Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women

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Pastor Jason Meyer of Bethlehem Baptist Church Preaches on Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women, Marking a Change in Direction from John Piper’s Teachings

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Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.49.07 AM

Screenshot of the sermon Pastor Jason Meyer preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church, April 26, 2015

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Yesterday, I received an e-mail from reader, Ben, about a sermon preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church last Sunday concerning domestic violence. This is significant coming from John Piper’s former church and how he handled domestic violence:

“If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.” ~John Piper (See: Video and  Clarifying Statement)

To read the following summary, knowing where Bethlehem Baptist formerly stood on these issues, it’s encouraging to see a positive change. I don’t think we’re going to see a church go from A to Z overnight. But it’s clear that there has been thoughtful response to a growing problem that has been swept under the carpet for far too long.

I’m grateful to Ben who wrote this summary and shared his personal observations and commentary.


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by Ben

On Sunday April 26, as part of an ongoing series on 2 Corinthians, Pastor Jason Meyer (John Piper’s successor) of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis preached a sermon and gave a call to action on rooting out domestic abuse in the church. Calling this a “draw-a-line-in-the-sand kind of moment,” Meyer said the elders have recently been working through this issue and implementing structure that will identify abuse, discipline abusers, and care for victims.

The sermon manuscript is here (see especially “Application” and following):  Fooled by False Leadership

Now granted: Bethlehem still unwaveringly teaches complementarianism. (Domestic abuse was labelled “hyper-headship” — a distortion of what the Bible teaches, just as they believe egalitarianism is.) And as far as I know, no one at Bethlehem has backed off their support for CJ Mahaney and other leaders at Spvereogm Grace Ministries (SGM) that did exactly the opposite of what they’re calling Bethlehem to do.

Nevertheless, there were several positive things in this sermon (and other events this weekend) that I think should be commended. If we want churches to stand firmly against abuse, I think they should be encouraged when they take positive steps, even when they haven’t yet gone as far as they should.

 

1. The elders at Bethlehem are emotionally invested in this issue.

Manuscript:

“This was not a stand-up-and-shout sermon for me to prepare. It was a break-down-and-weep sermon.”

From Meyer’s tone and expression (see the video) and advance notice that this was going to be a sober weekend, I am convinced they are treating this seriously.

2. They are confessing that abuse at Bethlehem has not always been handled as it should have been.

Manuscript:

“We have become aware some domestic abuse cases throughout Bethlehem, and we have learned that we have not always handled them well.”

3. They are also acknowledging that they had a lot they needed to learn, and sought outside help.

Manuscript:

“We brought a biblical counselor, John Henderson, to train the elders in better detecting and dealing with domestic abuse.”

4. They called out Doug Phillips and Vision Forum by name.

Manuscript:

“One example is Doug Philips’ ministry, called Vision Forum. A recent sex scandal that caused Doug Philips to step down has also raised even more questions about Vision Forum’s credibility. We do not want to leave people vulnerable to false teaching by failing to speak out against hyper-headship.”

5. They are taking a clear stand against victim-blaming.

Manuscript:

“In these situations, the conflict is not treated as normal marriage issues in which each spouse can look at what he or she is contributing. This is a predator/prey or abuser/abused situation. The prey needs to be protected from the predator. The abuser needs to be held accountable, and the abused needs to be shepherded to safety. Working on communication and having the couple go on dates is not the way to address abusive sinfulness. Telling the woman to submit better—and making her feel like she is to blame in some way—is the worse [sic] thing someone could say in that situation. If there is continual destructive abuse, you should never to ask [sic] the abused what they did to bring the abuse on. One of our counselors shared an analogy that stuck with me. It would be a little bit like the police on a 911 call coming into a crime scene where the wife has been shot and asking her what she did to bring on the bullets. The goal is to care for her and make sure she is safe and the shooter is arrested.”

6. They are also calling for abuse victims to be believed.

Manuscript:

“Abusers can be so charming around other people—that is part of the deception. Do you think they will really show their true colors in public? Don’t judge by appearances and discount what a woman says with flippant incredulity. Think about how much she is risking by saying anything at all. Take it seriously. Tell her that you believe her, that God hates abuse, and that you are committed to help her.”

7. Women were involved in creating the new structure and process to encourage abuse victims to come forward and make sure they’re cared for.

(The cringe-worthy language reveals their complementarian bent, but at least the men didn’t decide they knew everything they needed to handle this themselves.)

Manuscript:

“Woe to us as a church if our women get the impression that we don’t value their input or contributions. We have sought to involve more input from the wives of pastors and elders, telling them that we not only want their input but that we need it because we have blind spots. An ethos that does not value women can lead to an environment where sick things slip under the radar.”

(It’s not in the manuscript, but would be on the video: Meyer specifically said women helped create the new structure and process. At the end of the sermon, several women “first responders” came to the front in readiness to talk to anyone who needed it.)

8. They are encouraging abuse victims to give the new process a chance.

Elders Statement: “If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse and would like counsel from a female ‘first responder’ who is a member at Bethlehem, please contact …”

Manuscript:

“Please let us help. God hates abuse, and so do we. We are committed to help. If you have come to us for help before and have been disappointed, please give us another chance. We believe that the tide of awareness has risen on all three campuses and that positive changes are happening.”

9. They are calling men in particular to speak up and take a stand: To do nothing is to support the abusers.

Manuscript:

“At first glance, it looks like there are three possible doors the men of this church can take. Door 1: side with the abusers, Door 2: take no side, or Door 3: side with the abused and stand up to the abusers. If you are tempted to open Door 2, please know that it is a slide just takes you [sic] to the same place as Door 1. Doing nothing is doing something: it is looking the other way so the abusers can do their thing without worrying who is watching.”

10. Finally, at an all-church meeting Sunday night, a member of the church was excommunicated after pleading guilty to sexual assault of minors.

Given that he confessed, and still claims to be a Christian, one person made the argument that he should remain a member of the church and be part of a discipline and restoration process, as in Matthew 18. But Meyer and the elders said (based on 1 Corinthians 5) that some sins bring such reproach on the name of “Christian” that they merit immediate expulsion, with the hope that someday later there may be evidence of repentance, and restoration of fellowship.

You can see the above is very focused on spousal abuse. I wish more had been said about the abuse of children, but it was mentioned (see manuscript), and Bethlehem already has a very careful process to deter abuse at the church (background checks, screening, and training of child care workers, two-person rules, etc.). I also wish more had been said about police involvement.

But again, there is a danger of making the perfect the enemy of the good. I was very encouraged by the direction; hopefully as time goes on, they will go farther. I do not believe these elders would hush up abuse, tell wives to return to their abusers, force children to meet with and forgive their adult abusers, etc. — the things that make SGM’s history so disgusting.


Julie Anne responding now.

There were a couple of notable paragraphs that I want to draw your attention to:

An ethos that does not value women can lead to an environment where sick things slip under the radar. I have heard this statement before—warning, if you want to see me get visibly upset, just say what I am about to say in my presence: “If wives would just submit better and become more meek and quiet, then husbands would not get so angry.” These thoughts must be taken captive, or else we can create a climate in which domestic abuse can take root and grow.

Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership, but it can fly under the radar of discernment because it is disguised as strong male leadership. Make no mistake—it is harsh, oppressive, and controlling. In other words, hyper-headship becomes a breeding ground for domestic abuse.

I’ve seen some complementarian marriages work beautifully. But there is a very fine line that can be crossed when a husband decides “my wife is not being submissive” and ventures into what they refer as “hyper-headship.”

I was looking specifically for the words spiritual abuse mentioned and there was only one paragraph. For those wives who have been living with a husband who uses God, the Bible,  the husband’s assumed position of “hyper-headship” over the wife, living with such a person is horrific. Here is where spiritual abuse is mentioned:

We could add that spiritual abuse would be doing any of these things in the name of Jesus and using the Bible to defend them. Abusive leadership uses physical, psychological, and emotional (and spiritual) means to be lord over others. Servant leadership uses physical, psychological, and emotional (and spiritual) means to serve others.

I am greatly encouraged that this topic was discussed with great humility before the whole congregation, that the full transcript was posted, as well as the sermon on video. They clearly want to set the record straight that they plan on dealing with domestic violence and that it won’t be dismissed anymore.

What’s missing, however, are specifics, that hopefully will be addressed at some time. For example, how are abused wives (and their children) going to be assisted? Is there a plan in place? Are there safe houses? Will the church help these families financially? Will the husband/abuser be able to continue going to church? Will they allow a woman to divorce to her abusive husband or try to get the couple to reconcile?

It was mentioned that they “brought a biblical counselor, John Henderson, to train the elders in better detecting and dealing with domestic abuse.” I’m unclear what “dealing with domestic abuse means.” That raises some red flags for me after looking up John Henderson, who is part of Biblical Counseling Coalition. You can read Henderson’s bio here:

John Henderson received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and both Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of North Texas in Counseling Psychology. Since that time the Lord has dramatically shifted and transformed his view of many things, especially counseling.

Henderson has written a “biblical counseling curriculum for training in the local church.” Additionally, there are a couple of names I recognize as part of the Biblical Counseling Coalition group that leaves me concerned about their counseling. Will they try to keep the counseling in-house only for abuse cases? Hyper-headship is just a softer word for abuse. Someone who has a need to control and uses that control over others has serious mental health issues and the church is ill-equipped to handle such cases. The abuser should be put out of church so that the church is a haven of rest for the survivor and her family.

When the church encounters abuse, they must first report it to authorities, and then it is time to refer abuse victims over to those able to handle such cases, to outside trained mental health professionals, not in-house “trained” biblical counselors. The church’s responsibility should be on the abused woman and caring for her and her family. Abuse survivors can have a range of mental health issues caused by abuse and the church should not be handling PTSD, dissociative disorders, etc.

I agree with Ben, that when we see churches taking positive steps to help the abused, it’s important to acknowledge it. This is a positive step that I am publicly acknowledging . . . with caution  . . as outlined above.

 


140 comments on “Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women

  1. I am in agreement with your thoughts on this. But I think that it is more than a weak link, it an absolute detriment, to have “biblical counselors” involved in any traumatic situation within the church. First, there is no promise of confidentiality for the potentially very fragile victim and second, there is no accountability for failing to counsel competently. A church of BB’s size should have several MFTs (legitimate, qualified therapists) on board who are licensed by the state and are truly equipped to handle these situations. I know of smaller churches who do just that. I guess the process of prioritizing how church funds are used to hire and train necessary staff depends on where the priority of the target population lay. Historically, women and children have always been treated as the least important.

    I agree that this is a good first step; completing the process will require a complete upheaval of the current church structure with the weakest being treated as the priority.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I agree with you, jkpvarin. The training should be for elders/church leaders to more easily identify abuse. But after it’s identified, their role should be in support (emotional, spiritual, physical need, financial needs). Mental health experts handle trauma and abuse. This is not a situation that you apply Bible verses and pray and then it is resolved. This is also certainly not one where abuse survivor is questioned as to her role in the situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had some of the same concerns that Julie Anne brought up in her notes under the main post.

    I’m glad to see this church is taking baby steps, but…

    That they are bringing in a “biblical couneslor” belies some of their rhetoric about how churches should never blame a woman for abuse.

    Biblical (or Nouthetic) Counseling is absolutely victim-blaming. They believe your problems are due to your personal sin, whether we are talking having depression, or being in an abusive marriage. They will tell you that YOU and YOUR SIN are the roots of the problem, and that to get past your problem, you will have to repent and/or read the Bible more. And none of that is helpful or safe advice for a person who is in an abusive relationship.

    I don’t know what this church’s stance is on divorce, but if they hold what is called the ‘permanence view,’ then in the end scheme of things, they are dooming women in these abusive marriages to just endure the abuse indefinitely.

    Abusers normally do not change, according to most blogs and books I’ve read on the issue. The abuser has to acknowledge that he (or she) is an abuser and take active steps to change (under counseling).

    Problem is, most abusers are reluctant to give up the abuse in large part because it entitles them to benefits they would have to give up if they stopped abusing. They get advantages by abusing the partner (such as, they make the wife do all the housework, or hold a job and pay all the bills – they don’t have to work).

    Really, one of the only solutions I’ve seen repeated in blogs and books by counselors who are experts on abusive relationships is that the target will have to leave the abuser, so, in a marriage, that would entail the abused spouse divorcing and moving out from the abuser.

    Is this church ready to support women (emotionally and perhaps financially) who decide to divorce an abuser, or are they going to shame, criticize, and guilt trip these women with verses about how God hates divorce, about how marriage is this sacred institution that should never be broken, etc, which will keep these women trapped?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie Anne said,

    I’ve seen some complementarian marriages work beautifully. But there is a very fine line that can be crossed when a husband decides “my wife is not being submissive” and ventures into what they refer as “hyper-headship.”

    In my parent’s own marriage (they were traditional, my mother believed in male headship stuff), and from what I’ve seen of self professing male Christian gender complementarians on blogs and forums, you know the sort of comp marriages that work? The ones that are egalitarian in practice.

    My mother did believe in “male headship,” and she seemed to believe that women are not as intelligent or wise as men, and I was raised to hold these views (though I never accepted the part about “women not being as smart/ wise as men”, and it took me years to reject the male headship in marriage view)- but her marriage to my father was egalitarian in practice!

    My mother talked a good marital male headship game, but my father often gave in to her on major life decisions, even when he disagreed with her!

    Even though my father was more educated, and knew more about real estate, finances, and cars, than my mother, she still got whatever she wanted if he disagreed. He would go ahead and buy houses or cars for her that he knew were over-priced or shoddy in the long run.

    Any time I see male comps on Christian blogs or forums talk about how, “Oh no, my marriage is not one where I am the dictator, my wife is smarter at me at finances, so I let her control the finances,” etc, they are basically living an egalitarian marriage out but still giving lip service to gender complementarianism.

    I think male gender comps want to live out and affirm what their church leaders are telling them the Bible says about men and women (such as, men are to lead, wives are to submit), but these men (the ones who are not intellectually dishonest or sexist) find this impossible to live out in the daily, concrete situations of life.

    They claim the complementarian label but live as egalitarians.

    Why do they continue to insist on defending a view that they do not even live out in daily life? (Rhetorical question on my part; I have several theories why they do it.)

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Daisy,
    Being a woman who has been through this, I’m trying to hold onto this first step and be hopeful. I’m also hoping that Ben will keep us updated on any progress made. There have been no baby steps where I worship only me putting in my $.02 wherever and as often as I can. For BB this is long overdue. I have heard of far too many horror stories related to women and children from this church under JP. They were instructed to be the perfect wife and go home to face the music. I believe the music was often a dirge.

    When I got no help from my home church, I went to a Biblical Counselor (not Nouthetic or pathetic as it may be). She believed in divorce for abuse, adultery and abandonment similar to the definition at ACFJ. She pulled out scripture to back up her views. Her Baptist church also believes this way and would have no problem showing an abuser to the door. Matthew 18 not required.

    I am hopeful that the women that were there to work with abused women and children are understanding of abuse and not there to hit someone over the head with a Bible. You are right the counselor brought in should be there to train the powers that be to identify abuse and confront it. Having a list of good abuse counselors on hand would be a start.

    Most abusers do not change. Can they change? Absolutely. The majority simply don’t want to and feel entitled to do what they do. I don’t want to forget, there are also female abusers. We don’t want to forget the men who experience these things as well. Although, not as common it does happen.

    God hates the sin that causes divorce far more than the divorce itself.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I don’t know what this church’s stance is on divorce, but if they hold what is called the ‘permanence view,’ then in the end scheme of things, they are dooming women in these abusive marriages to just endure the abuse indefinitely.

    While Piper holds to the permanence view of marriage, I’ve read numerous places that the elders (even while he was pastoring there) did not hold to that view.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I want to add my applause here on this point: it is a very good thing that they are not going to blame the victim for doing something to cause the abuse, and that they recognize abuse situations are not both/and as far as blame goes is to be highly commended. I could only wish other churches I know of would at least do the same! That is very good progress in that regard indeed.

    Beyond this I find I am constrained in my praise. I suppose it would be helpful to me if I knew what their end goal is. Do they think they have arrived with this change? Because I don’t believe they have.

    My first concern is whether part of this change includes a doctrine concerning divorce for abuse where the victim is considered both free and autonomous to choose that path if (s)he sees fit. Because otherwise, what are they really after? They cannot stop at removing her from the situation temporarily while the abuser gets counseling, gets saved, and the marriage gets fixed. They are going to have to deal with the reality that abusers rarely if ever change and that there are myriad victims who have found divorce to be necessary. Will they support a victim if (s)he chooses that course?

    As far as this goes, while I understand the analogy of the perfect being the enemy of the good, I would use the analogy of jumping across a canyon: one jumper may jump further than another, maybe even a lot further, but the only thing that really matters is if they reach the other side — or not. If they do, it doesn’t really matter if one lands 10 feet in and the other lands only 1 foot in. And if they don’t, the distance they are from the edge when they fall has no actual bearing on the outcome either.

    Here is another thing that kind of falls flat with me:

    We have sought to involve more input from the wives of pastors and elders,

    What about seeking input from victims, irrespective of whether they are (or were) wives of pastors/elders? Say for example someone like Barbara Roberts who is the kind of person that would be immensely helpful in this regard. While they can be, women are not necessarily helpful here simply because they are women and certainly not simply by virtue of their husband’s position in the church.

    I realize I sound like a wet blanket here but I already know what it is like to deal with a church that is dead set against abuse in marriage, but ALSO dead set against divorce for abuse. The victim gets hung anyway. If the goal is to save the marriage, the victim will be badly mistreated, and all the more so if the abuser claims to want to save the marriage.

    The pastor gave an illustration of 3 choices of doors with “no choice” as a choice for the abuser. Well, the same is true with making saving the marriage (or disallowing divorce) the end goal. If they are not willing to allow the marriage to be declared ended by the victim filing for divorce, should (s)he choose, they are still choosing door #2 — with the same end. I know this because I saw this done.

    I think in the end they are going to find they cannot avoid dealing with the divorce issue (if that is what they are trying to do?). They will not be able to eat their cake and have it too on this.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Brenda R, I think anyone whether addict or abuser has a hard time changing because of the desensitization of what they do. If you justify it enough you end up believing that whatever you do is right and thats a hard one to get rid of. That is why scripture points out time after time to live righteously; not because “God is this big bully in the sky” getting His jollies from telling people what to do, but because there are consequences. God is so good to warn us of these sins so that we can live in freedom instead of bondage. The abuser, addict, or criminal are in bondage not freedom- so sad and damaging!

    Like

  9. Your comment is well taken, Barnabasintraining – so many excellent points. There are indeed many questions remaining, that is for sure. The church has mishandled abuse across the board. They have also for the sake of the “institution of marriage” forced wives to remain with abusive spouses, not necessarily in the same house, but sometimes only allows separation, not divorce. That is what was taught to me for years and years, but it makes no sense from a God who cares, protects, and defends the oppressed. It just doesn’t line up.

    Changing subjects – it’s interesting that Doug Phillips was brought into this discussion on domestic violence. There is no indication that he is/was a DV perpetrator. He definitely taught Patriarchy and hyper-headship, but people I’ve spoken wih who knew the Phillips family personally have said that Phillips respected Beal and treated her well (well, obviously except for the alleged sex abuse adult church member/nanny). He valued her voice and many times deferred to her opinions, even in business matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am wary that anything will change with Bethlehem because we have seen this over and over again. It has not change in the Catholic church; these priests are just being shuffled around to other parishes. They talked a good talk, but so far it has remained silent except from the abused who keep chiming in. If the abused just walked away from the scene, I doubt you would see anything happen.
    Just my on opinions however.

    Like

  11. Bit,

    “We have sought to involve more input from the wives of pastors and elders,”

    On this point I do agree. Pastors and elders wives that have not been abused are not the only women who should be involved. Women who know of abuse or experienced it themselves would be the ones to teach the wives of the hierarchy. If you have spent any time at ACFJ or Leslie Vernick’s blogs, you will know that many wives of pastors, elders and missionaries are themselves abused and won’t leave the abuser because it might ruin their “ministry”. How an abuser stays in ministry is of great concern. But maybe, these women always did want a change and their husbands wouldn’t take a stand.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Well, you’re right, trust4himonly. We will have to wait and see the evidence of changed behavior.

    I guess the only way we will know is when we hear reports.

    To me, a big clue is will they “allow” and actually refer someone to seek help outside the church. Where I see a lot of problems is when churches tell someone they must seek counsel only within the church. That’s not helpful.

    Pastors need to understand that HOW they handle these abuse cases is really a big deal. If they mishandle abuse cases (don’t let someone seek outside help, tell her not to divorce, do not help her in practical ways, etc), this to me is secondary abuse. So now the abused wife has to deal wtih abuse by her husband, but also neglect by her pastors who should be helping the oppressed. It’s at this point that many quit church entirely, some abandoning their faith. It’s that important.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. This sounds like a positive step in theory. Unfortunately, I do not see how a pastor’s or elder’s wife would be any better equipped to counsel abused women than any other woman. Many of these women are victims of trauma and need a specially trained therapist to work though issues connected with trauma. I can see this working only if the elders are willing to send victims to highly skilled therapists (whether Christian or not).

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Yep…..
    Thankfully, I have not abandoned the faith, but because I know that my Jesus is different from the one portrayed by many of these churches today. I do not blame God, it is our choices to abuse or not. There is no accountability and until we see proof, then it is understandable whether any of us believe them or not.

    Like

  15. Also will these elders implement a more holistic approach in counseling? There are so many factors to consider- they better be prepared then just with elders and their wives.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Daisy said,

    you know the sort of comp marriages that work? The ones that are egalitarian in practice.

    Agree with your insight here; that’s been my experience. This is true of my marriage, and I see it in the marriages of some of my family members and other church families I know, who are in churches that teach comp. There are probably many more people than we’d think in those pews that either say they believe comp but are functionally egal… or who quietly believe egal and just would never say it.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I wonder if this John Henderson is the same as this:

    “About the Author
    John Henderson is counseling pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas, and a board member of the Association of Biblical Counselors and the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is the author of Equipped to Counsel.”

    He also wrote a book about abuse and using Psalm 22 for counseling the abused. Hmmm.
    Also, Denton Bible Church rings such a bell with me. Thanks, google. Bruce Ware spoke there in 2008 (Complementarian Vision of Creation or some such title) where he said the following:

    “The very wise and good plan of God, of male headship, is sought to be overturned as women now, as sinners, want instead to have their way, instead of submitting to their husbands, to do what they would like to do, and seek to work to have their husbands fulfill their will, rather than serving them;

    and their husbands on their part, because they are sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is, of course, one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged, or more commonly by becoming passive, acquiescing and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and churches,”
    http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2008/06/cause-of-abuse.html

    Many took that as unsubmissiveness of the wife triggers abuse–it’s eventually the wife’s fault and it’s a natural reaction of men to be abusive if their wives try to control them. I hope Henderson doesn’t promote this.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. BIT said,

    My first concern is whether part of this change includes a doctrine concerning divorce for abuse where the victim is considered both free and autonomous to choose that path if (s)he sees fit. Because otherwise, what are they really after? They cannot stop at removing her from the situation temporarily while the abuser gets counseling, gets saved, and the marriage gets fixed.

    They are going to have to deal with the reality that abusers rarely if ever change and that there are myriad victims who have found divorce to be necessary. Will they support a victim if (s)he chooses that course?

    …I realize I sound like a wet blanket here but I already know what it is like to deal with a church that is dead set against abuse in marriage, but ALSO dead set against divorce for abuse. The victim gets hung anyway. If the goal is to save the marriage, the victim will be badly mistreated, and all the more so if the abuser claims to want to save the marriage.

    Yep, this was something I mentioned above and am concerned about.

    Almost every expert I’ve read about on abuse says the only recourse is to leave the abuser (which may mean divorce, in the case of marriages). One wonders if this church will fully support a spouse who decides to divorce an abuser.

    BIT said,

    What about seeking input from victims, irrespective of whether they are (or were) wives of pastors/elders? Say for example someone like Barbara Roberts who is the kind of person that would be immensely helpful in this regard. While they can be, women are not necessarily helpful here simply because they are women and certainly not simply by virtue of their husband’s position in the church.

    Thank you for mentioning that. It was something I noticed but forgot to mention in my first post about this.

    Some Christian women are just as bad as men at propogating or defending complementarian or patriarchal views, so some women encourage other women to go along with all the teachings that keep women trapped in abusive relationships.

    Or they often offer the same bogus advice as the men do, which does not help, either but can prolong an abusive relationship (such as, “be more submissive to your spouse,” or, “make his favorite dinner more often” etc).

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Oh…and IF it is the same Henderson as the one at Denton (if he is still currently there I do not know) then I supposed he would ascribe to Denton Bible Church’s official teaching on divorce in the case of abuse:

    “Are There Other Biblical Grounds For Divorce?
    10. The process above may also be undertaken in some cases of other sins destructive to the marriage or endangering of spouse or children, such as physical abuse, violence to children, or gross sexual perversion. These are not additional grounds for divorce or “loopholes” for easy divorce. Each case must be established through formal church discipline as acts of an unrepentant person endangering his or her family, thus leading to excommunication and constituting desertion.”

    https://www.google.com/#q=denton+bible+church+reasons+for+divorce

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Julie Anne APRIL 29, 2015 @ 1:32 PM

    Pastors need to understand that HOW they handle these abuse cases is really a big deal. If they mishandle abuse cases (don’t let someone seek outside help, tell her not to divorce, do not help her in practical ways, etc), this to me is secondary abuse. So now the abused wife has to deal wtih abuse by her husband, but also neglect by her pastors who should be helping the oppressed. It’s at this point that many quit church entirely, some abandoning their faith. It’s that important.

    If I could fave that a billion more times, I would!

    And not to derail the topic at hand (I will try to keep this short), but what you said there can be applied to almost anything…
    How Christians treat or deal with people who are hurting from other things (depression, death in the family, whatever else, etc), matters. I’ve been driven partly away from the faith over this (and due to other things).

    When I’ve gone to Christians in my family, a local church, etc, over other issues, I’ve had insult heaped on top of the pain I’m already in – I got lectures, platitudes, or scolded, rather than the compassion, understanding, empathy, and encouragement I was seeking.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. One thing to note here is that “nouthetic” or “biblical” counseling encompasses a whole range of counseling theologies and practices, so it is probably in error to simply assume that all of these approaches are faulty. Should not the very Word of God have something to say about this?

    No problem with people saying that all of the approaches they have experienced are faulty in their opinion, but I would hesitate to say all. And understanding differences in theology here, I would hope that anyone who treasures the Word of God would make some place for some kind of Bible-based counseling, especially as…well….isn’t that a part of what our gracious hostess is trying to achieve with this site? Not the nitty gritty psychotherapy/EMDR/medication for PTSD and the like, but a safe place to vent and such? If we love here, we’re practicing one variant of Bible-based counseling, I think.

    Regarding the approach to outside authorities, I’d key that on the statement that the victim needs to be protected in the same way that a shooting victim needs to be protected. That’s implicitly saying “yes, we’re calling the cops.” I remember discussing about the same situation with my pastor 15 years back–unabashedly complementarian by the way–and we agreed that this would be our approach in such cases back then.

    Finally, regarding complementarianism and “where does it become overt abuse”, I think what they’re getting at with “hyper-headship” is that a line is crossed when a man compels obedience, especially forcibly–it’s really a pretty clear line, I think.

    Like

  22. Some Christian women are just as bad as men at propogating or defending complementarian or patriarchal views, so some women encourage other women to go along with all the teachings that keep women trapped in abusive relationships.

    Or they often offer the same bogus advice as the men do, which does not help, either but can prolong an abusive relationship (such as, “be more submissive to your spouse,” or, “make his favorite dinner more often” etc).

    That’s for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Biblical counseling defined by NTCC, of which Henderson is a counselor/member:

    “We therefore humbly ask that your hope for change not rest in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God alone. (Acts 14:12-15, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5)”

    “We trust the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only, all-sufficient solution for both unbelievers and believers. (1 Corinthians 1:18)”

    “Our counselors love and relentlessly pursue the Word of God as our source of counsel. (Psalm 1:1-2)”

    “Our dependence upon God as the sole source of counsel and power for change is reflected through prayer. (Psalm 127:1, Proverbs 30:2-5) We pray for you, our clients, during the counseling process, and we request that you also ask the Lord to do what only He can do.”

    “We wait on Him who works wonders. Walking in the truth of 1 Peter 5:6-10, we delight in the timing of God Himself to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

    http://www.ntchristiancounseling.com/

    No wisdom of men, power of God ALONE, Gospel as the ONLY solution, Word of God as SOLE SOURCE. As to the last statement, God does not always work wonders and change abusers and the DV victim could be waiting a looooong time.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. If you have spent any time at ACFJ or Leslie Vernick’s blogs, you will know that many wives of pastors, elders and missionaries are themselves abused and won’t leave the abuser because it might ruin their “ministry”.

    Brenda,

    Good point. It could be that the pastor’s/elder’s wives could be the worst place to go!

    Liked by 5 people

  25. @ BikeBubba

    And understanding differences in theology here, I would hope that anyone who treasures the Word of God would make some place for some kind of Bible-based counseling, especially as…well….

    It’s all fine and dandy to a degree to take biblical verses, passages, and concepts into consideration, in a balanced way, like the Christian psychiatrists Cloud and Townsend do, or Dwight L. Carlson often do in their books.

    However, when I use the phrase “Biblical Counseling,” I am talking about Christian organizations that harbor a very specific world view which tends to be very suspicious of secular psychology, and ones who discourage those undergoing abuse or mental health issues, from taking medications or from seeing doctors – the sort of groups who attribute all or most abuse or depression to “personal sin.”

    Biblical Counselors are very victim-blaming and have no interest in helping a patient actually heal, recover, and get past whatever malady they suffer. The more honest ones say so up front in their literature!

    If I were still undergoing depression, I would have zero interest in seeing a counselor who tells me up front that my depression is my own fault, supposedly due to some personal sin of mine, and that he will not be assisting me in getting over it, but rather, dwelling on my sin nature for weeks on end, and one who tells me not to take meds.

    Some time ago, another site linked to a church that had invited “biblical counselors” to their church to do a month long seminar or educational series or whatever it was on mental health problems and what not (I don’t recall all details).

    As part of that, the church said “click here to find out more about what these guys believe.” So okay, I did. I clicked the link to visit the biblical counseling FAQ page.

    And smack dab on one of these pages was a comment along the lines of, “We here at ABC Biblical Counseling don’t want to heal you of your mental health problem or relationship issue, no, we want you to see how your personal sin is at the root of it all.”

    That would be like visiting an auto mechanic to change your oil, but instead of actually helping you with your old oil, the mechanic instead wants to sit down and berate you over your poor dental hygiene habits.
    The mechanic is not an expert on teeth, and you’re not paying him to fix your teeth or scold you for having bad breath: the dude is supposed to change your oil for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Diane, your concerns are understood and appreciated. It should be noted–my sister in law and her late husband are/were bipolar–that secular psychology/psychiatry do not always generate life changing transformations, either. In fact, in many cases the goal is simply to control symptoms. This is a good deal when we’re talking about illness that would prompt suicide (something that has hit a coworker of mine this week, actually), but let’s keep things in perspective.

    It’s worth noting as well that what secular authorities think works (and doesn’t) is pretty remarkably fluid. Again, no skin off me if you disagree with NTCC, but let’s simply keep in mind that comparing with secular psychology isn’t like comparing a kilogram measure with the standard in Sevres, France.

    Not to bad-mouth it–I have personally had some experiences with secular counseling of me–but we need to measure an alternative against what this is and is not.

    It should also be noted that when we’re talking about waiting for transformation, that’s not exactly what they’re doing. Keep in mind that the flip side of counseling can be to expel a member–something they’ve just done. In fact, in the discussion I had 15 years back, that was also mentioned. More or less, “you’ve got unrepentant gross sin, we’ve got excommunication…..and we’ll call the cops, too”.

    Now I’m not saying “OK, everyone who has had a bad experience with nouthetic counseling, let’s just trust them now”. NO; mistrust is earned, so is trust. What I am saying is “give them a chance to come through.”

    Like

  27. BikeB said,

    Finally, regarding complementarianism and “where does it become overt abuse”, I think what they’re getting at with “hyper-headship” is that a line is crossed when a man compels obedience, especially forcibly–it’s really a pretty clear line, I think.

    An argument can be made that complementarism is abusive in and of itself, whether forced or not.

    While submission is not always crammed down a woman’s throat with threats of physical violence, many conservative Christians who buy into complementarianism guilt-trip, pressure, brow beat, and shame women into accepting it, living it out.

    In addition, Christian women internalize its harmful messages anyway – they are told God expects it of them, so they had better comply, if they wish to truly serve God.

    I have read some debate that the passage in Ephesians does not ask wives to submit to husbands – that is considered a mistranslation, or the word “submission” does not appear in that juncture of the text, it was carried over by translators – but even if granting that as being accurate, it seems the text is asking wives to voluntarily submit, but most all male Christian comps I hear, they insist and shame women into submitting.

