A Cry For Justice

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

4. Chris Moles heard the women’s stories. What has he done with them?

I believe Chris Moles walks the fence and curries popularity by not sternly admonishing church leaders for how they often mishandle domestic abuse.

In his book, Chris Moles recounts how he was invited to speak to a group of Christian women who had questions that their women’s advocate was not equipped to answer:

 

This was my first experience of ministering to a group serving victims.

… The small house appeared abandoned with overgrown lawn, drawn blinds, and no signs of life. … it served as a branch office of the local shelter. It was an out of the way undisclosed location where workers offered various services to victims of domestic violence. …

What struck me about that meeting were the stories of abuse. Those women had not endured a single abusive event, they had lived through decades of abusive, controlling and violent behavior. But that was not the only thing they had in common. The majority of the women in the room were now either being disciplined or shunned by their own church. The stories were nearly identical as they told of asking their pastor for help, attempting counseling, seeing their husband supported, and eventually – the tables turned on them.

Over half the women in this group were separated from their home church for filing for divorce after the abuse returned, while the husband remained in the church and one continued to serve in a leadership position. This is one small group, in one small town, in one state. In fact, stories such as these can be found throughout the country, as abusive people use the Bible, doctrinal positions, and church authority as means of controlling their partners. Many have begun describing this as spiritual abuse.
(“The Heart of Domestic Abuse”  p 77. This book is item M in my list of citations at the Chris Moles Digest)

In that quote I’ve just given, Chris stated that “many have been describing this as spiritual abuse”. But he didn’t come right out and say that he describes it as spiritual abuse.

His failure to take a stand there is typical of how he walks the fence when it comes to admonishing churches for how they have been dealing with domestic abuse.

How poignant is that description of the house where the women’s group met? I’ve been to little houses like that myself when I was running the gauntlet post-separation.

Support services for victims of domestic abuse are dreadfully underfunded. These services often have to carry out their work from run-down, dilapidated, unkempt premises. The workers at those services put all their efforts into helping victims. Getting the grass at the front mown, or getting the shop-front spruced up, is not a high priority when their clients are facing serious threats from abusers and are on the brink of homelessness.

When frightened victims who are already suffering under a weight of shame go to those service agencies, they feel the shame and stigma even more. They get the message:– This is how much society values you. These unattractive premises is what our society is willing to provide to give a few crumbs of support to victims of domestic abuse.

I wonder if Chris saw the significance of that when he went to that little house. Did he see how demeaning it was for victims to hear that message from society?

Let us see how seriously Chris took the feedback he received from victims. Did it shape what he tells church leaders?

Women who are victims of domestic abuse told Chris how they had been disciplined or shunned by their churches for filing for divorce, so they ended up leaving the church while their abusive husbands remain in the church. You would think that ought to shape how Chris talks to church leaders.

Surely Chris would be shouting this from the rooftops, telling church leaders they must stop treating victims so unjustly?

In Appendix D of his book that I cited above, Chris advises church leaders about church discipline in cases of abuse. His Appendix D is titled Church Discipline and Domestic Abuse;  it has three subheadings:

  1. Have we clearly identified the offense?
  2. When appropriate, seek the victim’s consent and assistance.
    Consider your options: Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5.
  3. Call the offender to repentance

You will have noticed that his point 2 is double-barreled. That in itself is confusing!

Here is Chris’s advice to church leaders about considering their options in church discipline:

Most church discipline operates under the direction of Matthew chapter 18 in which Jesus instructs us to confront a brother who sinned against us on an individual basis. If he is unrepentant we take along others to confront him, and so on. If the process is exhausted and he remains unrepentant we are instructed to treat him as an unbeliever. This process is utilized consistently in the life of the local church and most conflicts are resolved long before they reach a congregational level. While Matthew chapter 18 is the appropriate process for church discipline, the apostle Paul indicates that some behaviors cross the line, as it were, and require immediate action. Paul cites such a case in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 in which an individual engages in sexual relations with his step-mother. Paul calls for immediate removal from the fellowship. Church discipline does not appear to be “one size fits all” and requires wisdom when dealing with sinful behavior:

  • Romans 16:17:  Paul warns to avoid corrupt doctrine
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15:  Paul warns against close fellowship with the idle and disobedient
  • Titus 3:10:  Paul instructs Titus to warn a divisive person twice and then separate.

