Dear Readers and Friends – An Announcement from Jeff Crippen
Dear Readers and Friends:
Way, way back in 2010 the wheels began to turn in me about the nature and deception of domestic abusers hiding in the church. By 2012 the Lord had so compelled me to write about it that the book A Cry for Justice was produced. In the process of that project, I found another book called Not Under Bondage and emailed the author—some lady down in Oz named Barbara Roberts—to ask her if I could quote from it in my book.
A WordPress blog was begun, by the title of A Cry for Justice, simply to let people know about the book and how they could get a copy. It wasn’t long after that when Barbara joined the ACFJ team and this ministry was begun.
While Barbara and our faithful TWBTC team member will continue the blog, I have decided that the time has come for me to retire from it. Grandchildren are starting to show up in our lives and I still have a church to oversee in addition to trying to be just a little bit retired. My faithful wife has patiently seen me spend hours and hours and days and days these years at the computer after telling her, “I just need to go answer a few emails and take a call.”
What I will not retire from however is speaking out against abusers, against evil, against churches and church leaders and church members and others who persist (key word, “persist”) in knowingly or unknowingly enabling the wicked and adding to the oppression of victims. You will still hear these subjects in my sermons and no doubt I will do some other writing that hopefully can be used to bring comfort and validation to abuse victims and make life generally more difficult for abusers.
As of October 31st of this year then I will be departing from the ACFJ team. It has been quite a ride. May the Lord continue to bless all of you, and may this ministry keep being an answer to those who cry out:
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. (Job 19:7)
Barbara Roberts and TWBTC (the woman behind the curtain) offer thanks and appreciation to Pastor Jeff Crippen
Pastor Jeff has created a solid scriptural foundation for the blog in both his posts and his sermons. That type of foundation is not found on most (any?) other websites that deal with domestic abuse in a Christian context. It’s that type of foundation that will endure and where victim/survivors will find the most longterm help and growth. Our hope is that we can take that foundation and continue to build on it
Pastor Crippen has taught so clearly, cutting through all the teachings that harm abuse victims which are so prevalent in the visible church, and showing why they do not concord with the whole counsel of God in Scripture. He has exposed false teachers and denounced false doctrines. He has taught us the difference between libertinism and legalism and how either error can lead to abuse. Here are the some of key messages he has given:
- Abusers believe they are entitled to power and control. Like Diotrephes they crave to be first.
- By our definition of domestic abuse, abusers are not Christians.
- The visible church contains a great many unbelievers.
- Abusers are hiding in the church in plain sight.
- We need to be wise as serpents to deal with this.
- Domestic abuse is a test case for theology. By and large the church is failing the test.
- Abusers in the church indicate a deficiency in the pulpit.
- The church needs a system clean-out. It needs to get rid of the religion of the Pharisees.
- Ministry to abuse victims is true prison ministry.
Jeff has published 730 posts, plus another 67 which he and Barb co-wrote. He has offered advice for pastors and written an Open Letter to Pastors. He has called on pastors to step up to the plate. He has expressed sadness about how few pastors are interested in learning about domestic abuse.
We wish him well. And we will always consider him a friend.
Personal note from Barb:
As a female author writing about Christian doctrine, I felt like a Deborah who needed a Barak. So in January 2012 when a fellow called Jeff Crippen emailed me asking permission to republish something from my book, I was curious to learn more about his manuscript. I asked him to send me the chapter synopsis and a sample chapter. As soon as I started reading I could tell that he was different from the vast majority of pastors. He got it. He understood domestic abuse. He understood the mentality and tactics of abusers. He understood how victims were being mistreated by churches.
It has been a great privilege and blessing to work with Jeff. Our partnership in co-leading the blog has illustrated to me how men and women can work synergistically together bringing their respective gifts — what might be seen as the gender-typical strengths of each sex — to complement each other and enhance the common work. Thank you Jeff!
Personal note from TWBTC:
I stumbled upon Pastor’s 21-sermon series about domestic abuse on sermon audio as I was trying to make sense of my abusive marriage. Using the contact option on sermon audio I sent an email of gratitude. I didn’t know if my email would get to the pastor who preached those sermons or not, but I hoped that at least someone would know how much they meant to me. To my surprise Pastor replied to my email the same day.
It was also during this time that I found the ACFJ blog, which at that time was only weeks old. I have been following the blog ever since. What I have learned, what I have experienced, and how I have grown during this time cannot be measured. And all because God chose a small town pastor who was shepherding a small flock to preach His message on evil and how it hides in the church. And Pastor, because you have been faithful to that message, many have been blessed! Thank you.
The future of the blog
Barb and TWBTC will definitely be keeping the blog going. We are both keen to keep giving our time and energies to it. We hope to provide you with all the same kind of content which the blog has provided in the past. Jeff will continue to help moderate comments to the end of October and you will see some more posts of his during that period too.
We know our readers will be in shock and may well be grieving from having read this announcement. We ourselves (Barb and TWBTC) have been grieving ever since Jeff told us of his decision about two weeks ago. We encourage our readers to ride the waves of grief, to hold on to Christ and the promises God gives to his people such as Romans 8:28.
We know that many victims of domestic abuse have found it immensely validating to be supported and believed by a male pastor. Barb and TWBTC cannot offer you that because we are women, but all our readers who want to ‘hear it from a man’ can go to our Jeff Crippen tag and read all the posts he has written anytime they want to. And of course, anyone can listen to Jeff’s sermons at Sermon Audio.
Here is a hymn which our readers may find helpful at a time like this.
Interestingly, there are variants in the lyrics of the first verse. In this version it says:
…No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
And in the old Presbyterian Hymnal at the church Barb attends, it reads:
…I dare not trust my sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.