A Cry For Justice

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

Church Non-Membership is no Excuse for Not Disciplining an Abuser

1 Cor 5:1-7, 11-13  
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

…  now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

I have had enough! Still another case of pastors and churches eluding their Christ-commanded duty to put a wicked person who professes to be a Christian out of their church. And the excuse I keep hearing from them is — “but he isn’t a formal member of our church. So we can’t touch him.”

Tell me, where in the entire Bible are we taught such nonsense? I’m waiting…. Think of any verses? No, because there aren’t any. What we are told, and that very clearly, is that if any person is a “so-called brother” or “who bears the name of brother” and yet walks in habitual, unrepentant sin, we are to put him out of our midst. We are not to socialize with him. He is outta here! He wants to live like the devil, then he can go out into the devil’s world.

Is there any mention here of church membership? Did Paul say, “if he is on the formal membership rolls of your church…then…”?  No. The test is, does he profess to be a Christian. That’s it. If he does, and if he walks in evil, and if he is fellowshipping in a local church, he is subject to discipline. And for that matter, even a person who makes no profession of Christ but who chooses to attend a local church is still under the civil authority of the local magistrates. He can be told “leave here and don’t come back” if we have a valid reason for telling him so (he is a danger to others, he disrupts the services, etc). Your church building, by the way, is NOT public property. It is private property.

It seems to me then that some denominations have taken church membership waaaaayyyy beyond Scripture. Now, I believe in church membership. I believe that a person should become a member and that in doing so they should be announcing that they agree to uphold the doctrine of the church, to be subject to the authority of the church as long as it is exercised according to Christ’s direction, and so on. We have to have membership. How else can we ever vote on issues like calling a pastor, etc? But nowhere does the Word of God tell us that unless someone is a member according to the constitution of a local church, they cannot be disciplined or put out of the church!

Just last week I had a pastor tell me “well, you know, in our denomination, even if that man is abusing his wife, if he is not a member of a church then that church has no authority to discipline him.” Well, I have news for him. His denomination’s book of church order may say that, but God’s Book of Church Order says otherwise!

For the most part, excuses like this for not disciplining an abuser who claims to be a Christian are just a bunch of ___________ (you fill in the blank). They are all just fronts for cowardice, for refusing to do what Christ commands, and they don’t cut it with Him.

Further Reading

Ps Sam Powell sermon: Things God Hates — 1 Corinthians 5

Ps Sam Powell sermon: The Purification of the Church — 1 Corinthians 5

47 Comments

  1. I heard this all the time. Since my husband was professing to be a christian, but wasn’t a member of the church….the leadership would not consistently hold him accountable for his actions. I went to them with every action of physical abuse as it occurred, begging for them to counsel him and hold him accountable for his behavior….and they would meet with him maybe once every 6 months. This went on for over 3 years. And as I became more and more desperate and angry that they refused to do more to hold my husband accountable for the abuse, then I got blamed by the pastor and leadership for causing my husband to abuse me. My husband won. Once the tables turned on me, I left that ‘church.’ Now there is absolutely NO accountability. That is what my husband wanted. Oh well, I guess I’m back to calling the police, since there is nothing else I can do.

    • Jeff Crippen

      jennibear – That is precisely the right thing to do. Call the police. And as to your ex church leaders, in most all states they are required by law to report domestic violence. God’s law requires it of them as well. I cannot fathom how it is possible for a pastor and elders to knowingly let such a situation continue for any length of time, let alone three years! They just wanted you and the problem to go away. It was rocking their comfy little church world.

  2. Brenda R

    Thank you Ps Jeff for reconfirming this truth. The X hasn’t been back to the church that I am a member, but am not sure he would be turned away if he did. Filling in the blank could cause me need to repent, so I will leave that one alone and think on holier things.

  3. Jeff,
    I could not understand why they never did report the domestic violence. I asked them to, so that I would be able to leave my husband and have documentation of the abuse and alcoholism for custody and visitation purposes. They said they didn’t feel they needed to report it, and that I had no biblical grounds for divorcing my husband. I was directed to this blog by a friend, and this blog was what gave me the validation I needed, and the courage to leave that ‘church.’

