A Cry For Justice

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

The connection between #MeToo and the rejection of ‘salvation by faith alone’ (Sola Fide)

The rejection of Sola Fide is related to #MeToo because a faith-plus-works doctrine of salvation creates an abuser-friendly environment in the church.

In the past few weeks there have been two streams of stories that have dominated Christian circles. The first is the debate concerning Sola Fide and the second is the #MeToo campaign in light of the fall of serial rapist, Harvey Weinstein. As women around the world told their stories of assault, we saw that sexual assault and rape are not just something happening “out there” but right in the middle of our churches. More often than not, church leadership purposefully and ignorantly looks the other way. — Pastor Sam Powell, Sola Fide and Assault

Here are some accounts from women who were sexual assaulted by men who pass themselves off a Christians (trigger warning) — #MeToo: Christian women share stories of assault at the hands of Christian men. Many thanks to Tess Holgate and Eternity News for publishing that article.

I honor all the people who have #MeToo stories, whether or not they have publicly stated #MeToo.

A substantial number of so-called evangelical christian men sexually abuse other people. They do this to women in the church, to women and children in their homes and extended families, to kids at youth groups and church camps and Christian schools. Some of the perpetrators are senior pastors, assistant pastors, elders, deacons, youth group leaders, bible study leaders.

Many perpetrators of sexual abuse — and their witting enablers — have been passing themselves off as Christians. In many cases, if other church members heard about the abuse they were too soft on the perpetrator and way too hard on the victim. (You can find oodles of examples in the posts and comments under our sexual abuse tag).

What is this recent debate about Sola Fide (salvation by faith alone)?

The bible teaches that good works are a consequential and natural fruit of true faith, while making it clear that good works do not cause or contribute to our salvation in any way.

The idea that salvation is not by faith alone is a heresy that has continually tried to gain dominance in the visible church. Roman Catholicism teaches this heresy: they say you must have faith, but must also be baptized in a Roman Catholic Church, go to Mass, confess your sins to a priest of the Roman church, do penance for your sins as ordered by the priest, receive the last rites before you die, and then (after some time spent in purgatory) you will enter into heaven. But even the Pope has to spend time in purgatory and no-one knows how long that time must be…because salvation by faith-plus-works, faith plus ‘good deeds’, gives an outcome that no one can determine. The mouse-wheel that runs you to exhaustion is: “Have I done enough good works? Have I repented and mortified my sin enough? Have I done enough good to outweigh all the wrongs I have done?” 

John Piper and Desiring God teach an even more pernicious variant of faith-plus-works salvation than Rome preaches. Piper’s version of ‘faith plus works’ is more pernicious than Roman Catholicism because it is closer to the true Christian religion, so its divergence from the truth is harder to detect. Piper says we are justified by grace alone, which is the true Christian religion. But Piper also says our final salvation is dependent on our sanctification (our good works). 

Tim Shaughnessy and Timothy F. Kauffman explain:

In every generation there arise men from within the church who stumble into the Roman Catholic view of justification, and having stumbled, then attempt to import that Roman Catholic error into the Church of God so that the children of God might stumble with them. John Piper is just the latest in a long line of such men, and he will not be the last. Remarkably, on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Piper attempts to show that neither the Scriptures nor the Reformers held to final justification by faith alone apart from works. On September 25th, 2017, Piper published an article entitled Does God Really Save Us by Faith Alone?  In the article, he maintains that initial justification is by faith alone, but introduces a concept that is completely foreign to the Bible: the concept of “final salvation” on the basis of our works and obedience. He writes,

In justification, faith receives a finished work of Christ performed outside of us and counted as ours — imputed to us. … In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has borne, and we are saved through that fruit and that faith.[i]

In Piper’s new view of final salvation, he makes a distinction between justification and salvation in which we are justified by faith alone apart from works at the beginning, but we are saved by faith plus works at the end. He writes,

These works of faith, and this obedience of faith, these fruits of the Spirit that come by faith, are necessary for our final salvation. No holiness, no heaven (Hebrews 12:14). So, we should not speak of getting to heaven by faith alone in the same way we are justified by faith alone.

Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin (Romans 8:13) and the pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14).[ii]

The reasons why rejection of Sola Fide is related to #MeToo

1. The rejection of Sola Fide confuses true Christians by making them doubt their salvation.

John Piper’s propositions are causing born-again Christians to doubt the fundamental truth of their salvation. By teaching his propositions, Piper is confusing true believers by making them think that good works are a condition/cause for our final salvation. In this post, Christopher Gordon gives an example of how damaging Piper’s propositions are to genuine believers. The example Christopher Gordon cites is the case of John Lewis. Mr Lewis is a 70 year old man who was born again when he was 61. Because he has read Piper’s doctrine of salvation, this dear saint is now confused: he’s wondering whether he will be saved in the end.

2. The rejection of Sola Fide, by making Christians doubt their salvation, renders them vulnerable to wolves.

This is where the rejection of Sola Fide starts to becomes connected to #MeToo.

In Sola Fide and Assault, Sam Powell sets out how all faith-plus-works doctrines of salvation make genuine christians vulnerable to wolves. When you teach any variation of the faith-plus-works doctrine of salvation, you make genuine Christians vulnerable to the wolves in sheep’s clothing. People might have been taught that ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ just refers to teachers who preach false doctrines. But it also covers those who bully congregations, fleece the sheep financially, sexual predators and men who choose to abuse their wives. When you teach any variation of the faith-plus-works doctrines of salvation, you make true Christians think they must to do good works to be saved. And wolves in the church give wolfish definitions of what ‘good works’ are. Sam explains:

… If Christ is not enough [for my final salvation], then where will I go? I know that all of my own works, even now that I am a Christian, are defiled by sin. I know that I can never achieve the purity and holiness that God requires. And if Christ is not enough on the final day, then where will I go?

And when you ask that question, there will always be a Tetzel to offer you a solution – for a price.

Buy my book. Register for my conference. Submit silently to rape and assault. Don’t rock the ministry. Don’t speak up. Don’t rebel against God’s anointed. Go home to your violent and abusive husband. God sanctifies us through torture and evil.

Here’s how to please God more: please God’s servant, and God will be finally happy with you. Here’s who to make the check out to…

If our righteousness and holiness are not complete in Christ, then it follows that we must add something of our own. … Since every Christian has a tender conscience, and every Christian wants to please God, they become vulnerable to this kind of thinking.

And then we start viewing God like an abusive husband: He tolerates you if you get the food on time, don’t give him any grief, do as you are told, and shut up about it.

… If our theology teaches that God is like an abusive husband, then we tolerate all sorts of behavior as “Christlike”.  Abuse, reviling, hatred, envy, strife…

In the heart-breaking accounts in the Eternity News #MeToo article,  notice how many times you see these ideas:

“I knew that I had to please God.”

“I knew that God wanted me to be submissive”

“I knew that this man was helping me learn to please God”

What if those in the pews had been taught that their whole salvation, from beginning to end, has already been accomplished in Christ? What if they hadn’t been told week after week after week that everything they were doing was wrong. What if they hadn’t been told how to work harder, try more, be more motivated, and instead had been taught what it means to rest in Christ’s finished and completed work? From rest in Christ comes joy in the Lord. Joy in the Lord results in love for God and love for neighbor. A Christian does not work because she has to, for how can love come from being ordered to love? But a Christian works because it is not possible for him not to. He brings forth the fruit of the Spirit because he is born again of the Spirit and united to Christ by the Spirit.

Perhaps if we actually drove the wolves from the pulpits and again accepted only the gospel, we would see the church again become light and strength and courage and salt in a world full of Harvey Weinsteins. But as long as those in the pulpits are in basic agreement with Hollywood producers (“You need something that only I can give you”) the churches will continue to be morally and spiritually bankrupt.

3. The rejection of Sola Fide creates an abuser-friendly environment in the church, a place where pseudo-christian men can easily predate on women and children.

