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Keith and Nancy Chrisman

spacerKeith and Nancy Chrisman

Keith and Nancy Chrisman

Keith and Nancy Chrisman

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Former pastors, Rafaël S.A.R.A., Amsterdam, Netherlands.

After leaving Amsterdam, Keith Chrisman was employed as a Greek teacher at Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia. [The couple is now, 2006, back in Amsterdam].

In Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Chrismans have been involved in several situations of spiritual abuse and other un-Biblical behavior. Those situations include:
  • severe outbursts of anger
  • false accusations
  • attempts at controlling and/or manipulating people
  • gossiping and/or relying on gossip
When confronted (in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17), they have refused to deal with these issues in a Biblical manner.

The Bible passage in question deals with the subject of church discipline:

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. {16} "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. {17} "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

In at least one case, attempts at setting up a meeting with a mediator - see verse 16 above - present [due to their severe behavior at an initial, private meeting] have been steadfastly refused, in part because Keith Chrisman explains Matthew 18:16 to mean that the witnesses referred to "are those who know first-hand of the sins committed, not witnesses to the meeting between the two brothers."

That is a self-serving interpretation. In Healing the Wounded: The Costly Love of Church Discipline, John White and Ken Blue write:

What gain is there in witnesses? There is the gain of added solemnity. The original matter does not become more serious, but both the offended brother and the offending brother inevitably begin to take it more seriously. We also gain added wisdom. There may be a perspective which neither has thought about, for the witnesses may benefit both the offender and the offended. They witness not just the response of the accused but also the words of the accuser. If the issue becomes public, both parties have witnesses of what was and was not said. They may add objectivity, becoming parties to a reconciliation where both are a fault or throw light on matters which otherwise remained obscure.

And let us suppose for a moment that the offender has indeed offended and now repents, or even asks for help. It may be that practical measures are called for [...], practical matters that the group may talk over with the offender and implement for his well-being.
Source: Healing the Wounded: The Costly Love of Church Discipline "The Matthew Passage," by John White and Ken Blue, (Intervarsity Press, Ill.) 1985, p. 93

The Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary says:

[T]ake two or three to witness how just your complaint is, and how brotherly your spirit in dealing with him.

Unfortunately, instead of agreeing to deal with issues in a Biblical manner, they have continued - and indeed continue - to engage in divisive, abusive and otherwise un-Christian behavior.

While questions and concerns have arisen at the Evangelical Theological Seminary as well, the Chrismans have reportedly been able to retain their position with the seminary after a Christian missionary couple in Germany vouched for their character. To our knowledge, none of the people who have been on the receiving end of Keith and Nancy's abusive behavior have been contacted.

The current leaders of their former church, Rafaël S.A.R.A., as well as the national organzation it is part of (Rafaël Nederland, a ministry of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel) has shown no concern.

This Apologetics Index entry has been posted and updated to combat gossip, and to point others who may run into these type of issues to helpful research resources on the subject of spiritual abuse.

We encourage those who have questions or concerns to get in touch with us.

Update: The Chrismans worked with ETS for two years. Currently they are associated with European Christian Mission, an international and interdenominational missions organization.

To-date, the Chrismans have taken no steps to resolve the issues that necessitated this entry.

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About this page:
Keith and Nancy Chrisman
First posted: Nov. 29, 2002
Last Updated: Feb. 18, 2009
Copyright: Apologetics Index
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