ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Biblical Manhood, Christian Marriage, Complementarianism, Desiring God, Domestic Violence, Gender Roles, John Piper, Marriage, Women and the Church

Are Complementarians Tough on Abuse?

Complementarianism, Desiring God, Domestic Abuse

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-by Kathi

Desiring God featured a guest article by Rebecca McLaughlin titled, “Complementarians Should Be Toughest on Abuse.” I appreciate Dr. McLaughlin’s words and I think her intent is honorable. She addresses pastors and men to call out abuse, warns Christians to not be naive about abusers, and emphasizes that abused women need support and assistance.

Because this article is posted by Desiring God, I want to address the author’s thoughts according to how John Piper addresses marriage and focus on dynamics within domestic abuse. Why John Piper? Because Desiring God was founded by Piper and he is considered the lead teacher for the site. Any guest posts should be compared to what Piper has set as precedent for the site.

1. God calls husbands to sacrificial love:

McLaughlin says:

Some summarize complementarian theology as “husbands lead, wives submit,” but this is not what the Bible says. God calls wives to submit (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1). But the primary command to husbands is not lead. It is love (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33; Colossians 3:19).

Her point does not fit the Desiring God narrative on complementarian relationships. John Piper defines headship and submission as:

Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christ-like, servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home.

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.

Let’s not forget Piper’s, “Should Women Be Police Officers?” :

On the other hand, husband and wife, very personal and, hence, the clear teaching of the New Testament that the man should give, give leadership in the home and she give glad partnership in supporting and helping that leadership uh come, come into its own.

There is no way to work around complementarian’s view of the husband as the leader, especially when the wife’s role is to honor, affirm, and support her husband’s leadership. The “primary command” may be to love, but he is definitely the leader.

2. Strength is for honoring, not control:

Why is McLaughlin solely focusing on physical strength?

From a biblical perspective, the relative physical strength of men is not a tool for power play, but a motivation for empathy and honor.

Physical strength is not the only tool used in abuse.  She neglects addressing how words and manipulation are used in verbal and emotional abuse. A man may never use physical strength against his wife, but is still able to show power and convey his strength through his words, intimidation, and manipulation.

Strength is important in the complementarian view of man. Piper’s definition of headship includes protection. He used the following illustration as a definition of manhood:

Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

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The article where Piper states this addresses women in combat roles. He opines how men are naturally not able to follow a woman’s direct orders. Why did he even need to address this? Is a complementarian man that afraid that his manhood is being compromised if he has a woman with some type of authority over him?

The driving force behind abuse is power and control. While abuse may happen in any type of marriage, complementarianism provides structure to a marriage which allows power and control to exist. As long as men and women are different in roles and responsibility, there will always be a power differential.

3. Spousal abuse is gospel-denying sin:

For the most part I like what McLaughlin is saying here. I think she could do without the “gospel-denying” bit. The gospel is about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Sin is sin. She does call pastors to hold abusers accountable and support victims.

**Side note: Is she teaching men here? Does McLaughlin writing  this article go against complementarian doctrine of the role of women in the church?

But what about the victim? How should she respond to her abuser? Let’s not forget John Piper’s words in 2009 (from video below):

If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.

 

**I will never stop referencing this video. I hope he is held accountable one day for his callous remarks about women affected by abuse.

Piper followed up with a post four years later to “clarify” his statement. His clarification only added bringing in civil authorities:

This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.

While he did state in this clarification post that abuse is wrong, he neglected to state that what he said was wrong. He continued to reiterate the view that women must submit, whether it be to civil or church authorities or to her husband. At what point do complementarians think that it is dangerous for a woman to submit? How many women continued to endure abuse because John Piper says that a wife’s role is to submit to her husband?

4. Jesus teaches vulnerability and protection:

From McLaughlin:

Due to its distortions and misuses, some believe complementarian theology must be abandoned to keep women safe. But imagine Paul and Peter had said nothing about wives. An unthoughtful pastor might use Jesus’s own words to justify sending a woman back into a dangerous situation. “Do not resist the one who is evil,” says our Lord. “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). In Christ, we all enter the world with a posture of vulnerability.

With this I reference back to unthougthful Piper and his words: “she endures perhaps being smacked one night.” Remember, he never said that he provided wrong advice.

5. You’re twice as safe with a Christian man:

In McLaughlin’s final thought she says:

No woman wants to acknowledge spousal abuse. Many will suffer in silence, while their husbands maintain a godly pretense. We need you to work with your wives and sisters in Christ to ensure that no one in your sphere is issuing scars or hiding them. We need you to be like Christ to your wives, and to be like Christ in your church, speaking up with courage, standing up for women, and hating abuse in all its forms. Twice as safe is not enough — let’s make women a hundred times safer with Christian men.

What I struggle with most about this article is that even though I think the author’s intent is to bring awareness about domestic abuse and accountability toward abusers, she holds on to the premise that a complementarian marriage should be the answer for abuse. The words are good, but the fact remains that there is a hierarchy in marriage and the church. Remember Piper’s definition of submission for a wife. The wife’s role is to “honor and affirm her husband’s leadership.” Why does she not have any autonomy on her own? The husband’s headship is to be the leader of the home. Why does the weight of this fall solely on the husband’s shoulders? Why can’t the two work as one?

