A Cry For Justice

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

The Holy Spirit Calls us to Expose Evil — People Tell us to be Quiet About it

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21)

All through my life I have seen evil and injustice. Like most of you, I have seen it personally in the workplace and in the church. And every time I have seen it, I have been told to be quiet about it. Not by the Lord, but by people. When you are told often enough that you are exaggerating, that you are too judgmental, that you need to just overlook things, you start to believe it. You think that you must be “a problem.”

Here is the thesis of this article that I want to state and support:

The Holy Spirit inhabits and leads every Christian. Because He is the holy Spirit, He reacts against un-holiness. When the Christian is in the presence of evil, the Spirit in him tells him “something is wrong here. This is not right. This is sin. Here is what God’s Word says about this.” 

And then what happens? When the Christian, led by the Spirit, speaks out against this wrong and exposes it, pressure from the enemy comes against him to be quiet about it. To minimize it. To feel a sense of guilt for even thinking badly about someone else. And this opposition to the Spirit, this quenching of the Lord in us, is particularly effective when it comes from the mouth of someone who claims to be a fellow believer —

“Now, Jeff, that is just how Mrs. Smith is. She is really a very good woman and fine Christian. So just be patient with her tantrums and steer a wide path around her and try to get along. We try not to talk much around here about her foibles. After all, she is such a fine pianist and choir director.”

Mrs. Smith has been the pianist and choir director in that church for 40 years! And for 40 years Mrs. Smith has thrown those wicked tantrums whenever she doesn’t get her way. This is sin. It is evil. Mrs. Smith is an agent of the enemy, but the “godly folk” there in the church make it clear that you must not speak of her sin or talk about the Bible saying we are to deal with sin in the church.

In the very first church that I was a pastor in, I knew by the third day that something was very, very wrong. I wasn’t wise enough to know exactly what it was, but I knew. I felt it. I met with the church board consisting of some six or seven people and I simply did not see Christ in them. Oh, perhaps one or two were believers, but not the rest (time would prove that assessment to be accurate). And there were other issues evident that plainly contradicted God’s Word regarding life in His church.

We were sent to this church by a home missions board that we were with. I phoned our regional director and gave him my assessment of the situation. In just a few hours I received a phone call from the head of the missions agency and he was irate! He told me that “of course the people in that church are unsaved. Don’t try to change anything. Just be patient with them, get to know them, and they will get saved.” In others words, “Jeff, just shut up about these things you see that you say are contrary to the Lord’s truth. You are just going to cause trouble.”

Well, I was in that church for eight years. I assumed the missions director knew what he was talking about. I didn’t want to be a trouble maker. So I preached Scripture and taught the people and. . . what happened? Trouble. Attacks. Constant division and fighting. Rank immorality. A terrible testimony to the community. And why was that? Because the Holy Spirit had been trying to tell me from the very start that this “church” was no church at all because there were but maybe one or two genuinely converted people in it.  That is to say, my first conviction that I needed to announce something like this to a congregation of the wicked was right, and that missions director was dead wrong —

When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations — I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:12-17)

You see, these were not mere unbelieving pagans. No, these were church members who claimed to be Christians! That “church” needed to be reduced to a small handful and genuine believers, and then begin a real ministry.

The Holy Spirit leads us to expose evil. People, especially false Christians, pressure us to hide it, excuse it, and cover it up.

And that brings us right back round to why abusers are able to operate and hide in most churches. Evil is not called evil. Those who call evil out are labeled as trouble makers. Just like most of you have been called trouble makers, unloving, unforgiving, and judgmental because you dared say that your abuser is a wicked person parading as a Christian. It has taken me decades, but the Lord has finally gotten it through my head. I will not be quiet when the Spirit of Christ shows me evil in His church. I will make trouble for that evil. I will not minimize the circumstances and excuse it with some blow off statement like, “well, you know we are all brothers in Christ here and we just must love and forgive and be patient.” No! Where in God’s Word does the Lord instruct us to keep quiet about Satan in our midst? Nowhere. That’s where.