Do any of the following – domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or neglect warrant 1 Corinthians chapter 5 response by your church’s leadership?  (ibid, p 144)

Since Chris took a ‘question-them-gently’ approach in this appendix which he wrote for church leaders, I will start by using that same approach with him. And I’ll refrain from putting my questions in bold (even though I would like to) because I’m trying to mimic Chris’s gentle question.

Here are the questions I put to Chris Moles:

  • Chris, since you know that many victims are being disciplined or shunned by their churches while abusers are getting off scot free, is your question to church leaders adequate?
  • And is posing a question to church leaders the best way to handle this problem?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to given an admonishment to church leaders – with evidence of their sins, evidence you have heard from the multiple testimonies of abused Christian women?
  • And after giving a strong reprimand to church leaders, wouldn’t it be best to give clear directives to church leaders, and back up those directives with scripture, rather than merely prompting church leaders to “consider their options”?

Now I will stop trying to copy Chris’s gentle style and go back to using my own voice.

Chris’s question to church leaders is pathetic. It is lame, timid, weak. It doesn’t cut to the chase. Why is he not telling church leaders that they are often treating victims with MASSIVE injustice?

Could it be that he doesn’t want to lose all those speaking engagements and book sales he gets from churches and biblical counseling organizations?

In this appendix, it sounds like Chris is almost sucking up to the church leaders. With all his so-called ability to call out abusers and put them on the carpet and lay biblical principles before them, why isn’t he doing that more with the church leaders who are systemically – yes, systemically – mistreating abused women in their churches? Why isn’t he calling those church leaders to repentance?

Why is he simply asking them a wee little question that he buried at the back of his book?

Why doesn’t he come out and say that 1 Corinthians 5 is the chief scripture to use when disciplining abusers? (Dear reader, if you want to understand why I think 1 Corinthians 5 is the chief scripture for dealing with domestic abusers, click here. )

Why doesn’t Chris Moles tell church leaders that abusers are manipulating the Matthew 18 process and that is one of the main reasons why the abusers are remaining in the congregation while the victims are slinking out the back door, tarred with the brush of stigma and shame?

Chris heard those women’s stories. And he does almost nothing about it.

I am saying ‘almost nothing’ to be fair to Chris, because I have found one place where he has been slightly more bold…and probably a few church leaders were in the audience at this talk (Q*) which he gave at a Biblical Counseling Conference in February 2018. This is what he said:

We have been doing a disservice to victims and perpetrators. I spend about a third of my time working with perpetrators, and a third answering emails from victims. The other third is made up of consulting with churches about cases, and defending biblical counselors.

I can’t tell you the numbers of survivors I know who have been disciplined out of their church because they refuse to submit to abusive husbands – but it’s a lot more than you probably think.

There’s far too many men who in the name of Jesus are not loving, they’re not being considerate, they’re not being gentle. They’re being oppressive. They’ve being manipulative. And they’re getting away with it.

And here’s the deal. I know us; we’re pretty bold.  This is the one area that we need to really grow in our boldness. (Q  15:30

Let us now go back to Appendix D in Chris’s book. In point 3 of that appendix Chris says:

Church discipline should not only be used as a means of protecting the victim and holding the offender accountable, but also as a means of reconciliation with God. The process can offer the abusive person concrete steps to repentance and expectations for moving forwards in holiness. The truth is an abusive person should not last long under the weight of church discipline. Their desire for control and beliefs of entitlement with either be crushed beneath the Gospel and repentance will lead to a brother won, or they will become emboldened by their own pride rejecting the church and the Gospel.
(“The Heart of Domestic Abuse” p 145)

What an unwise statement, given the testimonies Chris heard from those Christian women about how churches often side with abusers!

Those women told him how they had:

  • asked their pastors for help
  • attempted counseling (no doubt at the direction of the pastors)
  • seen their husbands supported by the church leaders
  • and eventually the church leaders turned the tables on the women.

I wish Chris would look at our FAQ page How does church discipline applies in cases of domestic abuse?

And I wish he would publicly repent of the foolish and limp advice he gave to church leaders in Appendix D of his book.