Are there good, non-abusive complementarian marriages out there? Of course there are. And for those people I say, “I wish you well.” Even though the good exists doesn’t mean the bad marriages do not. It is for this reason that I have a problem with a non-essential gospel doctrine that enables power and control to an abusive spouse.

243 thoughts on “Are Complementarians Tough on Abuse?”

  1. KAS said,

    … why does she arbitararily take all the “submit” verses to be culturally bounds to the first century, only to assume without argument that 1 Pet 3.7 is for all time?…

    1. Why do complementarians do the opposite?

    See also:
    _Complementarianism, the Bible, and Identity Mapping_

    2. Christians in the 19th century used to use the Bible to defend white people owning black people – Christians now realize that the Bible mentioning slavery does not mean slavery was God’s intent, so nobody these days defends slavery, Bible or no.

    You’re doing the same with gender role views and the Bible that Christians of yester-year did with slavery and racism.

    The NT was written for a foreign culture of 2,000 years ago, trying to apply it like a rule book for all time for all people today for each and every situation is mistaken. It’s a very ignorant way of understanding the Bible and its purpose.

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  2. I’m always highly skeptical when a complementarian tells me they’ve widely read egalitarian (or other non-complementarian) works but only respond to actual quotes by egalitarian (or other non-comps) when those quotes are pasted directly into a comment thread, which KAS frequently does.

    KAS, do you even click on the links I provide and read the articles in full, or are you ONLY reading the blurbs I post to this blog?
    I get the feeling you only read the blurbs.

    I don’t think you have read egal / non-comp literature.

    I’ve had other comps pull this on me before, lying about it.

    Even to the point I mailed one complementarian friend a non-comp book that argued against comp, I suspected he did not read it, he later admitted to me that he LIED about reading it.
    (He initially told me he did read it, but when I called him out on i because I suspected he had not, he finally admitted he had not.)

    I used to be a complementarian. Complementarianism produced bad and dangerous fruit in my life.
    -That is one of THE biggest arguments against comp, one you can never, ever refute.

    My lived experience and bad experiences due to complementarianism will always trump and out-weigh your distorted interpretations of the Bible.

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  3. To return to the original topic:
    No, complementarians are NOT tough on abuse.

    I would guess that this woman’s church (mentioned below) is complementarian.

    Most comp churches will never give a woman permission to divorce, even in cases of abuse.

    (By the way, to the women in these marriages: you are an adult woman: you don’t need God’s permission, the Bible’s permission, a pastor or church’s permission to divorce, or do anything else!
    If you want to divorce your husband, then divorce him; it’s your life, it’s your right to choose for yourself; do what you believe is best and right for you! Your pastor telling you that you “must” stay married to the abuser you married is not the one who has to live with and put up with all the garbage from the abuser – you do.)

    _Church Kicked Woman Out For Divorcing Her Abusive Husband_

    Miles, author of the upcoming book, “I Am Rahab,” explained that she ended up marrying him [her high school boyfriend], but eventually took her husband’s abuse to their church.

    Miles feared for her safety – and her life – so she filed for divorce. Her church responded by kicking her out

    -and there are many, many more examples like that on the Christian domestic violence blog “A Cry for Justice,.”

    Further, some of the women on that blog leaving their testimonies say that their churches were Complementarian, and due to “permanency of marriage” and complementarian “male headship” and “wifely submission” views, etc, the churches punished the women from divorcing over abuse, or they told them not to divorce, etc.

    Complementarians are usually protective and defensive of abusive husbands but treat the husbands’ targets (their wives) as the guilty party! This is frequent, not irregular. So no, they are not “tough on abuse.”

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  4. _Identity Mapping _

    On Treating Modern Women as Ancient Greco-Roman Wives

    Snippets:

    <

    blockquote> by Roy E. Ciampa, Ph.D.

    One of the most unfortunate habits of biblical interpretation in the past several centuries, in my opinion, is that of assuming that the teachings of biblical texts are directly transferable to other cultures, including those that are quite different from those to which they were originally addressed.

    It is sometimes an unspoken assumption that “inspired” means “non-contextualized” and thus directly applicable to people of all times and cultures.

    This has had disastrous results for many marginalized people, including modern slaves, Jews and women.

    Of course, a crucial part of the problem is that modern readers are usually not fully aware of the extent to which their context differs from that being addressed by the biblical texts. One result of this lack of awareness is what I call the “mapping of identities.”

    The “mapping of identities” takes place when people or groups in the biblical text are identified with people or groups in the culture and context of the modern reader, with one identity being mapped onto another.

    This takes place, for instance, when modern readers directly apply labels for social or demographic groups (e.g., “Jews,” “slaves,” or “wives”) to people they believe fit those labels in their own society.

    They tend to assume cultural similarities between the group in the biblical world and those in their own world and tend to overlook crucial differences.

