Is Jocelyn Andersen a Domestic Violence Coach or Counsellor?


 One of my LinkedIn connections asked me if I was a DV coach or counselor as well as an author/advocate in raising awareness and educating on Christian response to domestic violence.

The picture (above/left) is me (far right) with an anonymous litigating Protective Mom (far left) and protective mother Amanda Joy (middle). We attended the 2008 Battered Mothers Custody Conference together. Our tee shirts read "SHINE A LIGHT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENC."

I write to increase awareness and occasionally speak. Most recently, I have been invited to speak at a church luncheon in the FL Panhandle.

I don't professionally counsel or coach victims. I do what I can, and I don't hesitate to refer to local DV hotlines, or to the national hotline if a local one is not available. There is much more we can do, but in some cases, referring to the hotline and shelter is the only safe thing (for all involved--including the advocate...even if a relative) to do.

One awesome advocate, who is a survivor and very good friend of mine, was helped by her local hotline where she was counseled for quite some time before being helped to escape from her abusive and violent husband. She then lived in the shelter for months.

She sought help from her church leadership before calling the local domestic violence hotline, but they refused to help her because her abuser was the youth pastor there. 

I save the number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, along with numbers to local hotlines, shelters, and resources in my phone contacts and advise others to do the same, especially pastors. It's not a Christian cop-out to do this, and it could save lives.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.SAFE (7233)

Early in my advocacy I spearheaded a project to empower Church leaders and lay-Christians to respond knowledgeably, compassionately, and biblically to victims of DV. I received an overwhelmingly positive response from church members, but not a single pastor responded. The church members who were interested in heading the project at their churches couldn't get it past their pastor's desks. 

Here is a link to the original press release

Here is a link to a more detailed announcement another advocate wrote about the project. It's a shame the project was stalled by church leaders. That was in 2008. Maybe it was before its time. Maybe I should try again. What do you think?

A sad anniversary for the SBC

This year marks a sad anniversary for Southern Baptists. 21-years-ago, on May 7, 2003, the Southern Baptist (SBC) International Missions Board (IMB) lost 43 missionaries in one day, due to pressure to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message, which excluded women from general leadership and demanded submission to husbands excluded women from general leadership and demanded submission to husbands 

Why not sign?

“Don and Angie Finley, of Brazil, are two of the missionaries whose resignations were accepted by the IMB on that day. They declared they were ‘not resigning because we have a problem with grassroots Southern Baptists’ or ‘because we have done anything wrong or have something to hide. When a Baptist missionary sending agency demands doctrinal accountability on the basis of a man-made document rather than on the basis of Scripture, something is wrong…When unnamed critics are taken seriously when they make vague, generalized, and unsubstantiated accusations against doctrinally sound and spiritually committed missionaries, something is wrong. When denominational politics takes precedence over mission priorities and missionaries themselves are made pawns in a denominational political game, something is wrong."

Group that demanded apology over view of women̢۪s roles still waiting (

 Rick Dill, a missionary who was fired along with his wife, Nancy, clarifies: "‘A small group of really vicious people are the ones who are making policy at the board,’ …The Dills outlined four concerns they have with the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message: Removal of the statement: ‘The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ,’ from the 1963 version. ‘The center of our faith is Jesus Christ--God who became man, born of a virgin, crucified as atonement for our sin, raised on the third day, ascended to the right hand of the Father…All Scripture comes from him and can only be understood through him,’ Use of the expression ‘priesthood of believers’ instead of ‘priesthood of the believer.’ ‘Each of us stands individually before God,’ Dill said. ‘We are called to be his priests; his Spirit works within us individually as well as corporately, and finally, we will be called to account for our lives as his servants. Loss of that concept, not liberalism, is what killed the Christian movement in Europe…The priesthood of the believer was denied and taken away, and the clergy decided what you believe, what you do and when you believe it. They took the experience with God, that the Bible insists upon, completely away. That's the most dangerous thing that is facing us as Southern Baptists.’" 

