A Cry For Justice

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

A Fresh Look at Evil and an Open Call to all who Teach on Marriage – Ephesians 6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Most Christians think that they understand the Apostle Paul’s words here in these familiar verses from his letter to the Ephesians. The Christian armor. The devil, and so on. I am writing this post for two reasons, 1) to demonstrate that in fact most Christians, pastors, teachers, authors, and counselors in fact have a very, very minimal or even non-existent notion of what Paul is speaking of here, and 2) to encourage us all to take a fresh and deeper look at the nature of our enemy.

Let’s begin with the second point first.

Recently I watched a new superhero movie — Dr. Strange. I liked it. Oh of course the worldview and theology in it was total fantasy, as it was meant to be. But there were some thought-provoking lines in it. One was when Dr. Stephen Strange went to Katmandu (you always find ultimate truth in some Buddhist monastery type place, right?) in search of a way to heal his injured hands. He connected with “the ancient one” – a bald lady named “the ancient one” – and she introduced him to regions beyond. He was told to “forget everything he knew.”

Now, of course this kind of mind-emptying eastern mystical stuff is completely foreign and even opposed to the truth of God’s Word. We don’t empty our minds to know Christ, but He does give us a new one. And in some ways you might say that a Christian has to “forget everything he knew” in order to know Christ. You see this for example in 1 Corinthians where the wisdom of God is contrasted with the wisdom of man.

Most Christians think that they know about evil. They might even be able to quote from Ephesians 6 word for word. But what I am trying to emphasize here is that we simply do not understand our enemy or his tactics until we get firmly hold on what Paul is saying here. We think we know. But we do not.

Think about it.

Paul says pointedly, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers/authorities/cosmic powers over this present darkness/spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Flesh and blood we know. Touch it, feel it, see it, smell it. It’s people. But non-flesh and blood, ah, that is a different story. Let me put this question to you pointedly and I hope that it serves to greatly humble you, especially if you are someone who has been preaching or teaching or writing books about marriage. The question is this:

Really, just how much do you know about rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, this present darkness, spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places? How much? Be honest. If you are a “teacher of Israel” as Jesus admonished Nicodemus, and you do not know much at all about such things, how can you venture to teach others?

Let me ask you still another question:

What if, just what if, there is a realm of darkness in this creation, operating its destruction, lying, deceiving, enslaving, that you really know hardly anything about? What if what you have been taught about evil is woefully lacking? What if you are wrong, in other words, about the enemy of our souls? And yet you are presuming to teach the church.

Now, I can hear many saying at this point, “I know quite a lot about evil and our enemy. I have my Bible. I know what it says.” Do you? Do you really? Do you truly know (to repeat) rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, this present darkness, and spiritual forces of evil? I am not speaking of knowing a list of facts. I am asking you if you have a true, working, experiential knowledge taught to you by the Spirit of God through the Word of God and through hard experience in this warfare. Let me answer for you. You do not. Unless you have personally been “touched” by these spiritual forces of evil right down where you live, you simply are ignorant of its nature and its tactics.

Humble admission of this ignorance is the starting point for growing wise in these matters. Arrogant insistence that you know is only a guarantee that you will remain ignorant and continue to be an ally of the enemy.

Do not grow defensive as these things are put to you. Those of you who have been preaching to others or writing books on marriage will make your greatest mistake if, when you are critiqued and your errors are pointed out, you react by circling your wagons and refusing to listen to the people who do know this evil. We at ACFJ see this ALL the time. I don’t know if we have ever had a well-known author or pastor humble themselves, acknowledge their need to learn, and ask for help. Rather it has been circle the wagons and fire back. The problem is, they end up firing back at the victims of evil, not at the evil itself.

Here is one more line I took from the Dr. Strange movie that really is particularly good. Dr. Strange was a well-known and famous surgeon, but he was very arrogant. The Ancient One (remember, don’t take your theology from the movies!) told him that there was one fundamental truth that he absolutely had to learn. Here it is:

It’s not about you!

