Tag Archive: Domestic Abuse

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: How to Avoid Getting Abused by Your Husband

A wife has a much greater chance of being abused if she is quarrelsome, contentious, & abusive towards her husband rather than if she is kind, loving, & submissive. God’s ways are for our good, NOT for our harm.

Lori Alexander, Twitter, October 21, 2019

In other words, ladies, if your (Christian) husband beats the shit out of you, it is likely your fault. All you need to do is be kind, loving, and submissive, and your husband will not beat you.  Why, if wives would just stop being quarrelsome, contentious, and abusive towards their husbands, peace would reign supreme. Talking about blaming the victim. Just when I think Alexander can’t say anything worse, she sends out a Trump-like tweet or blog post.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Derek Jones Accused of Domestic Violence

busted

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Michael “Derek” Jones, pastor of Sold Out Church in Conway, Arkansas, was arrested earlier this month and charged with third-degree domestic battery.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports:

A local preacher was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of domestic battery.

Michael “Derek” Jones, of Conway, was arrested in Mayflower around 2:30 a.m. July 13 on a third-degree domestic battery charge.

Jones is the current lead pastor at the Sold Out Church, located at 701 Polk St. in Conway.

According to the church’s website, Jones has been the lead pastor at the church since January 2014.

The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Jones for comment via phone on Thursday. However, calls went unanswered by press time.

According to court documents, Jones was ordered to have no contact with the victim following the incident.

Jones currently faces third-degree battery, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, his case has since been sent to the Faulkner County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews confirmed Thursday the prosecutor’s office received Jones’ case file last week and would soon make a determination whether Jones’ charge should be upgraded to a felony.

Jones is set to appear in Mayflower District Court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 16 for a plea and arraignment hearing regarding the misdemeanor charge.

According to Jones’ bio on his church’s website:

Derek and Amie Jones decided to respond to God’s prompting to start a new church and called a meeting at their house on May 2, 2012. This was the culmination of a long process that had been leading to this point. For years Derek knew he had an anointing in his life to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead His people, but instead looked for answers in everything except Christ. He tried to run from that calling into the ministry for a very long time. Finally, after losing a child in October of 2009, he threw his hands up and boldly prayed “Whatever you have for me Lord, I’m ready.”

Derek and Amie served bi-vocationally on staff at ThatChurch.com in Conway, Arkansas, where Derek was ordained. Derek also served as the Director of Men’s Ministries for Homelessness at the Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock for 4 years, but took a leap of faith in January 2014 and became full-time at Sold Out Church as the Lead Pastor

Derek and Amie live in Conway and have a passion and love for their city. They have five children, [names removed] whom they pray in faith will rise up to be the greatest godly men and women of their generation.

Sold Out Church Facebook page.

The comments on the original article are quite interesting, yet predictable:

It’s a shame that both sides of this story is not being shared as to the what and why. Derek Jones is human, he has not placed himself upon a pedestal. He sins as we all do. If you want to know his past, ,just simply ask him and he will share it with you and he will also share his love of Jesus Christ. Pastor Derek has publicly shared his past more than once. As for me and my family we will continue to serve the Lord and continue serving at Sold Out Church. We will continue making Jesus known in a hurting world and develop SOLD OUT followers of Him.

I also am a member of Sold Out Church as is my family and Pastor Derek and his family have been nothing but real. He doesn’t claim to be or portray himself to be perfect..he after all is human. We all sin everyday whether it’s breaking the law, or not being truthful, no one sin is greater than the other. I wish you would have taken the time to give more of the facts instead of making it out to try to damage his character. The fact is he was trying to protect not only others but himself as well. We will continue to support Derek and his family and our church through this.

My family and I consider Pastor Derek Jones as a part of our family. He is human, and, yes he makes mistakes. He will openly tell anyone that there is only one perfect “being” and that is God. He has never even pretended to be perfect and he is as authentic and transparent as they come. He has never wanted to be put on a pedestal, for only one deserves that honor. We will continue to support our Pastor, Michael Derek Jones.

Mathew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

And finally, one comment that suggests there is more to this story:

It is very important to note that this is not the first time that Michael Derek Jones has been in trouble with the law for violence. He has previously served time for a violent offense.

All of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones are basing their opinions on what they were TOLD by MICHAEL DEREK JONES.

The TRUTH will come out in court.

