A Cry For Justice

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

Book review – “The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense” by John Bevere

The very first sentence in the preface of this book has a red flag.  Bevere writes:

The book you hold is quite possibly the most important confrontation with truth you’ll encounter in your lifetime.

Say what?  Why didn’t he just say “I am”?  The author’s arrogance, heresy and thinly veiled narcissism is already screaming.  It gets worse. The author goes on to state,

If you stay free from offense you will stay in God’s will.  If you become offended you will be taken captive by the enemy to fulfill his own purpose and will.  Take your pick.  It is much more beneficial to stay free from offense.

He fails to actually define ‘beneficial’, but it is safe to say that for himself at least, the author would define ‘beneficial’ as ‘monetary gain’, as in moneychangers in the temple, narcissists in pulpits.  Bevere has made millions with this false gospel, and like Piper and others, has sold numerous books, videos, study guides and seminars all designed to enslave.

Bevere uses the classic snake ploy of taking a text out of context.

Using Luke 17:1a as a basis Bevere builds a very convoluted, errant thesis.  He fails to quote this verse in its entirety for he quotes only, “It is impossible that no offenses should come” and stops there.  He never completes the verse, “. . .but woe unto him through whom they come.”  He does not include the context of causing the vulnerable to stumble, and what we should do about it (as in Luke 17:2).

Let’s recall the first three verses of Luke 17:

(NKJ – the version Bevere quotes) Jesus Warns of Offenses
[1] Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
[2] It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
[3] Take heed to yourselves.
If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.’

(ESV) Temptations to Sin
[1] And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
[2] It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.
[3] Pay attention to yourselves!
If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,”

But rather than pay attention to this context, Bevere gets out his scripture-twisting monkey wrench and defines ‘feeling offended’ or ‘being offended’ as sin. He places the burden of offense squarely back on the shoulders of the victim. The basic premise being that if we are offended by others, the problem is with us; that Satan has placed bait in a trap, and being caught by it — offended — is “a tool of the devil to bring people into captivity”. He actually says being offended is due to the “heart’s true condition” — pride, which is sin.  And the cure?  Yep, you guessed it; trial by fire and tribulation — becoming purer gold by being reminded and tested by fire.  So, if you are offended by abuse, it is due to your own sin of pride.  And that is just Chapter 1.

He goes on like this for 14 miserable chapters.  I had to force myself to read this book, and I did so only out of respect for my soon-to-be-ex-friend who gave it to me with a note saying: “Friend, few books have impacted my thinking as much as Bait.  May the HS [Holy Spirit] use it in all the best ways. Hugs.”

After the preface and chapter one, I began to research the author and I discovered that the original book was printed in 1994 (titled The Bait of Satan: Your Response Determines Your Future) with a preface written by none other than Benny Hinn.  I had to blink and re-focus.  The 10th Anniversary 2004 edition which my friend had given me had a different subtitle (Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense) and the original preface was replaced with one written by the book’s own author, John Bevere.  Not a big deal, perhaps, but a glaring deception if you have written a book about NOT being offended, but then change the title and remove a previously written preface by someone who clearly WAS offensive (and has since fallen from grace).  Isn’t that rather duplicitous, er. . . offensive????

More research revealed that John Bevere had been a protege of Benny Hinn’s, a fact that Bevere conveniently excludes in chapter 5 and elsewhere when he relates a story about ‘serving this pastor”. And note, mind you, that Bevere doesn’t say “serving God”, but serving this man.  Bevere described how he was close enough to this pastor to “see his flaws” and questioned some of his ministry decisions. Bevere became “critical and judgmental, and offense set in.”  He goes on to say, “I sensed no inspiration or anointing”, “His preaching no longer ministered to me”.  So Bevere left this particular church, but returned later to meet with the pastor (Hinn) and “repented of being critical and rebellious”.  Bevere says that Hinn “graciously forgave me”.

Ah, the “King of Anointing”, the “chosen one”, the “almighty-pastor”, decreed his minion forgiven.  Forgiven of what exactly?

Perhaps Bevere had a genuine nano-second of clarity, realizing that Hinn was a charlatan who needed to be exposed. Instead, he rather quickly regretted his decision (after all, it wa$ more beneficial) and twisted reality into an offense from which he needed to repent.  Like many patriocentrics and other abusive churches, Bevere had left without the blessing of the pastor.  This too was an offense.  In fact, Bevere was now opining that to be openly critical of church leaders is offensive to God.  Claiming that God is the One who puts pastors in authority, only God can remove them and that God will use corrupt leaders and it is not up to others to expose their corruption.  Bevere then twists scriptures to fit the narrative and uses the example of Samuel’s wicked sons as evidence that God alone should remove evil ones.  Bevere actually claims to be in the will of God by staying in a church with a corrupt leader.  I guess his Bible omitted Jude and I, II, III John, Titus, Timothy, and Paul and Jesus and the prophets.