  4. Kay McIntyre

    This is exactly what I was told, “well he’s not a member so of course we can’t do anything”. The abusive person kept being part of the church.At the same time, he prevented me from going to church by such means as physically blocking the door then driving off without me . He told the people at the church that I didn’t want to go, and they believed him.No-one ever contacted me, except for the pastor’s wife who came round and abused me, because I refused to allow her to have a go at couples counselling.( Her complete lack of qualification in this area apparently didn’t deter her).When I said to her that the abusive person wasn’t really a Christian, well that was treated with contempt.
    In the end it’s too bad for churches like that because they’ve rejected the real Christians and instead they’re stuck with the liars and manipulators who will only cause them harm.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Kay – You see things very clearly now. Excellent. Thank you. As you may know by now, I tend to be a rather black and white person. We are Christians or we aren’t. Certain things are true of us or not. In the short term I can understand how a genuine Christian can be naive of evil and be taken in for a time by it. But over the long haul? I don’t think so. How that “church” and pastor’s wife can be indwelt by the Spirit of Truth, can truly know Christ who is the Truth, hold the Book of Truth in their hands, yet persist in allying with evil can only be explained in my opinion as — they are still in the darkness and don’t know the Light of the world. And I don’t think they want to know Him. Any “church” that rejects the sheep and embraces the wolf cannot be the church of the Good Shepherd.

    • “The abusive person kept being part of the church. At the same time, he prevented me from going to church by such means as physically blocking the door then driving off without me.”
      Did he drive off to church to masquerade as the dedicated Christian whose wife didn’t bother attending this morning’s service? Or did he drive off to the pub or the local betting shop I wonder?

      • Brenda R

        Sounds like it to me.

      • Kay McIntyre

        I can assure you that he drove off to church,because his car is parked outside there every Sunday morning.After church he usually goes to lunch with his extended family who give him lots of sympathy. Then he comes around to visit us.I can’t do anything about that because one of my teenagers actually wants to see him.He talks condescendingly to them and always abuses me in front of them. This week one of them started crying because of the way he was talking to me.I hate Sundays.

      • Oh Kay!
        I’m sure you’ve thought of all ways around that Sunday nightmare, and the last think I want is to teach you how to suck eggs! But would it be workable for your teenager who wants to see his dad to visit him somewhere else, rather than your own home where you and all the other kids are exposed to his abusive tactics?

      • Kay McIntyre

        Barbara- in theory that sounds good but the reality is that it all depends on what my daughter wants to do. Her father doesn’t ever discuss anything with me at all. Not anything.Not ever.He communicates with her directly-and although she says she wants to see him, most of the time she actually resists all but very limited contact.
        As for going to the pub or the betting shop- I would really prefer that, because then there might be a welcome for me in a local church.His allies are spread far and wide throughout the church system and he’s very believable in making me look bad.It might sound strange, but I actually look wistfully at people whose abusers are obvious drinkers and gamblers because at least they get heard.I would much rather he gave money to the racing industry or the breweries than the “missionaries” and “church” groups to whom he donates so freely-I think it would do less harm.

      • Yeah, I get all that, Kay.

      • And it sounds like your daughter doesn’t want to see her dad much if at all, but is too afraid of him to tell him so.

  5. forHisglory

    The goal of church discipline is repentance out of love for the church member. It makes sense that the church leaders should also love the unrepentant professing christian even though he may not be an official church member. Never thought about that until I read your post. How often we function out of church tradition rather than from our examination of scripture. Excellent post!

    • Jeff Crippen

      forHisglory – Yes, right on. So in other words, for all of their talk about how they are “loving” the abuser by NOT disciplining him, the fact is that the Bible’s definition of love in such a situation is quite different. What father who loves his son does not discipline him?

      • “for all of their talk about how they are “loving” the abuser by NOT disciplining him, the fact is that the Bible’s definition of love in such a situation is quite different.”

        Spot on Jeff. Leslie Vernick teaches the exact same thing.

  6. Ang

    The church/pastors/elders took part in abusive actions and/or seeing to it that the abusers were protected at the church I left in TX. So why would they feel it necessary to discipline anyone doing anything if they themselves are abusers? I know all churches are not like this. If only we could go put warning labels on the doors of some churches.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Ang- It’s like we could make a creepy thriller/horror movie with this as the plot, isn’t it? Victim goes to those who are supposed to help, but it turns out that the shepherds have fangs too.

