A Cry For Justice

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

Ps Mike Ross, Christ Covenant Church NC — Why Hasn’t He Answered Jeff Crippen?

Here is the text of an email Jeff Crippen sent to Mike Ross, Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, North Carolina, a PCA church.  Jeff’s email was sent 12 Feb 2016.

Ps Mike Ross has not replied in any way to Jeff. The question on the table is WHY? 

Pastor Ross:

My name is Jeff Crippen. I am the pastor of Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook, Oregon and the author of Unholy Charade, Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church (Justice Keepers, 2015) and A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church (Calvary Press, 2012).

I understand that Nathan Bond is a member of your church, and if so I would ask that you and your session confront him for his abusive, falsely accusing charges he has made on Amazon about me and my colleague Barbara Roberts, author of Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion (Maschil Press, 2008).

Below are 11 screen shots to document what I am saying. The first two are his reviews of my two books in which he libels me as a false prophet. In the ninth screen shot he libels Barbara as a false prophet. In the eleventh screen shot he libels Barbara and me as cult leaders.

This fellow is certainly free to critique our books, but has no right to publicly libel us as false prophets and cult leaders. I am sure that you and your session would agree with that and recognize that he needs to be called to account for it. I suggest to you that according to 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, a man who professes to be a Christian but refuses to repent of reviling, needs to be excommunicated. And I put to you that such repentance ought to include making a full and public confession and apology.

I would appreciate feedback from you as to action taken.

In Christ,

Jeff Crippen, Pastor

Ps Jeff Crippen’s letter to Ps Mike Ross then appended our screen shots of Amazon reviews of Unholy Charade, A Cry For Justice, and Not Under Bondage which we had good reason to believe were all written by Nathan Bond. The language in each of the reviews was so similar — no more than cut and paste at times — that they were obviously written by the same person.

Now, Nathan hadn’t given his name in writing those three reviews, but he HAD used the name Nathan Bond when he wrote a comment slamming Persistent Widow’s one-star review of The Peacemaker.  A woman who uses the handle ‘ToGodBeTheGlory’ called out Nathan for that nasty comment of his addressing him by name. She had seen the name ‘Nathan Bond as the author of the comment, when his comment was first published, and she’d replied to his comment that same day his comment.  So, when Nathan later saw that she’d called him out, and he realised he’d used his real name, he scrubbed his name from his comment. Therefore, you can no longer see his name on that comment at Amazon, but you can see ToGodBeTheGlory’s reply immediately below it, where she addresses Nathan by name:

Now, an impartial reader might wonder where we had wrongly assumed that the man who had called himself Nathan Bond on Amazon and then scrubbed his name, was associated with Christ Covenant Church Matthews NC. We promise you, we had good reason to believe we were right in having identified and named the right man. We can’t disclose all our reasons here. But we do have evidence we can state here which strongly suggests we had identified the right church:

On 22 Feb (ten days after Jeff’s email was sent) we observed that most of Nathan’s stuff  which Jeff had complained about had been deleted from Amazon.

Any observant person can tell that Amazon reviews and comments on reviews only get scrubbed if (a) the author deleted it himself/herself, or (b) someone else complained about it to Amazon in which case Amazon staff might then delete it if they deem the item outside the bounds of responsible cyber-citizenship.

Of the things Jeff complained about to Pastor Ross, these items had been deleted by 22 Feb:

  • Nathan’s review of A Cry For Justice, 
  • his review of Unholy Charade
  • his review of Not Under Bondage 
  • his critical comment on Persistent Widow’s one star review of John Piper’s This Momentary Marriage

The stuff that remained was his four comments on Persistent Widow’s review of The Peacemaker.  At the time of writing this post, that material is still visible on Amazon (link). If Nathan ever removes that material you will still be able to see a copy of it on the wayback machine.

If Jeff had sent his email to a church that didn’t know Nathan Bond from a bar of soap, wouldn’t Mike Ross have immediately replied to Jeff saying that?

