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The Alex McFarland Show-59-Abuse in the Church with guest Autumn Miles

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2023 7:00 pm

The Alex McFarland Show-59-Abuse in the Church with guest Autumn Miles

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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May 25, 2023 7:00 pm

How should Christians respond to those who are being abused? With statistics showing that one in four women and one in seven men will be in an abusive relationship, it’s an issue the Church should be familiar with and prepared to handle. Sadly, that’s often not the case. On today’s episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex sits down with author, speaker, and domestic violence survivor, Autumn Miles, to discuss this very topic. Autumn shares how Jesus redeemed her life from that dark season, and she challenges the Church to stand up for other victims.  

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You know, life is hard as it is, but it's just doubly tragic when people are abused. We hear so much in the news about sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, verbal abuse.

You know, the Bible talks about if somebody harms a little child, it would be better that a millstone would be tied around their neck and they'd be dropped into the bottom of the sea. On this edition of the program, we're going to talk about a Christian response to pain and suffering, violence and abuse. Hi, Alex McFarland here.

So honored to be with you. And we are recording, and some of the shows you've been hearing recently, we have recorded at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. This year it happens to meet in Orlando annually. This ministry, we go to NRB. I'm a member of National Religious Broadcasters and we get together for four or five days and we strategize and we pray and we meet with colleagues from around the world and we look at how we can more effectively take the name of Jesus to the whole wide world.

And it's a blessing. People that you probably know and love like David Jeremiah are here and Eric Metaxas and James Dobson's ministry. And you meet so many people at NRB and I'm very honored to bring to the mic a friend, Autumn Miles of Autumn Miles Ministries.

She hosts a very popular weekly podcast called the Autumn Miles Show. We're going to talk about abuse and how the church really, even in the midst of something tragic and evil, has an opportunity to minister the Gospel to people. Autumn, first of all, I want to say welcome and it's a privilege to be with you here at NRB and I want to say thanks for making time to be on our show. But most of all, I want to say thank you for what you're doing for the Kingdom of God and to help the lives of hurting people. Thank you. I'm so happy to be here. It's an honor to be on your show. I can't wait to have this conversation. Well, indeed, indeed.

This is, as I look around and folks, if you hear some kind of ambient background noise, we're at a convention. But I look around, there's so many ministries, so many people. It's a wonderful thing. This is the hope of the world, isn't it? The Lord Jesus Christ. That's what every hurting life really needs, isn't it?

Absolutely. He changed my life. He brought me from death to life and I've never looked back and never been the same. How did you come to know the Lord? It was actually in my abusive marriage. You talked about abuse in the intro.

And found the Lord was a pastor's daughter, which is why we need to evangelize to PKs. Okay. Let's not assume people.

Let's not assume. But I was 21 years old in a marriage where I was being abused. I knew a lot about God, but didn't know God. And this is going to go real deep real fast when you asked me that question. But one night at 3 AM, I thought I was going to commit suicide because I couldn't live being abused any longer.

And the Holy Spirit drew me out of that bed that night at 3 AM in the morning and I met Him for the first time and gave my life to Christ. Let's talk about a four letter word that every human needs. H-O-P-E. Hope.

Yes. What do you say to a person that finds themself in a very painful situation and they really don't think there's hope? I say I've been exactly where you are.

I know exactly how you feel. I wrote in my first book, suicide was my fair weather friend. And the editor came back and said, do you know what fair weather means? And I said, yeah, I know exactly what fair weather means when things are going good.

Yeah. Suicide felt like the easy, hopeful thing to do because everything I was experiencing with abuse would end. And so I know exactly where that person is.

I know when you feel like you have only one way out, if you're suicidal or something like that, but you have another option. And it was in the height of my despair that the Lord grabbed me and pulled me out of there. You have hope and His name is Jesus. And He's not just some figure that we talk about at church. He is a living God and He wants a relationship with you. And He wants to ransom you. And He wants to deliver you.

That's who He is. He came to set the captives free. Amen. And He set me free. So hope has a name and His name is Jesus. Isn't it a blessing?

Jesus, when He began His ministry, you read in the gospels at age 30, He goes into the temple and He reads from Isaiah about a scripture that says He came to give liberty, to give sight to the blind, to heal, and to set the captives free. And folks, if you're listening right now, maybe you're not in an abusive situation, and I hope you're not, but we all have stress. We all have burdens. And maybe you just think, look, I can't go another day.

There is no way my situation can be worked out. It can. Yeah. Because our Savior that is as close by as a prayer, He heals the brokenhearted. Yeah. He sets the captives free. He forgives the guilty.

He truly, in the strongest possible way, He saves us, doesn't He? Yeah. It's interesting, we talked before, I've recently been able to start work with prison ministry. And I believe that because of my domestic violence background, I'm able to relate to some of the ladies that are incarcerated in the state of Texas.

And I've been able to walk through several units. And I was on a unit last week, and there's women that are locked up, you know, behind bars. And one of them, as I was walking through the hall, down the hall to say hello to all of them, started yelling at me and said, Hey, hey, hey, are you offering prayer? And here's this woman behind bars. She's desperate. All she wants.

She can't go anywhere. She's captive, and she wants prayer. And I found out her name and immediately started praying for her.

And the whole, the entire hall of women quieted down and listened to the prayer. But as I left, the Lord said, that's what I'm talking about. That verse where Isaiah came to set the captives free. Do you see how how captive she is right now?

I am the one that will set her free. And it gives an entire new perspective to what Jesus was meaning when He said that when He first got up, quoting Isaiah. And everybody listening can have that freedom. And folks, this is not pie in the sky. This is not just words. I'm telling you, the most real thing in your life, if you'll let Him in, is Jesus. Yeah. Jesus is more real than anything else that we encounter in this life, isn't He?

Yeah. It's so crazy to me how people are like, how do I hear from God? How do I communicate with the Lord? After I got saved in that abusive marriage, I remember taking one entire year and getting, I began to educate myself on how I heard God, what the Holy Spirit sounded like when He spoke to me. And I began to learn and listen so that when I got out of that marriage, I would be able to refer back to what I had learned during that year of learning who God was.

You know, you can be in church your whole life and not know, not have a relationship with God. So I had to learn that. You're listening to Autumn Miles. She's my guest on this edition of the Alex McFarland program. Stay tuned.

We've got a brief break. We're going to talk more about breaking the cycles of abuse and finding new life in Jesus with Autumn Miles when we return. Stay tuned. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics, teaching in more than 2200 churches around the world, schools and college campuses. Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at

He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

Alex McFarland here. We are at National Religious Broadcasters and we're talking with our guest, a mutual friend, Autumn Miles, a colleague in ministry. By the way, give your website and I want people to find out about you and what you're doing and where you're speaking, your website. is where everything is housed but you can follow on social and Instagram and Facebook and YouTube as well. So listen to this and I commend you for going into the prisons. We've done prison crusades and we love that ministry. It really is a time to meet people where they're hurting.

But here, you and I are at a convention with 6,000 people, the big ministries that everybody's heard of and thank God for all of them. Last night, I was with a group and a lady flagged me down. She is from, well, the largest mission agency in the world and she hears us on the radio and tearfully, right here in this lobby, begin to ask for prayer about an incredibly abusive marriage.

Psychologically abusive. Her husband who got off on an aberrant theological trend is constantly telling her that she's not saved. She's the vice president of one of the ministries here. So here's my point and of course we listened for almost two hours, prayed with this lady. She is saved. It's her abusive, abusive husband that I would question isn't saved. I assure you, everybody hearing this would know the name of this ministry and I want to respect the anonymity.

But here's my point, Autumn. Even amidst the workings of church and ministry, Christians, people supposedly representing the love of Jesus, there's abuse, there's sin, isn't there? Now, we don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water and we're not kicking church to the curb. But my heart was breaking last night and I thought here I am at NRB in one of the world's most renowned ministries.

This woman is being psychologically verbally abused by her husband and we're helping them. But that's a tragic thing even among the people of God. I often say it like this. I was in church the entire time I was being abused. My dad was the pastor of a church. Statistically speaking one in four women will face domestic violence and one in seven men. That means in a church, a hundred people, you've got a large portion of women and men that have been victims of domestic violence. This is in our churches. This is on our stages. This is in our choirs. This is in our launch teams.

This is everywhere. In 2018, I partnered up with LifeWay and did a study on domestic violence and the church and what is the response and preparation that the church has when a woman comes forward and says, I'm being abused right now. And unfortunately, Alex, there, I would say, I think it was 40, 47% or something.

Don't quote me on that. It's been a while since I've looked at my own study. They have a heart to minister to these women, but only about 3% of churches were prepared to do it. And one of the things that you need to understand about domestic violence is that a victim will not come forward.

I didn't for seven years. I didn't even tell my dad, who is the pastor, will not come forward unless they see an ally represented. And you must be an ally to that woman for her to come forward and tell you, you absolutely were. But unless they see an ally, a safe, secure person that they can confide in. And the problem with our churches is only about 3% of them at that point were prepared to take on this issue with domestic violence. So it is prevalent in our churches. Pastors must, and I'm getting on my soapbox here, must have a plan in place. And the first thing I put, I put a plan together for churches. The first thing I put in that plan was you've got to be vocal about it from the pulpit because someone that is involved in a domestic violence relationship, they're sitting next to their partner or their spouse in church.

If they hear a pastor that says abuse is wrong under any circumstances whatsoever, that's going to trigger to that woman or that man, whoever's being abused. I've got an ally in that pastor. I can come forward and talk to that pastor. This church is going to support me and a lot of people, they don't want to talk about it because it's messy and what do you do? And it's the whole thing, but we have to talk about it.

We have to. And let me say this, folks, especially to pastors listening, and I've pastored two churches. I was a youth pastor for 11 years, spoken in 2,200 churches. So believe me, Brother Pastor, I know the dynamics of the local church and you feel like you've got to placate everybody and walk this line of diplomacy.

But here's the thing. Ministers need to use their pulpit and the authority God has entrusted to them to make a difference in the lives of people. And obviously, lovingly, redemptively, we work with people, but we have to call out sin. We have to offer people an oasis and a sanctuary. Autumn, you might have seen that sociologists now, they talk about our culture as moving from the familial to the tribal.

In other words, as the family in many quarters has broken down, tribal means, where will I have an advocate? Is there any place of safety and sanctuary? And that's why kids, even kids raised in what we hope are Christian homes, kids will get involved in horribly unbiblical activities because that becomes their tribe and it's a safe place. So to your point, and I'm with you, we have to show people that we are the sanctuary, that we are that koinonia, that family with open arms. And if you're hurting, if you're searching, if you're questioning, if you're backslidden, look, we love you, but more importantly, Jesus loves you, and we're going to together walk this journey to Jesus and with Jesus.

Yeah, I think I get really frustrated because I come from a long line of pastors, my husband's a pastor, and I'm recently a pastor to the women's prisons, but I think there's this idea that domestic violence isn't the church's problem or isn't the church's issue. And Jesus came for the sick. That is who he came for. He came to help us navigate these hard issues right here. And so we've got to be a mouthpiece and speak into some of these cultural issues just like Jesus would have.

Amen. Well, you know, the fully orbed biblical world view. Yes, it's the gospel. Jesus loves me. Christ died for me. Put my faith in Jesus. Be born again. That is the gospel. But there are also five dozen other topics that the Word of God amply speaks to. Marriage, morality, behavior, restoration, accountability. We need to give the church the full platter of God's truth.

Yeah, yeah. We do. I mean, I want to desperately, when I came forward and said, I'm being abused, I want to desperately, the support of the men whose children I babysat, I want to desperately them to look and say, this is evil. You should not be treating like this. And that is not what happened. And that's why a lot of victims stay silent, because I think we need to do a better job at what you just said, because it's a problem. And by offering something that tangibly touches people's lives. Look, everybody wants to grow their church. People will come.

They will beat a path to your door if you offer things that will change their lives. We've got to take a brief break. We're going to be right back.

And churches, I want to talk about things you can do not only to grow your church and touch people, but actually to be obedient to Christ and fulfill His great commission. Stay tuned. We're back with Autumn Miles after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. I'm Alex McFarland and I'll see you next time.

He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here.

So honored that you're listening. Hey, before we resume our conversation with Autumn Miles, by the way, please pray for our summer programs. We have seven youth camps this summer.

We'll have 1250 teenagers at our camps in Indiana, New Jersey, Iowa, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee. And folks, let me just say, while the gospel is free, it does take resources to deliver this free message. And your tax-deductible contribution to help our events, publishing, broadcasting, we're touching millions of listeners every year, millions of listeners, hundreds of thousands of people that contact our ministry that we send resources to. You know, books and a bubble mailer to send the book in and then postage and then staff.

It all takes resources. But the good news is lives are being changed and you can share in those rewards. So would you please consider today making a tax-deductible contribution to Alex McFarland Ministries. You can write to us at just simply PO Box 485 Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, 27313. Or you can give securely online at

I promise you, we will receive it gratefully, use it faithfully, and it will bear fruit for the gospel. The other thing I want to tell everybody is if you would go to my website, our tour schedule, everywhere I'm speaking, the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, and more. And then one last thing, visit the website Viraltruth. You know how kids talk about a video has gone viral.

Well, our clubs, our youth clubs are growing. We're working to woke-proof America's youth. So go to and help us as we help kids reach their friends for Christ. Well, somebody that is reaching many, many people for Christ, she's been on the Eric Metaxas show. She's been interviewed by the New Yorker, James Dobson, the 700 Club.

I could go on and on. Her media bio is quite impressive and deservedly so. Autumn Miles. Autumn, thanks for being on the show. And I just want to say I have such respect for what you're doing because you're courageously speaking to issues that the church must speak about. They come out of your own experience. And here's the thing that I want to commend you. You're not letting your pain silence you. You found power in Jesus. You found a path in Jesus. And I know it takes courage. The Spirit of God gives you that. But thank you for giving of yourself to bring people to Christ.

Wow. Thank you for saying that. I think when I got out of that domestic violent marriage, I was determined with the power of God that my life was going to count. I was not just going to lay down and take, you know, this bad ideology that's in the church anymore. I was going to speak out against it to help other autumns like me.

And so that's what I've done for the last fifteen years or so. You know, we had a neighbor and they had a precious little daughter and the church they were having a daddy-daughter date. And just imagine a seven-year-old girl, a skinny girl.

I can see it now. Her arms were just like broomsticks strung together. And she wore glasses. And she had the biggest smile you've ever seen because she was going on the daddy-daughter date to the church. And they were so precious. And they asked Angie and I, my wife Angie and I, to come and have a prayer. And we did. And I was looking at that precious, precious little girl. So happy to be going out with her daddy, right?

And just awkward and gangly as kids are. But I said a prayer. I said, Dear God, please protect that child. Because like when you go to the women's prisons, every one of those women that are behind bars, and look, we've been in dozens of prisons, and the human condition can look pretty rough. But every one of those was a little girl one day that just wanted to be loved.

Isn't it sad? Sad news is there's Satan and there's sin. The good news is there's Jesus. Can Jesus, we know He forgives our sins, but can He even restore innocence and joy that's been destroyed?

Absolutely. I think what God did in me when I gave my life to Christ that night at 3 a.m. in the morning, I immediately knew that this was not the God that I heard of. This was an unconditional, loving, gracious God.

And that's what I had been searching for in that marriage for years. So I finally found in Jesus what I never found in any other human that walked the face of the earth. It gave me an insatiable starvation to get to know Him through His Word. I jumped into the Psalms, which is a great book if you are in a domestic violent relationship right now or just struggling.

You know, we love David because of his strength in the Samuels, but we identify with David because of his vulnerability in the Psalms. And I jumped into the Psalms and started reading and that gave me a desire to know Him more. And Alex, it was because of the Word of God is what put me back together.

The truth of God's Word is what healed. It was the balm of Gilead to my soul. It was the salve that I had been starving for my whole life. It gave me identity. It gave me a purpose. It gave me a future and a hope. And it showed me the rehabs of the Bible that God used.

Exactly. And folks, let me encourage you, and I'm so thrilled that you're saying this, build your life, folks. Build your outlook. Build your daily priorities on the Word of God. And in my own life, you know, people have asked, you know, how Angie and I have had the journey we've had. Angie would say this too, the Word of God. Matthew 6 verse 8 says, the Father knows what you need even before you ask. Psalm 119 verse 93 says, I will never forget your words, for through them I found life.

And on and on we could go, you and I could both. But talk to people about the importance, honestly, of stabilizing your emotions, feeling okay with your life, having the confidence that Jesus is with you. You are in the palm of his hand, John 10, 28, 29. It's the Word of God.

Yes. The Word of God is what stabilized my emotions. Amen. It's what was able to put a wet blanket on my anger. It was what was able to take my emotions of bitterness and sadness and despair and actually bring hope when the Lord talks about, listen, I've got my, you are the apple of my eye.

I have my eye on you. So as I progressed as a brand new baby Christian, I began what you said to put pillars or two by fours of the Word of God that I would stand on. God, nothing else. When you lose everything, when you lose your church and all your family and everything that you've ever known, you find everything in him. Okay, if you said this, that I am worth, I am priceless in your sight, according to Psalm 139, I'm going to stand on that.

I'm going to start believing you and not how I feel. The Word of God is what pieced me back together, taking God at his word and living and applying it to my life. We know God's Word, but do we apply it? We hear God's promises, but do we stand on them and believe for them? There's a disconnect. And I think a lot of healing is going by the wayside because of that, because we know God's Word, but we're not applying it. We're not believing for it.

We don't actually believe that God has all of these promises for us that we can stand on. And that's what I did. And that's what healed my heart.

And that's what ultimately restored me back to the church. And that's what anyone... I'm like a nobody. We're nobodies. We're just normal people.

I mean, maybe you're somebody, but I'm like, I'm a normal person. See, you know, I love this quote by John Piper. John Piper said, the bad news is, you're a whole lot worse sinner than you think you are.

But the good news is, God's a whole lot bigger God than you think he is. Amen. Autumn, I commend you for what you're doing.

And folks, I would encourage you to check out her website, But folks, what about you? Have you made that decision to turn your life over to Christ? He loves you. And look, we are nobodies, and yet we're valuable to God.

Yeah. See, being valuable and significant to the Lord Almighty, that's much better than fame or money. And so not only can Jesus forgive what you've done, he can heal anything that's been done to you. So folks, we serve this God of Joel 2.25, who restores the years the locust has eaten.

And maybe you've got a lot of years you would just as soon forget. Today, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. We would love to help you in that regard. On the website,, there's a tab, What Does God Say About My Relationship With Him?

And if you click on that tab, it'll explain how you can come to Christ or come back to Christ. And if we can help you, please reach out. Thanks for listening. And Autumn, may God bless you and increase the work you're doing. Thank you.

Thank you for having me. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for the truth. Learn more and donate securely online at You may also reach us at alexmcfarland P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1.

That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world. My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-30 02:20:31 / 2023-05-30 02:32:15 / 12

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