      • Ang

        So very true! Investigation Discovery does all factual series on their network. I’ve wondered why they don’t do a series about this very thing. They would have so much material to work with.

      • LorenHaas

        Speaking of horror stories, I just finished reading the strange saga of Paige Patterson, president of Southwest Theological Seminary, former president of the Southern Baptist Chuch, in the Associated Baptist Press. It seems Dr. Patterson has a long history of enabling sexual predators in the church, In fact, he even advocates it from the pulpit:

        http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8966-why-paige-patterson-s-anti-outsider-stance-is-wrong

        I encourage people to read (trigger warning to those abused by pastors or sexually abused by anyone) the article and especially the links to previous articles if they want to understand the thinking and teaching of the leadership of the largest Baptist denonmination in the US. (I attend an American Baptist Church, so this is not an anti-Baptist campaign)
        Remember, this person is training men to become pastors! (no women pastors in the SBC) This is the accepted norm from their flagship seminary.
        I guess the takeaway here is that do not assume your pastor or church leadership is safe. The mantle of seminary training and ordination means nothing if this kind of thinking is encouraged by denominational leadership.

      • Thanks Loren. The author of the article you linked to is Christa Brown, who along with others has long been calling for the Southern Baptist Convention to deal properly with clergy who are sexual abusers. We respect Christa’s work enormously. I am going to add her blog Stop Baptist Predators to our resources page on Social Networking.

        [The only reason we don’t have her blog on our Blog Roll in the sidebar is that her work focuses on child sexual abuse more than spousal abuse — but of course there is often overlap between the two issues.]

        Christa Brown’s book This Little Light is excellent. I recommend it to any would-be activists as it is very inspiring. And I’d also specially recommend it to anyone who was sexually abused by a member of the clergy as a child — which Christa was herself.

      • Ang

        Loren, That is interesting. I came from a Baptist background too but I wasn’t in a Baptist Church when I experienced the abuse.
        Prestonwood Baptist (Dallas) passed John Langworthy on to Morrison Heights Baptist (Jackson MS) to abuse more children. To not do anything is one thing, but to pass the abuser on to another church to continue the same behavior is unbelievable. We were trying to get Jack Graham or someone to make a statement as more people continue to speak out about the abuse they experienced.
        http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/10/25/prestonwood-baptist-a-heroic-stand-amidst-parental-and-church-betrayal/

    • Whisper

      I’ve followed your story throughout the forum and it is clear that your Pastor was a wolf in sheeps clothing. And I think you understand that a wolf is going to protect is fellow wolves. Jesus called them white-washed tombs. They look good on the outside which makes it near impossible to discern their hypocrisy but inwardly they are full of every evil desire. Is their a stress test that believers can use to better identify the churches filled with wolves?

      • IamMyBeloved's

        “And I think you understand that a wolf is going to protect is (his) fellow wolves.”

        So true! Like the old saying, “birds of a feather, flock together”, so those who are deceived and abusive flock together as well. They defend each other and enable each other. I have seen this firsthand. It really should not frustrate us, if we understand it in the way of one being deceived. The abuser is able to win over the pastor or leadership, because they are all deceived, which enables them to believe the abuser. They ally with him, because they are just as deceived and evil as he is. When I saw this, it frustrated me, like the wicked prospering. I thought that they did not believe me, but I realize now, that they were able to be allied, because they were already deceived people. They could not identify truth even if it hit them in the face. As God revealed this to me over time, I began to see that I had no reason to actually be upset, but rather thankful, that I was not deceived, as they were. It made me realize that God had separated me from those who were deceived. At first, it made me wonder what was truth, but that is just because evil has a way of confusing true Christians, especially when those who are deceived, claim to be Christ’s, it is just plain confusing. I understand it much better now.

  7. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    Like Pilate of old, the Church is often quick to wash its hands of any responsibility to hold offenders accountable.

  8. Brenda R

    Thank you for reconfirming this truth. It was stressful to me that the church would not say anything to X at all. He no longer attends there, but I am not at all sure that anything would be said if he were to return. I will refrain from filling in the blank and keep my thoughts on higher ground so as to keep them pure.

