On False Teachers, Calling People to Account, and Compassion

by | Jul 29, 2019 | Abuse | 47 comments

False Teachings on Women: Why we have to fight against evangelical teachings that justify abuse.

Last Thursday night, at 3 a.m., my husband and I were awakened by a terrible siren coming from our cell phones.

An Amber alert had been sent out across Ontario, because a 2-year-old girl had been kidnapped after her abusive father had broken down the door to their home and assaulted her mother, leaving the mother bruised and bleeding on the floor.

The little girl was later found unharmed, and the man was apprehended.

But as soon as the Amber Alert went out, the police station was bombarded with calls–by people complaining about being woken up. They were asleep; they were in no position to help; this didn’t affect them. So stop bothering me!

To repeat: A little 2-year-old was missing, the situation was critical, and time was of the essence–yet people were complaining. As a society, we need some compassion. We need to be able to say, “even if I can’t do anything about this, I want to welcome the solution, because this little girl matters, and her mother’s pain matters.”

A similar thing is happening in the wider church today with regards to marriage teaching.

Let me explain. There is some teaching being promulgated that is deeply harmful to people. I talked about one such teaching on Friday on the blog, where Focus on the Family had published a book asking the innocent party in an affair to address their role in that affair. I explained in detail why that approach is faulty and why that will contribute to an unhealthy marriage dynamic.

I also talked about it at length on Twitter and Facebook first (which is why I decided to write a post about it, because people were coming down hard on me on Facebook, and I wanted to explain). In most cases, I was being called out for being negative. I shouldn’t be criticizing Focus on the Family, you see, because they do such excellent work. And these people didn’t want to be disturbed by negative things said about people and organizations that they liked.

To be honest, I think that’s very similar to the position the Amber Alert complainers were taking. Many of us (thankfully!) will never be affected by an affair in our marriage. Most of us have faithful spouses. Most of us, indeed, have relatively good marriages. We’re not affected by this bad teaching. This kind of teaching on adultery will never hurt our marriage, or our relationship, and so we don’t see it as all that bad. When someone criticizes the teaching, then, it’s assumed that that criticism is unnecessary–it’s really only being done to stir things up.

“Why be so negative?” they say. “Why stir up all of these things?” they say. “Why are you always looking for someone to get mad at it?”

But what if the criticism is NOT unnecessary? What if there’s a woman lying bleeding on the ground, with everything that she loves being taken from her, and the “help” that she is getting is telling her exactly the wrong thing? What if that “help”is heaping more blame on her, kicking her while she’s down, telling her things that will only ever hurt her?

It’s easy to ignore her, to believe that she doesn’t exist, that she is just a figment of someone’s imagination and that we’re making a mountain out of a molehill. After all, that little girl and her mother were only two people in a province of 9 million. Are they really that important?

But Jesus sees that bleeding woman. And Jesus tells a very similar story of a person lying bleeding on the ground, being ignored by the religious people, but being helped by the secular people.

In our world today, religious people are often giving abused women and those married to sexually promiscuous spouses guilt and blame, while the secular world is helping them with healthy advice. 

This simply has to change.

The reason Jesus and Paul called out false teachers was not to stir up trouble, but to rescue those bleeding on the ground.

I don’t think Jesus enjoyed calling out the Pharisees. I don’t think He got up in the morning thinking, “How can I get in their face today?” Similarly, I don’t think Paul enjoyed calling out false teachers. He didn’t think to himself, “How can I make sure I’m the prominent apostle by making all the others bow to me?” No, both Jesus and Paul were trying to reach the lost with a message of hope and salvation.

But as they were doing so, as they were going about their business, they would come across religious leaders that were hurting the very people that Jesus and Paul were trying to minister to. And so they would speak up–not because they enjoyed fighting the powers that be, but because they had compassion on those who were being hurt by these bad teachings. 

Just look at these examples:

Jesus, in Luke 11, had just finished talking to crowds, telling them about freedom they should have with God. And, while He was in the middle of that, a Pharisee asked him to come and dine with him. The way it is worded, it sounds like the Pharisees are trying to break up Jesus’ sermon, or confront Him on what He’s been saying.

But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

Luke 11:36-48


Look at what Jesus is upset about: the Pharisees have lived by the letter of the law, but they have neglected justice and love, and they are loading people down with burdens that they will not help them lift. They are hurting people.