The fact that Nathan’s offensive material was scrubbed from Amazon within ten days of Jeff emailing Mike Ross, is indicative that we had the right church and the right man.

In our opinion, Mike Ross and the session at Christ Covenant Church have displayed spinelessness. And if they spoke to Nathan and told him to remove his material from Amazon, as we suspect they did after getting Jeff’s email, why didn’t they check to see whether Nathan had removed it all? And since Nathan hasn’t made a public (or private) apology to us, we have to conclude that Christ Covenant Church didn’t require him to do that.

It is this kind of slipshod, wet-sponge, half-hearted, backroom ‘discipline’ of abusers which keeps giving abusers the message that it’s easy to get away with abuse in Christian circles because church leaders are a push-over.

33 Comments

  1. Annie

    It is this kind of slipshod, wet-sponge, half-hearted, backroom ‘discipline’ of abusers which keeps giving abusers the message that it’s easy to get away with abuse in Christian circles because church leaders are a push-over.

    Or…the church leaders themselves are also bully abusers.

  2. Renewed Spirit

    1 Timothy 5:1 and 2 – Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.
    2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    Can people’s attitudes can change if you appeal to them in a brotherly manner instead of destroying each other. Are we not in a battle against the same enemies, not fellow believers themselves? Is this the goal here? Are we looking to restore the Church with broken wings? Because I think that is what Christ wants.

    If men can hold each other accountable and treat women with respect, society will prosper.

    Praying for healing of hearts and minds in our land.

    • Hi Renewed Spirit
      the concern you have raised is one we have addressed many times before on the blog, but I know you are pretty new commenter so I wouldn’t have expected you to know that.

      You are free to disagree, of course, but we believe that Jeff’s original letter to Ps Mike Ross was quite respectful and courteous. Ps Ross did not even show the courtesy of acknowledging Jeff’s email, let alone informing Jeff what action if any, Christ Covenant Church might be going to take regarding Nathan Bond. We did not rush into publishing today’s post: we waited several weeks in order to give Ps Ross a good chance to reply to Jeff.

      What were our other options?

      — Try emailing Ps Ross again? That would be unlikely to bear any fruit, given he had not replied to Jeff’s first email.

      — Do nothing and just let it slide? That would probably mean that Ps Ross and his elders would continue delivering injustice to victims and namby-pamby accountability to abusers.

      Since at this blog we are seeking to awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst, and since those who are negligent are only likely to change if you hold their feet to the fire, and since we had very good evidence in this particular case of Christ Covenant Church, we felt it was a reasonable excercise of our duty of care for victims and our goal of helping the church reform how it deals with abuse, to name Ps Ross and his church in this post.

      It is not very often that we name particular churches. We have named quite a few Christian authors and celebrity pastors/teachers, and a few denominations, but we seldom name local churches. This case of Christ Covenant Church was one in which our evidence was so sound, so trustworthy, and so robust, that we felt it was quite reasonable to name them.

      You mentioned the passage in Timothy about pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace. The Bible clearly shows that the pursuit of righteousness will be stymied and brought easily to shipwreck if evil-doing and the enabling of evil-doing is allowed to corrupt the church. The body cannot be healthy if cancer is flourishing within it. To pursue love and peace often involves denouncing injustice, Pharisaism, haughtiness, arrogance, man-pleasing and coverups. The evangelical church has often neglected this facet of the Christian life; it has emphasised a syrupy ‘love and peace’ but neglected the other side of the coin: truth and justice and standing firmly for righteousness even if it ‘offends’ many people.

      They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
      saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
      when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

      Here are a few posts where we have discussed the biblical principles of rebuke and the appropriateness of publicly calling ministers/ministries out, etc.