Obviously the Word of Faith doctrine is being used here in all its abusive heresy.  This book is filled with so much heresy, on nearly every page, that it is hard to pare it down.  Bevere has written many books, including “Under Cover” and “Honor” and they each teach this same notion of being under the authority of others, even corrupt pastors.

Trigger warning: the following paragraph contains an account of multi-dimensional abuse via *spiritual-counseling* of a woman.

In The Bait of Satan, Bevere goes on to say that seeking justice is seeking revenge.  In chapter 12 he tells the story of a woman who had forgiven her ex-husband. . .“but as she listens to me talk about releasing offenses, she realized she did not have peace inside.”  When this woman tearfully approached Bevere, he immediately accused her that she had not truly forgiven her ex-husband.  When she protested in tears he then asked her, “Well, what did he do to you?”  She went on to describe a familiar story of abuse and abandonment as her pastor/husband left her and their three sons for a prominent woman in the church, who was an “asset to his ministry” while she had not been.  Her ex placed all the blame on her and never admitted his sin of destroying his family and marriage.  But Bevere told her SHE was offended and unwilling to forgive him, thus in bondage to human justice.  In the quaint way of the Pharisees, Bevere placed the heavy burden on her shoulders and lifted not a finger to ease it!  Furthermore, this poor woman was never affirmed for desiring biblical justice, but rather scolded for being unforgiving and vengeful!

The obvious, errant theology Bevere proclaims is this: stay free from offense if you want to stay in the will of God.  Can you imagine the abuse that will occur?  Can you see the abuse that will be excused, based on that ridiculous notion? How many abusers will falsely accuse their victims of seeking revenge, holding a grudge, being unforgiving or demanding retribution?  It is so spiritually abusive in its scripture twisting followed by foolish theology and poor Biblical knowledge that I was in knots while reading it.  Bevere [unwittingly] gives numerous narcissistic examples of bestowing his own forgiveness and reconciliation on various unrepentant people, in which he then described in great detail how it benefited HIM.  But how do you reconcile with the unrepentant?  Even Jesus can’t do that.

What fellowship has darkness with light?

Needless to say this book is not only bad, but dangerous.  Men, women, and children could be seriously harmed or killed if they were to take this nonsense to heart.  It is anathema.  If it hadn’t been given to me by someone that I know and I thought I trusted and admired, I would have trashed it after the preface.  And that same person is in an influential position in a huge mainstream evangelical church.  I answered her with copies of A Cry For Justice and Not Under Bondage with a note that said, “Praying the truth of scripture contained within these books will clarity much and stand in opposition to Bait“.

I never heard back from her.  I suppose I ‘offended’ her, but if so, then she, too is duplicitous.  No?  We had a friendship dating back forty years, but she fell victim to falsehood and heresy, and her counsel regarding my abuser was based on not being offended.  Abuse was not the problem.  I was the problem for being offended by abuse.  Can you imagine the guilt-tripping christian counsellor who would burden a victim with that nonsense?

So the very person who believes the false theology that being offended (abused) is a greater sin than actually causing the offense (abuser) is now offended that I have pointed out the error of that doctrine, but refuses to reconcile or forgive me of such sin and has instead discarded a 40-year friendship on the altar of offense so she can stay free from offense in order to stay in the will of God and. . . Well, you get the idea.  Sigh. . .

 

 

 

 

61 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Feelings of anger or offense may be a red-light indicator that something is seriously wrong, that boundaries have been violated. To advise people to ignore those feelings is ridiculous and dangerous. Confronting an abuser is actually the kindest and most loving thing you can do for him or her. It gives them an opportunity to repent!!!

    • well said, Debbie!
      Btw, if you are new on the blog, I encourage you to check out our New Users Page (see the tab New Users in the top menu). 🙂

  2. bright sunshinin' day

    Guest Writer – This is an excellent book review. Ps 89:14 states:

    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face

    Balance is key. Righteousness AND justice, mercy AND truth. Much teaching in today’s church seems to relay that forgiveness means to neglect seeking justice. Wrong.

    Micah 6:8 states:

    He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to DO JUSTLY (or do justice), to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

    Those who would discourage us to keep this balance clearly seen in Scripture could possibly be those who have “…crept in unnoticed…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness…these are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves…” Be on guard. Seek the WHOLE counsel of God. God is a God of justice and mercy.

    I’m curious to know what John Bevere would do if a burglar came in his house to steal while he was there. Would Bevere seek justice and call the police or tell the burglar he is forgiven and allow him to continue his misdeeds?

