brenda,
        Here is a link to thepersistentwidow’s review of Piper’s The Momentary Marriage. The review is the 7th from the top.

      • Brenda R

        Thank You

    • Barnabasintraining

      They reason that his doctrine should receive strong consideration because he is John Piper and they sympathize that anyone would hold him accountable, because again, he is John Piper. How dare we?

      Houston, we have a problem. This is the opposite of the view we should hold toward teachers. God says they will incur stricter judgment. IMO that should begin with us, especially if they are popular. God approves the testing of doctrines and teachings as the Bereans are commended for searching the Scriptures to see if the things they were told were so. There is no such thing in the Spirit filled mind as “he is person x. How dare we?” On the contrary, Paul says “whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man.”

    • Brenda R

      The chameleon is such an interesting animal, but when he comes in human form a total terror. Last weekend, for three full days I was taunted, accused, intimidated and attempts at manipulation were all the plan and I no longer live with him. Now for the next three days I have had offers or prayer, assistance and emails with sweet nothings written. And believe me nothings they are. Does he really think I am fooled and when does the color change back to who he really is? Others say,”he is trying”. All I see is him “trying” to get me back into his web. This fly is going to keep on flying away from that spider and not fall back into his trap. They can all seem so charming after an occurrence. The niceties last a little longer at times. I wonder if it is not as much fun when he can’t personally see what he puts me through and the conquest not as sweet.

  7. Your little aside about Watership Down is chilling. I hadn’t even thought about the analogy, but that’s exactly it. Exactly. I wonder if people even talk about me now that I’m gone from my old church, if they acknowledge I was ever there. Or do they see it as a price to be paid for the benifit of a peaceful life where they have all that they need?

    That could be a post on its own, Jeff.

  8. Otter

    My ex-fiance is revered worldwide because he runs an international animal rescue website. On his Facebook page, you’ll see thousands of posts addressed to him as “an angel” and “wonderful rescuer” and “sweet, kind man.” He recently won a massive grant for his efforts and his program will probably end up televised on a major network.

    This same man (who everyone thinks is St. Francis) would call me on the phone at 3:00 in the morning and scream and yell at me. He would grab me by the shoulders and stick his raging face in mine and yell at me. He screamed so terribly several times that I ended up curled in a ball in a corner crying. I would sob as he verbally attacked me over things I hadn’t even done. He never expressed remorse, sorrow, or even apologized for his behavior (other than telling me it was PTSD…so he wasn’t responsible for his actions).

    I remember one time, one of his dogs knocked over a lamp 3 times. By the third time, he hollered at the dog. He was so stricken after raising his voice that he actually said to me, “I can’t believe I just yelled at my dog!” I remember my heart just dropped, and I thought, “He feels bad for hollering at his dog, but why is screaming at me o.k.?” To the rest of the world he seems like the gentlest human alive…the savior of helpless animals. He’s the one nursing a dog with cancer, and he’s the one carefully fanning an overheated elderly dog. But he’s also the abusive man that made me need to call 9-1-1, and he’s the man I eventually had to leave because of his uncontrollable anger.

    • Katy

      Oh Otter 😦 That’s horrible. And nobody would believe such a sensitive animal lover could abuse his girlfriend of course. Wow he really picked the perfect disguise, didn’t he??

    • fiftyandfree

      One of the reasons I failed to heed the red flags when we were dating was that my ex had such an affinity for animals. He was very tender with his pets, so I naturally assumed that any man who was so kind to animals would be even kinder to people; especially his own wife. Wrong!!! I later learned that he could relate to animals, but he had no relationship skills whatsoever with human beings, unless you consider intimidation and control to be relationship skills. I always thought that sociopaths were cruel to animals, so I missed it with my ex. But one thing I did notice is that he has a twisted relationship with his pets. He would abandon me and the kids no matter how sick we were or how much we needed him, because his PET needed him more. And to this day he tells the kids that he can speak to animals. Seriously. He really believes that he can communicate with lizards, toads… you name it. They understand him and he understands them. So he says.

      • Otter

        Yes, this is totally true. I suffer from an autoimmune illness, and over my Christmas break, I was very ill. At the time, he had a dog dying of a fast-growing tumor (the size of a basketball on the dog’s chest). Anyone else would have realized the dog was suffering a horrific death and even his counselor asked him why he didn’t let the dog go peacefully. Instead, he totally ignored how sick I was and even became aggressive and angry at me while he was obsessively nursing the dog to its death. I tried to cook him dinner in sympathy for his dying animal, but he blew up over a mistake I made (I was so fatigued, I accidentally told him his soup might get cold while he was trying to take the sick dog outside). It was as though he could only see me as an evil, selfish person, and that he and his dog were not being loved or cared for…no matter how hard I tried to show and express that. He had no concept that a sick, exhausted girl was simply trying to show love and concern despite how much pain she was in.

