A Cry For Justice

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

Take Heart — Christ Always Preserves His True Church and Exposes the Counterfeit

In my 30+ years as a Christian I have seen and heard so much hurtful comment and lack of support shown to women in abusive marriages in the church. I am so disgusted with the Church and heartsick over this issue. How do I keep this from negatively impacting my walk? Anyone else feel this way? (Commenter on the ACFJ Facebook page)

We can all certainly identify with this, can’t we? Most all of us used to have faith in “the church.” In “our church,” meaning our local church we belonged to. We trusted the pastor and leaders. We read the popular books written by the well-known authors and theologians. We assumed that the “norm” was that most everyone around us who said they were Christians, were: that there was an occasional phoney, but those could be dealt with and after all, there is no perfect church.

But all that has changed. Or rather, WE have changed. Our eyes have been opened to the reality of things. How? Because we have been touched by evil through the wickedness of abusers. And more, we have been touched by the evil of how our “church” enabled those abusers and added to the oppression of abuse victims, which in many cases was us. We have seen the lack of compassion, the lack of love, the lack of a zeal for justice to be done. We have seen rotten fruit borne by so many who claim Christ’s name. We have seen them embrace the evil one and reject the righteous, calling evil good and good evil. We have seen money and prestige and comfort trump justice and love and mercy for the widow and orphan. And we have seen it all in “the church.”

Is the Christian church done for? Is the whole thing pretty much a sham? Should we just give up on the whole idea of the body of Christ and realize we are on our own? It sure feels like it sometimes, doesn’t it?

But in fact what has happened to us is that we have been awakened to the reality of things. Listen to the Apostle Paul —

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

See it? There were lots of Jews in Paul’s day. Circumcised people. Temple-going people. Religious people. But most of them were not really Jews. Why? Because the outward rite of circumcision is not what made a person a Jew. The real test is whether or not the Spirit of God has circumcised (regenerated) their heart. Furthermore, the person who is a true Jew receives praise from God, but derision and reject from man, especially from fake Jews.

And so it is today in the New Covenant. Listen to the verse again with a couple of tweaks —

For no one is a Christian who is merely one outwardly, nor is baptism outward and physical. But a Christian is one inwardly, and regeneration is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)

This makes for a much smaller church than we might have imagined once. Much smaller. And yet Christ always, always, always has His remnant of true sheep who hear His voice and reject the call of the stranger —

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” (Romans 9:27-29)

Those who mistreat the oppressed, who apply the letter of law instead of showing mercy and compassion to victims of evil, those who trample on and ex-communicate and shun the widow and orphans who have been victims of the wicked abuser. . . those “Christians” are going to end being exposed for what they are unless they repent. They will end in (Jesus’ words here) eternal fire.

I think that Christ is exposing the phonies today more and more. We just banned a commenter from our ACFJ Facebook page because she thought everyone was being too critical of a famous abuser and that it is wrong to talk about these things on the internet in front of the world. We say that the talking about evil and exposing it in front of the world on the internet is the BEST thing to do! Evil loves secrecy. The counterfeit “church” loves its fake reputation and hates being exposed. The Pharisees scream and shout and gnash their teeth when they see the truth of Jesus setting captive abuse victims free.

The remnant of Jesus exists. The gospel is true. God’s Word is true. And we have been warned in that Word repeatedly to watch out for the counterfeit, to take care and guard against the leaven of the Pharisees. Sure enough, things are playing out exactly as Scripture says. And that strengthens my faith rather than weakening it. He is coming. He is coming to judge the earth.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:6-9)

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12 Comments

  1. Yes, bravo and amen!

  2. Sarah

    I was trying to cut and paste to my wall so I can help to get a good quote out there. But the WHOLE article is too good! I don’t think I can read this enough… I need hope, hope hope!

    • Agreeing with you, Sarah. 🙂
      ACFJ – thank you for another excellent post.

