ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Crazy Things Church Leaders Say & Do, Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Grace Community Church, John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Troubling Tweets, Women and the Church

Pastor Phil Johnson Shows His Heart toward Domestic Violence Victim

Domestic Violence, Phil Johnson, Grace Community Church, John MacArthur


This post needs little commentary. Pastor Phil Johnson is Pastor John MacArthur’s right-hand man at Grace Community Church. I am sad that a man in his position would so carelessly tweet this insensitive, uncaring tweet. I fear for women at Grace Community or any church connected with the teachings of John MacArthur that may be in dangerous relationships. Is this the kind of caring shepherd you’d want to go to if your life was in danger?


Now it’s been over 10 hours since Phil’s tweet. His tweet still remains. He made no comment to my comment challenging him:

Ironically, here are a couple of recent tweets from Grace to You Twitter account. Phil is the executive director of Grace to You.

Ugh! What is so difficult about being a caring and compassionate person? Is it that difficult, Phil? Strong godly men don’t behave recklessly toward injured and people in harm’s way. Please pull it together, for Christ’s sake!


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117 thoughts on “Pastor Phil Johnson Shows His Heart toward Domestic Violence Victim”

  1. Velour: To prevent anything getting out of hand, let me explain my family history.

    My father brewed his own cider. He never once got drunk, never even got tipsy. But unlike so many Baptists, he wasn’t completely teetotal.

    He did indeed hit me over the head with a broomstick: I was wearing, at his request, a World War 2 tin helmet designed to stop shrapnel separating you from your brains during the battle of Britain</&i>. It didn’t hurt a bit.

    Now doesn’t that put the whole thing in a different light?

    If I’m honest, I was getting annoyed at your guessing my ‘problem’ and the implications of your comments about my family. I hope rather than getting annoyed with me in turn, you take a minute to reflect on this. Jumping to wrong conclusions based on inadequate evidence. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data! (Sherlock Holmes)

    I hope you will forgive me if you feel I have been underhanded with you, but I have not said anything that, strictly speaking, is untrue. You are seeing someone, or something that isn’t there. Perhaps I remind you of someone else. I don’t come from a dysfunctional family, quite the reverse, and I am not trying to silence anyone. I have no desire to. If it matters.

    I know people do suffer from such families and treatment, I could give you a name or two, and this is no attempt whatsoever to make light of that.

    I appreciate the concern you have shown thinking the worst even though, I suspect, you don’t exactly like me. I hope you will re-direct it to where it is needed, heaven knows there are enough people around who do.


  2. Serving Kids in Japan

    My comments on Johnson and SGM/Mahaney were based on a link from a link posted here. I think he is entitled to withhold judgment on Mahaney’s guilt, and was right to oppose him being a speaker at TGC 2014(?) in the light of the allegations made against him. Johnson is absolutely right to stand for the presumption of innocence, a right and privilege being eaten away at by Internet ‘trials’ which tend to assume guilt.

    I briefly read around some of the tweets and disputes. I don’t know whether his ‘heart’ is really being revealed here, I only know one close friend who worked with Johnson for a while and who thought he lived out his Christianity in private when he told me about this.

    Johnson does seem aware of the potential hardness of heart his tweet could appear to show, and he is entitled to his opinion of what is actually going on, and whether the woman concerned here is a victim and serial-enabler of abuse or not. I’m not sure his critics have made much effort to read the news reports on the incident, he may be right on that.

    Even if he did apologise, if the response to Frank Turk’s repentance is anything to go by he wouldn’t be believed anyway. Despite that, I wish he would and enable the whole thing to be put to bed.


  3. KAS said,

    (Part 1a.)
    Daisy – My only ‘tone policing’ is to comment that when making criticisms of others, you don’t sin. That’s it. It’s simply no-one is exempt from Jesus’ strictures echoed by the apostles on refraining from foul or malicious language or unfounded accusations.

    (Part 1b)
    You don’t have to be genteel and demure if you don’t want to – you can say exactly what you like. But you can’t then complain at what Phil Johnson says or the way he says it.