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; 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. (Jude 1:12-13)

 

30 Comments

  1. Herjourney

    Jeff
    What if the evil is behind the pulpit?
    My name has been slandered because I would not submit and bow down to their extreme power and control.
    I tried to find a law firm for such abuse.
    No law firm would touch it.
    They.. the leadership and my family have backed my abusers lies and charming personality.
    I have been cut off
    They see me as dead
    The betrayal has been painful.
    I don’t fear
    But am in the
    Be on guard mood
    I don’t trust my husband
    He tried to take me out
    But can’t prove it.
    This church
    I have been praying
    God close the doors

  2. LH

    Amen!

  3. Sunflower

    I got caught up in that as well. I found out that the church was run by Masons and whatever they said had to go or your reputation was killed and you were run out of church. They put me on the search committee because they thought they could control me. They told me how to vote. I didn`t, and now I`ve supposedly had an affair, stole some keys…………etc. and what can you say, when you`re a mere middle-aged single mom and they are the pillars of the community.

    • Sunflower, I relate to some of this. In former years, I was in a church where (I eventually found out) some of the leadership was in the Orange Lodge which is a ‘c’hristianized version of Freemasony. The Orange Lodge has a only window dressing of christianity, it’s actually a secret society as bad as Freemasonry. There was a spirit of control in place in that church, and a hostile resistance to the Holy Spirit and the liberty and joy we have in Christ.

  4. Still Reforming

    Pastor Jeff,
    I praise God that you are speaking up to expose this evil and allow those of us who have lived it in our homes to come alongside you and be supported in our own whistle-blowing. It deeply troubles me that more pastors aren’t rising up and sounding the clarion call too. Surely you are not the only pastor who has experienced this. Lord willing, we will increase in number so the great many who suffer in homes and churches alike will take the stand we as Christians are called to take against this very present and pervasive evil.

  5. cindy burrell

    You absolutely nailed this one, Pastor Jeff. I think we have all experienced this pressure to tolerate the ungodly, the liars and “Christian” manipulators in our midst. This dynamic exists in my family comprised mostly of believers, and I have been the only one to call it what it is after accommodating the insanity for so many years. As a result, I have been labeled the black sheep, the troublemaker. I am the outsider. Oh, well.

    There comes a point when we can’t afford to care about what other people think, because accommodating wickedness for the sake of appearances is never more important than light and truth.

  6. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you Pastor Jeff, this is what a pastor does, wary of wolves that come to rip apart the sheep, he yells out the warning. I suspect it is other wolves that want the warning silenced. This passage comes to mind Isaiah 59:15 Truth ·cannot be found anywhere [is lost/gone; or fails], and people who refuse to do evil ·are attacked [become prey]. The Lord looked and could not find any justice, and he was displeased.

    It is far better to displease man than displease God, and man, steeped in darkness is displeased when light exposes it. God makes it clear that caring for the widow and orphan is priority, by refusing to be indifferent to their pleas for help, we depart from the evil of indifference in the church. When doing so the advocate becomes the prey of evil.

    My bible reading this morning was about the prophet being told by God, when he said “I’m the only one” in discouragement, and God said “wait, I have thousands that have not bowed their knee to the false gods”. This web site reminds me that there are others that will lay down their popularity and life for the sake of the oppressed. Its costly, but I remember that someday we will come into the presence of the savior where we long to hear the words “well down, good and faithful servant” Of this web site of your stand of resisting evil, I say “well done pastor and others here” Be encouraged you are doing the Lords work in a powerful way.

    I think of the battle we are in for the lives of people to come to know Christ, the church should all be in that battle. It is disheartening when the shots are fired behind you and you understand the enemy has infiltrated and set up an inside attack, Devious, but truth will prevail Jesus already ensured it would with His death and resurrection. He lets the evil go on because He is proving the need of salvation for all mankind, but they will stand before him and get their just punishment in the end.

    • Bitter But Getting Better

      A Prodigal Daughter Returns: your comment was wonderful! Pastor Jeff is protecting us sheep!

  7. KayE

    Exactly!

  8. rhondajeannie

    Thank you so much for this. I have had a 4-1/2 year battle with the Presbyterian Church of Australia and I am feeling battle weary. The first words I heard the Holy Spirit say to me was ‘separate yourself’ so I no-longer attend a Presbyterian Church however what I uncovered was going to be brought out into the light. The harshness of the treatment that I have received at the hands of the teaching elders has been horrific and they do this ‘in the name of the Most High God’.
    At Church last Sunday I wept. I feel like I have run a marathon and the finishing line is in sight but I am staggering under the weight of the Church rules that are their to protect themselves.
    Please pray for me as ‘I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us’. I do not do this for me but for my Saviour.

