A Cry For Justice

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

Wise as Serpents: Grace is Not for Everyone (Part 21 of sermon series)

This morning I want to show you that God’s grace is not to be extended to everyone. I do not speak of His common grace, the kind of favor He exercises when He sends rain on the wicked and provides them with food. I am speaking of the saving grace that comes to us in Christ through faith.

We cannot properly understand and apply scripture if we remain ignorant of evil. That’s why we spend so much time on this. Anyone who is not wise in regard to evil necessarily has a skewed, deficient and even dangerous theology. If we don’t have a biblical theology of evil, we will buy into the common notion that “all sinners are exactly the same; everyone is redeemable.” And we will end up handing the lambs over to the slaughter by sending them back to the evil one with the assignment of “saving them”.

If we are to be wise about evil, then we must understand that there is a kind of person in this world who has so despised Christ, who has so long and knowingly spit upon the cross, often all the while parading as a “Christian,” that the Lord would have us be done with them. 

God’s saving grace is not offered to everyone. God’s grace is not to be offered to everyone. When Christians fail to hand wicked hypocrites in the church over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, they enable evil. When Christians continue to extend *fairy-dust* grace and kindness and mercy indiscriminately and indefinitely to wicked people, they enable evil. Many if not most people who profess to be Christians are ignorant of this fact.

Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. (Proverbs 22:10)

God does not command you to love, love, love, and relate, relate relate to evil people.  Consider Isaiah 26:10 for example, which one of our blog readers sent to me this last week. Listen to it in both the NIV and ESV —

But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. (NIV)

If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD. (ESV)

That is to say, there is a certain kind of wicked person (remember, all sinners are not the same) who only despises God’s grace and favor. No matter how much mercy and grace might be shown him, he remains in his evil ways. He neither regards nor fears the glory and majesty of God.

I would also conclude from Isaiah 26:10 that when we continue to extend grace to this kind of a person, it only fuels and intensifies their wickedness. In their minds they laugh at us, they scoff, they say to themselves “I’ve got a weak sucker here.”

I suppose this is the kind of evil person Paul speaks of in Romans 1:32 —

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. 

They are in that condition because God has given them over, handed them over, to their wickedness. And yet so many professing Christians around us today insist that God’s grace is infinite and limitless and must always be offered to the wicked no matter how evil they might be. In fact, these kinds of grace-bestowing Christians seem to think of themselves as superb example of godliness. And the more evil the object of their affection might be, the more ‘godly’ they conceive of themselves as being for extending unlimited grace. It is rank arrogance on their part to imagine that.

It is all terribly skewed and I want to be certain we understand why it is skewed.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Paul has emphasized the abundant grace of God; but then he’s quick to caution us:] What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 5:20-6:2) 

Paul’s question was: Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  And his answer was NO!  But with so many professing Christians today, their answer to Paul’s question is YES!  

For example: “Yeah, this guy is continuing in sin; but as he does so, we continue to extend grace to him. Grace is abounding and God is glorified!  So let’s look out and find out what kind of a wicked person is out there — and we can ‘boast’ about merciful we are and how God can do anything!  We should never give up on the abuser no matter how wicked he is! It doesn’t matter how many years he has heard the gospel and refused to repent.  The Jesus I know does miracles every day; after all he saved Saul of Tarsus and Saul was an abuser!”

A ‘c’hristian abuser is a hypocrite. Saul the Pharisee, who later became the apostle Paul, was never a hypocrite. He opposed and persecuted Christians but he did so out of a pure heart and a pure zeal, though it was wrong. Later he would say, “I am the chief of sinners; but I was shown mercy because I acted in unbelief.” In contrast, the kind of wicked people that we’re talking about here do NOT act ignorantly in unbelief. They know full well what the gospel is. They have tasted of the heavenly gift, yet they continue to reject Christ; they continue to put on their robe of hypocrisy.