He says something similar in the “woes” passage in Matthew 23:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

Matthew 23:13-15


Here’s Paul, in Galatians 1, telling off the church in Galatia:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:6-10


What gospel is it that they are spreading? It’s that they need to live under the law again, and not under freedom. That’s a common theme that you will see Paul and Jesus returning to, again and again. That people are adding rules to how we should behave, and putting up walls between people and God. And it has to be stopped.

A perfect example of this is Paul’s actions when Peter wouldn’t eat with Gentiles. Paul walked up to him and rebuked him in public. It wasn’t done in secret. It was done for all to see! And then Paul even wrote about the incident, so even more knew. Why? Because the gospel was at stake, and when something wrong has been said or done in public (Peter not eating with Gentiles), it has to be corrected in public. False teaching is not something that falls under the Matthew 18 directions about how to handle it when someone offends you, because the offense is not personal, between two people. The offense is about the gospel, and in that case, it must be called out publicly.

I think we forget how much of the New Testament is actually addressing false teaching.

Yes, Jesus and Paul were calling for unity, but that did not mean that they failed to address false teaching. And, in fact, the teaching that they railed the most about was the teaching that put people in bondage yet again.

It could be that you have a really good marriage, and that you don’t know a lot of people who are being abused, or who have had their spouses cheat on them. I know when I started this blog, I sure didn’t. That’s why I had a very different attitude towards divorce back then, in 2008, than I do now. I’ve seen more. I’ve realized that I need to have a bigger view of things, to have compassion on those who are really hurting.

And so it could be that when you read things criticizing false teaching, it makes you sad, because you want to believe that the Christian world is completely healthy, and that there’s nothing wrong with these organizations or authors that you love.

Whether we want to admit it or not, there are many people who are being abused or neglected and the church is making it worse. And our call as Christians when we see those who are hurting is not to ignore them for the sake of our own comfort–it’s to have compassion on them. Compassion is different than pity–compassion actually requires something of you; it’s hard. If you find yourself angry at people bringing up uncomfortable topics for the sake of the downtrodden or the abused–and this will sound harsh–you are showing a lack of compassion for the people whose lives are a living hell because of their torment that you have the privilege to ignore.

Next time you see someone take issue with a blogger, or writer, or organization that you like, then, I would just ask you to take a step back for a moment and ask, “is there someone bruised and bleeding on the ground right now?” And then have compassion on them. Even if it disturbs you. Even if you were enjoying your rest. Even if there’s really nothing that you can do to help.

Because, whether we like it or not, sometimes Amber Alerts are necessary. 

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

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Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Jane

    My husband had an affair. The church I attend was very supportive. They offered to help me in so many ways. In no way did they ever make me feel like it was my fault. They offered me a place to stay if I felt I needed to leave. They prayed with me and for me.
    I decided to stay and work it out. That was 13 years ago. I’m so glad I did,
    I will have to admit that it did go through my mind “ What did I do wrong?” Then I realized that I had no control over my husband ‘s actions.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m so glad that you were able to rebuild! I know so many who have, and it is possible when both parties commit to it. And I’m so glad your church was helpful That is REALLY good to hear, when there’s been so much negative stuff lately. I do believe that many, many churches are helpful, healthy places, and I encourage anyone who is in a church that isn’t healthy to find one that is! There are healthy churches out there.

  2. LPaasch

    Thanks for writing this. As a daughter of an abusive relationship, (I’m pretty sure my dad is a narcissist, and he inflicted a lot of mental, emotional, spiritual and on occasion even physical abuse on myself and my mom), I am grateful for Christian leaders who stand up and say this teaching is wrong because it can enable abuse, because that is exactly what happened with my mom. When I bring it up people look at me like I’m crazy (I had a teacher of a marriage class tell me, “no one who looks at those verses logically would come to the conclusion that they condone abuse” when I pointed out that the verses we were studying could be used in that manner) and a troublemaker.

    Hearing others condemn and refute this teaching helps me to heal and know I’m not crazy. I also tend to address issues I see whether in church doctrine or teaching or in politics and a lot of times people are, like you said upset about being disturbed and I get a lot of push back for bringing it up. So thanks for the Amber alert analogy, it will definitely help me keep perspective.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I have to admit it wasn’t me who thought of the Amber Alert analogy. It was Rebecca. We were talking on the phone about the Focus on the Family status, and how some people were upset that I had posted it, and it was just a few hours after the Amber Alert had gone out and everybody was complaining. I thought it was a great analogy, so I ran with it! But I do think it’s important.