    • survivorthrivor2

      Bright, my favorite scripture has always been Micah 6:8! It has never meant more to me than it does today!

  3. Scarlett

    He basically says the same thing on his blog, using Joseph as an example of long suffering at the hands of one’s abusers.

  4. Round*Two

    We used this book at ladies bible study! If I knew then what I know now! I still have that book, I wil NEVER read it again. Into the garbage it goes! I’m also reading another book which I am being offended by that we are using for bible study, again. Its called STUCK by Jennie Allen. (I’m not sure I’m allowed to mention books here, if not, I’m sorry) please remove! 🙂 But, we are on the 2nd chapter about anger and I’m offended by it! Now, I have no desire to study the book.
    Thank you ACFJ for bringing to light the darkness that is lurking out there!

    • Round*Two, I find such joy in hearing you speak so boldly with such confidence of the lode-star: the truth about abuse.

  5. And just exactly what would this woman or Bevere say about Christ’s very obvious offense to the money changers fleecing the poor in His Father’s temple?

    Such abuse of God’s written word, and worse, of His Living Word!

  6. Annie

    I wanted to laugh and scream at reading this junk. Laugh because to me it seems the writer is being self-serving but disguising it as helping others. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has talked on the phone loud enough for me to hear about some issue he was mad at me for but he’d present it to his listener in an easy-going, likeable manner all the while I knew it was a message to me.

    I wanted to scream because this is the kind of stuff not appropriate for abused spouses but they’re the very people who will take it to heart (if not forewarned). My mother should read a book about not taking offense–that’s one of her hobbies–but someone like me who worries about doing the right thing while being abused doesn’t need the help of an author like this.

    • I can’t tell you how many times my husband has talked on the phone loud enough for me to hear about some issue he was mad at me for but he’d present it to his listener in an easy-going, likeable manner all the while I knew it was a message to me.

      What a good example of covert aggression! Only the target knows she is being aggressed against. All others who hear about this little phone conversation would think it was innocuous, benign, chit-chat humour.

  7. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you for taking the time to read and review the book. Yes, it is a tactic of narcissists to protect the guilt of their despicable behavior on the person injured by it. They hit me in the face with a board, I cry out in pain, they reply “something is wrong with you for expressing pain”. And then the church chorus chimes in “if you were a good Christian you would not be offended” Tidy enabling of offenders.

    • loves6

      You describe my old church I attended for nearly 30 years.

      I was looked upon as emotional and not really trusting God like I should. I was dealing with abuse at home from my husband and then teenage daughter. The Pastor of this church I believe is Narcissus. He lives Bevere’s teaching

  8. Barnabasintraining

    If you stay free from offense you will stay in God’s will. If you become offended you will be taken captive by the enemy to fulfill his own purpose and will. Take your pick. It is much more beneficial to stay free from offense.

    But…it’s impossible that no offenses should come!! How are we supposed to stay free from the inevitable in order to be in God’s will?! Sigh. I guess we’re all sunk. 😦

    • StandsWithAFist

      Brilliant observation, BIT! What the author is saying contradicts Jesus’ very words.
      Bravo–you are so good at cutting thru the nonsense and getting to the truth!

  9. Searcher

    This is an example of using someone’s religious beliefs to manipulate them into staying in a destructive/one sided relationship. I hear people say that ,”marriage is hard.” There are some days that may be difficult but the overall tone of the relationship should be loving and kind. I see relationships limping along for years because the wife thinks that God wants her to show God’s love to a brute. The man merely loses respect for the woman , makes her miserable and sometimes leaves her , when he gets bored.

  10. I am seeing a common trend with these false teachers. They take scripture clearly directed at abusers and false teachers and twist them so that they now apply to everyone else. So when the true believer begins to throw off the yoke of oppression, false teachers cry, “See! See! They’re giving into rebellion!” And those who are still blind take up the chorus.

    • standsfortruth

      Yes April, it is called projection.
      Seems to be a popular tactic of abusers.
      To accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of, and shift the blame away from themselves and on to the innocent victim.
      Then try to send her off into the wilderness as the scapegoat for their sins.
      They are guilty of twisting the scriptures, to their own destruction.

  11. livingliminal

    “Can you imagine the guilt-tripping christian counsellor who would burden a victim with that nonsense?”

    I don’t have to imagine – I knew him! When I turned to him for help, he told me I was “bitter and unforgiving” because I would not submit to the “godly leadership” of my abuser (a fellow church leader) 😛

    BTW, you are absolutely correct about this teaching – it DOES “seriously harm” people! I experienced that harm – to the point of wishing I was dead!