      Blessings and Woes from the Politically and Spiritually Incorrect Lord Jesus Christ, and Naming Names

      A Key to Real Church Growth — Rebuke the Wicked

  3. kim

    I had previously noticed that the one star review left by Nathan Bond (or his alias of the moment) was no longer on the Amazon site. I assumed said reviewer had voluntarily slithered off into the sunset. Good riddance! We need to support those who are experiencing domestic abuse, not tolerate triggering and inflammatory reviews left by someone who’s own character and behavior is clearly suspect. The review slandered Barbara, Pastor Crippen, and abuse victims and was in no way constructive, fair, or accurate. I’m glad you received private information about the reviewer such that you could track him down to his church. Shame on his church if they don’t appropriately discipline him!

  4. standsfortruth

    Hopefully this church will see that this mans intentional repeating slanderous replies were not only false, but done out of personal malice, and vindictiveness towards your ministry, and will hold him accountable even to the point of excommunication .
    Otherwise when the church is playing into the role of “cloke” for the evildoer to hide among, they are in essence giving him “cover.”

    As the word of God admonishes us to
    Purge the evildoer out from amoung you,
    “Holding accountability” to the offender is essential to the preservation of righteousness within the church.

  5. Grateful

    Thanks so much to Jeff, Barbara and all at ACFJ, thanks for taking an uncompromising stand and asking for accountability over this matter.

    When I approached my husband’s associate pastor last year and attempted to describe to him my husband’s violent and abusive behaviour (with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat) I got less empathy than I received from the police. I found out that within a few days they had had a meeting about the matter with only two other male church members and the pastor. They then informed my husband about my report and dropped the matter. I was not contacted at all. My husband gloated to me that ‘my evil plan had not worked’. Since then my husband has changed churches [details removed to protect commenter].

    My husband wrote letters to my older children and my family full of lies, half truths and false accusations. He has lured one or our children to live with him with the promise of quiet and security, hiding behind a kind man who has taken him in and believes his lies about me.

    Every communication or move he makes is designed to either gain leverage, score points and/or criticise me. Even now we have been legally separated for many months his behaviour is still ultimately controlling toward me. The most help I have received is from the local government women’s health centre and the Housing Department.

    My prayer is that God will equip the leaders of the Body of Christ to discern and indeed notice the abusers in their flocks. I have known women who worked as missionaries who had violently abusive husbands… this does not compute when we read the Bible…I am tired of hearing about all the blind eyes in the Church today.

    Your blogs, articles and books are very encouraging and supportive and are worth defending. I pray that all your arrows reach their targets. I have been trapped in an abusive and controlling marriage for more than two decades, thinking that God didn’t love me very much as my husband professed to be a christian.

    I am deeply grateful and appreciative of your labours.

    [Eds: Screen name changed to protect commenter’s identity]

    • Dear Grateful, welcome to the blog! 🙂

      I edited your comment for your safety, and changed the screen name you’d given.
      Well done you for going to the police and for being indignant and outraged about how the church has failed to support you. I believe that every voice crying for justice, every refusal to put up with the lies and minimization of evildoing, is going to help some other oppressed victim. 🙂

      Please check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  6. healinginhim

    Even if Mike Ross doesn’t reply or whether the church neglects to fulfill their role in church discipline; I am impressed with Jeff and Barb doing the right thing and setting an example in dealing with abusive behavior.
    Thank you for displaying Christ-honouring motives in setting things right.

  7. A Child of Christ

    I don’t have experience with that church specifically, but warping of definitions and cherrypicking from history are also entrenched a nearby PCA seminary I’m familiar with. One of the most-respected, most-lauded teachers uses logical fallacies and misuses words all the time, and if you dare to point it out, many people will lash out at you for daring to do so.

    Not saying that everyone there is abusive. Just pointing out that the environment is conducive to the flourishing of abusers.

  8. I am a pastor at Christ Covenant Church. I work with Mike Ross specifically in shepherding our large congregation. Mike did receive this email and, for all intents and purposes, asked me to address the concerns because I am the primary lead in shepherding the Bond family. While I do not feel obligated to explain the delay here, the delay in a response was not due to “spinelessness” as you assert. (An assertion that attributes motive without attaining enough information.) While I will be sending an email to Pastor Crippen addressing his email, it is always appropriate to refrain from attributing motive until it is discovered (1 Corinthians 13:7) particularly when it is another confessing church.