Apologies if Baptist Standard deleted some of these stories. The links will remain. 

The Bottom Line

It is suspected that the “small group of really vicious people” making policy at the IMB were more concerned with female subordination than with anything else. Dill continues explaining why he and his wife could not sign the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message: “Insertion of language that a wife should ‘submit herself graciously’ to her husband, while ignoring ‘the injunction of Paul to submit to each other.’ Insertion of a statement that ‘the office of pastor is limited to men.’ In China, women pastor a majority of the churches,’ Dill said. ‘In Germany, we have a number of women who are Baptist pastors and do an exemplary job of service. ... Does this mean all of these women are serving out of God's will?’"

The Crux of the Matter

If missionary wives did not agree to submit graciously to their husbands and forsake the priesthood of every believer in favor of a priesthood composed of only male believers, then missionary couples would no longer be supported by the Southern Baptist International Missions Board and must either support themselves or come home. 

On May 7, 2003, 30 missionaries resigned. 13 were fired. It was the “largest mass exodus in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. 'We've never had anything close to this,’ said Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptist Historical Collection.”

 What happened at the IBM is an example of why Christians who support the priesthood of all believers –Vs- the priesthood of only some believers need to stand up and be counted. 

This year also marks the fourteenth anniversary of the Seneca Falls-2 Christian Conference held in Orlando, FL on July 24, 2010.

Videos from the conference:

Again, apologies if Baptist Standard deleted some of these stories. The links will remain.

News from the conference: Group that demanded apology over view of women's roles still waiting (

 After the resignations and firings, the IMB disclosed that the 98% of foreign missionaries who did sign the document were not all in agreement with it. Some missionaries admitted they signed under pressure in order to keep their ministries. "We've talked with numerous missionaries who basically said, 'God called me here, and I'll sign in order to keep doing my ministry.' Additionally, you have 'yes' responses ranging from 'This is a wonderful statement of faith' to 'I can live with it.' … ‘Of the many disappointments and frustrations since the so-called 'conservative resurgence,' the firing of God-called missionaries is far and away the saddest day of all."

... Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System: Andersen, Jocelyn: 9780979429323: Books


For Victims' Advocates of Corrupt Family Courts

Dear Advocates: 

I am currently doing research for a book about corrupt family court systems and am interested in any suggestion from you on chapter topics. 

I am looking at approximately ten chapters, each on a different topic related to the most pressing issues of protective mothers and family court. I am already researching several topics and hope you might suggest others.

My current book on the family court system, is intended for a much broader audience than my previous books, which were faith-based. I have received communications from two publishers who have expressed interest in my next book. 

I am also looking for personal stories related to family court experience. Identities will be kept confidential where requested, as I understand many are still involved in litigation and involve children who have not yet aged out of the system.

I appreciate your advocacy and any suggestions from you on chapter topics or subtopics will be most welcome. ~~ Jocelyn

Toxically Feminine or Masculine

There is such thing as being toxically feminine and toxically masculine. 

Being toxically feminine or masculine takes place when one is intelligent, articulate, and fully aware of their deliberate words or actions and the effects on others of those. They speak, act, and write in deliberately toxically biased ways against the opposite sex. 

Men who are toxically masculine are generally more easily identified by their actions, speech, and writing than are women who are toxically feminine. That is likely the case because we are more prone to look for such in men that in women. 

There is more than one way to be toxically masculine or toxically feminine, but this article only deals with one for each sex. Each example below can be assigned to either sex but is used to highlight the sex that uses the method most often. 

One example of being toxically feminine: Deferring publicly to men when the woman either does not necessarily believe it is the right thing to do but does it anyway because they are men, or she does believe that women should defer to men and wastes few opportunities to influence others towards her belief system--most particularly her children. Her words and actions are intelligently premeditated and deliberate. Women who are toxically feminine, are fully aware and fully understand that their words and actions influence others concerning their own toxic belief system. This makes a woman toxically feminine.

