Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Verbal Abuse, Domestic Abuse
Lori shared an excerpt from the book, “Liberated Through Submission: God’s Design for Freedom in All Relationships” by P.B. Wilson. The author discusses whether or not physical abuse is the same as verbal abuse. Some sample quotes Lori offers from P.B. Wilson’s book include:
So many times a person who is verbally abusive comes from a contemptuous background. Such destructive behavior requires prayerful, serious attention and help. In this case, you may be the help your husband needs. When a person sends out hate and it is met with love, there’s no contest.
When we go against our emotions and will and submit to God’s Word, we can trust that God will intervene with a verbally abusive person in His own time. He will make things right. What is our guarantee? Three little words: “Love never fails.”
God’s Word has called us to submit to Him in many areas that are offensive to our mind and flesh. What person in his right mind would want to love his enemies or pray for those who despitefully use him? Yet God calls His children to do just that. Verbal abuse is nothing new to God. His Word equips the believer for handling verbal assaults, with such instructions as, “Return blessing for insults,” and “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
And look at it this way: Missionaries depart every day for heathen nations with a mission to take these territories for Christ. You have been given the blessed privilege of being a missionary, and you don’t even have to get a passport, pack or leave home!
I’m baffled at how the author can call verbal abuse “destructive,” yet not seem to take the behavior seriously. Again, Lori seems to think that the Bible can solve all domestic abuse issues. She has no training or understanding of how trauma affects people and offers meaningless advice of, “love never fails,” “God will make things right,” and “you are blessed to change your husband.”
She continues this kind of meaningless advice on her Facebook page where she tells a woman who is being verbally abused by her husband to read the Bible and walk away to another room and pray.
What Lori, as well as the quoted author, fails to see is that verbal abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse. Because of the strong correlation between the two, you cannot downplay the effects of verbal abuse on a victim. There may be physical elements to verbal abuse such as: finger pointing, fist banging, throwing objects, kicking objects, threatening destruction of property, or threatening to harm loved ones or pets.
Abuse of any kind is a traumatic experience. Studies such as ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are beginning to focus on how trauma affects the body. Bessel Van Der Kolk discussed physical symptoms of trauma such as verbal abuse:
Somatic symptoms for which no clear physical basis can be found are ubiquitous in traumatized children and adults. They can include chronic back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, digestive problems, spastic colon/irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, and some forms of asthma.“The Body Keeps the Score,” pg 100
Experts are also beginning to understand the correlation of verbal and emotional abuse and PTSD:
The experience of constant put-downs, criticisms or whatever other forms the emotional abuse takes, not only wears down self-esteem but also impacts the nervous system in the same way a physical trauma would. What’s more, memories of the abuse can elicit negative feelings, intense physical sensations along with negative thoughts about oneself long after the abuse has occurred.
Verbal abuse needs to be taken as seriously as physical abuse. Just because you can’t see the effects of verbal abuse doesn’t mean that it’s not as damaging.
*If you are in an abusive relationship and need assistance, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit online from a safe location.
52 thoughts on “Lori Alexander Shares Thoughts on Verbal Abuse”
Greetings! Yesterday and again this morning my browser is giving me a warning and it will not open up your page. Have you received feedback from others with the same issue? Can’t read your posts. ~~ Beverley ~~
I held out for 25 years that God would “make things right.” Until the day my counselor (a pastor who counsels as a side job) said, “God IS all powerful and can do anything he wants. But he’ll never change a person against their own will.” That was a huge turning point for me … it wasn’t because I didn’t pray enough, or “submit” properly, or wasn’t patient enough.
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The way this is shared /quoted is confusing.
War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength.
I don’t think God ever says that he will change someone’s behavior. ‘Love never fails’ is a terrible scripture to use here. There is nothing loving about abuse.
“Love never fails”. Hmmm. It fails every time God loves someone and that person rejects him. It failed when Judas betrayed Jesus. So, we have to understand that these prooftexts need to be understood in context.
I think that some women are called to be missionaries to their difficult husbands, just as some Christians are called to be missionaries elsewhere, but I don’t think God gives those sorts of gifts to all people.
When I look at Jesus as an example, he did not submit to abuse. When the Pharisees challenged him, he answered back. He stood up against their abuse of others and corrected them when they were wrong. I doubt that is Lori’s advice for wives.
In the broader context, the authoritarian church is all about belittling regular members so that the leaders can feel good about themselves and have more power. I can see the toll the steady stream of abusive sermons takes on all when they are told repeatedly that they are worthless and unloveable, and just like “love never fails”, there are many, many verses that can be used out of context to beat people down.
I don’t know that I believe any woman is ‘called’ to that. She may choose it, however, as many choose to be missionaries. That doesn’t mean it should be the norm. And Jesus said he stood at the door and knocked, he didn’t move in for life and hope for the best.
I know you don’t mean to do this mark, but I had to see ‘difficult husband’ used in this context because it is so often used to minimize. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with someone, day after day, who called me names and treated me as these men seem to treat their wives. I fully believe God does not expect us to put up with that, if we have any choice.
Women like Abigail, Deborah, and Jael do not fit that model. They spoke the truth and did not submit to wickedness.
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Elizabeth D – Those were wise words. I hope you’re in a better place now.
