A statement on the book on abuse that I co-authored

I was born into abuse, married an abuser, and am now separated from him with biblical reasons.

In 2010, I came across a sermon series on domestic abuse that Reformed Baptist Pastor Jeff Crippen had just posted online. I’d woken up in the wee hours of that morning full of fear and overwhelmed by the pain in my family due to my husband’s abuse. After listening to the sermons, I contacted Pastor Crippen to thank him for what he’d posted. Two years later, we co-wrote the book A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church.

A couple of years after that, I ended our association. After being welcomed in the abuse community, which is overwhelmingly feministic and progressive, he began embracing feminist, leftist, humanistic beliefs that were not Christ-honoring. I couldn’t support that so after I wrote him a letter begging him to reconsider some of his newer stances and he refused, we parted ways.

Through his blog, Pastor Crippen publicly attacked RC Sproul, John MacArthur, among others. He attacked patriarchy (which towards the end of our association, he said he now hated) and even complementarianism (stating that for the husband to be the leader was unfair and abusive). He wrote a post stating that having disavowed both of these due to his eyes being opened by his new associates, he went on to state that his marriage was now “equal” in roles and responsibility. He also wrote (in a post he later deleted) that abortion was acceptable in cases of rape and to state otherwise was to abuse women who’d already been abused by rape. And so on…. Eventually he left the blog and most if not all of his posts were deleted at his request by Barbara Roberts, who now runs the blog.

Pastor Crippen never paid me for my work on the book. He has publicly spread lies about me that, through those who know us both, have come back to me. I’m not telling you this to attack him. I would invite you to pray for him. I tell you these things because I don’t want his views confused as being mine. They are anything but.

A Christ honoring abuse ministry

In these dark desperate days the church is allowing domestic abuse in general and sexual abuse specifically to drive it towards Social Justice, towards being Woke. Towards sin. Domestic abuse cannot be understood nor can the victims of it truly be helped outside of the Gospel. God comes first–always and in everything.

I believe that if churches can come alongside of those who have been abused in a Christ-honoring way it is a great witness to the watching weary sin-sick world. But anything they do absolutely must be based in truth. Too many times those who seek to minister to the abused end up embracing egalitarianism, humanism, or feminism. This is sin.


If you are being abused, please reach out for help

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

TTY: 1-800-787-3224

Deaf callers using video phone 1-855-812-1001 (Monday-Friday, 9 am -5 pm PST)


What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is about control. It is the using of fear, force and/or coercion in order to gain control over another person.

I speak below as if the abuser is male and the one being abused, female. I do realize that sometimes the reverse is true.

The one being abused often isn’t aware that they are being abused. Sometimes it’s up to those who care about them to see the signs of domestic abuse and talk with them about what they’ve observed. The fog that accompanies abuse is very real and not easy to escape.

The abuser defines reality for his victim. He wants his victim to see herself through his lens rather than through the lens of truth.

Domestic abuse takes many faces: verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, stalking, digital abuse, control, manipulation, etc. All forms of abuse are destructive.


The Abuse Cycle

  1. Abuse: Your partner abuses you.
  2. Guilt: Your partner begins to feel some degree of guilt, not over abusing you but over what it might cost him (the fear of getting caught, etc.).
  3. Excuses: Your partner blames you for ‘making’ him abuse you.
  4. Honeymoon: Things are good for a while causing you to believe he may have changed.
  5. Planning: Desiring the control that comes with abuse, he starts planning how to do it again.
  6. Set-up: Your partner sets you up so that he can justify abusing you.
  7. Starts over.

Are you afraid of your abuser?

The most important thing to look for when deciding if you are a victim of domestic abuse is this: Are you afraid of your partner? This is a different kind of fear than that of reverent fear. This is a fear of pain, fear of what the abuser might say or do, and sometimes a fear for one’s life.

There is a difference between a bad marriage and an abusive one. In a bad marriage, both parties bear responsibility for the problems within the marriage. They must repent and work together towards being pleasing to the Lord.

