A Cry For Justice

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

Creating and Perpetuating Traditions of Men as the Word of God Promotes Abuse

Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ (Jeremiah 23:28-31)

The prophets steal words from one another. That is what was going on in Jeremiah’s day and it is what is happening commonly in our day. And the result? Abusers and the wicked are encouraged to remain in the churches, continuing on in their evil, not being exposed or called to repentance.

What is this “stealing of words?”  Notice that the Lord says specifically that these false preachers “steal MY words from one another.” I think what He means is not that they are at all preaching His Word but in fact are claiming that what they are preaching is His Word. They say, “the Lord declares” as they preach what they have taken from another one of their kind.

I conclude that this is exactly what Jesus was talking about:

But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (Matthew 15:5-9)

The commandments of men being taught as the doctrine of God! There it is. The prophets in Jeremiah’s day were listening to and maybe even reading up on what this prophet and that prophet said, grabbing onto the parts they really liked, and perpetuated that teaching on the people, stamping on the label “so declares the Lord.” The stole words from one another. They did not get their word from the Lord.

And that is exactly what is happening far and wide today in Christendom.

“Have you read so and so’s new book? Wow! Look at what he says here about marriage and divorce!” Hey, here’s another one that’s really cool! You just gotta get this in your library!” And as the preachers today devour a steady diet of this stuff, often written by “Christian celebrities,” the traditions of men replace the Word of God in the pulpit. The preachers steal words from one another, rather than obtaining them from the Holy Scriptures. Trite, pithy statements coined by the wordsmiths become common currency in the pulpits. The people, hearing these things presented in an authoritative, “holy” manner each Sunday, assume they must be God’s Word.

“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. (Jeremiah 8:8)

And the wicked love it so. Why? Because the traditions of man do not possess the power of God. Straw is being fed to the people, not wheat. The fire and the hammering of God’s true Word are extinguished and softened so that the wicked no longer feel the heat or the blow. The abuser remains unmolested. The wicked thrive in “church.” And God’s people languish.

I did not make a conscious decision to stop reading so many books as I used to. But it has happened. To some degree every pastor is a lover of books, and that is a good thing. But if I immerse myself in the writings of men, and especially if I immerse myself in the writings of the current day’s popular authors in Christendom, a very real danger looms. The tendency, even an unconscious tendency, to preach man’s word and present it as God’s Word, is almost a certainty. And as most of us know from sad and painful experience, when a pastor starts quoting his favorite authors with regularity in his sermons, his sermons become the straw that not only fail to feed God’s people, they can begin to lead the people into enslavement and bondage. “John Piper says…..Douglas Wilson concludes….the new War Room movie teaches….” — understand? The preachers steal “God’s Word” from one another rather than declaring the Word of the Lord.

 

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Seeing Clearly

    I have noticed for many years that church walls are holding words of authors far more than Words of God. It is quite vogue and impressive for a minister to mention that he is reading so and so and will now share that “knowledge” with his listeners. As if every one will be more versed in (c)hristianity by adding quotes to their every day conversations. When publishers hit upon a good seller, they pump out more books from that author. I am not convinced that anyone can grow and expand they knowledge of any subject as quickly as they are filling new chapters of new books. Unfortunately, ungodly patriarchy is a very vogue topic which inevitably grows a culture of disrespect and harm to all except the white (c)hristian male now and for following generations.

  2. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you for this post… Our “Christian Counselor” keeps begging me to go see War Room with my husband even after I sent him a long detailed letter about the most recent abusive behavior my kids and I have been enduring… His only answer was “I’ll pray for you and go see this movie”. He even said he wants us to stay together even more than we want it ourselves which makes me very uneasy. Now I am 100% clear where he is coming from and I need to move on from seeking answers from him. I have been praying like crazy for what is the “right” thing to do and for doors to open exposing a clear path and this post certainly helps like a small piece of the puzzle…it’s so utterly exhausting feeling like you are insane…Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Hi Seeing Clearly,

      Welcome to the blog! I hope that path becomes more and more clear for you.