And yet typically when we try to point out the errors  of the preachers, notable teachers and authors, when we try to steer them to solid facts about the nature and tactics of evil, they react as if it is all about them. “How dare you criticize my book. Don’t you know how many copies have sold? I just don’t understand how you can be so mean to me.”  It’s all about them, you see.  But it isn’t all about them. It is all about God’s truth in Christ, about exposing the evil of this present darkness, and about setting the captives free.

The Lord has taught myself, Barbara, the rest of our ACFJ team and all the host of our readers some hard, hard lessons that most of the time took decades for us to finally get. We have all been touched (some more, some less) by this devilish evil we call abuse. It came into our lives intimately, personally, in the form of evil people whose lust for power and control knew no bounds. Sometimes that evil stood in a pulpit, sat on a church board, served as a missionary, headed up a para-church ministry, shared the same bed in a “Christian” marriage, or some other “angel of light” disguise. But it all came down the road of our life. “Something Wicked this Way Comes” as the Disney movie title puts it. It came our way. Lying, deceiving, confusing, destroying. Until the Lord in His grace by His Spirit began to lift that confusing fog and we were enabled to see it for what it really is.

This teaching was not our doing. It was the Lord’s work in us. We wrote books. We started this blog. We interact with abuse survivors and victims and sometimes with abusers. And you know the remarkable thing that we saw right at the start and which we still see virtually every single day here at ACFJ? We see victims thanking us, telling us things like “you saved my life,” or “your books tell the very story of my life of abuse.”  NEVER have we had an abuse victims tell us that what we have written and taught harmed them, enabled their abuser, and held them in bondage longer. Never. Why? Because the Lord taught us personally through hard, hard years of abuser attacks what the nature of this evil and our enemy is. We have shared in the same evil our fellow-survivors have.

In contrast (and we say this humbly, not arrogantly nor vengefully), when (as has been the case recently) we critique a book on marriage, for example, and our readers comment on our critique and tell their stories about how that book or other ministry hurt and harmed and endangered them, it is VITAL that the authors listen to them. Vital! Here are the people taught by the Lord in the fire, people intimately acquainted with evil, telling the authors or pastors or Christian counselors — “no, you don’t know. You don’t understand. Listen to me and I can tell you how your teachings are enabling evil because you do not truly know it” — and what is happening most every time? The “authorities” refuse to listen. They are dismissive toward them. They act with an air of superiority. And if the victims persist in trying to speak out, the “teachers” become angry. Some even start playing the victim. “Oh, I just cannot understand why all of this negativity is being directed at me.”

And so here is still another call to such “teachers of the church.” A Cry for Justice, if you will. Admit that your real knowledge of evil is very, very limited. Confess that yes, when you wrote your book or taught your seminar or preached your sermon series, you had absolutely no inkling about this thing called abuse. You did not even conceive of such an evil person existing, let alone in the church. And most of you still don’t. And many of the “most” don’t want to know.

How can anyone possibly write a Christian marriage book, or really any Christian book at all, while remaining ignorant of the nature and tactics of evil? Consider one more time at least the titles Paul gives these “principalities and powers” in Ephesians 6 and confess to the Lord that there are very likely many truths about this evil that are entirely outside your realm of experience. Listen. Listen to the voices of the victims who are very ready and willing to help open your eyes, if you will simply step down from your high horse and listen.

 

***

If you’ve never commented on this blog before it is important to read our New Users’ Info page because it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. And if you’re new to this blog we encourage you look at our FAQs. The New Users Info page and the FAQs can also be found on the top menu bar.

