Review: Unholy Charade

Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church does an excellent job in pulling down an abuser's facade and revealing the ugliness behind the mask.

I lent my copy of Unholy Charade to a friend recently. When she returned it she said, “This should be required reading for every pastor and women’s ministry leader.” And I agree with her 100%. In theory, we may hate the very idea of abuse, but unless we recognize what it is, we could just as easily be duped by the charade and even aid the abuser unwittingly. I don’t think anyone would want to do that. Therefore, please don’t remain in ignorance any longer. Please educate yourself so you can help and not hurt.

 

Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church, Jeff Crippen with Rebecca Davis, Justice Keepers Publishing, 2015, 208 pages.

Most people would say that they would never condone domestic abuse. This is admirable. But it’s also interesting that when abuse has been uncovered in a Christian setting, the first words out of someone’s mouth are usually this:

I would never have guessed that so-and-so was abusive. He always seemed like such a nice, godly man.

Based on this typical response, we may abhor abuse and yet not truly understand its dynamics. We may not realize that abusers are master manipulators who have crafted a persona that they display to the world while acting very differently toward their victims.

Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church does an excellent job in pulling down an abuser’s facade and revealing the ugliness behind the mask. This book clearly details the traits of an abuser which include:

  • Entitlement
  • Power and Control
  • Justification of the abuse
  • 2-year-old tantrums
  • Lack of empathy
  • No shame, no regret
  • No fear

The tactics used to maintain control of victims are discussed at great length as well. This section is particularly helpful as many people only consider physical violence as abuse. There are many ways to batter a person’s soul through psychological manipulation and degradation without leaving a mark, and the consequences to the victim are just as severe. The aftermath of any form of abuse can result in:

  • Fear
  • Loss of identity
  • False guilt and shame
  • Alienation
  • Poverty
  • Physical injury and health issues
  • PTSD

Firsthand accounts of victims are included throughout Unholy Charade, giving powerful and heart-wrenching testimony to the evil they have suffered. These are real people, mind you, not made-up stories. These are people who could very well be sitting next to you in church.

As this book is written by a pastor, it also discusses where the church has failed and even enabled abuse. No one likes being rebuked, but we need to hear this. The difficult issue of divorce is raised as well, making the argument that the Bible does permit divorce for abuse. Of note, Pastor Crippen is confessionally reformed (LBC 1689), so his position is not derived from liberal theology. The book’s last two chapters end with practical advice on how we can stop the abuser’s charade and help the victims who may be in our midst.

I lent my copy of Unholy Charade to a friend recently. When she returned it she said, “This should be required reading for every pastor and women’s ministry leader.” And I agree with her 100%. In theory, we may hate the very idea of abuse, but unless we recognize what it is, we could just as easily be duped by the charade and even aid the abuser unwittingly. I don’t think anyone would want to do that. Therefore, please don’t remain in ignorance any longer. Please educate yourself so you can help and not hurt. I can’t think of a better book than this one to begin the learning process. I highly recommend Unholy Charade.

Author information from the back cover:

Jeff Crippen is the pastor of Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook, Oregon and has been a pastor for over thirty years. His sermon series on domestic abuse published on Sermon Audio led to his first book: A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church, and the blog www. cryingoutforjustice.com. Jeff and his wife, Verla, have been married for over forty years and have two adult children.

Rebecca Davis is a writer and editor with a passion to help the oppressed.

Persis Lorenti is an ordinary Christian. You can find her at Tried With Fire and Out of the Ordinary. This article appeared at her blog and is used with permission.



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