    Addressing Part 1a:

    You need to stop the Tone Policing. You’re not being heard on this blog when you do it, as I said above.

    Jesus regularly chewed out his opponents in very strong terms.

    From Matt 23, Jesus speaking to the religious leaders:

    “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

    There is a time and a place for this sort of thing.

    To be consistent, you’d have to tell Jesus himself,
    “You don’t have to be genteel and demure if you don’t want to – you can say exactly what you like. But you can’t then complain at what Phil Johnson says or the way he says it.”

    As to Point 1b.
    What we’re doing int his blog is reacting to the damage and hubris initiated by guys like Phil Johnson (who publicly claim to be Christians) – we’re not instigating anything.

    I am not out there on Twitter willy-nilly insulting PJ or other Christian celebrities.

    Phil Johnson puts out a nasty tweet where he’s victim-blaming and mocking a woman who is being abused by her partner, and a normal, compassionate person is going to be outraged by that and may likely cuss, scream, yell, and throw tables across a room.

    Phil started it. Not us.

    If PJ doesn’t want folks insulting him and cussing him out online, or saying nasty things, he needs to stop publicly saying cruel or insensitive things on his Twitter about things like women who are being abused by their spouses. That’s on him, not on anyone who is responding to him.

    I am not the one on Twitter who is ridiculing or mocking DV victims, KAS.
    That would be Phil Johnson doing that.

    And anyone who ridicules or mocks a DV victim for being a DV victim is a P.O.S. (go Google it if you’re not familiar. I’d be delighted to type it all out and use even more crude put-downs of dirt bags such as Johnson, but due to the high Christian readership of this blog, I’ll censor myself a bit).

    Yep, P.J. is a P.O.S., and a really big stinking pile of one at that. Nope, not gonna be genteel and demure about it.

    Old Phil brought that reaction from me on himself, by his actions and disgusting attitudes. He needs to take personal responsibility for his public commentary.

    You’re totally off mark and in error to condescendingly lecture anyone for how they react to dirt bag behavior from Christians who are behaving like dirt bags in public.


  4. KAS said,

    To the extent this is a turf war between American celebrity evangelicals and so-called watchbloggers where you are expected to take sides, I don’t think either side gives a monkey’s about the victim, she is merely the occasion to argue

    Oh so wrong.

    I genuinely care about the victims of domestic violence, and I am infuriated to see “Christians” such as you and Phil Johnson who either ridicule or victim-blame women who are being abused by their spouses or boyfriends, especially when it’s incredibly obvious to me you’ve not read so much as one article by an expert on DV (Domestic Violence) about DV.

    I come from a family where my sister was a DV victim, and so was my Mom (by way of her father, my grandfather) and her Mom before her as well.

    The toxic teachings of “Christian Gender Complementarianism” played a role in some of that abuse in my family.

    So, I have some personal stake in this. It’s not just an abstract or intellectual exercise for me.


  5. KAS said,

    From what I have read, the victim in this instance is ‘still in a relationship’ with the perpetrator, so I can’t imagine is bothered by what Phil Johnson says nor his detractors.

    As I said above, you need to start reading up on abusive relationship dynamics, because you don’t understand how or why women stay with abusive men, that is pretty obvious.

    You seem to be implying in your comment that because the woman has stayed with the abuser, she’s not really being abused, or, she’s complicit in her own abuse, and/or she must feel okay with being abused.

    If you read books and blog posts by domestic abuse experts, they explain why women stay with abusers, and it’s not because they like the abuse, invite it, are “okay” with it, or are to blame for it, etc.


  6. KAS said,

    Johnson’s approach to say C J Mahaney is nothing to do with this tweet, yet it gets brought up because there are those who want to have a go a Johnson for this.
    It’s taken on a life of its own, starting out as a harsh tweet and growing into shaming the victim and how awful MacArthur is.

    Sometimes an original topic is brought up in the OP (Original Post), and those in the comment box see similarities between the issue or persons discussed in the OP and previous, similar stories, issues, or persons.