    This has played out with horrible consequences for Jews and slaves, among others, in the modern era, but the focus here will (naturally) be on the consequences for women.

    <

    blockquote> And that is merely the opening!

    Please click the link I provided (_Identity Mapping _) to read the rest of the page. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Interesting that “employees” are now identity mapped to “slaves”, which has very bad repercussions. I was an intern on a college project whose leader was a member of my denomination. Not only was he a micromanager from hell, but he told me that he was going to try and get the college to let me take a few credits of classes for free and provide housing for the next school year so that I could continue to work on the project. I couldn’t finish my college in one year, so I decided that it was worth taking a couple of classes while I worked on this project. However, what he didn’t tell me was that he had asked the school and they had said “NO”, so on the last day of the summer semester, after I had made arrangements to get a ride to a church camp (also the church camp he would have attended if he went to them) and back, he informed me that I would have to pay out of pocket for the classes and housing.

    I was pretty upset and since his pastor and a few of his leaders were at the camp, I asked to talk with them. Their response was basically, “well, he’s the boss.” He apparently had no obligation to inform me in a timely manner that instead of a financial arrangement that we had agreed on initially, I was going to be paying out of pocket to work on the team, money I did not have. Keep in mind that he probably knew this within weeks of me joining the team and chose to keep it under his hat for months – when I could have returned home and at least gotten minimum wage.

    So, I’m not surprised in the least when a wife/slave/inferior/whatever goes to the church to complain about abusive treatment at the hands of her husband that the comp response is…. “well, he’s the boss.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark said,

    I was an intern on a college project whose leader was a member of my denomination. Not only was he a micromanager from hell, but he told me that he was going to try and get the college to let me take a few credits of classes for free and provide housing for the next school year so that I could continue to work on the project.

    I’m very sorry about that.

    I was harassed badly over a couple of years by one lady boss. She was also a micro-manager-

    -which was bad enough but what really grated on my nerves is how she said in front of me one day, to another boss of mine,
    “Can you believe the new manager Mary down in the blah blah department? Her underlings hate her because she is such a micro-manager!”

    I sat there silent, but thinking, “Pot, meet the kettle. You too are a total micro- manger.”

    I’ve said several times over at TWW site that the dynamics between workplace bullying, school yard bullying, spiritual abuse / abuse at churches / complementarianism, and domestic violence are all quite similar (I’ve done a lot of reading on most of those topics).

    One similarity they all have:
    The victim almost always gets blamed for having been abused, while the perp, the abuser, gets off scot-free.

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  7. KAS said,

    … why does she arbitararily take all the “submit” verses to be culturally bounds to the first century, only to assume without argument that 1 Pet 3.7 is for all time?…

    The reason I came back t this blog today was to post the following.
    (Then I got side-tracked with the other thread about complementarianism. But here I am again.)

    I could be wrong, but I bet KAS doesn’t think all Christian women today should wear head-coverings, because the passages in the Bible that talk about head coverings are cultural, not timeless.

    Which brings me to this video I found by this pro- Head- Covering- complementarian kook on You Tube.

    This complementarian guy believes that Christian women today (just the married ones I think?) must wear head-coverings, because there is a NT verse that says something about women wearing head-coverings.

    Now, this guy’s video is called “Inconsistent Complementarianism” and he says in the video that he himself is a complementarianism.

    But he’s telling other complementarians if they don’t teach or believe that Christian women today should wear head-coverings, they are in error. LOL!

    He says too many complementarians view those head-covering passages as being culturally bound, but he’s trying to argue that they are timeless.

    By the way, he brings up how Paul references the “creation order” in Genesis to argue that some of these rules are timeless. If you look at the creation order itself, it does not teach stuff about male hierarchy…

    I think the big point is that non-comps are saying Paul was addressing problems in another culture, a different cultural context of whatever era and locale he was in – that he may or may not have pointed back to Genesis does not mean those particular teachings (meant to tackle whatever problem) was to be binding on all believers down through the ages.

    Anyhoo. I find it so, so funny that a complementarian guy is lecturing other complementarians that they’re not being consistent enough with their comp.

    BTW, to a point, I agree – most comps today are “soft” comps.

    While I deplore both soft and “hard” comp, at least the hard-liners are generally more consistent with application of their horrid sexist understandings of the Bible than soft comps.

    Assuming, again, that KAS doesn’t believe head-coverings are for all Christian women today, the guy in this video wants to correct you KAS – he says you’re not consistently interpreting the Bible, you’re making timeless directive cultural-bound, shame on you, he says:
    _Inconsistent Complementarianism_

    In this video we compare 1 Corinthians 11 with 1 Timothy 2 to show that both headcovering and male eldership are grounded in the creation order. We also show how Complementarians who hold to the cultural view of head covering inconsistently interpret these two Scriptures. We share our concern of how this undermines Biblical manhood and womanhood.