Only an unbeliever could be so unbridled in their sin as to sexually assault someone else.

I say that about adults who perpetrate sexual assault. I’m not speaking about children who sexually assault other children – there may be other things going on there, not least of which is kids acting out what has been done to them by predatory adults.

Piper’s whacko doctrine of salvation aims at improving the wicked conduct of professing christians to give them more likelihood of being finally saved. But Piper is blind (? deliberately blind ?) to the fact that the reason why the majority of those professing christians are not bringing forth good works is that they are only pseudo-christians — they have never been born again. Because pseudo-christians, nominal believers who attend church and profess faith in Christ, are still dead in sin and have never been regenerated, they have to work really hard to produce what passes for good works. An apple tree bears apples naturally. For someone who is not regenerate, producing ‘good works’ never happens naturally: because they are still dead in sin, their spiritual DNA is thorns and weeds, and what comes out of their hearts and mouths and behaviour is naturally thorns and weeds. Pseudo-christians never can mortify their sins because they are not in Christ, not led by the Spirit. They have no upwelling gratitude to God and no enabling power of the indwelling Spirit to resist sin.

At this point it’s reasonable to ask if Piper himself is such a one. Why can’t he detect the error in his doctrine of salvation and correct it? Why has he felt the need to emphasise ‘christian hedonism’ and ‘desiring God’ for so long? Why all his flowery language and effusive hype? Why didn’t he see through Mark Driscoll years ago?

In my view there are multitudes of pseudo-christians in the visible evangelical church. And as Insantiybytes22 said here, “We seem to have a lot of believers (and some pastors) who are more about fear and control as a way of manipulating behavior, rather than trusting in and letting grace do it’s job.”

Pseudo-christians need to hear about (and tremble at) the wrath of God for sinners and the utter hopelessness of being being able to contribute to their own salvation. They do not need to hear that they must kill their sins in order to be ‘finally saved’ — such a message only misleads pseudo-christians into thinking they are regenerate when they are not.

But Piper and his acolytes seem unable or unwilling to discern pseudo-christians. Piper and his acolytes seem even less able to give a gospel message which will accurately target the hearts of these pseudo-christians. Instead, they direct these people to kill their pet sins and to work hard at their sanctification. And they promise that if you do that …enough…(what is ‘enough’?)  you will be finally saved.

But no one can be sanctified unless he or she has been born again. And if you have been born again, sanctification follows, (Unless, like the thief on the cross, you very quickly depart from this temporal world and are taken into Paradise where you will meet the LORD.) Good fruit comes with sanctification as naturally as light comes with fire, unless the good fruit is crushed and shamed out of the believer by false teachers.

Because the heretical view of salvation and the false definitions of good and bad works have so infested the church, the natural fruit of genuine Christians is being undermined, stymied and denounced.

One of the natural fruits of a true Christian is a love for justice and truth. When there is abuse and injustice, the Bible tells Christians to expose it (Eph 5:11) and to help the oppressed.

As I said in point 1, many genuine Christians are living in fear and unnecessary doubt under the influence of false teachers like John Piper. Let me now amplify that.

Many genuine Christians are living under the fear and control of false teachers like Piper. There are many (not all) leaders in churches who have been contaminated by Piper et al. These leaders may not be abusing their own wives or children, but they endorse, teach and enable false teachings which enable the wolves who actually do predate on women and children. These leaders define what ‘good works’ and ‘bad works’ are. They may think their definitions are concordant with scripture, but many of their definitions are out of balance and thus inconsistent with scripture.

No doubt, down the centuries, there have been predatory wolves in positions of leadership who have thought up these unbalanced definitions of good and bad works and promoted and recycled them down the generations of the church. This makes the church an abuser-friendly environment. Predatory wolves love it!