        But this same man turned around and, like an angel, held the dying dog in his arms for days…making YouTube videos of himself and the dog’s struggles…and gaining the sympathy and applause of all his subscribers across the world.

        My counselor said that he has seen this many times before – an abusive man can be very good to his animals but horrendous to his victims.

      • Brenda R

        I live with Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia, so I empathize with your condition whatever it may be. Since moving away from my abuser I have more energy and less symptom flares from the disease. My soon to be ex still emails and calls with his crazy accusations. He leaves numerous taunting emails and abusive voice mails. But I don’t have to respond. I do listen to them at my leisure and keep them in case they will be needed in court.

        At one point in the marriage I wanted to get a cat. He repeatedly told me if I got one that he would kill it. So I didn’t get a cat that would ultimately be abused or killed. One day he decided I could have a cat and brought one home. After that we got 3 more over time. Everything had to be when he thought it a good idea, in his time and terms. God is the only one that I know that should have those options. He is the only one with good and perfect timing. For the most part he was good with them, but my daughters cat he wasn’t so fond of. I caught him holding onto her and hitting her with his fist. When I left I took her with me. When my oldest daughter came to live with us for a time she was only allowed to bring one of her cats and he hated him. He was always trying to abuse him. My daughter very quickly found a job and moved out.

        I came very close to leaving with her but he begged me to stay for 3 weeks while finding an apartment. He made so mamy promises and wore me down until I said I would stay. All of those promises were broken and he never gained much compassion for my MS. My daughter helped me with my shots until she moved out. I have severe tremors in my right hand and needed help with shots in certain areas. If my tremors were too bad I couldn’t do it myself at all. He was forced to help. When I would try to guide him as to how to make it easier he blew. He hurt me more times than I care to count. He made it much worse than it needed to be, but I needed the injection so I kept quiet. This happened 3 days a week. I didn’t tolerate the medication well and Praise God a pill came out and switched medications.

        I know what it feels like to push yourself into doing things that you think may help or please and him only want more or not be satisfied with it. I spent a lot of days in pain to the point of not being able to tolerate being touched. That didn’t matter to him. When he decided it was time for sex I had no choice. I was in pain, he was hurting me and I was given no option. I am now free. For the last several days he has been sweetness by tons. Asking how I am, is my MS in check, have I got a Dr.’s appointment set up. None of it matters. I remember who is really is and if I walked back into that house again it would start all over again.

        Praise God we have him, he forgives and sees what we are going through. He knows our weaknesses and know what we can handle and sets us free. I pray that all who are abused in anyway will find peace in whatever decision they make to end the abuse they are experiencing and they will gain freedom from it.

      • Katy

        maybe because animals are fully under their control? An animal is the perfect companion because the abuser is the animal’s OWNER…its “god” if you will…much easier to dote on a pet that worships and obeys him than to love a human being that is more difficult to control?

      • Otter

        I’ve had that very thought – pets are easier to control than people. He was obsessed with Cesar Millan and dog training, but he didn’t really bond with his animals the way most people do. He pet them in a odd way (banging on their heads or bodies), and he told me frequently that giving them attention would make them feel “special” and would turn them aggressive in the pack (he had 20 dogs). When I play with my dog, I rub her belly, cuddle her, and scratch her back the way she loves (her back feet show the appreciation). When he pet my dog, he just tapped hard on her forehead with his index finger. I could tell she didn’t like it, but that was the way he approached her. Even then I felt he didn’t have empathy for touch. I think this should be a BIG flag to a woman considering a romantic relationship. He may be “good” to his animals, but what is his actual relationship with them?

  9. IamMyBeloved's

    “We will never think like evil thinks, and that means that we won’t totally identify with it or come to “understand” it.”

    Thank You God.

    • Barnabasintraining

      Right?!

      • Mike Stacey

        Jeff, is your flock getting the full counsel of God? Abuse is a problem and needs to be confronted, but when over emphasized, it can send your sheep and yourself on a rabid witch hunt for “abusers”. This can also be used by Christians who are simultaneously sinful yet justified, as Luther puts it, to
        blame shift their problems or
        Sinful behaviors on a past abuser. I don’t mean to have a attacking prose but I wonder when enough is enough? Did Luther, Calvin, Zwingley, or any of the greats dwell on only one subject of the Christian life? I am afraid this might be getting to
        Cultic proportions. Lets hear about grace that turns an abuser like Saul of Tarsus into Paul. Is the gospel that there are people who can really
        Never change and repent of abuse? Or is it that while
        We were dead in our sins, Christ died for us?