    If you force a woman to submit to her spouse, whether by force, or guilt tripping her, by making her believe she is displeasing God is she fails to do it, you are invalidating the entire concept anyway. Forced (and that can be guilt tripped or shamed) submission is enslavement.

    There are no verses calling for never married, adult women to submit to men, but I often see some comps try to extend the “wife to husband” passage and make it apply to all women, even the never married and widowed.

    Even people who say they believe in comp distort it and twist it and expand it to areas where the Bible does not even mention it. All of this has the affect of binding women and holding them down.

    Like

  28. Bike B said,

    Bike Bubba
    APRIL 29, 2015 @ 3:28 PM
    Diane, your concerns are understood and appreciated. It should be noted–my sister in law and her late husband are/were bipolar–that secular psychology/psychiatry do not always generate life changing transformations, either. In fact, in many cases the goal is simply to control symptoms.

    And managing symptoms, which can make life bearable, and make it possible for someone to hold a job and do other normal tasks in life, is definitely a step above biblical counseling, where the person will essentially be taught to blame themselves for whatever issue they are dealing with.

    They will also be told other unhelpful things (that won’t curb symptoms or bring healing or help get them past trauma caused by abuse) such as “pray more,” “read your Bible daily” etc.

    Telling someone to read their Bible, or navel gaze and contemplate their sin all day, is not going to help the lion’s share of people actually move past their issue, or live life.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I skimmed the sermon…what’s the deal with the whole, “Less severe, more severe, most severe” categorization of abusive behavior? This, to me, erases all doubts as to whether or not their “counselor” is competent. Who could truly understand abuse and not understand that ranking someone’s abuse as less hurtful than someone else’s is incredibly offensive and hurtful?

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Ok, I also would recommend checking out the comments on the FB thread at Cry for Justice’s Facebook page:

    This one in particular by Sara:

    <

    blockquote> I am a member at Bethlehem. And I am a campus care coordinator for our new DART ministry, Domestic Abuse Response Team, who has worked with a team of women developing training, safety plans, etc for our First Responders and Care Teams. Our goal is not to fix the marriage. We are asking the women how we can help. We are aware we have not done everything right in the past. We are spending time with good resources, professional counsellors, abused women, etc to right the wrongs and move forward according to God’s Word, which instructs us to care for the abused and cast out the abuser if there is no repentance. Abuse is not a marriage issue. We are aware there are wolves. Praise God for Jason and elders who “get it” and are committed to this ministry.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I put this post over on the ACFJ Facebook page today and thought I would put it here as well. Here you go,

    Pastor Jason Meyer at John Piper’s old Church (Bethlehem Baptist) preached on Domestic Abuse last Sunday. Many are hopeful change is taking place. I am pessimistically hopeful. Why hopeful? Because I really do hope the evil of abuse in the church is beginning to be exposed and called out. Why do I remain pessimistic right now? Because I read nothing in Jason’ sermon about three acid tests that evidence real change; 1) There was no mention that abuse is indeed biblical grounds for divorce, and 2) there was no acknowledgment of the profound rarity of true repentance by abusers (in fact, Jason issued a call to abusers to repent and reminded them that such repentance is their only hope), and 3) Jason and the elders at Bethlehem issued an invitation to victims to come to them and get help (he acknowledged that the church had “disappointed” some abuse victims in the past).
    Why are these three tests so vital? First, if a church still will not acknowledge divorce for abuse, then that church fails on every other count as a true and safe ally of the victim. Remember! Bethlehem church is the long-time preaching base of John Piper, infamous to us for his no divorce ever for any reason whatsoever permanence view bondage teaching.

    Second, if there is still an undue emphasis upon bringing the abuser to repentance, victims will still be entangled in “waiting” for that repentance. Jason’s first statement in his conclusion, after reading the elders’ statement on domestic abuse, was a call to abusers to repent.

    And third, what is wrong with an invitation to help victims? Nothing, IF the nature of that HELP is healthy and right. I want to hear from Bethlehem church that they intend to ASK the victim how they can help, not TELL her what they are going to do, and what she must do as well. What will victims receive now when they go to the Bethlehem church leadership? Books and resources to become educated about the abuse, about their abuser, about the effects of the abuse on themselves? Leaders asking her how they can help? Or will they be faced with more of a “never fear, dear sister. We will handle this” style from the leadership?

    And I suppose there is a fourth test too. What is the intent of the church leadership? Is their intent to “save and fix this marriage”? If that is their primary goal, then they still are walking in ways that will continue to enable the abuser and increase the victim’s suffering.

    We wait. We wait to see what the answers to these test questions will be at Bethlehem church. Will they receive an A, or an F? Even a C would be good IF they continue to study and do better on the next test.

    Liked by 6 people

  32. I’m hopeful, after hearing that the elders did not agree w/ Piper on his permanence stance, that Bethlehem will continue to grow in knowledge about abuse, and take steps in the right direction.

    On the other hand, if the elders did not agree w/ Piper on his permanence stance, WHY, IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, was he allowed to write and speak on this teaching, and promote it to every corner of Christendom??

    Kinda blows that whole, “plurality of elders” bit out of the water, sadly.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. I just sent an email to John Henderson, the counselor that Bethlehem consulted. Here is what I wrote:

    To John Henderson
    Now that you’re name is all over the web regarding Bethlehem Baptist’s change of tack about domestic abuse, I would like to call on you to ask the leaders at Bethlehem to do what they can to get CBMW to review its Statement on Abuse.

    Years ago I called on CBMW to review their statement. I articulated to them my concerns about their statement and my suggestions for how they could improve it. I got an answer back from them (from Randy Stinson, who at that time was their chief executive officer) that they were going to review it. But nothing ever happened. They seem to have dropped the issue. Needless to say, I found this very disappointing.

    Here is my critique of CBMW’s Statement on Abuse:
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/11/28/critique-of-cbmws-statement-on-abuse/

    I beg you to read it and if you agree with any of its points, please do what you can to encourage leaders at Bethlehem and CBMW to give heed to it.

    yours sincerely
    Barbara Roberts

    Liked by 3 people

  34. From the sermon:
    “Woe to us as a church if our women get the impression that we don’t value their input or contributions. We have sought to involve more input from the wives of pastors and elders, telling them that we not only want their input but that we need it because we have blind spots.”

    my cynicism meter is on red alert here!
    Why only the wives of pastors and elders?
    What about all the other women in the Bethlehem church?

    And what about the victims of domestic abuse who have occupied pews at Bethlehem? Did they seek their input? If not, why not?

    Until church leaders are publicly and transparently willing to listen to victims of abuse give their feedback — and the church leaders then start making detailed confessions about for how they have unjustly treated the victims, and ask forgiveness, I am going to remain somewhat sceptical.

    But at the same time, I am somewhat glad that Bethlehem is more willing to address this issue than it was before.

    And as a side note, I long to hear a confession from Piper about his errors in this regard, but I doubt it will ever come.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. John Henderson’s curriculum “Equipped to Counsel” was used by Mars Hill Church. Didn’t help there much, it would seem . . .

    I found the following in a review of “Equipped to Counsel” by Greg Wilson (link: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/books/review/equipped-to-counsel)

    “The course content is also available in 28 DVDs, which provide 72 hours of Dr. Henderson’s teaching of the material. . . . With its over 750 pages of printed material (combining the three volume set), multitudes of journal articles, and 72 hours of teaching, it would seem that Equipped to Counsel is exhaustive on the subject of biblical counseling. But, of course, that would be impossible in any one resource, other than the living and active Word of God.”

    Hmm. Sounds like LOTs of reading and masses of time watching DVDs to undertake this curriculum!

    Whereas my book is only 192 pages, and Jeff Crippen’s book is about 340 pages.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. XianJaneway,
    You ask a very good question about the elders. Why did they go along with John Piper? Does the sr pastor get free reign. Are they still the same men as were with John Piper? At the church I attend elders take on a 2 year commitment at that time they have the opportunity to bow out or ask to be voted back in. The entire church has a vote in this. The elders and pastors all have a voice in what is preached on. For the most part they do a pretty good job, although some comments from the sr pastor have had me biting my tongue.

    Perhaps we should be sending letters of encouragement to Bethlehem. I am encouraged by the post that Julie Anne added from Sara.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Brenda, there is another post from Sara at ACFJ FB page where Jeff asks her to encourage the leadership of BBC to disclose their view on divorce for abuse. Her reply suggests (I think) that we might be encouraged by their view, though she doesn’t seem to feel it is her place to speak on their behalf. She also said their view should become apparent in time.

    I do hope it becomes not only apparent but plainly and boldly stated. I actually hope this in either case so we know exactly where they stand on the matter. Naturally, I would find it that much more of a relief if they do hold abuse to be biblical grounds for divorce, and it does seem from Sara’s encouraging response to Jeff (where she also thanked him for his helpful blog and book) that an expectation of such is at least reasonable.

    However, it is not known until it is known. It is an issue among the anti-abuse community and I do think they should come out plain and soon on it. So I too add my encouragement/request (for what it’s worth 🙂 ) that they do so.

    Frankly, because of the effect Piper’s teaching has had on so many abuse victims up to and including causing them to question their salvation or having their salvation called into question by other church leaders and others in their lives, it is not only appropriate but incumbent on current BBC leadership to speak and speak plainly on this. This really is a serious matter.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Males who are ‘out of control’ as in they leave a woman they have married with children and find a new one only because he was abusive to the first one. I personally do not know if there is a ‘earthly’ solution to the problem of these types of men. They are guilty of abuse AND neglect. I have connections with this former pastor who actually embezzled from a church on my Facebook. I observe many statements he makes and they ‘sound’ spiritual…… but inwardly he is a wolf because he refuses to ‘love’ his first wife…… the church (women of faith in general) just need stand strong despite these persecutions but not be a door mat to the deceiver………. The scripture itself offers the eternal hope….

    Like

  39. “Why do I remain pessimistic right now? Because I read nothing in Jason’ sermon about three acid tests that evidence real change; 1) There was no mention that abuse is indeed biblical grounds for divorce, and 2) there was no acknowledgment of the profound rarity of true repentance by abusers (in fact, Jason issued a call to abusers to repent and reminded them that such repentance is their only hope), and 3) Jason and the elders at Bethlehem issued an invitation to victims to come to them and get help (he acknowledged that the church had “disappointed” some abuse victims in the past).”

    I had same thoughts. Then I read the facebook comments and saw that reconciliation/repentance seem to be foundational to the “help”. A recipe for disaster. Victims: run from this! all that matters is your safety, security and healing. it takes years and years to know if repentance is real and you do not need to be in a waiting pattern on an abuser.

    I was also wondering what distinction they make between a professing believer abuser and a non believer abuser? This was a huge problem with Piper because of his views on males as always the ” head” no matter what.

    However, the church can be a great financial help to women in these situations. I would hope that they would simply focus on safety and security which aids in healing. I would however, recommend secular counseling. these sorts of churches are still stuck in CBMW thinking which simply heaps on more burdens.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. A bit off topic, but I am impressed by the thought that Daisy no longer considers herself to suffer from depression. Daisy, if you’d be willing to share that story, I would be blessed. What I’ve seen more often is long term chronic things.

    Though I reckon that my mom had something resembling depression after her divorce from my dad, which seems to have changed when she started dating my stepdad. I don’t think it was ever diagnosed as clinical depression, however.

    Regarding Jeff’s comments, I would agree that Biblical rebuke can be a way of keeping a woman in an abusive marriage–or a man for that matter. That conceded, I think the right way of doing things is to at least allow separation from a dangerous situation. I know that in conversations in unabashedly complementarian settings, that much was not just permitted, but endorsed.

    And–granted I am also unabashedly complementarian–I’d invite people to do some thinking about why they think that complementarian theology invites abuse. My take–and my experience–is that we still consider abuse to be sin, sin that allows a victim to separate from an abuser, sin that mandates a church expel the unrepentant, etc..

    Are there abusive parties in “my” tribe? Absolutely. I just think that there is a tendency to paint with an overly broad brush–not all are implicated, and it’s not clear to me that the fault is the theology.

    Same thing with secular psychology–I know people who have been helped, and I know people who have been hurt pretty badly. Nouthetic? Same. I even know a woman who said that Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream took the edge off her depression. Had to be Breyer’s, had to be MCC. Go figure; we need to be a little bit humble about these things and learn how to paint with a small brush.

    Like

  41. Lydia,
    Which FB page were you reading. I am not buying into the whole reconciliation thing. A woman who has tolerated the abuser for any length of time and gets out generally wants to keep on going no matter how much the guy changes. All I found with reconciling/repentance is more abuse. They can hide it for a little while, but true character always comes out in short order. My question would be, “who gets to decide if the abuser is truly repentant or not?”

    I would like to think that BBC would really like true change, but my optimism turns to skepticism with more reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. All the terms get in the way of the practical issue: can abusers change? Gendercomp, genderegal, permanence are all relatively new terms to me. What is not new is the frequency with which the same DV defendant appears in court.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. What really gets me is “WHO is allowing who to get divorced or not”? When has this become the elders issue? I thought we must go to our High Priest for guidance on these issues? When has this become their decision on what they allow in a persons marriage…. even if there is not abuse? I mean I can understand where elders might want to give counsel/exhort and urge couples to stay together when there are not issues of abuse or infidelity, but is it their decision in the end?
    It is also funny that the same groups urge couples to stay in marriages when there is abuse or infidelity, but as soon as a spouse has issues with the elders or the church divorce is highly encouraged. This you know has occurred in various denominations plus Reformed congregations. I think there is a real problem when the elders or pastor takes on the role of a parent, nanny or police state.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I suppose some abusers can change. At the same time, their psychology is difficult to fathom. One does not rape, beat or steal from friends, so what is the abuser thinking? We refer some folks to DV alternatives counseling, but it is unclear if these programs work.

    Like

  45. I don’t know of any statistical data recently, but back in 1990 when I had my first stay in the Underground Railroad I was told that it was less than 1%. That didn’t give me much hope. The man who I was escaping from at the time died a few years later. At his request he was buried upside down, naked so the world could kiss his behind as he left. No one with any respect for anyone including themselves thinks up such things. The night we married he told me that as long as I did what I was told we would get along fine. I thought he was joking!! Sorry for the visual.

    Like

  46. Keith Blakenship,
    Abusers are about control. They need (!) to be in absolute control of everyone close to them, and they need to control others by making themselves look perfect. This gives them privileges that they never would have had in the first place, which they see as rights. That is why abusers, for the most part, do not change. They would have to give up their “rights.”

    Can they change? Absolutely. But they don’t “hit bottom” like addicts. They don’t have to change; there is always someone who will worship at their feet. And they are much too self-centered to do it for the good of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. On a funny note, they permit divorce for gross sexual perversion.

    “Gross Sexual Perversion” = HOMOSEXUALITY and ONLY HOMOSEXUALITY.

    Like

  48. @BrendaR:

    The night we married he told me that as long as I did what I was told we would get along fine. I thought he was joking!!

    Many years ago, I ended up having to drop a friend and mentor for a similar reason. His attitude was “Once you realize I Am Always Right and you Agree With Me In Everything, We Won’t Have a Problem, Will We?”

    Like

  49. Pingback: How John Piper’s theology allows domestic violence | FreeAtLast [for the hurting, the healing, and the advocates]

  50. Bike B said,

    “And–granted I am also unabashedly complementarian–I’d invite people to do some thinking about why they think that complementarian theology invites abuse.”

    Here you go, for a start:
    “Bible believing” pastors and the enabling of domestic violence (link is to blog page on Patheos)

    Headship and Abuse (link is to another Patheos blog page)

    And, I’d recommend you go to this blog’s side bar, under its blog roll or list of links, and spend a lot of time at “Crying Out For Justice” blog,
    not just reading the main posts, but spend a lot of time just reading the comments of women who have visited that blog, who leave commentary under the main posts, who describe what their Christian, abusive marriages were like (and, apparently, a lot of their abusive ex-husbands believed in complementarianism, and/or ascribed to many of the same views as comps, as did their churches).

    It’s not that hard to understand how comp lays the groundwork for domestic violence.

    Most abusive men are not going to be drawn to churches or religious groups that espouse a more egalitarian view – (some may, the ones who are covert abusers, who pretend to support women but who in private abuse their wives), but most abusive men seem drawn to world views or teachings which allow them to justify spouse abuse, and comp provides that.

    Books I have read by therapists who have been in their profession for decades have written that the only men who ever use the Bible (interpreted through a complementarian perpsective)
    to defend their abuse or mistreatment of their wives – the ones who quote verses about wives submitting and so on- are the men who believe in complementarianism, and all it entails, eg, male headship, which, in comp views, means the husband is the final authority and boss over the wife, they are not deemed equal partners.)

    Like

  51. Another link or two for Bike Bubba that is pertinent:

    John Piper and the No True Complementarian Fallacy

    How complementarianism can magnify the entitlement mentality of men, making them worse (from CFJ blog)

    Bike B said,

    A bit off topic, but I am impressed by the thought that Daisy no longer considers herself to suffer from depression.

    I’ve actually told that story several times on this blog before, and at least once over at CFJ blog.

    Back when I had depression, I tried all the usual nonsense Christians spout off at hurting people that are supposed to be solutions
    (and none of this worked, but kept me trapped in the depression for years):

    Get out of the self pity,
    think about others rather than yourself,
    volunteer at soup kitchens, trust Jesus, read your Bible daily,
    have faith and trust God will heal you, go to church,
    pray harder, pray more,
    concentrate on Bible verses that talk about healing / joy,
    taking medications is sin and shows a lack of trust in God, so stop taking meds

    I tried it all, none of that worked. Tried it for over 20 years.

    My mother was the same, she had depression, and none of that stuff helped her, either.

    By the way? Never, ever tell a person who has depression or who is in mourning, or undergoing whatever calamity, that the are “having a pity party” and do not use the phrase “self pity” to describe what they are going through.

    Telling a genuinely hurting person that their pain is nothing but “self pity” is victim-blaming and shames the person. It makes them feel convicted and bad. But a lot of Christians do this very thing a lot.

    A bit more about complementarianism and abuse…. and comp played a role in why I was depression and had anxiety.

    Complementarianism attracts abusive men, can give a justification for “man- on- woman” abuse (especially in marriage), and it enables abuse to continue (b/c comps often tell women that rather than call the cops on their spouse or divorce him, they should just “pray more” and “submit more” to the husband.).

    The sexism of complementarianism often bleeds over to include all women, not just married ones.

    Little girls and teen girls will get the message from complementarian men, comp churches, and comp material, that they are not as valuable, smart, or talented as boys, and their only “godly” role in life, or their best accomplishment in life, is to one day marry and have children.

    (Which is a perspective and teaching which does nothing for women like me, over the age of 40, who never married, never had a kid.)

    Little girls who get sexually abused by male church members in comp churches will be usually blamed for the abuse, some even forced to apologize to the abuser (this happened in one IFB church, where the guy raped the teen girl, got her pregnant, and the comp preacher forced her to get up in front of the church and admit to her “sin”).

    I could go on and on, but comp’ism, with its “you’re equal in value but not in role” manta given to females, actually sends the message that women are not equal in value, no matter how much comps try to deny that point.

    It’s one reason I was diagnosed with clinical depression as a kid, my complementarian mother raised me to be comp too, and being comp which entails being highly codependent, played a very large role in why I had low self confidence and depression, as well as anxiety.

    Complementarianism, (which is nothing but codependency) sets women up to be easy targets for con artists, manipulators, abusers, and users.

    I wrote a longer comment about it at CFJ blog, and they made it into a guest post which was picked up the the AR blog too. If I can find the link to that, I will provide it.

    Secular women are also taught facets of complementarianism, but not under the heading of “complementarianism,” but the views are the same (e.g., women are supposed to be un-assertive, sweet all the time, quiet, put other people’s feelings over their own, even if it jeporadizes their safety, etc).
    Read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker for more on that topic.

    Women in American culture get penalized for being assertive (this is especially true in complementarian theology).

    If women speak up, disagree, are out spoken, defend ourselves, refuse to take mistreatment off others – we are called bad names, catty, un-feminine. Women are strongly discouraged from having those assertive traits in culture at large, but even ten times more in churches that push complementarianism.

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  52. Barnabasintraining: What about seeking input from victims, irrespective of whether they are (or were) wives of pastors/elders? Say for example someone like Barbara Roberts who is the kind of person that would be immensely helpful in this regard. While they can be, women are not necessarily helpful here simply because they are women and certainly not simply by virtue of their husband’s position in the church.

    I had a similar thought, on reading that they had sought input from the wives of pastors and elders. While they are showing a refreshing difference from JP’s approach (quoted in this post), they also betray their basic hierarchical foundation. Insight and input apparently is limited to the elite. It seems like part of the mindset that divides church people into “shepherds” and “sheep”. The shepherds make all the decisions (provide all the input) for the benefit of the sheep, who have no voice. When it works, it’s at best a benevolent dictatorship.

    At worst…

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Daisy: Little girls and teen girls will get the message from complementarian men, comp churches, and comp material, that they are not as valuable, smart, or talented as boys, and their only “godly” role in life, or their best accomplishment in life, is to one day marry and have children.

    YES!!! Yes, exactly.

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  54. Re: Bike Bubba’s post.

    It took some hunting, but here is a post I did It started as a regular blog comment, but the folks at CFJ asked if they could make it into a stand alone post, and I said sure.

    Biblical Womanhood is Often NOT Biblical (my guest post at CFJ blog)

    My Christian mother believed in Christian gender complementarianism, though she did not know that label, but it was the same thing she believed in. Some may call it “biblical womanhood” or “traditional gender roles.”

    Whatever the label, it has all the same views about women.

    My mother believed in “male headship.”

    Mom believed that father was the head of the house, mother did not believe women were as capable as men (she never wanted to see a woman become president of the USA, etc),
    She felt that women and girls are to put other people needs first,
    women should not be out spoken, but quiet and passive,
    women should not be assertive, even in the face of being abused and bullied (you should just accept abuse in quietness and put up with it), etc,
    and my mother felt all this (and more) is what the Bible and Jesus wanted of women.

    (Though, I’d say in many ways, my parent’s marriage was functionally egalitarian, as my father would often cave in on major life choices and let mother have her way. However, over the course of their marriage, my father was verbally abusive towards my mother, and she usually just sat there in silence and tears and put up with it rather than leave the room or tell him to shut up.)

    So, I was raised in that manner, which was one big reason I had depression.

    I was taught and role modeled by my mother (and from what I learned in church and reading conservative Christian books) that having all these behaviors – which was gender complementarianism, which in turn is nothing but codependency – was biblical and what God expected of women and girls.

    I see gender comp believers and preachers today espousing the same exact damaging rhetoric on blogs, their books, sermons, pod casts, etc. that I was exposed to as a kid and young adult, and that stuff messed me up well into middle age.

    All that gender comp (“biblical womanhood”) teaching did was make me very attractive to male and female abusers, manipulators, and selfish people who took advantage of me, or who treated me rudely for years
    (including an abusive sibling of mine who I still sometimes have to deal with. The gender comp teachings didn’t really take a hold in her, she became an abuser rather than a victim of abuse).

    Gender comp teachings discourage women from having boundaries and being assertive, so it makes them very vulnerable to being exploited by mean, selfish, controlling, or abusive people.

    This was written by a self-professing gender comp who admits there are problems with gender comp:
    Why a New Wave of Complementarianism? Because The Old Wave Went Too Far.
    (blog page on Patheos)

    But to whomever wrote that page above – gender comp is basically watered-down, luke warm patriarchy though he denies that, and patriarchy was never God’s intent, even though God put up with it in the culture of the Old Testament.

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  55. trust4himonly said,

    What really gets me is “WHO is allowing who to get divorced or not”? When has this become the elders issue?

    Exactly. This gets into something I’ve noticed lately, and I think I mentioned it at the other blog about a week ago. These churches, the cult-like or real authoritarian churches, treat grown adults like little children.

    I understand the New Testament does allow for some amount of “nose- butting – in” by members of a local church into a member’s life (e.g., if a member is known to be in seriously, on going, unrepentant sin), but it seems to me that whether a couple divorces or not, or what flavor ice cream they eat, or if they take a job in another city, or whatever, is none of the church’s business!

    I mean, look at this insanity from The Gospel Coalition:
    Two Factors To Consider Before You Move

    That is overly controlling nonsense. That is one of the most ridiculous, controlling things I’ve ever read by a Christian organization.

    If an adult in your congregation wants to take a job someplace else, or move for whatever reason, that’s THEIR choice, let them go.

    Churches are treating grown adults as though the adults are three year old toddlers.

    trust4himonly said,

    It is also funny that the same groups urge couples to stay in marriages when there is abuse or infidelity, but as soon as a spouse has issues with the elders or the church divorce is highly encouraged.

    That is a most excellent point.

    I guess if you want a divorce from your abusive troll of a spouse in a such a church, go ahead and lie and tell them, “My spouse totally disagrees with the preacher and the elders of this church, he thinks you all are idiots,” and they will be rushing to help you divorce the guy.

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  56. Daisy, understood. Now, let’s test your hypothesis–that the doctrine of female submission trains women to endure abuse–with data. Nationwide data on domestic abuse indicates that those “living in sin” and thus not under any notion of feminine submission have a rate of domestic violence three times higher than average. I’ve heard that it’s even higher among homosexual couples–40% or so and people are pretty sure it’s horrendously under-reported.

    Now perhaps a finer look into domestic violence among married couples would find that those with the doctrine of headship have a higher domestic violence rate, but I hope you would agree that a quick look at overall domestic violence rates seems to belie the idea that headship is implicated as a cause. Those who are not married but are living together simply aren’t in the group you’re looking at, and they’re the ones with sky high abuse rates.

    So let’s take a fuller view. Churches with headship have that doctrine, and they also have the doctrine of church discipline. So a prospective abuser might gravitate towards headship until….he realized that the abuse of it could get him excommunicated, no? So there is more than one thing going on here.

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  57. Keith Blankenship said,

    I suppose some abusers can change. At the same time, their psychology is difficult to fathom. One does not rape, beat or steal from friends, so what is the abuser thinking?

    Abusers are highly entitled and have a superiority complex.

    Abusers do not view their partner (or family member, whoever their target is) as being persons in their own right.

    Abusers view their target as an object, a piece of property through which they can get their needs met.

    Abusers have little incentive to change their behavior, because, if, for instance, their goal is to have a wife that cooks all the meals for them, gives them no- strings -attached- sex five nights a week, cleans their dirty laundry, while all they do is sit on their behind on the sofa after they get home from work, sipping beer watching the tube, the abuser has no reason or incentive to change. His wife is his free sex robot and servant, and that is what he wants and demands of her.

    Such men are not interested in having a mutual relationship, where work and so on are shared.

    Same stuff is true for female abusers, as well as for verbal abusers, too.

    Women abusers are not interested in having an equal, mutual relationship.

    Abusers, whether male or female, or whether verbal, emotional, or physical abuser, want control over the other person, and why they want control could take another post to explain, so I won’t get into that.

    Relationships to abusers are about entitlement, control, getting their needs met.

    Abusers don’t truly care about the other person or with helping the other person get his/her needs met.

    The relationship is all about them, them, them, and if the victim does not think about and cater to the abuser and his/her needs and wants 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they get angry.

    This is one reason why it is counter productive, stupid, and dangerous for preachers, gender complementarians, and churches to keep telling abused women to stay with the man, just submit more, do everything his way, cook him his favorite meal again – that is doing nothing but enabling the abuser.

    All the abuser wants is for the woman to cook his favorite meal for her, submit to him more, do everything when he wants and how he wants.

    The usual church or Christian advice given to abused women feeds back into what the abuser wants in the marriage to start with, and it’s not going to stop the abuse.

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  58. Bike Bubba said,

    “Daisy, understood. Now, let’s test your hypothesis–that the doctrine of female submission trains women to endure abuse–with data.
    Nationwide data on domestic abuse indicates that those “living in sin” and thus not under any notion of feminine submission have a rate of domestic violence three times higher than average. I’ve heard that it’s even higher among homosexual couples–40% or so and people are pretty sure it’s horrendously under-reported.”

    Complementarianism is based on secular sexism and secular views on women, that men should be in charge over women, women should not be assertive, etc, which I already acknowledged in a post above.

    The solution is not therefore to buckle down on the teaching that leads to and enables the abuse even more, but to tell women to stop viewing themselves as lower than men, as needing male covering, or to stop thinking that they need to obey and answer to men.

    Secular woman are also pressured to live under “complementarian” teachings, though secular culture does not use the term “comp” or biblical terms, but the teachings are the same – women should be passive, un-assertive, etc.

    (And gender comp lays these teachings on to women ten times thicker AND it insists this is what God wants of women, so on top of everything else, a woman who is truly seeking to be obedient to God will feel guilt tripped and shamed into putting up with mistreatment).

    Read the book “The Gift of Fear” to read more about that.

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  59. Also, Bike said,
    “So a prospective abuser might gravitate towards headship until….he realized that the abuse of it could get him excommunicated, no? So there is more than one thing going on here.”
    ———————-
    No, wrong. Most of these churches tell women to stay with the abuser and pray for him.

    I already told you once, and I’m telling you again:
    Go to A Cry For Justice blog. Read the comments by women there who have lived through abusive marriages and who were left to deal with it alone by their churches.

    Go read their six or seven part series by a woman who was being abused by her spouse, and how her church refused to help her, but kept blaming her and sticking obstacles in her way:
    PCA Church’s Final Reply: This is Church Discipline? — Part 6 of Persistent Widow’s story
    (and go back and read her parts 1 thru 5)

    The majority of abused women, when they go to their conservative, complementarian, pro male headship churches for assistance, are almost always told to stay with the abuser and submit to more abuse, and the husbands are NOT booted out or reprimanded.

    As a matter of fact, the women who start divorce and kick the bum out are shunned by the church, while the church feels sorry for the abusive man and supports the abuser.

    Comp churches, as a general rule, do not hold abusers accountable or punish them in any way what so ever, but rather, they punish the victims.

    John Piper told abused women it is their duty to stay in an abusive marriage “for a season” or “over night,” and Patterson told a woman to stay with her abusive husband and said he was happy that the abuser gave her a black eye.

    All experts on domestic violence will tell you it is rare for the abuser to change, and that in the end, the woman’s only hope is to divorce the abuser and move away.

    Most churches, in particular, the gender complementarian ones, do not support divorce, however. Some will reluctantly permit separation.

    But as a grown adult, I will do as I please. I don’t care what a local church has to say anyhow.

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  60. I suppose some abusers can change. At the same time, their psychology is difficult to fathom. One does not rape, beat or steal from friends, so what is the abuser thinking?

    What are they thinking? They are thinking of self and nothing more. Everything revolves around them, their desires, their happiness, whatever they can control.

    It is very rare for an abuser to change. Most abusers are so arrogant and don’t even admit that they are wrong. They justify their behavior, and as Daisy said, have a sense of entitlement. I suspect many abusers are narcissists. Narcissists rarely change. They are difficult to work with in therapy because they believe their own eyes an are masterful manipulators.

    I think it would usually take something very drastic for an abuser to wake up to the reality of their evil sin perpetrated on others. I’ve rarely seen it happen because to do so, they have to be humble, something that is so foreign to them (although they would say they are humble).

    This is why I believe it is one of the most cruel things ever for church leadership to tell a wife to remain married to her abusing spouse. I would like to see them willingly remain with an abuser.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Re: HUG’s post

    On a funny note, they permit divorce for gross sexual perversion.

    “Gross Sexual Perversion” = HOMOSEXUALITY and ONLY HOMOSEXUALITY.

    Not to get too far off track, but the climate today is lots of churches are going out of their way to make homosexuals and adulterers and fornicators feel welcome… they will however either ignore or shame celibate adults.

    Being a virgin in your 30s or older, or being celibate, is now the new sexual sin in even many conservative churches, let alone the progressive ones.

    There are still some very conservative churches who rant and rail against homosexuality, to be sure, but the landscape seems to me to have shifted, where many churches (even ones with conservative theology) are reluctant to speak out against homosexual behavior, or against hetero sexual sin, as being wrong.

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  62. Julie Anne said,

    This is why I believe it is one of the most cruel things ever for church leadership to tell a wife to remain married to her abusing spouse. I would like to see them willingly remain with an abuser.

    Something else, too, that crops up in church thinking, and this didn’t really dawn on me, until I saw it in comments at ACFJ blog or somewhere last night, when someone mentioned it, but churches seems to feel that getting the abusive man to change is the woman’s responsibility.

    Lots of churches seem to feel that it’s the abused wife’s duty to save the abusive husband’s soul, or to get him to clean up and change, get him to accept Jesus, or be a better person, etc.

    -When I would think these churches would know better and realize it’s the man’s responsibility to change himself, paired with the working of the Holy Spirit, and/or all that combined with counseling.

    If you have a family member who is an alcoholic or drug addict, no amount of your praying, begging, cajoling, loving that person, and trying to get him/her to change is going to get that person to stop the addiction.

    The addict has to realize his/her behavior is wrong and want to change and then take steps to change. Another person cannot usually make or get the addict to change.

    It’s sort of the same dynamic with spousal abuse.

    The responsibility is on the abuser, not the victim, but churches (especially the ones who teach “male headship” under gender complementarianism), keep making this the wife’s burden or duty.

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  63. Bike Bubba,
    Your words, So a prospective abuser might gravitate towards headship until….he realized that the abuse of it could get him excommunicated, no?

    No!! The men who gravitate towards these teachings know that their word will be taken over the abused every time and likely she will be excommunicated for not being submissive.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. Lots of churches seem to feel that it’s the abused wife’s duty to save the abusive husband’s soul,

    Daisy, BINGO,

    That is what I was told the one and only time I went for help within the church. I was told “WE just have to get him saved” and this life is very short in comparison to eternity. For me this life was feeling more like eternity all the time. I stayed another 3 years after that conversation, did all of the reading, praying and discernment I could and one day it was as if God was saying there is the door, don’t you want to walk through it. Yes, I did!! I have not regretted it not even once.

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  65. Daisy, I’ve visited ACFJ a few times, and suffice it to say that I’m simply not persuaded. There are simply a bunch of things that I cannot reconcile with what Christ says in the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Cor. 7, and more. And so I disagree with the characterization of complementarianism as merely secular sexism for the same reasons I disagree with characterizing evangelical feminism as secular feminism of one sort or another. It’s simply a straw man argument that puts off the person you’re trying to convince because he (she) won’t recognize his own position.

    What is needed is a reasonable hypothesis–something that will be recognized by complimentarians as part of their own theology–defended with evidence and data. I’ve tried to provide some–admittedly imperfect, but that gets us started. OK, let’s revise the hypothesis and start again. And remember; I do not contest the idea that many churches screw up discipline of abusive members horribly. I grant that position fully. The question I have is what evidence do we have that the complementarian position is uniquely liable to abuse.

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  66. The question I have is what evidence do we have that the complementarian position is uniquely liable to abuse.

    The basis of complementarianism is a hierarchical structure of man over woman. Think of this structure outside the context of marriage. Not all people in authority are abusers, but those who are, are often narcissists. The top professions for narcissists are: police, military, clergy, doctors.

    With those positions, many times the abuse is covert because they are in the public spotlight. But imagine in a home environment where it becomes a man’s word against a woman if she complains. In complementarian churches, the husband is the head of the home. Who are the church leaders going to believe first, the man or the woman? By default, because they say husband is head of home, supposed to be protector, take care of his wife/home, they will often take husband’s word over the wife.

    In some of these churches, women are not even allowed to read scripture in front of men. Women’s words don’t count.

    In my interactions with Grace Community pastors, their first concern was why was I calling them and not “the head of the home.” The assumed I was usurping his authority and immediately, I was the bad wife doing what I ought not be doing, because my husband should be taking care of it.

    This was a heated debate on Twitter on complementarianism with Saiko Woods who behaves a lot like TM. Click anywhere on the tweet and you can see the conversation.

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  67. Re: genderegal v. gendercomp, both of these are relatively new -isms. I don;t buy into either one. Both seem to me unrealistic regarding relationships, and the strengths and weaknesses of the parties. Formulaic,even faddish, might be the best words to describe them, but I am no expert on either. I just don’t trust -isms and new things much.

    Bubba makes a good point regarding rates of DV in cohabiting couples, but Christians have a different standard by which we live. At least we are supposed to.

    Daisy: Like millions of Christians around the world, I also believe the Bible is clear that homosexual activity is wrong. I don’t care which celebrity actor, pastor or group says it is fine, I am unconvinced.

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  68. “I’d invite people to do some thinking about why they think that complementarian theology invites abuse.”

    I was born and raised southern Baptist, my grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher, I went to Christian homeschool. My father, son of southern Baptist preacher beat my very submissive mother. My father( hyper comp) informed me when I was a little girl that he married my mother when she was an underage teenager because she had large breast, and that he was the boss of her. My comp father informed me that the pain I caused my mother when she gave birth to me pleasured him.

    I was sexually abused the first ten years of my life, being raised comp made my abuse twice as bad because I was raised that men are boss and girls were created by god for men, what men thought was superior to what girls thought, what men wanted trumped what women wanted, how men feel trumps how women feel.

    What I thought, wanted, and how I felt did not matter to god because I was a girl, but what my rapist thought, wanted, and how he felt very much mattered to god because he was a man.

    My comp father told me when I was a young teenager, his words (rape is not that big of a deal.)

    “and it’s not clear to me that the fault is the theology.” Well of course it isn’t, you are the man, you get all the power, and the woman gets all the slavery. You are not the one who has to do it.

    Arial Castro and Phillip Garrido was also into female subjugation to men, men being boss, so was my rapist.

    “defended with evidence and data.” Will never have data. Most of my family was sexually abused as children with parents and grandparents knowing about it. Not one phone call to the police. We were told to get over it and keep our mouths shut, we were all southern Baptist Christian. As is if a comp women who has been taught to be submissive to men is going to tell any one who takes data.

    My father would say comp is not abusive, because he loved power and ownership over women and girls. Just like Arial Castro and Phillip Garrido.

    My father died before I could tell him how embarrassing I thought he was, and before I could tell him to get over his self.

    I was born and raised comp, both my father and rapist loved comp. Comp men should be embarrassed to want female slaves that can not escape them, just like men Arial Castro and Phillip Garrido.

    It really scares me how important it is to comp men that all men be boss, owner of women and girls. I am scared, very scared of comp men, they make me sick.

    My biggest dream as a little girl was escaping my father and rapist, having the right to say NO to men. And I know that this is comp mens biggest fear, women and little girls having the right to escape them and having the right to say, no!

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  69. In southern Baptist.

    I was taught that a wife can not deny her husband sex, ever!
    That if a man rapes his wife, it is not rape.
    If a man beats his wife it is her fault for not being submissive enough.
    A wife can not divorce her husband for rape or wife beating.

    Comp fathers were fine with this for their daughters. My father was nothing but a self glorifying pimp wannabe.

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  70. Gracious hostess, I acknowledge the hypothesis. Now….evidence. I’ve introduced a set of moderating hypotheses and data to support them.

    It doesn’t negate sad stories like that of 100pinkapples–I do not argue that this exists, and Keith is exactly correct that Christians ought to especially reject these sins. Let’s work towards that, ditching the straw men.

    Regarding the issue of narcissists, I’d expect to find it in any situation where you can “make things up as you go along”. This would include aberrant theological conservatives, but probably more strongly the theological left–evangelicals and fundamentalists at least must pretend that they’re applying the Bible, no? An example that comes to mind is the Tony Jones case.

    Now to hoist myself on my own petard, I confess that I have no data to prove this. Pure hypothesis here on my part. But let’s start by introducing, testing, and modifying these as we find data. Blessings for the weekend to all!

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  71. The trouble is the absence of evidence in support of a proposition, cannot be evidence in support of the proposition, e.g., one cannot prove X robbed the bank by saying there is no evidence X robbed the bank. Maybe I am missing something.

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  72. In addition, I am not convinced that no evidence can found to support the proposition sought to be proven. Thus we should be gathering and producing evidence, rather than merely assuming it is not in existence.

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  73. Re Bike Bubba

    “Now….evidence. I’ve introduced a set of moderating hypotheses and data to support them. It doesn’t negate sad stories like that of 100pinkapples”

    You already have the evidence.

    And your insistence of arguing in support of gender comp is in fact negating and diminishing the personal experiences of women who are telling you that they were in fact hurt in some way by gender complementarian teachings or views.

    > Gender complementarianism causes, attracts, or enables the abuse of women, and/or leaves women to being attractive targets to abusive or controlling people.

    You have seen such evidence in Pink Apple’s posts, and in mine here, and, if you visit forums for Christian wives who were abused by Christian husbands, you will find more of it there.

    Gender complementarianism and secular sexism are nearly identical, and they are both largely nothing more than codependency.

    (And the Bible condemns codependency in both genders.)

    1. In order for gender complementarianism to work, the men who practice it would have to be perfect, like Jesus, was, but no man is perfect.

    Most men who are prone to having big egos, being selfish, or abuse find gender comp appealing, because it allows them to get away with abuse, and most churches do not hold such men accountable.

    Even if churches did hold such men accountable, gender comp is still sexism under a Christianized veneer and does other damage to women, which I shall not get into here, otherwise my post would be ten pages long (gender comp is not godly or biblical).

    2. Secondly, in order for me to find happiness, have success in life, shed depression, and develop healthy boundaries (and therefore have healthy relationships), I had to reject and un-learn 99% of everything Christian gender complementarians teach and support.

    Gender complementarianism is hurtful to women. It does not help them.

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  74. Daisy,
    I agree with all that you have said except one thing. I do not believe that those that are abusive are truly Christian. There is nothing Christ like in their actions.

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  75. (part 1) Bike B said

    Regarding the issue of narcissists, I’d expect to find it in any situation where you can “make things up as you go along”.
    This would include aberrant theological conservatives, but probably more strongly the theological left–evangelicals and fundamentalists at least must pretend that they’re applying the Bible, no? An example that comes to mind is the Tony Jones case.

    This is why I said above that non-comp churches or theology can also harbor men who abuse women, but such men tend to be covert abusers.

    Tony Jones is a liberal (“progressive”).

    But for every liberal guy you point me to as an example, we can likely find two or more conservatives who are sexist, and / or who rape, beat women themselves, or who basically justify and excuse the other conservative Christian men who do those things, and, to boot, these creeps will claim that male- on- female abuse is “God’s design,” that it is “biblical.”

    You can probably find way more blogs by conservative Christians who expose spousal and sexual abuse BY conservative Christians and conservative church members than ones by and about liberal Christians.

    You know how political liberals point to Tim McVeigh as their only, or rare, example of a white, American terrorist, and they refuse to see, or to acknowledge, the hundreds of extremist Muslims who are terrorists, and how Islam itself can feed into the cause of terrorism?

    The one lone case of a white terrorist, Tim McVeigh, doesn’t change the fact that terrorism tends to be more common to Islam than to middle class, American, white guys like McVeigh.

    Yeah, it’s like that with gender complementarianism too: the one rare case (liberal Tony Jones) does not disprove that conservative complementarianism has more of a problem with sexism.

    You are trying to change the topic. Nobody here has said all progressive men are innocent or never guilty of sexism.

    I think that the secular liberals actually get a lot of things about gender roles, feminism, and sexism right – they are actually more in line with the teachings of Christ than conservative Christians are.

    (And I am no liberal, I lean to the right. But I’m going to call fellow right wingers and conservatives out when I see them being hypocrites on something.)

    Asking me to consider the sins of liberals, and pointing to liberal mistakes or examples of liberal sexism, does nothing to erase or excuse the sins and inherent sexism of gender complementarians or complementarianism.

    Complementarianism is going to be more appealing to men prone to controlling and abusing women, because much of its teachings already co-incide right out from the starting gate with what these men believe:
    that the woman must endure any and all shoddy treatment, that the man is “in charge” over the woman, and she must always submit, no matter what, etc.

    Even the complementarians who FEIGN respect for women, who pay lip service to “servant leadership” and claim they believe that God equally values women to men (e.g., Piper and Patterson, etc), still teach that women should endure abuse from a man, the woman should never leave the man, must never divorce, etc. (*see note)
    (continued in Part 2)

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  76. (Part 2.)
    (Response to Bike Bubba’s post continued.)

    It’s a bit harder for (progressive) Tony Jones to get away with his type of sexism and abuse of his now- ex- wife Julie M., when the liberal theology of his camp doesn’t give him a basis for it.

    As opposed to, if Jones was in a conservative, Bible thumping, fundamentalist Baptist church, let’s say, his treatment of his wife would be minimized, excused, or defended by the other conservative church goers. (Just like you are doing right now in this thread, just dismissing what women in this thread are telling you.)

    Further, if Jones were in a conservative church, Jones’ alleged abuse of his ex wife Julie M. would be backed up or rationalized with Bible verses plucked out of context, like
    how Eve was so easily deceived so a woman’s account or behavior can’t be trusted; and so, Tony should have control over his wife; how the wife should graciously submit to the abuse, because the Bible asks women to submit, etc.

    I would wager the reason Tony Jones is getting a pass from some in the liberal camp is because there is money involved.

    Jones’ liberal author and blogging friends, such as McLaren, Rollins, or Nadia what’s- her- name (Weber?), RHE (Evans), etc, all have book deals and paid conferences they might lose if they speak out against Tony Jones.

    These particular liberal guys are seemingly motivated by money, not by theology.

    Their liberal theology actually condemns’ Jones’ treatment of his ex-wife as well as Jones’ sexist views of marriage, which is one reason why liberal Christians are so angry at other liberals, like RHE.

    The liberals know that RHE knows better, yet RHE is apparently afraid of being sued by Jones, or losing books deals, so she keeps mum on the entire issue.

    That differs from the complementarians, who are usually motivated by sexism, which is combined with a warped theology and mis-interpretation of Bible verses that mention women, submission, and marriage.

    At least the liberal Christians can offer a theological and biblical reasoning and basis against sexism, and against male abuse of women, but some conservative Christians spend their time trying to find and build scriptural support to excuse, minimize, and justify sexism and male abuse of women (which goes under the heading “gender complementarianism”) (*see note)

    Complementarian books, teachings, and sites, such as “CBMW,” are nothing but a huge repository of, and effort of, conservative Christians to defend sexism and to claim sexism has a biblical defense, and it is God’s intent for women.

    That makes complementarians more dangerous, and it makes them more repugnant to me than the liberal Christians, at least on this issue.

    It’s one thing to be sexist, but to say you’re sexist because you think that’s God’s plan, preference, and intent, is reprehensible.

    And it’s also what Muslim extremists think, groups such as “ISIS,” who regularly rape, kidnap, or murder girls as young as nine.

    Members of ISIS think they are doing the will of God when it comes to women, and some of their views and assumptions about women, marriage, sex, dating, male superiority, etc, are similar to that of Christian gender complementarianism.
    ———————————-
    NOTE:
    *Which is not to say all Christian gender comps agree with male abuse of women, or are guilty of it themselves, but even if you are a truly decent guy who abhors violence against women, be aware that…

    1. (a.) your gender comp frame work does in fact attract men who ARE abusive,
    (b.) allows abusers more supposed biblical justification for the abuse (e.g., via Bible verses plucked out of context, verses misinterpreted),
    and that gender complementarianism….

    2. trains and brain washes women to be codependent doormats,
    teaches women that it is God’s wish for women to be doormats,
    and this in turn makes such women more susceptible to allowing themselves to be abused or taken advantage of, than it does a non-comp woman
    —-
    As for point 2 above, I lived it out most of my life, so I know what of I speak.

    I was brought up in gender comp churches by a gender comp mother, was exposed to many pro-gender comp arguments in books, sermons, and magazines, and I was a gender comp myself until a few years ago.

    I’ve also seen other women brought up the same way who have the same problems.

    That is all the evidence I need. Gender comp damaged me, and I was not freed until I dumped it, among other warped teachings I was fed in churches and evangelical books.

    Like

  77. Julie Anne said,

    How do you propose finding evidence when even women are convinced they don’t deserve to have a voice in these circles?

    Bike Bubba should be willing to consider the personal anecdotes of women who are talking to him in this very thread, or to read the testimonies of women on other sites, on how complementarianism personally affected them, but no.

    Women have lived gender comp out, daily, sometimes for decades. We are the ones who have endured the negative repercussions of gender complementarianism.

    Comp is set up to benefit men, not women. So, if Bubba is a man, it would figure why he doesn’t want to pick it apart and seriously consider critiques of it, or consider how it can be harmful to girls and women.

    I don’t see why in a situation like this, Bike would want me to point him to a Barna survey, say, that shows 90% or whatever percent of women have been damaged by comp, or that say comp leads to more abuse.

    You have a lot of women saying so, saying that it does, other than the woman who are still trapped in comp.

    Why do I need to point to a Pew study to demonstrate that comp is harmful or more conducive to abuse? Gender complementarianism teaching personally damaged me and my life. Other Christian women on this blog and on others have said the same thing for their lives.

    I don’t think there has ever been such a study conducted. I cannot provide something that does not exist.

    I think Bike has an agenda to push, and that is defending gender comp no matter how un-biblical and horrible gender comp is to people.

    Gender comp is not some abstract principle, it really impacts people’s lives who were brought up under it, and for the worst.

    I was raised as a gender comp. I used to be one. A few years ago, I started studying the topic of codependency (and others, such as abusive relationships), and the parallels between codependency and complementarianism are startling. They are about identical.

    Bike Bubba may be engaging in something called
    Sea Lioning
    (link is to “Know Your Meme” site)

    Sea Lioning

    About
    Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent by feigning civility and incessantly requesting evidence to back up their claims.

    Origin
    On September 19th, 2014, artist David Malki published a comic titled “The Terrible Sea Lion” on his webcomic site Wondermark,[1] which features a sea lion who intrudes on a private conversation to debate a woman saying she “could do without sea lions”

    Like

  78. Brenda R said,

    I agree with all that you have said except one thing. I do not believe that those that are abusive are truly Christian. There is nothing Christ like in their actions.

    I don’t know if such men who are sexist, and/or who abuse their wives, are actual Christians or not.

    I would agree that their behavior or attitudes are not Christ-like at all.

    I know people on other blogs write about this a lot (if such men are actual Christians or not, or are they “Christian in name only”), and it can have ramifications on how some people feel a church should handle an abuser. I do understand that.

    My own personal feeling is that I’m not sure it matters either way.

    I have come across so many testimonies or news reports of men who for all outwards appearances were 100% “true blue” Christian-

    They professed belief in Jesus, donated money to help orphans, went to church every Sunday, escorted granny ladies across busy streets, read their Bible every day, maybe worked as a preacher or elder, and so on,

    And yet, the police later bust these guys for….
    -drug dealing -child porn -spouse abuse -prostitution rings -being serial killers -etc etc.

    My own personal view is I’m not sure what it really matters in the end scheme of things if such as guy claims Christ or not, or if he was every truly converted or not. They are what they are (killers, abusers, what have you) and should be reprimanded for it.

    The dynamics of abuse being what it is, and the mindset of abusers being what it is, the ol’ Matthew 18:15-17 “confront a dude in private about offenses etc” shtick does not work in such cases, whether the guy in question is a Christian or not.
    And Bike Bubba (based on previous threads) is a huge fan of Matt 18. Matt 18 does not work with abusers, who are controlling and who seldom change.

    Also Matt 18 doesn’t work because once the entire church hears that one dude among them is an abuser or child rapist, the typical response is to shun the dude’s victim but treat the pervert/ abuser with kid gloves. Justice is often not carried out, even in churches that go by Matt 18.

    Like

  79. In answer to the question “Can men who batter change?”, Lundy Bancroft says:
    “Yes; the great majority can change. And the great majority don’t. And the reason they don’t is not because they can’t, but because they’ve figured out that they don’t really have to.”

    Lundy has had a lot of experience of working with abusers who look like they are starting to change — and then backslide. When asked why, the abuser typically reveals that in some way his privileges were slipping.

    For more gems from this video presentation by Lundy Bancroft, see this post at ACFJ
    http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2015/04/22/inside-the-minds-of-angry-and-controlling-men-lundy-bancroft-video-presentation/

    Liked by 1 person

  80. Daisy,
    I agree. Matt 18 has no place in abuse, murder, rape, pedophilia cases. The police, divorce attorney or both should be involved. Abuse is an on going sense of entitlement. If the abuser uses scripture as their justification for their actions, it is a misuse of scripture which they also feel they are entitled to do. Evil is clearly in the mix of their minds. Darkness cannot exist where light indwells. One cannot abuse and love at the same time.

    One can know their Bible backwards, forwards and sideways and not know Christ. They can perform all kinds of works and not know God. If people are found to be partaking in any of the sinful nature of drug dealing -child porn -spouse abuse -prostitution rings -being serial killers -etc etc. they should not only find themselves incarcerated, but treated as an unbeliever and put out of the church. I find it difficult to believe that those that would do these things were ever truly believers.

    Just my thoughts. I am not God or a judge. When the former husband tells me that he has changed, he now knows God but still continues in the same sinful nature, I have trouble believing that their is any truth to what he is saying. I have no trust in the words coming out of his mouth when the next sentence is verbally abusive which if we were together would turn to more severe abuse. There is no heart change. That is the key point. What and who is in their hearts.

    Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  81. Regarding abusive men in egalitarian churches: the Pentecostal churches are usually egal when it comes to having female pastors, but are often comp when it comes to marriage roles. This means that abusive men who go to those churches can portray themselves as egal in public but feel licensed to dominate their wives in the home…

    Liked by 1 person

  82. The only solid stats I’ve found on rates of domestic abuse by husbands in different streams of Christianity come from Bradford Wilcox’s book “Soft Patriarchs, New Men”.

    Wilcox drilled into population based surveys from the USA. He compared men who attend conservative churches with men who atttend mainstream churches. Very broad groupings, yes; I think we can assume his ‘conservative’ group would be more likely to subscribe to comp beliefs than his ‘mainstream’ group.

    The results were somewhat surprising and counter-intuitive. Men who claimed to be conservative protestant but did NOT attend church regularly had the HIGHEST rates of wife abuse. Men who claimed to be conservative protestant and who attended church regularly had lower rates of wife abuse than both the irregular attending conservative men AND all the mainstream men (irrespective of how regularly the mainstream men attended church).

    Wilcox concluded that regular church attendance at a conservative protestant church has a slight protective effect against the domestic abuse. (conceiving of domestic abuse as male on female )

    However though these differences existed, there were still some regular attending conservative men who were guilty of wife abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. Thank you Barbara, for all the information.

    Aside from physical (or verbal/emotional) abuse, I tried explaining to the poster above that there are other damaging outcomes caused by gender complementarians, and some gender comp teachings impact SINGLE women, not just married ones.

    I don’t want to spend 100 pages explaining it, so I’ll try to keep it short. I have never married – but I was brought up in a gender complementarian home.

    The picture of “biblical womanhood” I got from gender complementarians as a kid and young adult was that as a woman, I was expected to lack boundaries, not get my own needs met, only serve others, be very passive.

    These are actually also pretty common traits that secular / Non Christian girls are raised to have, as well.

    (Really, churches echo secular culture in how they tell girls and women to be. The expectations for women in secular culture and church are very much the same, which should clue gender comps into the fact that their position is not as biblical as they believe.)

    These sorts of teachings have many negative outcomes, some of which I find hart to articulate…

    To give but a few examples. I told the poster above to read the book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker, who is a security expert.

    DeBecker points out in his book that because women are socially conditioned (and churches do this too, under gender comp teachings) to be super nice to all men, to never hurt a person’s feelings, etc, that women often put themselves at risk around strangers.

    Even if a woman has a gut feeling that a man she has just met in a parking lot or building might be a rapist, she has been conditioned to stuff her fears down, ignore them, and go ahead and chat with the man, or get on an elevator alone with him…. all so that she won’t “hurt his feelings” or offend him. This is how some women get raped, mugged, or killed.

    Girls and women are socialized by teachers, parents, movies, churches, etc, to disregard their own needs, safety, to believe that is is wrong to say “no” to people, etc.

    In my case, even though I’ve never married, I’ve never-the-less suffered from various issues that came about in part from gender complementarian teachings.

    So, I’ve never been an abused wife, since I’ve not married, obviously, but gender comp can create other problems in a woman’s life, not having to do with the marriage / spousal abuse issues.

    I don’t think people like “Bike Bubba” I was replying to above take that into account or appreciate it.

    (continued in a Part 2)

    Like

  84. (Part 2)
    Also, and quite ironically, I think one of the reasons I’ve never married, though I had wanted to be married, was precisely because of these dangerous, irresponsible gender complementarian (biblical womanhood) teachings.

    I did not know it clearly until two or three years ago, but before that, I had a suspicion in the back of my mind that dating and marriage were dangerous for me, because my mother (who was gender comp) taught me, Christian magazines I read, and churches I had gone to taught me, that to be an acceptable, biblical, Christian woman meant God wanted me to allow men (and women) to abuse me or exploit me.

    I was taught from all these sources that being a proper Christian woman meant that having boundaries was mean or selfish, that God wanted me to allow others to use me, if they chose, and if they did, I was not to hold them accountable, but let them get away with it.

    All of that made me very reluctant or afraid to date or marry, because I knew if I ended up with a physically abusive man, I would have to put up with it and suffer.

    (I kept waiting for the right guy to enter my life – Christians kept saying just wait and pray, and God will send you Mr Right, but that never happened.)

    As you may recall (I brought this up at CFJ blog months ago), the one guy I was engaged to years ago financially exploited me.

    My ex fiance never beat me physically, but he sure loved my savings account and credit card, and he never took an interest in me personally, he only wanted me to listen to him talk about himself.

    I kept giving him money, knowing full well he was using me and was likely not going to pay it back, but I felt compelled to keep handing over the checks, because I was raised that is what Nice Christian Girls do.
    I also had no practice being assertive and saying “no” to the ex (or to anyone), I was never taught those skills in childhood by either parent. I was discouraged (under gender comp teachings) from having those skills, as a matter of fact.

    At the time, I felt (because I was taught this by churches, etc), that my ex’s feelings and needs were more important than mine, and Christian women are supposed to be supportive of the man in their life, even if it hurts them (hurts the woman).

    I think gender complementarian (biblical womanhood) teachings actually played a role in my protracted singleness. It may not be the only reason, but I think it contributed.

    I had really wanted to marry, but I was cautious around, and of, men, because my mother and Christian churches raised me to think I had to let men have way with me, even if it was abusive or exploitative.
    I think in the back of my mind I realized I would rather stay single than marry an abusive, negligent, selfish, controlling, or verbally abusive jerk.

    I find this very ironic, because it’s often the very conservative gender complementarian Christians who scold adults singles for being single, posit that marriage is a woman’s highest calling (along with motherhood), who yell at us to get marry, and who complain all the time on Christian news sites how singles aren’t getting married anymore. I might have married if not for the very teachings and influences of gender complementarianism.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. Barbara Roberts: Thanks for the reference to the book by Wilcox. I will have to take a look at it.

    Daisy: I have now learned a new term. “sea lioning”. It seems to me that Bubba has been putting forth his views in a way that is civil and respectful, so maybe he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Like

  86. Brenda agree with you so much about the fact that light and darkness cannot mix. I am not the judge either, but we can know others by their fruit. This is bad fruit, so I think this does give us reason. The Bible also states that we can judge from the inside of the body.

    Daisy, I know exactly what you are talking about. I am an overly cautious person, so when I dated I would usually break up two months after. Gave me time to see any skeletons. I married a wonderful man, who I broke up with 14 times in our dating because of my not wanting to trust; he wanted to be with me however. I have since apologized for putting him through such trouble (my poor guy). I have been married for 22 years and do not put up with any control issues in our marriage (both him OR me). We talk things out and have had our share of ups and downs (almost divorcing); but there is respect, communication, and humor between the two of us, which has saved us. Marriage is hard and to throw in control issues makes it far worse; so I concur with you that I would rather be single then go through a life with an abusive husband.

    Like

  87. Important verse to at in the light of those who are in “authority” today

    Therefore it is no great thing if his (Satan’s) ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness whose end shall be according to their works.
    2 Corinthians 11:15

    There is far more verses in Scripture that protect the abused then the ones in so called authority. The so-called ministers twist/ distort and omit Scripture to interpret what they would like their congregation to listen to and follow. The pastors who go along with those that abuse and their teachings are ignorant of the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  88. Julie Ann –

    “How do you propose finding evidence when even women are convinced they don’t deserve to have a voice in these circles?”

    This is is what I wonder as well. How much abuse is reported in comp churches where the teaching, pastoral response, and Biblical counseling has been for women to not speak, submit, and forgive for the sake of the marriage? Add to this the ridiculous teaching that a ‘good looking’ marriage is how one displays the Gospel and you have women mirred in the belief that they should never speak about abuse.

    So how much abuse is not reported or not even considered abuse?

    Wondering what Barb’s thoughts are on this as well.

    Like

  89. Well Bridget under the guise of “authority” I would guess anything could get a pass depending on what a pastor or elder would deem abuse or not. This is what is scary—–and history does not show ever that “authority” in the church has handled abuse in the right way at all. Yet….. we keep coming back for more of the “church”. Always getting the same responses, such as, well…..”the church is full of imperfect people” which is true, but that does not excuse grievous behavior (abuse, sexual deviancy, false teaching) or our dealing with it. Scripture is so clear on dealing with abuse in the church- it states KICK these people out!

    Like

  90. My thoughts on how to ‘find the evidence’ for rates of domestic abuse in churches? Rather than do surveys (very costly, always hard to make sure the sample is representative) the best way to get a feeling for it is for churches to first educate their leaders on it and then start preaching on it well from the pulpit and having women trained as ‘first responders’ so that all the women who come forward disclosing their current or former domestic abuse will be heard, believed and properly helped.

    Then watch: the church is likely to be shocked by how many women start disclosing.

    That doens’t produce solid ‘statistics’ but it sure does give a good idea of how prevalent the problem is an how much it’s been swept under the carpet.

    From what I’ve heard from Bethlehem Baptist, they are very busy just dealing with the cases they are already aware of in the church and the disclosures that have come from Jason Meyer’s sermon last Sunday. They are flat out dealing with those cases!

    And they haven’t even had time to start addressing the historical cases (women who were mistreated by BBC in the past, who may not be in BBC any more but are certainly still longing for justice from the church in the way of explicit apology, recognition of the harms the church inflicted on each such woman, and vindication and reparation as appropriate. I know this because we’ve heard from a few such women.

    And for the Christian men who may be victims of domestic abuse, I believe that genuine male victims need to start websites and blogs support groups in cyberspace to share with other genuine male victims, so that eventually their experiences can inform churches as well, and male ‘first responders’ can become trained in churches as well. But male victims seem to be far fewer on the ground than female victims.

    Aslo male victims have the added difficulty — one that women victims do not have — that when they look for support from other males they find sites for men who claim to be victims but in fact are mostly populated and almost certainly RUN by perpetrators who feign victimhood. I have no easy answers for the genuine male victims, but I think they will need to get much better at discerning the fakers if they are ever to get proper support groups for themselves. In the meantime, genuine male victims can get help from A Cry For Justice, as they have quite a lot in common with us female victims. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  91. Barbara posted: ‘In answer to the question “Can men who batter change?”, Lundy Bancroft says:
    “Yes; the great majority can change. And the great majority don’t. And the reason they don’t is not because they can’t, but because they’ve figured out that they don’t really have to.”’
    I agree, but I would rephrase it; instead, I would say it this way: Abusers can change. The reason they don’t is because they don’t WANT to. Abusers want what THEY want, & they don’t care how they get it.

    Like

  92. Thanks, Barbara, for what you said (MAY 3, 2015 @ 12:26 AM). That is really insightful. You’re right; creating a credible support structure for abuse victims, communicating right from the top leadership that you know the seriousness of abuse, that you want to stop it, that you will believe victims when they come forward, etc. is going to produce some shocking statistics just by watching victims come forward.

    But this whole “where’s the evidence and statistics that comp theology leads to more abuse than egal theology” discussion is a digression. We already know that abuse is happening in comp churches in general (and Bethlehem in particular). I think the more important issue is: How are these victims going to be treated? Bethlehem has the opportunity now to answer a lot of important questions about their process, like: (1) Are abuse victims going to be given the counseling they need to heal, from professional counselors with training and experience specifically in the area of abuse? Or will it only be counseling from pastors and lay members of the church who maybe had a weekend seminar on abuse? (2) Will abuse victims be supported (financially, safe space to live, etc.) for as long as it takes to determine whether the abuser is the rare case that actually repents and shows a long pattern of true change? (3) When abusers don’t repent and show lasting change, will the abuse victims be sent back into that marriage and family, or do the Bethlehem elders agree that divorce is allowed in this case?

    It seems to me that just the answers to these questions will provide some very important evidence on whether “biblical-only” counseling, complementarian theology and practice, etc. fosters harm or healing for abuse victims.

    Like

  93. bendeni,
    These are very good questions and will need to be answered soon. My first question would be, what is your definition of abuse. How does it relate to biblical divorce and remarriage. Obviously, getting the victim and her children away from the abuser is 1st and foremost.

    I don’t know how long it took the Lutheran’s (can’t remember the specific org right off hand) to get this all in writing, but I am sure that BBC will not have this put together over night.

    Like

  94. Our gracious hostess rightly asked me how we would go about collecting statistical evidence; what Barbara Roberts did is a great start. It is entirely correct to note that the huge gap between domestic violence claims and convictions indicates that you’re going to have trouble getting good statistical evidence.

    Note as well that when–admittedly with contestable methodology–one “drills down” into the data, one finds that “complementarians” who do not live out the “package deal” of church abuse more, but those who do attend church abuse less than any other group? Again, this has to do with fellowship, accountability, church discipline, and I’m sure a bunch of other factors. Absolutely, if one views theology as a la carte, you are going to have people grabbing it and running with it.

    This is what Daisy’s anecdotes are getting at, and quite frankly it’s also what the anecdotes I could tell (I grew up in a mainline church where people I loved told me the abuse stories) would say. My anecdotes and hypotheses don’t mean much statistically–mainline was what I knew. In the same way, Daisy’s anecdotes and hypotheses speak about the world she knew.