***

*Citations in this post are shown in grey, with each item designated by a capital letter.
The Chris Moles Digest gives a link to each item cited by a capital letter.

Further Reading:

Non-Negotiables for Effective and Biblical Abuse Ministry

 

14 Comments

  1. Anon15

    Why is a third of one’s time being spent “working with” perps? It’s very simple. Abusers are children of the devil. There is no “working with” them. Even in the passage that he claims boldness, it’s weak and limp.

    I don’t know of any abuser who has actually changed and become a genuinely God-fearing, Christian man. I do know of many who claim the badge of ‘c’hristianity because it makes them look good, but they are but wolves, darkness masquerading as light. I also do know of many abusers who simply changed tactics, or played the ‘reformation/change’ game for a time and then went right back into abuser-land when the threat of separation, divorce, loss of church membership, or jail-time had passed.

    But the money, the fame, the popularity does not rest with someone willing and able to speak bold truths, such as:.

    Abusers don’t change. Abusers are not Christians. Abusers are wolves. Abusers know exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it, and are lying if they claim otherwise. Abusers are liars. Abusers are criminals. Abusers are soul murderers. Abusers are to be shunned, avoided like the plague, and treated as the enemy because they are children of the devil, lovers of darkness, and evil, wicked people.

    I highly doubt any man who claims to have woken up and stopped being an abuser. Even like the example of the Australian man who now runs abuser change programs, … He may be the super rarity and the real deal, but I have yet to see anyone in real life actually stop being an abuser.

    If someone has been abusive, that’s different. I think we all have mistreated others at some point in our lives. Most of us have been abusive more than once, too. But abusive is different than abusers. Patterned, oppressive, controlling, abuser-ness versus a temporary meltdown had by someone who is at their wits’ end and they feel horrible for such, readily admit their wrongdoing, repent of such sin, and seek to make it up to the person.

    There isn’t much room for counseling, speaking engagements, book deals, etc. when a person consistently tells the raw truth — which is, abusers are enemies of Christ. Abusers are evil, wicked people. Abusers need to be booted from the church. Abusers do not deserve our precious time, money, efforts, emotional investment, assistance, etc. Abusers need to be shunned.

    If an abuser is dying of thirst or hunger, sure, feed him, give him a drink, but that’s it. And know that the abuser is your enemy and Christ’s enemy all throughout that time when you are giving the abuser food/water. Otherwise, they will slither back into your life, throw out some bait, seek to hook and harm you once more.

    Christ threw the moneychangers out of the temple. Christ did not counsel them, seek to mediate with them. Same with the Pharisees, as far as Christ spoke bold truth, called them a brood of vipers (if I recall correctly) and opposed them, told others of his opposition, etc. Christ did not seek out bad-Pharisee’s Change Programs (or bad-Pharisee’s Intervention Programs). Christ did not inquire if they were insecure, had bad childhoods, weren’t feeling appreciated enough, etc. Nope. It was “brood of vipers”.

    If Biblical counselors spent their time speaking these bold truths and driving this message home so abused victims will see it wasn’t their fault, they shouldn’t waste another precious moment trying to help the abuser not be evil, wicked, abusive…… (and the list goes on), then there would be no need for Chis Moles to spend a third of his time “defending” Biblical counselors. The Bible defends itself. Who knows if those Biblical counselors he is defending ought to be defended? Maybe they are wishy-washy towards abusers, too, in which case, rebuking or education are more in order.

    • Krikit

      HEAR! HEAR!

    • Helovesme

      “If someone has been abusive, that’s different. I think we all have mistreated others at some point in our lives. Most of us have been abusive more than once, too. But abusive is different than abusers.”

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Don’t fall for what ACFJ calls “sin leveling.” It is the argument that “we are all sinners” so don’t be too hard on the abuser, forgive them and put it all behind you.

      That is false and manipulative and simply not Biblical.

      I can testify, shamefully to having abusive qualities. Meaning: they can really hurt someone. I came out of my abuse with a BAD temper, a BAD attitude and a BIG chip on my shoulder.

      Ironically, coming to the Lord seemed to bring all of that (and more) to the surface, because I was used to stuffing my feelings as much as possible for so long.

