A Cry For Justice

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

Ephesians 5:11 and Exposing Evil — A Real Case

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible  (Eph 5:11-13)

Jesus exposed evil. The Light of the World does that. His people are the light of the world and we are to do the same evil-exposing that He did. His Word shows us the pattern:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:25)

Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. (2 Timothy 4:14-15)

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. (1 Cor 5:1-2)

Need I go on? This is the pattern of Light exposing evil as God commands. Is it the typical pattern we see in churches now? Hardly.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Notice very carefully that the failure to expose evil hiding in the church is necessarily then to participate in that evil. When child molesters parading as Christians are tolerated, excused, “forgiven,” “loved,” and thereby not exposed for what they are, the church leaders and members who refuse to obey the Lord are in fact molesting those children themselves because by their disobedience they are participants in these sordid deeds.

Every pastor, church leader, or professing Christian who makes the accusation that exposure of an evildoer is gossip or slander against a “Christian brother” is calling the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles gossips and slanderers.

Recently myself and our church elders had a firsthand encounter with wickedness. A man who had come to our church one Sunday over a decade ago suddenly showed up again. Walked right in, all dressed very meticulously in suit and tie, very pious looking, taking notes, carrying his Bible and so on. It took me a bit to remember who he was, but eventually I did. The last time he was there was his last time there! We had told him to leave and not come back. Why? Because he was on a mission. He was carrying a whole pile of books on marriage and divorce and the reason he had come was to “enlighten us” with his discovery that anyone who is divorced is not permitted by God to remarry while their ex is living and if they do, they are guilty of adultery AND therefore he was “called” to tell them that they needed to divorce from their present spouse. Fun guy, eh?

No, you aren’t going to do that here. You are gone.

Now here he is back again over a decade later. Pious smile. Pleasant greeting to me. Speaking of what a fine church we have. This is what you can call crazy-making. It’s like a guy smiling at you and saying in words how much he likes you while at the same time he’s pointing a gun at you! It’s all done very intentionally. “Ok, Mr. M., you need to come back to my office with me.” Certainly, that would be great!

So we sit down with M. “Don’t I recall that we had some trouble the last time you were here?” “Oh yes, you told me I was a prideful man and needed to leave.” Still a pleasant smile, pleasant tone, no hint of anger.” “Do you still hold to those notions about marriage and divorce that you did and is it your intent to tell others those things?” “Oh yes.” Still smiling. Calm tone. Friendly face. Meticulous tie, dress shirt, suit.

“Well, M., you have to leave. You cannot be here. You are not allowed here.” I opened the door for him.

“Oh, well, you want me to leave? If I had known that I certainly would not have wanted to cause any problems. Certainly I will leave.” Exit out the door. STILL mind-boggling “pleasantness.”

Ha! Our two elders who were present and who had been getting ready to pray for the worship service about the begin, looked up and said, “What just happened?”  We all just shook our heads. We knew this guy’s motives, whatever they were, certainly were evil. BUT I ASSURE YOU THAT IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HE WAS THE NICEST GUY. And you may well have thought that we were being harsh to the poor man. After all, he had also told us “my wife is still very ill.” Yes, and most people assume that his WIFE is the problem!

I have absolutely no doubt that many if not most professing Christians and pastors are convinced that to handle a fellow like this in this manner is unloving, unkind, un-Christian, and just plain wrong. The Bible says otherwise. I choose to go with Scripture. This man was exposed. His darkness was illuminated. Evil was put out from our midst. And if we could only know what such men have done and continue to do in the darkness, we would agree with Paul that it is so shameful it is hard to even speak about them.

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Further Reading

The Holy Spirit Calls us to Expose Evil — People Tell us to be Quiet About it

Expose the evil in truth and light, and remove it (advice for pastors Part 7, by Ps Jeff Crippen)

19 Comments

  1. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you ACFJ, for exposing evil today in 2017. I am learning to do the same. Practiced an exposure last week with one who chooses to live blind. The response back was her attempt to verbally discredit me from many angles. I did not back down, but stated I anticipated her response before I spoke. I explained my boldness was intentional because I knew she would not be hearing truth from anyone else in this matter. She also asked if I could train myself to speak in a less bold manner. My reply, “On this subject, no, because there is fire in my bones”.

    The subject was a ‘neighborhood’ minister who is caught having spiritually, sexually, emotionally abused selected women throughout many years as a senior minister. It is now out in the open. Her comment that she knew he loved Jesus ignited my fire.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Seeing Clearly – great job! That lady you confronted with truth needs to be concerned about the condition of her own soul, as I suspect you may have warned her about. She is calling evil “good” in her statement about that wicked false shepherd. She is flatly stating that she denies the truth of God’s Word.

  2. Natalie Anne

    Nobody “normal” acts like that. It’s robotic and void of conscience. Dead giveaway. Creepy, for sure. Glad you are telling people how you dealt with it. We have to press into what we know. Not what we see with our eyes.

  3. ACON

    Is it a coincidence that this creepy guy’s wife has been very ill for over ten years?

    • Seeing Clearly

      Ten years of illness being a coincidence raised a red flag immediately for me as well. Looking back at couples where a wife is not able to be well for years, I now see, there was often a consistent pattern of hidden abuse sleeping in bed with her. While I am stating a generalized pattern, over the last 40 yrs, it has been all too common.

      I look forward to other’s insights.

  4. Tess

    I have a question…
    Having spoken out and, as a result now being shunned, any suggestions as to how to behave if I were to meet these people when out and about as will probably happen as I live in a small area where everyone knows everyone else and there is every chance this will eventually happen….So…Do I just say Hi and walk on? As a Christian, it doesn’t seem right to totally ignore a fellow Christian , especially one who was a very close friend.

    • Personally, I wouldn’t just say “Hi” as if nothing had happened. Depending on the tone of voice one used, a “Hi” could in a way be showing insincere or feigned love, which the Bible tells us not to do —

      …in everything commending ourselves, as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in knowledge, in long suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in love unfeigned, (2 Cor 6:4-6 ASV)

      In Australia, “Hi” is a genial expression, and I think that is the same in the US. In the circumstance you describe I think it would be more appropriate to acknowledge that person by saying “Hello” and then walk on. That would be civil, but not genial, not implying a casual accepting tolerance of the way they have treated you. And with your eyes and body language you can be reserved and guarded, while still being civil in the Hello with your mouth.

      If after the Hello the person tried to engage you in conversation, I would suggest you say “I’m not comfortable having an everyday conversation with you until the way you’ve treated me has been properly resolved.” And show you mean it by then walking away.

      • Tess

        Thank you Barbara that is very helpful.
        This has been exacerbating my confusion and anxiety.It is a “fear of man”, I know and thank you for not rebuking me for feeling this way. You may tell that I am not in a mentally healthy place…Abuse can instigate so much fear and self doubt can’t it?
        This site is truly a Godsend….Thank you Jeff and Barbara for the way you accept us as we are… Imperfect, hurting and struggling…And thank you to my new online friends who share so generously and are so encouraging. The abuse I have suffered has affected me deeply, it has been isolating and scary….It’s good to know there are people out there who “get it” and will not condemn.

  5. Survivor

    What if it’s your own Mother? (Yes, who has been a wonderful lady and fine Christian for decades.)

    The more that comes to light, the more excruciating it is. I end up just staying away from family gatherings. My children are hurt because of this, even though I have told them what I know. I’m seen as holding onto a victim mentality. How to be understood and accepted when you’re the one seen (or accepted as being deemed) as THE problem (rocking the boat)?

    Telling the truth is so damaging that it is actually an incredibly dangerous thing to do that will have you lambasted/castigated for the rest of your life.

    Everyone needs family – to belong, to be with and work/help/share in life with, to love and be loved.

  6. Gothard Survivor

    What is the answer to a husband that just keeps repeating, I am not perfect or I am not good enough for you (because your standards are too high). I feel compelled to try again, be more compassionate, etc. But then nothing changes. I am nothing but someone for people to use.

    • The abuser is truthful in saying “I am not perfect” — but like many truths abusers utter, it is said with malignant intent. The malignant intent is revealed in the other thing he says along with that: “I am not good enough for you (because your standards are so high).” With that second statement, and especially the part within parentheses, he is implying that YOU are the one to blame because YOUR standards are ‘too high’. So he’s deftly ‘confessed’ and then switched into criticising and blaming you for the problem….

      This kind of bait and switch is very typical of abusers. The abuser puts out the bait (like his ‘confession’) to get you soften and feel sorry for him, feel like you ought to be more patient and tolerant of his flaws — and then he switches, he stings with his scorpion-tail by shifting the main blame onto you.

      And of course, nothing changes in the abuser. He just keeps using these tactics… because they work. They enable him to avoid taking responsibility. They pressurise you back into being more compassionate towards him. So you remain under his control, so you remain his slave, cook and bottle washer, so to speak.

      I encourage you to see right through his game and refuse to buy into it. He’s been manipulating you, to make feel you have to ‘try again’. Dig you mental and spiritual heels in and stand firm against his ploys. Expect (yes, expect) him to escalate his abuse when you do this — then you won’t be knocked off balance so easily when he does escalate. Keep on being firm, keep on refusing to back down; keep on resisting his manipulative attempts to make you feel guilty and feel sorry for him. Go ‘no contact’ with him as much as you can. Use the gray rock method if it is helpful.

      You might find it helpful to read the posts under out boundaries tag.

      ((hugs)) from Barb 🙂

      • keeningforthedawn

        Barb, your dissection of this abuser’s statement (“I am not perfect/good enough for you…because of your high standards”) is a powerful exercise in “translating” abuse speak. It’s good practice for those of us who are still growing in wisdom and discernment. Thank you!

  7. Gothard Survivor

    Thank you, Barb

    • Avid Reader

      Gothard Survivor,

      Here’s some food for thought……
      This is from Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft? where he is describing a type of abuser that sounds similar to what you’re describing:

      The Victim ( i.e. the type of perpetrator who specialises in playing the victim)

      The Victim:
      The victim is highly self centered in relationships. Everything seems to revolve around his wounds….if you have children he tries to get them to feel sorry for him as well…..He seems forever to be telling you “you don’t understand me, you don’t appreciate me, you hold my mistakes over my head.”

      Yet you sense that the dynamic is actually the other way around….if you are involved with the victim…..(and think about leaving)…..you may find that you feel guilty toward him, despite his mistreatment of you and have difficulty ending the relationship as a result. You may feel that because his life has been so hard, you are reluctant to add to his pain by abandoning him. You may worry that he won’t take care of himself if you leave…….the Victim knows how to present himself as helpless and pathetic so that you will find it harder to take your own life back.

    • AbusedHusband

      Gothard Survivor,

      I couldn’t help noticing your blogging name. So you’ve been through the Bill Gothard nonsense, too?

      Thirty years ago I was in a church that was heavily into Gothard. The pastor and elder were encouraging (actually, putting pressure on) people to attend a seminar. After dragging my feet, I finally decided to attend a Basic Youth Conflicts seminar with the pastor and some other church members.

      The seminar started and all it was was Bill Gothard projected on a video screen doing his “teaching.” It all seemed so “cult-like,” but everyone around me seemed to be really “digging it.” While Bill was droning on and on making his absurd, dogmatic, legalistic statements, I kept thinking “yeah, but…” to most of what I was hearing. Finally, he made some ridiculous claim that rhythm in music was “demonic,” so (being that I was a musician) I started tuning him out and quit watching him and was absend-mindedly doodling on some paper. The pastor noticed I wasn’t submissively “receiving” the teaching and reprimanded me for being “willful” and “unspiritual” (or something like that).

      Anyway, when I found out about the Gothard scandal later, it didn’t surprise me.

  8. Tess

    Oh yes , a “perpetrator” can turn overnight into a sniveling, helpless victim.

    My abusive friend has a habit of bursting into tears as she tells fellow church members how I upset her by pulling away each time I tried “no contact”.

    She also has sobbed her way through a Bible study because of my trying to escape her onslaughts by distancing myself’.

    On each and other similar dramatic episodes, she received coddling and sympathy as people always believed her.

    Years earlier I remember, for the sake of my sanity, leaving my family to stay in a refuge to get a much needed break from my husband’s bad behaviour, while the ladies in the church took home made meals round to my “heartbroken” husband…….So, yes the sense of shame and isolation is crippling as the perpetrator acts like the victim in front of the church family who only see the self-pitying act and think badly of the real victim.

    It’s very hard to be misunderstood in this way and not to get depressed and sad.

    • Some Anonymous Bloke

      The seeds of deceit have been sown; the fruit of that harvest must eventually be reaped. The god of this age is the father of lies; the God of the Lord Jesus Christ is a God of truth. Thankfully God cannot be manipulated and does not fall prey to ‘pity plays’.

      I have a family member who has always been highly skilled at his/her craft of manipulation, lies, abuse and reversing the victim–victimiser role. What is saddest is that the people who should know better refuse to open their eyes fully to the nature of the person they are dealing with. There seems to be some level of wilful blindness. People do not want to believe that individuals within their own family (e.g. fathers, mothers, sons, daughters) are, or can be, genuinely evil.

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