    • Maria

      John Bevere: “When we oppose God’s delegated authority, we oppose God Himself.”

      Bevere means “to drink” in Italian. In his case, he’s hoping we drink his “Kool-Aid”.

  12. EmBee

    Read this book and found it to be as abusive as anyone I’d met or whose hands I’d suffered spiritual abuse from –but a favorite of the name-it-and-claim-it crowd who embrace spiritual abuse as a baby desires milk! Disgusting!

  13. survivorthrivor2

    Thank you for this review! Eyes wide open! My abuser h read this book and tried to get me to read it, I never did, much to his “offense!”

    I actually have a situation I need some help with, thank you in advance if you feel you have some wisdom to pass along to me.

    I previously wrote a post about trying to call a church I had visited and wanted to attend, to let them know my situation, (separated from my abuser h), after getting passed around on the phone, the connection was lost and I never received a call back. Fast forward about a month or so, I get an email from this church inviting me to a Pastor’s Dinner. I had never been to one, but had heard what they were about from my best friend. At first, I thought it was a mistake, but my bf urged me to go and check it out, what can it hurt, at the very least it’s dinner!

    Well, it was amazing! I heard more integrity from those pastors than in all the years I have been going to church. Transparency, humility, dedication to God and scripture and truly shepherding (protecting) the flock and keeping the wolves out! I went to the second meeting on Sunday which was all about what we can expect from them and vice versa. Again, amazing! Just real talk about churches and how they should work like a family with problems, issues, and solving them together and so much more! I spoke to the Pastor’s assistant afterwards and said I wanted to make an appointment to speak to him before I make a decision about becoming a member of this church. I want to get involved in serving, etc., but I feel I should tell him of my current situation. Has anyone attempted this type of scenario before? I know how I want to approach this meeting, brutally honest, but it is uncharted territory with any positive result.

    In the past, I have been ganged up on by pastors, bullied, patronized, and totally disbelieved. I ended up leaving in humiliation, disgust and defeat. How can one feel like something like this is real and true, when all evidence is to the contrary?

    • standsfortruth

      Since I picked up a job dealing with the public, to help free myself from my abuser, I met a woman from a new small church that I was impressed with upon talking to her.
      She seemed like the last person in the world that would tolerate abuse from her spouce, who also just happened to be the pastor of this church.
      She gave me her church card and invited me to come to their next service.
      After my history of being spiritially abused, and shunned by my previous church, and NOW thouroughly educated by ACFJ,
      ( Thank you so much ACFJ team!) I decided to go there with mostly with a “mindset of quiet investigating”, (by myself) to just see how much truth they actually embrace, by observing what they preach.
      (The proof might be in the pudding right?)
      Well the message was about “spiritual warfare” and how evil tries to make us believe the lies. Sounds good right?
      Afterwards I decided to test the waters and asked her how she felt about divorce in abuse cases.
      She seemed to adamantly support the idea of divorce for abuse.
      But I also could tell she had no understanding about what “covert marital abuse” was -that happens behind the scenes at home, to destroy a marriage and family, while never showing its true colors in church or public.
      The next time they invited me I came armed with Jeff Crippens book “A Cry for Justice”, and some business cards , to loan to the pastor to read, as he showed intrest in understanding more about this sinister problem I claimed was damaging Gods people within the church.
      I got the impression that this church had a “heart for rightousness, and justice”, but just did not know or understand who the enemy was, and where the battlefront was.
      Which can be a sign of immaturity and blindness. (You cant fight a battle unless you know who the enemy is)
      I cannot help but wonder in their present ignorant state, if my covert abuser walked in and befriended them, he might soon end up having them siding with him as allies.
      So hopefully the pastor will take the book to heart, and time will tell if he wants to roll up his sleeves and join forces with this battle against evil within the churches.
      I have their e-mail and intend to check in to see if they are embracing this truth, or glossing over it.
      And my membership from now on is with the “true church of Jesus Christ”, and not with any of mans organizations.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you SFT for saying this out loud. Helpful to hear it laid out this way about a church. I’m very very cautious about the next one I choose. Thank God I know now that there are lots of fake ones out there. Watch out! Watch closely. Ask questions. If they shrink back they are hiding something or they are asleep.

        I’m very scared right now and the walls of truth and strength I had are crashing down. I’m growing weary and can’t think as clearly as I once did. Seems like way too much to bear from every single angle. Too much. That old feeling of wanting to die is familiar. I’m up against a huge battle and I’m terrified of the abuser and the disgusting lack of advocacy. I know people are responsible for what goes on here on earth and for the wicked things they do. I thank God He paid to forgive me for the wicked things I’ve done and I won’t do them again or say that they were justified. They were sin. All sin.