      She also said something else which I had in the post, but then I took out because it was already really long. But it was a good point. She said:

      Not everybody has to have the same passions. God gave each of us individual things to get fired up about, and we can’t all get fired up about everything. So when someone speaks up about something that’s important to them, and is true, but that doesn’t resonate with you, just treat it like an Amber Alert you can’t do anything about. Say a quick prayer, roll over, and go back to sleep. But don’t complain about it. Be grateful they’re speaking up, so you don’t have to–so you can devote your time to things that you’re passionate about. But let’s not be so upset when our rest, our pretty little world, is disturbed.

      I thought that was a great point, too.

      I’m glad you speak up! And I’m glad you clarify in public. We never, ever know when someone in a difficult situation is going to be sitting beside us in a pew, and those words may be life giving.

      And I’m glad that despite what your father did, you found the real Jesus.

      • Maria


        I loved that you shared Rebecca’s additional thoughts in the comments; those are excellent!

  3. Theresa

    Sheila, I very much enjoy your writing. I learn a lot from your blog and I admire and appreciate that you tackle tough subjects. Thank you for putting yourself out there and for all of the help that you offer so many people.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you for commenting, Theresa! I love new commenters, especially when they’re encouraging me. 🙂

      • Bethany

        So in the course of dealing with my abuser confessing, my family members said/implied some shocking things. I was told that he did me a favor by confessing because they couldn’t believe me before. Because my father believes anyone under the age of 5 can’t remember anything. I found out that while they passively went along, pretending to have believed me, they didn’t even bother unfollowing him on FB. They defended his character as still good, while filling out the police report. I talked about it on my Instagram account and they got angry at me for not talking to them 1st. It kinda feels borderline for calling it a false teaching, Because they never intended it to be repeated or called out. The Matthew 18 was cited for why I should’ve talked to them 1st. I just can’t find any feeling of guilt enough to apologise. My account is dedicated to educate on child sexual abuse and how easily good people mess/miss it.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, Bethany, I’m so sorry! What a betrayal from your family! When someone has broken the law, and has abused, that is not simply an “offence between two believers” that can be dealt with. You need the law involved. You also have an obligation to warn others about this wolf. What you did was appropriate, completely.

          Abusers are so good at appearing like they are upstanding citizens. They fool so many. I hope your family will one day apologize to you properly.

          • Bridgett Stokka

            another form of abuse that I think is going on in our churches is the erroneous teaching that because God made the husband the head of his wife then males and only males are supposed to be leaders in the church. Because of this erroneous teaching my church does not ordain women to be pastors.

  4. Mackenzie

    Thank you Sheila! The Amber Alert post this is a unfortunately perfect look at the world. The sad truth that I finally learned a few years ago is that most people only care for themselves and their immediate vomfort, and not for others in opressive circumstances, especially not children.

    A few years ago we had been part of what I have no problem saying was a toxic church that looked completely normal at the start. There were things that kept coming up that were “weird” and the final straw that helped my husband see that we had to get out of there was they were wanting us to read books in the small groups from organizations that had ties to CJ Mahaeny. When I made it very clear I wasn’t comfortable with that and why I was told by the small group leader these words verbatim.:”But child sex abuse is no big deal!” And when my husband and I just stared back with our totally shocked faces he kept insisting it wasn’t. So we left and lost all of the people we thought were friends. Hurts but I’m thankful we listened to God and got us and our kids away from such a horrific mentally because I know it’s that sort of attitude that keeps enabling abusers of all types. (i mean you might as well set out a seat for them if you think their actions are “no big deal”)

    Thank you Sheila for using your platform to preach the truth about this evil mentality.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep. Isn’t that awful? But I’ve heard that from many who support CJ Mahaney (for others: he was the head of Sovereign Grace Ministries and was involved in covering up multiple cases of child sex abuse, telling parents not to go to police, and enabling more abuse to happen. Josh Harris was his #2 and his protege, and he was in this spiritually abusive church environment as well). It’s like protecting Mahaney’s reputation is more important than protecting children.