Yes, definitely, Kathi, and thanks for your kind words. While I knew that verbal/emotional and spiritual and financial abuses were wrong and I did what I could to resist them (and try to set a decent example for my daughters), my steadfast hope had been that God would deliver me by changing my spouse. When I realized this wasn’t going to happen – not because of God’s inability, but because of my spouse’s willfulness – I was able to comprehend that he might deliver me via a different route.
Several months or maybe a year later, my spouse threatened me via text. I was able to recognize my deliverance and within a few hours took measures to keep my youngest daughter (the only one still living at home) from going home that afternoon, reported it to law enforcement, had him removed from my home, and went completely no contact with almost no drama, cold turkey, that day. The only time I’ve spoken to him in the past 4 years was a few necessary words at our oldest daughter’s wedding rehearsal and reception.
So yes, I’m in a far better place than where I spent a chunk of my life. I’ve maintained very close relationships with my 3 young adult daughters, and while they’ve been affected by the malfunction they endured with me, they are all fabulous people who have not been defeated by it. Unlike many in similar situations, I also still have my home, my dignity, my livelihood, and respect in my church and community. SO much to be thankful for!
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Beverley, I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. I had to make 2 phone calls yesterday to the host company. Hopefully it is resolved now.
CJ, can you please be more specific?
Yet again, Serena Joy lectures the Handmaids.
Elizabeth D: That is such wonderful news. Not that you suffered for so many years, but that you were able to cut him off from your life so effectively and calmly.
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Do any of the Biblical principles quoted in Loris post actually specify that the person being verbally abused, the one whose love is never to fail, whose soft answers are to turn away wrath, yadda yadda, is in a relationship with the abuser? I could be mistaken, but I don’t think so. No one is required to be married to the enemy they are to love and do good to… are they? Those things can be done at a safe distance. Right?
Lori in the comments and in her full article tells women that it isn’t ok to divorce because of emotional/verbal abuse. She also has a video on her YouTube channel saying women shouldn’t divorce their husband over porn use and that it isn’t biblical grounds for divorce because it isn’t a physical act. She is very twisted in her advice and I hope that young naive women don’t follow it and end up being victims of murder because their abusive husband finally snapped.
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Lori and P. B. Wilson showing once again the cruel futility of legalism regarding marriage :
“What person in his right mind would want to love his enemies or pray for those who despitefully use him? Yet God calls His children to do just that..”
So, your verbally abusive spouse is your enemy. [True!] An enemy who despitefully uses you. [True!] Yet at the same time they will claim that your marriage to your verbally abusive spouse is a beautiful picture of Christ (the husband) and his bride (the church), and that’s why you can’t divorce him. Because the marriage is a sacred picture…of a vicious enemy and his bride (following their stupid logic through to the end…)
So which is it? God says to love and pray for our enemies, period. He doesn’t say stay married to an enemy who is out to crush your soul and destroy you.
And about verbal abuse…
Physical abuse is using something physical (fists, choking, kicks, objects, weapons etc.) to batter and injure or kill the physical body of another person.
Verbal abuse is using something non-physical (name-calling, insults, mocking, humiliation, constant criticism, threats, lies, screaming, rage, etc.) to batter and injure or kill the non-physical part of another person (their spirit, soul, mind, emotions, conscience, honor, hopes, dreams etc.).
In my personal experience and opinion, verbal abuse is a pervasive and chronic occurrence in all abusive relationships. It is the primary and most effective means all abusers have to subdue their victims…and not be detected by outsiders. Physical abuse is used selectively on occasion by some abusers as an enforcement to the verbal (psychological) abuse, usually it the abuser thinks they can batter and get away with it, or if they want revenge against a resisting victim.
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I’m glad Song of Joy mentioned that constant criticism is one form of Verbal Abuse.
I think a lot of people think that Verbal Abuse consists of the obvious – loud screaming, profanity, and name-calling, but it comes in more subtle, quiet forms that are equally harmful to a person.
This book on the topic is pretty good, and its author defines and categorizes the different types of verbal abuse:
_The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans_
I experienced, (and sometimes still experience), minimal to moderate verbal abuse by my father and my sister.
I was also subjected to it by a few co-workers and one boss on one full time job I had.
So, verbal abuse is not just a marriage thing, it can happen in other relationships in your life.
I think it’s good to read up on it so you can spot it when it happens to you, and you can prepare in advance for how to handle it if it happens.
^(I know that may sound strange to people who have healthy self esteem and who have boundaries, but for people like me –
– we weren’t taught in childhood in our families of origin how to deal with abuse, and we were discouraged at a young age from having boundaries we were taught to silently put up with verbal abuse, as though verbal abuse is normal and fine.)
Agree completely with you Daisy, verbal abuse can happen in other relationships… and constant criticism, finding fault, disapproval, attitude of superiority etc. is a super sneaky and diabolical way to erode another person’s spirit.
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Okay, let’s use the missionary parallel. When Jesus sent the disciples out as “missionaries” they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on when rejected. The apostle Paul didn’t stick around when beaten or abused… he moved on to the next place. Even Jesus went on to a different location when rejected in one place. So it would follow that the abused spouse would also have the liberty to shake the dust off and move on when the love that has been offered is consistently rejected.
As mentioned earlier, people have a free will, and even prayers and “missionary efforts” are not a guarantee that an abusive marriage will suddenly turn around and become wonderful.