        I know God can do anything and that He is just and good. I know He sees everything. I know He will help. I just don’t know how and I’m scared because the lying evil doers are so many!

        Seems Jesus had a real friend in Lazarus from what I’ve read. How lonely Jesus must have felt and often. He had a real friend. I think that must be why He wept. A real friend who stands for what is right. Who you are at home with. Who DOESNT ABUSE YOU! To lose a real friend even for a moment while in a completely evil world is just too much to bear. That just what I think.

      • Anomyous, yes, when the chips are down, and those that we once thought were our friends are not there for us anymore, we have to remember that our true friend is Christ who’s spirit lives in us.
        And just perhaps, just like how the battle was won between Gideon with his 300 men, against the135,000 enemy troops, God may want to display his redeeming power in us by delivering us “against all odds” from the multitudes that be formed against us when we are left by ourselves .
        How about that for bringing glory to God?
        (When my supporters turned against me, God still delivered me!)
        Just perhaps this is the place where we will and can have a testamony that gives Glory to the power of God..

        Anyway as an update regarding Pastor Crippens book that
        I left with that church a while ago.
        After many weeks I tried unsuccessfully to contact them through e-mails and phone calls,- to see what they thought, or if they had read the book,- with absolutely no reply from them.
        Not a good sign.
        Finally I just wanted to get the book back, but they never thanked me or commented about the content, but seemed annoyed at my persistence on the subject, and emphasized all the many ministries that they were allready involved in and were very busy with.

        (Maybe this was a case of me wanting them to embrace a truth that they did not have any heart or time, or interest in. )

        So now this book is in the hands of a Charismatic Jewish church that helps abuse victims by giving out food boxes, and I’m hopeful that it will actually be read.
        It would be great to see even a small network of churches honestly working together for abuse victims on this issue.

        Until then, I am content to come here, and share in the fellowship, and tune in each Sunday for the weekly message .

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      Because you asked other survivors for input I will respond with the perspective of a survivor that looked for sanctuary in the church both during the abuse and when I left. There is a very big difference between words and deeds. I’ve been amazed before at the words of church leadership, their humility, their passion for the word, the true shepherds heart,. Amazed until I found out I’d aligned myself with another dysfunctional narcissistic system in which I was spiritually beaten up. In the end I realized, I gave my trust and my heart far too easily to people that had not proven themselves to me by their ACTIONS over time.

      I don’t want to be the “church” problem or project where people feel entitled to take potshots giving judgmental harsh advice and try to fix me. It creates a scapegoat, when the only difference between me and those “fixers” is that I’m honest about my life and they are not. Being honest makes you a second class citizen in these types of churches where the status qua is to present a perfect family.

      Sometimes “protecting sheep from wolves” is a warning that you at some point you will be the wolf because you asked an honest question about doctrine. Sometimes its code for a control freak leadership that wants to create clones that all look like the Stepford wives. I don’t want to discourage you in looking for a church but I’ve learned the hard way, walking in vulnerable by needing them to be something they aren’t sometimes puts blinders on the eyes. In addition talk is cheap, and narcissistic systems are truly brilliant at presenting the image you want to see but not living it out. Don”t let people into the inner sanctums of your soul until they have truly proven themselves worthy of that by actions. And I’d pay attention to the fact they didn’t get back with you for a month

      • So totally agree! As one who has trusted too easily in the past, I know that words mean nothing if actions don’t back them up.

      • Scared

        Needed to hear this tonight. Thank you

    • sorry to take so long to respond to your request, SurvivorThrivor2.

      Here is a comment I wrote in another thread. You might find it helpful to read it and the comments round about it.

      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/01/28/losing-friendships-because-of-the-stress-of-abuse/#comment-56515

      • Thank you Barbara, no apology necessary. I read them all and they were very helpful. I took some notes and prepared an interview and have an arsenal for my meeting with the pastor, should the need arise. It is difficult to be hopeful, but I am staying positive and alert. Thanks for all your help, always…..

      • Hi survivorthrivor2, I have fixed the glitch with your screen name in another comment. We don’t know why it happened. It may be somethign to do with how you have your WordPress account set up. If you need further help with that please email twbtc. Her address in on our About page (see tab at top menu) .

  14. loves6

    I am so pleased to read this!!!

    I have read some of this book but something didn’t sit right with me so I put it away. I just didn’t agree with him on certain aspects.

    My old church had his DVDs and played them. The Bait of Satan was one. This church agreed with Bevere’s teaching.

    Thank you for this post!!

  15. StandsWithAFist

    Earlier this month, Ps. Jeff wrote about NOT quenching the Spirit, but rather being led by the Spirit through truth of HIS word, not man’s.

