A Cry For Justice

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

The Depths of Wisdom — sermon by Ps Sam Powell


The Depths of Wisdom
Judges 7; Romans 11:33-12:1 (NKJV)
Ps Sam Powell

Judges 7

Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever isfearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’ ” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels werewithout number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.

And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.”

Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”

And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers. And he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ”

So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

And the men of Israel gathered together from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.

Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites, and seize from them the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan.” Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and seized the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan. And they captured two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued Midian and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan.

Romans 11:33-12:1

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

You can listen to the sermon by clicking on the link above.

3. Chris Moles gets the gender issues right in domestic abuse & Christianity

Chris Moles

I honor Chris Moles for how he deals with the gender issues in domestic abuse. Here are five good things he says on gender and gender differences.

1. He says that men are much less likely than women to live in fear.

He rightly points out that a man can do certain behaviors to his wife and she will feel afraid, intimidated, diminished in her personhood; but if a wife does those same behaviors to her husband he will probably not feel afraid. The husband might get annoyed, frustrated or angry, but he won’t feel fearful. (F 16:50)* 

2. He says that domestic abuse is a men’s issue.

This is a men’s issue; men need to be talking about it. “Silence is approval, is it not?” (C 23:25) 

The vast majority of abusers are men – and he gives reliable statistics to back that up (C 22:57)

85% of victims are going to be female – it’s higher in intimate relationships than sexual assault, but actually the greatest number of male victims are victims by other men [by] childhood sexual assault. So if you want to talk about male victims I’d be happy to do that but where 70% of them are victims of other men. That’s why I keep saying it’s a men’s issue. (F 57:32 -58:11)

He calls on men to not remain silent about the issue, and to not collude with the abusive men.

I believe if 20-25% of men in our churches are perpetrating violence then the other 75-80% ought to stand up and say “Stop it!” And one of the reasons why the church doesn’t differ from the world is that we, the men who do not use abuse and violence, are quiet. Or we collude. (L 19:19, and he says pretty much the same thing at N 39:17–40:14)

But I do wonder why Chris didn’t say that in his book. His book would have been much better if it had included the above paragraph. Video (L) was uploaded to YouTube in April 2014. Chris’s book was published in 2015. So why Chris didn’t include that paragraph in his book is beyond me. I do wonder if he was ‘walking the fence’ to not get male readers off side. If so, I think that was cowardly of him, because he let victims down by not directly confronting the generality of men in the visible church. 

3. He says men ought to use their power to uphold women, rather than lord it over them.

This is one of Chris’s best points. He affirms Jesus’s teaching that power should be used to serve, not to dominate. And he shows that Paul conveyed the same thing when teaching about how husbands should treat their wives. (C 26:54)

Even better, he spells out how some complementarians have conveyed a false idea of complementarianism:

Complementarians inadvertently or deliberately have presented a view of hierarchy that is more consistent with the world than with scripture. … We haven’t accurately shown the world that the Jesus actually turned that on its head and that complementarianism is not about top-down power over, it’s about bottom-up power under. Our hierarchy is not about power, it’s about responsibility. … So that when Jesus talked about headship he is not talking about oppression he is talking about freedom. And freedom come when those with power sacrifice, not when those in power press down… (C 20:50)

Complementarity is not necessarily the problem, but our practical theology is. (Q 50:09)

Chris uses Greg Boyd’s phrase “Power Over vv Power Under”. He says “power over” is self-promotion and self-uplifting at the expense of another, whereas “power under” seeks the wellbeing of others at the expense of self. (M 63) He teaches abusive men that Ephesians 5 calls husbands to Christ-centred obedience, so they demonstrate “power under” in their marriages not “power over”. (M 65) Much of (C) is an explanation of the abuse of power by men in marriage.