      The Lord is working on me and in me—but take note— those aspects of my character and behaviour did not/do not mean I am an abuser. [This sentence was edited by Barb. And Barb adds this: What makes the difference is that an abuser exercises an intentional pattern of behaviour to obtain and maintain control of his target(s). ]

      Also, since there is no such thing as a victim of abuse who is pure, perfect, and has never sinned — that is another tactic that can be used against them: well, you’re not perfect. Why are you being so hard on this person (aka their abuser).

      Let’s add to that: I’ve seen YOU get angry and shout and say bad things. I’ve seen YOU do or say such and such. You’ve got your own problems, too. Why is (your abuser’s) problems any different than yours? Aren’t we all His children? Aren’t we all sinners? Aren’t we all loved by Him? Don’t judge (your abuser) or you’ll be judged!

      The message is: the abuser’s fallen nature justifies their abuse. The message given to him is: “We’re all sinners, we all sin and fall short, and we will never be perfect on this side of eternity. You need counseling. You need help. We’re here for you because we love you. We know you didn’t mean to hurt her and/or your kids. We know you’re sorry. God forgives you, and so will your wife and/or kids (eventually. We’ll work on them!) Let us help you. Let us pray for you. Let us fellowship with you so you can see what a man of God looks like. Soon your marriage will be whole again, we’ll publicly testify of this, and God will be glorified!”

      But the counterpoint message is: the victim’s fallen nature is to blame for not choosing to endure and forgive the abuse. She has to put up with the abuse and not take it so personally. The message given to her is: “God loves and died for everyone, He commands us to forgive, He tells women to be submissive to spouses, He will bless obedience to Him, and divorce is a sin and God hates it. And if you initiate a separation or divorce, we won’t support you because you’re giving the Gospel a bad name. You need counseling to learn how to handle him when he’s mad. You need to learn to watch for his trigger buttons. You need to watch YOUR temper as well, so these things don’t escalate. You need to love and serve and bless him more, because love changes people. You need to change, and we can help you do that.”

      Don’t fall for that. It’s manipulative and dangerous and FAR too common.

      SHUN the abuser. EMBRACE the victims.

      I also loved how you brought up that there was no “Reform the Pharisee” type program. Jesus certainly died for them as well as us, but He knew they were not interested in receiving and welcoming Him as the “sinners” did. Well said. Well spoken.

      I once went to a Christian counselor and while he was not a bad guy, I do wish he had told me that the abuse wasn’t my fault. That is something I think all victims long to hear, and NEED to hear. It matters to have things like that said out loud. Don’t assume the victim knows, even if it’s obvious to everyone else. He or she has been manipulated for so long.

      Anon15 also brings up that many victims didn’t even know they were being abused. Add to that, and it’s more important than ever that they are told that they are not to blame for the problems in the relationship with the abuser.

      • Hi HeLovesMe, I made some minor edits to your comment. Hope you don’t mind.

      • Helovesme

        No, not at all! My apologies for creating extra work for you.

  2. Helovesme

    Wow! There was so much to chew on in this!

    First of all, an amazingly, well written post (again). Much thanks and kudos to you! I tried to read it slowly to try to soak it in

    I used to think that men simply had a harder time understanding abuse or being victimized. While men ARE abused (as adults or as children), the scales tend to tip towards the female gender. I noticed, whenever I was brave enough to admit I had been abused with male Christians, they were certainly kind about it—-but it was obvious they didn’t really understand. This could be true with women, too, by the way—-but more so with men.

    I don’t think that anymore, at all. ALL of us believers have Him living within us. Yes, it takes a real work of Him to develop real compassion and empathy for the suffering, but if you are going to minister to the abused—you better darn well be seeking Him for such important fruits of the Spirit. And they ARE “of the Spirit.” It does not come from ourselves.

    So Mr. Moles has some real work to do, one on one, with the Lord Himself. Because hearing an abused person’s story is one thing, having a real heart for them is quite another.

    Is IS spiritual abuse. There is no other way to describe it. Why dumb it down?

    He may be trying to use a “gentler” approach because he wants church leaders to be inspired (i.e. have you considered that you are being spiritually abusive, versus, you ARE being that way?) to get them thinking, which will lead them to start praying.

    He might be telling himself (or someone else is telling him) that leaders need to change from the inside out, which can only be done on a voluntary basis, between them and the Holy Spirit. Being too hard on them might push them away from their “calling”, or crush their spirit (i.e. I’m a terrible minister of the Gospel. I give up!).

    There is no sin in being gentle. (Proverbs 15:4). Jesus was gentle—-with the SUFFERING. With the ones INFLICTING the suffering, He was not so gentle. And rightly so.

    How else will the suffering know and believe that you really understand and take their pain seriously, if you don’t act like it?

    I remember being badly bullied, publicly in a classroom. I was near tears. The girl behind me (who I thought was a friend) said something to the effect that this was horrible. I was not usually so bold then, but I said: but you’re not doing anything about it, are you?

    “Church discipline does not appear to be ‘one size fits all’ and requires wisdom when dealing with sinful behavior.” I think he has a point there. You don’t remove someone from fellowship for something fairly minor or fixable.

    His appendix D guides are thoroughly lacking.

    “Do any of the following – domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or neglect warrant 1 Corinthians chapter 5 response by your church’s leadership?”

    Asking questions like that opens the door for all sorts of abuses, IMO. Anyone can start interpreting that as: well, it really wasn’t assault or abuse because he or she complied. He shouldn’t present it as a question.

    Many leaders don’t seem to think that abuse is serious, or even sinful enough to require real action to protect the victim and expel the abuser.

    “When appropriate, seek the victim’s consent and assistance.
    Consider your options: Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5.
    Call the offender to repentance”

    Is the first one implying that the victim have a “sit down” with the abuser to try to convince him or her of their sin, in order to “call the offender to repentance?” If so, that too is horrible counsel (IMO). Sitting down with an abusive person, to “reason” with them is a waste of time. Abusers don’t like their victims to confront them, and they don’t like feeling “ganged up on” by others. It might provoke them to greater heights of abuse.

    So is the last one. Abusers will either fake repentance, or “be good” for a little while, but they haven’t changed a bit (on the inside). They can even fake tears or try to invoke pity from others (I’m such a bad person. No one loves me) That’s not repentance at all. Not one bit of concern for the victim. Not one bit of concern for anyone but themselves. But playing on emotions is a clever, effective way to feign repentance.

    IMO, he is using these “gentler, weaker, coddling” methods because he is concerned for the victims AND the abusers. He is trying to help them BOTH. In my eyes, he is trying to “play both sides,” but neither side is really being helped at all. And the Lord is not glorified or served, which is the biggest disaster of all.

    Especially the victims, because abusers are also playing their own version of a game, and it generally works on church leaders AND Christians in general. We know it works, because they tend to come out smelling like roses at the end of it all, while the victim is shunned, shamed and swept out the door.

    I was often told that ignorance is at the real root of certain, sinful behaviors. If so and so KNEW that what they did or said was evil and hurtful, they’d repent. They’d apologize. They’d try to make it right and try to do better next time.

    This thinking sadly tended to apply to abuse as well. Especially if the abusive person had had a difficult life or was currently struggling in some way—-the “he or she didn’t mean it” line was more convincing, right? Played on the heart strings of the victim in question as well.

    This seems to be Chris’s approach. That if church leaders knew better, they’d do better. Possibly true for abusers, depending on the situation. But that seems to be one of his goals.

    NO, not necessarily true at all. Barb put it well: They are “systemically” mistreating victims. It is intentional and manipulative. These are not foolish, uneducated persons who simply need a guiding hand and a loving message of hope and healing.

    “Church discipline should not only be used as a means of protecting the victim and holding the offender accountable, but also as a means of reconciliation with God….The truth is an abusive person should not last long under the weight of church discipline.”

    This is an impossible statement. I remember sitting down with an abusive young woman, with this kind of idea in mind with the male church leader, who was aiming to mediate.

    I was NOT protected. She was NOT held accountable, although in his eyes he may have thought differently. She let me have it badly, in front of him, and he said nothing. He said to me later in an email that he saw on my face how hurt I was, but why he just sat there I have no idea. He was trying to convince me in that email to sit with them both again because she wanted to apologize to me.