    This book is an obvious example of quenching the Spirit.

  16. Barely Reformed

    Well, I suppose I could avoid all offenses if I could just avoid all other human beings. 😛

  17. nessa3

    Thanks for reviewing this book…can you review Under Cover…I read this book whilel I was at an abusive church…and felt so convicted about my rebelious heart…but there was so much conflict with some of it …. I felt there was issues with him and his teaching …but was told by leadership in my church that it was my rebelious nature that couldnt except it….I feel really confused and fed up with religion. Help

    • Hi Nessa, I don’t think we will be able to make time to review the book Under Cover. We’ve done a quick google about it and because it doesn’t seem to be directly about domestic abuse, we won’t be able to give it much attention.

      If you do a google search you’ll quickly find sites that explain what is dangerous and wrong with that book. 🙂

    • livingliminal

      Nessa3, the website Melody mentions below has a lot of really useful information and addresses the errors in that particular book.

  18. Melody

    This is the same Bevere whose book is exposed as unhealthy at http://www.coveringandauthority.com I assume. Sounds the same. Interesting website.

  19. This is interesting, I was given a copy of this book when it first came out. I was still married to my abusive first husband and it was right about the time I was realizing I had to leave him, although I hadn’t told anyone yet. I found myself restlessly skimming through it and then put it down. I had heard a lot of similar teaching so it sounded familiar, yet I couldn’t bring myself to even concentrate on the book. I think that was the Holy Spirit protecting me. I think I still have that book in my garage somewhere, time to purge, I guess!

    Thank you Guest, for this insightful review. John Bevere has been off my radar for a long time, I didn’t even remember his connection with Benny Hinn. Your exposure of the scripture twisting startled me a bit because I had completely missed how he left out parts of the scripture. I wonder how often I have been tricked by that?

  20. wbgl0

    I skimmed through this book one time and read the story about the pastor as well as the warnings against being a “spiritual vagabond” who moves from church to church because you’re always offended by someone. My first thought was “Yeah, but what if that pastor or those people in the church are truly abusive?” Thanks for confirming my suspicions that the book is dangerous.

  21. imsetfree

    I actually knew a young lady who tried to get help from her church because of verbal abuse only to be told “you feel hurt by his behaviour because you haven’t died to yourself”. Hearing that made me feel pretty angry on her behalf. I’ve also been in churches where I was told “Christians don’t have rights. We have surrendered them all”. I realise we are not to be more focused on our rights than on Jesus but I think safety from abuse SHOULD be a right

    • You are spot on — safety from abuse should be a right that all godly people try to uphold, whether it is abuse that others are suffering or abuse they are suffering themselves.

      And in seeking safety from abuse, we may exercise our rights under the law of the land – we may demand justice. Paul did this when he questioned the Roman centurion who was about to have him flogged. It was not lawful to flog a Roman citizen without him having been properly tried and convicted of a crime.

      [22] Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” [23] And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, [24] the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this.

      [25] But when they had stretched him out for the whips,(1) Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” [26] When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” [27] So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” [28] The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” [29] So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him. (Acts 22:22-29 ESV)

    • It is not biblical to say “Christians don’t have rights. We have surrendered them all.” That is a distortion of the gospel.

      We do have rights. Everyone has rights. Our rights are tempered and held in balance by the rights of others. That is what it means to live in a civil society. Those ‘c’hristians who say that believers have no rights are very misguided at the least, and many of them are outright abusers.

      Abusers who hide out in the church passing themselves off as christians LOVE the notion that no believer has rights. They spread this notion and use it to intimidate and trample on the people they are abusing. These people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They feed greedily on the sheep and they hide their wickedness so that bystanders will think they are such fine examples of godliness. Ugh.

      When Paul’s reputation was being trashed and dragged through the mud by the false apostles who roamed around the early churches, he defended his reputation and denounced the tactics of the false apostles. This means he defended his rights. 🙂 Read 2 Corinthians and you’ll see how much of it was about Paul defending his right to a good reputation. He had the right to a good reputation because he merited it. Abusers do not have the right to a good reputation because by their behaviour they do not merit it.

      • Free

        Thank you for saying this, Barbara.

