A Cry For Justice

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

Standing Against Abuse Requires the Making of Enemies

But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. (Matthew 12:14)

If a person’s intent is to remain popular with everyone, especially with all the leaders of the visible church, then following Christ, standing against evil (especially evil hiding behind religion), and exposing abusers is most certainly not possible for them. Look at where Jesus walked and look at what He experienced at the hands of the visible “church” of his day and you will see the path He calls us to walk if we are going to take up our cross and follow Him.

George Whitefield, the great evangelist of the revival in the 1700’s, was not a controversialist by nature. He was a very gracious man. I have been reading the incredibly valuable biography of Whitefield written by Arnold Dallimore and I want to share with you a few paragraphs that illustrate precisely what I mean in this post. This is from Whitefield’s own journal:

…sat up till near one in the morning with my honoured brother and fellow-laborer, John Wesley, in conference with two clergymen of the Church of England, and some other strong opposers of the doctrine of the new birth. God enabled me, with great simplicity, to declare what He had done for my soul, which made them look upon me as a madman…I am fully convinced there is a fundamental difference between us and them. They believe only an outward Christ, we further believe that He must be inwardly formed in our hearts also.

Now listen more as Dallimore comments:

The realization that deep doctrinal differences existed between him and the majority of the clergy was of grave significance to Whitefield. These men were the officers of the Church that he respected so highly, yet allegiance to what he knew to be the truth of God separated him from them and required that he stand against them. The role of peace-maker came naturally to him, but it was now necessary for him to become a warrior and for this he was not at all suited by nature. The status of the respected clergyman must go and he must accept a position of being looked upon as a controversialist, subject to bitter misrepresentation and reproach.

In meeting this experience, Whitefield was aided by the example of the Wesleys. Their self-assertive strength allowed them to face opposition almost with contempt. Charles tells of a conversation with William Chapman, a former Holy Club man, who insisted that there is no need of our being persecuted now. ‘I told him,’ says Charles, ‘I was of a different judgment, and believed every doctrine of God must have these two marks: (1) Meeting all the opposition of men and devils, (2) Triumphing over all. I expressed my readiness to part with him and all my friends and relations for truth’s sake.’

Bluntly, almost defiantly – Charles asserted his clerical rights in a discussion with the Bishop of London, and said of an interview which he and John had with the Archbishop, ‘We told him we expected persecution.’

And so it is. This is the experience of every true follower of Jesus Christ as we stand firm in His truth.

We are surrounded today by professing Christians who insist that we must “get along” with most anyone who claims to be a Christian. We must “work together” and never speak harshly of another person who claims to belong to Christ. We need to “win them over” rather than alienate them. If they are teaching unhelpful stuff about domestic abuse, we must compromise, we must tolerate it, we must help them along and not be harsh on their ‘minor’ mistakes. But the thing is, when we try to teach such folks, they don’t want to learn, they bristle, and sometimes they even start spreading false reports about us.

Here at ACFJ we reject all of this ‘compromise’ thinking. Why? Not because we like making enemies, but because

  • we don’t want to water down God’s truth
  • we know that God’s truth about abuse has been watered down and contaminated by much false teaching in the church
  • we know God hates the lukewarm and the false
  • we know the compromise thinking lets victims down.

As a result, we make enemies. Most of those enemies are in the visible church.

The truth of the matter is that we have absolutely nothing in common with anyone who refuses to identify evil for what it is – evil. This means that people who waffle, people who seem to think that the devil himself is redeemable if we just love him enough, people who ride the fence when it comes to calling out church leaders and para-church celebrities for their errors that enable abusers and add oppression to victims, are not our comrades. In fact, if you have been in this fight against abuse hiding in the church long enough, you already know that such people largely are the problem.

All of us, if we are going to follow Christ and do battle for him against evil, are going to have to come to the same realization that George Whitefield did when he said, “I am fully convinced there is a fundamental difference between us and them. They believe only an outward Christ, we further believe that He must be inwardly formed in our hearts also.”  There is no middle ground. Either we stand for truth or we don’t. Either we are born again or we are dead in our sins. Either we see evil for what it is and expose it no matter what, or we compromise with it and join it.

To this date we have never yet seen a Christian “celebrity” individual or organization truly admit to the damaging errors they have taught in their books and seminars and practices. Not a single one. What we have seen and what we continue to see is that these kind hate us when we call them to accounts for what they have done and what they are continuing to do. So we make enemies.

Sometimes enemies are very polite. To remain popular, they dance around a question without answering it directly. But if they are pressed to state their views full clearly, if their feet are held to the fire, they become mean … unless of course God works upon their hearts by bringing them to acknowledge their sins (but if that happens they will publicly repent and retract the silly stuff they’ve written).