BTW the only love that never fails is God’s love… and even though his love is perfect, not everyone responds to it. The “never failing” part doesn’t mean that every person is changed by it. They still have a choice to make.
Daisy quoted, “I think it’s good to read up on it (verbal abuse) so you can spot it when it happens to you, and you can prepare in advance for how to handle it if it happens.” Yes.
Song of Joy, thank-you also for the inclusion of “constant criticism” in the definition of verbal abuse.
So what happens when the so called c’hristian spouse says, “You shouldn’t be reading all of those “secular” books about abuse because they draw you away from Christ. You should only be reading the Bible to get help.” And then the verbally/emotionally abusive spouse goes on to say that we are called to be “peacemakers” in getting along with others. Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” And Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.”
How can the spouse who is abusive on a constant basis (as in every day), with all of that verbal and emotional trash hurled at their target victim, turn around say “we are called to be peacemakers?” Just craziness.
How many abusive spouses consider themselves “peacemakers?”
This is sad to admit, but I have learned more helpful and healthful information from the so called “secular resources” on all forms of abuse, than I have from the “c’hurch.”
Why is that so?
Yes! Excellent commentary regarding the truth of the Scriptures. So glad you mentioned those accounts!
I wanted to offer a minor correction or clarification of what I typed above:
I meant to put the word “also” in there somewhere but just did not do so – I guess I forgot or something.
I mean, I do believe that verbal abuse DOES in fact come in overt forms, such as screaming, name calling, etc, but I was just trying to say that in addition to the overt forms, it can also be more quiet and subtle.
In my family, my father and my sister are the chief verbal abusers.
So far as my father goes, he rarely yelled and screamed at me.
His form of verbal / emotional abuse was more low-key.
He was (and kind of remains) a constant critical type, always nit picking at you, criticizing all your choices.
He has rarely raised his voice at me over the years. He doesn’t really scream or use profanity or anything like that.
But he’s a super negative guy on a constant basis, he with-holds praise, never has been supportive of me or my choice, shows no interest in my life, hobbies, etc.
But even when done quietly and calmly, a steady drip of unrelenting criticism, put downs, and negativity can wear a person’s self confidence down to zero. That is what happened to me.
I think the book by Patricia Evans discusses some of that and provides examples.
Anyway, I do believe that verbal abuse can in fact be loud, obvious, and consist of name calling, etc, but from the way I worded it above, I made it sound as though I was excluding that form, which was not my intent.
I just meant to say that it can ALSO be quiet and subtle and not contain yelling, raised voices, profanity, etc.
Song of Joy said,
Yes, what you mention there – constant criticism, forever fault finding, etc, was the sort of verbal abuse I got growing up, mostly from my father.
It absolutely crushes and kills your self confidence, motivation, etc.
I’ve tried for the first time in years discussing some of this with my father, but he gets super defensive if I bring it up, he goes into denial.
He does not want to take ownership of his hyper critical nature (which comes out as low key verbal abuse), and how it’s screwed me over from my youth and impacts me into my adult years.
He has never understood why I have so much anxiety, self doubt, afraid to try new things, to talk to people, etc, but his very method of parenting (the negativity / verbal abuse) is one of the prime reasons I have those issues to start with. He doesn’t see it, or he refuses to see it.
I’m not sure why that is so, but that is true for me also.
I have been helped more so from secular books than I have from a life time of Christian (specifically Southern Baptist) upbringing and from reading the Bible, or from reading magazine articles and books by Christian authors.
I find that a lot of Christian teaching actually hinders healing and it keeps you trapped in whatever problem you have.
For many years, I had clinical depression, suicidal ideation, and I still have anxiety (with the occasional panic attack), and the Christian faith – prayer, the sermons I heard, Bible reading, going to church, and all the rest – never put a dent in any of that.
As a matter of fact, most church teaching I heard or read supported the underlying beliefs that were keeping me stuck in a lot of that stuff.
(continued in part 2)
(part 2, reply to Katy continued – Re: secular resources more helpful than most Christian ones)
I find that most secular authors are interested in helping you remove whatever problem you are dealing with, where-as many (conservative / evangelical) authors are more interested in victim blaming you and cramming their biblical interpretations down your throat than they are in getting you helped and healed. It’s rather perverse.
Further, even when I was still very devout as a Christian, I found the manner of writing by Christian authors off putting.
Almost every third sentence in a book by a Christian author is usually backed up with ten Bible verses, because the author wants you to know that his or her ideas are “biblical.” I actually find that very distracting.
Not all Christian authors to that, but a lot of them do so. The secular books, however, don’t reference Bible verses every four sentences. They are plain spoken and just get to offering you possible solutions.
They aren’t interested in saying the reason you are having a problem is because you lack faith, don’t tithe, or don’t pray enough.
Secular works are not interested in giving you theology lessons or trying to offer religious reasons behind every issue you are struggling with, which I find so refreshing.
By the way, as someone who’s had a life time of low self confidence, I don’t need or want another Christian author telling me in a book on depression (or whatever topic) that the reason I am messed up (supposedly) is because I’m a lowly sinner worm before God, God finds me annoying, and all my problems are always my fault no matter what, I must be sinning in some fashion, and that is why my life is in a shambles.