      You will notice I changed your screen name to protect your identity. If you want a different feel free to contact me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com Also, if you haven’t already I suggest you read our New User’s page which gives tips for staying safe when you comment.

      Again, Welcome!

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you!! I couldn’t have chosen a better name for myself 🙂

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear Seeing clearly
      You r right about ur counsellor-trust ur gut, those uneasy feelings , they r a warning system to protect you.
      Counsellors r meant to provide a safe and neutral space for u to process feelings and thoughts and explore options They r not meant to give their own personal opinions or offer advice ( tho occasionally they may offer feedback or their perspective – but this is rare and for specific therapeutic purposes)
      I was thankful someone advised me to see a counsellor who specialises in DV and this has been extremely helpful -other counsellors I’ve been to have not been alert to abusers mentality and tactics and also ditch couples counselling and just go by yourself
      If you have regular face to face appointments most counsellors would respond to a letter by asking u to make an appointment to talk about the issue
      I find his response to be unprofessional , naive and harmful
      I am glad u r seeing thru this I hope u will look for a new DV counsellor just for you as a good one can be a great help
      (((Hugs)))

      • Seeing Clearly

        I am learning to trust my gut more and more…. Thank you for such encouraging words!! Hugs to you too! 🙂

      • Valerie

        I completely agree with Savedbygrace’s comments. The warning system is in place for a reason. It is difficult when your abuser sends repeated subtle messages that your warning light system is off. He gets you to not take real notice at those lights or have any confidence in them. However, what survivors of abuse time and time again recount is how they realize (after leaving their abuser) that their radar was right all along- not just about the abuser either.

        It sounds like this counselor is not advocating for you and your health but instead advocating an institution (marriage). I would question if he has a possible personal agenda in this- that if he “saves” the marriage then that will look good for him in his eyes and the eyes of others. It doesn’t sound like he is hearing you or validating your concerns. Seeing a movie is not going to give you a marriage. Oh, dear. That is an unbelievable thought process.

        It really is exhausting feeling you are insane. I remember that feeling all too well. But the good news is that insane people don’t question or consider their sanity. You are feeling crazy because you are living in crazy. Your body is rightly responding to your environment and not as a result of your character, ability or mental capacity. I think its cognitive dissonance at play. You are being told two different realities- one from within your mind and another from your abuser (and others who are being deceived by him). Yet your realization that your counselor is not good is just proof that your level of sanity is well intact. 😉 What you’re lacking is not sanity, but permission to live in reality. You are being denied permission to live out what you know internally (through evidence) to be true.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you for your kind and validating thoughts Valerie! I do indeed feel like our counselor prizes marriage above all else… And I most definitely think that it is because of his own first wife leaving him in his early days as a pastor. He clearly sees things from the Pastor/ Male perspective above all else. He keeps recommending all the books I had previously read and threw out such as Boundaries and Desperate Marriages and does not comment about the more “on point” ones I have told him that have helped me so much more…. He keeps pushing the “marriage above all else” books and says as a Christian Counselor he does not think ANY marriage is beyond help with God in the mix. I finally feel like I see him clearly too and will politely decline any more interactions with him. As for the previous response about seeing a DV counselor, I am dealing with more controlling emotional/ verbal abuse with little episodes of physical, never enough to do “real” harm…. So I shied away from a DV counselor because of this…. Do they see women in my types of circumstances too?

      • Seeing Clearly, I affirm what others have replied to you here: a DV counselor will understand, and will not think that you “don’t qualify” for her counsel because you may not have experienced much or any phsycial violence from your partner.

        When DV professionals use the term ‘domestic violence’ (or ‘family violence’) they mean the whole array of power-and-control behaviours and attitudes that abusers use: emotional, verbal, psychological (mind games, silent treatment, etc), sexual, financial, social (isolation etc), spiritual, legal, and physical. And using the children as conduits of abuse and as pawns to ‘up the ante’ of control over the primary target — you.