    So I think he was trying to “play both sides” again: I acknowledge and validate your suffering, but she is sorry and wants to say so to your face, with me present so you won’t be alone with her (as if him being there really did anything in the first place!). She’ll apologize, you’ll forgive and you’ll feel a lot better, knowing this is behind you.

    She was allowed to keep going to the fellowship we were both a part of (that I had helped to pioneer, by the way; she attended, but was not one of the pioneers). I eventually left, because I couldn’t stand being in the same room as her anymore. It was too anxiety driven and I was steaming mad about the whole thing, although for a long time I blamed myself.

    Chris is fooling everyone and anyone who will listen to him, if he really thinks that paragraph has any truth in it.

  3. GypsyAngel

    And here we get to the root of the issue. Not just in the case of Mr. Moles, but in the church and society as a whole. The fence sitters who are concerned with offending. A great disservice is done to women and children in abusive situations, just by this attitude alone. Not to mention, in my view it actually reinforces the prevailing attitudes and methods of church leaders when dealing with cases of abuse. He doesn’t even begin to address what should happen to the abuser in a leadership position with in the body.

    Also, as many a survivor can attest to, life becomes MUCH more dangerous for the victim(s) when the abuser is confronted about their behavior. I agree that the scriptural basis need must change. But then too one must accept that the church remains a mens club. Until and unless we address the gender imbalance within church doctrine, I don’t believe we can make much headway in cementing that Domestic Violence is a heart and spiritual issue of the highest concern.

    When abusers are free to quote these scriptures — Colossians 3:18 Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord International Standard Version Wives submit yourselves to your husbands, as is appropriate for those who belong to the Lord. And 1st Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives… — as the grounds for their actions, and the churches are free to quote the same scripture as the grounds for THEIR counseling choices, I fear women and child victims of abusers will continue to fight an uphill battle.

    I quite agree about your observation concerning how Mr. Moles wrote about the house/services site. Every DV shelter/ services building that I have been in has been underfunded and overstretched by the need. Society continues to send the message that it does not view victims or survivors as deserving of succor. I cite the lack of services such as medical care, psycho/social counseling, housing, even safe job opportunities in just my area alone; let alone ongoing services and after care.

    As many of us know it can take years to restore oneself after a lifetime of abuse. Ongoing and after care are nonexistent. Not because the service providers don’t want to provide those particular services, but because funding is so very limited. Service providers must choose between helping in the moment, or continuing limited care for a small number, and then society blames the woman for going back (not to mention being in that situation in the first place – victim blaming is rampant in the church and in society as a whole). It boggles the mind. One MUST have safe long-term housing, safe jobs, and continuing mental restoration to stay out, provide a roof over ones family, food in their bellies, clothing for jobs, and the jobs…oh lord…try to find a job that doesn’t look at your past and shake in fear because you are a survivor (i.e.. “what happens if the abuser finds you? I can’t take that risk.”).

    There are answers out there. But men in the position of Mr. Moles MUST become part of the solution instead of continuing the pattern and the problem. I don’t understand why, when populations are taxed to the hilt in so many countries, it is so very difficult to designate a large portion of funds to survivor services and upgrading victim services.

    I see a continuing of attitudes with in the church and society as remaining the same. I come up against closed eyes, closed minds, and closed hearts every day in the church and judicial institutions, even in the DV abuse recovery sector I can not say much more toward those bodies, except to paraphrase Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia “:…first society makes the victims and then punishes them for needing help.”

    There has to be a way to change this; as I see it, it needs must change not just at the church level but a heart level, across the board.

    Absolutely excellent series.

  4. Finding Answers

    GypsyAngel wrote Absolutely excellent series.

    Amen.

    My current inability to listen to videos / podcasts / sermons limits the degree to which I can comment, though I have read the referenced articles. (I have not read the book.)

    Between the posts and the comments generated, I am learning.

  5. notlongnow

    Call me cynical, but I think that is exactly why he and others like him, use soft, weak language with church leaders: to keep the welcome mat out for themselves at the ‘churches’ and conferences, again, because it is financially profitable for them. They are selling out abused women because they make a buck off of them, by claiming to be their advocates but in truth healing the wounds of the daughters of Zion, slightly.