  22. Overcomer

    Hello all. I have not commented in awhile but I came across this post and wanted to chime in. I have been through such an amazing journey of healing and hope since escaping my covert, wolf in sheep’s clothing abusive ex anti-husband. As I continue on the healing journey, the Lord is in fact teaching me about forgiveness and not taking offenses. Now, I must clarify that I am in NOW WAY victim blaming or shaming. I am sharing what God has been showing me which I hope, in turn, might minister to and help someone else. The verse the Lord gave me (among others) is Psalm 119:165- Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing will offend them. We also have to look at the VERY DIFFICULT saying of Jesus to forgive others as our heavenly Father forgives us. I think if we are not walking in forgiveness toward anyone who offends us, we are not walking in peace. And is that not what we all seek after being through abuse? I am not advocating staying in an abusive situation as proof that one has forgiven the abuser. That is not wise and could be deadly. But when we have been able to put space between ourselves and our abuser, then we can work on this very hard requirement of Jesus. Jesus will give us the grace if we ask Him for it. I really think this is a key to our well being, spiritual maturity, and peace.

    I do hope this is taken in the spirit in which it is meant. I am a survivor of horrific abuse like you all are. I was married to a covert abuser for 17 years, went through 3 horrendous psychiatric hospitalizations, was suicidal, shunned, disbelieved, and marginalized by my church, and lost my marital home and almost lost my 2 daughters. I suffered horrible financial abuse as well as the psychological warfare and mind control that these abusers are famous for. I just wanted to share what God is doing in my life and in my heart. God bless us all as we continue on our healing journey.

    Oh, and I have not read the book and do not plan on reading it. It does sound like there are a lot of problems with it and with the author.

    • Thank you, Overcomer 🙂

    • Hi Overcomer, you said “I think if we are not walking in forgiveness toward anyone who offends us, we are not walking in peace.” I guess this statement could be interpreted in a number of ways. I’m sure you were referring to something which has resonated and helped you in your own journey, so I don’t want to take down any insights you have had for yourself. However, I’m aware that your sentence might be interpreted as a ‘should’ by some other survivors.

      I guess it depends what one means by ‘walking in forgiveness toward one who has offended us.’ Some/many everyday Christians think that means letting the offender, with no reformation in his character, back into our life where he can re-harm us. That, as I’m sure you know and agree, is foolish naivety and the kind of thinking that exposes victims of abuse to more abuse.

      I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way 🙂 I’m just wanting to clarify a bit, in case other readers might have got confused or triggered.

      If you are interested, we have more posts on Forgiveness. In fact, we have a tag on Forgiveness which currently has 43 posts in it! I wouldn’t expect you to want to read them all (!) but you might like to read these two (if you haven’t already read them) —

      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/03/16/what-does-forgiveness-require-by-jeff-crippen/

      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/01/31/christians-are-very-confused-about-forgiveness-by-jeff-crippen/

  23. Anonymous

    Ok so x anti husband owns this book and many others warned about on this site. ITS NO WONDER. Thank you for spelling it all out about the book in this post. The jerk actually studied up on being evil. I pray oh God have mercy and destroy this evil man!

  24. Sarah

    Thank you for this review.

    This book was the one a local church picked as their reading material about the time that I started to come to their mid week meetings. A couple who was a part of this church raved about this book, so I decided to pick it up at the local library. It was the worst book I’ve ever read. It is very triggering especially if you have suffered from any form of abuse whether spiritual, physical or sexual. You can sense a manipulative and controlling tone throughout the book that is disguised as humor and lightheartedness. (At least that’s what I sensed).

    I did not know at the time, but I was being spiritually abused by many different ministries and it is those who are spiritually abusive WHO TEND TO RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. I write that in caps because it is SO important to recognize that. They want you to read this book, so you are groomed and ready to submit to them in fear of being in offense and in sin. The end game is that you submit, honor them and never disagree with anything they do.

    As I read this book, I took pages and pages of notes and was going to write my own review on Bevere’s book, but figured it was a waste of time…Biblically speaking it is a travesty! Scriptures are taken out of context and he conveniently switches translations and leaves things out on purpose. I was not aware that Bevere was talking about Benny Hinn in the book. WOW!

    The local couple who was holding mid service meetings (which loved this book) became offended at me and my husband after I was vocal about my disagreements with theologies and teachings that they believed in.

    I don’t want to get too detailed in fear they read this. But the Lord started to show me their spiritually abusive ways. Instead of agreeing to disagree (and letting me be free to write whatever I want), they demanded everything was my fault and that I need to forgive them and not be offended etc. They were always quick to put offense, unforgiveness, soul ties, generational curses and other unbiblical concepts on others, but they never looked at themselves with the same lens. They saw the sickness in my body and my boldness coming out against certain teachings as proof that I was offended and in unforgiveness. It was demonic.

    After some time God said to let them go and I did. It was the best day of my life when I unfriended them. I am still working through some of the hurtful things that were said to me during the fallout though and it’s been over a year now.

    My take away point is:
    If someone is recommending this book to you, RUN. If they are in a position of power or in a position of leadership over you, they may use this book as a grooming tool to spiritually abuse you.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah, and blessings to you for writing it.

      May your testimony about this book be used by our Lord to save other people from falling into the abyss of self-condemnation, false guilt, and bondage to wolves in sheep’s clothing which this book induces.

    • thinkingriddles

      Thank you so much for sharing this story and your thoughts. They are very clear and helpful. I would love it if you did actually take time to write out your review. This book damaged me almost 20 years ago, and I thought I was over it, but this year it has come back to haunt me and I’m on a journey to try to shake free.

  25. citizen of Heaven

    “Designed to enslave”!
    I’ve read this post more than a few times already, but today, this day, a light bulb came on. I’ve read this book. I could not understand why I felt worse after reading it.
    It was “DESIGNED TO ENSLAVE”! Repetition is good!
    THANK YOU Pastor Crippen for just one of many enlightening posts 🙂

  26. under the waterfall

    I read that book as well, Bait of Satan. I think he has some valid points, in the sense that resentment or bitterness are things that are spiritual poison. But I also got a sense that he was quite full of himself. There is an account in one of his books where a woman comes to him to disclose that she suffers from low self esteem. Now, that’s probably the terminology she thought she should use to give a short, pithy identification to her problem. However, Bevere pounces on it in the most snotty and graceless fashion. He says to her ” Where in the bible does it tell you to have good self esteem? I get it that our problems are far deeper than having a poor self image, but honestly, I don’t know anyone who does well feeling like worthless human garbage either.

    I can’t remember the rest of what he said to her, but it sounded like he really shamed the living daylights out of her. He then commented that he thought she expected to have a long counselling session where she would be pitied and prayed over, etc. I’m thinking that if Jesus didn’t speak to women with such snot dripping from His attitude even when one of them was half naked in front of Him after being caught literally rolling in sin, Mr. Bevere had no right to talk like that to anyone either.

    • Anonymous

      I recently had an encounter with a man per your description in your comment (dressing-down the woman who came to him for help and direction). This man was a healthcare professional and I went to him after a horrible incident that happened somewhere else. I told him the situation and he started blustering and saying that he couldn’t understand how this could happen (that he didn’t believe me) and proceeded to try to “help” me by denying the existence of such circumstances and threatening me by saying he wouldn’t help me if I didn’t get over it. (I had gone to him on a recommendation online). Of course this did NOTHING to help me and only traumatized me further. BUT, you can BETTER BELIEVE that I “got there faster” than I would’ve in the past. I realized what he was, went into stealth mode (no big movements, acting like I saw his point) and then I STEPPED.

      And I have very little doubt that both John Bevere and the HCP I went to, REALLY BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE ACTING IN THE “RIGHT” WAY. That Mr. Bevere wrote this in his book shows this and the HCP was so rude and condescending that I could tell he thought he was god. Big fish, little pond.

      • StandsWithAFist

        A little levity, tongue-in-cheek:

        Q: What’s the difference between God & a doctor?

        A: God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.

  27. SH

    Thank you for giving me confirmation on what I was thinking about. A friend of mine gave me and some other ladies the book. I was reading it and it left me unsettled. I finally made it to chapter 5 and put the brakes on. Whoa! God doesn’t learn anything, and needs no permission from His creation to do anything. This author has a low view of God’s sovereignty. And anyone who doesn’t have that down, can’t be trusted to teach anything from the Bible. Sad to see this man is still putting out more and more heresy. May God cause him to repent.

    • Hi, welcome to the blog, and glad you found this post helpful 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I changed your screen name to SH as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com — she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

  28. NG

    This teaching has been going around especially in the circles I was in (Charismatic), giving a free pass to the pastors and leaders to act in any way they pleased, with no accountability.

    Even the kings in ancient Israel were not supposed to be tyrants, but they were accountable to their advisors, military officers, prophets, even ordinary citizens, who had the right to voice their complaints.

    This kind of ‘submit and don’t be offended, if you don’t you are in sin’ crap is similar to what i recently saw in a YouTube video.. claiming that narcissistic evil people are angels in disguise, sent to us to expose our wounds, so we can heal..! How twisted is that??

  29. joyce

    i agree with you. first, i’ve seen many instances of people’s preference for blaming the victim and many times it is because they do not want to offer sympathy or help, and second, religious christians are among the least forgiving people i know. just a small offense that is not even meant to be an offense and they can give you the silent treatment for years. i’ve christians pushed unscriptural books to me before and i just junk them (without telling them of course). before i came to this website, i was attempting to listen to John Bevere (not on the topic of abuse, fortunately), but stopped halfway as my spirit sensed something wrong somewhere and i think you have got it right by saying he twists God’s word to fit his doctrine.

    • Hi Joyce, welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

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