    Palette cleanser:
    _Primary Problems with Complementarianism_

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  8. Well, since the topic of 1Cor 11 and headcoverings just popped up, maybe its time to mention that the Apostle Paul was actually arguing AGAINST the whole concept of headcoverings when he wrote those famous words.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My question is…. If this is a creation ordinance, what head covering did Eve wear? Or, did the Bible lie that she was “naked and without shame”.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lea,

    I’m not familiar with newfrontiers, but this bit is just silly:

    I’m reminded of a funny poster I saw a few years ago (designed in a style similar to that used by Despair.com). I featured a picture of a guy in a Darth Vader costume, standing in the water just off the beach, and pouring sea water in between two pitchers. The caption read, “SENSE: This Picture Makes None.”

    Moving on to my point:

    When questioned on where women without children fit, Hannah Anderson informed us that, ‘Not every woman can be a mother, but every woman has a mother’ which she explained made all women embodied feminine creatures.

    Sense: This statement makes none. B)

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  11. which she explained made all women embodied feminine creatures

    Embodied: 1.be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling).

    feminine: 1.having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.

    creature: an animal, as distinct from a human being.

    I concur. Sense: This statement makes none. lol

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  12. Mark said For example, you simultaneously say that Jesus allows no exceptions for divorce, but then allow Paul to provide an exception. That’s contradictory.

    You don’t read what people write very well. What about the ‘exception clause’ that appears in the divorce sayings in Matthew’s gospel?

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  13. Daisy – I don’t think you have read egal / non-comp literature.

    I recently read a whole book on the subject by an egalitarian SA member. She has a lot to do with helping abused women.

    The bit on what the bible says about it was standard egalitarian fayre. Junia was female and was an apostle – no hint that is debatable, both as to gender, whether she was an apostle at all, and if so of what type. Kephale means origin or source rather than head. Fact. There are egalitarian scholars who do not believe this on account of the absence of evidence. Finally of course submission in marriage is mutual, iirc based on the partial quotation of one verse. Now she wasn’t engaging in a defence of these interpretations, but the sheer dogmatic belief with which they were held was indicative of a desire to believe what she wanted to believe.

    Why do you think that going to links you provide will simply determine this issue?

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  14. KAS, “You don’t read what people write very well.”

    I did read what you wrote, I don’t think inventing another means of salvation “the church” as a means of differentiating “pre-church” divorce from “post-church” divorce by which Paul can now add “post-church” exceptions to Jesus’s “pre-church” instruction.

    You seem to be claiming that desertion only became a justification for divorce because “unbelieving spouse” can only be defined post-Pentecost. It is then surprising to me that you can completely ignore all sorts of passages, like… “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” that were said before Pentecost. And, logically speaking, someone who did not believe in the gospel was “unbelieving” and if he was married to a believer, he was an “unbelieving spouse” – the same sort of person that Paul was giving instruction about.

    For all your claim of knowing the Bible, do you not understand that Hebrews (and, in fact, much of the New Testament) was written to first century Jews to explain the continuity between the Jewish faith and Christianity, and the parallels between the OT signs and ceremonies and their fulfillment in the NT? For example, we are children of Abraham, not because we are genetically Jewish, but because we, like him, are believers in Christ.

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  15. Just to resurrect the faulty logic:

    Hardly. Jesus did give the exception clause for immorality as a ground for divorce, but when he taught this the church didn’t yet exist.

    Once the church came into existence, post resurrection and post Pentecost, you then had the problem of believers being married to unbelievers – one converted and one not.

    So… somehow Jesus, speaking in the Holy Spirit about divorce, did not foresee the problem of believers marrying unbelievers (ahem, Abigail and Nabal), and forgot to add a second exception for divorce beyond his “[sexual] immorality” exception clause. And because it wasn’t until Pentecost that there was a possibility of believers intermarrying with unbelievers, it was okay for Paul to subsequently, and again, in the Holy Spirit, add an exception clause for “desertion by an unbelieving spouse”.

    And, Occam’s Razor, that is the most simple explanation for why it is okay to interpret Jesus’s teaching on divorce as binding for all without exception, but also logical for Paul to “add to Jesus’s commandment” an additional exception (while still rendering Jesus’s teaching binding for all without exception).

    Or… maybe Jesus wasn’t trying to speak absolutely?

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  16. Is there joy in male headship?

    According to the research of Jack and Judy Balswick at Fuller Theological Seminary and the findings of Prepare and Enrich, couples who share responsibility for decision-making are the happiest, whereas relationships that allow for partner dominance and avoidance are most likely to be abusive.

    Male rule fuels not human flourishing but human suffering. This is why most NGOs have incorporated gender equality into their long term goals. Gender equality is arguably the quickest path to ending the blight of disease, starvation, abuse, illiteracy, and war.

    This data evokes most clearly the teachings of Genesis. God created man and woman in God’s image for shared governance.

    The only “not good” in a perfect world was Adam’s aloneness—the absence of a strong and equal partner in Eve. Male rule is a consequence of sin and not part of God’s original design.

    Piper believes those who support male rule will be persecuted. He attributes the sufferings of complementarians to their righteousness. But not all who suffer, suffer because of their righteousness.