    • Sarah O

      Mackenzie – I don’t know if you will see this, but you may want to consider some follow up actions based on what you described. Making the statement that “child sexual abuse is no big deal” in a group setting is not just offensive – it’s alarming. That position is not defensible when looking at Scripture, secular psychology, or any brand of reality. Pastors are generally mandated reporters in most states and many people still assume that churches are by nature safe for kids, so having someone with this attitude acting as a pastor is a threat to the community.

      1) Consider contacting the police and file a report with date of that statement and who was present. While what he said wasn’t illegal, it will alert local law enforcement and this person/organization should be watched more closely and having these types of records will be helpful in the event of an actual incident.

      2) Leave this information wherever you are able to leave a review online (google reviews, Facebook, website, etc.). Not only does this give other church members a chance to make an informed decision, it will help warn newcomers to the community that this is not a safe place to bring their children.

      http://Www.jimmyhinton.org is a great resource. Even if it is just one weird guy with a bad opinion, we need to make it clear that these opinions are not tolerated under the banner of Christ.

      So sorry you were subjected to that. What a nightmare.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Great advice, Sarah O! Thank you! (And I think Jimmy Hinton is great, too. I so respect him.)

  5. tina

    False teaching is NOT a Matthew 18 issue–where we address things in private first. Matthew 18 is about personal offences. When false teaching has occurred in public, it must be corrected in public, even if that seems “mean”.

    YES!!!! Thank you! so often it seems that you have found the out loud words to fantastically sum up so much of what is going on and what needs to be said.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’re welcome, Tina!

  6. Nathan

    False Teaching definitely needs to be called out, because spreading true teaching is for the betterment of us all. And negative reaction to that is very sad. As I once said on a politics thread “When calling out a lie is worse than the lie itself, we’re in deep trouble”.

    On a related note, much of this is what Jesus often talked about. That it’s more important to be a good and loving person rather than somebody who just follows a bunch of nitpicking laws by rote.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love that quote about politics! So true.

  7. Nathan

    > > I was told by the small group leader these words verbatim.:”But child sex abuse is no big deal!”

    Holy … WOW! I’m speechless, and that’s a rarity for me. Sad to see you lose some fellowship and friends, but you and hubby did the right thing by getting out of that group.

    They need to read Matthew 18:6
    “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”

  8. Phil

    Sheila – I wasnt able to participate in the conversation on Friday but you covered it so well I had nothing to add anyway. This lesson you teach today was learned by me during the Emerson respect series. We must call it out in Public not in private. Last week I taught on 2 Timothy and I had some trouble with the lesson and gathering a plan. The ultimate message I came to from a few scrawlings on a whiteboard at a church I was visiting the Saturday before my lesson was this: PROTECT THE WORD. Take that one step farther and protect the word becomes protect the people. No matter if its Focus on The family or your own Church. Thank you for your messages. I dont view them as negative but rather positive. Positive action we must take. Its such a shame sometimes the world we live in and the integrity of people. Grace and I talk a lot about that when we see stuff. Sometimes the lack of integrity is off the wall.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Phil! I love that–protecting the Word really is protecting the people. It really is.

  9. Thankful reader

    Thank you for these last 2 posts! They are helpful and encouraging. I’m currently separated from my husband. After years of sexual betrayal and rejection; doing anything he felt he could without ‘crossing the line’ of physically cheating that would(in his mind) be biblical grounds for divorce. And verbal and emotional abuse. Until recently seeing a therapist, I never felt I was free of guilt if I wanted to divorce. There have been a handful of well meaning Christian counselors and mentors; Advising that I should be addressing how I contributed to all of this and that God can only be honored by working through all of this and not leaving. Nothing is more freeing than knowing all of that is not true. Spouses who stay in these kind of relationships have had a hard enough time leaving. If we wanted to end the marriage, we would have ended things long before they got as bad as they are. I know everyone is well meaning but it does truly hurt and effect healing and effects the betraying spouses response and removes their responsibility. Abused and betrayed spouses need healing not guilt. Still praying for discernment on the best decision for myself.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m so sorry you’re walking through this! So sorry. I’m glad you have a good therapist now. I’ve said a prayer that you will have great discernment, wisdom, and comfort.

  10. Arwen

    Preach Sheila preach! Lack of compassion and unwillingness to listen also happens in other communities. For example the adoption community. Whenever a country shuts down their foreign adoption due to corruption and child abuse by adopted parents, literally adoptive parents will scream from the rooftop that they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others. In another words don’t call me at 3 am cuz “it ain’t my child being abused.”