Some have argued that violence in the home is just as damaging no matter who the perpetrator is. Yes violence in the home is unacceptable, but I do feel that men should be held to a higher standard in part because of the potential damage they can inflict. No matter how much we wish to be gender neutral in our culture, the fact remains that men are stronger than women.
Coming from a complementarian perspective, I do believe that certain roles are fulfilled on the basis of gender. God has given a certain level of responsibility – and for that matter – power to the husband. We should not shy away from these realities but view them through the lens of Scripture, especially the words of Jesus.
“… Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant… ” (Matt 20:25-28) …
The heart of pride longs for power over, but the heart of Christ calls for power under. … we husbands are to use our power to support, protect and communicate that we too are dependable and responsible with the power we have been given. (M 72-3)

I amazes me that we within the complementarian world really dismiss this issue. It’s almost as if domestic violence is the only issue where we demand mutuality. It drives me nuts. The idea that we want distinct roles and distinct functions, until there’s an accusation of domestic violence then all of a sudden “well, everybody’s angry and everybody’s violent, women are this and men are that.” Well that is totally inconsistent with our theology! Why is this all about mutuality, when in the scripture it’s all about responsibility? (A) 

When abusive men quote “wives submit to your husbands,” Chris asks them why they are reading their wife’s mail, rather than reading the parts of Ephesians 5 that are directed at husbands. (M 70)

4. He talks about male privilege, and the way society is prejudiced against women who report being abused.

The conscience of our culture is in such a way that I think it is – the culture likes to call it privilege – I think it lacks some weight to it. But I do think there are blind spots that people of tend to be in positions of power. So if you are accustomed to getting things a certain way or you are accustomed to being this homogenous group where everyone who looks like you gets what they want, you kind of become blind to the areas in where it’s less then advantageous for a minority. And this happens with men and women quite a bit. Where I don’t really see the perpetrator. And if the victim acts crazy, throws a fit, or is sinful, our response – our response as men in particular, and culturally as a whole – tends to be to focus our attention on victim. ‘Look at her,’ ‘Look what she’s doing.’ When it [what she is doing] may very well be resistance. …And I think that has happened a lot. (E 37:15-39:00) 

5. He describes how women usually take responsibility, while men usually resist taking responsibility.

Chris has a part time job working for his state/county government. In this job he facilitates Domestic Violence Intervention Groups. Most of these groups are for men who have abused their female partners, but some of the groups are for women who have used violence against their male partners. All the participants in the state-run groups are mandated to attend by the justice system. So Chris has experience of both genders in these groups: men who abuse their wives, and women who use violence against their husbands.

Chris says the women typically assume guilt for the things they have done wrong in the relationship and even for things which are not their fault, whereas men typically resist confessing their guilt and instead shift the blame.

My experience with women’s groups has been that when women come into our group, or when women come into [private] counseling who have been victims, they own everything they’ve every done. “Yeah, I hit him. Yeah, I slashed his tires. Yeah, I did this.” All sinful. All things that need to be addressed.

I don’t what it is about us guys. Men’s group–it’s like pulling teeth. The first things, generally, not always, out of my guys’ mouths is: “She hit me. She slashed my tires.”

It’s amazing how many victims will assume guilt for everything. Do they need to own their sin? Yes, don’t hear me say that women don’t sin. You all know better, hopefully. But it is amazing how often victims have been associated with guilt for so long in their homes that they just naturally gravitate towards it. (B 50:06–50:54)

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*Our Chris Moles Digest has links to all the posts in this series, and a legend for the cited items.

Further Reading

A third way on gender stuff in a messed up world: complementarian, egalitarian, or the cross by Ps Nathan Campbell

 

2. Chris Moles is teaching some things about domestic abuse well

Here are the helpful things Chris Moles is saying to the visible church:

  1. He has a pretty good definition of domestic abuse.
  2. He dispels some of the myths about domestic abuse.
  3. He describes the tactics used by abusive men.
  4. He understands the impact on children.
  5. He gives some good advice to pastors and counselors.
  6. He explains the language tricks which are used to make perpetrators invisible.
  7. He encourages the church to improve its theology of oppression.
  8. He gets the gender thing right. ( I will cover that in my next post in this series.)

My citations of Chris’s work are almost always given in bullet points. The source of the citation is shown in grey with each source designated by a different capital letterThe Chris Moles Digest has a legend which links to each item by Chris Moles signified by a capital letter.