In an abusive marriage, one person is the abuser, one person is the one being abused. One person controls, manipulates, and brings pain; the other is the victim of control, manipulation, and pain.


Signs of abuse

Your spouse may engage in some or all of these….

  • belittles you
  • controls you
  • cannot be pleased
  • makes you believe that you cannot do anything right
  • causes you to feel afraid, helpless, numb
  • makes you believe that you deserve to be hurt
  • makes you doubt yourself
  • causes you to have trouble making decisions
  • makes you wonder if you are crazy
  • humiliates you
  • calls you names
  • has a bad or unpredictable temper
  • blames you for the abuse (you made me do this)
  • hits you
  • yells at you
  • gives you the silent treatment
  • treats you like a slave or says you are his slave
  • treats you like a sex object
  • calls you vile names
  • says you have no rights
  • tells you need to be punished for being a you or for being a woman
  • is possessive or excessively jealous of you
  • prevents you from seeing your family or friends
  • constantly checks up on you (not to watch over you but to control you)
  • prevents you from leaving the house alone
  • controls the finances
  • prevents you from having proper health care
  • rapes you
  • punishes you
  • threatens to put you in a corner, lock you in a room, or actually does so
  • punishes you
  • disciplines you in some humiliating manner
  • humiliates you in front of others
  • belittles your efforts
  • threatens harm to your family or friends
  • threatens to harm you or your children if you tell anyone
  • threatens to harm you or your children if you leave him
  • threatens to kill himself if you leave him
  • causes you to lose your job
  • causes you to lose items to repossession
  • sells, gives away, or destroys things that are important to you
  • throws things, breaks things, punches holes in walls
  • hurts your pets or threatens to
  • prevents you from using the phone or the computer (to prevent you from getting help)
  • forces you to perform degrading sexual acts
  • demands that you give up your rights or says you have no rights
  • insists you change who you are in order to please him

Can abusers change?

Abusers can change but it is rare. Abusers, by nature, have a heart that is hardened by their sin. They don’t care about you and they don’t care about God.

But God…He can do anything. Sometimes, He does. If an abuser does change, he will change completely. He will no longer blame you for the abuse. He will repent and change completely the way he relates to you, the way he treats you, and the way he speaks to and of you. The change will be obvious to everyone.

The abuser will also repent to others–anyone affected by his abuse or by his abuse of you or misled by him about his treatment of you or your reactions (including children, other family members, friends, etc.). He will repent before God. If this happens, and it continues to happen, without him pushing you, he may be on the pathway to wholeness. If not, he didn’t truly repent.


Recommended books

Domestic abuse

Not all of these boooks are written from a Christian perspective and those that are cannot be seen as a theological textbook; all of these have some good information on issues relating to domestic abuse. By Christian I mean that they embrace biblical principals; I am not endorsing everything every author believes.

If you purchase a book through a link below, I will receive a small commission.

Domestic Abuse: Help for the Sufferer (Resources for Changing Lives) by Darby Strickland (Christian)

Is It Abuse?: A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims by Darby Strickland (Christian)

Domestic Abuse: Recognize, Respond, Rescue (Resources for Changing Lives) by Darby Strickland (Christian)

A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood (Christian)

Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence by Lindsey A. Holcomb, Justin S. Holcomb (Christian)

Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault by Lindsey A. Holcomb, Justin S. Holcomb (Christian)

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft (not Christian)

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft (not Christian)

Help! There’s an Abused Woman in My Church!: How to Spot Her and What to Do – A Guide for Pastors and Other Christians by Ephesians 525 Ministries (Christian)

Shame

Shame Interrupted by Edward T. Welch (Christian)

Divorce

Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities by David Instone-Brewer (this was recommended by several reformed pastors) (Christian)

Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion
by Barbara Roberts
(Christian)

Single motherhood

Help! I’m a Single Mom (LifeLine Mini-book) (Life-Line Mini-Books)
by Carol Trahan

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

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