    Perhaps the marginalization of complementarians, which cannot be compared to the sufferings of women abused by these teachings, points to the growing acceptance of better interpretations of Scripture and a pushback against complementarian ideas.

    Source

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  17. KAS said

    Why do you think that going to links you provide will simply determine this issue?

    The information I am pointing to is more thoughtful than the complementarian cliches and contradictory atitudes you offer.

    The links I provide may help someone else.

    I also don’t want to reinvent the wheel – others out there have already refuted your comp arguments, so why should I re-build what they have already done?

    You also continue to brush off the real-life ramifications comp has had on my life, or on Christianity Hurt’s life.
    Even complementarianism practiced the way you think it should be results in harm.

    Repeatedly quoting at me or othres, “but if a man loves his wife the way headship says he must, there won’t be abuse!,” is problematic on several levels.

    In such a marriage, the couple is usually comp in name only and are living an egalitarian marriage, which makes comp male headship a moot point.

    Secondly, my father was a comp who did NOT hit or rape my comp mother BUT his (and her parenting) under comp type guidelines pushed me to become codependent, which hindered my over my life and left me an easy mark for abusers and manipulators.

    I really wish you would get lost, KAS. You do nothing to help heal the men and women on this blog who have been spiritually abused or hurt by complementarianism.

    I really think JA should have blocked you months ago. I do recognize it’s her blog to run as she sees fit, but your presence here is not, I believe, in accord with one of the purposes of this blog (helping people recover from spiritual wounds and related issues).
    I also now feel this way about a certain other individual who keeps posting here – her motivations for posting here are now suspect to me. (I don’t think she posts here to help hurting people.)

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  18. Mark said,

    So… somehow Jesus, speaking in the Holy Spirit about divorce, did not foresee the problem of believers marrying unbelievers (ahem, Abigail and Nabal), and forgot to add a second exception for divorce beyond his “[sexual] immorality” exception clause.

    Speaking of which.

    The Christian “equally yoked” rule for marriage is unnecessarily keeping a lot of Christian singles who want to get married single over a lifetime.

    This blog post by an atheist makes a billion times more sense on this topic than anything Christians have to say about marriage to non-believers:
    _The One Thing Evangelical Leaders Don’t Want Christians to Know about Mixed-Faith Marriages_

    If my choices were between marrying a condescending, un-compassionate, sexist, judgmental person – such as KAS (who claims to be a Christian) – and a loving, sweet, supportive man who identifies as atheist (or Hindu or whatever), I’d rather go with the Non-Christian guy every time.

    And, why would anyone want to care what KAS, or any other Christian, has to say about their opinion about what the Bible says about divorce or re-marriage, and live their lives according to those opinions, which may be very wrong?

    I left this link in another thread on this blog a few days ago, because some poor Christian guy is saying he’s trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage, but he doesn’t feel he has a “biblical” right to divorce the wife and/or remarry should he leave her.

    And I think he believes that way at least due in part to indoctrination he’s heard over his life from various pastors and Christian authors he’s listened to.

    I wrote this partly for that guy, and for Christians like him:
    _Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?_

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  19. P.S.
    KAS said,

    Why do you think that going to links you provide will simply determine this issue?

    I’ve also noticed that KAS does not deal with the links I provide. So why is he complaining about them?

    The only time KAS has has bothered to respond to any information I provide (on about two occasions) is when I pasted in excerpts from the links to this blog.

    But is he actually clicking on and reading any of the pages I’ve linked to? I don’t get the feeling he has.

    _Identity Mapping – On Treating Modern Women as Ancient Greco-Roman Wives_

    One of the most unfortunate habits of biblical interpretation in the past several centuries, in my opinion, is that of assuming that the teachings of biblical texts are directly transferable to other cultures, including those that are quite different from those to which they were originally addressed.

    It is sometimes an unspoken assumption that “inspired” means “non-contextualized” and thus directly applicable to people of all times and cultures.

    This has had disastrous results for many marginalized people, including modern slaves, Jews and women.

    Like

  20. If my choices were between marrying a condescending, un-compassionate, sexist, judgmental person – such as KAS …

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Like

  21. Daisy – thank you for you best wishes about the weekend. It’s over now, but was good apart from the on-going heatwave. I did my 1 hours keep fit cycle tour in about 38°C a couple of days ago!

    Hope you had a good weekend as well.

    I think there are two pieces of unintended humour going on here. Your reply above almost sounds like I should reflect on marrying you …. which I know is not what you meant. Would cause ripples round here though, wouldn’t it!

    The other unintended humour was you statement a condescending, un-compassionate, sexist, judgmental person – such as KAS. You are doing the very thing – judging – that you accuse me of! No, I wasn’t angry but I was amused.

    I’ve had this before in discussions with atheists and gays who trot out all sorts of clichéed derogatory adjectives about religious people in general and evangelicals (“fundamentalists”) in particular. I then gather them up and reply with the same colourful epithets but ending with the words ‘I wish these bigotted etc etc etc religious people wouldn’t be so judgmental. Add a smiley or two, and they usually give you a like for pointing out they are doing the very same thing they criticise religious people for, but hadn’t realised. (You may or may not be surprised how often double standards apply in this regard.)