For those of you who are claiming self defense, a normal person, in a reasonable state of mind, should retreat if they feel threatened, especially if they are at a house where they were not invited to.

The medical records and photos of the victims face will provide clear evidence that this was not a case of self defense. It was a violent beating. How does Michael Derek Jone’s face look in the mug shot? Does he look injured?

What is truly sad is that one of the cult like supporters of Michael Derek Jones called DHS and made false accusations against the victim. DHS went to the victim’s house, and after seeing the wounds and swelling on the victim’s face, interviewing the victim’s daughter, and inspecting the home, immediately concluded that the report was unsubstantiated and only a clear attempt to smear the victim. DHS left the victim’s house after only 10 minutes or so. Shame on you.

For the cult like supporter quoting scripture, you left out Matthew chapter 5 verse 39.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

The thing that the cult like supporters of this man need to realize, is that he came up with a story to try to make himself not look responsible. When the truth comes out in court, his story will not matter. The facts are what matter.

I do feel sorry for the members of Sold Out Church. You are having to accept some facts that are not easy to accept.

And I feel sorry for the family of Michael Derek Jones.

I hope that all of the truth comes out in court and that justice is served.

In 2014, The Arkansas Online ran a feature story about Jones. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say:

Derek Jones of Conway said he knew when he was 8 years old that he was called to the ministry, but he went astray for years before accepting the call.

His passion reignited, the now 32-year-old started Sold Out Church about two years ago with approximately 30 people in his living room, and on Mother’s Day, May 11, the church will hold a grand opening in its renovated building at 1015 Lincoln St. in Conway.

“We don’t believe the church is a building; we believe we are the church. We’re here for the world,” he said.

The flier for the church uses the saying: “This ain’t your momma’s church.”

Jones said he grew up in North Little Rock, the son of an alcoholic. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his father has since died.

“When I was 12, my godfather passed away,” Jones said. “I turned away, looked for answers” in unhealthy ways. “I ran into trouble. I felt Jesus had betrayed me.”

Things got much worse before they got better.

Jones served in the Air Force in 2001-2002, stationed in North Carolina, but after a drunken fight, he shot two people and went to prison.

“My whole congregation knows about it; I never hide anything,” he said. “I truly believe I’m a testament to what happens when you encounter a holy God,” Jones said.

“I went to a party one night; things went really bad. Me and a guy got into a fight,” Jones said. “He threw a cinder block through my windshield.” Another individual was involved, too, Jones said. “I decided I was going to go back with a gun and make them give me money and make them pay for it.

“I did shoot two people. They did not die; I did not kill them.”

One man was treated and released for a “flesh wound,” Jones said. The other was seriously injured.

Jones said he didn’t immediately become a Christian while in prison. He said he saw people come into prison, “walk in the door and say, ‘Oh, Jesus, save me.’ That wasn’t me.

“Somebody gave me a Bible, and that’s when everything changed.”

Jones was 21 years old. Although he started out in a North Carolina prison, he transferred to Arkansas to do his time — seven years.

….

“I had been clean and sober since 2002. In 2009, that’s when everything really, really changed. I realized I’m not in control.

“I threw up my hands in surrender and said, ‘Lord, you’ve been calling me for years.’ Although this makes no sense, that’s all I can lean on.”

Three days later, Jones said, his best friend called and encouraged him to apply for a job.

“He said, ‘God told me you have to know about it,’” Jones said the friend told him. The friend also had applied for the position.

Jones was working at a plumbing company at the time.

“I knew in my spirit what was taking place,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m afraid if I apply, I’m going to get it.’”

Sure enough, Jones got the job as director of the homeless ministry at Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock.

“It’s been like riding a rocket ship ever since,” Jones said.

About two years ago, he said, he started a church service in his home with around 30 people. It grew like crazy, he said. Today, there are about 100 members of Sold Out Church.

“I have experience dealing with the last, the least and the lost,” he said.

As director, he worked hand in hand with a nine-month “life-recovery” program for people at the mission who had struggled, like he had.

Jones said he was ordained through That Church, which is no longer in Conway, although its Sherwood location is thriving, he said.

“I do have a biblical degree through Andersonville Theological Seminary,” he said, which is an online program. [an unaccredited institution that some haves called a diploma mill.]

It was too hard to be a pastor and work at the mission and “do both excellently,” he said.

He resigned Jan. 3 from his job at the Union Rescue Mission and took a $23,000 pay cut to become a full-time pastor, he said.

“Four weeks after I resigned, I found out my wife was pregnant with our sixth child — Logan is with the Lord — our fifth that’s with us,” he said.

Jones said it was a surprise, albeit a happy one.

Despite the financial impact, Jones said he has no doubt that he’s where God wants him to be.

“It’s stepping out on faith,” he said.

….

“My background, I was baptized Baptist, … but we are not Baptist; we are nondenominational. We’re about Jesus. That’s what we’re about,” he said. “We’re a church, and we represent Jesus Christ, and that’s what we do. On our website, it says it doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sexuality, anything.

“I’m not going to tell anyone sin is OK, but we’re going to love anyone who comes through the door.”

Update

Prosecutors drop felony charges against Jones.

Domestic Violence in the IFB Church

god domestic abuse

Domestic Violence in the IFB Church

Let me open by giving readers the definition for domestic violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as follows:

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Does the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement have a domestic abuse problem? The short answer is Yes!

The IFB church movement is built on a foundation of emotional and mental manipulation and abuse. This is seen in how parents discipline their children and how husbands lord over and control their wives. These behaviors are often modeled by IFB pastors, deacons, and church leaders as they manipulate, control, and dominate church members.

I know IFB readers of this blog are howling over what I have written here. How dare I suggest that the IFB church movement has an abuse problem. How dare I suggest IFB pastors and church leaders emotionally and mentally manipulate and control people. Child abuse? Domestic violence? Where do such things happen? says the IFB church member. I have never seen it.

And therein lies the problem. The abuse and violence are institutionalized to such a degree that it is considered normal. People are so used to seeing it that they never consider whether such behavior is appropriate. IFB church members are familiar with having their “toes stepped on.” They are accustomed to fire and brimstone, naming names, calling sin “sin,” sermons. They are used to aggressive behavior from their pastors. It seems quite normal to them. Those of us who were raised in the IFB church movement understand this. It took us getting away from it to see how manipulative and abusive it  is. The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are crowded with people whose mental wellness and self-esteem were ruined by Fundamentalist religion.

For those of us who spent decades in the IFB church, we know that the deep mental and emotional scars left by our time in the IFB church never go away. We learn to come to terms with our past and try to do the best we can going forward. We are marred, even broken, yet somehow, we find a way to pick up and move forward.

This is why some of us speak so openly about the IFB church movement and its manipulative and abusive tendencies. We don’t want ANYONE to experience what we experienced. When we see someone gravitating towards Fundamentalism we try to warn them as we would warn a person who is driving towards a cliff. Stop! Turn around!  Sadly, many people ignore these warnings and often pay a heavy price, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, as a result.

Domestic violence in the IFB church movement is widespread. Unfortunately, it is often not seen as domestic violence by those who are devoted IFB church members. Instead, the use of domestic violence is often seen as being “true to the Bible” or being “a faithful follower of Jesus.” To understand this domestic violence,  we must first understand the theological underpinnings of such violence. Domestic violence often happens because husbands (it is almost always husbands who perpetrate the domestic violence in the IFB church) want to be obedient to the Bible, Jesus, and the pastors’ dictates. Remember, in the IFB church, the voice of God sounds an awful lot like the voice of the Pastor.

Here is what many IFB pastors preach to their church members:

  • Christ is the head of the church and the pastor is God’s man in the church.
  • The Bible is an inerrant, inspired text that should be literally interpreted and explicitly obeyed.
  • The husband is the head of home.
  • The wife is to submit to her husband.
  • The highest calling for a woman is to bear children and to be a keeper of the home. Many IFB pastors discourage women from working outside the home and from getting a college education (unless they go to college to get an MRS degree).
  • The husband is the authority, the disciplinarian, and the king of the home. God holds him, like he did Adam, responsible for everything that goes on in the home.
  • The Bible sanctions using violence when children disobey. If a parent does not spank or whip children, it  means the parent is not willing to obey the teachings of the Pastor and the Bible. The rod of correction is meant to be used to drive wickedness out of a child’s heart.

