A Cry For Justice

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

When the “Church” Becomes Goliath

And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me….

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17:4-8; 41-47)

In many, many cases which abuse victims continue to experience at the hands of their local and denominational church leaders (and members), the experience of David standing before Goliath is being revisited. Because the “church,” when it becomes the anti-church and stands with evil, raises itself up like a monster “seeking whom it may devour.” Martin Luther and many other true Christians down through history have faced this same devilish wolf in wool.

Sometimes, yes, what we face in the battle to open the eyes of fellow Christians to the nature and tactics of evil is indeed mere naivete and ignorance that needs to be corrected with truth. But we must not be naive ourselves in this fight, because what we face more often than perhaps we realize is not some uninformed, immature group of people who have not had their senses trained to discern good and evil (see Hebrews 5 on that one). Rather, it is Goliath. A giant enemy of Christ looking to destroy truth and those who proclaim it. Giants use threats, intimidation, mockery, accusation and all the tactics of the kingdom of darkness to keep the victims of evil oppressed, powerless, and shamed.

We must not yield to such tactics, and we must confidently realize the nature of what our foe is. When the “church” becomes Goliath, it is no church at all, but a sworn enemy of Jesus Christ and all who follow Him.

And then we must realize something else. We have the weaponry to bring this giant down. In spite of all his apparent power and tools of destruction, Goliath is brought down by one little stone launched by the Spirit of God by the slingshot of a shepherd boy.

You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Over and over and over again we see victims of abuse whose abusers are hiding in the pews of the church—wicked hypocritical church “members” who pretend piety and dupe the naive. And we see their victims threatened by the spirit of Goliath. We must, in Christ’s strength, respond as David did. “We come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, whom you have defied.”

I think that Goliath is teetering right now. Perhaps not much, but cracks are forming. Celebrity church leaders, famed theologians and writers, the usual suspects at patriarchal conferences, are not enjoying the unopposed liberty to abuse that they were say a few years ago. I think that increasingly they are hearing the hum of thousands of slingshots spinning and they are afraid. Because they are starting to realize we aren’t going to turn and run. We aren’t going to just go away.

And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (1Samuel 17:49)

****

 For further reading:

Non-Negotiables for Effective and Biblical Abuse Ministry

A Story of Abuse and Shame: Setup by the Religion of the Pharisees and How Jesus Set Her Free!

Be Done With Church Leaders who Prove Themselves to be Blind Guides

Why Jonathan believed David, despite lack of proof that David was in imminent danger

How Did David Treat Goliath? (Shouldn’t He Have Been More Loving?)

16 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    1 Samuel 17:34-37, “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.””

    Little David. Shepherd boy alone with his sheep for long stretches of time. How the time he was alone with his sheep he was also with God. He learned in those times that he could trust in the Lord and that God would be with him through every hard thing.

    Was he loved and favored by his family? Does this verse give you that impression?

    1 Samuel 17:28, When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

    David is called thoughtless, selfish, arrogant and irresponsible. And when Samuel came to anoint his head with oil as the next king – his family didn’t even bother to tell Samuel that there was yet another son out tending the sheep all by himself, until Samuel insisted on asking. (1 Samuel 16)

    Yet here we see little David. With an army commissioned by God himself behind him, and a giant known for his mercilessness and cruelty before him. Once again alone — but never alone — because GOD is his hope and his promise and his love and those many hours spent trusting in God because he had no one else, had given him the faith to stand before this evil man and even to feel like he had the “right” to do what God’s army were too afraid to do. To take on a literal GIANT and to kill him. To stand up to the monster and at least TRY to defeat him while still planning ahead (if God chose to kill additional men as well, David gathered additional stones as a precaution).

    And now the church has become Goliath. Is this really a surprise to those of us here? Not anymore. Because for those of us who know the truth of what Jeff posted, the stone we stand on is Jesus and we often stand alone on this stone. And on this stone we fight. Is it because we WANTED this to be our battle or this to be our battle stance? No. It’s simply the only spot left to us after the monuments around us have crumbled and fell and we have no other refuge or place amongst the rubble. And we fight because as Jeff wrote, “When the “church” becomes Goliath, it is no church at all, but a sworn enemy of Jesus Christ and all who follow Him.”

    • KayJay

      Wow, Anonymous, I just had an epiphany when I read your 3rd paragraph: “Was he loved and favored by his family?” After years of feeling resentment from my supposedly Christian parents and never understanding why, this is an eye-opener! Not to mention a spouse who seems incapable of sharing in any kind of joy or success or even happiness. Crazy!

      • That’s one of the reasons I love this blog. One reader points out something in a particular scripture, and it gives an epiphany to another reader.

        That is how the body of Christ is meant to be: a community of born-again souls whose minds are each individually being renewed and transformed by the Spirit of Christ. Reborn souls, who in humbly sharing the little windows and insights of their walking with Christ, are used by our Lord — our Saviour, our brother — to help each other grow in Christ. And each of us are just doing our ordinary stuff, not thinking it is any big deal but just humbly sharing our hearts. And God uses us to help each other in ways each of us could never have predicted or foreseen.

      • Anonymous

        Barb, your response is so beautiful–perhaps it should go on the “gems” page. It sums up the point of this website as well as the need to share our TRUTHFUL testimony.

        Truthful in the sense that we don’t need to try to frame-up what actually took place in our lives but rather lay it all out–warts and all–cuz that’s the way God displayed it for us. We never know how much of what we’ve witnessed in our walk with the Lord was actually meant to reach out to others, so we just lay it ALL out there. I have had so MANY epiphanies and gained deeper understanding into the nature of God and how he loves each of us individually yet collectively, by reading the comments and articles here, as testimonies for Christ.

        Again, thank you ACFJ and all those who share their hearts here. We SO BADLY need each other and will need this haven even more so, as we get deeper into these end times we’re living in.

  2. Charis

    “He will call to Me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, the rock of my salvation.’” ~Psalm 89:26

    “Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.” ~Isaiah 28:16

    How fitting that David’s one stone was The One Stone, our Rock and Cornerstone. I don’t know why I didn’t see that before in this story. Thank you, Jeff, for that connection.

  3. Anonymous

    You nailed it, Pastor Crippen. These abusers are hearing the humming of slingshots spinning and indeed are afraid…afraid because they are cowards. They are large-and-in-charge in their minds only. Cowards that they are, cracks are forming and their darkness is being exposed in the Light.

  4. abigail

    Some of the old-timers never planned on a little thing called the internet which makes them no longer able to hide…….

  5. freedomplease

    I could use your prayers. I am about to file from my husband of over 15 years and leave my church. He is a liar, alcoholic, cruel man who is always reading his bible. He has pulled out weapons when angry to intimidate me. He stalks me in some ways and has some mental( narcissist ) issues as well.

    I took my children a few months ago in separation. Initially my pastor seemed supportive to whatever decision I made, then things changed and he changed his divorce stance and i felt put on trial having to answer why i felt i could divorce and what really are broken vows and he was very ungracious. ( though he says i shouldn’t go back physically at this point, huh??) I stood my ground and am thankful to a small circle of people who get it and have helped me pull out of my husband’s brainwashing emotional rollercoaster from hell. Now after meeting with my pastor my husband seems more emboldened and pharisaical than ever as i have not readily let him have kids for church every sunday so he can fain the spiritual man at church whose wife left him and hasn’t come in a while.

    I wanted to say thank you Jeff and Barbara and all others who contribute, i have the book unholy charade, so does my sister in law. I have read so much of your site and it is a lifeline i am so thankful to the Lord for. He is not a God of oppression and He sees our pain and provides a way out. I’m still climbing out of the pit but can see the light.

    • Welcome to the blog, freedomplease!

      Yes, praying for you as you move up and out of the abusive relationship!

      We like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users Info page – if you haven’t already. It gives tips for staying safe when comment on the blog.

      Again, welcome!!

      • freedomplease

        Thank you!

    • Freedomplease — you definitely have grounds for divorce. And you probably don’t have time to read my book now with all the other practical issues you’re dealing with. But if you want a gift copy of it, see our Gift Books Offer:
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/05/24/blog-news-gift-books-offer-additional-news/

      • Freedomplease

        Thank you Barbara, I will check the link!

    • Suzanne

      Freedomplease, I have prayed for you and your children that God will bless, protect, and provide for you.

      • Freedomplease

        Suzanne, thank you so much!! Both meetings went as well as I could have hoped, not fun, but I felt empowered after calmly speaking my peace and leaving the chains behind. I have more peace than I have had since I separated, I am so thankful. We will see how he takes it when he actually gets served, so far he has been polite enough, time will tell. The Lord has provided me gracious relatives to live with for as long as I need to till I can get on my feet and eventually find a job. I keep telling my children we will watch the Lord and see all the ways He will take care of us and provide. Thank you again for your prayers!

  6. NotAlone

    I came across a very excellent point in my scripture reading today. Did you know that God actually tells us that oppression destroys a wise man’s reason? I found it in Ecclesiastes 7:7a

    “Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason”

    I often feel as though church leaders colluding simply adds to the oppression in DA homes. This has really been through in my life experience; I question many things these days about my judgment being sound or about when I perceive things. I often have to check and re-check how I am seeing things to make sure I am not mistaken or misunderstanding, or have possibly gotten myself confused about how I might perceive a situation or a communication or my view or intuition about circumstances or heart attitudes of the my spouse or pastor. It is quite tiresome and energy-sapping. I think the devil uses this method to wear us down.

    • Suzanne

      You’re not alone in the check and re-check nightmare. I believe that is what held me back in my career. I was incapable of making quick decisions, not because I didn’t know my stuff, but because I would question my decisions endlessly. It took me three times as long to get anything done and employers don’t appreciate that.

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