    Heaven soon,
    Pastor Gabe Sylvia

    • Jeff Crippen

      Pastor Sylvia-

      We have also received a response from Pastor Ross after we published the post about Nathan Bond’s public sin against us. I notified Pastor Ross on February 12 of Bond’s actions which Bond chose to make public by putting his libelous comments about us at ACFJ on a public forum on the internet (Amazon Reviews). This thing was, therefore, not a sin committed secretly in a corner. That was Feb 12. So then what happens? Well over an entire month goes by with not a word from Mike Ross. Nothing. Not even the briefest, “Pastor Crippen, I have received your email and we will be taking action to correct this wrong.” Nope, not even that. ONLY after we applied pressure and accountability by publishing a post on A Cry For Justice which asked why CCC had given us the silent treatment, did we receive any response.
      When Barbara Roberts tweeted CCC and emailed Mike Ross to inform him about our post and her tweet, only then did he respond to us. Here is what he had to say:

      The email Mr. Crippen sent to me was confidential. We are working pastorally on the issue Mr. Crippen asked me about. I have referred the matter to our pastors and officers involved with this issue. I am not bound by any code of conduct or even etiquette to respond to every email I receive, and especially not in a climate where a pastoral matter becomes a breach of privacy. Tweet what you will. You should have checked with me before you informed the internet world about a private correspondence (email) between two men. In the future, please honor both other people’s privacy and their reputation. We are handling this as best we know how.

      Why are we so concerned about Mike Ross giving no response to us until we published our blog post? Because it is the habitual, repeated action of churches and pastors to fail to deal with cases like this openly as Scripture commands. Over and over again when victims of abuse report domestic abuse to their pastors, stalling and cover up and “keep it secret, keep it safe” is the reaction of the church. The church usually further victimizes the victim by stalling, by giving them the silent treatment, and by accusing the victim of wrongful behaviour in how they disclosed and exposed the abuse and sought to have the perpetrator held accountable. All this means that the church enables the wicked and oppresses the abused.

      I can assure you that if I ever received a report from another pastor that a member of our church had been acting in such a shameful, sinful manner, I would have acted immediately and answered that pastor immediately. But you all made no effort to even acknowledge our report. What do we conclude as a result?

      And yet, in both your answer to us here on this blog, and Mike Ross’ email (written, we remind you, only after we shall we say, forced your hand), where is the blame put? Is there any suggestion at all that you or Ross failed to respond with even normal courtesy? No. In fact Ross boasts that he is “not bound by any code of conduct or even etiquette to respond to every email” he receives. Really. Just what code does he operate by? The code of haughtiness whenever he can get away with it?

      And what’s more, both of you blame shift. Let me spell out how you blame shifted:

      1. Mike Ross put the blame on Barbara for “breaching privacy” “between two men.”
      2. You accused us of “attributing motive without attaining enough information” and instructed us that “it is always appropriate to refrain from attributing motive until it is discovered (1 Corinthians 13:7) particularly when it is another confessing church.”

      By the way, that instruction you gave to us was in fact NOT biblical. You cited 1 Corinthians 13:7 (Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.) We suggest you read Barbara’s post Love Believes All Things which is about how Christians often lay false guilt on the victim by citing 1 Corinthians 13. You have done a parallel thing by citing that chapter to try to make us think that we have been wrong in how we have gone about this.

      Incidentally, Barbara wrote the bulk of this post. And by calling your behaviour ‘spineless’, she did not attribute motive to you or anyone of your ilk. The word ‘spinelessness’ means lack of courage, pusillanimity. Barbara did not infer anything about your motives, only about your emotions and your character.

      I would like to think that your language does not indicate misogyny, but here you both are, responding to a woman who is showing that she in fact has much courage to speak out, and Mike Ross uses this language “you should have checked with me before you informed the internet world about a private correspondence between two MEN.”