By their unscriptural definitions of good works and bad works, leaders are, for example, condemning sheep for ‘gossiping’ about a certain elder’s friendships with girls in the youth group. More examples:

  • They are allowing known pedophiles to be at church events where children are present
  • They are minimizing the harm that pornography does to women and children
  • They are remaining buddies with men like CJ Mahaney who have covered up for pedophiles
  • They are helping conceal the sins of alleged child abusers like Tom Chantry
  • They are condemning abused wives for wanting churches to properly discipline abusive husbands.
  • They are telling victims of domestic abuse, “God hates divorce” which is a mistranslation of Malachi 2:16. (more on that here)
  • They are depicting all women as dangerous by saying that ever since the Fall, women’s sinful bias is to usurp the authority of men. (see here & here)
  • They are hammering the importance of submission to authority by claiming that the Son eternally submits to the Father (see here & here)
  • They are maligning and even excommunicating women who divorce their abusive husbands. (see here)

By their influence and power, these false teachers have intimidated and controlled genuine Christians. Many of Christ’s true sheep have been falsely taught that it’s wrong to expose the evil works of darkness and it’s right to continue to associate with wolves because they aren’t really wolves, “they’re just sinners and we’re all sinners”. (sin levelling)

When genuine Christians expose abuse in the church, the false teachers tell them to keep quiet and sweep it under the rug. Or they deal with it in a ‘disciplinary process’ that ends up giving harsher treatment to the victim than the abuser.

So the natural fruit which true Christians naturally bring forth — the natural godly resistance to oppression, the natural zeal for justice — is being stymied and condemned by these false teachers and their false doctrines.

To teach any version of faith-plus-works salvation, is to have a form of godliness but deny its power. The Bible tells Christians to avoid men who hold to a form of godliness although they have denied its power. It says these men are lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love for family members, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (cf 2 Tim 3:2-5) 

A message to John Piper and his defenders

Martin Luther’s definition of faith (link) might be a good corrective to John Piper, if he heeded it.

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this `faith,’ either… 

Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words…

The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do. 

So today, in the current debate, who are the dreamers who are deluded about faith? Who are the greatest fools? Who are the good-for-nothing gossips we must watch out for? Who are the people we must avoid?


Historical Background to the current Sola Fide debate

Like I said, the heresy that we need faith-plus-works to be saved (or ‘finally’ saved) rears its ugly head in the evangelical church perennially, like the weed oxalis which is almost impossible to get rid of once it’s in your garden. You can pull off the stems and leaves of oxalis above ground, but the corms (tiny bulbs) in the earth don’t come out when you pull the stems. The corms stay in the earth and sprout again. It’s almost impossible to kill the corms with herbicide, despite what the product manufacturers tell you. I have heard a gardening expert say that if you have oxalis in your garden, sell the house and buy a new house! Because once oxalis is in your soil you’ll never get rid of it.

The Federal Vision guys teach a version of faith-plus-works— you may have heard of them: Doug Wilson is a key name, the CREC denomination is their stronghold.  Note: John Piper has categorically stated his belief that Doug Wilson does not preach a false gospel.

Larry E. Ball  explains the Federal Vision connection in his article The Piper Debate and the Federal Vision Controversy. One more time: The Federal Vision comes round again. He says:

Federal Vision began as a pastoral response to the problem of a lack of assurance among covenant children.  How can I be sure I am a Christian, and if I am a Christian, in view of the expectations of good works by God in my sanctification, how can I be sure that I will be accepted by God on the Day of Judgment?

The trace goes back further. The Federal Vision grew out of the Shepherd Controversy (1974-81). In this brief post, R Scott Clarke explains the connections between the Norman Shepherd’s unorthodox doctrine of salvation, the Federal Vision, Daniel Fuller and John Piper.

If you’d like to read or watch more on the current Sola Fide debate, I recommend the following:

Start with the first one in this list; it is a good explainer.