I already approach my life with the mindset I’m a lowly horrible, no-good, worthless worm, I sure don’t need a book author reminding me of it. It doesn’t make whatever problem I have go away. It’s impractical.
Most Christian books on abuse will be sexist (they’re usually complementarian in nature) – they always assume a woman is to blame for abuse, and if she’s being abused, they further assume it’s up to the woman to change the man and to get him to stop the abuse.
However, most of the secular works I’ve read on abuse don’t pin the blame on the woman target.
They put it squarely on the abuser (where it belongs), and they usually offer practical tips on how to actually react in an abusive situation, instead of the feel-good, fluffy, non-helpful, vague advice from Christians to just “pray and submit more” and “trust the Lord” type stuff.
A lot of Christians are ignorant about abuse dynamics, and that shows in their books on the subject.
Katy: “This is sad to admit, but I have learned more helpful and healthful information from the so called “secular resources” on all forms of abuse, than I have from the “c’hurch.”
Why is that so?”
Zoe: Secular resources don’t start with Genesis 1:1. You aren’t an “Eve.” You weren’t born into “sin.” You weren’t deceived by a serpent in a paradise garden. They don’t keep you grovelling at the foot of the cross like Christian abusers do while twisting scriptures to suit their purpose and dress up as “peacemakers.” 😦
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THANK-YOU ZOE. WOW, just WOW! What an insight into the revealing truth of the institutional evangelical c’hristian (?) c’hurch (Nicolaitan) system.
I have never heard such revealing truths regarding the “faith.” So then, if self professing “leaders” who are degreed or un-degreed within the visible c’hurch complex, cannot make the rest of us lowly sheep believe that we are figurative and literal worms, crawling around the ground to serve their “felt needs,” whether physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual in this life, pointing out our “sin” at every turn (meanwhile the secret sins of their own lives and households are legion…..and I speak LEGION), they are not:
1) peaching the “god” of their pseudo-Bibles
2) preaching and teaching a jesus that bears no likeness, witness and testimony to the literal Jesus or our Holy Scriptures
3) hiding their true motives in the form of oppressing the saints for the own worship of themselves, their own monetary pocketbooks with complete benefit packages to live cushy lives after they “retire,” and worse yet…….destroy the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.
Oh, how Jesus must be weeping over His sheep, who have had their freedom, liberty, and joy in Him, stolen by the thieves/wolves who have come in His Name to kill, destroy, then pillage the simple faith that He was brutally murdered for….and yet,
was RESURRECTED so that we may live with Him in Heaven.
Zoe, I do not know where you are at in your faith, and that is your business; and I have to say that some of the most amazing truths, ministry, and love, come from those who see the state of the church more clearly, than those of us who have sat under indoctrinating, manipulating, guilt ridden, haters of people/souls, narcissistic, misogynistic, selfish, self righteous, judgmental and unrepentant titled and entitled p’astor men for years and years.
Thank-you so much, for adding honest “staple food” to the plate here, so to speak.
You “get it,” and I love that about you. It has taken me much, much longer to digest all of the abuse and injustice from a “Christian” perspective, and frankly, it has upset me gut flora to no end.
There is a time to heal, and I will rejoice and still be glad in Him, Jesus.
Funny how the job title of ‘shepherd’ was looked down upon in Jesus’ day, by the upper classmen/clans men. They were regarded as the lowliest folks around and I can but imagine how the religious and non-religious souls mocked, scorned, and literally hated those wild and crazy shepherds in the outback, watching and caring over their flocks day and night.
Then Jesus is born, lived His life as a carpenter working with His Hands, was hated by the religious and loved by the lowly who believed only in Him, was crucified, died, was buried, then rose again to a glorious new Life so that we, too are offered that glorious life that is too come in Heaven…….
And He, Jesus, the Living Christ, is called our “GOOD SHEPHERD.” The stark irony of worthless shepherds in Jesus’ day, according to the religious folks, and then to be called our Good Shepherd today…….it totally makes so much sense to me now.
Jesus’ Way/Ways are the complete opposite of the organized 501. c 3 c’hurches, organizations, and that of the “leadership paradigm.”
Just a rejoicing today in the midst of healing and it is so wonderful to be able to smile and laugh, and have joy again after the pain/loss/suffering of a sweet, kind, and loving nephew.
You folks are so super great here. Love you, Zoe.
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I’ve seen what happens on the receiving end, both from the inside and outside.
I grew up in an environment of “Constant Criticism, Finding Fault, and Disapproval”, due to my parents’ expectations of a Kid Genius Son (i.e. Wesley Crusher crossed with Doogie Houser) and the constant psychological/verbal abuse of my narcissist/sociopath little brother (AKA “Sweet Little Angel of Light”). I’m a compulsive creative, and to this day I can only create when I’m utterly psychologically ALONE. Otherwise all the years of nonstop Teasing, Criticism, Teasing, Belittling, Teasing, Ridicule, and Teasing pages up in my mind and I freeze up.
And I know someone in Fandom — hottest writing talent I have ever run across — who had it far worse due to family and school abuse on top of low-end Aspergers. Hottest Raw Writing Talent I’ve seen in 30 years in Fandom and he’s too busy apologizing to everyone he meets for just existing to do much of anything else.
