A Cry For Justice

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

As a pastor, what are the most important things for me to know about domestic abuse?

Letter from a Pastor to Pastors  by Ps Jeff Crippen

Domestic Abuse is the Test Case for Our Theology (and we are failing)

Neutrality is not neutral 

There is No Neutrality, No “Innocent” Bystander When We See Abuse

Red Flags: Victims experiencing any of these risk factors are at an increased risk of being killed or almost killed

If a woman discloses that her husband is mistreating her in any way…

Even if what she reports to sounds to you like it is “not all that bad,” please don’t discount what she’s told you. Speak kindly to her. Don’t lecture her. Don’t launch into ‘teaching’ her. Don’t assume you know what she needs to be told.  Ask her to if she is willing to give you more detail about what her husband is doing. Tell her you will not speak to him about any of it, unless she gives you her explicit permission. And even if she does give you permission to talk to her husband about it, it may not be safe for you to do so unless she is completely safe from his possible retaliation. So you and her may need to learn about safety planning first.

The most important things to say to victims

  • It’s not you fault. You are not to blame.
  • Your safety is important.  How can I help you be safe from oppression and mistreatment?

What not to do

Male victims?

Yes, we know that men are sometimes victims of domestic abuse, see our tag for Male Survivors. But unfortunately for the men who have genuinely suffered domestic abuse, many male abusers portray themselves as victims. Some of the links below will give you tips for sorting out genuine victims from those who are faking victimhood.

If a man says he’s in shock because his wife just left him, it is possible he is an abuser. Just on its own, the statement “I’m in shock because my wife just said the marriage is over” is not enough to indicate him being an abuser, but in conjunction with other indicators, it certainly suggests that the man is an abuser. If a man says, “I’m in shock because my wife just said the marriage is finished,” the other possibility is that the wife had been committing adultery and been very careful concealing it from him. But if the wife has been cheating, clear evidence or admission of that will probably come out after the separation.

And bear in mind that in some cases of adultery, the non-adulterous spouse may in fact have been an abuser, and the adulterous spouse (the abuse victim) has responded sinfully by having an affair. In that scenario, the adulterous spouse, if truly a believer, will eventually confess the adultery as a sin.  And it was not primarily the adultery that caused the marriage breakdown, it was the abuse.

An abused wife will have been asking her husband to stop mistreating her for a very long time…. to no avail. If a deserted husband claims he had no idea the marriage was on the rocks, he may be lying and trying to gain your sympathy by playing the pity card.

Marks of a pretend victim versus a true victim

The language of abusers who portray themselves as victims — Vagueness & Contraditions

How to Spot an Abuser Who Claims to be the Victim

A Godly Abuser? Really?

Most pastors have not been adequately trained in domestic abuse

…so if you’ve made mistakes in the past, you are not alone!

You Weren’t There — a letter to pastors from a survivor of domestic abuse

If you read only one book, make it this one: Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the church  [affiliate link*] by Ps Jeff Crippen.

How a Pastor and His Wife’s Eyes Were Opened to Abuse — a guest post by one of our readers who is a pastor

Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering

Ps Sam Powell explains how the dynamics of domestic abuse are not taught in seminaries.

How Seminary Training Can Easily Produce Gnat Strainers and Camel Swallowers

Ps Jeff Crippen’s Advice to Pastors who are dealing with domestic abuse  — the link takes you to Part 1 in that series). The eleven posts in that series can be skimmed at: Tag for Advice to Pastors series

Non-Negotiables for Effective and Biblical Abuse Ministry

Attitudes that Promote Abuse in the Church: Major System Flush Needed

The Method of Interpreting Scripture in the Conservative Evangelical Church Needs a Reboot

How Wayne Grudem fits his ideas on authority/submission with his thoughts on domestic abuse

Exposing Evil—and the fear of doing so

What Does Evil Look Like?

Peer Pressure Among Pastors Tends toward Silence About Abuse

The Apostle John Provides us a Model of How to Address an Abuser in Church

Getting Gossip Wrong Will Silence Voices Exposing Evil

The Holy Spirit Calls us to Expose Evil — People Tell us to be Quiet About it

“Never Say Anything Critical of One of Your Own” — Wrong!

When We Enable Abusers in the Church We are Guilty of Breaking the Third Commandment

Don’t be fooled by false repentance

If the abuser shows signs of repentance, what should pastors do?  And what if there is no repentance?

Don’t Fall for the Abuser’s Repentance: Lessons from Zacheus

God only did one counseling session with Cain

Church Discipline

God’s Rules of Evidence are Often Misapplied, to the Harm of Abuse Victims

How Abusers Use (Mis-use) Matthew 18 to Escape Church Discipline

Church discipline and church permission for divorce – how my mind has changed (by Barbara Roberts, author of Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion)

David Instone-Brewer, The Westminster Confession, and Judging Divorce

Pastoral Care Has its Limits and Must Allow for the Priesthood of the Believer

*Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.

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