  9. well you know, if they start holding abusers accountable, then people will get upset and if they lose their weekly donations how will the church pay the mortgage?
    I think mortgages for expensive church buildings has been one of the downfalls of the church. I know this is off-topic but debt = slavery. Not just for people with credit cards — but entire church bodies will put themselves into enormous debts for buildings, and then they are literally slaves to money.
    I thought home churches were supposed to be an answer to this problem, but all I see are super patriarchal types leading cult meetings they call “home church.”
    just ranting. sigh

    • Jeff Crippen

      Katy – Yes, unfortunately the saying “the power follows the money” is true. Many decisions are not made based on righteousness and justice, but upon what is financially pragmatic. And when there is large debt, the debt dictates. In most cases when a church puts up a new building and has to finance it, the lenders insist that someone put up some collateral. After all, it’s pretty hard to unload a re-possessed church building. So what often happens is that certain individuals in the church sign their own assets up as collateral on the church mortgage. Well guess what? That puts them in a position of unbalanced power. You CAN’t put them out of the church. Often also they are the ones putting significant bucks into the coffers. Thus the covert system of Protestant indulgence sales. The building and the debt become the real “spirit” that dictates every decision that is made. Bad news for the oppressed who come looking for justice.

  10. It seems to me then that some denominations have taken church membership waaaaayyyy beyond Scripture.

    Well, that could be because church membership is not biblical. I understand the justification of it and agree with part of it, but yet at the same time, but not completely. I think there are ways around the voting issue. One could base voting rights on attendance or church involvement. But you all know I’m coming from a different side of things with extensive clergy abuse, so I’m a little gun-shy on signing contracts/covenants.

    But I do believe that the church has a responsibility to get rid of the abusers in their midst with or without official church membership. I definitely agree on that issue.

  11. It was my daughter, the abused, who was persecuted under that very verse, and his abuse was justified by Proverbs 6: 32-35

    “32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
    33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
    34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
    35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.”

    She had been out of our church for 2 years, living 9 hours away, in ‘their’ church, when she fled for the final time from his severe spousal abuse. Our church, because she was still on our roll, thought ‘she’ was their business, and ‘he’ was a sister church’s business, where his dad preached! Our ex-son in law gave tons of false ‘evidence’ to our Elders, who hoarded it for members to see, all, but the parents of the accused and the abused, were NOT allowed to see the evidence, and, long story short, the church declared he was repentant, and she should forgive him, and there is no biblical grounds for divorce, save adultery. If she chose to divorce anyway, she could never remarry, and if she did, she would be living in adultery. 1% of the congregation fought for her and the inappropriateness of such church behavior, and proceedings. The abuser, with the Elder’s help, convinced them she was an adulteress because of a close friendship with a young man, post separation. We, nor she, ever saw the ‘evidence.’ But, it was all a sham. Her reputation and ours was ruined among that denomination over it. The majority in attendance at the vote, raised their hand to count her as a ‘heathen and a publican’ never having called her, or us, to hear the truth or her own mouth profess her innocence, though she wrote each of them, personally, to know the truth of the abuse she endured, nothing came of it, because the power of the leadership, LED them against her, and insisted that the young man had turned from his ways.

    THe ex-husband, accused legally, abuser, now visits that church with his new ‘female friend’, and he is welcomed and given the right hand of fellowship.

    I am not sure any church is truly capable of having a ‘church court’ and do it well…when it comes to abused women, by men…When we are told not to bring a believer to court, I would assert, an abusive man shows no evidence of being a ‘believer’ – TAKE HIM TO COURT! —IT is a matter for the Law and the sooner churches start saying in the pulpit, ‘men who harm women in their congregations, will be reported to the Law, turned over to the courts of men, because such behavior is not becoming of a believer…if you want to be treated like a believer, behave like one toward the weaker vessel…or else, the courts of the world will deal with you as the reprobate you have shown yourself to be!’

    I Timothy 3:2-3 in the qualifications for an Elder/Bishop includes he cannot be a striker or a brawler, and if he is found to be one, he is a reprobate! (non-believer)

    Titus 1:16
    They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

    • Jeff Crippen

      MrsMomtoSix – You said it soooo well: “IT is a matter for the Law and the sooner churches start saying in the pulpit, ‘men who harm women in their congregations, will be reported to the Law, turned over to the courts of men, because such behavior is not becoming of a believer…if you want to be treated like a believer, behave like one toward the weaker vessel…or else, the courts of the world will deal with you as the reprobate you have shown yourself to be!'” Excellent! I’m putting that one on our GEMS quotes page.