      And in your own response you exemplify the very same arrogant attitude — “I do not feel obligated to explain.” Ross further elevates both of you above Barbara “the commoner” by reminding her that you all are working “pastorally” the matter. Deny it if you will, but your language betrays that you envision yourselves to be superior to mere church members and particularly to women. So, as is so very, very typical among churches and pastors in our time, what you have communicated in your response is: we are not accountable to anyone. And: Barbara, you are a woman and we are men. We are pastors and you are not.

      Look for even the slightest hint of any apology in either of these two responses you have given us. You won’t find it. Nope, it’s all our fault; and in particular it’s Barbara’s fault because she called you out on your failure to act and she did so publicly, as Christ so often did Himself.

      Lastly Pastor Silvia, in your comment you refer to ‘the Bond family’ as if they are still an intact family. What if that is NOT the case? — highly likely, given the way Nathan Bond and yourselves have been behaving. When bystanders talk about the victim’s ‘family’ as if it is still intact, as if the husband and wife are still together, it makes victims who have separated or divorced from their abusers very angry. That kind of language minimizes the abuse, denies reality, and blows off all the victim has been saying and all the actions she has been taking to erect boundaries against her abuser. We submit to you that by using that language, you are betraying how woefully lacking you are about how to assist victims of abuse.

      • Anonymous

        Both responses from the different pastors were fraught with guilt and shaming tactics. Is it any wonder Nathan Bond felt comfortable enough to write what he did? Both responses seemed to scream, “We pastors will deal with this OUR way and in the mean time, you as a fellow pastor should know to keep it among the elders!” (“Keep our secrets”–a hallmark sign of a sociopath.) “We are handling this as best we know how.” (Poor us, we are merely humans muddling our way through–of course we won’t give YOU any leeway but by golly you need to give us a wide berth! This is really “Woe is me” {the pity play}–another hallmark sign of a sociopath.) Fear, blame and abuse–oh, and don’t miss the bragging that they are a large organization which should induce fear and make us believe that they know the truth as proven by their large numbers.

        Did anyone feel a single drop of LOVE in either of these responses? How about warmth, comfort, hope or joy? Did you feel that if you were being abused by a member of this church, you could go to either of these two people and find solace? So how do you imagine the people of this congregation feel if they are in an abusive situation? You’d feel much like we feel, that they would simply close ranks around the abuser (against the victim) and protect him (just as they’ve done) and this atmosphere attracts those like themselves.

        It makes it so much more amazing that ANY of us here have survived this abuse. And then when we come out on the other side and are now strong in the Lord–it is TRULY a MIRACLE! Why? Because it’s so obvious to us that it was ALL the Lord’s doing–against true evil.

      • In the email Mike Ross sent to me, he twice referred to Jeff Crippen as “Mr Crippen”:

        The email Mr. Crippen sent to me was confidential. We are working pastorally on the issue Mr. Crippen asked me about. I have referred the matter to our pastors and officers involved with this issue. I am not bound by any code of conduct or even etiquette to respond to every email I receive, and especially not in a climate where a pastoral matter becomes a breach of privacy. Tweet what you will. You should have checked with me before you informed the internet world about a private correspondence (email) between two men. In the future, please honor both other people’s privacy and their reputation. We are handling this as best we know how.

        He never referred to him as Pastor Jeff Crippen, or Ps Crippen.
        In contrast, he talked about what he and Gabe Silva are doing as “pastoral care” — We are working pastorally on the issue … I have referred the matter to our pastors and officers involved with this issue …a pastoral matter…

        That’s a pretty clear indication of him trying to put down and belittle Pastor Jeff Crippen and trying to show that he and his leadership team at CCC are superior to Jeff.

        Well, we will all see how Jesus judges these various men on the Day of Judgement.

        Pastor Ross, there is still time to humble yourself and repent!