I don’t think I have genius-level I.Q., but I did come home from school and university with virtual straight-A report cards (with the occasional “B” in math), but that still did not garner me my Dad’s approval or praise.
My mother’s praise of any of my accomplishments was always so low-key it didn’t register.
My mother’s limp “that’s great, dear” type low-key praise when I showed her my gold trophies or straight-A report cards also manged to deflate my ego. She never seemed truly happy, proud of, or enthusiastic over any of my accomplishments.
Nobody in my family was every happy over my accomplishments – they’d either ignore them, downplay them, or insulted them/ mocked them. That can also kill a person’s ego.
In my family, I was the actual sweet angel of light – but I was the real deal, unlike your brother.
I was not faking being good and nice, nor was I evil or bad behind my parent’s backs only to act sweet to their faces.
My two older siblings hurt and stressed my parents quite often, they could misbehave, especially my sister (skipping classes, coming home drunk as teens from parties, etc.), so I went out of my way to be the “good” child in the family.
I thought THAT (being good, well behaved, etc, unlike my siblings) could earn my Dad’s praise and approval, but nope, it sure did not.
My brother is a smart dude, also a straight-A student while in school and college, but he would misbehave and sometimes talk back to our mother.
My sister as a teen failed most of her classes and didn’t try to hide her poor behavior as much.
I was bullied almost constantly at some of the schools I went to as a kid
I got verbal and physical abuse from different kids all day (and the teachers would not help me), then I’d come home to a father who engaged in sarcastic put-downs and other forms of mild to moderate verbal abuse at the dinner table. That sure didn’t help.
I got bullied at home AND at school (and later as an adult, at some professional office jobs I held – got it from bosses and co-workers).
Recurrent verbal abuse from people (whether from spouse, father, mother, friend, sibling, co-workers, etc), even the more mild forms, can destroy a person’s ego, self confidence, etc.
Zoe: Secular resources don’t start with Genesis 1:1.
If Genesis 1 v 1 is true, then secularism (as unbelief) is false. Faulty premise, faulty conclusions, a view of the world that suppresses the truth. Either the Christian or the secularist is living in a fantasy world.
You weren’t born into “sin.”
Jesus and his apostles were pretty clear that sin is the problem. The inborn tendency to do what is wrong and to love self rather than do what is right and love your neighbour. The bible’s diagnosis of the human condition rings true to me, secularism doesn’t. It’s too shallow.
They don’t keep you grovelling at the foot of the cross like Christian abusers do
I’m not quite sure who ‘they’ are, but grovelling in any form has been conspicuous by its absence in pretty well all churches and fellowships I have ever been in. The cross sets you free from grovelling. Puts right what is wrong.
As for the term ‘Christian abusers’, this like ‘Christian adulterers’ is a contradiction in terms. No-one pretends any gathered church is perfect (see the NT for examples), and things can go seriously wrong, but a lifestyle of continuous abusive behaviour counts someone out from being a Christian. The two just don’t go together even though there may be an outward religious façade. The apostles specifically exclude abuse.
… while twisting scriptures to suit their purpose and dress up as “peacemakers.”
There are indeed false brethren who twist (torture) the scriptures to their own destruction. In the end nobody ever gets away with anything, unless Christianity is false, in which case they mostly do.
This perverted use of scripture doesn’t mean there is no proper use of scripture, the truth setting you free (even from religious deception) and keeping you in a state of Christian liberty. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven. Provided you don’t submit to those who twist it. The scripture itself tells you how to differentiate the two.
Sadly, KAS, this is simply not true. The content of nearly almost article on this blog proves you wrong, and the comment threads contain countless stories of those who’ve been abused and hurt by people professing to be Christians. And if those unrepentant abusers claim to believe in Jesus, then it’s not my place to say they don’t. I would agree with you that their behaviour is inconsistent with their claims, but I can’t say categorically that they aren’t “real” Christians.
As much as I would dearly love to disassociate myself utterly from the likes of Lori and Ken Alexander, I can’t. The most that I can say is that I find their advice and attitudes unChristlike. But based on their faith claims, they are Christians. And based on their words and deeds, they are also ignorant and abusive.
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Way to flat out miss and dismiss zoes point kas!
Secular resources focus on a topic without dragging it through a in many cases misogynistic filter. That’s helpful. It’s also helpful to mention that many ‘secular’ sources come from people who do believe in god but are simply not writing a ‘christian’ book. I would much rather hear from someone who has done scholarship and real work in the field on most topics.
Until Lori’s husband calls her the b word and threatens to slam her against the wall for not doing the dishes EXACTLY the way HE wants them done in HIS home she should just keep her mouth shut on this subject.
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The Bible takes words — verbal attacks — very seriously.
Emotional or verbal abuse doesn’t leave a scar or broken bones. However, to claim this is not abuse, makes no sense biblically, legally, or morally.
The Bible says words are deadly and likens them to weapons of war (see below for examples).
In today’s justice system, words can land you in jail.
–Legal threats such as extortion (coercion) and blackmail are illegal.
–Financial abuse won’t give you a black eye, but it is illegal and can destroy a person. It is a crime.
–The emotional pain from a cruel mother, father, teacher, or spouse hurt much longer than a bruise.
–Verbal abuse of children or elders is a criminal offense.
–Malicious harassment (making threats) is a crime.
All of these do damage, and some of it is more devastating and longer lasting than physical injury.