Now, none of these things, in and of  itself, necessarily lead to domestic abuse. However, add to this the IFB church preoccupation with sin and the portrayal of God as a violent deity who will whip them if they disobey, and you have a recipe for not only domestic abuse but also child abuse. I have watched more than a few IFB church members and pastors beat the hell out their children with a belt, switch, or paddle. I remember hearing of one parent who picked up a 2×4 and beat his two teenage girls with it. Why? The teen deliberately disobeyed him by riding the church bus home instead of going home with him.

I have admitted my own violent, abusive methods of correcting my three oldest children. Fortunately, I abandoned these practices with my three youngest children. My oldest sons routinely got thrashed for disobeying their parents. I corrected them this way because I thought that is what God wanted me to do. The books I read said this was the proper way to discipline children, and every big-name preacher I heard preach said I was doing right by my kids when I whipped them. Is it any surprise then, with Bible-sanctioned brutality against children and a violent God who uses violence to chastise disobedient IFB church members, that violent behavior spills over into the relationship between the husband and his submissive wife?

I can’t say that I know of many instances where a husband physically beat his wife. It happened, but not very often, to my knowledge. I know of a few pastors’ wives who were physically abused by their pastor husbands. The pastors were men of God in the pulpit, but at home they  were violent disciplinarians who ruled over their wives and children with a rod of iron. Most of the abuse I saw was more of the mental and emotional type. If the woman wasn’t submissive enough or didn’t put out sexually, she would pay for it. If she dared to have ambition, want to work outside the home, or go to college, she would be put in her place and reminded of God’s divine order for the home.

I have often said, I don’t know how ANY woman stays in the IFB church. Well, I do know. Women are afraid. They fear disobeying God, their husbands, and their pastors. They fear God will chastise them if they dare step outside the role God has ordained for them.  And so they stay and suffer the abuse.

Again, theology plays a big part in this. Many IFB pastors think that there are no grounds for divorce or that the only ground for divorce is adultery. Having a husband who is abusive, especially if it is emotional or mental abuse, is not grounds for divorce.

Let me give an illustration of how this is perpetuated from the pulpit:

Years ago the church I was pastoring joined together with other IFB churches to hold a joint revival meeting. The speaker was Bill Rice III. (I am almost certain it was Bill Rice but it could have been Pete Rice, both were associated with the Bill Rice Ranch.) One night, Bill Rice preached on the subject of marriage and divorce. Rice did not believe there were any grounds for divorce. He said that even if a husband was beating on his wife, the wife should stay in the marriage. Perhaps she would win her husband to Jesus by her willingness to stay in the marriage. Rice intimated that saved husbands don’t beat their wives.

By the time of this meeting my views had already begun to change and I pulled our church out of the meetings. I was incensed that Rice was advocating a woman endure beatings by her husband , the implication being that God wanted her to do so.

As my wife and I traveled beyond the IFB church movement, we had to relearn what it meant to have a healthy marital and family relationship. Ultimately, it took getting away from Christianity altogether for us to find wholeness.

I am not suggesting that every husband in the IFB church movement is abusive or that every father abuses his children when he disciplines them. I am suggesting that IFB theology encourages manipulation, violence and abuse, especially of the mental and emotional variety. Personally, I don’t think the IFB church movement is good for anyone. The extreme Fundamentalism found in the movement is emotionally and mentally harmful and people are better off finding other Christians sects to be a part of; sects that don’t view women as being inferior and don’t see children as chattel. I am of the opinion that the best thing that can happen to the IFB church movement is that it dies a quick death. It is dying, but it is dying slowly. I am all for smothering the movement in its bed.

Over the years, I have watched a number of women break free from domestic violence. They decided their own personal self-worth and happiness was more important than supposed obedience to God, the Bible, the pastor, and their husbands. Most often, gaining their freedom required them to divorce their husbands.

Let me head off  those who might suggest that the reason there is domestic abuse and child abuse in the IFB church movement is because they misinterpret the Bible. I don’t think this is the case at all. I think abusers are being consistent with their beliefs and they accept the Bible as written. After all, the Bible does command a father to beat his children with a rod. The Bible does command the wife to be submissive to her husband and to be a keeper of the home. And let’s face it, the Bible is a written record of the violence God pours out and will yet pour out on all those who do not worship or obey him. The good news is that many Christians ignore or explain away vast parts of the Bible. They know beating children is wrong. They know demanding a wife submit to her husband is demeaning. They wisely reject such things.

Do you have a story to tell about domestic violence? What did you experience growing up in the IFB church? What went on in your IFB home when the doors were closed? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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