The Gospel According to Piper – Tim Shaughnessy & Timothy F. Kauffman

Rachel Miller Contra Mundum? The 5 Solas and John Piper, Part 1 – Brad Mason

Rachel Miller Contra Mundum? The 5 Solas and John Piper, Part 2: “Salvation” – Brad Mason

Rachel Contra Mundum? The 5 Solas and John Piper: Part 3, Beginning at the End: The Marrow Men – Brad Mason

Salvation Sola Fide: Martin Luther and the Fruits of Faith – Brad Mason

“…Let’s just pipe down and let the experts handle this.” – Sam Powell blows the whistle on Ps Mark Jones’s haughty treatment of Rachel Miller

Piper: Salvation by faith alone and just a little bit more? – Jack Miller

Believers Are Saved And Sealed – R Scott Clark

In By Grace, Stay In By Faithfulness? – R Scott Clark

Salvation Sola Gratia, Sola Fide: On Distinguishing Is, With, And Through – R Scott Clark

A proposed October 2017 meeting: Dear Mark Jones, will you please meet John Lewis?  – Christopher Gordon

A Heart & Mouth Wrap-up on the John Piper “Sola Fide” Controversy

And here is a sermon by Sam Powell on Sola Fide


What is the #MeToo hash tag and where did it come from?
Since the exposure of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of multiple women, folks who have been sexually harassed or sexually abused are saying #MeToo on social media. Most of the people saying #MeToo are women. What is coming to the foreground, in this up-swelling from the grass roots, is how frequently women are sexually harassed and sexually abused by men. If we had a way of surveying women to get them to anonymously put their hand up if they have never been sexually harassed or sexually abused by men, I suspect very few women would put their hands up.

Yes;  I recognise that gender is only a part of it. Some victims of sexual abuse are male; some men and boys sexually abuse other men or boys; some females sexually abuse males. And some females sexually abuse other females. 


  1. emmellkaycee

    It is God, Himself who has promised that the work He started in me (and all those whom He has chosen as His own) will be finished. I can claim *nothing* of my Salvation as my own… not even the decision I made to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, because even that choice was manifested by His own Will. How can I add even one thing to what is already the *perfection* of Christ’s Grace? It is impossible!

  2. Jeanne


    • Jeanne,

      Welcome to the blog! Yes, we can truly rest in the Lord when we realize that salvation is by faith alone!

      We like to encourage new commenters to read our New User’s page and you may find something of interest on our FAQ page.

      Again, Welcome!!

  3. Still Struggling

    Thank you [Sam Powell] for some of the most important words I’ve read…

    What if those in the pews had been taught that their whole salvation, from beginning to end, has already been accomplished in Christ? What if they hadn’t been told week after week after week that everything they were doing was wrong. What if they hadn’t been told how to work harder, try more, be more motivated, and instead had been taught what it means to rest in Christ’s finished and completed work? From rest in Christ comes joy in the Lord. Joy in the Lord results in love for God and love for neighbor. A Christian does not work because she has to, for how can love come from being ordered to love? But a Christian works because it is not possible for him not to. He brings forth the fruit of the Spirit because he is born again of the Spirit and united to Christ by the Spirit.

    I grew up with a graceless works based doctrine that confused me and I never felt I’d ever be good enough for my husband, his family… anyone, especially God. Made me easy prey for an abuser.

    “Only an unbeliever could be so unbridled in their sin as to sexually assault someone else.”

    Took decades to unlearn the sin-leveling but ACFJ opened my eyes and help lift the guilt of choosing someone who presented himself as a christian while enduring too many assaults to even count up. I didn’t even understand they were sexual assaults because my AH convinced me it was his God-given right to own my body and he was a better “christian” than me.

    Articles like these contain so much biblical truth and I am able to recognize it now. I know the truth now and oh how I love the truth! The truth sets us free and we are free indeed. While I’m still struggling to be totally free physically of my AH my mind and spirit are freeing up to fly more and more.

  4. For those who are watching the Tom Chantry case:

    More evidence against alleged sexual sadist Tom Chantry

  5. Jillian

    #Metoo … As the abuse filters down through the evangelical church the blame shifting and minimizing is re-enforced in already entitled sexual abusers…this article from a male leader of a “Biblical” Sexual addiction program states of a sexual addict who had “only been into pornography” that “Since Lance had never been unfaithful, she (his wife) had no grounds for divorce even if he had not repented.”