The Bible Says Words Inflict Wounds and Damage—
–Cruel words are like stabbing someone with a sword thrusts – Proverbs 12:18
–A lie is like a war club, sword, or arrow – Proverbs 25:18
–Life and death are in the power of the tongue – Proverbs 18:21
–Words defile a person more than physical things, such as food – Matt 15:10-11
When you look at the Bible, you see that words are just as serious to God as fists.
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I did find a very small number of Christian-penned books/articles on some topics helpful, but most, no.
Most Christian materials are victim-blaming.
Most Christian resources are obsessed with blaming the sufferer for his or her own pain, as though you’re being punished by God with depression, cancer, or whatever issue, because you’re not sufficiently pious enough.
If you would just pray more, the Bible more, or attend church more, or were “truly saved” you would not be having problem X. None of that helps.
Most Christian self-help material is written by the modern day equivalent to Job’s comforters – remember them, from the book of Job?
They sat there and said, ‘Job, the reason you’re in all these troubles is because you sinned in some way.’
Secular sources (and the rare Christian one), don’t get into any of that.
They just get straight to giving you possible, workable solutions to your problem(s). Those sources aren’t interested in prescribing spiritual causes or solutions, but are more into doling out real world advice that can or might work.
Some of the Nouthetic Counseling (biblical counseling) content I’ve seen online flat out declares they are NOT interested in actually helping get you healed of whatever your problem is.
The Nouthetic Counselor type of Christians state up front they just want to sit there and take a “sin inventory” on you then beat you up over your sins, mistakes, and shortcomings. (Reminds me of Scientology.)
KAS does love his “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
KAS pulls this on Complementarian threads, where he’s denied that True Complementarians can and do sometimes abuse their wives and engage in other immoral behavior.
Sometimes Christians can and do sin – including committing adultery, otherwise, the New Testament would not contain instructions to the churches on how to “deal with a brother” who was caught in sin…
Nor would we see admonishments and warnings to make sure of your salvation, or people saying,
“But Lord did we not do blah blah in your name,” and Christ says, “get away from me I never knew you” (notice that those speaking to Christ sure as heck considered themselves to be believers).
Skip along to the ACFJ blog to see the many Christian women there who offer testimony after testimony on how their true believer, true Christian husbands abused them, and how their True Christian Pastors and True Christian Churches told them they must stay trapped in their abusive marriages, because allegedly, divorce is always a great big no-no, even in cases of abuse.
Then there are all the news stories of True Christians – some who work as preachers – who commit adultery, get arrested for looking at or distributing child pr0n, soliciting prostitutes, and let us not forget the True Christians who think “wife swapping” and “swinging” is A-OK.
_Swinging towards God! Body-building Christian couple spread the word about religion via their WIFE-SWAPPING network_
And… I’m just as annoyed by Atheists who pull this trick.
Many times I’ve lurked on theological debate forums and when the theist mentions that “Such and Such” a dictator was godless and this godlessness may have played a role in why Dictator X committed genocide, and immediately, several atheists rush in to bring up the “No True Atheist” fallacy, or the “Atheist Would Never Ever Play a Role in Why a Dictator Would Do Thus and So”.
Apparently, I am to believe that all atheists every where are angelic and have never committed a wrong, or that atheism is never at play in any of these stories.
Every group contains its share of bad apples. That would include self-professing Christians.
See, this gets into one of my several problems with the Christian faith the last few years.
KAS presents himself as this very legalistic, serious Christian, who is probably very “pro sola scriptura,” or he’d say he believes the Bible, and he probably takes the Bible very literally, interprets it in a very conservative manner….
And yet many of the freaks and abusers Julie Anne blogs about here such as Lori Alexander, look at the same Bible that KAS does, and I’m sure Lori Alexaner, John Piper et al, also are very “pro sola scriptura,” they also take the Bible seriously, they would say they respect the Bible very much, and they obviously interpret and apply the Bible in a very conservative manner.
Lori Alexander (and some of the other fruit cakes Julie Anne blogs about here) has the same views and interpretative methods of the Bible as KAS does…
Yet KAS at times disagrees, or claims to disagree with, her views, or claims to disagree with Piper.
KAS, Piper, Swanson, Alexander, and the rest are all looking at the same Bible, and using the same interpretative methods, yet at times, disagreeing with one another on this or that subject.
How do the KAS’ of the world reconcile that?
Doesn’t that same Bible also say something about (or it implies) that ultimately all truth or knowledge comes from God, even the knowledge that atheists use to make toast in their toasters or to change their deflated tires?
I got a crown put on my tooth a couple of years ago.
I can’t tell you what religious beliefs, if any, my dentist held, because I did not care and did not ask him. (I still don’t care what they were.)
My dentist may have been an atheist, Jew, Druid, or New Ager for all I care.
So long as the dude attended dentist school, paid attention, made good grades, passed his dental certification, and was competent, that was all I cared about when he approached me with the big, long needle to numb my gums and remove half my tooth.
Christians do not have a monopoly or corner on intelligence, knowledge, or competence.
I got more out of secular books and internet articles on mental health topics than I ever got from 99% of Christian penned materials on the same topics.
SKIJ – the comment threads contain countless stories of those who’ve been abused and hurt by people professing to be Christians. And if those unrepentant abusers claim to believe in Jesus, then it’s not my place to say they don’t.
There is no disagreement over the first sentence, and I said above things can go seriously wrong, something clearly detailed in the NT, which is totally honest in its depiction of the early church.
Where I differ from you is that professing to be a Christian is not enough. Just as there is a minimal amount of Christian doctrine to be believed to be a genuine Christian, I would contend there is a minimal amount of behaviour as well. The Corinthian church was pretty messed up, but Paul still addressed them as saints, so I think we need to be careful of setting the bar too high.
On the other hand, if outright abusers claim to be Christians, we have every right to discern and doubt the credibility of this. It’s vital to the health of the church. If it were done more often, there would be less need for this blog! A hypocrite is an actor, someone pretending to be someone they are not.
I knew as night follows day Daisy would bring up the no true Scotsman fallacy. Contrary to this, I think evangelicals (for example) have a right to define who is and who is not in their particular constituency, and behaviour is one way of doing this. The NT warns us of false brethren, those who pervert the grace of God, those who are devoid of the Spirit, who depart from the faith, who have the outward form but not the inward power, who are ‘not of us’.
No-one demands sinless perfection to be counted as a genuine believer, but a lifetime of abuse or immorality or financial greed etc etc will not end in ‘well done good and faithful servant’ (faithful?!!), but rather ‘depart from me you cursed I never knew you’.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, …holding the form of religion/godliness but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.
For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, ….
I hadn’t particularly noticed the word abusive in the list until very recently, and I think you have to admit the apostle here is very up-to-date with the current church scene. It’s all listed.
My dentist may have been an atheist, Jew, Druid, or New Ager for all I care.
Lea I would much rather hear from someone who has done scholarship and real work in the field on most topics.
When Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth, I take this to mean the truth about God. He doesn’t lead us, nor do the scriptures, into other non-religious truths, that isn’t intention. There is no such thing as ‘Christian maths’, for example.
When it comes to things like psychology or sociology, there may be a reasonably scientific core to these, but also a lot of hogwash. What I call psychobabble. These disciplines also touch on human behaviour, and in this regard the bible does have something to say, something to reveal about the human condition. I’m not one of those who would dismiss everything in psychology or sociology out of hand, but I would treat them with a great deal of caution, and indeed scepticism.
There is an immense amount of mutual contradiction in the world of psychology. Doesn’t bode well for this being based on an objective foundation.
What the bible says on human behaviour needs to be taken seriously by the Christian, and it is something that ‘secular’ disciplines are not going to find. Divine revelation will be completely missing. So will human sinfulness and the fall of man. In fact they can be in direct opposition to Christianity in their conclusions. If you read Freud, for example, you will see this. Jung arguably more so.
That is why a warning light goes on when people quote secular sources as though, when it comes to human behaviour, they can trump the bible, where the bible is specific.
Which do you prefer – the sermon on the mount of the archetypes of the collective unconscious? .-)
And you come to this conclusion, KAS, from your extensive research in the field or from reading ‘Christian’ books about how it’s all hogwash?
I mean. Honestly. The bible isn’t the DSM. The DSM is revised as we obtain new knowledge on topics, as is true in other areas of medicine.
If you want to say you base your morals off the bible, fine. But it’s not a psychology textbook and it will not tell you everything there is to know.
Well, I hope so. After all, you did commit the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. You had to expect someone to call you out on it.
Yes, but we aren’t the ones to make this determination. Jesus will. Only He can look into people’s hearts to see whether they truly trust in Him, whatever misdeeds they’ve committed.
In the meantime, I think it’s more useful to refer to such professing believers as “bad Christians” rather than trying to say that they aren’t Christians at all. Otherwise, we’re putting ourselves into the same position as 9Marks, imagining that we “hold the keys” and have the authority to declare Who’s In and Who’s Out of heaven. Which to me sounds like the worst kind of hubris.
And can you cite any sources, or offer any concrete evidence to back up this very vague and wide-ranging claim?
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For anyone deeply traumatized or depressed, I imagine that the last thing that person needs is to be told how sinful and displeasing to God his or her actions are. Guilt is typically not the sort of thing that helps to lift people out of depression.
Let me ask you this, KAS: If modern, secular psychology is so self-contradictory and contrary to The Truth, then why was it capable of helping Daisy out of her depression, when the typical “biblical” techniques (such as prayer and Bible reading) couldn’t help her?
I was married to an emotionally and verbally abusive(among other abuses) man for nearly 20 years. I took all of Lori’s advice – not from her, but from a plethora of other sources just like her – to heart. I prayed, I met the abuse with love, and do you know what changed? Time and me. Two things I learned: you cannot change another person, so her advice that you will change your spouse is dead wrong and all of that advice is just a weapon in the abuser’s arsenal. A truly abusive person will just use all of that submission against you.
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You are so correct, Ruth, the whole comment! Thank you for sharing
Ruth – Your words are very wise. Thank you!
” A truly abusive person will just use all of that submission against you.”
My mother was the most submissive human being that ever existed. She lived like a @ss kissing child slave and every year my father became more disgusting, more selfish, more perverted, more abusive. I wish I never knew Mr. self-important comp boy.
I wish my mother had loved herself enough and loved her trapped miserable innocent child enough to divorce my scumbag father. But, no! In Christianity women and children always come last and everything is rigged so self-worshipping perverted childish men get everything they want at the expense of trapped miserable women and children.