    I also think this is why Chris Moles and others say that it’s possible for abusers to repent and change. Because it is a rare ‘church’ these days that would let any speaker in who boldly says these kinds of men (abusers), almost never repent. (Personally I don’t think they ever do and believe the very fact that are abusers prove they are reprobates).

    Most ‘churches’ want to hear that grace is for everyone, that Gods door is always open, that God never gets to the point of rejecting someone for their wickedness for all eternity by reprobating them. If you told the truth about this to the majority of pastors you would not be welcomed, and certainly not invited to speak and certainly not have your books and seminars promoted. So a choice comes for Chris Moles and others like him; speak the full truth and be despised and rejected by popular ‘christianity’ or go softly, softly and still be a darling of the ‘christian’ speaking circuit and reap the accompanying benefits.

    As a side note, I’ve been to a few of those decrepit, non-descript houses/shelters too.

  6. healinginhim

    Thank you for this series pertaining to Chris Moles. I agree with so many of the commenters so I won’t be redundant. Praying for the many victims — that they not be re-victimized by unbiblical slack counsel and lack of support.

  7. Anon57

    Although stats say 1 in 4 women will become victims of DV, I think it is at least double that. Here’s why: it’s hidden. Abused women don’t admit to others or themselves that they are abused women. Abused women don’t always even know they are abused women. Raped women don’t know they have been raped — in that, they try to use any other term other than rape but really, rape is the correct term. Wives can be raped. And yet most wives who have been raped won’t call it that or admit it.

    I’ve read many, many times from other women who say that they don’t know of a single woman in their life who hasn’t been beaten or abused at some point.

    Given that reality, what are we doing? What is the church doing? We are failing women and children. Think about how much time each of us has spent studying abuse, reading books by various authors about abuser men, reading this blog (which is fantastic and time super well spent) and it’s like, the church should be at the forefront of all of this. I really think of the traditional churches as being but men’s clubs — largely by and for men, patriarchal men, no less. That’s why without radical change, generation after generation of women are going to be eaten alive, shredded, mangled, etc. by abusers. Pandering to senseless and baseless notions of abusers changing is a time suck and endangers all the more women and girls.

    Way too many of the men who profess to understand, don’t really understand and they show this because they lack the outrage necessary to be truly addressing the evil, the horror, the wickedness of abusers. Outrage, according to Bancroft, is the proper reaction. I don’t see any outrage in Chris Moles’ statements.

    Anything less than radical change and hard line exclusion of abusers from the church is just more of the same.

    It is a truly shattering experience to have a pastor, a male elder, a person’s church go against you (the abused woman) and seek to help the abuser. The church needs to get that. Half the congregation’s lives are practically on the line (whereas abusers won’t be dying from lack of support, despite any pity ploys they may use to garner support/allies and further isolate their prey).

    Abusers don’t need help or support. Abusers need handcuffs, exclusion from the church, and to be handed over to their father, the devil.

    • healinginhim

      Well stated, Anon57. So many remain silent and when we finally speak out we are ignored or chastised. 😦

    • Helovesme

      Anon57 wow!! What a great comment. Thank you so much for sharing it and for being so articulate.

      I too agree (it’s only a hunch) that the stats are higher for women who have been abused, for the reasons you have listed and probably more we haven’t thought of.

      One of the reasons, I think, is shame. This is a personal issue for me, so that is why I bring it up. Don Hennessy brings up that women are targeted, and the reason why it doesn’t happen to other women, is simply because they weren’t targeted.

      While he does bring up that wonderful virtues such as being kind, loyal, compassionate and loving “signal” to an abuser to target such a woman, Hennessy in NO WAY ever blames the woman for being targeted. He blames the abuser (at least this is what I picked up) for being abusive and for targeting victims to prey on.

      It is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has been abused. It’s not your fault that you were targeted. You can call it for what it is: abuse, and put the full responsibility on the shoulders of who deserve it: the abuser. You have nothing to be ashamed of, or sorry for.

      You are also NOT a “foolish person” because you did not see (or did not know what to look for) the red flags or warning signs in how your abuser preyed on you and ultimately hurt you. Abusers can be incredibly charming, seemingly wonderful and very “Christian like” to everyone else, but inside they are wolves looking for someone to devour.