Whitefield wrote about how ‘polite’ people are often resistant to the truth. After preaching at Keynsham he wrote in his journal

I insisted much on original sin, because there are many in this city who, I fear, have imbibed the principles of that polite preacher, Mr F . . . . but woe to them who deny that they are born in sin.

And speaking of Bath, the famous watering town in England, he wrote

Many adversaries must be expected in so polite a place as Bath.

So be it.

Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

***

Related posts

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

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CCEF say that victims of abuse need redemption

19 Comments

  1. Tess......

    ” He was not at all suited by nature ” (to be a warrior)…..”though the role of peacemaker came naturally to him”……

    This applies to so many of us who are vulnerable to abuse …..speaking out is so so stressful for us…..against our nature…..we do it – then we become the problem…..if only my nature was more naturally warriorlike, life would be easier….I pray God will change me ….

    • Hi Tess, you might like to read this post also, which we re-blogged from A New Free Life’s blog.

      The Art of War, by A New Free Life

      • Anonymous

        The Art of War! Excellent – I had not read that before. Just excellent!

  2. Anonymous

    Speaking out is very stressful, no question about it. And yet now as I emerge and come out of the pit and continue to heal and reclaim my life, those who judge me for speaking out, doubt me or flat out don’t believe me become very, very insignificant. They just don’t matter! Making enemies as a result of speaking out against domestic violence in all its forms of evil, can and should be worn as a badge of honor.

    When we look at the horror of abuse that was heaped upon our Savior, who was of course without sin, and to envision those Roman soldiers putting their filthy hands on our Lord, how could we even for a moment CHOOSE to remain silent about the evil lurking all around us today.

    So to those CHOOSING to hear a watered down version of the Gospel, and to those do-nothing people who CHOOSE to remain lukewarm, can you really judge us as victims/survivors of abuse for speaking out because we, too, choose? We choose to take God at his word when he said, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16, ESV).

    “You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” (Winston Churchill)

  3. Anonymous 2

    I read that Winston Churchill quote, too, Anonymous. Being so widely hated is difficult, especially when smear campaigns and discrediting tactics, backlash, etc. is done to ensure most everyone hates you. Most bullies/abusers/criminals/wifebeaters/rapists run in packs of like-minded bullies/abusers/criminals/wifebeaters/rapists..

    I love this posting. It’s so true. So many of us women have been heavily indoctrinated to be the peacemakers, to speak no ill of anyone, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all……..But this is not true Christianity!

    God hates evil. God is wholly opposed to evil. God doesn’t ‘make nice’ with evil. God calls evil, “evil”, not some euphemistic term.

    And I do think a lot of us are very vulnerable to abuse because we are peace-loving, kind, gentle people and such a spirit seems to draw in all sorts of abusers. I read an interview that a person had with a pedophile and he told how he actually preferred targeting Christians because they’d be way more lenient, permissive, ‘forgiving’ and tolerant than other potential victims. I don’t remember the specifics but he definitely targeted Christians in upping his chances of getting away with his crimes.

    Isn’t that something?!

    And it is on this website I first learned (maybe I had read it before but not remembered it) that Jesus didn’t just chase the money changers out of the His Father’s House, but fashioned and whip, too! Playing ‘nice’ with evil is like playing with fire, where you end up getting burned.

    Needing to be trained to be a warrior!

    • Anonymous

      Anon, Your reference to the person being interviewed who said he prefers to target Christians because they are more vulnerable, speaks volumes to what Pastor Crippen is continually saying about these wolves running wild in our churches, pulpits and pews.

      Being a survivor of abuse from someone who tried to crush, destroy and ruin me with all his forms of terrorism, has left me pretty much fearless to speak out and call EVIL for what it is.

      And evil ‘husband’ who glared at me with immense hatred while cleaning a gun, and would not speak to me, was left completely speechless when I said, “Are you going to kill me? I want you to know I am not afraid to die.”

      Sometimes having enemies is just total affirmation, you are on the right track. Churchill nailed it!

  4. Anonymous

    Speaking out / being singled out / stepping out and seemingly stepping off the edge becomes our “normal.” In my life, it’s always been in spite of myself that I end up doing this and I have often resented it because it goes against my nature when others are actually “built up” by controversy.

    ““Now what have I done?”” 1 Samuel 17:29
    “”What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime?”” 1 Samuel 20:1

    These words are David’s. Over and over this man tried to do right with overwhelming odds stacked against him—except that one big one–that he belonged to God. He was a person after God’s own heart and I think that many of us here are “guilty” of this same “crime”–being a person after God’s own heart.

    So I guess we’re right where we are supposed to be–ostracized by many people; natural enemies of evil ones,

    For me the reason it’s so hard is because both the church and the world tried to sell me the lie that if I conformed to the “golden rule” standards, all will be well. From Wikipedia: “The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. It is a maxim of altruism seen in many human religions and human cultures.”