    There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Phil Johnson (and his tweet) which were the initial topics of this post, personally reminds reminds me of all sorts of other self-professing Christian slime-balls out there who mistreat people and/or who spew toxic teachings that have hurt people, such as Mark Driscoll, Frank Turk, Doug Wilson, and a million others.

    It’s okay to note similarities and to see how so many of these Wolves in Sheeps’ clothing operate.

    There’s a meta-level from which to consider all this and analyze it, rather than focusing only on one individual or story at a time. People have a tendency to notice patterns.

    P. Johnson is getting rightly dressed down for an insensitive Tweet he made about Domestic Violence.

    Well, John Piper is known for his moronic, weird, or insensitive Tweets, too. Nothing wrong with bringing Piper up in this context, either.

    I don’t think you care at all about victims, KAS.
    God knows you never show any emotion – anger, compassion, or sadness on their behalf – or by dressing down those who say or write insensitive things about them or to them.

    My gut feeling is that you just like to harass or aggravate folks who post to blogs such as this one.

    I figure either you’re a troll, or, in all seriousness (yes, I’m serious, this is not some ad hominem attack), I wonder if you may have a severe case of _Asperger syndrome_,
    and therefore and don’t know how to properly socialize with others and are (ironically) incapable of reading tone / emotion as well as social settings and interactions.

    In the future I may scroll past your comments and not read them, if I can.

    It’s sometimes hard in a blog-like format to skip past a comment you don’t want to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d also like to make this other observation or two…

    KAS said,

    To the extent this is a turf war between American celebrity evangelicals and so-called watchbloggers where you are expected to take sides, I don’t think either side gives a monkey’s about the victim, she is merely the occasion to argue …

    A lot of people who visit and post to a blog like this one are in a raw place.

    We (I would include myself) have been hurt before by churches, Christian teaching, and/or Christians.

    So it’s quite understandable you’re going to see a lot of fury, outrage, and critical commentary in the comments section, and to see it directed at various public Christian figures (such as preachers).

    There is something very wrong with the contemporary church. More and more people have been dropping out of churches in America and are referred to as being “Nones” or “Dones” in various studies and polls that cover this.

    A lot of people do not want to be known as “Christian” but as “spiritual,” or they identify themselves as “None” on religious surveys when asked “what religion or church do you belong to.”

    These “Nones” are seeing how guys like Phil Johnson (self-professing Christians) behave, and they reason to themselves, “If P.J. is what passes for a Christian, a guy who mocks victims, I don’t want anything to do with Christianity.” (And I don’t blame them)

    We have at least one self-professing atheist who visits this blog, Carmen. (Carmen are you there?)
    I’m not sure how she’d react, but I would be willing to bet she’d be more willing to empathize with us in our outrage over P.J. mocking a DV victim than with P.J. himself.

    If anything would turn Carmen away from Christianity, I’d say it would be more likely PJ’s mocking Tweet, not those of us here in the comments box criticizing said Tweet. (Carmen may correct me if I’m wrong).

    The vibe I’ve gotten from other atheists on other sites, and some atheists have said so, is they are turned off to Christianity in part due to behavior such as Johnson’s in his Tweet, and NOT BY people or Christians who strongly push back against Johnson or Johnson’s attitude.

    It’s interesting and sad to me that intellectually honest, open-minded atheists grasp what we’re doing here in the comments on this blog (or on other “watch blogs”), but you, who I assume professes Christ, do not grasp it.

    A lot of the pastors in churches today are the false teachers and wolves Jesus and Apostle Paul warned Christians about.
    The false teachers and pastors are greedy, selfish, and more concerned about fame, and money, or sexually exploiting women, than they are in helping people or teaching about Jesus.

    That should make you outraged, not complacent or concerned with appearances.

    That should make you infuriated, not hold this mentality that,
    “We should be nicer when critiquing false teachers and/or Christians such as PJ who are behaving very rudely or insensitively towards victims, and treat guys such as PJ with kid gloves and speak to them in soft, gentle tones.”