      You are SO right when you said the church should be at the forefront of this madness, calling abusers out and leading the charge to help and protect and offer safe haven to those that so badly need it. Outrage is truly lacking. Why they are largely silent, or actively against the oppressed—is a mystery.

      You alluded to some great points as to why this is, though. Those that make the rules (largely men in the church) can interpret or change them as they see fit.

      This is a personal theory: maybe they’re afraid of becoming “outraged” and acting like it, too. Showing too much emotion might cause others to not take us seriously, not to mention making people uncomfortable to boot.

      If we get too “hyped up” about something that we’re not even sure is “that serious,” we might end up pushing people away rather than helping them. We do “agree” that it’s an issue. But what goes on behind closed doors, in or out of a person’s home, is complicated, right?

      Believe it or not, I DO understand the internal conflict of: I don’t want to take sides. This is none of my business. This is a personal matter. Don’t butt in, and don’t get involved.

      I would advise any and all of us, however, to be careful when our minds start working in those ways. I don’t mean we saddle up and form a posse, or engage in mob justice when we DO get involved and want to stand by a victim! That is not His way.

      Almost every time a victim comes forward, I’ve noticed a pattern: she is immediately suspected of lying, or using hyperbole, or it was somehow her fault (at least partially so). OR, she waited too long to come forward and is therefore suspected of having a personal agenda. She wants money, fame or a book deal of some kind.

      If you are married and your spouse is the abuser, then it’s easier than ever to claim that it was a “fight that escalated” or “tempers got out of control.” BOTH persons are assumed to be at fault. Counseling is suggested, forgiveness is pushed and when the abused tries to assert herself and her needs: she is being hard of heart, unforgiving and defiant.

      This is how (as you mentioned) abusers can play the “pity me” game so easily. And it works.

      When an abuse victim comes forward, they risk so much that the abuser does not have to deal with. Their names may be (and usually are) dragged thru the mud, their testimonies are doubted or disregarded as lies, they become the object of gossip or slander, they are “tried” in the court of public opinion. And they often have no way to defend themselves. It’s a strong possibility that no one has taken her side or stood with her.

      Most often—the abuser comes out shining in the end: a victim of persecution, who “bore” it all so Christ-like and is comforted and coddled with care and concern.

      It sounds nonsensical, but the reason why abuse victims stay silent, is because no one wants to incur further abuse by speaking up. The automatic reaction is: who will believe me?

      In regards to the attitude that abuse is not “that serious,” I am so done with that nonsense. How bad does it have to get before it’s serious?

      If it’s not physical abuse, you won’t take it seriously. If it IS physical abuse, it’s not “that bad” unless there are bruises? Well, if there ARE bruises, they are not “that bad” because there are only one or two. Plus, you were fighting, right? It just got out of control, see? He didn’t mean it. He won’t do it again. He’s really sorry.

      Abuse is murder, in all its forms. How long will it taken before the church understands that, and becomes outraged?

      By the way, we might get shocked looks by saying abuse is murder. Wait, not all abusers murder their victims. Doesn’t murder mean you kill, or try to kill your victim?

      Well, if murder or attempted murder are the worst things you can imagine happening to a person, you have a very limited mind.

      Listen to abuse victims with open ears. If you listen carefully, with the mind and heart of Christ, you will see how abuse destroyed them from the inside out.

      And yes, many victims of abuse DO end up losing their lives. Is THAT when it’s finally “serious?”

    • Moving Forward

      I really agree with you Anon57. The church should be at the forefront of dealing with abusers, otherwise known as wolves in sheep’s clothing. But as you so clearly state, they are not. And without that support and backing, the abused, outed woman has a long hill to climb to get to a point of personal well-being and knowledge to help, as so many of us wish to. We have to build all new networks of support and friends, as well as get help for ourselves from outside the church, who sure know a lot better what they are doing than the church is.

      With God’s help, one step at a time, scattered around the world as we are, we can make a difference, even if it is for just one other abused person. Jeff and Barb took that step with this blog, and look at how their ability to help has blossomed to what this blog is today. Now Jeff has moved on to spread the knowledge and help from a different angle, and the waves will keep moving out helping more and more people. I am so glad that I can be a part of it and not the blind person I once was.

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