One example of being toxically masculine: Rendering women invisible by always referring to mixed crowds or the human race in general as ** "men, his, or him" when they know full well this is not only incorrect but is offensive to many. Men who are toxically masculine offend deliberately in this regard. An author, whose work I generally admire, makes a point of calling all humans "men" ... every  single time. Lots of authors do this, as it is generally (wrongly) accepted as Ok to refer to humanity as "man." So, what makes person's references deliberately toxic? His references are deliberate, intelligent, and premeditated. He is amazingly articulate and knows better. But regarding women, he deliberately uses semantics in making the point that he believes men are more important that women, and he wastes no opportunity in semantically rendering women invisible by hiding them under semantic burqas. Many men do this, and this makes a man toxically masculine. 

** This author does not subscribe to the toxically feminine habit (even when used by well-meaning men) of referring to all humanity or mixed crowds as "she" or "her." This is an extreme reaction, and though often well-meaning, is not helpful in ending the very real but tragic war between the sexes.

It is possible be feminine or masculine in healthy ways. Men and women are different in so many wonderful ways, but illegitimately prescribing our differences rather than legitimately describing them, is what creates toxic femininity or masculinity.  

More on this topic

Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System: Andersen, Jocelyn: 9780979429323: Books

Jocelyn Andersen: Christian Masculinity

Deconstructing the Danvers Statement - by Jocelyn Andersen ( 

Biblical Autonomy of the Sexes (

The Problem with "Egalitarian" Churches

 Many thanks to Laura, the Divine Dissident, for her tireless advocacy of gender autonomy in the Christian community, and for having the guts to feature me on her podcast!

One viewer's insight: I really liked her point about "adult autonomy" at the end. It's really the bottom line. A Christian adult NEEDS autonomy so that they can use the free will God gave them to follow HIM! Nothing or nobody else should ever be inserted between or lay claim to the authority that God alone should possess in a Christian life!

How to teach sound doctrine

I was asked to watch a video on biblical cosmology, so I am watching it as I promised, but the speaker's method of arriving at theological conclusions is disturbingly myopic. He throws a hypothesis mixed with a handful of scriptures at a wall and expects his theology to stick. There is no attempt to establish context or perspective. In fact, he states that perspective is irrelevant.

As leaders, our ability to influence others is too great to neglect sound Bible study habits. Reading our Bibles is #1 of course, but learning to rightly discern the Word of God comes not only with knowing what the Bible says but what it does not say. We can only know these things if we read the entire Bible, skipping nothing, and not just once. That's why I recommend reading our Bibles every day, always picking up today where we left off yesterday.

Developing good habits such as comparing passages and determining whether or not they are related is important. Considering the context of verses, considering the perspective (who is speaking) of verses is critical. Religious cults have been founded on myopically looking at a single Bible verse and without looking at context and perspective toss thousands of years of responsible scholarship. Sound doctrine is important. Jesus said when the blind lead the blind, ALL fall into the ditch.

Error is progressive. The Rulers of the Darkness of this world see to that. Once we embrace one error, we place ourselves in a position of being oppressed by seducing spirits who are dedicated to promoting doctrines of demons. Paul foretold the of the day when saved people would not endure sound doctrine.

Follow Jesus's example of judging all theology by the written Word of God. How many times did he tell Satan, "It is WRITTEN...?" Consider Isaiah's warning about following or creating new doctrine that has not already been WRITTEN. God gave us his sacred writings for a reason. Remember, when the apostle brought the good news to the Bereans, they "searched the scriptures" to see if what they were being told was true?

Don't blindly trust the scholars. All scholars do not teach truth. All scholars do not agree on everything. All scholars do not belong to Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living in them. Therefore, they do not have the ability to compare spiritual things with spiritual.

Prayerfully question and compare. All Children of the Most High God have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us, and John said this is the anointing that teaches us all things and is Truth.

One of the ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of teaching. God gave us teachers, not to utterly depend on but to help equip EVERY Believer for the work of the ministry.

John understood this when he said we have no need of any human to teach us, that we all have access to the same anointed teacher who lives in us. That anointed teacher will never tell us anything that contradicts what has already been written. We walk by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Contend earnestly for the faith, but don't become contentious. Faith works by love. Jocelyn Andersen: books, biography, latest update

How should I feel about transgender people at my church?

The Bible tells us how to feel about all people

We view and treat them with compassion and agape love. Hatred has no place in the lives and hearts of any who profess Christ. We only need to answer two questions, and if we can answer these, we will know exactly how to feel about transgender people attending our churches.

  • Why is the transgender person attending my church? What are they looking for?
  • What is my church's policy about church membership or leadership for transgender people?

With the rare exceptions of true intersex people, those who are born with some or all characteristics of both sexes and can legitimately choose which sex they want to live as, we are all born as one of only two sexes, either male or female, each of us with greater or lesser degrees of estrogen or testosterone influencing our inclinations and appearance. 

It is unconscionable that the Christian community does not accept intersex people for who they are, many of whom hide it or gravitate to LGBTQ communities because they are largely rejected by mainstream culture and churches. 

But what about those who are not intersex, those who simply don't like the sex they were born with or who sincerely believe they were born in the wrong body? This is becoming an upfront and personal issue in churches and will likely only become more prevalent. Transwomen (biological males) are the most likely to attend church without hiding the fact that they are biological males who wish to look like, dress like, be addressed as, and be treated as, women. 

On the other hand, seeing transmen (biological females) in church, is not as common. Are they there? Most likely. There are various reasons why some women choose to hide the fact that they were born female. Gender bias is the age-old number one reason for this. I am not saying that this is still the case today, but I listened to one woman tell her story of why she lived as a man, and that was the reason she gave. 

She not only lived as a man and no one ever guessed the truth, but for ten years she was a loved and respected [supposed male] leader in her church. She said she grew up wanting to be a boy because her father bullied and abused the female members of her family, while treating the male members well. She equated weakness to female and strength to male. She attributed being strictly limited to female and almost limitless autonomy to male. She watched boys get preferential treatment because they were male. For these reasons she decided, early on, that she did not want to be a girl. But after ten years of lying to everyone in her church about who she was, they somehow found out the truth. Her church did not throw her out on her ear. She agreed to an extended hiatus from leadership while she and her church family worked out whatever needed to be worked out. According to her, it took a while. Today, years later, she still attends that same church, and has been reinstated as a Bible teacher and church leader. Only today, she leads as the biological woman she was born as. It was not a simple cut and dry process. And it took a great deal of time. And we can't even imagine the effort. But, in the end, love prevailed. She did not lose her beloved church family and they did not lose a precious sister and beloved leader. 

History is rife with stories of women who posed as men (historical transmen), because men had autonomy, freedom, and opportunity that women did not have (women still don't have these in complementarian churches and marriages). 

Some women posing as men don't want to simply be treated and addressed as males, they want everyone to believe they were born as males. They pass as males. They are not interested in having their transgender-status recognized and approved. With hormone therapies and surgeries, these women can be very successful at passing as biological males

So, how should we, as Believers, feel about church members who want to be recognized and accepted as transgender people?

I have no conflict with showing unbiased Christian love to all people, and that includes transgender people. But this does not extend to lying to them by telling them the Bible does not address transgenderism and that it is forbidden to God's people. 

If a transgender person asks me what the Bible says about it, I will tell them the truth. If they do not ask me, I will continue to treat them with love and respect, but I will keep my opinions about their lifestyle choices to myself. I will not gossip about them with other church members. That being said, I also will not sit under the ministry of a transgender person or of a non-transgender person who teaches that the God is Ok with it. I will find another group to worship and fellowship with. 

Sharing about an experience I had earlier in my ministry may be helpful here. I was called to street ministry for a season. For two years, I preached the Good News on the streets of Winter Haven, FL. I held Sunday church meetings in a local park for the homeless and hungry. Some began spontaneously calling me their pastor. The majority of people I met with (every Sunday), were active alcoholics and drug addicts. Though I never preached about the sin that was devastating their lives, many told me how deeply my ministry had impacted them for the good.  

Did I ever broach the subject of their sin? Yes.  I was forced to deal with those who wanted to come to my meetings high or drunk. They would come wanting to participate in leadership by preaching or praying. After dealing with this for a while, I wondered if I should even be holding meetings for this unruly group, most of whom lived open and obvious sinful lifestyles. Our outdoor church smelled like a brewery. It literally reeked of alcohol. 

My religiosities were challenged. 

As I struggled with knowing what I should do, I considered giving it up. I wasn't sure if it was even right to be worshipping with these people. You see, this wasn't a project for me. It was where I went to church every Sunday, and I worshipped with whoever came to join me. The Holy Spirit gave me a choice that forever changed my perspective and attitude. I was asked if I would stay and feed the flock God had given, or if I would give up, walk away, abandon them? 

I chose to stay and feed them. But I made on change. I told the group that everyone was welcome to attend my meetings, in any condition they were in (today, that would include transgender), but I told them that if they were drunk or high, I would not allow them to preach, pray, read the Bible to the group, or participate in any other way. And, because my group could become disruptive, I instructed them to quietly sit down and enjoy the ministry in word and song. That did it for them. After that, there was never a problem. Anyone who didn't like that policy just didn't come back, and there were a few who didn't. 

Another story along that line. Later, when I was praise and worship leader at a brick and mortar, traditional, church, our church drummer showed up drunk for practice one evening. I quietly drew him aside and told him I could not allow him to practice with us in that condition. He left offended. We did not see him in church again. About three years later, I received an email from him. He thanked me for what I had done three years earlier. He said it had been a wake-up call for him. He told me that he had since sobered up and married a wonderful godly woman, and that he had been called to preach and was currently in Bible college.

Yes, these stories do relate to Christian response to the transgender issue and how we should feel about transgender people attending our churches. Would to God our churches were filled with them!  

Most of the alcoholics and drug addicts that regularly attended my Sunday meetings had hungry hearts. They came to feed on the Word of God. The evidence of this, is that though I fed them physical food, I fed them spiritual food first, and the overwhelming majority came early for the spiritual food. 

What they did with the spiritual food was between them and God, but all hungry hearts were welcome in my church meetings, though participation and leadership was reserved for those who chose to forsake all and follow Jesus. I see no difference in applying the same policy to transgender people attending our churches, as I applied to those who attended my street meetings all those years ago. 

The Bible calls men trying to be women and women trying to be men ... sin. It is forbidden to God's people. The Bible calls a lot of things sin that Christian leaders should be gently and lovingly dealing with. Sin of every sort is becoming the cultural norm, and we must not lie to people about what the Bible says or does not say about any topic. God's love-letter to us, the Bible, forbids certain things to his followers, and transgenderism is one of them. 

That being said, there is never justification--ever--for treating anyone with hatred or disdain. 

Every human being is created in the image of God, is loved by our Creator, and is a soul for whom Christ died. Even if strong leadership (like what happened with my street ministry troublemakers and with the drummer in our church's praise and worship group) is called for, it should always be handled with gentleness, humility, compassion, and love

  • We should welcome all hungry hearts into our church meetings--including transgender people. 
  • Our churches should have policies of not lying to people about what the Bible says about transgenderism or any other issue. 
  • Our churches should have biblical policies in place about who can or cannot participate in certain ministries or church sponsored activities, become church members, or serve in leadership. 
  • Our churches should not have an across-the-board policy of refusing to allow transgender people to attend meetings. 

Everyone needs love. It is not a hard thing to love transgender people when we understand that true Christlike and biblical love does not mean we must accept every lifestyle or make everyone feel good about their choices. 

Love is being not afraid to tell life-giving truth. 

Jocelyn Andersen: My Statement of Life