      • Anonymous

        Barb, Replying to your comment–this letter sounds like a letter between business rivals and not between men of God who should be concerned about serving the Lord and loving his flock as Christ loved the Church. Again I say, there is not a drop of love (feigned or otherwise) in either of the two different pastors responses. I edited this out of my reply yesterday but perhaps Nathan Bond has learned the abuse skills he used from this church? Not that he learned to be an abuser there–that’s his heart-but as I stated in my earlier reply, some behaviors attract people who want to act like this or who think this abuse is right to do.

        And I agree that they were being demeaning to Pastor Crippen by denying him his hard-earned title of “Pastor”. That old hierarchy among evil ones and demons is so super important and they love to remind everyone who THEY are and also to try to put others in their place by denying them their rightful position and authority. This correspondence could almost be used as a horrible example of what a pastor SHOULDN’T say or do, but sadly, there are probably people who can’t see how devoid of love and hope these letters are–because if they were from people who truly had the heart of God– this love would be apparent. I’ve noticed that when evil ones gather together and hang around with those like themselves they end up forgetting that they aren’t the ones who are in control and they aren’t the ones with ultimate power. Did I mention how proud I am of you and Jeff and everyone here at ACFJ? That goes for all those who post as well–you are all so brave and God is with you.

    • Pastor Sylvia
      In Mike Ross’s email to me he brought up “reputation” — and he was careful not to be explicit about whose reputation he was referring to.

      Fact: Christ Covenant Church has a public reputation, like any church does.
      Fact: Mike Ross has a public reputation, like any senior pastor does.
      Fact: You have a public reputation, like any pastor does.
      Fact: You also have your own blog (bentworld dot org)
      Fact: You are also one of the teachers in the Master of Arts in Christian Counselling course at Reformed Theological Seminary:

      (from Reformed Theological Seminary, https://rts.edu/Site/RTSNearYou/Charlotte/MACC/courses.aspx screen shot taken at 2016-04-03 at 1.20.51 PM Australian Standard Eastern Time)

      It seems to me that you are okay with anything that your church leadership does in secret, in your little isolated cloaked world. I put to you that when Mike Ross and yourself first read Jeff Crippen’s email to Ross, you were very little concerned about Jeff’s opinion — as it matters not in your private world. But when we exposed you to the public and your Public Reputation was at stake, you suddenly became concerned.

      I put to you that you and Mike Ross are much more concerned about your public reputation than about justice, truth, righteousness, and protecting the oppressed.

  9. Lost

    Barbara and P. Jeff C,

    THANK YOU. I see that you have exposed evidence of abuse, manipulation and lies with great precision. I see that you have stayed committed to the truth. You run after justice, grab it and give to the victims without cost and with great compassion. This public display is absolutely necessary for victims to see. No more secrets. No more blame and deception.

    Your voice is loud and clear. May it always be this way. THANK YOU.

  10. Natalie

    Thank you for being willing to get in the faces of abusers and their defenders/enablers. It’s an uncomfortable and unpleasant business. It’s time to embolden victims and survivors instead of the other way around. Your bravery makes others brave.

    • Your bravery makes others brave.

      That’s why I do what I do. 🙂

  11. Anonymous

    I haven’t been to CCC, but I had called Gabe Sylvia to warn him of abuse that I knew was occurring within a family who are members of that church and beg him to help and I realized then that the work of Christ is not happening in that Church. He didn’t respond timely to me, in fact I couldn’t get him on the phone so I had to resort to an email. And when he did respond to me, it was to say that the abused person should call 911 if they felt they were truly in danger and that was it. He never responded to anything other than that.

    • Thank you Anonymous. Since you are a new commenter, let me say – Welcome to the blog. 🙂

      Your account of Gabe Sylvia’s response to you is telling; it’s quite consistent with the impression we have formed of him and of CCC.

  12. Annie

    In reply to Anonymous’ comment above: Did you feel that if you were being abused by a member of this church, you could go to either of these two people and find solace?

    No. Positively not!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Annie, No I wouldn’t be safe to go to the so called leadership at CCC if I were in danger. In fact, the people I know who needed help have only been harmed by Gabe Sylvia and the other elders of this church. They keep saying that they will do something to help, but it has so far never materialized. They just string the abused along giving the abuser more opportunities to abuse. It’s like they are in cahoots or something.