      The grievous experience you went through is point by point identical to the stories of so many, many Christians who have been oppressed by an abuser, then expelled and rejected from their “church.” I put church in quotes because I have serious doubts that any entity that behaved toward your daughter as that one did could possibly be a real body of Christ. You have become wise to the nature and tactics of evil. That is what this abuse business is: pure, wicked, evil. It is, in my opinion, an example of the very essence of sin and abusers are children of their father the devil. Especially when they parade as Christians.

      Notice the typical double standard that abusers and abusive organizations employ. Your daughter, if she divorced, could never marry again. But the abuser shows up at that “church” with a girlfriend and all is well. And of course, since his father is a pastor, well, you just can’t go rocking the denominational boat, can you? So he gets a free pass.

      I envision that congregation raising their hands to put your daughter out, and their eyes are glowing and teeth sharp and flashing. She should wear ex-communication from wolves as a badge of honor.

  12. Hi, Jeff: I have also thought about horrible discernment and embracing the wolf by those who claim to know Christ. Trouble is, I actually believed they knew more than me, and regarded their counsel.

    The second pastor, (of six) I approached for help (http://wp.me/p2GxIs-1v) took it easy on my ex “to keep communication open.” But there was no additional communication, nor any discussion of church authority. I have wondered if my ex would have regarded his authority at the time, 5 years into our marriage.

    19 years into the marriage, 4 states and 5 pastors later, I was doing a defeated woman’s divorce, no longer explaining the situation to this pastor, just informing him that I would go to hell faster by taking my own life than by divorcing my husband. THEN, the pastor and an elder came to our home to have a discussion with my ex, who was offended at their presumption, judgment, and attempt to use authority, and decided he hated that church (only to marry his new wife in another church less than a year later). His refusal to regard church authority may have been that he was tired of “trying,” OR timing, OR approach, OR that he was never sincerely concerned with church authority to start with, OR with ANY authority, OR….

    He was really quite happy to leave the church and do what he pleased without their intervention. A year later, a letter was mailed to me announcing I had been dropped from membership for low attendance (too much I couldn’t believe anymore). Their reasoning: those who don’t attend shouldn’t vote on church matters. Now, I seek other sheep amid the wolves – and find it easier to locate them outside the herd, where there is space to tell them apart. I listen to other sheep, like you, but won’t sign on with a herd. And I don’t follow very well, for a sheep! At least for now.

    I guess the bottom line to everything – abuse, victim, abuser, discernment, church authority – is Christ, and why it seems so many miss Him in the crowd.

    Blessings, Diane

    • Jeff Crippen

      Diane – Thank you for sharing this. It is the old, old story it seems in a place where the old, old story is supposed to be the gospel! What are the reasons for all of this injustice? Cowardice. Unbelief. Wickedness. “Oh, this is an unpleasant situation. I don’t want to sully my pleasant little life with it.” Greed. The list goes on. People ask me “where can I find a good church?” Most often I have to say, “I don’t know.” Because the reality is that if a church will not empathize with and give justice to the weak, it is not a good church and may be no true church at all.

      I like your new mission.

  13. Anonymous

    This is a frustration of mine too. I wonder why the abuser is not held accountable, regardless of membership. I too, am for church membership, but will not become a member of our current church because I don’t want it to be used against me. Our church doesn’t have a policy that I know of regarding abuse, though I do think the pastor would be okay with me leaving if my spouse was physically abusive – he has said that from the pulpit. I’m a little confused about our pastors position on this though. I known he doesn’t advocate abuse and he knew enough to not talk to my husband when I confided in him. He told me he wouldn’t unless I asked him to. But he never checks on us and never asks anyone else to and seems to befriend my husband.

    Also, he always says from the pulpit that authority is not an excuse to abuse, which is good. But then he talks about authority a lot (a little bit excessively in my opinion) and being under the “umbrella of God’s protection” by obeying authority and when he gives examples of disobeying authority it seems to be rebellious wives making their husbands feel insecure about leading, and rebellious children. He recently said in a sermon that it’s important for children to be obedient because a habit of disobedience when you are young can cause problems in adulthood (which is true), but then the only example he gave was that of a teen girl who is rebellious then becomes a rebellious wife.