  8. Velour, I get the point you’re trying to make about conversational style and silencing tactics.

    I think KAS is playing deliberately obtuse about your point.

    KAS doesn’t like for anyone here to discuss problems in the church, or to discuss problematic pastors or famous Christians who are behaving badly, but if they insist upon doing so, they must, he feels, only do so in a “KAS-approved way” (with lots of meekness, showing no anger and not using strong language).

    Oh. Is KAS aware that a lot of Watch Blogs, like this one, attract Non-Christians?
    Some Non-Christians have much more lax rules and ideas of behavior and language than most Christians.

    They’re not going to be up to “KAS-standards Of Genteel Talking,” or as into “Conservative Christian Demure Conversational Styles.” And don’t think they should necessarily be expected to, depending on other factors.

    KAS further equates (in a post to me, above) that lashing out in anger over awful comments by someone else to be just as bad as the original nasty comment that caused offense…

    A view with which I don’t completely agree, and not at all in the specific case of a Christian guy who has publicly ridiculed a Domestic Violence victim on his Twitter page.

    Anyway, there were similar dynamics in my family, in controlling how the family interacted and what we were allowed or not allowed to discuss.

    My mother was very codependent. She came from an alcoholic family – her dad would get drunk and beat her and her Mom (my grandmother) up on occasion.

    If KAS is reading this post, he needs to keep reading…
    I suspect that is one big reason my mother behaved as she did when I was growing up: she raised me to believe any and all conflict is bad, to be avoided, and it’s “wrong” for anyone (but especially for Christians. and above all .Christian females) to show or express anger.

    I was taught to brush problems under the rug, don’t deal with the “elephant in the room.”
    Any time my two older siblings (when they were teens) would try to argue things out with Mom (as teens do – like to stay out past their curfew on a Friday night), Mom would start to cry quite easily.
    If my father was there when this sort of thing happened, he’d tell the siblings to, “Leave your mother alone, you’re making your mother cry.” So all conversation would halt instantly.

    So, we (my siblings and I) learned from that sort of dynamic as we were growing up, the message we got, is that one should not argue on one’s behalf for anything. Do not speak up and say what you really need or think, because it may upset someone, some where.

    We were not allowed to have boundaries or test them out growing up, not with Mom (or with other people), because Mom would start to cry, and Dad would yell at us.

    Plus, our Mom taught us, and role-modeled for us, that having boundaries and speaking up to assert one’s views, needs, or beliefs was not loving or “Jesus-like.”

    If we absolutely had to speak up on our behalf, our Mother (like KAS)
    -wanted us to be super wishy-washy, indirect, and genteel about it, and,
    -Above all, Mom taught us, do NOT hurt the feelings of the other person, even if the person in question was being highly verbally abusive, rude, or mean,
    -and even when or if the abuser instigated the abuse or fight and we were just responding to what the other started.

    It looks like KAS may have a similar mindset to that of my mother.

    The Bible actually instructs its readers not to live in that manner (“let your yes be yes, your no be no,” “go and speak directly to your brother if he has wrong you,” “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” etc.), but KAS is defending an indirect or wishy-washy method of communication.

    There is a time and place to be very kind and respectful in discourse, but there’s (as even the Bible teaches) a time and place to speak forcefully, strongly, and even harshly, even if doing so comes across as looking “rude,” or makes folks like KAS uncomfortable.

    You have to take this stuff on a case-by-case basis.
    So many Christians, especially evangelicals, want a list of hard and fast rules to live by. They don’t want to stop and think and make decisions.

    (Just look at the stupid “Billy Graham Rule,” as but one example. It makes me want to puke that some of the folks on the other blog have been defending BGR).

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Just found this page after a moment of web surfing (the page contains a minimum amount of “adult” language but is worth the read):

    Silencing Tactics and You

    Four Common Silencing Tactics

    Tone Policing

    I think most people are familiar with this one, but just in case you aren’t: this is the one where you’re too angry, shrill, or mean. Where if you were just a little bit nicer that people might listen to you. The way you spoke is given over the substance of your message. Too often, the focus becomes your emotion and not your content.