      • Jeff Crippen

        Mike – Every so often I allow a comment like yours to be posted so that we can all hear still another example of why abuse is rampant, and hidden, in our churches. Be thankful that you aren’t in a room full of our readers who have been sorely abused by wicked people and by ignorant (at best) or wicked, abusive church leaders. They would have a few “enlightening” things to say to you I suspect. I hope that you are not a pastor.

        Your comments couch typical accusations in “pious” sounding vocabulary, but we have learned long ago to see right through this fog. The full counsel of God? You have no idea what the pulpit ministry in our church is like. Currently we are doing an expository series through Galatians. And yet, here you are, coming to accuse. Hmmmm….where have our readers heard that kind of line before?

        The fact is Mike, you are either 1) totally in the dark about the nature, tactics, and mentality of abuse (aka “sin”), or 2) you are an abusive person yourself seeking to cover your tracks. It’s one or the other. If you knew anything about abuse, and were willing to be taught and learn, then you would know full well that the LAST thing that is happening with abuse in our churches is that it is being over-emphasized. The situation is quite the opposite, and this coverup is allowing evil to sit in our pews undiscovered.

        And so you move on to accuse us of being a cult? Well, let’s see, this blog is about abuse! What do you expect is going to be discussed here? So we are a bunch of fanatics because we have chosen to expose a great evil hiding in churches?

        Grace? You want to hear about grace? Grace is not contrary to exposing sin and evil. The gospel begins with admitting and exposing sin (Romans 1, 2, 3a for example). Nor is the gospel contrary to the biblical truth that there are wicked people who never change. They are enemies of the cross. Was Moses supposed to pray for Pharaoh? No thank you Mike. We have all had quite enough of your brand of “grace” that enables abusers, leaves them in our churches, and persecutes their victims.

        Well, Mike, you’ve had your say. Now I suspect we will hear from some of our readers about your comments.

      • Mike, if you listened to Ps Jeff Crippen’s sermons at Sermon Audio (link in the ‘sermons’ tab at the top of this blog) you would see that he preaches the full counsel of God to his flock at the church where he pastors. He preaches exegetically and without undue emphasis to any one topic, IMO. Sometimes he does a series of sermons on a book of the Bible, and sometimes he does a series on a particular topic in Systematic Theology. His topics cover a much broader range (while staying within the confines of orthodox Biblical doctrine) than many of the churches I’ve been a part of.

        It is unfair and illogical to conflate Jeff’s “flock” (a term which usually refers to a local body of believers in a local church) with the readership of this blog. So far as we can tell, most of the readers at this blog are victims/survivors of domestic abuse. We don’t know how many lurkers we have who read but never comment or how many of the lurkers are victims/survivors, but we do know that most of those who comment are victims / survivors of abuse. Naturally this blog is addressing and ministering to that particular audience, as well as seeking to “awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse”. Are we awakening you? Are you willing to be educated, Mike, or are you just wanting to criticize and undermine our work?

        And yes, the teaching of the Bible is that without the drawing of the Father and the quickening of the Holy Spirit that enables the unregenerate man to feel conviction of sin leading to repentance, no one can be born again and love and obey Christ. Those who respond to Christ repent of their evil ways. Luther talked about the bondage of the will. The unregenerate man has no choice but to sin: the only choice he has is which sins he commits. He cannot change from being an abuser to being a person who treats his intimate partner with respect and mutuality, unless he becomes regenerate first, and then there will be MUCH work for him to do to unlearn all his habits. That’s why Paul talked so much about the importance of renewing your mind. But Paul never said you can renew your mind while you are still in the unregenerate state — dead in sin.

        The case of Paul changing from a terrorizer of Christians to a great Christian leader is not the same as the case of a spousal abuser changing. Paul’s abuse was not towards his wife behind closed doors. Paul’s abuse was public and vaunted by the religious leadership who all saw Paul’s persecution of the church as righteous obedience to God. Yes, Paul had to unlearn a lot of religious garbage he’d imbibed from the Pharisees, and the three years he spent in Arabia may well have been part of him recalibrating his interpretation of scripture. But he did not have to unlearn and change his entire way of relating to his wife. Changing one’s misinterpretations of scripture is one thing; changing one’s entire way of relating to a spouse is another thing entirely, and it requires a much deeper overhaul of one’s personality and character.

  10. NOTE: A comment on this thread from “Mike Stacey” (his screen name) and the ensuing discussion in relation to Mike’s comment have been turned into to a new stand-alone post. You can find the new post here: A Challenge And Response To Jeff Crippen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: