At the end of myself…at the feet of Jesus

Matthew 25: 40, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Looking at the Data… from Religious Leaders (Via Rave)



Over the last 15 years, we have collected data from over 500 religious leaders concerning domestic violence. Here are some of their beliefs concerning abuse and a snapshot of their experiences related to working with victims and perpetrators.


  • Pastors believe that one in five couples in their congregation is violent;
  • 9.3% of pastors have counseled five or more abused women in the last year;
  • 83.2% of pastors have counseled at least one abused woman;
  • 8% of pastors feel well equipped to respond to domestic violence;
  • 31% of pastors report that they have preached a message on abuse;
  • 40% of pastors discuss violence in premarital counseling.


Evidences of a Holy Hush operating amongst Clergy


  • Most pastors have never visited the transition house in or near their local area;
  • Most pastors do not know by name any of the workers in the local shelter;
  • Most pastors have never preached a message that explicitly condemns wife abuse and/or child abuse;
  • Clergy are reluctant to refer to outside community resources those that come to them for help;
  • Referrals are least likely from clergy reporting little knowledge or training in domestic violence.


Evidences of Shattered Silence in Congregational Life


  • Most clergy have counseled a woman who has been battered;
  • Most church women have helped a battered woman they knew;
  • Many church women’s groups have supported their local transition house by financial or in-kind donations;
  • Some churches have information provided in the church washrooms or other safe places that outline what to do if you are an abused woman.


What do these data tell us?


Questions to consider:


  • I wonder how men get the idea that the Bible permits them to bully their wives or be dictators in the home.  I wonder if we are doing enough as clergy to confront such false ideas about the Bible.  Have I addressed those issues clearly enough in my teaching and preaching?  Have you?
  • I don’t know about you, but as a pastor I haven’t felt adequately trained to respond to domestic violence by myself.  What can we do as clergy to work in partnership with those in the community who seek to help victims of abuse?  Have you ever contacted the local transition house?  Will you this week?


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3 thoughts on “Looking at the Data… from Religious Leaders (Via Rave)

  1. I was abused by my husband 6 weeks after we were married he slapped me soo hard it burst my ear drum and left welts. This shocked me to the point that I wet myself. He was mad at this too. Then he didn’t apologize for a month. Being known as a “man after God’s own heart” by the pastors and his friends, I was certain they would have advice for him to reconcile the situation. However, they didn’t — their concern was for the outcome of a court date. Well the police did take him to jail after I went to the doctor and she figured in 4 questions that my new husband popped my eardrum (since it was not infected and I didn’t play sports). All the Christians made me feel guilty for going to the doctor and NOT lying to protect him. Then he wanted to fabricate what happened. He told me I’m going to tell the judge the “truth” that you overdosed on valium and hit your head on the dresser and that popped your ear drum. Well not only was that sick, you can’t burst an eardrum on wood — doesn’t have the air pressure. Anyhow, I’m wondering how these loving Christian people (my husband and pastor that married me) didn’t care what happened to me or if my husband was cruel. Only cared about the person they knew was a true blue christian. When this happens dozens of times to me and I cry out to God and he and his people continue ——– then what

    • I am so sorry to hear of your pain. Please know that God Himself does not approve of such abuse (or abuse at all). He really is a loving God in that He allowed His Son to take abuse from men He created in order to bear our sins so that we might stand forgiven. Jesus, having suffered at the hands of others, knows exactly how you feel: those who abused Him and demanded His murder were the chief religious people of the day. Being religious doesn’t make anyone right. No one who deals in abuse is a true Christian. No one who condemns you for reporting it is a true Christian. God’s Word is clear on this.

      God does hear our cries. He is a good and caring God. Sadly all of those who pretend to represent Him aren’t good and loving. I have a pastor friend who is writing a book about just such incidents as you describe. He is the one listed on this site who preached the series on abuse. If you would like to e-mail him and tell him your story, you would find him to be a genuine Christian who is outraged at the abuse you suffered. He will listen and he will care. If you would like to talk to him, you can e-mail me and I will give you his e-mail. Or, you can find his series on SermonAudio under Jeff Crippen (look for series on Domestic Violence), you can then listen to the sermons (which are wonderful; you will find that he is very upset that the abused are then further abused by “the church). You can leave a comment for him on the site (the comment will reach him).

      Please, whatever you do, don’t let this awful experience turn you from the True God. He had nothing to do with it and neither did His people. You will find that true Christians do care. I care and I would be happy to talk with you further myself if you would like to.

      May God comfort and keep you.


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