    It is not possible to say difficult or uncomfortable things in a way that will be quiet enough or nice enough for people inclined to police your tone.

    The ultimate goal of this strategy is to redirect and refocus the conversation in such a way to silence the speaker. It also suggests that people distance themselves from their emotions–and yet being able to do that is, in and of itself, a privilege.

    Calls for civility and calm are nearly always disingenuous attempts to control the conversation.

    Being able to consider a subject a “debate” or being able to play “devil’s advocate” is also a sure sign of privilege and incoming tone policing.

    On that page, see also:
    Moving the Goalposts


  10. Please please Daisy, forget I exist. Very little of what I have posted has you in mind. Put it out of your mind, ignore it, think about something else, substitute something you find positive that will bless you.


  11. KAS, the only “slander” I see is the 3-day-old carp that you keep spewing…..Just saying….


  12. KAS, the only “slander” I see is the 3-day-old carp that you keep spewing

    I’m not going to rise to the bait.


  13. Yesterday I listened to an interesting podcast by Dr. Leighton Flowers of Soteriology 101. If you don’t know him, he used to be a Calvinist. He has a ministry now of refuting Calvinism, and is (of course) hated by Calvinists such as Phil Johnson, JD Hall and James White, because of it.
    In yesterday’s podcast here https://www.facebook.com/soteriology101/posts/2271803073045022 Dr. Flowers mentioned that Calvinism appeals to young, scholarly, outspoken men, which is probably why when you say “Calvinist”, that type of person instantly comes to mind. And ironically, these men are lacking in the very GRACE that Calvinism is supposed to be famous for.
    Another thing.
    Dr. Flowers said that because Calvinism appeals to those types, it’s possible to agree with the Calvinistic theology and not be saved. After all, isn’t the mark of a Christian, that we’d be known by our LOVE, as well as display the Fruits of the Spirit? So many of these Calvinist leaders do not display love, or the Spiritual fruit, so it’s fair, that while we aren’t supposed to judge the salvation of another, to at least ask, “are they even saved?”


  14. Christina, I highly recommend Leighton Flowers stance on soteriology and that site, there is also a professor that comments there that is very good, Brian Wagner.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Q,

    Yes, I’ve listened in to a few of Dr. Flower’s podcasts. I love how he remains humble in the face of so much Calvinistic arrogance and opposition. I’d have lost my cool a long time ago. He really is a model of grace to be emulated.


  16. Christina – to say Johnson or White ‘hate’ Flowers is a bit over the top, isn’t it? White has worked with Michael Brown, even though the latter is both Arminian and sensible charismatic. They disagree with each other.

    Some people – like me – drift into Calvinism as a reaction to a sentimental, weak God propagated by so much modern evanglicalism. I was never entirely happy with it, and have ‘drifted’ out of it again. I spoke recently with an old friend who used to work with John MacArthur for a while, and he has made an almost identical journey.

    He found the attitude and language used to describe charismatics at the Strange Fire conference too hard to take and resigned from GTY. It was, to use the expression I’m being given grief for, slanderous, or if that is not quite exact, expressed contempt if not malice. You cannot reach people that way, all they see is the rudeness and will ignore what might be legitimate criticism.

    I have allowed that constituency to rob me of some of God’s blessing for too long now. My friend said he still respects MacArthur, whom he said is much more gracious when you meet him personally as is Phil Johnson, but he was tired of being the ‘frozen chosen’, and having a God who was not so very loving, gracious and approachable. That kind of Calvinism produces a kind of hardness, it’s too cerebral and sees everything too black and white.

    My own trip out of it was occasioned by the long-term attitude problem I saw at Team Pyro, and realising some biblical passages just don’t make much sense if you insist on putting a calvinist grid over them, for example, the Hebrews warning passages, and Rom 9 – 11.

    It’s certainly true that not all calvinists display a hardness of heart – I’ve met charismatic calvinists for whom the doctrines of grace really had produced a gracious heart, I think because they had also been filled with the Spirit.


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