    Incidentally, when I said elsewhere about you or any one else ‘wanting the benefit of my wisdom on coping with being single’, you do know I was being ironic, don’t you? This is not something someone who has never experienced can say much, if anything, about, but the same is true of singles discussing the practicalities of marriage. A bit like a maiden aunt holding forth on how to bring up children. I have some experience of this(!), and it is not as though you can give children orders and they will obey. Doesn’t work like that, if only it were that simple. Mine would blow a raspberry at me if I tried it!

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  22. Kas seems to think single people can have no opinion on what might make marriage not work despite reading stories and books and witnessing failed and successful marriages in life and being in relationships ourselves…

    However he feels free to state that he knows comp cannot be bad for a woman despite having never been a woman. Funny that.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. @ Lea

    As if someone has to try being married to Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, or Harvey Weinstein before they can know for sure they would hate it.

    Like

  24. Yes.

    My point is one does not have to literally be married to entitled, selfish, perverts like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, or Harvey Weinstein to know it would be no good.

    Or be married to entitled, selfish, misogynist such as Islamist or complementarians to know it would be no good.

    These groups of men are not really into the idea that women have the right to say no to sex. They are all entitled.

    Like

  25. Lea said

    Kas seems to think single people can have no opinion on what might make marriage not work despite reading stories and books and witnessing failed and successful marriages in life and being in relationships ourselves…

    However he feels free to state that he knows comp cannot be bad for a woman despite having never been a woman. Funny that.

    Someone brought to my attention the other day a Tweet by a complementarian guy whose name escapes me at the moment.

    He made a Tweet that read something like (I don’t recall off hand the exact wording),

    Male Headship is not demeaning to women (or women should not find it demeaning). Male headship is clearly biblical.

    I left him a polite response.

    I don’t remember how I worded it, but I essentially told him it’s really quite presumptuous or arrogant for him, a man, to tell women what they can or cannot or should or should not find “demeaning.”

    Another guy below him in that thread left a similar remark.

    I left a polite response to that guy telling him it’s easy for him to say that, since he’s a man and is therefore not bound to the same longer list of insulting restrictions to his life choices, interests, or pursuits based on his biological sex alone, as Christian women are under complementarianism.

    I really do not appreciate MEN lecturing me, a woman, on how I should view their awful sexist doctrine.

    Like

  26. Another observation.

    Lea said

    Kas seems to think single people can have no opinion on what might make marriage not work despite reading stories and books and witnessing failed and successful marriages in life and being in relationships ourselves…

    However he feels free to state that he knows comp cannot be bad for a woman despite having never been a woman. Funny that.

    And in spite of having sat through 50 billion pro-complementarian marriage sermons by complementarian pastors over my life, from the time I was a child.

    And in spite of the fact that most of those lame-o, gross sermons are prefaced with comments by the pastor such as –

    “Now, you may think this marriage sermon is non-applicable to you, singles, but it is not! Because you will one day need the information in this sermons for YOUR future marriage”

    I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but a few years ago, when I started leaving comments about this on various blogs, etc, how I’m over 35 and still not married so that these endless streams of marriage sermons are irrelevant, stupid, etc,

    …some of these pastors started giving this preface to their complementarian marriage sermons:

    “Now, you may think this marriage sermon is non-applicable to you, singles, but it is not! Because you will one day need the information in this sermons for YOUR future marriage, or, you can apply my sermon’s principles to your relationships in your workplace or with your friends.”

    I brought some of this up before. I asked KAS, are you saying all these complementarian marriage sermons we single adults are subjected to over our lives, starting when we were kids, were meaningless?

    if single adults cannot learn anything about marriage from marriage sermons, why should singles bother listening to them?

    Also, (sorry to be a broken record, but), I was in a long term, serious relationship with a dude, we were engaged for the last few years… so I have a pretty good idea what marriage is like.

    I used to lurk at the “married people forum” at one big Christian discussion board, and the things I would read about marriage. It was very educating.

    Sometimes, one thing that puts me off to marriage, by the way, is reading what Christian married people have to say about their marriages, how awful marriage is, how un-fulfilling.

    And of course the testimonies by all the Christian women who talk about their abusive (almost always complementarian) Christian marriages on web sites such as “A Cry For Justice.”

    I’ve also read scores of marriage articles and books, many by complementarian Christian authors.

    I watched the marriages of my sister fall apart, and I’ve watched my brother struggle in his marriage.

    Like

  27. I said,

    I don’t remember how I worded it, but I essentially told him it’s really quite presumptuous or arrogant for him, a man, to tell women what they can or cannot or should or should not find “demeaning.”

    To clarify:
    I meant in the context of these gender role / complementarian discussions.

    (It’s somewhat like a white KKK member telling a black person why the black person should not find the KKK itself, white hooded robes, or burning crosses on their front lawns demeaning.)

    Like

  28. “Now, you may think this marriage sermon is non-applicable to you, singles, but it is not! Because you will one day need the information in this sermons for YOUR future marriage”

    This is pretty much verbatim what they said at Gateway last time I was there.