The wifely submission teaching ruined my childhood. Ruined my poor mother’s WHOLE life. And it is so perverted and sexually sadistic to me. After growing up complementarian I saw it is as huge red neon sign that there is no god and Christianity was made up by selfish loser unattractive males, basically incels.
All this abusive misogynistic perversion that comps advocate. Sexually abused daughters/little girls see and hear this. It makes us have more toxic pain. Telling a woman to kiss her husbands’ @ss is demeaning degrading sexually sadistic and abusive. Being repeatedly sexually abused as a little girl is really awful. You wouldn’t think anything could make it worse. Well, something can; misogyny/complementarian.
The things my father did to my mother, and the things he said to my mother, and the things he said about my mother to me as a little girl made me sick. And I was already sick with the grossness of sexual abuse. After growing up in the kind of family Lori advocates for I believe Christianity is fake and evil. Her god is no better than a pimp who locks the sex slave in a room with her rapist and tells her she has to kiss his @ss.
Lori Alexander is a pervert! She is catering to the Arial Castros of the world.
Hi Ruth. It’s gendered, but people used to say ‘you can’t change a man’. You are right, you can’t change another person – they only change if they want to. It’s baffling to me to see this kind of crazy advice where being quiet and not making waves is thought to be a way to change someone who doesn’t care to change themselves. It is advice destined to fail. Sad that people are peddling it because they believe divorce is a bigger evil than abuse. Wrong.
I will reaffirm Kathy’s comment in agreeing that you are, indeed, a wise, wise woman. All too often, the “change” is a fake veneer designed to increase the abuse in the form of a sly and cunning increased entitlement, even using the name of a lord (complementarianism- the lordship of man over woman) to dominate. The methods of abuse change over the years as the woman of faith begins to study, research, document, and seek out other victims of abuse in understanding her situation. As stated in another comment thread, secular resources are far more truthful than so called “C’hristian” resources, for they offer more Hope, more Help, and more Freedom and Liberty in being the person our LORD Jesus Christ made us to be.
C’hurch resources and blind pew sitters put the victim under their “covering,” their “lordship,” and their own sick form of continued “abuse,” in trying to be the mediator, instead of Jesus Christ and His Teaching/Ways.
Appreciate your words Ruth.
KAS, “Contrary to this, I think evangelicals (for example) have a right to define who is and who is not in their particular constituency, and behaviour is one way of doing this.”
Suggest, perhaps, but define, no. For example, my former church defined Arminianism as a heresy and claimed that anyone who was Arminian was not truly Christian. Of course, they also set a high bar for being Christian, which the elders themselves did not meet, but used that bar to discipline others who did not kiss their butts. Not surprisingly, “not butt kissing” (insubordination) was the #1 reason people were disciplined.
But, as Daisy rightly points out, it’s easy to say, “no Christian would ____” (fill in the blank). I think that the church, especially the Evangelical church, likes to talk out of both sides of their mouth on this one. For example, few Evangelicals have spoken against Trump’s obvious infidelity, but when it came to Bill Clinton, there was a movement aimed at getting him disciplined at his church.
So, not only is the No True Scotsman fallacy alive and well, but it then gets unapologetically mixed with the “not perfect, but forgiven” disclaimer. So, how can one pin down the cloud of who is a Christian and who is not, when adulterer Bill Clinton is No True Scotsman, but adulterer Trump is not perfect, but forgiven.
In fact, Trump’s lap dog Franklin Graham, after wanting to get in the bedroom of (D) political candidates left and right to declare them unworthy, sanctimoniously declared that we Christians had no right to make judgments about what people did in their bedrooms. While, I’m sure, simultaneously preaching out against LGBT.
So, having my head beat back and forth between the “not a Christian!” and the “nothing to see here, move along” Religious Right politics, I’ve gotten pretty sick of people trying to psychoanalyze the religion of public figures.
SKIJ and Mark. Let me come back on the no true Scotsman fallacy and its misuse.
I’ve already said Christians are not perfect, and the NT confirms this. That said, what do you do with
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
According to Daisy’s version, these false teachers are bone fide Christian believers under the no true Scotsman fallacy. After all they are ‘among’ the believers. But what they do denies what they say, they deny Christ. Christian believers don’t do that. I assume she would tell the apostle John he was wrong to describe ‘those who went out from us because they were not of us’. John too doesn’t want us deceived in this.
Accepting someone is a Christian because they say they are a Christian won’t do; all the more so to counteract those whose purpose in life is to rubbish the Christian faith and turn people away from it. It’s not difficult to find examples of this.
And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.
And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.
Isn’t that spot on, and a description of what goes on amongst pseudo-evangelicals among others? From Catholic priests to megachurch pastors to charismatic shamans, following after sex, money and power. People look at that and revile Christian truth. Note that their destiny is condemnation and destruction, the very things Jesus died to save them from.
We have an obligation to try to discern the true from the false, and 2 Peter and Jude both give masses of information about the character traits of false teachers. We may not always get it right, and in the end God alone knows the genuine from the fake, nobody fools him. But I don’t think we need to make the crass mistake of accepting professions of faith from the immoral, greedy, or verbal and physical abuser. Not even if they are ordained.