    So I’m going to go with the statistical data I’ve mentioned, as well as that Barbara presents, and likewise issue a “double dog dare” to do what she proposes; help out an abused spouse or two (male or female) and see what comes out of the wordwork. I don’t know that we’ll ever resolve whether egalitarian or complementarian approaches are more enabling, but we might end up helping a few people.

    One note along the lines of what Barbara mentions; it is amazing what people will tell you if you’re willing to sit down and listen to them. I have wondered OFTEN what I did to be trusted with certain things I’ve been told.

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  95. (Part 1)
    bendeini, said,

    But this whole “where’s the evidence and statistics that comp theology leads to more abuse than egal theology” discussion is a digression. We already know that abuse is happening in comp churches in general (and Bethlehem in particular).

    That is true. If a person visits enough blogs or forums by conservative Christians, one will see plenty of women who have conservative theology, who attended conservative churches, who discuss being abused by their theologically conservative husbands.

    And their theologically conservative church or preacher did not help the woman who was being abused.

    I think some people want to believe that conservative theology, “right belief,” or “right doctrine” somehow makes a person less susceptible or less prone to sin than a person who believes in liberal theology, but it does not.

    Christian gender complementarianism is the same thing as codependency, or very close to it.

    Non-Christian Women in secular culture get the same messages from most of secular culture, public schools, parents, television programs, and movies – that there are certain roles and expectations for girls and women, which happen to be the same as complementarianism / codependency.

    In American culture, women (even Non Christian ones, and in spite of secular feminism), are still conditioned from birth that girls and women are to display traits such as passivity, un-assertiveness, etc.

    Being passive, sweet, yielding to men, etc, are taught to be feminine traits, and women can and do get punished for not living up to gender stereotypes such as these.

    (There are articles on the web that explain how, for instance, women who do not live out or up to these gender stereotypes are less likely to receive promotions on the job, etc).

    As I have noticed, and as a book or two by Christian psychologists have noted, conservative churches take those beliefs and impose them upon girls and women in the church ten times more so.

    While secular culture by and large discourages women and girls from being assertive and having boundaries, churches insist upon these things 100 times more so! Churches uphold these rigid gender stereotypes even more than secular culture does.

    And, some churches (the gender com, conservative variety), insist that women and girls being sweet, passive, unassertive, always taking the lead from a male (and other such traits), are “biblical” values, and what God intends for women.

    If you read books about codependency by secular psychologists and even Christian ones, they will tell you how raising girls to be this way sets them up for abuse; raising girls this way makes girls and women easier to be taken advantage of by liars, cheaters, controllers, and manipulators.

    Further, churches, and Christians who promote complementarianism, are teaching girls and women that traits of codependency (e.g., be passive, be unassertive, lack boundaries, etc) is “biblical womanhood.”

    So, you have Christians who think it’s actually biblical and proper to raise girls and women to be easier targets to manipulate and abuse.

    I see that conservative theology tends to promote the codependency view (complementarianism) more so than egalitarian ones. The egalitarians and liberals generally outright reject these views on the genders.

    Like

  96. (Part 2)
    I said above,
    I think some people want to believe that conservative theology, “right belief,” or “right doctrine” somehow makes a person less susceptible or less prone to sin than a person who believes in liberal theology, but it does not.

    This is a very stubborn belief for some conservatives. I am a conservative, and I used to sort of be this way myself.

    However, in the past few years, I began noticing that a lot of conservative Christians mouth off loyalty to conservative theology and values, but many of them fail miserably in actually living out what they say they believe.

    Conservative Christians will say they morally oppose adultery, porn use, spousal abuse, and on and on, yet I keep running into conservative Christians who are guilty of these things, or I see them admitting to it on their forums, or, I keep seeing study after study that might say things like “80% of conservative evangelical preachers admit to being porn addicts.”

    Mark Driscoll is a very conservative preacher with ultra conservative theology. But almost everyone agrees that his views are sexist, vulgar, inappropriate, and that he is egotistical and a bully.

    Jack Schaap was preacher of a large IFB church. He was charged with repeatedly having sex with an under-age girl at his church and went to jail over that. There is a blog that has a long-running list of IFB preachers or church elders who have been arrested for child rape.

    Having conservative theology, or professing to agree with conservative theology, does not guarantee that a person will live a holy, godly, moral, loving life.

    I do think that liberal Christians, or emergents, or progressives or whatever label they use, have some very faulty understandings of certain topics and of the Bible in general, but I’m not seeing where having a more conservative outlook is making a big difference in how life is lived or how people are treated.

    I actually think conservative churches might be more dangerous, because the usual reaction by a lot of the conservative muckity-mucks is something like this, in almost every case of child molesting cover-up stories I’ve seen, or stories about other sorts of wrong doing:
    “Well, because this preacher has “correct doctrine,” because he’s opposed to homosexual marriage, because he is pro life on the abortion debate, because he believes the Bible is inerrant, we will let his known, continual child molestation slide.”

    Like

  97. A last post about this topic (part 3).

    I could go on about this. It’s a sore topic for me lately, when conservatives keep insisting that only liberal churches with liberal theology can produce on-going sin or whatever, because I have a friend who is very conservative, and we had a falling out about a month ago, and it pertained in part to this very subject.

    This friend, “Helen,” has known me over the internet for over 7 or 8 years, and I’ve been there for her, during her various personal crises. She knows I am a conservative.

    Over 3, 4 years ago, ‘Helen” told me in private correspondence that she hated God and is an atheist. I was supportive of her during all that.

    After about two years of that, she told me she decided she believes in God again.

    Cue my own personal doubts about God and the Christian faith after all that went down.
    When I started to doubt the faith a few years ago, and as my political views became less right wing (I am still conservative and right wing, but not as much as before), and I began sharing some of these thoughts in a private discussion board every so often over a two or three year period, this friend, “Helen,” out of the blue in December of 2014, ripped my head off over it.

    She started accusing me of being an atheist (I am not an atheist), she started accusing me of being a liberal Democrat (I am a right winger, was still Republican at that point, don’t know if I still am GOP or not).

    When I tried to explain to her some of my problems with the Christian faith after she went into her rage, she began yelling at me that I must have been brainwashed by liberals, that I sound just like a liberal, and she insisted several times over that only liberal theology leads to abuse and sin in the church.

    She told me I must have sought out liberal Christian sites, or ex Christian sites, to intentionally find reasons against the faith.

    I told her Helen needs to get a clue, that no, I have not turned atheist or liberal. I said my doubts actually increased more so after I visited conservative Christian sites looking for answers.

    From sites that appeared to be hosted by theologically moderate to conservative Christians (such as this one), is how I had my eyes opened that conservative churches or Christians who hold conservative theology can be just as big hypocritical, sinning dirt bags as any liberal believer or liberal church.

    As I said above, I actually think it’s easier for dirt bags, abusers, and creeps to get away with sin in conservative churches, because they can claim allegiance to believing in conservative theology, and gain protection from that.

    Also, in regards to sins against women specifically, some abusive me in conservative churches do get some sort of quasi-basis for abusing women in complementarian churches, since they appeal to cherry picked biblical verses about “wives submit to your husbands” type things to maintain they get to rule their wife with an iron fist. You cannot quite get away with that sort of defense or methodology in liberal churches or egalitarian ones.

    Liberal Tony Jones had to invent “spiritual marriage” in order to offer up a rationalization of adultery. There was no out and out Bible verses Jones could point to that says, “God is fine with a man cheating on his wife,” after all.

    Anyway, this conservative friend of mine, “Helen,” just dumped me after several years of friendship, basically. I really tried to be there for her over the years, too.

    When she had her doubts about God, I was supportive of her, I did not accuse her of being a liberal, nor did I scream at her and put her down, but that is how she treated me over my doubts.

    “Helen” is really insistent with me on the notion that abuse and sin only happens by liberal Christians in liberal Churches, or that it’s only liberal theology that leads to problems.

    I cannot get her to see that it’s just as bad among conservatives, and that conservative interpretations of the Bible and conservative teachings also lead to abuse, or are used to cover abuse and sin up.

    Ironically, I get the idea that Helen is not very familiar with the Bible. I suspect she hasn’t read it, or not much of it.

    I don’t think she realizes that some of the most theologically conservative religious men of Jesus’ day (the Pharisees) were reprimanded and corrected by Jesus quite often.

    Jesus said that the Pharisees did get some doctrinal beliefs correct, but they also got a lot wrong, and he said, in some cases, even the stuff they got right, they lived it out wrong, or treated people wrong in applying what they knew to be true.

    And that sounds like a lot of conservative, American churches I read about today. But my friend “Helen” wants to stay blind to all that.

    Like

  98. Bike Bubba said,

    “My anecdotes and hypotheses don’t mean much statistically– mainline was what I knew. In the same way, Daisy’s anecdotes and hypotheses speak about the world she knew.”

    It is not just the world I knew and grew up in, though that is part of it.

    I lived it out. My life turned out rotten, in part attributed to gender comp teachings. I was raised to live gender comp out, and I did sincerely for over two decades, and it caused me much harm. Gender comp does not work in reality, Bike, but it is harmful to women.

    After having visited lots of forums, groups, and blogs the last few years that are populated by other women from other churches and backgrounds, it’s not only one type of church or denomination that is problematic.

    But I do see a lot of women from conservative Protestant / Southern Baptist / evangelical churches who say they were abused by their conservative Protestant / Southern Baptist / evangelical husbands, and the common theme is that all these women say their churches / spouses adhered to gender complementarianism.

    Also, if you see my post above, I explained how secular researchers who cover and study domestic violence, sexism, and other such related issues, report that secular society conditions girls and women to accept abuse, under the very same teachings and opinions about gender roles that churches dole out under the “gender complementarian” view.

    Compare what Christian gender complementarians teach to girls/women to what secular culture teaches women about gender roles, as outlined and summarized in various books and studies, and both lists are near identical, and these very qualities is what sets women up to be more susceptible to being abused and targeted by abusers and manipulators.

    Like

  99. Daisy, I understand that side, but let’s be serious here; about a quarter of the population professes some degree of fundamental or evangelical faith, versus similar proportions who are Catholic or mainline Protestant. Your observations are not out of line with the general population numbers, especially in an area as messy as domestic violence. What would surprise me would be if we did NOT see a significant portion of allegations there.

    Not that anyone ought to rest easy in this regard, but it would simply be remarkable if “fundagelicals” as a group had their act together in such a way that would be immediately obvious to the untrained observer. I wish that were the case, but it is not.

    Like

  100. ” the doctrine of female submission trains women to endure abuse–with data. ”

    @ Bubba

    Female submission trained every woman and little girl in my family all the way back to my great grandmother to live in misery. I nearly killed myself over this very hurtful teaching, I felt like god was my pimp. It is sick that men want and need women and little girls to be submissive to them. I hated living like a sex slave, and me and my mother are not dogs! It is gross and beyond cruel to teach women and little girls to be submissive to men. Christian men need to stop being so selfish and get over themselves.

    This teaching caused me great vile unbearable pain, especially as a survivor of little girl rape! It is very hurtful. You have proved you have the heart of a complementarian. You selfishly ignore Daisy and my feelings, yes complementairian caused great pain to a sexually abused little girl, but so what. Complementarian gives men pleasure/power, and men’s pleasure/power trumps raped little girls.

    “Now….evidence. I’ve introduced a set of moderating hypotheses and data to support them. ”

    You sound like my father. Something tells me if there was evidence you would have some other excuse. You just do not care what the sex who has to live this demeaning hurtful life says.

    It hurts women, it hurts little girls, it very much hurts raped little girls, but it makes men feel so good, and that is what really matters.

    The complementairian men in my family mocked, belittle, and dismissed the feelings of women, and little girls.

    Liked by 1 person

  101. Daisy you and me have so much in common. Complementarian ruined my life and my mothers life.

    I am a girly girl, I love to cook, clean, and I wanted lots of kids, I wanted to be a stay at home mother. I just could not stand to have a husband, complementarians make marriage miserable. I would rather be dead then married to a Christian man.

    Liked by 1 person

  102. 100pinkapples, your pain, your anguish — so justly felt, so rightfully voiced — is so important. I hear you, and I sympathise with and understand you feeling hurt by BikeBubba’s call for evidence and statistics.

    That is one of the reasons why we eschew statistics at A Cry For Justice. In my experience, allowing debates about statistics on domestic abuse website allows too many victims to be exposed to assertions and hypotheses about statistics, rates of abuse, rates relative to gender of victim, rates relative to theological stream, and the BIG one for Christian websites: rates relative to comp versus egal.

    That kind of debate seems to bring out anger and pain too easily. People from both sides of the comp/egal controvsersy voice their opinions so firmly, and in some cases angrily, snidely, cantankerously, that it ends up being triggering for the survivors of abuse.

    I don’t mind Julie Anne having a different policy about what comments can canvass on her blog. 🙂 I just wanted to say this to you and others who may be feeling the way you are, so that you know your pain is heard and validated. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  103. Thanks, Barb. I couldn’t get the LCMS to come through my memory bank to save my life. The how to look it up portion wasn’t working either. Ugh!!.

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  104. Bike Bubba wrote

    MAY 4, 2015 @ 1:33 PM
    Daisy, I understand that side, but let’s be serious here; about a quarter of the population professes some degree of fundamental or evangelical faith, versus similar proportions who are Catholic or mainline Protestant. Your observations are not out of line with the general population numbers, especially in an area as messy as domestic violence. What would surprise me would be if we did NOT see a significant portion of allegations there.

    Not that anyone ought to rest easy in this regard, but it would simply be remarkable if “fundagelicals” as a group had their act together in such a way that would be immediately obvious to the untrained observer. I wish that were the case, but it is not.

    I lived gender comp out for over 20 years.

    Gender complementarianism does not work. It hurt me and held me back in life.

    And I was not physically abused because of gender comp like some other women are, I suffered other problems and set backs due to gender comp.

    What Christian gender complementarians teach is very similar to what Islam teaches about women and how women should behave, and what American secular culture teaches about women and how women should behave.

    Secular, American culture teaches women to have the same qualities that Christian gender complementarians do, but the term for what secular culture teaches to and about women would be “codependency.”

    Christian gender complementarianism, as taught by conservatives, Baptists, mainliners, Pentecostals, Reformed, fundamentalists, and whatever other Christian denominations and groups, is identical to codependency.

    Muslim groups such as “ISIS” do not use the word “complementarianism” to describe their views about women, but they hold the same presuppositions and attitudes about women, and what they think a woman’s role “should” be in society.

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  105. 100pinkapples said,

    MAY 4, 2015 @ 10:05 PM
    Daisy you and me have so much in common. Complementarian ruined my life and my mothers life.

    I am a girly girl, I love to cook, clean, and I wanted lots of kids, I wanted to be a stay at home mother. I just could not stand to have a husband, complementarians make marriage miserable. I would rather be dead then married to a Christian man.

    ((( hugs to you pink apples )))

    In some ways our experiences sound similar, but I can tell you have been through far, far worse than I did. And I am sorry for the abuse you endured.

    I will say, though, that I was more of a “tom boy” from youth onwards.

    I myself was not much of a girly girl, but my mom tried to get me to be one. She used to buy me feminine dolls to dress and play with, but I preferred Bat Man comic books and so on, things that were considered more for boys.

    I preferred wearing cut off jean shorts with T shirts, to wearing feminine dresses. (Still do, though in my late teens, I learned I can slap on the mascara, lip stick, high heels, and short skirts and play the sexy, feminine role, if I have to.)

    I have never married, therefore, I have never been physically abused by a spouse.
    I was not sexually molested by family members growing up or at any other point.

    Gender complementarianism (which is really nothing but a mixture of sexism and codependency) created other problems for me in life, however. It held me back.

    I don’t think Christians appreciate or recognize that gender complementarianism can negatively impact females, even at a young age, when they are single.

    Gender complementarianism views taught me to hold back in life.

    (Secular culture also teaches girls these same things gender comps do, but churches and some Christians pressure girls and women to be even more like this than secular culture. It’s a matter of degree, not difference.)

    Some of these teachings gender comps instill in women (and secular culture does this too):
    Girls and Women are supposed to be weak, passive, quiet, meek things, and defer to everyone, but especially to men.
    Females are not supposed to be opinionated, not supposed to rock the boat. Females are not supposed to be assertive, have boundaries, or stand up to people who are being rude or abusive.
    Females are never supposed to get their own needs met, or put their own needs first, but only to cater to other people.

    I usually did not pursue my dreams and goals in life as a teen girl or a woman, because gender comp (among other things) robbed me of my self esteem, and any notion that I should be brave and go after what I want in life.

    I was taught to sit about quietly, and just pray that God would act on my behalf (such as send me a spouse, which never happened).

    Along the way, due to these Christian gender complementarian teachings (and due to a few other factors I shall not mention but that overlap with this one), from my childhood into adulthood, I was targeted for bullying by other kids in school, by bosses on jobs….

    And once these bullies get a whiff that you are not going to fight back (because gender comps teach that good Christian girls never fight back), they come after you ten times harder.

    I didn’t have the self esteem back in my 20s to feel I was good enough to deserve a smart, accomplished, good looking man – and several flirted with me. But I turned them all down, because gender comp (and other factors) told me I was defective at my core, and if these men got to really know me, they wouldn’t like me anyhow and reject me.

    I could go on and on, but gender complementarianism played a role in a lot of the problems I had in life, and it created a few problems.

    I don’t know why that Bike Bubba guy in other threads wants to harp on precisely who damages women, liberal or conservative, and at what perecentage, or which denominations teach it, because gender comp damages all women, regardless of WHO is teaching it.

    Furhtermore, Christian gender complementarianism damages single, divorced, childless, and widowed women – not just married ones who have children.

    Gender comp also creates a lot of unnecessary issues and obstacles for girls and women… my life would have been more fun, fulfilled, and easier, had I realized at a younger age what absolute tripe gender comp is.

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  106. P.S. to my last post.
    I said,
    “I have never married, therefore, I have never been physically abused by a spouse.”

    Though I was engaged at one time. I was in a long term serious relationship with a man for several years, we were engaged.

    My ex fiance financially exploited me for years.
    I knew at the time my ex fiance was taking advantage of me (I eventually caught on), but Christian gender complemenatarian teachings tell women you should go through life allowing other people to exploit you.

    You’re supposed to put other people’s wants and needs above your own, even if they are hurting you.

    To stand up and say “No” to people who are exploiting you is said to be “selfish,” so gender comps tell women to go along with the abuse or exploitation.

    Jesus wants you to be made more godly by suffering and being a doormat for others is what they teach for women, and which I now realize is totally un-biblical and wrong.

    So there again is another example of how Christian gender complementarianism can hurt a woman who is NOT married.

    I was being exploited by my ex fiance. I was not married to him, but he was taking advantage of me, and I had been brain-washed by gender comp teachings to think that was my lot in life.

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  107. “Gender complementarianism (which is really nothing but a mixture of sexism and codependency)”

    I consider it, loser man needs a female slave that has been bullied and brainwashed to kiss his male bottom.

    “I don’t think Christians appreciate or recognize that gender complementarianism can negatively impact females, even at a young age, when they are single.”

    As someone who grew up in a family with preachers, the fact is, they just don’t care.

    They don’t care what women and little girls think, want, or how women and little girls feel. We are to kiss male bottom and make him happy, if it hurts us, so be it, if it hurts us it makes him feel all the better. Of course comp men will deny this because they are so self worshipping and selfish. They think god screwed up when he gave women and little girls voices.

    “because gender comp (and other factors) told me I was defective at my core”

    So true, I was dirt for being born female but the putrid man who sexually terrorized me as a little girl was marvelous because he was born a man. My rapist was taught to have pride for being born male and to feel superior to women and little girls, I was taught in comp land to hate my self and kiss male bottom. In comp land men could make me feel bad all they wanted, but I could never, never make those men feel bad.

    “because gender comp damages all women”

    It very much damages RAPED little girls.

    My rapist was a self worshipping misogynist, he loved the bible, the bible told him everything he wanted to know about men and women, men rule, women submit. He did not care how I felt, all he cared about was what made him feel good, and comp men are the same. Selfish, heartless, misogynist. They need their bottoms kissed, and how dare anyone try to take that away from them.

    “Gender comp also creates a lot of unnecessary issues and obstacles for girls and women… ”

    They don’t care and never will, it makes men feel good, and so what if it destroys raped little girls, or women. In comp land what my rapist wanted mattered because he was a man, what I wanted did not matter because I was a girl, created to serve men. Comp men make me sick.

    As a survivor of childhood indoctrinated comp, I have ISIS, the Taliban, men who own sex slaves, men who sexually torture little girls, and comp men in the same group.

    Selfish, heartless, misogynist who cant handle women and little girls escaping them, women and little girls being able to say, no! These groups of men have decided it is women and little girls jobs to feel bad to make MEN feel good.

    Comp men need nothing more then a whole pie, humble pie.

    I love you Daisy, I think you are very smart 😉

    Sorry for bad spelling and grammar, I am dyslexic.

    Liked by 1 person

  108. “evidence and statistics”

    My grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher, he did not believe in child abuse, he would mock, belittle, and condemn any one who talked about it.
    My ultra comp father thought rape victims were drama queens, and rape was something to get over fast. We were bullied to hate people who talked about abuse.
    People who hated abuse were god hating liberals.

    I could not say I was raped for nine years after it stopped, and it is much easier saying it on the internet then in person.

    My mother would never tell any one the things my father said and did to her, she has to protect his image and Christianity. He is dead and she still pretends he never did anything wrong.

    I don’t believe we well ever have statistics from abused Christian women and girls, because we are trained to keep our mouths shut and that the things done to us and said to us is our fault and not abuse.

    I feel very sorry for my mother, her parents did not love her and my father treated her like a little girl slave, but when I told my mother about my sexual abuse she got mad at me, she told me to keep my mouth shut about it, and get over it. My family is ultra conservative, hard core southern Baptist, in my family, all the way back to my great grandparents, a girl saying I was raped is much worse then a man raping a girl.

    Thank you Barbara for all you do and caring. People who care are the most attractive people in the world. You are a sweetie;)

    Liked by 1 person

  109. Anger issues that are on going, controlling or manipulative should be considered a problem right now. It only takes one time of anger to become a tragedy. I don’t know what the specifics are in the case of your “friend”, but if these anger issues are continual over years someone should step in. I don’t know if the BBC counselors are trained to handle abuse cases. Not many Christian counselors are trained well in abuse. The former husband was handed a book by one counselor, “Anger Management for Dummies”. That was real helpful!! NOT!!

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  110. Moderator note: This comment was in response to a comment that has now been removed by request. I am keeping the rest of Barb’s comment here (removing name reference) because her information is valuable in general. ~ja

    I think you need to become more informed about the dynamics of domestic abuse. It sounds to me like you believe ‘extreme’ = severe physical violence; and ‘anger’ is less extreme.

    I believe your concept of the spectrum of seriousness in domestic abuse is very flawed.

    For one thing, while severe physical violence is certainly one of the high risk factors (high risk for lethality of one or more of the parties), there are many other factors that contribute to heightened risk. Some of these are sexual violence, threats of suicide, attempts or history of suicidality, child sexual abuse, choking or strangling (even one incidence of this makes the risk very high).

    Secondly, while those things I mentioned above are all part of risk assessent for lethality, there is another way of looking at the spectrum of seriousness. Many abusers excercise intense abuse without ever touching their victims in anger (i.e. no physical violence) and without ever raising their voices in anger. Covert aggression is one of the biggest weapons of abusers. Covert aggresion takes many many forms: some of them are gaslighting, contemptuous facial expressions, the silent treatment, financial abuse, isolating the victim, spiritual abuse, sarcasm and mockery, creating chaos, changing the rules unpredictably, Jeckyll/Hyde switching, abuse disguised as a joke, lies, blame-shifiting, and manipulation. In all these tactics used by abusers, anger may not necessarily be overt or obvious.

    Furthermore, the victim may sometimes become angry because of the way she is being mistreated. That anger of the victim is justified. It is healthy. It is one way of showing that she is not content with being abused! It is one way of expressing justified grievances. Yeah, sometimes it may be rather raw and ill-judged in the way it is expressed. But it is not abusive anger, it is like the anger of the animal which is defending itself against a vicious predator.

    You posit ‘anger’ as a ‘lesser form’ of domestic abuse. You are wrong. Every expression of anger needs to be understood in context, by a respectful conversation which explores and eludicates the circumstances in which the anger was expressed.

    Only when we carefully explore the full context can we tell whether a given expression of anger was abusive anger, or whether it was righteous, justified, boundary-setting anger. And remember, when you have a discussion with an abuser, what he will tell you is mostly lies, and the ‘truths’ he tells you are likely to be only half truths — intentionally selected and edited to give you a false impression.

    Anger in and of itself is not a sin. Scritpure says, “Be angry and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26). That verse actually instructs us to be angry, so long as we take care not to express anger from evil motives or with evil intent, and we be mindful of not doing harm in the way we express our anger. The context and the intent of the person getting angry is what determines whether a given expression of anger was sinful or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  111. [Content removed by moderator]

    As to the reported efforts by Bethlehem Baptist Church to address domestic abuse, I say let us applaud. However, as to KirsieMarie’s attempt to silence all who are not members, I say so sorry, there is nothing BBC can do to avoid being judged in the court of public opinion.

    So far as I am concerned, as a member of the jury of the court of public opinion, BBC and it’s current leadership have the burden of actually demonstrating (mere words are insufficient) that they have renounced the misogyny that simply cannot be distilled out of the complementarian heresy of their former pastor, John Piper. This, of course, will require that the complementarian heresy itself be renounced and condemned, and that there be no discrimination insofar as the roles, including ministry roles, women are allowed to fill.

    Plus, I wonder just how appropriate it is to use the designation of former pastor where John Piper is concerned. My guess is that he is still very much involved.

    But, again, kudos to BBC if and to the extent they are actually endeavoring to address the evil of domestic abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  112. Actually, one thing Bethlehem Baptist could do to establish their bona fides vis a vis the evil of domestic abuse by “Christian” men (and sometimes women), is that they could bring Barbara Roberts in for a series of Sunday morning speaking engagements. The preachers could get out of the way and let someone speak who knows whereof they speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  113. Thanks for your thoughts here, Gary W — as always they give me a wider perspective.

    [Content removed by moderator]

    So, while I agree with you that it BBC (like any church) may be judged in the court of public opinion, I am concerned that victims of abuse not be additionally traumatized.

    And like you, Gary W, I am hoping that BBC will publicly renounce the dangerous doctrines which Piper has taught, and in that renunciation, that they specifically name Piper as a major proponent of those doctrines.

    Whether or not complementarianism per se is ‘heretical’ is perhaps a point which I might differ on with you, but I certainly believe that Piper’s extremely unbalanced and ludicrous teaching on male and female roles needs to be totally debunked and got rid of.

    BTW, just in case you’re wondering, I’m a ‘non’ when it comes to comp versus egal. I may not remain that way forever, but at this point in time I am not comfortable taking either position. I don’t find either camp satisfactory, as yet. And if I ever do arrive at a position, it will likely be on the cusp between the two. Which, in a certain sense, is not a position at all! Haha.

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  114. If BBC ever invited me to speak, I might well ask them to also get Jeff Crippen in too, so we could do a joint presentation. Not because I believe I have to do my ministry ‘under’ a man, but simply because Jeff and I are such close colleagues and we support each other and often complement each other. In our ministry at ACFJ, Jeff does some things better than me, and I do some things better than him. And the other members of our team, especially TWBTC (the woman behind the curtain) are vital to our ministry. And if BBC invited Jeff, I would hope they also pay the air fare for his wife, so she can come too.

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  115. Well, yes, of course. I do not wish to in any way diminish Pastor Crippen’s contribution. However, in the case of Piper’s church, if they wish to demonstrate to this member of the jury that they have renounced the complementarian heresy, they will be required to demonstrate their willingness to learn from a woman, alone, standing without so much of a hint of male-authority covering.

    As to my use of the term heresy, I include all that is inconsistent with Scripture. In that sense, we are all heretics. Perhaps some think the word heretic applies only to apostates. In my view, all apostates are heretics, but not all heretics are apostate. Organized church has often erred in deeming those with differing doctrinal views to be apostate, to be outside the faith.

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  116. @Gary,

    I have been putting resources about the comp doctrine/heresy under the Off-Topic Discussion tab at the top of the page, in case you want to read any further on the topic or watch Ron Pierce’s video.

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  117. Moderator note: Folks, I can only recall doing this one other time, and it, too, was to protect. I received two e-mails asking for comments to be removed. The commenters were from both sides of the fence. Because of this, and it seems that the intent is to protect victims, I am removing those comments and all the references to those comments. Thanks for your understanding. JA

    Liked by 1 person

  118. Maybe an intent to protect victims is really what was in play, but is it O.K. to note that the person who initially attempted to silence dissent with a string of, to my mind, slanderously accusatory Scriptures has had their way? They have managed the removal of a comment, however ill advised, that put John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church in a bad light. If this person was concerned about victims why didn’t they just say so, rather than using Scripture to condemn and accuse?

    Well, regardless of the motives of the Scripture quoting accuser (and I really do believe their primary purpose was to protect the reputation of Bethlehem Baptist), it is good that comments that might have heaped further injury on an abuser’s target have been removed.

    JA, I think I may be pushing some limits here, so I encourage you to delete this comment if you think it best. It’s just that I do not receive it well when people use Scripture to manipulate silence to protect institutional reputation. It is a form of spiritual abuse.

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  119. @Velour,

    Thank your for the link to the Ron Pierce video. I am about half way through it. I see that Dr. Pierce has co-edited a book, “Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy,” with Dr. Gordon Fee and one other. I was not previously familiar with Pierce, but if Fee is willing to be associated with him, then Pierce must surely be deserving of our receptive attention.

    Early in the video there is a chart of various views on gender. Do you know if this chart can be found in printable form on the Internet? Perhaps it is in the above-referenced book, which is now on my Amazon wish list.

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  120. Gary, I strongly disliked the use of scripture to silence, too. None of us will know whether the original comment was truthful (about BBC going overboard) from afar and so I defaulted to the “protect the victim” first mode. If the pendulum has swung too far, we will probably be hearing more about that.

    But at the same time, I’m also aware that anytime we are dealing with abusers, abusers will often make the claim that they are being victimized by the wife, church leaders, etc, and they will try to convince their friends that they are the victims.

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  121. Gary,
    Sorry I haven’t looked for the chart and I don’t know if it’s available online. I haven’t bought his book yet, as I only recently heard about this from a post someone did on Tim Fall’s blog.

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  122. Yes Gary, I agree that in the case Bethlehem Baptist and other churches that have followed Piper closely, if they wish to demonstrate that they have renounced complementarianism, they will be required to demonstrate their willingness to learn from a woman, alone, standing without so much of a hint of male-authority covering.

    And on further reflection, I realised that when I said I’d prefer to speak at BBC if they also invited Jeff Crippen to speak with me, I realise I said that partly out of fear. Fear of what the rear guard in the church might say or do to me should I be given a podium. A bit like the Christians in Damascus being afraid of Saul/Paul, after his conversion.

    And why would I feel afraid in such circumstances? Because there’s been a long history of Pharisaic male domination in the church, and I’ve been the victim of it at times.

    I was actually given a platform to speak last week at the Presbyterian College of Victoria. (that is the theological college/seminary for the Presbyterian Church of Victoria) It wasn’t the College putting the event on, it was Eltham Presbyterian Church, but they used the College venue. They were putting on a series of workshops on Singleness in the Church, and I was invited to speak about Divorce and Remarriage. I am still wondering whether my being given a microphone at the PCV went under the radar of the powerful people, or what. I don’t think it indicates that they are renouncing complementarianism. And it’s not like I was given a pulpit, only a platform. We all know the difference, I’m sure 😦

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  123. This is not really related to this post but kinda related to the comments being made. Also, I want to say I don’t like making always or never statements since they tend to be never true 🙂 …. and I am seeing a lot of them spanning throughout this thread. So the following is my personal experience and observations.

    First of all good for BBC for making “some” changes.

    I have a relative that is a counselor in a town relatively outside of the twin cities. In the town are two very large churches and a few much smaller churches. One is one of those churches that what he calls a Piper Church, Not sure if the Church is related to BBC or not but I know the lead Pastor liked Piper. The other is a large EV Free Church. He is a christian counselor and one day he told me 75% of his counseling cases came from the Piper church. I asked him why this is and what he said I found interesting. He is a PhD counselor btw. He said a lot of depressed people and angry people are drawn to black and white/all or nothing thinking churches. He went on to say the higher truth “language” comes off to these people as language they are attracted to. I found this very interesting!!!!

    I have to admit I personally get triggered when people use truth without grace in a kind of boundary violating way… but I also know in the case of abuse safety must come first!

    Thanks for taking on such a hard topic of Spiritual Church Abuse!

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  124. When I was in an abusive marriage, I didn’t go to my church. I called the police, and then I divorced him.

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  125. Pingback: 1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story | Spiritual Sounding Board

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