    Like

  29. Lea said,

    This is pretty much verbatim what they said at Gateway last time I was there.

    At least, off hand, I’ve only personally been subjected to “one-off” marriage sermons when visiting churches in – person, but, some churches go one step worse (so I’ve heard other singles discuss) in that some churches have a weeks-long marriage series!

    Some churches will have sermons that feature marriage for four or more weeks.

    There is a certain TV preacher who I have tuned in to watch every week for I don’t know how many years now (I sometimes immediately flip the channel right after he announces the sermon topic for that episode, sometimes I stay and watch)…

    And I swear about 90% of this guy’s sermons are about MARRIAGE. How to have a better marriage. How to have healthier arguments with your spouse. Etc. etc.

    Would any married person want to sit through four weeks worth of singles-only-related sermons? Probably not.

    But 99% of Christians expect single adults to find this junk useful or edifying.

    Like

  30. “Male Headship is not demeaning to women (or women should not find it demeaning).”

    Ariel Castro, Phillip Garrido, and men like them believe in male headship also. All men deserve to have at least one trapped woman who can’t tell him no to sex, can’t hurt his feelings, and can never cut him out of her life.

    Male headship helped convince me the bible was not written by any good smart God and was written by unwanted, loser, bottom of the barrel men for unwanted, loser, bottom of the barrel men.

    The attractive cool guys in books and movies are always confident, independent, and can take no for an answer. Men who do not need comp and would feel like the dumb jerks they are for trying to peddle it.

    The obnoxious men in books and movies are needy, obnoxious, harass, won’t leave the girl alone, and will not take no for an answer. Men who need comp and want to condemn women for not agreeing to be their self-hating slaves.

    Like

  31. KAS, “This is not something someone who has never experienced can say much, if anything, about, but the same is true of singles discussing the practicalities of marriage.”

    Yet you hold the marital advice of Jesus and Paul, men who are single, to be absolute. So, obviously singleness is not in and of itself a disqualification to you of giving marital advice, but simply something that you hypocritically and arbitrarily wave over the heads of the people you want to silence. And, I presume the single youth pastor is also qualified to give dating and relationship advice having not been married, etc.

    And, yes, I had stupid ideas about marriage and children when I was single and childless, but that could have been as much being young and naive. In fact, much of my stupidity of marriage and children was due to taking the sermons and teachings of my comp. church as the gospel truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. _Is a Husband Supposed to be in Charge of His Wife?_

    Snippet:

    … This may be nowhere more evident than in the assumptions we make about the non-literal meaning of the word “head” (kephalē in Greek). We read that a husband is the head of his wife and Christ is the head of the church, and we assume the point is that those two guys are in charge of their brides.

    We instinctively do this because that’s what the metaphor would mean in English. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the figurative meaning for head in this type of expression as “the person in charge of something; a director or leader.”[1] The same holds true for numerous other languages, including Latin, Hebrew, Spanish and German.

    But that’s not necessarily the case with Greek. In fact, one old but significant study states that “in normal Greek usage, classical or contemporary, kephalē does not signify ‘head’ in the sense of ruler, or chieftain, of a community.”[2]

    This is why Greek lexicons that focus on how kephalē was used before the New Testament was written do not contain a single meaning that implies leader or authority.

    Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon lists “forty-eight English equivalents of figurative meanings of kephalē,” yet not one that implies “leader, authority, first or supreme.”[3]

    It’s also why the Jewish scribes who translated the Old Testament into the Greek version Paul would have been familiar with avoided kephalē like the plague when the Hebrew ro’sh (head) meant “ruler” or “leader.”[4]

    And it’s not because they weren’t familiar with the word. Of 239 cases where ro’sh refers to a literal head, translators used kephalē 226 times. Of the 180 occurrences where ro’sh is used figuratively of a leader or ruler, however, they only used kephalē about 12 times.[5]

    Like

  33. KAS said,

    “This is not something someone who has never experienced can say much, if anything, about, but the same is true of singles discussing the practicalities of marriage.”

    Well, well, well, well.
    About this link below I am copying.

    I was in a serious, committed relationship for several years, the last few we were engaged to be married. Here’s a bit of a run down of what I went through with my ex:

    This relationship I had with this guy involved me spending overnights at the ex’s apartments or homes he lived in while we were together.

    This relationship involved things such as my ex financially exploiting me, not paying me back, being horrible or lazy about budgeting, paying his bills late then coming to me to loan him money to pay all his bills and/or just the huge late fees.

    My ex kept choosing his mother over me, even when she treated me like garbage for no reason (this would be back when I was 99.9% codependent and did not have self esteem, so I sure did not pick fights with her.)

    This involved him keeping a messy, sloppy kitchen, with a huge build up of dirty dishes in the sink (on days I was not there, he was all alone), and him brushing crumbs off his counter on to the floor so that the floor in his kitchen by the counters was gross.

    I would constantly ask him to clean this stuff up. I usually ended up cleaning up his mess at his homes because he would not do it, and I do not want to live in filth.