    Jesus disagrees with this statement as Lance HAS been unfaithful in Jesus’ eyes. (Matt 5:28)

    And more blame shifting occurs when instead of recognizing that it was the selfish decision of Lance that broke the home, Steve Gallagher states: “Because of her selfish decision, her children must live in a broken home without their daddy.”

    It follows that Steve Gallagher chooses to minimize the use of pornography (which exploits women and damages men’s view of masculinity) and point fingers at the victim as to why the marriage failed…very judgmental, assuming the God-role and perpetuating the lack of accountability in men already poisoned by toxic masculinity models.

    [Note from Eds: We have disabled this link to the blog post by Steve Gallagher. We do not recommend reading Gallagher’s site. His blog post contains all the usual teaching that we have denounced time after time of this blog, including “God hates divorce” being slapped onto the table at the victim to prove that she bears the blame.]

    purelifeministries DOT org/blog/when-a-wife-follows-her-feelings-over-gods-word

    • Thanks Jillian. 🙂

      TWBTC, can you please add Pure Life Ministries to our Hall of Blind Guides page if it isn’t there already. Thanks!

      • I Cannot Unsee What I See Now

        Wish I had thought to ask the pastor and elders if they and my husband would be fine with my lounging in front of a screen doing what my husband did. Spend time, money and sexual energy outside the marriage. Cripple my capacity for intimacy. Use strange men for stimulation that my husband could never compete with. Live a private life anti-thetical to what I was teaching our children. Tell him that if he lost weight and was more romantic I wouldn’t need to seek out such things. Women have needs, dontcha know? Surely they would understand like I was supposed to…

      • Bingo!

      • I Cannot Unsee What I See Now

        And I bet the pastor and elders would be fine with their wives doing the same. It isn’t personal and it isn’t like an affair (which actually requires some effort and emotional energy.) I’ve never heard it presented from the other perspective.

  6. StandsWithAFist

    Thank you once again for the clarity & wisdom taught here.
    This post literally takes my breath away at its concise, careful & cohesive expose of wolves in wool.
    Bravo, Barbara.

    • Thanks SWAF. It took me about three days to write this post. Nearly got tendonitis from so much typing, scrolling and clicking. 🙂

      • StandsWithAFist

        Perhaps I can ask about something you [or Jeff?] have said before? It has to do with false teaching and how it doesn’t have to be blatantly heretical to still be damaging? something along the lines of that subtle errors are still errors, and can do much harm? do you recall what I am referring to? It was either a quote or a paraphrase…a concise way of saying “get your theology straight or all else fails”…….Thanks, Barbara. You are much loved here.

      • Hi SWAF, that’s a broad question as we have quite a few such posts. I suggest you look in our GEMS page which is under the INSIGHTS tab in the top menu. And if it’s not there, look at the posts that are tagged ‘false teachers’ or ‘false gospel’.

      • Hi SWAF,

        I found this on our GEMS page. I don’t know if it is what you are trying to find:

        The short path to heresy is not in denying biblical teaching. The short path to heresy is just in affirming part of biblical teaching. Honing in on a verse, honing in on an idea, and trying to let that be the be all and end all of your theology. But the orthodox fathers said no no no, we can’t do that! Scripture can’t function as our supreme authority unless it’s the total message of scripture that’s our authority.” [by Scott Swain, God from God, Light from Light: Retrieving the Doctrine of Eternal Generation (21:12 in the audio)]

    • Gany T.

      Ditto to SWAF’s comment. Many thanks for this, Barbara (& Pastor Sam). I’ll be mulling over all of this for a long time, as it’s so profound, yet foundational.

  7. Helovesme

    Oh how I love this!!! Especially the “message” @ the very end explaining and expressing faith as He intended—-the 2nd paragraph: “Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly.” I wish for ALL of us to capture and recapture (if necessary) such powerful words.