Those pious sounding words about God having the ability to save anyone — they sound so very full of faith, so very noble. But in fact they are in contradiction to God’s Word. They enable the wicked and further oppress abuse victims. These super-pious notions are the route to continued bondage and much harm to the innocent.

Paul wrote (as quoted above) that the grace of God shown us in the Lord Jesus Christ must not be used as a license for continued sin. He says that anyone who does so is at best living in a kind of insanity —  in complete contradiction to who (Whose) he professes to be. And most probably such a person is demonstrating that he does not know Christ at all and remains in an unregenerate condition.

The church is often justifiying the wicked by continuing to offer them grace and continuing to invite them to church. That is an abuse of the grace of God in Christ. Grace is not to be extended to such people. The grace of God in Christ is not limitless. In fact, there are many ways it is very specific. Savingly, it is applied only to the elect.

And yet so often we hear this cry: “We must not judge anyone. We are all sinners. Sure this fellow claims to be a Christian and yet walks in habitual, characteristic evil and has done so for decades. But God’s grace is sufficient. We must keep praying for this fellow and we must believe that God is going to save him. In fact maybe he already is saved but is just a “carnal” christian.” [ACFJ has several posts where we rebut the false notion that an abuser might be a carnal Christian.]

This noble sounding ‘godliness’ is all absolutely contrary to Scripture. It enables the wicked. It is evil. It oppresses the righteous.

To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. [That’s a pretty good description of a wicked man in the church.]

Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward. (Psalm 28:1-4)

When I show scriptures like that to these ‘infinite grace’ people they are absolutely shocked. They are ignorant of this. They’ve formed their entire theology of God and of evil based on a very few  passages from scripture.

Do you suppose that the Lord rebuked David for praying such a prayer? Do you suppose God told him, “Now David, you stop that! You need to keep praying that these people will be saved. After all, you never know when I might save them!” Hardly. This is inspired Scripture, the Word of God Himself. David’s prayer is a godly and righteous prayer.

There are many things that God cannot do. God cannot sin. God cannot act against the nature of His own being. God cannot ignore sin. And in regard to our topic here, God cannot save the unrepentant, unbelieving man; He never has and He never will. We know that faith and repentance are surely the gift of God and apart from God setting His saving love upon us even while we were dead in trespasses and sins, we would never have turned to Christ. God takes that first step — we cannot. It is a mystery. But that being true, the fact is: unless a person believes in Christ alone and repents, turning from his evil and to Christ, God will not and in fact cannot save him.

This is what God does to a person who knows the truth in Christ, who rejects it over and over again, who lives as a hypocrite pretending to serve God: at some point He turns that person over to their sin. Listen to it once more:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)

That’s what the wicked person we’re talking about does, the one who professes to be a Christian.  He’s heard the truth over and over again. The Holy Spirit has so worked in him that he knows that the gospel is true. He’s even tasted of it, been in the midst if it  — maybe the writer of Hebrews is referring to the Lord’s table.  But what he does, like Esau, is that he says “No; I’m going to be god.” He worships and serves the creature, rather than the Creator. And the creature in this case happens to be him. And so God hands him over.

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)

What that says is: If you tolerate one of such wicked persons among you, it will spread. If you, in a church, tolerate them, they will attract other such people to themselves. Those who are approving of this wickedness are going to come like iron filings to a magnet. Like bees to a honey pot. And pretty soon, that evil leaven will be spread through the entire church. That is what we’re seeing in the Christian church today. 

At some point the sinner can become reprobate, crossing that line from which there is no possibility of ever returning:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8)

Such a person is under the curse of God, not the grace and blessing of God. Esau is a case in point —

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:15-17)

These kinds of wicked people can turn on the waterworks. But tears mean nothing; see our post Crocodile Tears. What matters is longterm change of behaviour which can only come if there is repentance from the mindset of entitlement to power and control.

You notice that term ‘root of bitterness’? Who is usually accused of having a root of bitterness? The perpetrator? Or the victim? It is the victim. But Hebrews 12 shows us that the root of bitterness that springs up and causes trouble (by it many become defiled) is the perpetrator! See to it that there is no wicked, unrepentant, hypocritical, fake christian among you!  Put him out from among you else you will be corrupted by him!