    • thepersistentwidow

      rhondajeannie, My heart aches to read that you endured such a long season of trial from the Presbyterian Church of Australia. I suffered much in the Presbyterian Church of America to the extent that I wondered if I had lost my mind or if I was even a Christian at all.

      Since then I have done a considerable amount of research on the Presbyterians and have found that their Calvinistic doctrine and low view of women combined were the problem..not me! I intend to write more on their doctrinal system that persecutes true believers and enables abusers, but in a nutshell, their Books of Church Order spell out their court system. In them you will find that the sole reason that anyone is excommunicated from their churches is because of contumacy. Contumacy means to not obey their orders. Later I will spell out the ramifications of this, but they have assigned themselves a level of power that corrupts and facilitates abuse.

      Now that you find yourself on the outside of that church system, be thankful that God delivered you from it. You attempted to instruct them in truth and you have done all that you could. God will avenge. You were faithful and it is time to shake the dust off of your feet and move forward in good conscience. God’s blessings to you, sister.

      • rhondajeannie

        Thank you, however I am just about to return. I have been told that I can ‘Petition’ Presbytery so with lawyer at my side I am going back. We have spent many, many hours of research on their Court system and their Code of Discipline and with putting together the ‘Petition’. I would say I know their Code better than they do so when they try and throw ‘unwritten laws’ at me I will know. I think I will be the first ‘Baptist women’ to ‘Petition’ their Presbytery so I am certainly looking forward to it. I am interested in reading what you write about the Presbyterian Church of America’s Books of Church Order. I know the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s Code of Discipline reads like a law book and I don’t know how anyone could possibly navigate it without a topnotch lawyer.

      • If anyone wants to read RhondaJeannie’s story, you can buy her book on Kindle. Here is the link:
        http://www.amazon.com/Prised-Open-Rhonda-J-Aubert-ebook/dp/B00H2VG3J2

        I know Rhonda is okay with me sharing this. 🙂 She and I are friends.

      • It’s not a story of domestic abuse; it’s a story of questionable dealings in a church and the injustice Rhonda was dealt when she tried to shine a light on the questionable dealings.

    • Praying!

      • rhondajeannie

        Thank you Barbara, I am almost there and your friendship is very important to me.

  9. healingInHim

    Thank you for expressing the truth that so many have been burdened with. So timely for me, too as I took a chance at re-entering “a church” … these are loving people but like another commenter noted it didn’t take long for the Holy Spirit to reveal the Masonic connection amongst other sins. They are adamant about not being judgmental but to be considered very ecumenical and yet will speak ill of other denominations … doesn’t make sense.
    Jeff, You mentioned that you were aware of possibly only a couple of true Christians in the church that you battled with. How were they able to cope? If they were true Christians why would they have continued on with such a group? Loyalty to a denomination or perhaps they were one of the original founders of the church? I’m just wondering because it causes me to wonder if some of us should remain in churches as troublemakers? I can see men being called to do this but as a woman I have been scorned by even the women. They do not respect me for sharing Scripture that questions their procedures because after all, I am not an official member of their church! Note… it’s their church. Is it the Lord’s Church?

    • rhondajeannie

      When I tried to explain to people at the Church what was going on at the Board and leadership level of the Church, they said they didn’t want to know. Church to some people is nothing more than a day out, a social get together and a fulfillment of a presumed ‘duty to God’. Is the Church you attend a denominational Church or an independent Church? If it is a denominational Church it maybe worth looking into the ‘Code of Conduct’ but don’t be surprised if it is written in such a way that it protects their own……

    • Herjourney

      Lukewarm Christians make God sick.
      Radical Christians have few friends.
      If the world hates you. Throw a party.
      The only one who will show up … Is already present.

      • Still Reforming

        Herjourney,
        What you wrote brought this verse to mind:

        “What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

        So true, so true. How many churches today want more people, more people. They want to be loved by the world.

        Jesus also said,

        What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)

        And then there’s Matthew 7:15:

        “”Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

        Oh, how the Word of God is replete with counsel regarding the wicked – including those found in churches.

  10. Scaredmomma

    I’m not sure if this is appropriate to post so don’t if it’s not.

    I started reading here only because of your teaching about abuse, and it has been very helpful. But, I Have also learned much about what being Christian is. I grew up in a Catholic Church, I have always attended, but never what my husband calls a bible thumper. I’m not sure if from my own ignorance or because of my churches poor teaching, but I don’t feel like a true Christian after reading here. The message I got from my church was be a good person and attend church. That’s all you need to do to get to heaven. Pretty easy. My understanding of the bible is no better than if I just read a children’s bible. Many of the quotes here and explanations are so much deeper than I have learned through my church. From reading here I now I’m beginning to understand what being Christian Really is, but I’m not sure where to even start.

    I also am no longer comfortable in my own church. When I got married in the church years ago, my husband said the would never change faiths for me, don’t even ask him to. Then one day he comes home and said he joined class to convert to catholic. He was tired of going to church and not getting credit. I was surprised they would even accept that as a reason to change faiths, but they welcomed him in. He converted and now volunteers at the church. They all think he is so great. I do believe he joined my church to allienate me since I had started to be more involved. And it worked I am know longer comfortable there. Between the husband and the churches feelings about divorce I’m looking for new church. Can you recommend good beginner study bible to help understand the deeper meaning to the passages and what to look for in a new church.

    Thanks

    • Jeff Crippen

      Scaredmomma – Thank you so much for writing. I highly suspect that the Holy Spirit is at work in your life to show you Christ. You are correct in your observation that the Roman Catholic church teaches what we call a works righteousness means of salvation. This is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ. If you would read, for example, Romans 3:20 say down to the end of the chapter, you will see that the Apostle Paul emphasizes that we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, not by our works earning some kind of merit with God. Christ lived a perfect life of obedience to God’s holy Law – perfectly, without the slightest sin. It is by HIS righteousness in that obedience that we are made righteous. When we exercise genuine faith (which itself is a gift of God) in Christ as our Savior, here is what happens:

      2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

      See it? Jesus, the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, was made to be sin by having OUR sin credited (imputed) to Him on the cross where He bore God’s curse for that sin FOR us. Then, also when we believe in Christ alone as our Savior, the Lord credits Christ’s perfect righteousness (obedience) to OUR account!! That’s why the gospel is such good news. OUR sin goes to Christ. HIS righteousness comes to us, and we are made righteous then (justified) in God’s courtroom. Our sins are paid for fully and completely.

      Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

      The Holy Spirit takes up residence in us, gives us a new will and a new heart, all so that we who were rebel enemies of God now love Him as our Father:

      Romans 8:14-16 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

      There it is! We are saved apart from our own works, completely by faith alone in Christ and His work alone. But then, having a new heart and actually being a new person (though certainly not perfectly free of sin yet), we love God, we crave to know Him better, we sense His love for us, and His Word begins to open up to us as we see it is true!

      I hope this helps. If you would like to ask more questions, feel free to do so here or you can email me at swordtrowel@gmail.com

      • Bitter But Getting Better

        Pastor Jeff, this is an unbelievable post. The wisdom of this goes far beyond just people dealing with abusive husbands but also dealing w/ evil and wicked people in the world that torture and torment us. One of the most common admonishments I have received for fighting against the darkness is: Your not a team player! And why would I want to be on a wicked team??

        How joyful that God is using this site to bring others to Himself…Can almost hear heaven rejoicing! True church is going on here!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Scaredmomma – Also, if you will send me a mailing address at swordtrowel@gmail.com (it will be kept confidential) I will be very glad to get a Bible to you.

    • Hi Scaredmomma, it does indeed sound like you husband joined the Catholic Church in order to alienate you from the support network you might have been developing there. That is typical of abusers: they see where the victim is developing supportive networks for herself and they set about undermining and penetrating those places, so as to stop the victim’s potential supporters from supporting and empowering her.