    Jesus made it very clear that He will leave the 99 sheep to rescue the 1 lost sheep. That is the heart our Lord. One abused soul is enough for Him to come to their rescue. My work involves dealing with issues in the adoption world. And recently Ethiopia shut down their foreign adoption because of the amount of kids being killed and abused. It’s a well known fact that black adoptee’s are murdered at a higher rate than none black kids. Sadistic and murdering white parents are always preying on black kids for the soul reason of abuse, murder, rape, etc.

    And you will be shocked at the uproar and lack of compassion for the kids who are suffering unbearable! It’s all about them and their desires. They refuse to listen to actual researchers, investigators and the countries because it disrupts their pretty adoption picture, especially in the Christian communities! Secular families are far more open minded, willing to listen but the Christian community, God have Mercy! And they are the one doing most of the murdering too.

    I love what you said here Sheila, “If you find yourself angry at people bringing up uncomfortable topics for the sake of the downtrodden or the abused–and this will sound harsh–you are showing a lack of compassion for the people whose lives are a living hell because of their torment that you have the privilege to ignore.”

    A MILLION times YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!!! I freaking love your blog!!!!!!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Arwen, and thank you for the work you do! It sounds very needed.

      (And true confession: my daughter Rebecca actually wrote that paragraph. She said I wasn’t being harsh enough in the post, and so she put that paragraph in there. And that’s the paragraph that people keep quoting on Twitter and Facebook. :))

    • Lindsey

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had never heard the things that you’ve shared, but will be looking into it more deeply. It is truly heart breaking.
      It is so sad that many who would be deemed “unfit” for adoption in the US have been able to adopt children from other countries.
      Much like the US CPS and foster care system is truly broken and filled with individuals who’ve been allowed to molest and abuse children, lose those fosters, and still be untrusted with other foster children.
      It always reminds me of the verse: Matthew 18:10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
      Just out of curiosity, do you attribute: “Sadistic and murdering white parents are always preying on black kids for the soul reason of abuse, murder, rape, etc.” to race, or simply to the fact that adopting from African countries is commonly easier and less expensive than certain other nations? While I have no doubt that many of these depraved individuals are white (the majority of all adopters – both good and bad – being white), I have a difficult time fathoming an evil that would not only hurt children in such an awful way, but prioritize hurting children of a certain race. I’m not saying such evil doesn’t exist, simply that it is utterly incomprehensible to me. So, in your well researched, unbiased opinion, do you think it’s predominantly motivated by ease of access or by race? Either way, it is an awful tragedy that I will add to my prayers.

      • Arwen

        Thanks for your question Lindsey. I specified white parents because like you mentioned they are the one who do MOST of the adoption both good and bad. But evil knows knows no skin color. My sister works for Foster Care and she deals with abused kids from EVERY ethnicity. But my field is in adoption and adoption is done by white parents MOSTLY, for a myriad of reasons, i.e. it’s pushed on them by the Christian community (white-saviorism), they tend to be wealthier, and tend to have a more stable 2 parent household, etc. part of adoption requirements.

        Adopting from Africa, specifically Ethiopia is actually very, very expensive. It costs on average $20,000 -$30,000 per child! The reason why evil parents tend to be attracted to foreign kids has to do with what Kathryn Joyce perfectly articulated in her book The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption. It absolves them of responsibility to the child’s extended family, to the government of that child’s country and in the adoption community black kids aren’t believed when they tell the white community they grow up in that they are being abused.

        Example: Do you remember that viral photo during the height of BLM of a little black boy crying and hugging a police officer? He was adopted by 2 lesbian parents, who had additional 6 adopted blacks kids and they drove all of them off a cliff on a murder suicide killing themselves their children. Investigator later found out that the kids used to knock on neighbors doors desperate to escape the family abuse, not being fed, beaten, etc. And instead of the neighbors reporting to CPS/Cops, they told their parents! And what investigators extrapolated further is that because black kids are often seen as “trouble makers” by the larger society they become perfect preys for abusive and racist parents to fulfill whatever sickness they have in their hearts and minds.

        People who have sadistic fantasy tend to be attracted to different things. Men who are pedophiles prey on single mothers for easy access to unprotected children, racist parents are attracted to black children because they know they can get away abusing them and society at large will side with them instead of the “trouble maker” black kids. Hanna was adopted from Ethiopia. Found frozen to death by neighbors. The white family had several biological white kids and they had trained them to taunt Hanna and her brother, to mock them for being black, orphans, not biological, etc. A Haitians girl was found buried under a basement. Police found recording of the parents beating the poor girl. You can hear her begging her adopted dad to stop beating. She was only 8. And sooooo many others.

        In conclusion it’s not because white parents are more evil than other ethnicity’s and thus kill their black children at a higher rate, instead MOST adoptive parents tend to be white so disproportionately the adoption crimes will be higher among them. If other ethnicity’s also adopted at the same rate the disparity will disappear. Because the desire to do harm to innocent children is found in every persons heart. No place do you find a better example of this than in the Foster Care system. In there is where ALL ethnicity’s are in an equal playing field of child abuse, murder, etc. etc. The world is wicked out there.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Thanks for educating us on this, Arwen. It’s very important to know. I’d been aware of Hanna’s case. It was tied into the Pearls’ book To Train up a Child too, wasn’t it?

          • Arwen

            Yes, the parents had used the discipline method’s from the Pearl’s book. In several adoption groups i’m in on FB it’s astonishingly surprising how many adopted families possessed that book. The families might not have practiced their teaching but many of the adult adoptees say they remember seeing that book on the book shelves growing up.

            By the way, i was wanting to say this. Your daughter Rebecca is sooo wise. You and your husband have done a phenomenal job at raising such wise, articulate and compassionate daughters. I’m constantly blown away at the the wisdom that comes from her mouth. She’s a blessing!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            She is! I honestly don’t think people know how much she influences my thinking. I bounce EVERYTHING off of her, and quite frequently she tells me I’m wrong or steers me in another direction. She’s not just my daughter; she’s honestly my right-hand person. And Joanna, who works for me, too, is SO wise. She’s our resident theologian. Like, she knows so much theology inside and out. They both may be in their 20s, but they’re really worth listening to.

        • Adoptive mom

          What is “White saviorism and the gospel of adoption”? Are these books or ideas and criticisms surrounding adoption? I adopted after having many birth children. So did many of my friends and family. I also know many black parents who adopted white kids in my community. I’m confused by your statements. Adoption is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done for soo many reasons and in so many ways. I feel a little attacked here but maybe I don’t need to. Help me understand. I don’t want anyone abused or hurt or taken advantage of.

    • Lea

      “It’s a well known fact that black adoptee’s are murdered at a higher rate than none black kids. ”

      I was unaware of this statistic and thank you for bringing it to my attention. That is incredibly sad.

    • Adoptive mom

      Abuse of adopted kids is horrible! I don’t think all adoptive and potentially adoptive parents protest shutdowns as you describe … “Whenever a country shuts down their foreign adoption due to corruption and child abuse by adopted parents, literally adoptive parents will scream from the rooftop that they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others. In another words don’t call me at 3 am cuz “it ain’t my child being abused.” …. It’s because these children are in real danger in their country of origin as well. Many people wanting to adopt from Ethiopia are not abusive and feel devastated by the restrictions not because they don’t care but because they care so much. Many of these children have a very low life expectancy their country of origin. They don’t want abuses to go unrecognized but want to bring children they’ve Met and are invested in home. I understand what you are saying, and I do care. People who are upset about adoptions closing down were also upset because they felt they miscarried. They had met their children and then could not bring them home. Some had no known relatives.many who protest care greatly. They are up all night caring.

      • Arwen

        I understand your heart and passion for orphan children, i really, really do. But according to UNICEF adoption agencies greatly exaggerate the number of actual orphans. Between 80-90% of so called orphans have at least one living parent or other family members who can take care of them. Most of the kids sent to orphanages are sent by parents out of poverty driven desperation, hoping to return when their financial situation stabilizes. Remember the well know adoption story in the Bible of Moses. Even he wasn’t an orphan. He had whole family who only gave him up out of desperation.

        The best way to care for these kids is through sponsorship using the dozens of organizations that already exist in those countries. There is no need to take the kids away from their family, homeland, culture, etc. These families are just poor all they need is monetary support. That $30,000 could be used instead to help that child and their family. I know it’s really hard to see it from this point of view since Christian adoption agencies have done a phenomenal job at brainwashing and guilt tripping Christians into cashing out money and plucking children out of their families. It makes the agencies filthy rich and in some countries like Korea it is used to pay off the countries debt! Yes, Korea used adoption to pay off their debt.

        If you can please read the well researched book by Kathryn Joyce’s, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption. Also there is a podcast called Adoptees On & Who Am I Really. Where they discuss the world of adoption through eyes of adoptees, experts and ex-agency workers. Please, remember that just because a country has closed down their adoption doesn’t mean you still can’t help children. A person who really cares about children will find other means to help: sponsorship, volunteering, gifts, etc.

        All i’m saying is research both side before making a final decision. Many things sound nice on the surface but there is a bubbling fire underneath that lava. There is a dark side in the adoption world, really dark side. And when good people choose to ignore it everybody gets hurt, biological parents, adoptees and adoptive parents.

        • Andrea

          Arwen (Kate), RESPECT to you! I read that book, but worried about it being written by a secular journalist. We need more Christian voices calling out injustice from the inside.

        • Lindsey

          Thank you for your reply, Arwen. I totally agree.

  11. Ngina Otiende

    I love this, Sheila. So convicting.

    Just last night I was venting to my husband about an injustice I saw earlier and how I felt like God told me “well, there’s my part and your part. You can’t fix the world but you can be faithful in the things I’ve called you to. Don’t be so upset at big issues which you have no control over that you get distractd from the seemingly small that  I have actually called you to”

    It’s easy to miss (not care for) the one bleeding neighbor, who we can actually do something about e.g pray and mourn with her but go ahead to rant and rave about some bigger injustice elsewhere which we have no close connection to.

    I am currently studying Paul’s letter to Titus and I am BLOWN AWAY by how deeply God cares about sound doctrine AND good deeds.

    Paul talks about good deeds that proceed out of sound teaching vs. deeds that proceed out of false teaching. It matters what we believe and what we do with those beliefs. The high expectation for anyone having influence over Gods people is incredibly high and Titus, a sort of “newcomer” to this depraved island of Crete was to teach a very high road while confronting error. Talk about a hard job! And I believe this is our calling as Christians, as you beautifuly shared above…to walk in sound teaching and recieve correction where our docrine is off and to show by our deeds that we actually get it.

    Absolutely love this post. It’s deeply convicting and wonderfully hopefilled. We have a God who cares for ALL of us ❤❤❤❤❤

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Ngina! I actually gave up reading the news or thinking about politics at all a while ago, because it would get me so upset and there was literally nothing I could do about any of it. But I feel like I do have at least a little bit of influence in the Christian world, so that is where I should focus my energy. We just need to be faithful in the spheres in which God has placed us, but, yes, it is a big responsibility!

      I’ve been so sad this week. I just can’t believe that a big organization like Focus on the Family that’s supposed to KNOW all of this stuff about marriage would say what they did about affairs. It just makes me mourn for sound doctrine, so to speak, that does not heap blame and guilt. I can understand a person saying what they did, but that organization? What is going on? I just don’t get it. I really don’t.

  12. Lindsey

    I used to pray every time I heard an amber alert that God would help law enforcement to find those children. Now I pray that those children would be with whomever will keep them safe and take care of them. Often times CPS puts out Amber alerts on children who’s parents have fled with them…and CPS is a corrupt racket that uses children as commodities. Because state CPS receives federal funding for every child they adopt out of foster care there is a high premium on healthy children raised in stable environments because they are “highly adoptable”. This is also the reason why children are so often left in homes where they are truly being abused…they aren’t adoptable. So now, I pray for children, and I pray that if the adult who took them is who God wants to have them, that they will escape safely. It’s such a horrific state of affairs when a government arm terrorizes good citizens.

    For more information here are a couple of articles:



  13. Misty S

    Just a note, the problem Paul mentioned in Galatians 2 was Peter’s hypocrisy, that he had previously eaten with Gentiles and stopped because of the arrival of some from Jerusalem who might criticize him.
    Let’s be careful with Scripture, please, especially when we use it to prove a point.
    That said, the point of public confrontation of public sin is good.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Actually, Misty, yes, Paul called him out for his hypocrisy, but the heart of it was that he was rejecting the Gentiles as “less than” because they didn’t follow the law, which damaged the whole gospel. Gentiles were to be included just as Jews were.

      “When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.”