    If I could just express, through my own personal testimony—what terrible bondage, what awful fear and beyond explicable terror one experiences—always trying to “work” to earn what Jesus gave and gives so freely—love. Salvation. Acceptance. Belonging to His kingdom. Never needing to lift a finger to earn righteousness. It is mine by faith. Trust Him. He paid the price. The whole price. Nothing was left “unpaid” for.

    But I often felt the need to prove to Him that He hadn’t made a “bad deal” when He rescued me. So I couldn’t get out of that “faith + works” mentality. Sounds “spiritual” right? Working hard for the church, for my fellow believers, trying to witness to the unsaved, etc. Trying to not complain or be a “bother,” trying to “prove” that I really was a new creation in Him. Wanting to be a good girl now, a good soldier and a good “product” of the Word. That I “deserved” to belong to Him, to a church, to a community of believers. Seemed harmless.

    I was so casually “putting aside” the blood of Jesus by living that way. And I also put aside one of the most precious gift that Brother Paul celebrated constantly in his life—grace. Paul worked hard, prayed hard & loved hard—but he always said it was the work of His grace in him (1Corinthians 15:10). I never fully understood that until, ironically, God did a work in me (and is still doing it; it’s not a done deal @ all). Now I plead and pray for armloads of grace to do any and all good works—so that my spiritual pride doesn’t get a foothold in me—because it’s always looking for a chance to sneak in. There’s nothing better than knowing that He moves, opens and closes the doors, and therefore gets all the glory—when I complete a good work. Nothing more satisfying than NOT having to work to earn salvation. No better medicine for a recovering “people pleaser” like myself to know that He didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but where His Sprit is, there is freedom! (2Timothy 1:7, 2Corinthians 3:17)

  8. I cannot unsee what I see now


    Even with the recent openness about what so many girls and women have experienced, I hear very little about rape and sexual assault in marriage. It is still the unacknowledged abuse. I found great help and healing working with a skilled trauma-trained Christian psychologist for the last three years. The Lord has graciously rescued and is restoring me and I stand in awe at His love and faithfulness to me even in deep pain.

    I hope my story can encourage some devastated wives to seek help (NOT from the church), help young brides be more savvy than I was and maybe result in some abusers being exposed and stopped. If so, it will make the difficulty in speaking out completely worthwhile.

    A man does not love his wife well and then suddenly rapes her in a fit of rage. It is a horrific form of abuse in a marriage filled with many other forms of abuse. Rape is about power and control — not sex. This desire for power and control shows itself in many ways.

    One day these words came into my mind. “I have rescued you from a destructive marriage and an evil man. I will continue to heal you and make you a blessing.” Amen!

    This week another couple from my former church believed me when I spoke the truth about what had taken place in my marriage despite the abuser still snowing most people there. They truly were stunned and asked how they could be supportive. They are reading Unholy Charade. They have listened to a talk by Phil Munro about abuse-friendly churches and abusive systems, and are appreciating Jeff’s sermons. To know that they believe me, are deeply grieved by the truth, and willing to learn means more to me than I can express! Thanks for making this resource available.

    Dr. Munroe gave a hearty endorsement for your site at the American Association of Christian Counselors global conference in September. Keep up this important work — it really makes a difference!

    • Thank you dear sister. Encouragement and feedback like this is what keeps me going.

      Well, that’s not strictly true: I will keep doing this work no matter what; but encouraging feedback sure helps me keep going!

    • And it’s really nice to know that Phil Munro endorsed our work at the September AACC conference. I didn’t know that before.

    • romans818

      Metoo, I cannot unsee what I see now. It isn’t possible for me to comment further (publicly) for awhile.


      • Hi romans818, we got request in your message… we will see what can be done. 🙂

      • romans818

        Thanks so much, Barbara!

  9. A condensation of what R Scott Clark said here :

    When the Philippian Jailer asked “what must I do to be saved?” The Apostle Paul’s answer was: “believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your whole household” (Acts 16:30–31). … The Jailer asks about “doing” and Paul preaches “believing,” as it were. The Jailer assumes salvation is conditioned upon his performance and Paul replies that Christ has already met the condition for our salvation. We receive it freely, through faith alone.