    This involved many stupid fights over many stupid things, like me wanting to stay in and order pizza and him insisting, no, we get in a car and drive to a Tex Mex restaurant.

    I could go on with other examples.

    All of that will become relevant in a moment.

    Here is the link:
    _25 Tweets We Definitely Don’t Need To Explain To Married People
    _

    Example tweet from that page:

    Words I could either be saying to my dog or my husband:
    You ate ALL of that?!?

    Yeah. When I was a kid and my big brother was a teen, he would inhale an entire bag of “family size” potato chips in one sitting.

    This one:

    My wife bought a rice cooker today. I guess we’re going to eat a ton of rice over the next few days and then never again.

    Yeah, when I was a college student, someone gave my Mom a “curly fry” maker.

    She used it exactly once and never again. She ended up stuffing it in some hard- to- reach cabinet in the kitchen with all the other rarely- used cooking stuff.

    (I love curly fries and always secretly hoped my Mom would drag it out and make more, but alas, it was not to be.)

    by some other guy on the page:

    I loaded the dishwasher my way and ran it and the world didn’t end and everything was fine.

    Just kidding.
    My wife found out and now we’re in counseling.

    Oh that would totally be my father. His way is the only correct way of cleaning dishes by hand in the sink or stacking dishes in the washer – or doing anything else in life.

    As a never-married person, I related to most of those 25 married people tweets listed on that page, because I went through the same (or similar) scenarios with my ex fiance.

    Hells bells, I even went through some of the same (or similar) situations listed on that “married people’s tweets” page with siblings, co-workers, and platonic friends of mine.

    I do not think being married is so incredibly mysterious and alien to un-married people that we don’t “get it.” We do.

    Like

  34. Mark – So, obviously singleness is not in and of itself a disqualification to you of giving marital advice, but simply something that you hypocritically and arbitrarily wave over the heads of the people you want to silence

    The teachings of Jesus and Paul are in inspired scripture, having their origin in God. So of course they are wiser than the wisdom of men. The creator knows his design for the creature.

    There is a reason why, as a rule, teaching elders ought to be married.

    I’m not trying to silence anyone. Single people, by definition, cannot know about the practicalities of marriage, that is, what it is like actually being married, any more than married men can tell a woman who wanted to marry and has not found a spouse how to cope with this, especially when the chance of children has passed. I have some idea of this from my own sister, but I have never had to deal with it for myself.

    Is it really necessary to make such an issue of this?

    Like

  35. KAS, “There is a reason why, as a rule, teaching elders ought to be married.”

    And old.

    “The teachings of Jesus and Paul are in inspired scripture, having their origin in God.”

    Sure, but do you really think that God would put a person that everyone should reject out of hand and make them an inspired teacher? For example, what Jesus said his entire life was inspired, but it wasn’t until he was ~30 years old that he began his public ministry. He chose disciples for himself because no one could dispute his status as a Rabbi having disciples. In the same manner, Paul, who was presumably a member of the Sanhedrin, had impeccable qualifications which gave him access to synagogues everywhere.

    I think our problem is that we lay hands too hastily on men who check the seminary box – and this partly due to a complete misunderstanding how the ministerial gifts in Paul and Jesus were developed.

    That said, dismissing a person’s words out-of-hand simply because they have not experienced something is well demonstrated to be fallacious. Does someone need to be an addict to speak towards addiction? Does someone need to be promiscuous to talk to promiscuity? Does someone need to be abusive to speak towards abuse? Does someone need to be aged to talk to the issues of age?

    Fallacious again meaning that you choose repeatedly to evade dealing with the argument and instead attempt to disqualify the person.

    Like

  36. KAS said,

    I’m not trying to silence anyone. Single people, by definition, cannot know about the practicalities of marriage, that is, what it is like actually being married, any more than married men can tell a woman who wanted to marry and has not found a spouse how to cope with this, especially when the chance of children has passed. I have some idea of this from my own sister, but I have never had to deal with it for myself.

    My response:
    _Single People Understand Marriage Better than Married People Understand Singleness_

    Like

  37. Not only are the majority of complementarians not “tough on abuse,” but they often make abuse worse by keeping women stuck in abusive marriages, and one way they do this is tell them that divorce is sinful and wrong, even in cases of abuse!

    _Divorce is never mentioned in lists of sins or vices in any New Testament letter_

    Here is just but a small quote from that page:

    Paul’s words on divorce in 1 Corinthians 7 apply to a spouse or couple who have renounced sex (1 Cor. 7:10-16; cf. 7:39f).[4] It doesn’t make sense to apply his words to the situation of a spouse who wants to leave an abusive marriage.

    Abuse is an acceptable reason for leaving a spouse. Physical abuse and neglect were acceptable reasons for divorce in ancient Israelite society (e.g., Exod. 21:10-11). They were practically a given, which is perhaps one reason why the Bible barely mentions abuse as a reason for divorce.

    I’d also like to add: abuse is not just physical: it can also be verbal, emotional, sexual, relational, and financial, and none of it is acceptable.

    Like

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