  3. anonymous

    Excellent! Yes, Jesus did this for me… ” And yet Christ always, always, always has His remnant of true sheep who hear His voice and reject the call of the stranger —” And He also rescued me from the mess that I was in, when I couldn’t even see it for what it was, and He rescued my children too. He also led to me to a wonderful, loving, supportive church. The people that I have met there (those in leadership) have been very supportive and helpful; emotionally, financially, spiritually. They have answered the call of the Lord to care for the widows and orphans. And, although we are not technically widows, we have been abandoned by our spouse and the marriage covenant. The church would be right to step up and “take care of the widows and orphans”, to show “true religion”.
    Thanks for all you do here! It has been so very helpful to me in my journey. Lord bless you.

  4. kind of anonymous

    Timely article Jeff. One that sparks alot of response/thoughts. Both about the state of the church and the state of my own heart. I am struggling with this issue, with the tempation to lapse into my old life, and decide that it was all a mirage and I was grasping for something that just can’t be had. Yet I am encouraged that Jesus acts to preserve His true church and probably owe Him an apology for thinking otherwise. I saw various signs that something was wrong in the spiritual fabric of things that just seemed random; what I would call odd and unseemly behaviour in several pastors/churches that reminded me of how animals are triggered to react where the ground is about to be disturbed by an earthquake though they may not know consicously why.

    It wasn’t that these folks were being especially abusive to anyone, just that it was like the tide went out and suddenly all these little creatures on the beach lacked the support of the water. The churches I saw this in, the leaders and people were reacting by seeming to have an identity crisis, running about frantically trying to reclaim that sense that we have when we are right with God and know His peace and His backing. Then more and more, examples of secret sin coming to light, and outright abuse of people within churches and churches that are proud and don’t mourn and deal with sin but instead look the other way and cover up. There was a definite and progressive drop in the sense of God’s presence in christian gatherings over the last thirty years or so that was quite “sense-able”..

    Perhaps what I was seeing was God pulling back; I had heard somewhere years ago in my teens that eventually when we are doing our own thing and don’t repent, God pulls back His Spirit until we realize that there is no longer fire on the altar, and we begin to repent and seek Him . That to continue to keep pouring out His presence and blessing would be to support us in our sin and disobedience and be a party to our destruction by appearing to give the nod to something that is not right. I don’t think it is wrong to expose wolves in sheeps clothing who prove they are wolves by their refusal to repent. The church’s witness is in the toilet because we act like the typical dysfunctinal family; don’t talk don’t trust, don’t tell. As mentioned previously, Paul exposed Alexander the metal worker and Diotrephes; seeing as God knew the bible would be read by BILLIONS, that’s roughly equivalent to posting it on the net. These exposures of sin …Christ’s winnowing fork is in His hand? Reading this truth made my heart perk up; The beginnings of awareness that things are out of order, the coming out of the fog of compromise and evil, the call to real truth and righteousness, the readings of the law that result in rendings of hearts not just clothes, ARE the sound of RAIN; sound ye the trumpet. Thank you for this message; yes I smell rain.

  5. Anonymous

    When God was waking me up to the truth about all this stuff–evil, psychopathy, false teachers, calling good evil and evil good–I read a story of a woman who had been destroyed. She’d come from a loving family, had a strong moral code but because she’d been lied to (like those of us here) about evil–she was completely unprepared when confronted with the truth. She was writing from the position of an invalid. She was completely bedridden. What was her story? She’d gone to college, got a great job in a great corporation and ran into a psychopath. This evil person destroyed her reputation, career, mind and body. He did this by undermining her at every turn, gathering others to his side, ingratiating himself to his bosses and using her skills and ideas as his own yet telling everyone else that SHE was stealing HIS ideas and trying to take credit for HIS efforts. The usual. But because she, like those of us here, was never allowed to know or admit that some people ARE 100% evil, she ended up being entertainment for the devil and his children. This is what we are to them–sources of entertainment to keep them from being bored while they await their eternity in hell.

    Her destruction took a few years to play out mind you, and as the truth of the situation seeped into her life–as she was losing her money, her reputation, her family, all her core beliefs and her mind– there was nobody to tell her the truth. Nobody believed her and nobody helped her because with all the lies we’ve been FORCED to believe, her reality seemed unfathomable to others and they abandoned her. She was writing on one of the abuse recovery websites so she realized that others could now see the truth and believed her, but it was too late for her. She said that she no longer had the will to try to recover and she was completely physically destroyed. Her body had basically shut down and had been this way for years.