    I feel very uncomfortable with anyone who uses the expression “rebellious wife/wives”. In my entire Christian life (26 years) I have only personally known 2 people that used this phrase: my abusive husband and our current pastor. The other uses of this exact phrase that I have encountered have been in the writings of people who belong to oppressive church cultures. I personally, in the past, have always been part of churches that believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, literal interpretation, etc. but have never heard anyone use that phrase , even though submission was talked about, etc.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean they were any better about helping abused wives or holding abusive husbands accountable.

  14. Brenda R

    I think I have been shunned. My comments are not going through today.

    • Not sure why Brenda. (Barb here, and I’ve just woken up) we will check it out/

  15. WordPress must be having some glitch. I just found several comments in spam from regular readers including Brenda. I have un-spammed them and published them (except for the ones that were duplicates).

    We have no idea why this happened. WordPress has automatic spam detector software called Askimet and they freely admit it is not perfect. This stumble of Askimet’s is worse than usual though. We shall have a look on the WordPress forums for an explanation. Probably other WordPress users are having the same thing happen on their blogs.
    The good news is that WordPress usually fixes any glitches in Askimet pretty quickly.

    And be assured, none of our dear readers have been deliberately shunned.
    It’s not about you! 🙂

    • Brenda R

      That is a relief. I thought it was something I was doing.

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        Why do we assume it is us…years of abuse, we must be wrong. My boss often has compliments to pass on to me but everytime she says she wants to speak to me my heart races and I try to figure out what I did wrong.

  16. Not Too Late

    Jeff, you said that the church is private property, not public property. The pastor of the church we attended insisted it was public property and that he could not stop anyone from attending, unless there was a apprehension order. My guess is that they had tried to protect victims before but a perpetrator objected and threatened court action against the church, and the legal advice given to the church was that they could not stop people from attending, unless there were reasonable grounds, like evidence of danger to the congregation. Needless to say, many victims were disadvantaged by that policy.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Not Too Late – I believe you, but I don’t believe that pastor. You know those signs at restaurants that say “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? Churches can do the same. They are owned by a private corporation, i.e., the church. Of course this means you don’t go hanging one of those big, unbiblical signs out front. You know the kind – EVERYONE WELCOME HERE! Really? Everyone? Satan? His representatives? Hypocrites? Hmmmmm……

    • Hmmm. Someone I know well has been prohibited from setting foot on a particular church’s property ( the property belonging to that parish, not the denomination’s property overall). This was done by giving her a letter that effectively banned her. This was in the Presbyterian church, and maybe the church your are talking about, Not Too Late, does not have a Code Book like that. But according to the Code Book of the Presby church, it works like this. The default assumption is that anyone is welcome to attend church. This assumption is like an open invitation for anybody to attend a church service. To withdraw that invitation, the elders write a letter to the person they wish to ban, saying “We withdraw your invitation.” This can be done even if the person they want to ban is not a member of that church (i.e., not on the church membership roll). So once the invitation is formally withdrawn like that, the elders can call the police if that person sets foot on the property and the police will remove that person for trespassing on the church’s property.

      I bet your church, Not Too Late, could have done that too; they were probably just too ignorant or uncaring to bother finding our how to do it.

    • Brenda R

      That is truly sad. Victims could find the need to move from church to church all the while the abuser is chasing them and still taking away their right to worship God as they choose. I know we are not to fear, but it is not an easy task when you have cruelty following where you go.

  17. Carmen

    Barbara Roberts….By Code Book, do you mean the Book of Church Order? Also, exactly what Presbyterian church ? PCA, OPC…..

    • By Code Book I think I mean the Book of Church Order, though I may not know the exact title of it. The denomination I am referring to is the Presbyterian Church of Australia, which is similar to the PCA in America.

  18. Today I got a text on my phone from a woman at my former church, inviting me to a church function. I told her no, I would not be coming and to please remove my numberl from the list. I said I am not interested in further correspondence from anyone at my former church because I am not comfortable with it. She then told me the pastor had told the church I left because ‘the church wasn’t meeting her needs for more structured counseling.’ That was about…1/4 of the truth. I felt victimized all over again. I took every church members’ numbers out of my phone after that. No acceptance of responsibility for any thing they did, and didn’t do.

    • Brenda R

      If they don’t get it now they probably aren’t going too. Wipe the dust from your sandals and move on.

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