When Christians misuse and presume upon God’s grace in Christ, demanding that victims of evil and everyone else “never give up” on the abuser — who has quite often been cruelly persecuting his victim for decades, all the while maintaining a wicked pretense of being quite a holy saint —  those Christians are in fact abusing grace. They are really promoting what Paul says is ludicrous — the continuance in sin under the claim that “grace abounds and is greater than all sin.” Their error goes further yet. These claims also even insist that “showing mercy” to the hardened, wicked, conscienceless man is good because it makes grace “abound” even more!

People who promote this abuse of grace are at best ignorant and in fact are more often just plain arrogant. (Paul indicates that they may not even know Christ at all.) What they are saying to us is that they are a cut above in holiness. After all, their god” (small “g” is intentional here) never gives up on anyone, no matter how wicked the person might be. Really? Have such people ever even read the Bible? God hands the wicked over to their sins at some point. There is in truth a “point of no return” and there are people like Esau who God Himself cannot save because to do so would violate His very person.

[Excursus in audio version of sermon about a recent police sting designed to catch child sex traffickers. One of the men caught in the sting was a children’s pastor in a large church in southern USA. Jeff predicts that the church will say: “We’ve got to show this man mercy… “. Jeff also talks about what would be an appropriate message for the senior pastor to give.]

How often do we hear it? “Well, yes, so and so did live a wicked life. He even blasphemed Christ and was a terribly abusive man. But God can save anyone and God’s grace is so wonderful that how do we know this man won’t greet us in heaven when we get there?” (They look up to heaven with a pious gaze at this point. Yuck).

How do we know the wicked, unrepentant man or woman is not going to greet us in heaven? Because the Lord Himself has said so.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10) 

Do not be deceived. But today many apparently are deceived. Many who claim to be Christians.

Rather than telling victims of evil that it is God’s will that they continue to be bound to their abuser in some way (such as zealously praying for their salvation, telling them they are praying for them, hoping against hope that the big salvation day comes, etc), God has given us quite different instructions about how we relate to the wicked and specifically about how we are to relate to wicked people like abusers who claim to be Christians:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:11-13)

Purge him. I encourage you to read all of 1 Corinthians chapter five very carefully. Incidentally, the reviler is a vilifier, a person who falsely accuses.  A person who makes the righteous look like a villain. Revilers’ weapons are their words.  If I had to pick a synonym in the Bible for an abuser, it would be ‘reviler’. 

It is the scriptural pattern to follow in dealing with an abuser who is wearing the disguise of Christianity. Do not even eat with such a one. And yet local churches often and even typically are embracing such wicked ones, keeping them in fellowship in their church, all in the name of “grace.” Such churches are invoking God’s anger against them, enabling evil, and adding to the oppression of the innocent. Just recently, as I do so often, I heard from a victim of terrible, ongoing, life-threatening abuse that was fully known to the pastor of her church, and yet her abuser is still allowed in that church and even “serving” in “ministry” there. Make no mistake. That is not grace. It is rank disobedience to the command of Christ. It is evil. And it is inevitably going to encourage other evildoers in their wickedness.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. [Usually we stop there and think ‘Yeah, that means don’t marry an unbeliever…’ but this goes to every area of life.]  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:14-18) 

The Lord is saying: Look; if you really are my people, be who you are! If you purge the wicked from among yourselves, I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me. And I think we can also add: if you don’t, then you’re demonstrating that you may not really belong to God.

Victims of evil will find that the path to freedom from the bondage of abuse is not to be discovered in some kind of distortion regarding the grace of God (“grace on steroids” as one of our readers put it), but in handing the wicked one over to the Lord and walking away from him and moving on.