    When we share our testimonies with each other, these stories become part of our lives–part of our walk with the Lord. This woman’s story is now a part of my history–her kindness to share–even though she had no hope or desire for herself–still helps others, doesn’t it? Hasn’t this story changed you? Can you see that through God’s love and his grace, with all of us reaching out and sharing the truth, and a safe place to do this, that we help each other and we grow more deeply in our faith and understanding? Even if other’s stories are not a carbon copy of our lives, the wisdom that we gain can help us to understand others trials. Not a drop of our lives is wasted….not a single drop.

    So, AGAIN, thank you Jeff for continuing this beautiful ministry, It has undoubtedly saved lives and certainly helped to mend our hearts and our minds. We are the remnant–we are TRULY God’s little ones.

    • Even if other’s stories are not a carbon copy of our lives, the wisdom that we gain can help us to understand others trials. Not a drop of our lives is wasted….not a single drop.

      yes 🙂

  6. Concerned Mom

    Today our Pastor, a good and Godly man, preached from Proverbs Chapter 3 , focusing on verses 1-7….. He expounded on each verse, yet never mentioned what the “evil” meant in verse 7 – “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from…evil.”

    I sat there hoping he would explain what is the “evil” in verse 7… What is God saying here??? yet he didn’t….maybe next week he will, but it has stayed with me through out the day to know what was God saying in this verse…..any thoughts? As I read this article this evening…I could not help but wonder, if anyone would explain to me what “evil” meant in that particular verse ( 7) …because most believers can recite the previous verse, verse 5&6 , ” trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding , in all your ways acknowledge him and He shall direct your paths…” yet sort of skip verse 7.

    Just wondering … Any thoughts??? For my son in law and his father, who both, verbally, emotionally and Spiritually abuse my daughter, recite verse 5&6 all the time, but never verse 7..,,, I would love some insight about this…and I thank you ….

    • Avid Reader

      Concerned Mom,
      My heart grieves with you for the pain your daughter is experiencing. With all the pressure that we face everyday as women, we don’t need anymore, especially not from these people quoting Scriptures to your daughter.

      Sounds like you may have found another Bible verse confirming our option to leave abusive situations. To “fear God (not the abuser) and depart from evil (leave the evil situation).” The next verse seems to confirm that putting distance between ourselves and evil results in bringing “health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” I wonder if the first part of the verse “be not wise in your own eyes” is warning us not to override the guidance of the Holy Spirit with that other nagging voice in our heads.

      Now if the wolves ever bother to read their Bibles, this verse sounds like its telling them to repent.

  7. kind of anonymous

    Hi ConcernedMom;
    You said they quote this verse alot; do you mean that they are quoting it to your daughter to silence any attempts on her part at confronting warped logic? To make her think she is disobedient if she attempts to think things out for herself? That would be a form of evil in itself, because its lying about whati s true, bearing false witness against your daughter in calling her disobedient, making God’s word evil and making crooked the straight ways of the Lord. Departing from evil is shunning sin, anything contrary to the heart and character of God and any involvement in it. I think that if we can’t sucessfully resist evil, we can get taken over by it. Has the Lord given her any leading in the situation?

    This is why Paul said to put unrepentant ones out of the church, so the evil didn’t infect the church. Your poor daughter; I am so sorry she is suffering such unloving behaviour at the hands of one who should be committed to her and standing with her. If noticing what is truly going on in a situation and thinking out a well reasoned scriptural response is wrong, then scripture is wrong for commending Abigail for her initiative and intelligence in seeing what was coming and doing something about it to prevent harm to her househohld, even though her husband was a world class jerk. Wouldn’t hurt to shoot the pastor an email and ask him about that part of the verse and what he thinks it means.

  8. MarkQ

    Yeah, struggling with this very thing. I left my old denomination about 18 months now for what I am convinced is a true church. My prayers waffle around asking God to open the eyes of the sheep to the abuse, asking God to open up the eyes of the shepherds to the wolves and the wolfish doctrine in the church, and asking God to just close their doors so they don’t hurt any more sheep.

  9. Still Reforming

    Amen, Pastor Jeff, amen. I am strengthened the more I encounter these types. It’s amazing how once one’s eyes are opened that these types seem to crawl out of the woodwork. They’re absolutely everywhere.

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