      At the same time, I agree with Jeff, that your sense that you want to move to a different church may be part of an even bigger thing that God may be doing with you that is, calling you to Himself for salvation by GRACE and FAITH alone, as opposed to the false hope of being able to attain salvation by your good deeds or church attendance. I am very glad for you, if that is the case; more glad than I can tell! 🙂

      Looking for a new church … that’s a tricky one. As you may have gleaned from your reading at this blog, many of us have found difficulties in finding a good church, one which preaches and teaches the Bible faithfully, without man-made traditions added into the mix that confuse us, lead us astray, or lay false guilt upon us. While I know it is best if one can attend a good church in person, in the interim at least you may like to try listening to the services of the church where Jeff Crippen is the pastor. You can listen live, online, at the time they are occuring. The time they are broadcast is 10.45 am Sunday Pacific USA time. (I wake up at 3am Monday mornings in Melbourne to listen in.) You can also listen to his sermons at any time, and download them to your device to listen on headphones. You can find more info by clicking on our Sermons tab in the top menu.

  11. Tess

    Yes, scareedmomma…..I too used to be a Catholic….A nun in fact.

    I left that denomination in my 40s…I am now aged 72.

    My relationship with God is now much deeper and I know more about Gods Word and the precious Holy Spirit than I did as a Catholic.

    However, please listen to Pastor Jeff and Barbara. I listen to his sermons online from UK …He is very wise and preaches the whole gospel message…Not just part of it.

    A word of warning…Some non Catholic denomiinations, as Jeff will tell you, are very unwise and will twist God’s Word…Please be aware and be guided by the Holy Spirit within you…If you stay close to the Holy Spirit, He will guide you and teach you “all truth”.
    I wish you well in your spiritual journey!

    • Scared momma

      Thank you so much for your support. At times, I feel lost in my spiritual journey. No one to turn to when I don’t understand something. No one to really discuss things with. My family and a few friends have been supportive, but none of them are Christian. I do listen to Pastor Crippen and also Liam Goligher, sermon almost daily. They are like my long distance churches. Wish one of them were closer, but online will have to do for now.

      To be honest, I don’t feel ready for real live church. Afraid of getting involved in a church and then finding out months or years later they are not teaching/preaching the true gospel. Worried I would not recognize it, or would not have the strength to leave. For now, I am just listening to sermons I know are safe, and reading my bible. When I have recovered from my traumas and have grown in my faith, I trust the Holy Spirit will lead my where I need to go next.

      Bless you

      • Jeff Crippen

        Scared momma – I know that fear of which you speak. The fact is that the visible church is in a real mess. They are not proclaiming God’s Word. Oh, on the surface it may appear they are, but it turns out so often that what is being called Scripture is in fact human traditions. And then of course you have the issue of their practical theology – ie, practicing what they preach. And while they may speak all the time of helping the oppressed and orphans and widows and so on, in practice they do not.

        I can say this about our church here in Tillamook. It became real when it “grew” small. Oh I know that small isn’t always a reliable measure, but what happened here is that we learned about evil, exposed it, and then evil ones started to squirm and left. We now have only about 30 people or so. For myself, when I see a local church throwing up new buildings, increasing in numbers and so on, I grow uneasy. How is it that when we confronted evil, the result was empty pews, and yet they are claiming “God is giving them the increase”? Couple this will all of our many readers’ reports of how they were further abused by their churches when they asked for help and their abuser was protected and my conclusion is that there are far fewer real churches around that we could imagine.

      • Scared Momma
        I honour you for paying attention to your gut feelings and being wary of getting involved in a church that might be spiritually ‘off’. I honour you for hungering and thirsting after truth, and seeking it out from sermons from preachers like Liam Goligher and Jeff Crippen.

        Long-distance church is all many of our readers seem to have these days — me included. I do attend bricks and mortar churches pretty often, but rarely do I get much involved in them, and seldom do I hear things from the pulpit that vivify truth to my soul. I often sit on the pews reading the bible to myself and doing my best to tune in to what God wants to show me via the Holy Spirit, from either the scripture I am reading or the snippets of the sermon that might have a note of truth that goes deeper than the mere propositional truths of theology. I’m always brought alive when the preacher’s spirit seems to be in tune with and vivified by God as he is preaching, if what he is preaching is the truth. But rarely do I hear that kind of preaching from preachers in my town. So I listen to sermons online too. You are not alone! And God is with you 🙂

        And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
        Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
        Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
        Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
        (Matthew 5:2-6)

  12. Shwele

    Wow empowering indeed,
    Thank you Lord

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