  13. Annie

    Natalie…YES!

    Jeff’s response is a proto-type of how we can respond to our abusive situations. A million ‘thank-you’s”, Jeff!!!

    My dilemma is ‘how to learn how to respond to the abuse’ when you’re right in the middle of the abuse and you have not yet acquired that skill set (or when you aren’t yet accomplished at detecting wrong traditional interpretations of scripture).

    One way is to read and re-read and re-read, instead of my common response of ‘I’ve already read that’ and moving on past a great post like Jeff’s.

    And, yes, while I want to magnify the power of prayer and of the Holy Spirit, God uses his vessels, too, like Jeff and Barbara and all the readers here.

    Thanks again!!!

    • Anonymous

      Annie,
      When I was first learning to respond to abuse, it wasn’t pretty–meaning I stuttered and stammered and didn’t say what I really wanted to say. So I would practice. When someone said an abusive thing to me or others I would come up with comebacks in my head and then practice them out loud at home or in the car. This sounds childish BUT for people like me who have been trained from birth to submit to all authority, to shut-up and behave–it was absolutely necessary. And each session with an abuser gives us more opportunity to practice our new skills. (Don’t forget that no response is sometimes the best response! This too takes practice for those of us trained to answer every question asked of us or trained to respond to every accusation.) God never seemed to let me rest when I first started to do this, even though it was emotionally taxing for me–He would not relent. (Ah, God. It’s almost as if he KNOWS what’s best for us!) So don’t be afraid to “fail” when you respond to evil ones. There’ll be plenty of chances to practice!

      As a side note–It often seems as if it’s only me and God in these situations, like it’s all a stage–and really–it is my relationship with God that matters and it’s in HIS strength that I’m able to do this.

  14. I emailed Ps Gabe Sylvia four days ago, to notify him that we had published his comment and that Jeff Crippen had written a comment in reply. Today he emailed me this:

    Thank you for the notice.

    Heaven Soon,
    Gabe Sylvia

    That is the entire text of his email.

    This suggests to me that Ps Sylvia uses the “Heaven Soon” platitude to excuse himself from any obligation to give any measure of justice to victims of abuse.

    It also suggests to me that he uses the platitude “Heaven Soon” to give the impression that he is a true and faithful follower of Christ.

    Notice: Ps Sylvia, I am saying what your answer suggests to me. I am not saying I know for sure what your motives are.

    • healinginhim

      Thank you for the update, Barbara.
      Ps Sylvia’s blunt reply suggests that he is hinting that no further communication is required?

  15. 3kidmama

    Am I the only one here that is HORRIFIED this dismissive response is coming from someone, Gabe Sylvia, who apparently teaches a required counseling course in a seminary???

    I feel sick to my stomach!

    • You are not the only one who is horrified.

      • standsfortruth

        Their “Hoity Toity attitude” is certainly not Christ like, not to mention the avoidence of transparency, and the stalling is quite telling.

        A right responce for the leaders of this church would have been a timely letter to Pastor Crippen with an apology for what his ministry wrongly suffered, at the hands of “one of their church members”, as well as an explanation of the swift church diciplinary action upon this person, and a sincere thank you for bringing this to their attention.

        That would have reflected sincere love and respect towards those who are fellow servents in Gods ministry.

  16. kim

    I think the “Heaven Soon” platitude could more accurately be translated as: 1) “Gong, next contestant” !, or 2) “DISSmissed” or ….

    We should have a paraphrase the platitude contest! The winner of the contest receives a “Get out of Jail Free” card and doesn’t have to attend CCC. All the other contestants also get the card and they don’t have to go to CCC (or any church like it!).

    • YEAH!

    • TWBTC, can you create a page for Platitudes and their paraphrases? I think we could all find it helpful. Not to mention how it might give us a laugh or two as we travail this vale of tears. . .

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