When the Abuser is a Pastor

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any." ~Alice Walker

By Robin Mullins Senger

Pastor Jeff Crippen, who I quote extensively in my book, God Hates Abuse, has a good article on the abuser as pastor. While he is referring to abusive pastors of the flock, the characteristics also apply to the abusive pastor of his wife. I personally encounter more abused pastor wives than otherwise. But how can an abusive husband to his wife not also abuse the women in his congregation? It’s his nature and character. Jeff comments in his article:

"We should expect abusers to seek the position of pastor. Why? Well, what better venue for doing the things he loves the most: putting on a godly facade, being the center of attention, controlling others, getting onto a track for increasing his power and fame. No wonder Jesus warned us about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Paul did as well and so did Peter and so did…almost every book of the Bible! Human beings are capable of incredible deception. And the most masterful at this trade seem to choose the arena of the church to carry out their devilish, self-serving plans at the expense of the sheep of Christ’s pasture."

Read more here at his site Crying Out for Justice.

What I commonly hear from the pastor’s wife is her husband’s demand of absolute submission to him. It goes something like this: God made me the head of this house, so you (wife and children) HAVE to submit to me in everything. If you don’t, you are in direct rebellion to God Himself… He is so hungry for absolute power and control that he makes even listening to one’s own internal instincts defiance against his authority.

This is totally wrong and has nothing to do with the God of the Holy Bible. As Jeff points out in several Scriptural passages, there are many warnings of false Shepherds. These frauds only represent the god of darkness and destruction!

You may believe the often misused verse that says “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate.” (Mark 10:9) Do you know what a major life changing revelation I had about this verse? It had never occurred to me, being raised in a patriarchal family, that a marriage could possibly NOT be put together by God. If you were married, well then God put it together and you have to stay together forever or be in sin.

THIS IS A LIE. God doesn’t join every marriage together, not even every Christian marriage! Many of us put ourselves together in relationships outside of His will. It says, what GOD has put together should not be separated. I wonder how many marriages are actually because of Him? I think more often than not, and certainly in my own cases, marriage is put together by people for many fleshly reasons. God is full of love and mercy and doesn’t leave us to suffer. But it still doesn’t mean He made it happen. If you are in an ugly hurtful relationship, think back to the beginning of it. Is it possible it happened for a reason other than God willed it?

I had many reasons for my own rotten marriages – they were my reasons, usually born out of fear of being alone – and I prayed for God to bless MY CHOICE. He was with me, but He didn’t snap His divine fingers and cause my corrupt husbands to suddenly transform into decent human beings. I had to live with the consequences of my choice. When I came to my senses and called out to God for help, He was there to guide me out of the hell. His blessing was on my LEAVING.