        Somewhere I read or heard Lundy Bancroft saying that the MOST COMMON kind of ‘domestic violence’ is where the abuser uses primarily emotional and verbal abuse and the other non-physical forms of abuse, and physical violence happens only a few times a year or less.

        Once control and power is established and the abuser has his target intimidated, he doesn’t need to use a lot of physical violence (or any physical violence!) to maintain that control. The control can be maintained by hints, threats, coercion, micro-management, and so many other ways. . . .

        And a little bit of physical violence or threat of violence goes a long way, in that context. . .

    • Herjourney

      Seeing Clearly –
      Moving forward might mean walking by faith in an action that would bring the darkness to the surface.
      Only you know what that difficult step(s) might be.
      Staying stagnet and in fear of doing the wrong thing …
      Is what the abuser wants you to do.
      The door is open.
      Only you can step up and open it.
      If it’s meant to happen ..
      God will keep the door open or He will close it.
      Walking by faith is not easy!
      Taking the first step is scary.
      Remember
      If God brings you to it
      He WILL bring you through it.

      • Seeing Clearly

        Thank you for taking the time to write these beautiful thoughts! Much appreciation!❤️

  3. Valerie

    Seeing Clearly, you said:
    As for the previous response about seeing a DV counselor, I am dealing with more controlling emotional/ verbal abuse with little episodes of physical, never enough to do “real” harm…. So I shied away from a DV counselor because of this…. Do they see women in my types of circumstances too?

    Abuse is about control. Sometimes the control manifests itself through violent physical outbursts and sometimes the control manifests itself through violent emotional/verbal outbursts. Other times done violently through the silent treatment. All of these are destructive and meant to inflict the deepest wounds. Please do not discount your experience. Abuse is abuse. You have every right to expect emotional protection from the one who vowed to love you as much as physical protection.

    Because of this it is my opinion that a DV counselor would be advantageous. They understand the dynamics of abuse. Perhaps you are concerned you will be invalidated due to the way the abuse manifests itself in your marriage, but a trained DV counselor will recognize any kind abuse which are all rooted in control. In emotional/verbal abuse the husband (or abusive wife) demands submission and compliance with his words and purposeful withholding of affection. The end result is similar in nature but just arrived at by different means. A trained DV counselor also understands trauma and issues like PTSD (C-PTSD) for the victim. They understand the importance of offering a safe place of validation. I’m speaking in generalities…there are likely bad/ineffective DV counselors as there are social workers, pastoral counselors, etc.

    Emotional and verbal abuse does do real harm. Sending you a hug!

    • Seeing Clearly

      Thank you for this Valerie…

      “Perhaps you are concerned you will be invalidated due to the way the abuse manifests itself in your marriage, but a trained DV counselor will recognize any kind abuse which are all rooted in control.”

      This is exactly the explanation that I needed~ I do struggle with the term “violence” but I know what we live with is violence, as it shakes our worlds and causes just as much anger and hurt as being hit. My experience has been that the “marriage counselors” we have seen, either Christian or not, just do NOT understand the dynamics of what is really going on with us. I SO appreciate your thoughtful response!!

      • Seeing Clearly,

        You will notice in the top header of the blog is says, “Awakening the Evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst.” We purposefully included the phrase “and abuse” because so many wrongly, both christian and non-christian, associate “violence” with only physical situations. It’s simply not true. As you correctly pointed out, physical violence is not the only violence that shakes our worlds and crushes our personhood. Violence also includes, spiritual, financial, social, sexual, emotional, and psychological means of control and power over another.

        It is not surprising that the marriage counselors, christian or not, that you have seen just don’t get it when it comes to the dynamics of abuse and the abuser’s mentality and tactics. I agree with Valerie and I would also suggest you contact your local DV shelter or service. Because DV is their expertise – and when I say DV that includes all forms of abuse – they are apt to be able to understand your situation.

  4. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you so much for this clear explanation~ So very appreciated!!

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