  10. Men — here is an article for you to read which will help you understand more about the #MeToo stories and what you might do to help women feel safer.

    #metoo — When women are prey by Megan Powell du Toit

  11. I just added at the bottom of this post a FB link to Ps Sam Powell’s sermon on Sola Fide.

  12. StandsWithAFist

    twbtc: yes, that’s the gist of my question. Heresy is often subtle, and therein lies it insidious danger. Thanks!!!

  13. Seeing Clearly

    Thank you for this outstanding article. It pulls together these very important issues, a continuity of truths. Helps us who have been given so much propaganda over many, many years from many, many different people, organizations.

  14. Barbara, you really put a lot of work into this. Wonderful resources here. Thanks.

  15. R N

    Piper’s inflexible sometimes ludicrous views on gender roles smack of legalism. It’s not enough to acknowledge God made you a man or a woman. Ya gotta EARN your sexuality!

    I went through a rough time as a teen/young adult worrying over if I was “feminine” enough. This can’t be blamed on Piper since I had never heard his teachings then. But legalistic-complementarian extremism was already a mighty movement reacting to the other extremes of feminism/libertinism.

    Boys at the parochial school I attended told me repeatedly I was a lesbian and not a “real girl.” Why?

    I was not fat. But I was sturdily built, well rounded and muscular for a girl. Not slender and waif-like the way girls are supposed to be. I went on extremely low-cal diets–filled with shame and loathing for the body God gave me. By His grace I escaped an eating disorder. (Thank You LORD!)

    I was way too smart and independent in my thinking. Girls were supposed to read “feminine” fluff like prairie romances and articles on makeup and flirting so boys will like you. I preferred deeper fiction whether spec by Tolkien or Lewis or literary classics including poetry.I also developed an interest in theology and apologetics.

    I guess God made a mistake by giving strength and smarts to a female. Or maybe the extreme complementarians don’t know what they’re talking about.

    • Hi R N, thanks for your comment and welcome to our little blog 🙂
      We 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.

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

      I changed your screen name to R N as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email TWBTC (The Woman Behind The Curtain) Her address is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

  16. Finding Answers

    Helovesme commented I was so casually “putting aside” the blood of Jesus by living that way. And I also put aside one of the most precious gift that Brother Paul celebrated constantly in his life—grace. Paul worked hard, prayed hard & loved hard—but he always said it was the work of His grace in him (1Corinthians 15:10). I never fully understood that until, ironically, God did a work in me (and is still doing it; it’s not a done deal @ all). Now I plead and pray for armloads of grace to do any and all good works—so that my spiritual pride doesn’t get a foothold in me—because it’s always looking for a chance to sneak in. There’s nothing better than knowing that He moves, opens and closes the doors, and therefore gets all the glory—when I complete a good work. Nothing more satisfying than NOT having to work to earn salvation. No better medicine for a recovering “people pleaser” like myself to know that He didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but where His Sprit is, there is freedom! (2Timothy 1:7, 2Corinthians 3:17)

    […Insert net-speak for learning the true meaning of faith and grace…]

    • Finding Answers

      Adding on to my own comment…

      The Holy Spirit has spent the day healing me, though there is more needed. The emotional boundary blank spot affects my capacity to relate to faith and grace. While I am learning alternate refinements to communication through a healing gift, I need deeper healing. I am praying for God to read my heart. As things stand now, I will always swing like a pendulum, between faith and doubt.

      I understand faith and grace come from God, but the “patch” where it would “sit” has been permanently damaged. I need to be shown a way to walk with God that takes into account this blank spot.

      I can understand Christ’s death on the cross, the awfulness of the crucifixion. I am not Christ. I am not perfect and I need the Blood of the Lamb.

      Faith and grace are needed to be written on my heart in a way that is different than the “norm”. I am getting so, so tired of the battle, understanding the battle isn’t mine. I can know the “head” stuff” I can know the “heart” stuff. I can understand faith and grace don’t come from the “work of trying to have faith”.

      I need God.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: