C.J. Mahaney, Christian Marriage, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Failure to Report Crimes, Marriage, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Misuse of Scripture, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Women and the Church

A Pastor is Challenged after Releasing a Disturbing and Potentially Dangerous Article Directed to Wives of “Difficult” Husbands

Article by Pastor D. Scott Meadows’ article, A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism, creates a stir among the survivor community.


Jeff Crippen, Pastor D. Scott Meadows, Domestic Violence, Abuse, A Cry for Justice, small__4254697416

I’ve been watching an important sequence of events unfolding in the blogosphere. Pastor D. Scott Meadows of Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed) in New Hampshire wrote an article,  A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism.  The catechism is a list of guidelines intended to help wives:  “May the Lord use this simple catechism to bless His precious daughters in difficult marriages.” Please note the word “difficult.”

However, after reading the article, it raised some very serious red flags. Barbara Roberts and Jeff Crippen who blog at A Cry for Justice  – a blog which deals with domestic violence within the church –  published back-to-back articles on Pastor Meadows’ article because they found it so troublesome:

This is BAD – Really, Really Bad – “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism”, by Pastor Jeff Crippen

Here is a brief nutshell of Jeff’s concern:

This is one of the clearest examples of a pastor creating his own traditions and pawning them off onto God’s people as the Word of God. We need to protest this kind of thing loudly, and you can do so by going over to the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog and entering your comments.  ~Jeff Crippen

Barbara Roberts rebuts “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism”, by Barbara Roberts

Barbara’s concern with Pastor Meadows’ article is posted below:

If the Catechism were not meant to be used as advice for women who are being abused by their husbands, that should have been stated RIGHT UP FRONT before the Catechism began. The fact that this caveat was not given means that the Catechism will do harm to any woman in a destructive/abusive marriage who is exposed to this post or the thinking it embodies.

It is not good enough to just say in the comments thread that the post was not meant for abusive marriages. That kind of after-mention is one of the reasons we victims of abuse have been so marginalized and trapped in spiritual / scriptural / marital bondage for so long! ~Barbara Roberts

Domestic violence is a serious issue, even in the church. A recent report was released in June of 2014 by Sojourners and IMA World Health: Protestant Pastors Survey on Sexual and Domestic Violence. Take a look at part of the summary of this important survey:

The Survey, perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S., reveals an unrealized potential within churches for the prevention of and response to sexual and domestic violence.

It begins with awareness: an overwhelming majority of the faith leaders surveyed (74%) underestimate the level of sexual and domestic violence experienced within their congregations, leading to infrequent discussions of the issue from the pulpit as well as a lack of appropriate support for victims. Additionally, only 56% of pastors are adequately familiar with local resources that specifically address sexual and domestic violence, creating missed opportunities for victims to access services. And distressingly, the survey also found that even pastors who have handled incidents of violence may not be offering appropriate advice to those who are suffering, potentially doing more harm than good.

It seems that Pastor Meadows meant for his article to apply to all Christian wives who are in difficult marriages.

My question is this:  what is difficult and what is abusive?

There was no indication if “difficult” meant abusive or if abuse was a different category not yet addressed, so the assumption by most women would be that his message was written for all women, even those in abusive marriages.

Let’s look at some more statistics:

35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

This statistic is refers to sexual and physical violence. Emotional and spiritual abuse is not mentioned, so that number would likely be increased if those factors were considered.

The next few points from the survey are important as they relate to church and pastoral response to abuse. I have broken the paragraph into bulleted formatting for easier reading and also bolded important points:

  • For many women who are religious, one of the first responses to abuse by an intimate partner is to seek help from their pastor or other faith leaders.
  • This first disclosure is critical; research consistently shows that the advice of the first person a victim tells will in large measure determine her next steps.
  • Women who are religious can be especially vulnerable when abused, because they are more likely to place high value on keeping a family intact or to consider separation and divorce as unsatisfactory (or unbiblical) option.
  • Religious women may also have difficulty getting the support they need from their local faith leaders.
  • According to one survey, 95% of church-going women report they have never heard a specific message on abuse preached from the pulpit of their church.

These are disturbing statistics. If you are a wife experiencing abuse, you will likely be very alone in your circumstance with very little practical and appropriate help at church. What a tragedy that the very place where oppressed women and children should be cared for and protected the most – the Body of Christ –  they are often rejected, shamed, and abandoned!

The position that Barbara and Jeff have taken with the article is that the chosen wording, when read by wives of abusers, seems to imply that wives in difficult or even abused marriages need to remain and trust God to take care of them. I applaud Jeff and Barbara for publicly addressing this issue directly where the article was published.  This is not something that should be taken privately when it was posted publicly. This affects too many people.

Before we get to the article,  first, let me show you a definition of abuse as stated at A Cry for Justice blog:

Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself* as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.

While this mentality of power and control often expresses itself in various forms of physical abuse, it just as frequently employs tactics of verbal, emotional, financial, social, sexual and spiritual abuse. Thus, an abuser may never actually lay a hand on his wife and yet be very actively terrorizing her in incredibly damaging ways.

Abuse in any of its forms destroys the victim’s person. Abuse, in the end, is murder.

Ok, let’s get to the article. For clarity, I will quote from the article in green font. As you read the opening paragraph of the article in green font, try to put yourself in the shoes of a wife in a difficult or abusive marriage in which you see no hope:

Providentially, many Christian wives are married to unbelieving husbands. 

I have big issues with the very first word. Right off the bat, it looks as if Pastor Meadows is saying God is responsible for women marrying unbelieving husbands. To use the word “Providentially” implies this is God’s Sovereign plan. This is a very troublesome statement to those who have been abused. It does not depict a God who cares for the oppressed. There are no warm fuzzies here. This alone can cause one to abandon their faith – knowing that God has allowed and is allowing this difficult circumstance, and that it was in His plan to allow this abuse to continue.  This is heart-wrenching. It paints God to be an evil God.  Keep thinking this through with me.  If God ordained this, then He knows about it and is okay with it. So, who is she (the wife with a difficult husband) to question the lot God has prescribed for her?  Basically, this one sentence is saying to an abusive wife:  Ladies, it’s just a crying shame that God gave you this lot in life, so suck it up and put your big girl panties on.

This is a great trial for them, especially if the man is very ungodly.

We typically would not expect ungodly men to act godly. But imagine the great trial for those husbands who profess to be Believers, yet abuse. That indeed is a great trial.  But what if the man appears to be godly to people who are outside of the home who do not see what goes on behind closed doors?

Pastoral counseling discovers that many of these sisters in the Lord are perplexed about how God wants them to relate to their husbands in such a case.

A wife who is suffering from abuse is in survival mode. Getting through each day is a difficult task, yet this sentence puts burdens on the wife about how “God wants them to relate to their husbands.” If the wife is married to an abusive husband, the husband is the problem. The onus is on the abusive/difficult husband. He is the one needing counsel. The abused wife needs support and practical support.

I have prepared this brief catechism for some guidance, suggesting that she should memorize it and find supporting Scripture references for its counsel, with careful study of those passages.

Pastor Meadows, in his 13-point question and answer catechism, suggests that women memorize and find supporting Scripture references for its counsel. I have problems with this. Pastor Meadows who wrote the catechism, provides absolutely no Biblical references, and tells women to find scripture that back up his own points.  Hello?  When does a man make his own rules and then ask others to search for scripture to apply them to his own rules?  That’s not right.  I didn’t go to any seminary and I know that.

Secondly, he wants her to memorize his own personal catechism – catechism which quotes no scripture and includes no other references?

The article then goes on to list 13 catechisms. Here’s an example of one. I think many abuse victims would have nightmare having to memorize this:

Q11.    How good a husband is my husband to me?
A11.    Much better than I deserve, and therefore I will thank God for him every day.


Does a rape survivor thank God for her rapist? Really? There are many more examples I could use, but that’s not the whole point of this post.  Please read all of the catechism for yourself. And weep.

We are at a crossroads here. Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts and others have expressed their alarm about this article both on their blog, and in the comments.  Here is an excellent comment by Pastor Crippen:


D. Scott Meadows, catechism, wife abuse, Capture Jeff Crippen comment



Pastor Meadows and others can dance around the idea that it wasn’t written for abused wives, but that doesn’t solve the problem that abused wives will suffer from the teaching and that abusers will use it to their advantage. Barbara reported in her article, and I read elsewhere, that women had left comments which were not approved. For a while, only comments from men were approved.  Later on this afternoon within about an hour timeframe, the comments jumped to 83. It was easy to tell which comments were in moderation because I had taken a screenshot. Why were the voices of women squelched at this blog site?  Why were abused women originally not allowed to tell their stories?  I understand that Pastor Meadows does not moderate the site, but these questions are important to ask.

There are at least a couple of pastors encouraging Pastor Meadows with his article, despite Jeff Crippen’s warnings.  Take a look at this abbreviated comment from Pastor Max Doner:

Pastor Meadows – Thank you for your Catechism. It was really well done, it was biblical, and I think it would be a great help to any married woman who was seeking to honor the Lord and His direction for her attitude and conduct in marriage.

Many despise the biblical teaching on the roles and conduct of men and women in marriage, and wish to substitute humanistic criteria in the place of it. I am glad you have not done so.

Your competence in rightly bringing biblical principles to bear on this subject is a credit to your wisdom and maturity in the scriptures. Thanks you for your faithfulness to them.

In this catechism, you only see how women should respond to difficult marriages. We don’t get to hear if the “difficult” husband is held accountable for his sins. But notice all the “biblical” talk in Pastor Doner’s response. CLUE:  There is not one Biblical reference in the whole of Pastor Meadows’ article.   Pastor Donor is praising the works of a MAN whose catechism does not show faithfulness, wisdom, and maturity, as he claims.

The most obvious ingredient missing in Pastor Meadows’ catechism is love:  love for her by God and love for her shown in action in truth by the Body of Christ for her horrible predicament.

Pastor Meadows has said in the comments that he will add an addendum to his article.  This, I believe, is a pivotal moment.  I’m glad to know that he is reading the comments. Right now he can choose to make a Biblical response in which abusers are held accountable for their sins and abused women and their children are protected and defended.  Many eyes will be on this new addendum.

You can be sure that we in the survivor community will be watching and reporting about pastors who decide to defend their friend/pastor because of their friendship, rather than standing on Biblical principles of defending and protecting the oppressed and abused. After scores and scores of people at Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) churches reached out to their church leaders about abuse, those leaders turned the other way. We saw how well-known prominent pastors and leaders publicly defended and protected SGM’s former president, C.J. Mahaney, because he was their friend. They protected a man who knew about sexual abuse in his church. One man under his watch has now been convicted for sexual offenses against children.

The church must do a better job when it comes to abuse, especially when an abused wife comes to her pastor for help. Pastors who have no training in domestic violence would do well to educate themselves and seek help from those who have expertise. God is a loving God. He wants oppressed and abused women to be defended and protected. Pastors should be leading the way in this:

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.  For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. Ps 54:4-7

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

photo credit: ♥KatB Photography♥ via photopin cc

157 thoughts on “A Pastor is Challenged after Releasing a Disturbing and Potentially Dangerous Article Directed to Wives of “Difficult” Husbands”

  1. Indeed, there are real men who will and do fight for women and are absolutely disgusted by the way some men treat women – and quite a few read/post here. I’m so grateful for them.


  2. Daisy, I have seen Angela W. reply on various pro-patriarchy articles and blog posts. She is generally “my way or the highway” and never gracious or loving. She was who I was 8 years ago. She is very much along the lines of that Kamilla woman.


  3. Ahhhh. .. THAT Angela. .. I remember her commenting on here (DP fiasco). I’ll be blunt (am I ever any other way?). I thought she was batsh*t crazy.


  4. I can really relate to the cartoon where someone is typing away on the computer, the spouse suggests going to bed and the writer says, “I can’t, someone is wrong on the Internet.” Thus happens a lot in our household and I am glad my husband is supportive 😉

    It’s frustrating trying to interact with a Buck or an Angela because we never seem to make much headway. It is one thing to stand up to a false teacher and let him and other readers know we aren’t buying it; in and of itself our posts are valuable. We can tell the sociopaths, users, and abusers that we are onto them. We can let the victims know we stand with them. We can let other Christians and people who believe in the golden rule know that these people do not speak for us.

    I get the sense with some people though that they are desperately unhappy and clinging to ideas which are not true and not in Scripture and which trap them in their misery. I see their engagement with us as about more than telling us we are wrong. I could be mistaken but I sense some curiosity as well about how we manage to be strong, happy people who love and support others. Maybe the cumulative effect of this engagement will eventually help them. I just feel led to keep trying.


  5. “Indeed, there are real men who will and do fight for women and are absolutely disgusted by the way some men treat women” – and by coincidence, this was the subject of my blog today.



  6. My ex-husband was very abusive (physically, verbally, and emotionally). He would love the article “Pastor” Meadow’s wrote, more justification for him to abuse me. I could actually hear my ex-husband ranting and raving in my mind as I read “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism”. I felt physically ill. It is an evil article.

    Sadly, I thought of the church I used to attend I wouldn’t have gotten any help from them. They would have told me to “submit” more, in other words it was all my fault. Those are horrible lies, it was not my fault.

    Thank you, Julie Anne for the wonderful work you do here.



  7. cherelee,:

    I just read your first comment here at SSB and wanted to welcome you and strangely, I sighed as I hit “approve.” You see, it wasn’t that I was sighing about having a new person commenting, but it was the thought that here is another precious woman who has been hurt by abuse in her own home and has not received appropriate care at church. Ugh! I’m so sorry. But I am glad you are here and that you found this place where you are safe and free to share the good, bad, and ugly. Welcome to SSB 🙂


  8. I’m going through a period of time right now where I get easily triggered with each post/comment about abuse, anywhere I read in the interwebs. Especially sexual, physical, emotional or domestic (spousal, parent/child or sibling) because of my past abuses. I just came back after a short hiatus and find myself still getting triggered. I need help. 😦


  9. Waitingforthetrumpet, you have friends here who care about you and are praying for you. I am so sorry that you are going through a rough time and you will be in my thoughts.


  10. WFTT2 – I hear you. I’m feeling extremely exhausted after several days of following the different comments and attempting to move on. There are many triggers. Today, especially my physical health had me so tired. I think I’ll head over to where Julie Anne suggested you go.
    Marsha, thanks for reminding others of ‘friends’ … truly ministries like this are a great help for those who don’t have a local core group for support.


  11. WFTT2- Perhaps EMDR would help you. It is a form of therapy and no weirdness to it. Just helps put the memories into a long-term area of the brain, so you won’t experience the triggers so badly. Article on it over at A Cry For Justice Blog. I think it was posted around the 26th of June.

    It is hard even for those of us who are healing, not to get triggered by some of this stuff, so you are not alone. I still have really bad triggers. Just having Chapmaned say to me today “I owe you one”, triggered me. I hope Julie Anne’s connection for you brings great help to you as well.


  12. WFTT2,

    Just read your story. Wow. What courage you have displayed in sharing it. I am very proud of you.

    I will echo beloved’s suggestion for EMDR if you can swing it. Not that I am an expert or anything but have read a lot of how it really helps with the PSTD.


  13. Thanks Lydia. Every time I think I’m finally healed, the PTSD and flashbacks rear their ugly heads again, along with the nightmares and panic attacks. I’m kinda leary about long-term memory stuff with treatments. You see, when I had those shock treatments, the doctor destroyed the wrong part of my memory function. Instead of destroying my long-term memory capabilities so I could heal from the traumas, he destroyed my short-term memory capability, so I’m very forgetful about daily life stuff…like eating, taking meds, keeping appointments.


  14. WFTT2 – Just make certain you get someone who has been specifically “trained” in EMDR. They have to have special training for it. Also, check with your local Center For Prevention of Abuse, because they usually have a licensed counselor who is trained in EMDR there and the counseling is free.


  15. Just read the addenda and comment thread. Wowee…

    Barbara Roberts was hitting it out of the ballpark again and again. I especially liked how she pointed out Meadows’ confusing the vertical doctrine with the horizontal doctrine of human sin and what we deserve (or not). Jeff Crippen also did a good job pointing out the theological problems in this catechism.

    I would only add that what Mr. Meadows seems to think a Christian wife should put up with (perhaps for a season, a la John Piper?) includes things that are not just sins. They are CRIMES. I hope he is not in the camp of those who would tell such a wife to not avail herself of the civil authorities, as outlined in Romans 13, since the church should have first crack at it.


  16. I glanced over his post, “Addenda, Part 1: Biblical Support of “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism””

    He seems to me to imply – and I think as do one or two the the people in the comments – that if you don’t fully agree that the Bible teaches what he thinks it teaches, you must not be an actual Christian.

    He asks, “Does the catechism faithfully convey biblical teaching?”

    Is it in fact biblical teaching, or his interpretation of what the Bible teaches? Because there is more than one way to look at the verses he cited.

    I was not the least bit surprised to see this one quoted in his update:

    “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph 5.23).

    Or this:
    “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph 5.22).

    Those are the favored proof texts of men who assume those should be understood in a boss-subordinate manner, in which the husband is the supervisor and the wife must obey his bidding – which is not even what those verse are teaching.

    As to this (he quotes this on the page):

    ““Teach the young women . . . to love their husbands” (Tit 2.4).”

    Can someone please leave a comment on his page telling him he has no business quoting that because he is a man, and that verse is addressed to mature women? (If I am not mistaken). A man should not be using a verse directed AT WOMEN to defend the idea of MALE HIERARCHY, as he is doing.

    Mmm hmm, he is not teaching submissiveness as the Bible is conveying it, and which the Bible also directs all believers, including males to do (Ephesians 5:21), nor is he even teaching complementarianism (which would be that men and women “complement” one another), but he’s teaching unilateral male rule over women, and even if the male is being abusive, which is not in the Bible.

    But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26″It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,…(Matthew 20)

    “He hates the mistreatment that abused wives and many others suffer today. I adore and worship Him for this.”

    Yes, and? What do you intend on actually doing to help women (or men) who are in abusive relationships?

    In the Bible, Jesus told the story of the man beaten down on the street. I do believe in the story Jesus told, two or three people walked by the injured man, including a priest, and all shook their heads in sorrow at how awful it was the poor guy was banged up (one of them probably later wrote a blog post about how awful it was).

    But nobody actually stopped to help the guy, nobody poured oil on his wounds and got him further help and assistance, until the Good Samaritan showed up on the scene, bandaged the guy, and paid for some medical care and a hotel room.

    Later, he quotes a biblical commentary by Carson as,
    ““The wives, as free and responsible agents, are asked voluntarily to submit themselves…”

    Yeah, and if a wife chooses not to submit? Hmm?

    As per his citation here,
    ““Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,…”

    I can see how that type of witnessing might work if the husband is not an abusive jerkwad. If the lady is married to a mild manner, loving guy who dotes on her, but he just happens to be an agnostic, I can see how her “silent witness” could persuade the guy or open his mind to the faith, but if the guy is beating her up, or is emotionally abusive, no, that is not going to work.

    Based on the literature I’ve read about abusive people in general and bullies (including books by Christian psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as by Non Christians), backing down to abusers/ bullies, being passive, etc, actually invites more abuse; it guarantees the cycle will continue.

    Backing down, not fighting back, not leaving the house or room when the abuse starts, etc, is a form of enabling the abuser. It rewards them for their behavior.

    A couple of the books I read said that many abusers view their partner’s tendency to put up with the abuse (to stay with the guy, to never fight back or put consequences in place) is views as a “willingness” to be abused.

    Some of the abusers have no respect for their partner for taking crap off them (according to some of the material I’ve read)

    I also experienced this in my own life first hand. My mother raised me to be an old fashioned Christian girl, which meant be passive, being a doormat, etc.

    The few times in my life I went against my mother’s philosophy of “always be sweet even if the person is being mean to you” and I got angry and fed up enough with someone’s bullying or harassment and figuratively bit their head off?

    Then and only then is when the person backed down and left me alone. A few bullies told me later that they had a new-found respect for me. Some wanted to be friends with me after I chewed them out at last.

    Appeasing mean jerks, rude people, and abusers never ever stops their cruddy behavior. Never, ever. I found this out in my own life, and as I’ve said, the numerous books and blog posts I’ve read about bullying, domestic abuse, workplace harassment, all say this.

    “Submitting” more to a jerk, being even more lovey and nice to people who are abusive, will not halt the violence, it only guarantees it will continue.

    Anyhow. The guy did blurt out a bunch of Bible verses in his post, but he’s taking them out of context and/or misapplying or misinterpreting them, so I don’t know that asking him to provide the citations is going to help much.

    I haven’t read all the comments on the page yet, just a few. I see that Angela W. is on there saying how stupendously wonderful the advice is. I might read the rest of the comments tonight or some time tomorrow.


  17. Jesus said, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31 ESV)

    No man should attempt to impose a catechism on women unless it is his desire that a woman should likewise attempt to impose a catechism on him.

    Think I’ll go post this at the RBF blog. Wonder if anybody who could profit from this application of Scripture will be paying attention.


  18. “Thanks Lydia. Every time I think I’m finally healed, the PTSD and flashbacks rear their ugly heads again, along with the nightmares and panic attacks. I’m kinda leary about long-term memory stuff with treatments. You see, when I had those shock treatments, the doctor destroyed the wrong part of my memory function. Instead of destroying my long-term memory capabilities so I could heal from the traumas, he destroyed my short-term memory capability, so I’m very forgetful about daily life stuff…like eating, taking meds, keeping appointments.”

    I am so sorry.

    Please at least check EMDR out. There is a physical component to EMDR dealing with senses, nerves, etc, I was surprised about.


  19. “No man should attempt to impose a catechism on women unless it is his desire that a woman should likewise attempt to impose a catechism on him.”

    I am writing one in my head now……for this pastor

    He should make enough money so she can live in comfort and have servants. And he should get out of the way while she “considers a field and buys it” as she is using her skills and knowledge and he can call her blessed at the city gates.

    Any other thoughts?


  20. Lydia,

    That’s not in the Bible …is it? 🙂 Proverbs 31 Enterprises would be a great name for a company. Patriarchy is callus and cruel. If only people voted with their feet.

    I made mention of this before on the singles thread, but I forgot the last thing Mrs. Patty McClurg ( Covenant Eyes) said to me when I asked her how an over 50 year-old woman finds a husband. She said that biblically I did not find a husband. I was past child bearing age and the only thing left for me was teaching the younger women to love their husbands. If I served the church I would not have time to focus on loneliness. Also, God said it was not good for a man to be alone. He did NOT say it was not good for a woman to be alone, so send me a husband.

    Do you think she would be out looking for a husband if she was ever a widow?


  21. Lydia,

    We’ll, we could simply take Meadows’ catechism for women, turn it around, reverse the gender references, and apply it in toto to Meadows. After all, if Meadows is the Godly man his followers hold him out to be, his catechism for women merely imposes on women that which he desires to have imposed on himself–including especially, I’m sure, the requirement that he be submitted to the authority of his spouse.


  22. How long does it take for a comment to move out of moderation on RBF. Also, if a comment shows it WAS in moderation, but now has disappeared, will it be published? No, I did do a screenshot.


  23. Carmen S,

    I recall that my first comment was approved within maybe a couple of hours. While in moderation my comment remained visible on the computer from which I posted it, at least in the time immediately following the posting. I suppose one possibility is that the moderator doesn’t work on Sunday. Once my first comment was approved subsequent comments have payed immediately.


  24. After wading through all the posts my opinion remains the same. The best way to deal with a “difficult” husband is to obtain a restraining order and file for divorce. I spent my 35th birthday in divorce court. Best birthday gift ever.


  25. Here is something I posted on the thread at Ps Meadow’s wife’s catechism. I’m just putting it here in case SSB readers find it helpful to sharpen their own swords in the ongoing battle against false teaching and spiritual abuse.
    Apologies for the length of this comment.

    1 Peter 2 & 3
    What about Peter’s instructions for slaves to be subject to even perverse masters? How do we construe the ‘likewise’ in the instructions to wives that follow immediately thereafter?

    Peter is instructing slaves to be subject to their masters even if the masters were harsh on them. Some translations say ’servants’ but in that era, servants were generally slaves owned by their masters, not wage workers as servants are today. If the master treated the slave harshly, the slave had no recourse, because he or she was owned by the master.

    There were no rights for slaves in the Roman empire. The Mosaic Law had contained some express laws that were designed to penalize brutal masters and restrain them from being excessively harsh to their slaves. But no such laws existed in the pagan Roman empire, in which the diaspora Jews to whom Peter was writing were living (1 Pet 1:1). Since slaves were not free to leave their masters, Peter gave them advice on the attitude to have if their master was brutal: “If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” The mistreated slave could maintain an inner sense of personal dignity and self-respect by remembering that the way Christ suffered unjustly at the hands of brutal men was akin to the way he or she was being made to suffer unjustly.

    And while Peter is indeed telling slaves to submit, the tone of his message is not a harsh command — you MUST submit! Rather, it’s a tone of compassionate advice: Here a helpful attitude to have if your masters treat you harshly. This attitude will help you endure the mistreatment with inner dignity. Your master may treat you badly, but in your spirit you can have dignity and strength from knowing your fellowship with Christ.

    It was helpful and compassionate advice for slaves who, by law, could not leave their masters and had no recourse for any mistreatment they had to undergo at the hands of their masters.

    Slaves were owned by their masters. Wives were not (and still are not) owned by their husbands. It is quite wrong, both historically and morally, to say that the ‘likewise’ at the transition to chapter two means that wives MUST submit to mistreatment or abuse from harsh husbands. The socio-cultural situation of the wives Peter was addressing was different from that of the slaves.

    Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter gave guidance for slaves in their social-cultural situation, and he then gave advice to wives in their socio-cultural situation. The ‘likewise’ refers to the fact that each portion of advice is suited to the socio-cultural situation of the group of persons to whom it was directed. The likewise does not indicate that the advice to each group is the same. The advice to each group (slaves, wives, and later husbands) is clearly different!

    Compared to the situation of a slave to his/her master, a wife has more options when she is being mistreated by her husband. A wife may object to mistreatment, may resist or refuse to comply with harshness and abuse, she may leave an abusive husband. She may divorce him and marry another husband because is not enslaved to the marriage contract (~ not under bondage, 1 Cor. 7:15).

    Peter implicitly points to this when he says in 1 Peter 3:6 “you are Sarah’s daughters (an idiom for ‘faithful believers and followers of God’) if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

    What could be more frightening that standing up to an abuser and telling him to stop it! That is pretty scary stuff. It takes great courage to stand up to an abuser because when you tell an abuser to stop it, he escalates his abuse. Don’t believe me? Read all the stories on our blog.

    So Peter acknowledges that wives may sometimes be in situations where they are can (unlike slaves) chose between submitting compliantly/silently to harsh treatment, or standing up to it and refusing to comply with it. And that second option is often the scariest option — but it is the ‘good’ thing to do in some circumstances. By refusing to comply with abuse, the wife is doing good, being moral, trying to limit and curtail her husband’s sin. It is good to restrain sin and to try prevent it from running loose all over the world, is it not?

    Lastly, here is a clinching reason why the ‘likewise’ at the beginning of the wife’s passage does not mean that the wife must always submit without murmur to harshness, like slaves who have no option. The word ‘likewise’ occurs at the start of the husband’s passage as well. And there, it clearly does not import the idea that husbands are to submit to harsh or wicked treatment just because they are husbands! It carries on the meaning I have argued for: that Peter’s advice to husbands is suited to their socio-cultural situation.

    And in the socio-cultural situation of husbands, what they need to be advised about is the need to live with their wives in an understanding way. Not lording it over their wives. Not being harsh with them (cf Col 3:19) By reminding himself that his Christian wife will inherit the kingdom just as much as he will, a husband will be reminded to not to think of himself as superior to her.

    To make this point really crystal clear, allow me to re-order the passages in order of slaves, husbands, wives. This makes it clear that the ‘likewise’ is Peter’s way of saying “each of these instructions is similar in that each of them is appropriate to the class of people for whom they are intended.”


    “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

    “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

    “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

    Go here to view this comment at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog:



  26. HUG, if you really want to be entertained, you might want to read Buck T’s post on this older thread here:

    I did. His comments reminded me more of a foaming Conspiracy rant than anything else.


  27. P.S. From his subsequent comments, Buck T sounds like a guy who got burned bad by the main woman in his life and has spent the rest of his life seeking revenge against anything female. One-man Grievance Culture.

    “Women have found complete freedom and are giving full and complete surrender to men.” — Buck T

    OK, Slave Girls of Gor time. I wonder if Buck has the entire Gor series on his shelves?


  28. P.P.S. Had to stop with the Buck T comments when he pulled the blame-shift and starting angsting as Poor Poor Me the Poor Poor Victim.

    Isn’t one of the signs of a sociopath the ability to turn the tables and play Poor Poor Victim? And convince others of it?


  29. Hi Julie Anne,

    Although I cannot agree with their support of complementarianism, which is female submission to male headship (which doctrine I believe is false and lies at the very root of the sense of male entitlement > which I am convinced is a direct cause of male on female abuse) I certainly applaud the work Barbara Roberts and Jeff Crippen have done in advocating for victims of abuse and domestic violence.

    That being said, I must add that in supporting a doctrine that even the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood admits can lead to abuse, and then advocating for the victims of that abuse, reduces their work from advocating for a permanent end and solution to the crime and sin of domestic violence, to simply a temporary form of damage control.

    In order for any treatment to become a permanent cure, the cause of the problem must be rooted out and dealt with. I would love to see Jeff and Barbara acknowledge the root cause of domestic violence and advocate for functional equality between men and women as the first step in ending gender-based abuse.


  30. Although I cannot agree with their support of complementarianism, which is female submission to male headship (which doctrine I believe is false and lies at the very root of the sense of male entitlement > which I am convinced is a direct cause of male on female abuse) I certainly applaud the work Barbara Roberts and Jeff Crippen have done in advocating for victims of abuse and domestic violence.

    I’ve been thinking about this. I know many people in complementarian marriages and it works for them, there is no abuse, there is no way they would look at scripture any other way than female submission to male headship – – – yet, they do not abuse. So, my question is this: is it the doctrine that is the heart of the issue, or is it a person’s sinful heart that twists this doctrine to abuse? Here’s the reason I ask – when I look at some of my friends’ marriages, they looks egalitarian to me except they admit that they are complementarian. Why do they look egalitarian? Because the husband is loving the wife as Christ loves the church and would never lord over her.


  31. Julie Anne – Good question. What I also find interesting is that in our experience, just because an egalitarian position is embraced and taught does not mean abuse will be eradicated. We see abuse in egalitarian circles as well. Certainly abusers have more fertile ground to operate in places where headship/submission are taught in the typical careless, unbalanced, and even patriarchal manner (which is wicked), but I have to go with the theory that the heart of abuse is the evil heart of the abuser.


  32. JA-

    I think the answer to your question is “both are sinful”. Here’s why: we know that anything done with care and in moderation can be good, but we humans can never do that well. A little wine may be good but where is the line that turns into alcoholism? For some total abstention is required, and for some a little is great medicine. But the problem is whe legalists turn it into a rule, and disdain others for not maintaining that rule. And for others there might be different things that require abstention, like television or meat. The line is different for every vice and every Christian. What a burden it would be for everyone to abstain on every single vice, and then add in things like long skirts and gentle voices. Living becomes a prison because you can never measure up to someone else’s standards, and because you and God can only know where your heart is.

    Okay, I’m not much for being a follower either, I am anti- authority by culture. I think all authority is heretical, and why do you need authority in a family? I usually end up the outsider, and at my old church Ed and I didn’t follow the pattern so we were outsiders. We’ve been very happy since we left. Not one disagreement (except for shoes).


  33. Jeff,

    Were your ears burning? 🙂 I’m glad to see your response.

    I completely understand where Jocelyn is going, though, with her thought. I think we most certainly will see more abuse in comp camps than egal camps because of the nature of having someone in authority. If a couple is going to say that they are egalitarian, then they both are saying their roles are equal and obviously there can’t be equal with hierarchy and/or abuse.

    It’s interesting – when I look at some of my friends with great complementarian marriages, I see the wife as taking over the home front, planning and orchestrating family and couple activities and the husband goes along for the ride and he likes it like that. He’d rather concern himself with his work and be free of that extra stuff.


  34. “but I have to go with the theory that the heart of abuse is the evil heart of the abuser.”

    Very true, but it also occurs to me that complementarian dogma lends itself to the evil-hearted abuser as a tool for manipulation, coercion and control. It could even tempt those who are not predisposed to abuse, potentially leading to evil-heartedness. Egalitarianism, on the other hand, would perhaps work as something as a brake on the abuser, or at least have a neutral influence. Good fruit, good tree. Bad fruit, bad tree. Luke 6:43.

    Did I just manage to agree and disagree with both Jocelyn and Jeff?


  35. Gary W.

    It could even tempt those who are not predisposed to abuse, potentially leading to evil-heartedness.

    Isn’t that still a heart issue, ultimately? But it’s the doctrine that more easily gives the groundwork to justify hierarchy which can lead to abuse.


  36. @Julie Anne,

    “Isn’t that still a heart issue, ultimately?” Yes, and yet this verse comes to mind:

    Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Matthew 18:7 ESV)


  37. There is a difference between withstanding
    the normal ups and downs of marriage, (which
    happens under even the best circumstances,)
    and allowing a man to beat up on a woman
    like that was the” noble”
    thing to do. Any man that would beat up his
    wife, and sometimes that extends to the children
    as well, is simply not a man and has
    an extreme complex of some sort. Real men
    never have to smack
    their wives into submission. If he treats his wife
    right she will WANT to treat him like a KIng, she
    won’t need to be forced! Pastors that
    say it’s okay for a man to act like that because
    it’s “his home:” is probably doing things behind closed
    doors himself. The bible says to
    not be yoked to unbelievers, which to me is saying
    that women should marry believers, not the unbelieving,
    because a wife can’t be guaranteed
    this man will come to Christ, although it certainly
    can happen. How then, could it be God’s perfect plan
    for a Christian woman to marry an
    unsaved man? Just because a woman might
    have made a bad choice
    in the beginning does not mean it was God’s
    will to begin with. There
    could be several reasons for this…..she might have
    gotten saved AFTER she married him, or she might
    have been saved but was ignorant of
    the scriptures. He might have convinced her he
    WAS saved simply to gain her trust and get her to
    marry him. But that does NOT mean that
    God ordained the marriage or is condoning
    any abusive behavior in that
    marriage. I believe in most marriages God wants
    couples to stay together
    for the sake of children or simply because he hates
    divorce and wants two people to come to Him to restore
    and heal the marriage. However, I’m
    also convinced that in the case of abuse or
    unrepentant adultery, for example, divorce may be the only
    recourse. Divorce is not
    an unforgiveable sin. God hates abuse as much as he
    hates divorce.Any leader that condones abusive behavior
    of any kind, is not speaking
    for God and is in fact in direct conflict with the scriptures.


Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s