 

21 Comments

  1. Leanne

    The book Love and Respect became my ex’s manual of oppression and justification for all he did. When that failed it was Love Busters. I got to hear on the regular all the love busters I was committing while he sat on his high and mighty throne of condemnation and accusation to justify all his deeds of darkness done in secret. While I was being disrespected in more ways than I have the space to claim, he was accusing me of disrespect. Your book indeed saved my mind and my life. The chaos and confusion that accompanies evil is bone crushing and soul killing. But the grace of God is greater still Wake up church!

  2. Seeing Clearly

    Ps. Crippen, thank you for speaking boldly today. You are shining light into a very dark world of teachers, ministers, and authors. Authors write, ministers and counseling professionals teach verbatim what has been written. The incorrect teachings and subsequent lies multiply quickly. Authors are given a powerful, destructive platform.

    These “power people” refuse to withdraw and stand down. However, I find it interesting how light shines successfully through tiny cracks. Over time, in unpredictable ways, evil people expose themselves, mostly through tiny cracks. It will come through a letter written years ago, never tossed and discovered at just the right time, or crossing paths with a mutual acquaintance that makes an off-handed comment about the evil one, or the evil one marrying far too quickly after the victim divorces them. Over time, the cracks grow larger. Today’s post opens a tiny crack a little further, allowing light of truth to shine a little brighter.

    Your bold words encourage me to continue sharing my life story, mostly through actions and and timely words. I nearly died at the hands of my evil ex-husband/minister. Being a minister’s wife, people were attentive to my “illnesses”. To my knowledge, he has not yet accepted fault.

    Little by little, I am reconnecting and being invited back into relationships with our old friends, neighbors, community. People comment on my good health and vibrancy. I do very little of the initiating, but am faithful to reciprocate in gatherings. The connections seem to come like a little bit of light through unsuspected cracks. Through ACFJ, I understand that I was living with an evil man. I am learning how to correctly word the truth so that curious people see him for who he truly was/is. As a minister, he impacted many people. Each one has to sort out how truth/lies intermingled, impacted their lives personally. Ten years past divorce now, the cracks are shining a little more light in an ever growing circle of people who I am able to speak the truth with. I have continued with a prayer, “God keep me in your truth”.

  3. My pastor basically condemned me for publicly stating that demons can indwell humans. And he knew I was speaking about my ex. After all, he spent little time getting to know my ex. The more I listen to this pastor’s beliefs, the less I respect his position. He may know how to interpret the bible. But I highly doubt he has experience with the evil forces of darkness.

  4. Outside the old wineskin

    So much truth here. It is a frustration of trying to open blind eyes and stopped up ears. So many do not want to believe the unthinkable is true. It is a horrible experience to dwell in a place of confusion where the voice of the Spirit and the voice and behavior of those supposedly led by the Spirit conflict over and over again. I know with certainty I would have been destroyed had I not had the knowing kind of truth from ACFJ helping me hear the voice of the Spirit more clearly. I especially liked the long series by Pastor Crippen on Evil (Wise as Serpents) It was like he knew exactly what I was dealing with when I was dealing with it. For me that was a sure sign of a man led by the Spirit of God.

    I still am hesitant to engage with new churches, not knowing if they are wise to evil, and also whether they deal rightly with it. I’m outside the old wineskin now, in a process of healing and gaining in wisdom, praying for the healing of so many blind and deaf ones inside the churches.

    • I LOVE your screen name, Outside the old wineskin!

      Welcome to the blog 🙂 You may know this already, but we always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  5. Daughter of the King

    He who heads discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Pr. 10:17

    Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. Pr. 12:1

    It is a truthful saying that by our fruits we are known, so if an author or teacher refuses to humble themselves and repent, and learn, then they possibly are in the enemy’s camp. Although it is so hard (and painful) to wrap our minds around this fact sometimes, it is often the beginning of knowing the truth, which will set us free.

  6. Lea

    “It’s all about them, you see.”

    Nailed it.

  7. Lisa

    Yes…it’s so true….these lessons about Evil do often take decades to fully process and internalize. The lord has brought me through quite a few variations on the script of Evil and, at 52 years old, I’m still processing the nuances.