1.  He has a pretty good definition of domestic abuse

He defines it as an abuse of power manifested through selfishly motivated patterns of behavior to exercise or maintain control. (C 24:40, 37:38, 55:09) 

2. He dispels some of the myths

  • It is wrong to think that domestic violence is primarily a criminal justice problem (C 4:50, M 12) 
  • It is wrong to think that the wife is responsible for domestic violence because she’s not submitting enough or whatever (which is victim blaming and very dangerous) (C 15:25, M 15)
  • Domestic abuse is not an anger problem. (M 10, C 10:25,) 
  • Domestic abuse is not a marriage problem. (M 13, C 12:20)
  • Domestic abuse is a problem in the heart of abuser. (M 17)
  • Abusive men desire to gain or maintain power and control. They use a variety of  tactics to achieve this: physical force, intimidation, ridicule, isolation, denial and blame, using the children, male privilege, economics [financial abuse], and  coercion and threats. (M 22-27) 
  • The abuser’s hurtful behavior escalates as time goes on (E 21:00).

3. He describes the tactics used by abusive men

  • He gives many illustrations of coercive control, verbal and emotional abuse, physical abuse, economic abuse, threats, isolation, sexual abuse, intimidation. (C, E, M chapter 2)
  • He mentions some of the big red flags for lethality: abuse of pets, threats of suicide, strangulation (E).

But note: he doesn’t mention rape as a red flag for lethality. If the abuser rapes the target woman, she is at higher risk of being killed than a woman whose abuser does not use rape as part of his arsenal.

One flaw in his work is that he doesn’t discuss sexual abuse much at all. I wish Chris would read our Don Hennessy Digest. But at least he recently shared on his blog the 3-part series by Darby Strickland on sexual abuse in marriage.

4. He understands the impact on children

His presentation The Impact of Abuse on Children (G) is excellent apart from one very weird ‘joke’ he makes at 49:17.

5. He gives some good advice to pastors and counselors

  • It’s simplistic to think, “We just have to break the Cycle of Abuse.” Each victim’s experience is different, and not all victims experience the Cycle of Abuse. (P)
  • He tells church leaders, “Don’t  steam roll the victim; don’t  pretend you are the victim’s messiah.” (C 1:06:45).
  • The “witnesses” in a Matthew 18 process can be a victim’s diary entries or electronic/digital evidence of the abuser’s conduct. (L 41:10- 42:14) 
  • If you are a pastor and receive a disclosure, believe her. Listen and affirm what you’re hearing. … Assure her. Assist her. And document: you never know when it may be necessary to disclose that info for her protection and safety. (F 48:20)
  • He describes coercive control using the metaphor that ‘we [pastors/counselors] never see the whole train’ (E 01:00).
  • He mentions the case of Stacey Peterson who disclosed the abuse to her pastor Neil Schori, and was later killed by her husband.(F) That case shows how important it is for pastors to document everything the victim has disclosed about her fear of her husband and his conduct. And he mentions the Document The Abuse app.
  • He understands that it is appropriate to set boundaries on abusers and give them consequences if they break the boundaries, and that forgiveness does not remove consequences (even jail) (F 54:20, M 91) 
  • He reminds pastors that God hates the wicked and those who love violence. (M 88) 

6. He explains the language tricks which are used to make perpetrators invisible

“John beats Mary,” becomes “Mary was beaten by John,” becomes “Mary was beaten,” becomes “Mary is a battered woman.” The perpetrator has been rendered invisible and Mary’s identity is flattened so that she is seen as simply and only a “battered woman”. And Mary’s abuser has become invisible. (F 23:38) 

7. He encourages the church to improve its theology of oppression

  • In some circumstance suffering can and should be avoided. (F 34:05)
  • If we don’t balance our theology of suffering with our theology of oppression, we run the risk of putting the victim in harm’s way. (C 18:32)

He articulates how he applies a theology of oppression to abusers:

  • Psalm 34 says, The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their cry, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
  • He says he loves the language of God towards oppressors in the Bible. It’s imperative that we love men enough to tell them and show them how opposed they are to God. (C 43:45)
  • If the sheep are suffering from wolves, what shepherd blames the sheep? Can you imagine the shepherd offering excuses for the wolves? … No, the shepherd gathers the sheep for protection and when possible addresses the behavior of the wolves. (M 15)

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Our Chris Moles Digest has links to all the posts in this series, and a legend for the cited items.

Chris Moles Digest

The series on Chris Moles will contain the following posts

Each item in this list will be converted to a link when it gets published.

  1. Introducing the Chris Moles series
  2. Chris Moles is teaching some things about domestic abuse well
  3. Chris Moles gets the gender issues right in domestic abuse & Christianity
  4. Chris Moles heard the women’s stories; what has he done with them?
  5. Chris Moles sometimes endorses the abuser’s narrative
  6. How Chris Moles works with abusers
  7. Is “addressing the hearts of abusive men” the most effective means of reducing violence against women?
  8. Chris Moles tells biblical counselors to put lots of energy into helping abusive men see their sins
  9. The Bible tells us how we are to respond to abusers, but Chris Moles ignores it
  10. Chris Moles and victim care: I’m not sure he sees the victim as his primary client
  11. Chris Moles’ theology of salvation: Arminian ‘decisionism’
  12. “Do Abusers Change?” Chris Moles answers that question with a mixture of truth & foolishness.
  13. Chris Moles – money, marketing tactics and humor
  14. Chris Moles endorses the Peacemakers Ministry, which has no policy on domestic abuse.
  15. Chris Moles only partly saw the problems in CBMW’s Statement on Abuse
  16. Windup of the Chris Moles series

Chris Moles

Legend for citations of references to Chris Moles’ work

In order to prevent the series being overly peppered with links, I have created a letter code for each item of Chris Moles’ teaching which I refer to. Click on the letter to find the link to that item.

A — Pacific Northwest Radio interview with Chris Moles, Oct 2017

BWhat is domestic violence? – lecture by Chris Moles at IBCD Pre-conference 2017

C  — The heart of domestic violence – IBCD ibid

D — Substance abuse and domestic violence – IBCD ibid

E  — Counseling controlling husbands – IBCD ibid

F  — Victim care – IBCD ibid

G — The impact of abuse on children – IBCD ibid

H  — Audio Interview of Chris Moles – by IBCD staff Craig Marshall & Jim Newheiser 2017

J  — Video clip #3 of item H, the IBCD audio interview 2017

K — Video clip #4 of item H, the IBCD audio interview 2017

L — Chris as a guest speaker at Calvary Baptist Church, video, April 2014

M — The Heart of Domestic Abuse, book by Chris Moles, 2015, Focus Publishing

N —Chris Moles addressing Bethlehem Baptist Church, uploaded by BBC to Vimeo approx May 2017.

P — 3 Ways to Bring More Clarity to our Domestic Violence Responses – post by Chris at his blog May 2018

Q — Helping the Church Respond to Abusive Spouses, video of Chris speaking at the Biblical Counseling Coalition Conference held at Faith Church, Lafayette, Indiana Feb 2018. This item can also be found here.

RCounseling in the Brambles – podcast by Chris in which he talks to Darby Strickland, a counselor from CCEF (Christian Counseling & Education Foundation), Feb 2018.

SClarifying our Response to Domestic Violence – podcast by Chris Moles, May 2018. Chris discusses Paige Patterson’s ideas on DV, and then he discusses CBMW’s latest statement on abuse and offers some suggestions for how CBMW could improve it.

TTelling the Truth to Yourself – blog post in which Chris addresses abusive men, Jan 2018.

V — The Church, Abuse and Me Too – podcast by Chris where he talks to Elyse Fitzpatrick, Feb 2018.

WThe Four Pillars of Domestic Abuse – podcast by Chris where he uses King David’s sin against Bathsheba as an example of the mentality of men who exploit women, Jan 2018.

X — Domestic Violence: Getting to the Heart – blog post by Chris at the Biblical Counseling Coalition,  April 2013

YGreat week of travelling and teaching – blog post by Chris Moles about the 2018 conference of Association of Biblical Counselors, April 2018.

Z — RTS Charlotte: Rev. Chris Moles “The Heart of Domestic Abuse” – video of Chris speaking at Reformed Theological Seminary, April 2018.

1. Introducing the Chris Moles series

Chris Moles

Chris Moles is seen as an expert in domestic abuse by the biblical counseling movement. But does his teaching line up with Scripture? I believe Chris teaches some good things about domestic abuse, but I have serious concerns as well. This series will set out both my praise and my concerns.

The biblical counseling movement is having four big conferences in 2018 on domestic abuse, and Chris Moles is speaking at all four. Chris is being seen as the poster boy because he gives them such hope for changing abusers. But in my view, Chris is still not awake to some of the most vital points.

I get the impression that many Christian counselors have not had in-depth theological training. They’ve studied counseling and psychology a lot more than they’ve studied theology. And because most pastors are dealing poorly with abuse situations, it has fallen to the Christian counselors to deal with the issue.

However, without a good grasp of theology and doctrine, Christian counselors and psychologists can make all sorts of statements which are not soundly supported by scripture. If someone does not know Hebrew or Greek they can’t assess the veracity of the claims of other self-proclaimed called Christian experts in abuse. If someone doesn’t have a good grasp of theology, they don’t have the background to weigh the full counsel (Word) of God carefully and they are not likely to able to discern doctrinal errors.

And pastors, too, are often in the same boat. There are big problems in the seminaries that are training pastors: deep doctrinal problems and wilful or foolish blindness to the nature of abuse, which leads to the cover-up of abuse when it has occurred. So the majority of pastors are failing to discern and correct the wrong doctrines of the Christian counselors, because they are likewise unskilled in discerning truth from error.

Do I know Hebrew and Greek? No; but I consult with and study the works of those who do, especially when it comes to a tricky passages about male-female relations, and divorce & remarriage.

Whenever I am unsure about something, I check my ideas against the teachings of men whose theological training I respect: Ps Sam Powell, Ps Jeff Crippen, Dr Liam Goligher, Dr Fred Sanders, Dr James Delozal, and of course the Creeds and the various Reformed Confessions of Faith. And I respect the work of Ruth Magnusson Davis who is showing us what excellent work Tyndale & Coverdale did in translating the Bible into English. I’ve also carefully read people like Dr David Instone-Brewer, whose work I agree with in some respects but diverge from in other respects. In other words, I’ve done my homework.

All along, A Cry For Justice has refused to join the bandwagon

We will not get on a train that we believe is being driven by people who are not yet fully awake to the issues and are not following all that scripture says about it. This applies not just to Chris Moles but also to

Those experts think that they need to proceed slowly and gently in getting the die-hards in the institutional church to turn around. It is true that change will take time. But by ‘softly prompting’ to lead the church towards change, I believe many of these so-called experts are not being fair to all victims and they are not conveying the whole truth, so they are inadvertently or wittingly giving leeway to the perpetrators of abuse.

I would not have any problem if these people were teaching things which are doctrinally correct. But from my more than two decades of of writing and reading in this field, this is what I’ve seen time and time again:  When people progress to the stage where they can face the tough truth that ACFJ presents, they have already had their minds filled with many false notions which we have to undo.

Here are some of the false notions which some Christian counselors and victim-advocates are teaching:

  • The abuser is blind to what he is doing, and he needs to be helped to become un-blind.
  • The victim can (or should) do things which might help the abuser wake up to what he is doing.
  • Christian counselors should work with abusers painstakingly, to lead them to change.
  • The victim is an enabler.
  • The victim is co-dependent.
  • Most victims need to be coached so they do not respond sinfully when being abused — so they either ‘stay well’ or ‘leave well’.
  • There are two words in Hebrew that are translated divorce. Only one of them meant a legal divorce with a certificate. The other word meant ‘put away’ – and ‘put away’ is not the same as ‘divorce’.
  • God hates divorce.
  • God allowed divorce because of hardness of heart.

When these so called experts teach or relay false notions to the church, it makes my job harder. And in my experience, most of these experts are resistant to learning when I give them constructive feedback. Ps Jeff Crippen, who co-led this blog with me till late 2017, had the same experience. He found that these experts are resistant to hearing our feedback.

Yet many of these ‘experts’ say how important it is to listen to victims! I can only conclude there’s a gulf between their rhetoric and reality.

I trust my upcoming series on Chris Moles will be helpful to many survivors of domestic abuse who are sifting their way through the information offered by Chris Moles and the other ‘counselling experts’ who are teaching about domestic abuse.

I hope the series might lead a few Christian counselors to open their minds to the directions they need to give more focus to.

After the Chris Moles series, I hope to devote my energies to writing the things that I still have to write: the second edition of Not Under Bondage, and my as-yet-unpublished insights into scripture that will help victims of domestic abuse. In other words, I intend to direct my sights away from critiquing the work of public figures in Christendom who claim to offer domestic abuse ministry yet are still getting so much wrong.

Please hold me to that intention, dear readers, as I can easily get sidetracked into exposing the errors of yet another false teacher. I could spend the rest of my life critiquing poor teachers, but I need to get on and write my own stuff. But have no fear; we will keep publishing posts on this site.

I am not asserting that the past and present team here at ACFJ has ‘said it all’. But I believe we have articulated enough principles for people who know their Bibles well and are indwelt by the Spirit to apply the principles to new material and new ‘expert teachers’ who may arise.

And if any of our readers find flaws in what we have published, then of course we are open to feedback. But please point out flaws in our analysis of scripture and present solid scriptural argument for your point of view. And please do us the courtesy of reading our material carefully by digging into our FAQ page and our Hall of Blind Guides before you make knee-jerk denunciations. And if you just say the problem is our tone because we are being ‘too harsh’ – that probably won’t cut ice with us. Jesus was very harsh with religious leaders who were leading the people of God astray.

So, if any readers want to understand the problems with Christian teaching on domestic abuse from now on, they can always read ACFJ’s posts (of which there are many)—and figure out the principles and apply them to the teacher they want to analyze. How to search our website

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Further reading

Parched for truth — dehydrated — victims appreciate ANY water, but it’s better to give them pure rather than muddy water.

Critiques of biblical counseling published at A Cry For Justice

Wise as Serpents: Does the Christian Still Have an Evil Heart? (Part 24 of Sermon Series) – Jeff Crippen shows how many biblical counselors, including Leslie Vernick, have wrong-thinking or at least foggy-thinking regarding just who a Christian is. 

Pt 1. CCEF’s ‘Counseling Abusive Marriages’ course — bread mixed with stones?

Pt 2. CCEF’s ‘Counseling Abusive Marriages’ course — bread mixed with stones?

Pt 3. CCEF’s ‘Counseling Abusive Marriages’ course — bread mixed with stones?

Review of Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book “Is It My Fault? Hope and Healing for those Suffering Domestic Abuse”

We were right! Dallas Theological Seminary has been using “Sexual Issues” in their BC101 Class

By ignoring domestic abuse, Christians can stigmatize victims — an example from Dallas Theological Seminary

A fundamental misdiagnosis of the abuser’s problem?  — an example from Dallas Theological Seminary

What does Dallas Theological Seminary say about divorce and redemption in cases of spousal abuse?

What does Dallas Theological Seminary say about divorce and redemption in cases of spousal abuse? (continued)

If God put you together you’re not allowed to separate — says Dr. Heath Lambert, Executive Director of ACBC

Another abuser-enabling, victim-enslaving book: Jim Newheiser’s “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage”

Critiques of biblical counseling published at The Wartburg Watch

What is the Difference Between Nouthetic and Biblical Counseling? Just the Spelling.

Biblical Counseling: Anyone Can Do It, Sin is the Focus, Confidentiality is Not Guaranteed and Women Should Beware

Biblical Counseling Training:  Inadequate Education, Problematic Resources and Questionably Educated Leaders

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Teach Us to Pray — sermon by Ps Sam Powell

Teach us to Pray
Luke 11:1-13 NKJV
Ps. Sam Powell

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

 

You can listen to the sermon by clicking on the link above.