    Anymore, the more I try to hide or blend in, the more God prods me and pushes me out. So out I am, in spite of myself. I have always dreamed of being invisible. When I was young I used to try to figure out how I could have enough money so that I could live as a hermit. Even though everyone in my large family loved the limelight, desired to be famous, I hated attention and hated myself for this because I “knew” that there was something wrong with me. Why was I the only person I knew who hated attention? Cuz surely I was defective.

    Yep. Us “defective” ones are the ones who God uses. Um, thanks?

    • ACON

      Anonymous, you might have been the scapegoat of a narcissistic family. That doesn’t have anything to do with you being defective at all.

      Years ago, I felt that God “gave” me David’s words in Ps. 18:34: “He trains my hands for war …”. Ever since, I’ve often had to take a stand against unrighteousness and have incurred a lot of hatred.

      This is something the Church doesn’t want us to do. They want us to bow down and suck up to wicked people. It makes one wonder whether church leaders intend to groom Christians to become easy victims (cf. the pedophile’s statements above).

  5. Anonymous

    What you’ve written is true ACON–I was (for a time) the scapegoat of the family. My dad always scapegoated the oldest child so as the older ones moved out, the next in line were placed into this position. Before the divorce my mom was the scapegoat.

    This phenomenon was known in our family but no one knew the name of it or that it was abusive, until decades later. It didn’t negatively affect the other children however as they have the same nature as my dad. I was not so fortunate and in addition to this I was in the position of being the oldest for a longer period of time because after the divorce many of my older siblings went to foster care or were homeless. I was terrified of ending up like them so I endured it all and internalized the blame as belonging to me. (Of course I didn’t even realize this was abuse until decades later. It was simply life as I knew it.)

    And this part, ” It makes one wonder whether church leaders intend to groom Christians to become easy victims…” is absolutely true whether it’s done deliberately or through incorrect teaching. And sadly, the more naturally easy-going a person is, the deeper the harm that’s done to them. Apparently it’s easier to keep the current status quo in place rather than opening the floodgates of truth written in God’s word and allowing MANY at the same time to wake up to the truth—there’d be so much to deal with cuz many aren’t yet aware of the treachery taking place. Why wake up the sleeping lion?

  6. Thank God for you.

  7. Moving Forward

    There is a time to speak, and I plan to when it is safe, but there is also a time to be silent. Spurgeon had a timely message for me where he said that Jesus was silent before his accusers. To quote, “Where every word was occasion for new blasphemy, it was the line of duty to afford no fuel for the flame of sin. The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean, will ere long overthrow and confute themselves, and therefore the true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom.”

    This was particularly timely, as I just found out that my ex won almost everything he wanted in the court case, and I will be seeing less of my children. It was heartbreaking to us. Then he sent me an email from which I was able to list 24 accusations and blame that he hurled at me. Very trying times, but what I have learned over the last couple of years and this quote helped me to walk away from it, and keep my response polite and refer only to the relevant, single point that needed to be addressed.

    I really liked the Churchill quote, and wrote it down for my quote book.

    • Thanks for that Spurgeon quote!

      And (((hugs))) for you and the kids re the court outcome.

    • TWBTC, can you please add that Spurgeon quote to our GEMS page? Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Praying for you, Moving Forward!

      There is a time for everything, no doubt about it. May God give us wisdom to know when to speak and when not to speak. “For lack of wood, a fire goes out.” (Proverbs 26:20) 🌷

      • Moving Forward

        Thank you both. I love this blog, and don’t know what I would do without it. My dream is to someday be able to help other women in my area and speak out on abuse.

      • Moving Forward, if there is a women’s centre or shelter in you area, you could offer to give them a copy or copies of my book. I give my book away for free to such organisations if they are willing to receive it. Please contact TWTBC at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com if you want to do that, she can arrange shipping of the book to the women’s agency.

  8. Anonymous

    Moving Forward, seems you are already realizing your dream… You are helping others, you are helping me, and you are speaking out against abuse!

  9. NG

    It’s often the case that those who dare to speak out againts abuse, or place any boundaries, are labeled as ‘narcissists’, (at worst) ‘immature’ (at best) and all in between: that’s the common accusation .. ‘You don’t get along with anyone… you see how impossible you are … no wonder they disalike you since you’re so difficult’…
    It’s adding insult to an injury, and it happened me just recently.. again. It makes one want to seek cover and hide in the cave, but I am actually praying for the supernatural strength to be more assertive and confrontational when needed, not for the sake of it, but for the truth.
    So tired of this superficial peace-keeping that allows abusers and liars a free pass, and sincere believers are taken advantage off.

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