    I actually believe that fully understanding all of the variations and combinations of Evil is, in many ways, the true nature of discipleship. Because the leaven of Evil leaveneth the whole lump eventually. And we are actually witnessing the full expression of it in all the global events unfolding as we approach the eschaton.

    • I actually believe that fully understanding all of the variations and combinations of Evil is, in many ways, the true nature of discipleship.

      I was thinking about only yesterday, when I was reading Philippians.

      And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil 1:9-11)

      Developing more and more finely tuned discernment is an essential part of maturing as Christians. Without discernment, we might be able to approve things that are excellent, but we will at the same time be un-discerningly approving things that are NOT excellent, things that are in fact evil: leaven, adulterations of the gospel, and wicked people disguised as angels of light.

  8. God Fearing Mom

    It is so true. When I was trying to show the people at the new church I was attending why they should be careful how they teach on marriage, because I was affected negatively and so was my husband, through bad marriage teaching, they got defensive and when I persisted it seemed they turned it into something to get rid of me.

    The only concern with this website I have had in the past was my sensitivity and comparing my situation with what I was learning but it turned out ultimately for good now I have boundaries, a good testimony to back them up, and my husband is strongly supported to fight against or actually far from the seducing lure of “religious” entitlement and inequality.

    Now I just have to live with a Mother-in-law who I give a whole lot of space to because of her tactics.

  9. Mark

    Drop the mic!
    This really needed to be said, its better to hear it now than swimming with a mill-stone necklace later.

    • Well said, Mark. You really have a way with words, mate!

  10. Another wolf in sheep’s clothing to add to the long list. This news just broke on the 6th of March:

    Married reverend accused by his wife of having affairs with SEVEN churchgoers at the same time is found hanged Here is some of the article:

    The Rev Dr Iain D Cambell hanged himself after wife accused him of affairs.
    Now she has called on religious officials on Isle of Lewis to kick out the women.

    When a leading church minister died in unexplained circumstances on the Isle of Lewis, the close-knit community was in shock.

    Tributes to Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell, 53, came from around the world, while shops on the island closed for his funeral in January.

    But it has emerged the father-of-three hanged himself after his 54-year-old wife Anne accused him of having up to seven affairs with churchgoers at the same time.

    And now she has called on their church to kick out the women for adultery – even hiring herself a public relations professional.

    On January 30th, Carl Trueman — who is one of the three members of the Mortification of Spin team and someone who we have mixed feelings about on this blog — warmly endorsed this Obituary of Iain Campbell by Professor Ian McLeod.

    I wonder what Carl Trueman is thinking now that the dead man’s wife has made this report?

    I believe the case of Iain Campbell is further evidence of how God is sifting the church. And I think God’s sifter is agitating more and more vigorously. He is shaking out the notable wolves, exposing them to the light. And every time He exposes a wolf, He is calling on the rest of the notable wolves to MAKE A DECISION. Will the rest of the notables and the rest of the church believe the victims’ reports? Will they join in exposing and denouncing the wolves? Will they put the exposed wolves out of the church?

    Trueman and all the rest of the fence sitters, the ones who seem to like to have it a bit both ways… where do you stand? God is watching. The victimized sheep are watching. The watch-bloggers are watching. And no one knows when Christ will return. Do not delay. Do not twiddle your thumbs on the fence.

    • Seeing Clearly

      Well spoken, Barbara. God is using mass media for His purposes to expose wolves and shine His light on those who think they are well hidden. ACFJ is God’s voice to speak the truth.

    • Barely Reformed

      For now I’ll be charitable and assume Carl didn’t know about this situation on Jan. 30th. I only found out this morning because of the Aquila Report linking to it. We’ll see what happens. It took a while for some of Tullian’s former supporters to see the light, but they eventually did.