And to all who continue to insist that what I have said here is judgmental and cruel, that their “Jesus” is kind and compassionate and never, ever, ever “gives up” on anyone, I say to them: “You are adding to the suffering of the righteous. You are enabling the wicked. And that you are in great need of picking up your Bible and learning who God really is.”

And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12:7)

Let me close with this note I received last week from a survivor of abuse:

This morning I was reading John 13. Judas had intimate dinners with the Lord and the other disciples. He had witnessed miracles, signs and wonders. [He had tasted of the heavenly gift.] He remained unchanged, unsaved, unregenerate. Even when Jesus said someone would betray Him, the others had no clue it was Judas.

It is not a stretch to know the very same thing happens in churches today. The scary thing is, Psalm 41:9. He that has been my familiar companion, and has eaten my bread has lifted his heel against me. I was thinking how that heel kicking someone is so violent, so hateful, as if one would be kicking someone or something that they despised. He was doing this to Jesus. Judas just got some golden coins for identifying Him.

Jeff interposes: “One of the worst abuser types that I have even had to deal with, defended Judas. I heard him do that a couple of times.”  The survivor continues: 

I’ve heard folks being sympathetic towards Judas, defending what He did. Yet we refuse to see the true violence of evil that is spiritually pictured for us in that act. Our Lord however, was greatly troubled. Violence and abuse, control, towards women and children [and any vulnerable people] is an assault against God. Evil is in the midst of their little group, and present day church groups as well. There they are, still unsaved, parading as disciples, betraying Him. (That is a “negativity”, I’ve been told.)

I’ve heard preachers say how Judas will be in heaven, even after Jesus said it would be better for him if he were never born, even after the Bible says, “Satan entered Judas.”

The warning Jesus gave to them before going to His death, about washing one another’s feet, is heart breaking. Many evangelical and charismatic teachers in the church today do not have this attitude. They are prideful, arrogant, self important, and refuse to see evil, being sympathetic only towards the Judases that are operating in secret betrayal, yet looking outwardly like a true disciple. They aren’t touched or moved by the cries of the afflicted. It is neither easy nor pleasant to see evil, and speak against it.

You [the folks at ACFJ and members of CRC church] also seem “greatly troubled.” Thank you for speaking out. I can see it is a fire in your bones. May God bless and encourage you in your ministry, ACFJ. 

Grace is not to be extended to everyone. This is something we must get right, else we will find ourselves enabling evil.

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues.”  (Matthew 10:14-17)

 

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Audio and PDF versions of this sermon here.

Go to Part 22 of this series

In his preamble to the audio sermon, Jeff talked about the Overcoming Powerless conference he spoke at the previous Sunday. This preamble is well worth listening to. We will soon be publishing a post featuring the presentation he gave at that conference.

A list of the entire series can be found at our Wise as Serpents tab on the top menu.

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20 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    The Duggar family needs to read this post in relation to Josh Duggar.

    • Hi Anonymous, welcome to ACFJ 🙂

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

    • Anonymous

      Many of his family are just like him. If you read some of the quotes they say you can see that many in that family desire to be famous and have money. My daughter noted that as soon as the kids were able to, they opened their own twitter accounts and other social media outlets so that others could follow / worship them. Acting modest and saying churchy things does nothing to change a persons heart. The parents themselves are greedy, angry and selfish. When some of the daughters were offered a show while the original would be canceled, Jim Bob said he’d rather NOBODY have a show if he didn’t get to keep his too. And if you pay attention, Jim Bob and Michelle resent the time they have to spend with their children. The children raise the children in that cult. One show where the girls got to be away for a short time, Michelle said that they needed to hurry back. Yep, time away could mean time away from the brain-washing, and this could mean that they wake up and see how evil this form of abuse is. If you research the Quverfull movement you may see how very abusive and damaging it is to kind-hearted people. Just a different venue to be abusive just like all the other tactics we read about here.

  2. healinginhim

    Thank you again for this series and for today’s links concerning “carnal Christians” and “crocodile tears”. I find myself crying again this morning as I review the lengthy history of abuse that I’ve had to admit to by the ‘c’hurch and others who extend grace to abusers but chastise me and allow me no grace for finally speaking the truth. They think I’m expecting too much from my abusers; after all they did at one time profess to be Christians … I’m expected to be more patient and wait for God to perform His miracle of healing in the nasty relationships. I mean after all ‘he’ doesn’t physically beat me and the others, well, they seem like ‘nice’ people.

  3. Beauty

    I am struggling with this. My whole life I have been taught “grace” theology. As I’ve watched my Dad reach out to unbelievers who prove to time and again take advantage of his good will and trusting nature. I have since practiced keeping people I recognize as evil at arms length, all the while not recognizing the evil in my own family. And now I have made friends with a proclaimed believer and victim of significant abuse who has newly announced themselves to be homosexual and who I’ve sat next to at church. Does this mean I should not be spending time with this individual? Am I going against God’s will by trying to live with my husband after 13 years of abuse though he seems to have repented? I read the scripture these days and I feel lost. All I thought at once I knew and was confident about in the Bible I am questioning- save the essence of the gospel. And all I really want in life is to please the Lord. Nothing else really matters, does it? So why can’t I find clarity once and for all?

    • Hi Beauty I hear you. I will write a response in more depth later today.

      But just this for now: I re-read all the comments you’ve submitted to ACFJ. It’s clear your father (and perhaps your mother too) is an abuser. And so is your husband. And From what you’ve told us, they all subscribe to this inverted theology — the distorted notion of grace which enables the wicked. In your father’s case and your husband’s case, it sounds to me like they have this mindset because it gives them self-glory and power and control.

      Your husband will not have repented. He is just gone quiet, changed his tactics and behaviors a bit to make you doubt yourself. If he had fully and wholly repented you would not be unsure about it at all. Trust your gut: the fact that you are still unsure about his repentance shows it is counterfeit repentance. The fake rolex watch. The glass which is cut to look like diamonds. The layer of surface gilt which is not solid gold.

      When you articulated to your father about my interpretation of the woman’s desire in Genesis 3:16, he reacted strongly against it. His reaction was like the proud Pharisee. It sounded to me like he demonstrated that he is not open to the truth, not teachable, not willing to humble himself to recalibrate his ideas when it becomes apparent that they might not be in line or balanced with the whole counsel of scripture.

      • Beauty

        Thank you for taking time to tackle my concerns, Barbara.

    • Regarding the person who is a proclaimed believer and has newly announced his/herself to be a homosexual. I know of a believer who chooses to be celibate because he is same-sex attracted but knows that to act on those attractions would be sinful. It would not be sinful for a believer to spend time with that man. 🙂 But those who claim they are Christians while unrepentantly living out the homosexual lifestyle are not genuine Christians.

      I hope this helps you think it through. And remember, you didn’t know about this person’s sexual preference until that person recently came out and announced it. So don’t come down in judgement on yourself for what you may have done in the past in ignorance.

      You also asked:

      Am I going against God’s will by trying to live with my husband after 13 years of abuse though he seems to have repented?

      That is not for anyone else to make a judgement call on. There are many many reasons why victims of abuse stay with their abusers, or go back to their abusers after separation. See my article Why Didn’t You Leave? Usually a victim identifies with multitudes of those reasons. I encourage you to read the article; it will help you think things through. Every one of us who has left our abusers for good have done so in our own timing. Many of us testify that God catalysed a clearing of the fog at some point, or prompted us to leave by direct signs or warnings, or opened doors that had previously been closed, or in some way or other we were brought to a point where the dangers of staying seemed greater than the dangers of leaving — so we made the leap.

      I believe the decision to stay or to leave is up to the individual victim. And I believe that if the victim is a Christian, God will help her make that decision. 🙂 (and God can also help victims who are not believers in Christ…)

      But what I do say to you is this: You are free to leave your abuser(s) if you choose to do so. And it would not be a sin for you to leave.

      ((hugs)) to you

  4. Sarah

    But they do not believe the woman when she says he is STILL an abuser. They only believe him when he says he is “trying so hard” or “Is in so much pain”. He behaves in front of the church and still abuses behind the scenes or does impression management which is still a sin. They would have to first believe the wife and there is a resistance to do that since she is at fault in their eyes if not halfway then fully

  5. loves6

    My question: Tim are you possibly abusive yourself and some of these gray areas in fact expose some of your traits?

    I was married to my husband for 29yrs. An upright man in the church that has covertly abused me for years under the banner of taking care of me and him having a right to have sex whenever he wanted it because that was my duty, among many other things.

    I used to think like you Tim .. in fact I didn’t even call it abuse. Thank God my eyes have been open and I have left this toxic environment. Staying in a Womens Shelter and feeling the best I’ve felt in years, about to embark in a new life.

    May I suggest, if that’s OK that you do some research into abuse and what it looks like. A little knowledge is dangerous and you could cause a lot of damage to people with your views

    • loves6, I am SO glad you are out and staying in a shelter. I’ve been aware of your silence on the blog for some time, and have been wondering /concerned about how you were. I clapped and gasped and rejoiced out loud when I read this comment from you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • loves6

        HI Barb
        Thank you so much !
        It’s been over 3 yrs since I started to comment here. It has taken me all this time to come to the place I am now at.
        I’ve been in a shelter for a few weeks. I have turned a corner in the past couple of months. The support group and counseling has supported and helped me greatly.
        I’ve learnt so much and I’m so much stronger … going from strength to strength each day. I am thinking clearly and the exhaustion has left me.
        I am a different woman ….. I know where I stand and what is abuse and what isn’t. I will no longer tolerate abuse from anyone in my life. I have made boundaries and I will stick to them.
        I’ve been very quite on this blog due to being very very overwhelmed in my life and my faith has taken a huge hit. I have wavered much and it’s been tough. I have now turned a corner.
        Thank you so much x

      • Thanks love6 🙂

        Can you please email TWBTC when you get a moment. She can coach you in how to not give the URL of your WordPress account when you comment here. We try to remove such URLs for reasons of safety, but we can’t always promise to do so, with our workload being so great.

        Her email address is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

    • Moving Forward

      I was just thinking about you this morning, wondering how you were, and here you are! So glad to read your name again on this blog, and hear that you are learning and working things out. May God bless your new life, and increase your faith day by day.

  6. Anonymous

    There came a time when I realized how my husband really thought. God had allowed him to destroy our family financially as well as to create division between some of the children and me and the other children. God also started to let people my husband worked with see how evil he was and my husband eventually ruined his career. At this same time God was showing me what my husband and some of my children were, it was also a time when I was deeply broken but memorizing scripture because I didn’t think I would live much longer and this was something I had always wanted to do so that I could soothe myself with God’s truth through his word. We had very little money and much debt and the sadness of learning the truth about evil was a burden that weighed heavily on me but I continued to praise God out loud by saying, “Thank you Lord Jesus!” One time when I’d said this my husband replied, “You say, ‘Thank you Lord Jesus’ but you do nothing to help me!” In that moment I realized that all these years when I gave thanks to the Lord, my husband thought I was thanking and praising HIM. He thought HE was Jesus.

    That was nearly a decade ago and the truth is much more obvious now. My husband does think he is god as those with his personality disorder do. As such he desires to be worshiped and all the other traits that go with this — all the traits of the devil are what my husband displays. Jeff pointed out that even when Saul was persecuting Christians he did it with “right” motive — he thought he was obeying God — purely. This has never been the case with my husband or those like him. Everything they do is purely for themselves — to gain something, to place themselves in positions to be in charge (worshiped in their mind), to punish those who try to usurp them etc.

    Since I’d been indoctrinated with the theology Jeff describes in this post there was NO WAY for me to fit GOD’S TRUTH into my life which made me buy and live the lie. And this is what happens when we aren’t allowed to know the truth through God’s word — we allow NO ROOM in our life for GOD. Gee, isn’t it amazing how evil Satan is that he could do this? Oh wait, of course he’s that evil, we were just supposed to be as well trained in the TRUTH about evil as the bible tries to warn us to be. These churches that preach the lie have some explaining to do when they meet God, but let’s face it — many of these preachers may actually think that they ARE god so to them it is their right to demand obedience from others. Grace AIN’T for everybody as the bible tells us and Jeff points out here.

  7. Karen

    “He thought He was Jesus.”

    Anonymous, you are correct in stating this. If is an evil and wicked form of replacement theology where the individual believes that he is “lord” of the home, thus everything revolves around him. The husband is the sun and the rest of us are to live in that continuous orbit around him, and the abusive husband knows just how to “keep his wife and children in line.”

    I find it amazing how abusive husbands can be so violent at home and yet so charming and helpful in our churches, the dual personality. My husband runs for certain women at church (the ones who have authority within, asking him to preach on Sunday mornings), yet at home does not treat me, his wife of thirty years with such kindness and respect. I used to sit in church and watch him sing in the praise band and stand behind the pulpit and preach, and now I can’t even step foot in that church because the whole charade just makes me want to cry with disgust. He now attends a men’s Bible study where they are learning about grace…..the grace that is to be extended to themselves, all the while verbally and emotionally abusing the wife at home…..no longer physically abuses me, for the pictures are on file of the last episode.

    My husband sat visiting with me about how I need to exhibit ‘more grace towards him.’ Funny how that is…..while gracelessness flows from his lips and his heart. Preach it, but never live it, that is how I see his religion.

  8. bunkababy3

    I was led here through a comment on another anti Duggar page. Boy oh boy, was this read ever a good one.

    I was systemically abused by both parents ( adopted the same time abuse started) since 2.5 yrs old. I was able to leave home by 19 years old. My abuse consisted of anything you can imagine under the sun. It was purposeful. Anyhow at some point around the age of 7 we went to church. It was not what you think. It was a nefarious purpose on my mother’s part. By then, my father/mother had already been divorced for 3 yrs.(with continued sexual abuse) My mother had full reign on who, when, what abuse took place. The church was just another avenue for her to pursue her activities. Church was a massively confusing environment! I was sexually abused by deacons/pastors and others in a pornographic underground. Scripture was abused to perpetuate silence and fear. I never knew what I was going to. Was it church? or some other thing going on within the church?.

    Gothard was roving around producing his Basic Youth Conflict seminars at the time. The church just got involved / it just added fuel to the fire. I was rebellious /willful / troubled child according to them. Abuse, was my life. In home, church, and school. In my early teens, I hated God, was fearful, and rebellious to his spirit. In actuality I was terrified. One particular experience on a youth excursion was my first touch with his HS. I ran like HELL out of the room. My youth pastor had been in my life since age 11. IT was my first look into a normal family. Through him, my youth became tolerable, in a dissociated way. Abuse still was my everyday companion.

    Looking back in hindsight, God intervened in a HUGE way. Life altering events occurred that can only be accounted for by a loving God. At the time , they were teeny tiny experiences. People, and youth were brought into my life, that helped me escape my hell. I entered, a new phase, that stopped the abuse. I gravitated to another church, and started receiving healing.( Spiritual abuse also occurred here too, but in another form.) For about 5 years all I did was cry. (more like crazy person wailing.) Every service, and home-group meeting or conference.

    I was married in early adulthood, to what seemed like the most spiritual man ever. He was young, put on a pedestal, and all the spiritual favour by the church allowed him to cover up his anger. That, he took out on me daily. He never was physical except for once. Verbally yes, Emotionally yes. He was an angry man. (we quit church altogether after about half a dozen years of marriage.) Entering a church, being with other Christians brings feelings of utter fear/anxiety. We have several kids. We had been married more than two decades years….and I was so distraught over life with him.

    After losing two homes from bankruptcy, and still being yelled at over finances that had nothing to do with me…I told him I was leaving when the last kid graduated. If he didn’t want that he better do what I tell him to do, or I was gone. ( I don’t know where I got the balls to threaten him, because I don’t think I emotionally could have done that.) That was the beginning of change. I forced him to listen to Godly men online. (after all the abuse suffered at the hands of the church I scrutinize everything) He did reluctantly. Change has occurred over the last 8 years . He is no longer angry. He is kind, gentle and loving.

    What I write here is the tip of the iceberg. My story is too graphic, vulgar, and disgusting. It is only by God’s grace, and my hard work in therapy, and my continuous attitude to persevere through it all for the price of freedom. God has proven himself a million times over to me: this broken in mind and spirit girl, youth, and woman. I am amazed. I wrote all of this to encourage women to continue moving forward. I should not be alive by any account. How I survived childhood, or adulthood is nothing short of a miracle. I have painted a rosy picture but it was anything but. It was grueling terror surviving. Anyhow what I originally wanted to say to the owners of this site was WOW. Finally , a Biblical sense of JUSTICE. Deep in my heart , I knew my mother was no Christian. To survive , I have always just told myself there is a God and He is JUST. And when she dies she will face any and all justice measured out to her. I had no idea where to put the concept of grace…..I just could not entertain that idea. I don’t mean to be spiteful. (I walked away from my mother nearly three decades ago, and never looked back)

    My mother sat and still sits in church somewhere, where grace abounds. My abusers at church still sit in a grace filled environment and it is nice to be able to read your blog….I was blown away. They are old people now. Some have passed away, and some are nearing that doorway in life. I was in utter shock, and applause for this blog post……it kind of makes my stomach hurt because these are things that I don’t let my mind wander to. For all of my therapy, and years of healing, I have never ever faced the evil my mother did to me, and let others do to me. I fear that will send me straight away to the psychiatric ward, I avoid this like the plague. I dealt with other abuse and avoided mother abuse. I am mentally healthy at this point and don’t want to stir the waters. But, I want you to know, that reading your blog in regards to sin, and abuse in the church, I will be grateful for these words and the work you do providing a platform for people to learn and heal. Reading and learning about the violence, abuse, in the church today under such rampant evil doctrine……is grotesque. The attitude in church , towards abuse, in all forms does nothing but to eliminate any sort of validation of the abuse, thus minimizing the victim’s pain into nothing…I hate it.

    • Hi Bunkababy, welcome to the blog 🙂
      I’m glad you found this post helpful. You may like to explore the other posts in this Wise as Serpents series. If so, just put ‘wise as serpents’ into the search bar.

      I airbrushed some of the details in your story, just as a precaution. Please read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. And if you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      I understand your caution about dealing with the abuse your mother did to you. I sounds like that was worse than everything else, both in quantity and in varieties of wickedness. We always encourage our readers to pay attention to their gut feelings, and to be mindful of their safety and wellbeing. You are the best judge of what you can and cannot face at any particular point in time. 🙂

      Here is a post which I think you might find very helpful.
      Honouring Resistance – a wonderful resource for understanding abuse

      • Bunkababy3

        The abuse from a mother figure is so damaging. I have slowly over many years, corrected and learned truth on twisted scripture, that scared me to death. Through God’s never ending mercy, in the most interesting ways, I have learned not to be afraid of God and trust him. Although, I cannot bear to go to church, (it is terrifying in so many ways.) I go to online church. I was profoundly affected by what I have read so far on your pages, I am grateful for what you all do.

  9. Anonymous

    While listening to the audio sermon of this post I came across something I think is important to write here. Jeff said that he’d been able to speak at the “Overcoming Powerlessness” conference two years in a row. The couple who organized this event (Bonnie and Fred) had tried to find him a church to speak at while he was there. The first year they were surprised to find that no churches seemed to want this message preached at their churches but by the second year they were less surprised by it. Go figure! Where else have we heard this message spoken? I mean at what church did we hear anything like this?

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