      Yes, it was his hypocrisy, but it was his hypocrisy in drawing back from the Gentiles. And then he goes on to explain that the Gentiles were being required to live under the law again (which was why Peter wouldn’t eat with them; because they weren’t living under the law and they were unclean). By refusing to eat with them, Peter was re-affirming the law and denying the gospel. So eating with the Gentiles was an important part of the gospel of showing that everyone was equal under God, as Paul goes on to say in the very next chapter:

      “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

      You can tell this is the issue because Paul would not have been okay had Peter simply refused to eat with Gentiles altogether. Then at least he wouldn’t have been a hypocrite! No, it was the reason he was refusing to eat with Gentiles–insinuating that they had to be under the law again. And Paul said, No. The law is finished. There is no more excluding people. We are all one.

  14. Nathan

    From above…
    > > the erroneous teaching that because God made the husband the head of
    > > his wife then males and only males are supposed to be leaders in the church.
    > > Because of this erroneous teaching my church does not ordain women to
    > > be pastors.

    Very true. The bible does say that the husband is the SPIRITUAL leader of the house, but not the king or the dictator. He is, in essence, the family pastor, but the husband and wife are the heads of the household and each other.

    Our church, like many, also does not allow women pastors, although the wife of one of the pastors often gives the Sunday talk on Mothers Day. I have no problem with a woman giving a sermon.

    Sheila does a good job speaking the word of God here, and TV’s Joyce Meyer is also excellent. And some scholars suggest that Mary (not the mother of Jesus, the other one) was more involved in the ministry of Jesus than many may thing

  15. Misty from NC

    I was one of those bruised and bloody on the floor after finding out about m husband’s year long affair. For some reason I instinctually felt if I had just done X Y or Z better, this would not have happened to us. I felt the same about his porn addition for a long time.. if I could do some thing different he wouldn’t seek anything outside the marriage. I twisted myself inside out trying to be what he needed and wanted all for him to cheat and leave anyway. I searched the web, friends sent me books, I read blogs… all of them put responsibility on my shoulders. If it wasn’t “figure out what you did to contribute to marriage problems (because affairs don’t happen in happy marriages) so he will repent and his heart will be softened,” it was “wait and pray however long it takes for your prodigal spouse to come home.” One blog even said mess about waiting even if he moves on and marries and has other children because “those are not covenant children and he belongs with his covenant wife not them.” (I never bought into that load of garbage) I did pray and wait for a while… I desperately wanted my marriage to be one of the miracle stories of healing and restoration, and all the while I just kept bleeding on the floor because everything was about helping him come to repentance and saving the marriage… so little out there put my own healing first. So I followed the advise. I put the marriage and him coming back home first, no matter what it was costing me personally. It took my christian counselor telling something I had never heard before it set me on the path to healing and freedom. He said, “Misty, it may not be God’s will for you wait for him. God loves you and wants what’s best for you, and that marriage and tearing yourself apart for any man isn’t what God wants for you. God allows divorce for your exact circumstance… consider taking advantage of the opportunity for freedom God Himself is giving you.”

    A few months later I moved closer to my family, found a church that loved me and prayed me back to health and have since married an amazing man who thinks everything about me is wonderful.

    If I would have followed the majority of what’s out there I probably would still be miserable broken and lonely waiting for him to come home.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart putting truth out there for hurting women ( and men) to find. I followed your blog for years during my ex’s porn addiction and kept following even after we split because I needed the truth you put out there. I even followed your advise on finding someone to date. My new husband is an old high school friend I reconnected with. 🙂

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      What a great story, Misty! Thank you so much for sharing it. And I’m so happy you’re in a good place now! How wonderful.

      I am also really grateful for that Christian counselor who said the right thing–who told you how God saw the situation. It’s amazing how little we women consider ourselves worth, isn’t it? It reminds me or Rachael Denhollander’s victim impact statement, where she kept asking, “How much is a little girl worth?” Looking at the teaching that too many of us believe, the answer would be, “Not a heck of a lot.”

      But God sees you, and God cares for you, and you are of worth beyond rubies. I’m glad you’re with a guy who sees that! (And no, you were not to blame for your ex-husband’s affair or porn use!)

  16. Doug

    [Moderator’s edit: At commenter’s request, this comment thread has been deleted.]

  17. Rachael

    It’s funny how people seem to forget how many people Paul condemned by name, like Alexander the coppersmith. God wanted these people to be called out in scripture. False teachings and teachers are to be called out publicly.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, exactly!


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