      • Yes, when that obituary was written and when Carl Trueman endorsed it, the allegation about Campbell’s multiple affairs had not been made public. Sorry if I did not make that ultra clear.

  11. Anonymous

    Reading this post reminded me of something that God taught me a while ago, but was brought to the forefront of my mind while watching the Leah Remini series, “Scientology and the Aftermath.”

    This series is about the cult of Scientology (duh) but the parallels to the abuse that many of us suffer from are the same. (After all, it’s all run and maintained by the evil one and his crew.) From my understanding, the purpose of the series was Leah’s way of trying to make restitution for supporting and promoting this powerful cult in her past, and bringing awareness to how devious, abusive and powerful this cult is and how it operates. She shares how when she finally had her eyes fully opened…..it was SO OBVIOUS that Scientology was a cult and she’s amazed that she ever bought the lie in the first place. But because she was entranced and mesmerized by it, she knows how those who are still under its spell, think and feel. SUPER VALUABLE understanding if she wants to help others….again, duh!

    So, as I’m reading this post and Pastor Crippen is reaching out and beseeching his fellow pastors to stop and look and see the truth from God’s word that is displayed in the walk of His true children, I’m reminded of that horrible truth that God had me learn. That there are probably MANY people (pastors and non pastors) who are JEALOUS of the wisdom that is poured out here because they CAN see that it is truthful, biblical and healing. They care NOTHING for the heartbreak, tears, PTSD and years of self-blame and abuse that Pastor Crippen and all of us had to endure in order to be brought to this truth and understanding. All they see is that Pastor Crippen is gifted and strong in his biblical beliefs and that others here also have this stance. They want what they perceive to be the glory that is displayed here, to be shone on them.

    Watching Leah’s series, I realized that there were probably many actors who were envious of the attention and notoriety that she was receiving and completely missed the heartbreak and horror she had to go through in order to get angry enough to take it upon herself to hire a camera crew to expose it. In one of the last interviews she talks about how she had no idea how this would be received by the public, with the implication that she thought many would be against her. She went on to say that she was shocked by the amount of support and kindness and love so many people were showing to her. She seemed overwhelmed and humbled by this. If this is the case (that she thought she would be attacked by the majority of the viewers) the bravery she displayed by doing the series anyway, is breathtaking.

    And I feel the same way about all of us here. How BRAVE we are to share or testimonies thinking that nobody hears us and that those who do, want to attack us. But we still press on. We still search scripture and we still love Jesus. And just think, there may be people reading MY comment who only see that I’m able to write with some amount of wisdom, and instead of being grateful that THEY didn’t have to go through the trials it took for me to gain this wisdom, only envy it, totally missing the pain and horror it took for me to get it.

  12. Daffodil

    Pls pray for deliverance, revelation, repentance and salvation for my NPD ex. That whole family is a mess, and my two kids are the only Christians of more than half a dozen grandchildren. I pray from a distance, because I did truly love him and don’t want to see anyone go to Hell. I can’t save him, but I ask God to. He’s fooling his new wife and trying to fool the Church now, but praise God the Diocese sees his dysfunction. And I pray the Archdiocese does too . God get YOUR glory in this!

    • Hi, I edited your comment to airbrush identifying details, and I changed your screen name to Daffodil. Please when you submit comments can you manually correct what your device is inputting into the ‘NAME’ field in the comments form — change it from the default name your device is using to ‘Daffodil’.

      If you don’t do that, one day our moderators may accidentally publish a comment of your unedited and your identity could be figured our by your abuser and his allies. If you need more guidance on this please email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com Thanks.

      I also encourage you to look carefully at your comment above, to see how I edited it. That may help you not write identifying details in your future comments.

  13. Simone

    “Something wicked this way comes,” is from the play MacBeth, not a Disney movie title.
    By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

    • Thanks Simone! And welcome to the blog. I altered your screen name as a precaution for your safety.

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: