A domestic violence survivor (and friend of mine) recently posted a comment on Facebook regarding Dr. Wayne Grudem’s newly changed opinion regarding divorce because of abuse. She gave me permission to post her comments here on the blog. She goes by the pseudonym, Sandy Beach.
Grudem’s previous beliefs were noted in his recent paper describing how he came to change his opinion:
A. The position of my 2018 book Christian Ethics: only two biblically-sanctioned grounds for divorce (adultery and desertion by unbeliever, based on Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:15)
1. This has been the most common Protestant position since the Reformation
Westminster Conf. of Faith, Chapter 24, para. 6:
nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage . . .
Domestic Survivor Speaks Out Regarding Dr. Wayne Grudem’s Change of Opinion on Divorce for Abuse in Marriage
By Sandy Beach
Grudem may allow divorce for abuse if severe enough and reconciliation is not successful. He encountered 2 women victims and re-checked his Greek. CT article.
Is it just me or are other survivor women unimpressed by this? One man changes his mind and decides we survivors had justification in trying to survive abuse by divorcing. He is hailed a hero and now finally evangelical women will now be allowed to leave because a VIP theologian changed his mind?
Now pastors will sing a different tune. It’s like Moses just came down from the mountain again. But don’t forget, church men still get to decide if you’re suffering is severe enough to qualify for divorce in their book.
And…remember: “However, he clarified that restoration is still the first goal when the question of divorce comes up. If the abusing spouse is a Christian, then counseling and church discipline should be pursued, but if abuse doesn’t stop then a church leader should consider that this may be a case where the victim is free to seek a divorce.” (Marriage counseling is not appropriate when abuse is in the marriage. Counseling 101. Whatever the presenting issue was, it is now overshadowed by the reality and impact of abuse. No point in working on communication or intimacy with an abuser.)
As if abusers don’t snow church leaders and dramatically act repentant all while ramping up the abuse because he is enraged his wife outed him! I didn’t read an apology to all the women who stayed believing the previous teaching of Grudem and other men that they could not genuinely love the Lord and divorce their abuser. Thousands of women in the evangelical world have felt they could not leave a marriage that left them longing for death at times.
I suppose I should be happy about this change in policy. To me it simply reinforces all that is and has been abuse-perpetuating in the church.
Wayne and sanctimonious evangelical pastors won’t crawl in bed tonight wondering if they have to have sex with the husband who treated them with contempt today and try again tomorrow to make a marriage work they are committed to, yet don’t know how to survive. This is not a theoretical debate. Christian women victims got married committed to making their marriage work. Many of us didn’t even know there were evil men like their husbands proved to be. The thought of divorcing bothers these women even more than it does the marriage police.
Most tried their guts out for years before daring to talk to a pastor about even a part of the marriage they lived in. Seriously, who do these men think they are? And women, why are you letting these men control the decisions you will live out-not them? I understand. I really do. Nothing is clear when the fog of abuse is compounded with your beliefs and convictions about marriage, many of which are distorted and destructive.
Many Jesus-loving women have been so desperate to survive, they have divorced in spite of the judgement, lack of support, public shame/blame, spiritual abuse, and isolation.
They chose fear of the future, financial insecurity, social stigma, loss of their family and church support system over one more day in a marriage that was draining them of health, hope and strength. They anguished over the unknown impact on the kids if she stays or goes. Both options were bleak. Next time you meet a divorced survivor, look in her eyes with kindness and ask yourself how bad it had to be to risk all she did.
Truly, a woman can stay so long she loses the capacity physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to muster the courage it takes to leave an abuser. They don’t just simply let their victim walk away. The torment amps up to new levels as he mounts a smear campaign and poisons the people and places she thought provided safety. Often, he continues his attempts to alienate the children from their mother, a feature of an abuser even when married.
What kind of ivory tower has Grudem lived in that he is just now encountering two of the multitude of women who live or lived with decades of sexual abuse and assault at the hands of their “Christian”husband? And an abusive mentality never limits itself to the bedroom. It impacts how the abuser processes life and what he expects of relationships. It is especially diabolical when supported by Scripture and the focus on being “biblical.”
I’ll be impressed when experts like Lundy Bancroft are invited to address the SBC and gatherings such as Grudem’s group convenes. “But he isn’t a Christian!” I’m coming to think that distorted Christian teachings make us less likely than unbelievers to recognize or respond well to abusers or victims. This must change.
Also, is marriage so odious for many Christian women that the men are afraid there will be an all-out run for the door if they give an inch? That sure seems to be the impression, “If we don’t tell them they aren’t allowed to leave under any or few circumstances, they will start divorcing willy-nilly.” Have they never watched closely as a woman faces the heartbreak of divorce – even when instigated by her? It isn’t something God fearing women do because they got a wild hair. We must do better. So much better.
68 thoughts on “Domestic Violence Survivor Responds to Wayne Grudem’s Change of Opinion on “Allowing” Divorce for Abuse in Marriage”
I had very similar thoughts when I heard about this guy’s “change of opinion”. It’s still all about control – about a man thinking a woman needs his permission to live out her own life and her own faith. He’s entitled to his opinion, but his obvious ignorance on matters of abuse makes this opinion pretty worthless IMO.
Maybe there are a lot of selfish men worried they might have to make an effort. Tossed in with a heavy helping of ‘women are all liars’.
Sandy, your comments are very powerful. I agree wholeheartedly! The fallout of the marriage and divorce leave us, the victims of domestic violence/abuse, stripped of inner and external resources to put our lives back together. I am very proactive to heal and move forward, but know that I will spend the rest of my life putting my life in order. I live simply, remain in therapy, invest in the lives of children and the elderly. I cannot overcome anxiety and fear of untrustworthy people, although I continue relaxation techniques.
I hold to my faith in God, but have difficulty reading anything written by Paul. I detest the pat phrase, “Heavenly Father” on most religious cards. Can they find no other name for God. I know the difference between God and church fathers, but never sure about those who overuse this name for God while embracing Grudem, et al. I should stop here.
Lea, you raise a good point. When no-fault divorces became a thing, Christians were up in arms over it. So many still believe that most are using no-fault divorces because they stopped liking their spouses. Not because of legitimate reasons like abuse, adultery, etc.
I don’t know, JA, but my overwhelming response to this article is – wouldn’t these women have all been better off without (a) god?
(I know, cynical me. …).
Seems to me it is just another man (even if it is a spirit) telling them what to do/how to think. 😦
I’ve long thought that obsession with “Divorce is the Unpardonable Sin” is a preacher/abuser’s pre-emptive self-defense. Because if he didn’t, his widdle wifey would leave him in an instant.
There seems to be some harshness towards Grudem. Unless he is actually the pastor of the church you are in, his opinions are not binding anyone else, and not on anyone in his church unless what he says is in line with NT teaching and practice. He only has the power you give him! The traditional two reasons for divorce have a long history and have been widely accepted amongst protestants, it’s not just Grudem.
I read his article and found it interesting. The bible is supposed to regulate divorce, and Grudem is right to concentrate on what it says, and to be commended for re-considering it. Coincidentally I have just read J David Pawson (UK itinerant ministry) saying divorce and re-marriage amongst American evangelicals (or “evangelicals”?) is as bad as the unbelieving society around. Is this true? This cannot possibly be in line with the teaching of Jesus, something has clearly gone wrong. Pawson also bravely stood against the change to British divorce law when the govt consulted the churches on this in the late 60’s, severely weakening the institution of marriage, with predictably disastrous results for family life. It’s got much worse since then. The institutional church there (Katy please note!) has done an immense amount of harm to the spiritual health of the country.
KAS, sadly, Grudem’s theology is widely respected as truth. The anger is justified. Think about the scores of women/men harmed by his theology.
KAS, I think you underestimate Grudem’s influence. He literally wrote the textbook on systematic theology that’s used to train pastors and congregation members. To use your “binding” analogy, the pastor may be the one doing the actual tying of the bonds, but Grudem is the one who handed the bonds to the pastor and told him that it was his duty to tie them on. Did he do the actual tying? No. Is he complicit? Absolutely.
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This is inaccurate, depending on what you mean by ‘widely’ accepted and ‘long’ history.
Wide acceptance of such nonsense as only two reasons for divorce is due to teachers precisely like Grudem (who literally wrote a textbook). How absurd KAS to act as if his only influence has been in a church. He is teaching pastors, who are taking idiocy back to their own congregations and enforcing it.
He’s got it coming. Let’s not forget: Grudem does have a history of signaling support for C.J. Mahaney at the height of the SGM scandal, for which he has yet to publicly apologize. He also wrote a ridiculous and self-contradictory mini-Talmud for wimminfolk in ministry, and he was a staunch supporter of the ESS heresy a few years back.
He’s got a lot to account for, KAS. Do you really think that a simple “oopsie” after 40 years, and one which doesn’t cost him anything (not even an apology), is going to wipe all that away? In the eyes of many, not a chance.
To the point that he ignores the cries of sheep who are wounded and suffering from being shackled to toxic partners for life? I wonder what exactly has kept Grudem from listening to them all this time, and what made him start listening now.
As I’ve remarked elsewhere, I suspect that women trapped in abusive marriages were speaking out more, and Grudem noticed that their stories were starting to scare away the tithing units.
Lea – This is inaccurate, depending on what you mean by ‘widely’ accepted and ‘long’ history.
Wide acceptance of such nonsense as only two reasons for divorce is due to teachers precisely like Grudem …
Two reasons for divorce – immorality and desertion go back to Erasmus in the 15 century, and the reformers. The Church of England since about 1600. Some allowed for remarriage on the legal fiction of treating the adulterer in a divorce case as dead. Earlier than that the church was stricter in allowing divorce, with no remarriage afterwards. This was the case iirc as long as native Greek speakers were discussing the issue, who knew the nuances behind the NT on this. These two conditions are at most what the NT allows, with no remarriage after divorce unless one of the parties then dies, although from Erasmus on it was argued a biblically valid divorce did allow remarriage. I still find this incompatible with Jesus’ absolute statements on marriage, divorce and remarriage.
Grudem is following in a long line of those who have gone before. Doesn’t mean earlier understandings were necessarily right, but we live in a culture which no longer understands marriage. The church, in the behaviour of its members, has no little responsibility for this, speaking out strongly against abortion and homosexuality (subjects Jesus did not touch on directly) whilst being strangely quiet about divorce, which he did address.
Exactly, SKIJ! Did he dismiss those women he didn’t know really well and finally took a closer look when it was someone close to him (those other women didn’t count)?
It’s too little too late. He needs to address the women and children he abandoned and caused further harm (by his teachings).
Strange. I don’t find it incompatible at all with His command to treat others as we would like to be treated: with righteousness, justice and mercy.
Of ignorant, arrogant misogynists, you mean? In that case, yes, I agree.
And Grudem’s previous “understanding” of keeping a battered spouse chained to the batterer is an improvement in your mind?
Yes, fun fact, misogyny has been baked into the cake on this issue for years. Often men were the only ones allowed to choose to divorce, but times have changed thank god.
The past wasn’t better, it was just the past.
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Grudem has an “awakening” to the plight of women in abusive marriages. Well, ring the bells!
Okay, I give him a slight bit of credit for acknowledging that someone can divorce their abusive partner —- However….
He lacks acknowledging that abuse has been around him for a very long time. So he’s seen the affect on two people. I’m sure he’s known the effect on hundreds of people and he’s not brave enough to admit this because it would mean that he’s failed hundreds of abused women.
He’s done an extensive theological study including Greek word study and review of the thoughts of important theological people. Why not look at abuse from a moral, ethical, and societal standard? Abuse is wrong, plain and simple. Why can’t he just say that? This leads me to think that his perspective is solely educational and not heart-changing.
He limits reason for divorcing due to abuse only if it’s specific types of abuse. Mostly physical – which is easy to understand coming from someone who has chosen not to learn the harm done by abusers. Physical abuse is easy to say, “Yes, divorce!,” because you can see the effect. He needs to learn from advocates, counselors, law enforcement, doctors, and others who are well versed in understanding abuse to say that it doesn’t matter what kind of abuse you’re experiencing, it’s okay to divorce.
He maintains that victims need to go to their church leadership for discernment over whether or not it’s okay to divorce for their abuse experience. Why? Why do church leaders need to have this power over victims? This is nothing new; a woman going to her pastor to discuss her abuse to see if it meets the checklist of reasons to divorce isn’t anything new from what is happening today. Pastors and elders have too much authority over people’s lives. This is a personal choice – one that should be made by the victim/survivor for what is best and safest for her life.
I don’t buy Grudem’s “awakening.” My opinion is that in our time of #MeToo and #ChurchToo he’s trying to make himself prominent and “enlightened.” I’m surprised he didn’t add that complementarianism helps protect women to his paper. I was thinking he would go there to help spur on the theology and keep it relevant.
I would really like every advocate of forced continuation of marriage in the face of abuse, adultery and generalized poor treatment, should be made to explain what they are getting out of leaving people trapped in a terrible marriage and a terrible life. WHAT do you get out of this?? How can you in good conscience encourage it?
I flat don’t get people like that. No generic ‘protection of marriage’ comments could possibly excuse this madness.
Maybe he was worried that the women (the two who helped bring about this little epiphany of his) might call him out on it. Publicly. After all, complementarianism didn’t do much to protect them, not until Grudem took another, close, extra-special look at the Greek.
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Oh My! The devil is in the details. From the CT article: ‘“My wife Margaret and I became aware of some heartbreaking examples of such things as severe sexual humiliation and degradation that had continued for decades, and another case of physical battering that had gone on for decades,” he told CT.’
Notice the words “severe” and “decades”. So if church leaders try to follow Wayne’s new teachings they may have an “out” if they determine the humiliation, degradation, or battering isn’t really severe or hasn’t gone on sufficiently long. Maybe not much better than suggesting a wife should submit to a little smacking around for a night or a season of abuse. Now to be fair to Wayne, I linked to his official paper but didn’t read very far. Has anyone read the whole thing? Does he eventually give some contemporary examples besides the ones he gave CT?
KAS wrote, “The Church of England since about 1600.” Funny you should mention that, because this article already had me thinking about The Church of England BEFORE 1600– specifically its founder. Church leaders may long for the good old days when folks weren’t allowed to divorce, but rich and powerful men like Henry VIII could always trade their wives in for newer models. And if the pope didn’t like it he could sit on a tack. And if the wives didn’t like it— off with their heads!
Divorced beheaded died. Divorced beheaded survived!
Interestingly I was reading up on old fashioned divorce stuff, and they mentioned one where the wife had been SO grossly mistreated that they ended up just executing the husband instead of fussing with divorce.
Pastor John – I read the whole paper. He does look to both other contemporary evangelicals to support his position, and to some older believers from previous centuries. John Frame, Craig Keener, the puritan divines. There is nothing new in this.
It seems to me he is primarily rethinking the issue of when divorce may be legitimate with reference to the text of the NT. He does not seem to be advocating a wife stay with an abusive husband, but whether this is grounds for divorce. He previously thought physical separation was in order – provide protection, church discipline, possible separation, but not divorce.
Would you agree that in more recent times evangelicals have been trying to find loopholes to get round the strong prohibition from Jesus and Paul as an apostle on the subject of divorce? Endless discussions of the ‘exception clause’, whilst almost ignoring the rule. I suspect Grudem does not want to join in this trend or enable others to.
This stuff is stupid hair splitting, besides being actively harmful.
Julie Anne, I wasn’t sure where to put this but I thought you might like to see it (came across my fb feed).
Someone did a study about women being frequently not believed when reporting abuse to the courts and the results in custody hearings, with even worse results when the father counterclaimed ‘alienation’. “when fathers claim alienation, the rate at which mothers lost custody after alleging any type of abuse shot up from 26 percent to 44 percent.”
Link to study abstract is in this interview piece. Apologies if this is OT.
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JA/Kathi, please delete my comment above – it says it’s in moderation… I’ll rewrite later.
Ok, I deleted it. It’s fantastic. I hope you repeat it! 🙂
I can summarize into three arguments:
1) If adultery and physical desertion are the only possible grounds for divorce, then Reformed/Evangelical wedding vows are fraudulent.
OPC: “And will you love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, will you comfort her, honor and cherish her, and forsaking all others keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?”
PCA: “M–, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live with her after God’s commandments in the holy estate of marriage? And will you love her, honor and cherish her, so long as you both shall live? ”
If marriage is just “food, clothing and conjugal rights” (Ex 21:10), then why would churches make husbands vow to LOVE, to HONOR and to CHERISH? And then subsequently, when a husband is obviously not loving, not honoring and not cherishing, why does a church refuse to acknowledge that he is forsaking his vows? Nowhere during the service does he vow to provide her food, clothing and exclusive sex!
2) If marriage is a picture of Christ and his bride (aka the CHURCH), then why does the church have such low requirements for excommunication? Would a member be allowed to disrupt worship services week by week? Would a member be allowed to physically and/or emotionally abuse church leaders? Would a member be allowed to show up drunk or high to services week by week without being barred from the table, barred from membership or even barred from church property? Aren’t church leaders expected to be MORE gracious than a wife, MORE forgiving than a wife and MORE willing to suffer for the sake of Christ than a wife?
3) “Church history” is a valid argument only as it clarifies certain scriptural arguments, but those arguments may not be valid. Slavery has a rich church history, and 150 years ago, many could similarly argue that the Greek fathers were unanimous in their support of it. Similarly, the Greek fathers would have believed that women were property transferred from father to husband and to be treated similarly to slaves. It’s just a similar cherry-picking that happens with the scriptures in Evangelical circles – the same we’ve seen from the likes of KAS regarding cultural vs. permanent injunctions.
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Lea – it’s not stupid and hair-splitting to take seriously what God ordained from the beginning as marriage, and what Jesus reaffirmed for his followers, followed by his apostles. The institution is created and defined by God, and he invites us to join it on his terms and conditions. Which are not onerous!
It’s one thing to rescue women from violent husbands – I’m not sure anyone disagrees with this. But if you make divorce ‘easy’ even in this context you enable the abuser to re-marry, and carry on the abuse with wife no. 2, and then no. 3 … . It could also enable a wife or husband in a rocky marriage or who sees someone else they might prefer or who are fed up with the responsibility of providing for children to start being abusive in order to get grounds for divorce.
If you re-define marriage as having a get-out clause from the beginning for when things get tough, will this not potentially enable irresponsibility, especially from men?
No-one says these issues are easy, it’s a pastoral nightmare in my opinion, combining faithfulness with compassion. Unintended consequences of trying to help someone in need that shows an absolute need for wisdom.
@KAS, I’ve waited to respond to your comments trying to get my emotional bearings. Do you simply not care how painful it is for victims of abuse to read your comments-whether divorced or still trying desperately to make a marriage with an abusive man work?
To listen to you callously theorize and debate the most painful events of our lives is unhelpful to say the least. To read about your concern that Grudem may be experiencing harshness is ironic and ignores the devastation that his teachings and attitude have caused for women and children over the decades. I will give a personal example.
I was married to my church elder abusive husband for 30 years before filing for divorce. Though he was recorded in 2016 admitting to violent rape a week into our marriage (he even used the term rape), chronic porn and other abuses including physical, mental, emotional and verbal abuse, the pastor declared I had “no biblical grounds” for divorce. I had known this pastor for 45+ years at this point.
When I divorced in spite of the pastor’s pronouncement, the ex husband, fellow elders and pastor conducted a smear campaign so successful that it still stuns me. I was required to move from my rural home town as my successful business professional ex became mayor and life long friends believed their lies about my spiritual state, character and mental health.
The last I heard the pastor told a group of women in a public setting that I am “mentally ill, a psychotic beast” and I will “rot in hell for false allegations of sexual assault.” The pastor is recorded telling a couple that I planted the idea of abuse in the minds of my adult children. He told my son a year ago that I had coerced my husband into making the recorded admission. (I had told my husband I would be recording all conversations even before the separation. It was a desperate attempt to not feel crazy. I knew nothing of gaslighting at the time.)The recording clearly shows I had no plans to even talk with my husband when I came with someone else to gather the last of my belongings from the house. How can a woman (especially still in the fog of abuse of 30 years) coerce a grown man into admitting a felony he didn’t commit?
When the pastor is recorded slandering me, seeking to alienate my adult children from me and telling people my ex is free to remarry because I am an unbeliever and wanted to leave, no one requires him to prove his assertions. My husband’s recording is not believed but his gang can make outrageous claims but are not required to provide evidence.
So, @KAS, it is not simply a matter of victims giving Grudem and his groupies control. These perspectives are deeply ingrained in many evangelical churches. When you further claim that Grudem has no power over victims that the victims don’t give him themselves, I know you must not have not heard or lived the church horror stories that many victims have experienced. MOST women I know who have been committed to the Lord and their marriages face gut wrenching responses when they divorce in an effort to save the lives and well being of themselves and their children.
I picture a helpful support group for cancer patients in their personal fights against the cancer which has invaded their lives and bodies. One meeting, rather than the usual compassionate, skilled facilitator running the group, 2 drug reps from different pharmaceutical companies arrive and began discussing cancer treatments with one another in front of the group. They argue with each other about the efficacy of different protocols and types of medication. They argue stats, quote researchers they respect, review the history of cancer treatments and projections for future cancer rates. At the end, both feel even more confident they understand cancer and what needs done about it much more than other people. They also feel extreme confidence in suggesting treatment options. Again, these are pharmaceutical reps, not oncologists. They have a vested financial interest in how cancer is viewed and treated.
They walk smugly out of the room without looking into the eyes of single person with cancer or learning even one patient’s name. The “experts” don’t notice the stricken cancer victims who can only gasp in horror and shock to hear their life and death battle reduced to such numerical and clinical terms. That is how it feels to me to read and hear the issue of abuse and divorce debated by many who claim to follow Christ with detached, smug indifference to those actually impacted by the reality of abuse.
I assure you I did not research church history in my anguish over the decision to divorce. I believed divorce was the worst thing that could happen to any family system. For months I prayed, “Lord, show me what is real, what is true, and what Your heart is about those things.” (Wondering what is real is a common struggle when a woman’s sense of reality and self is eroded year after year.) I watched carefully for genuine change during the therapeutic separation and multiple months of therapy individually.
I told the Lord I felt so confused and desperate I needed it to be crystal clear what direction I should take. When my husband said, “Maybe I’ll just rape you again,” I felt free to pursue the divorce. I will be divorced 3 years on the 12th. You would be hard pressed to find a Jesus loving woman more grateful for the gift of divorce. Those who rail against divorce rarely seem to follow up with the victims and children to assess the impact years later. I am doing well as are my children but it is despite the church’s best efforts to stand strong for the sanctity of marriage at any cost.
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It looks like you posted again while I was typing my comments, KAS. If I have misrepresented you, please show me how. Sadly, I remember that I stopped reading the comments on this excellent blog more than a year ago because I found your smug tone and combative comments so triggering. Maybe I am the only one who struggles with these things regarding your comments here in which case it would be my issue to work through.
KAS, “The institution is created and defined by God, and he invites us to join it on his terms and conditions.”
Correct. HIS terms and conditions, not those invented by people adding to and taking away from his law. Reformed and Evangelical scholars disagree with what HIS terms and conditions are. Even within Reformed denominations, some pastors teach that “abuse” is desertion, while others argue physical separation. Some pastors argue that one or both parties must be excommunicated, while others argue that two otherwise loving and devoted Christians can find themselves in a mutually toxic relationship that cannot be fixed this side of eternity. This is all done with full scripture references and careful scholarship.
One big problem I’ve had with Reformed types (my former self included) is how much they refuse to consider other arguments. In my church growing up, I was force-fed, even under the guise of “Expository Preaching(TM)” a very narrow, skewed and cherry-picked interpretation of scripture. Pastors would be very quick to hedge and reinterpret some passages while giving others full weight (e.g. submit to one another vs. wives submit to their husbands). When theirs is the only interpretation you hear, and it is echoed by the people they recommend, it’s hard to escape. It’s easy to see the flaws in an argument you’ve been trained to disagree with, and hard to see the flaws in the viewpoint you hold.
If you doubt how screwed up it is, Sheila Gregoire, who was formerly a fan of Focus on the Family now reports: “On a broadcast last month, Focus on the Family hosts said that maybe the reason the husbands use porn is because their wives aren’t giving them enough sex.”
The reason I believe the Pharisaical/Reformed interpretation of marriage is incorrect is precisely because of how Jesus handled authority. Jesus was supposed to respect and obey the church leaders. What did he do? He called them out for their sins. It’s not surprising that our Reformed authorities don’t want to talk about the Pharisees in terms of authority. The pastors of Jesus’s day commanded him not to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus disobeyed them and healed anyway. The pastors of Jesus’s day called him out for not following their church policies. Why do we think the pastors of today are somehow free of the same sins as the pastors then?
So, your view of God requires women to be trapped in abusive marriages, the problem is your view of God, nothing more. Until you understand who God is, you will continue to think of him as some conniving Greco-Roman deity who rejoices in the suffering of his people. If your view of marriage is correct, you need to have an honest answer for how an all-powerful and all-good God could delight in one of his beloved daughters being physically, emotionally and sexually abused her whole life, and how his institution is ultimately for her benefit. God created divorce to provide a way for women to escape abusive marriages (if female sex slaves went free, yes, absolutely free, for physical abuse, then how could you argue that wives didn’t?)
Oh trust me, Sandy. It’s not just you.
I’m a never-married, straight, 40-something, long-time Christian man. I’ve experienced only the mildest forms of abuse (if any), and never divorce. And it’s hard for me to read KAS’s comments sometimes. I can only imagine how his know-it-all attitude can feel to those who have endured the worst of intimate partner abuse.
So glad that you’re here and commenting again, Sandy. I hope that you’ve been able to find some rest and healing, and the chance to rebuild a life for yourself.
Just a note to commenters. God (a spirit, supposedly) didn’t write anything. The MEN who wrote the stories in the Bible did.
Kas, this answer is ABSURD. IT is hairsplitting to say someone must remain married to someone that they are unable to live with because it is physically unsafe, yes. Unless you want to say that is god’s ideal for marriage and a way to take marriage ‘seriously’.
ABSURD!!! That is no marriage. Any God who would require it or esteem is a literal monster.
Quite frankly, men have been irresponsible with their wives from the dawn of time. Enabling women to get away from bad marriages only helps people who would previously have been trapped. And plenty of men decide their ‘get out’ clause is murder.
Oh Sandy! I’m sure you can see from my comments above that you are not the only one. I have not anywhere near the same background as you but I have had enough friends over the years whose first was abusive, and I have heard their stories. They happily divorced and moved on. Nothing will convince me that that isn’t best. Hugs to you!
KAS, the demands of Sandy’s church (which you would call “God’s terms and conditions”) were extremely onerous to Sandy, and nothing more than a prison. Divorce set her free. I wonder if you can say otherwise to her after you read her most recent comments.
So what are you saying? Was Sandy supposed to be some lifelong sacrificial lamb for the sake of this pious dirtbag’s hypothetical future wives? Do you call that the “abundant life” that Jesus promised to His sheep?
Oh, yes, let’s all feel sorry for the poor, poor pastors. It’s just such a nightmare for them. They’re the ones who are truly suffering here. (Insert sarcasm liberally.)
Really, KAS, do you have any clue how tone-deaf you sound?
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That is exactly what it sounds like, SKIJ.
What we actually need to do is get people out of abusive relationships, whether they be dating or married, as soon as is possible and safe, and give them all the support they need. And certainly stop judging them for protecting themselves and often their children as well.
KAS, “Would you agree that in more recent times evangelicals have been trying to find loopholes to get round the strong prohibition from Jesus and Paul as an apostle on the subject of divorce?”
“If you re-define marriage as having a get-out clause from the beginning for when things get tough, will this not potentially enable irresponsibility, especially from men?”
This is textbook false dichotomy and a straw man. You are setting your view as the only alternative to easy-peasy divorce. No one is arguing for no-fault divorce here. It is a legalistic and Satanic interpretation of the marriage covenant that only adultery and physical desertion are grounds for divorce. As I wrote above, the OT interpretation of marriage includes divorce for depriving food, clothing or conjugal rights, and it includes divorce for physical abuse. Jesus was asked a specific question… is it okay for a man to dump his wife for any reason under Moses’s provision for divorce? Jesus answered, Moses’s provision “finds uncleanness” is talking about adultery. A very specific answer to a very specific question. Paul’s answer, also very specific. Even the OT case laws were specific circumstances.
The Reformed marriage covenants recognize that these are specific cases, which is why the marriage vows aren’t “I vow to provide food, clothing, copulation and not commit adultery or desert or knock out a tooth”. The vows are “love, honor and cherish”, and when one party demonstrates irreparable disregard for the vows, the marriage is a sham.
I find it intriguing that you are arguing both sides of this. On the one hand, you say a pastor who abuses or commits adultery is no longer qualified to be a pastor – in other words, he’s “divorced” from any future position of leadership in the church. You deny that we should forgive and restore such a pastor to his position. However, when it comes to marriage, you argue that a husband who commits treason against his wife and marriage can and should be forgiven and restored, and if not forgiven and restored, then there should at least be a plan to allow him to be restored. God’s pattern of protection for his bride, the church, is to divorce and remove the wolves. How do you argue that it is not God’s pattern for divorce to protect his daughters?
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Lea, and to top it off, staying with the abusive dirtbag is “not onerus!”
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Sandy Beach said,
Sadly, I remember that I stopped reading the comments on this excellent blog more than a year ago because I found your smug tone and combative comments so triggering. Maybe I am the only one who struggles with these things regarding your comments here in which case it would be my issue to work through.
—- end Sandy quote —
LOL, No! No! Noooooooooo!
Oh, no. No it’s not you.
KAS is insensitive and cares not the real life impact other people’s teachings about God, the Bible, marriage and other topics harms other people.
He’s more committed to defending his doctrines than in helping people.
He was saying on another thread (or was it this one? Lea caught it and replied to it) about a week ago something about how people with mental health problems shouldn’t seek help for it outside the church, or he was putting down secular psychological help or what not.
He did this IN SPITE OF the fact I have told him repeatedly in the past on older threads that concepts such as having boundaries helped rid me of much of the clinical depression I had.
(And by the way, the concept of having boundaries can be found in the Bible.)
Despite the fact that the poster calling herself “Christianity Hurts” and myself have told him in no uncertain terms how Gender Complementarianism have hurt her and me, he won’t deal with that at all.
Contrast KAS’s behavior and attitude with that of Jesus of Nazareth, who was always correcting and condemning the Pharisees for putting what they considered correct doctrine above the safety and well being of people. Jesus spoke out against doing that very thing.
The Bible doesn’t teach what KAS thinks it does.
This is one of the most annoying things I’ve come to see about Christianity as I’ve drifted out of the faith in the last several years.
So many Christians are hurting people with their allegiance to their interpretation of the Bible, but they don’t see it that way.
They think they are honoring God by telling people to live life this way or that or when or when not to divorce.
Guys like KAS confuse their interpretation of the Bible with the Bible,
hey assume their interpretation is correct,
and they place their interpretation of the Bible above people’s well being.
I was a standard, typical conservative Christian for many years, from childhood up until my mid 40s. I used to be a gender complementarian, too.
I lived life the way Christians taught me I should.
I lived my life the way conservative Christian, evangelicals, and Southern Baptists taught me they thought the Bible said I should.
And do you know where it got me?
It got me nowhere. Doing, being, believing, and living life the way conservative Christians like KAS and American evangelicals / Baptists say I “ought” did not deliver me from clinical depression, heal me of generalized anxiety disorder, perpetuated my codependency (which the church encouraged me to have under comp teachings), etc etc (I could go on).
You cannot count on other people’s interpretation of the Bible (and quite possibly not even your own – for years, after all, I used to be convinced that complementarianism was “biblical,” now I know it’s not) to make choices for yourself and your life.
I’ve been really busy the last few months and haven’t had as much time to post here or where ever else on the web. I might have more time starting later this week.
Anyway, no, you’re not the only one who has issues with KAS.
I’ve told him time and again to either leave this blog – go make his own blog – or find another place to post to.
There are other Christian forums and blogs where he can post. He only does additional harm to victims (or recovered / ex victims) who post here.
He’s insufferable, doesn’t care how that his presence and views harm people who lurk or post here, and has an unwillingness to learn or to consider his views may be wrong.
“Would you agree that in more recent times evangelicals have been trying to find loopholes to get round the strong prohibition from Jesus and Paul as an apostle on the subject of divorce?”
— end KAS Quote —
Would you agree that historically, echoing the Pharisees whom Jesus corrected on this point, have been trying to find reasons to keep people to stay trapped in abusive marriages,
which usually consists of male violence against women, all of which goes against biblical teachings about love and empathy,
where they cherry pick and distort biblical passages, to support a male hierarchal institution that benefits men but harms women?
Why don’t you mind your own marriage and stop opining on other people’s marriage and dictating what you think they should or should not do in their marriage?
The church used to defend white people owning black people as slaves, as recently as the 19th century, and they used the Bible to do so.
(Or maybe you are totally OK with the idea of whites owning blacks as slaves, a la Doug Wilson.)
I guess the Christians slavery abolitionists, who were arguing against people treating other people like chattel and objects were just “looking for loopholes.”
I love how naive you are, in that you think Christians cannot and do not ever, not even historically, for centuries, misunderstand and misapply the Bible to defend their own sinful agendas. It does happen. It has happened.
Same thing is happening with sexist Gender Complementarian and “no-divorce not even for abuse” doctrines today.
And KAS another thing,
where I wrote above:
“Why don’t you mind your own marriage and stop opining on other people’s marriage and dictating what you think they should or should not do in their marriage?”
I have a post on my Daisy blog about this and I just saw a Christian woman tweet on this the other day:
This is not purely academic for some of us.
For you, KAS this is nothing but a game.
I’ve mentioned this to you before… you sicken me in how you sit there in your ivory tower tapping away at your keyboard, treating all this as nothing but a fun, theological game to debate back and forth with those who disagree with you.
You don’t seem to care that your views are causing real-life, real-world damage to people.
Your views echo those of jackass Christian pastors and publications, who a lot of Christian women take seriously
(I wish Christian women would stop taking advice from pastors, Christian books, etc, and just make choices for themselves, but they’re not).
Christians keep promoting these doctrines, opinions, and interpretations that are harming real life, flesh and blood people.
But you don’t care. To you, all this banter is just a fun, fun game, it’s amusing, a way to pass the time.
It’s all abstract to you, because you’re not actually married to a physically larger person who is day in day out, either threatening to beat and murder you, or who is actually causing you black eyes and broken ribs, or is day in and day out driving you to depression and suicide via daily emotional and verbal abuse.
You’re not the one actually in danger due to that, so it’s quite easy for you to sit here from a distance and just argue doctrine and what does the Bible say about divorce.
It’s all purely abstract for you, in many a case.
Well, it’s not abstract for a lot of women out there actually putting up with this sh*t. Get that through your head and start acting accordingly.
But I worry because even in a case where you know someone personally impacted – you claim your daughter is suicidal due to I think having been abused(?) – you still place allegiance to your stupid interpretation of the Bible vs. your daughter’s well being.
But this is real life for the rest of us. It’s not simply interesting or fun to kick the theological ball around the yard.
Sometimes hurting people have no real-life friends or family to go to, and the seek out online help.
I can imagine an abused woman coming to this blog for help and seeing your disgusting posts instead.
“I wish Christian women would stop taking advice from pastors, Christian books, etc., and just make choices for themselves . . .”
Exactly, Daisy. If only. . .. sigh. ..
God divorced Israel a time or two in the Old Testament, so obviously, he’s not 100% “anti divorce,” or so insanely pro-marriage he thinks divorce is always a horrible, lousy idea.
I think Muslims have pretty strict marriage laws, too. I think they’re pretty anti-divorce, if I am not mistaken.
Why are Christians trying to sound like Islam on the questions of marriage, divorce, or anything else?
It’s creepy how so many Christians insist their faith is so different from other world religions,
but when you look at certain doctrines and attitudes – like how they view women (in very sexist, limiting terms), it’s identical to most Muslim or Mormon views.
Why is KAS and guys like him, okay with sounding like a Muslim or Mormon?
I guess Christianity isn’t as unique as a lot of Christians argue it is.
And why would I, a single woman, want to get married under Christian terms, when you’re telling me should I marry an abusive, selfish, or idiot husband, I cannot or should not ever divorce?
What’s my incentive to get or stay married, because I’m not seeing one.
Staying single looks way more appealing – or getting married to a Non-Christian man looks way more appealing.
Carmen and Daisy, I think they do (make choices for themselves). It’s just that if you seek advice from people you trust and the advice is bad, sometimes it takes longer to get to that point… If the people you trust AND your support system are ‘your church family’ or what have you, you may not know they are going to be terrible on this issue and there is a lot of unnecessary suffering that might have been alleviated if you had gotten a. good advice and b. support immediately. It’s complicated, and that’s why it’s good for people to talk openly about how bad this advice is.
My friend who divorced her first husband…i’m pretty sure he burned her clothes, she lost her community because they supported him, etc. ‘Making choices for yourself’ doesn’t make those choices easier. It might make them harder, and I think we need to give grace to the people in those systems and instead focus on attacking the people who are full of bad advice and shunning/lack of support for people who don’t take it.
I used to be one of them.
No need to lecture me.
And I was not victim-blaming.
I am sad for the Christian women stuck in this mindset where they think the can, should, or ought to live their lives re: divorce/abuse according to other Christians’ interpretations of the Bible on this subjects.
I’ve been the recipient of workplace and family abuse (not marital) my whole life,
and I took advice from Christians who told me it was my Godly and Biblical duty to just sit there like a quiet, sweet little lamb and endure it silently.
I was taught under Complementarianism to be docile, that it was wrong, mean, or selfish or un-feminine to be assertive, so I should just allow myself to be walked on like a doormat.
I’ve come to see it’s okay for me to make choices for me.
I don’t have to allow other people’s opinions on what they think God wants or their opinion on what they think the Bible says to dictate my choices.
You’re misconstruing my posts about this.
How long have I been reading these kinds of posts, Lea?
Years. After awhile, it gets tiresome. Obviously, criticizing those who are giving bad advice isn’t working – spectacularly. You might have noticed that the men in power are not giving any of it away. Which is why my comments are aimed at women.
Isn’t it? Carmen, I have SO much more awareness of this stuff then I did a few years ago. I remember older friends telling me about their violent marriages and i was an utter loss so I just listened. But now, I know more, precisely because of these criticisms! I think it’s a mistake to assume that because a ‘leader’ doesn’t change their mind, you have done nothing by pointing out their errors, because there are other people listening.
Daisy, I am not lecturing, just making my own point. Bad advice is bad advice no doubt about it and I’m happy for anyone to reject it. But I understand why it might take them time to get there, that’s all.
Yes, Lea, YOU do. Many women have always listened. But are the men listening/acting? Men who – you may have noticed – have all the power?
I’ll spell out my message for those who may be confused.
Women get power by taking it. It really is in our hands. (Are you hearing Gwendolyn, the good witch saying, “You had the power all along!”). 🙂
Some are, but I completely agree with you that it isn’t enough. May their tribe increase.
Which is the point of this post. Does anyone really believe Grudem is sincere? One thing about a tribe, Lea. It sticks together, come hell or high water.
I don’t Grudem well enough to say. I do think it’s possible/plausible that there was enough public or interpersonal outcry on this that he felt inclined to modify his position, albeit imperfectly.
What I take from that is to keep putting pressure on these folks and calling them out on the realities of their ‘theology’.
Really, KAS, do you have any clue how tone-deaf you sound?
I have a lot of respect for you, Serving Kids, so I would like to briefly reply to this.
I am aware of coming across as officious at times. But … I have often been hammered here for supposedly wanting to ‘tone police’. I don’t actually wish to do that, and have no power to enforce it even if I did. I still do try to be reasonably sensitive and diplomatic, and refrain from replying when something has made me really angry (rare!) and say something I would regret later, but I have in part taken my cue from how others reply to me and each other.
I have been in my time accused in essence of ‘favouring the rape of women’, and the comment has been allowed to stand. That’s a visciously nasty thing to claim.
Or should I put it like this – I find it confusing that those who insist on freedom of expression meaning not tone-policing then complain I am too blunt or something. There is a no little irony here.
There are no posting guideliness here – or at least when I looked I couldn’t find any – which might help avoid misunderstandings and give some structure.
I’ll take a look at SB’s post again, but it’s late and I’m tired!
Daisy, I totally get where KAS is coming from.
I was gender complementarian for much of my life. I was indoctrinated to think that divorce aside from adultery and physical desertion was sinful. I was indoctrinated to think that the husband is the leader/head of the family. I was indoctrinated to think that the solution to all marital woes was to follow comp. However, one message I got within comp. which many did not was that the HUSBAND was to be sacrificially loving towards his wife, and not just the wife to her husband. I grew up boundaryless and my wife did not know the extent of my inability to say “no” even when it hurt to say “yes”.
In some sense, I was at the end of my rope and the end of my marriage, and I decided that I had to start saying “no”. (I also knew if I talked with my church leadership, they would drive me over the cliff) When I set up boundaries, my wife respected them – to this day, she doesn’t specifically remember any change, but for me it was freedom.
That opened the door a crack to understand that what the church preached as the textbook “perfect marriage” and what GOD COMMANDED ABOUT MARRIAGE simply wasn’t. It didn’t work for my marriage, just like following “God-ordained discipline” didn’t work for my kids.
That raised the simple question. If “Biblical(TM)” marriage failed me and “Biblical(TM)” child-rearing failed me, I either have to say, the Bible isn’t true, or I have to say that the church leaders are misinterpreting it, and (not apologizing to Carmen) I picked the second.
It is not, KAS, that you are ‘too blunt’. Frankly, it is that your words are heartless.
No amount of ‘posting guidelines’ will fix that.
KAS, It’s not just your words are heartless, but the god you’ve been taught is heartless. That’s the underlying problem. The complementarian god WANTS to punish us but can’t, because Jesus stood in the gap for us. So, Jesus loves us and tries to do what he can, but the father is legalistic, judgmental and fatalistic, and he is the one who dictates history.
And that’s the complementarian problem. We obey, not because of joy or love, but because god stands at the ready with his rod of punishment, waiting for us to slip up. There is no expectation “reward” or “love” for good in comp. theology because perfection is the standard by which we are measured by our holy god. That is the message for all so-called authorities, pastors, fathers, husbands. They must reflect that god who demands perfection and punishes disobedience.
What do you hear in sermons? Is it the blessings in this life for obeying god? Is it the happiness we have in being loved sons and daughters of the king? No, it’s fear of god, fear of punishment, example after example of people who rejected this or that principle and led themselves, their family, and their church to destruction. That’s what I hear echoed in your posts. Our society is rejecting Biblical marriage, Biblical gender roles, Biblical this-and-that, and as a result is crumbling.
This all is NOT the Christian message. The Christian message is one where creation is being redeemed through the work of those who profess Christ. The powerful are called to account and the weak and powerless are lifted up. The Christian lives a life of happiness and blessing and not one ruled by suffering. The veil between us and the Father has been torn, and instead of an expectation of judgment, we have praise and comfort. We no longer have to trust God to send his Spirit-inspired prophets to tell us what God has to say. We have that Spirit in our hearts to lead us to the truth.
The Evangelical/Reformed industrial complex is, unfortunately, much about undoing the work of the cross. They deny the effects of the Spirit in our hearts and want us to blindly submit to the church teaching. They teach us that we are worthless and sinful even though Christ has died for us to make us princes and princesses. They teach us that we should lift them up, and we should trample those for whom they have disdain – the weak, powerless “sinners”. They teach us that if we don’t follow their plan – faithful attendance and giving, prioritization of any church activity or teaching, comp. marriage, heavy-handed discipline of our kids, homeschooling or church-run Christian school, suspicion of anything “secular”, voting for the approved candidates (no matter how immoral they may seem), hatred for all “outsiders”, then god will punish us. The church will lose its influence, society will crumble. Our children will reject god and become enemies of everything we stand for, and so on.
When you start actually thinking about these lies, they become nonsensical. If your children become Christians, it’s all the work of God, but if they leave the church you caused it? You can’t expect God to bless your obedience, but you can be assured he will curse you if you disobey? No matter how much you want to do for the kingdom, it’s really the pastor and church leaders who are called to grow the church – the best you can do is give sacrificially to the “Lord’s work” (aka what the pastors and leaders want to happen).
KAS, I’m truly sorry for the lies you’ve been taught and believed from the wolves. I believed those lies too, and it took (and is still taking) a lot of work for God to free me from them.
You did it yourself.
Lea is right, KAS. My complaint towards you had nothing to do with “bluntness”. From what I can see, you seem to be either utterly uncaring or woefully ignorant as to how someone like Sandy will read your comments.
And Sandy is right here, KAS. She wrote this article and she is reading our comments. And I imagine that right now, she’s convinced of this: you either haven’t read anything she’s written here, or else her suffering just doesn’t bother you in the slightest. Somehow I doubt that’s the outcome that either she or Julie Anne is looking for.
Did you even notice this passage in Sandy’s article?
That is the kind of situation that Sandy had to either continue living in, or escape. One that neither you nor I nor Grudem nor her ex-pastor (nor most evangelical pastors) have ever endured. Yet you have the nerve to suggest that staying is “not onerous” for such women, and that these situations are a “nightmare” for pastors. The pastors aren’t living with rapists, felons and manipulative fiends, and yet you say it’s a nightmare for them.
What do you expect Sandy to take away from words like these, KAS? I strongly suspect that she read this to say that you feel more pity for her idiot ex-pastor than for her. That you think her madhouse of a marriage was harder on him than on her. That you think the fool was giving God’s own counsel to demand that Sandy stay married to the felon who raped her, even when she had proof that her ex-husband did exactly that. (Sandy, please feel free to add to this, or correct me however you see fit.)
You and I are highly privileged to have never been forced to survive anything like that. That means we have a duty to listen to people like Sandy very carefully, and to be even more careful with our words, and aware of how they might sound to her. In this regard, I think you have fallen very, very short.
SKIJ, “That you think the fool was giving God’s own counsel to demand that Sandy stay married to the felon who raped her”
Comps don’t typically believe that rape is possible in marriage. If you look at Kathi’s review of the Peace book, the wife must submit to the “husband’s intent”, and as long as he’s not asking her to do something immoral (like making a porn video, perhaps), she must “consent” to whatever her husband intends.
I’ve had similar arguments with comp pastors regarding abuse I suffered. I was told by my father to do something that was not immoral, but was so emotionally draining I didn’t have the energy to do it. It was entirely for his benefit. I was spanked until I agreed to do it. So far, every comp pastor I’ve dared to share the story with said without qualification that I deserved the spanking for disobeying.
I’m sure that is the same message Sandy was hearing from her pastor.
TRIGGER WARNING: (Only people like KAS will find this academic & undisturbing)
Thank you to those who have expressed concern for the impact KAS’s attitude and words have had on me (and other survivors unfortunate enough to read his comments here).
@KAS, I know you were tired and needed rest before you could check back to see if you might have possibly caused any unjustified emotional carnage but you did have the energy to defend yourself and present yourself as misunderstood and the victim of fellow commentors’ unfair assessments.
@KAS, your words and attitude are dead ringers for those of my former pastor and elders. The arrogance, condescension, presumption, self-righteousness, cruel, Scripture wielding and abusive mentality is spot on. As is the doctrinal certainty and belief that your interpretations are the only “correct” ones and the Lord agrees with you.
I was especially amused to see you feel sympathy for pastors in these situations. My former pastor declared how horrible the whole ordeal of my divorce was for him. Seriously, is it possible for men like you to see anything in life not through a self-referential lens?
“Sandy, shortly after our marriage I forced myself on you against your will and I raped you. ” My husband stated this July 29th, 2016 in a recorded conversation. My husband had picked me up off the floor in a hotel in Grand Island, NE June, 29th, 1985 and raped me. I was 20 and had been married one week. My trauma reaction was so severe and PTSD symptoms so immediate that I was unable to remember this for 28 yrs. I had no idea why I had intrusive mental images of shooting off my new husband’s genitals with a shotgun. As the memories returned, my husband confirmed it as did his diary I found where he wrote about it the next morning.
Rape is what my husband called it so I don’t know why the pastor, elders and others in the church determined I was making false allegations. I can only agree that comps believe it is not possible to rape your own wife as she belongs to the husband. What an odd assessment from men who claim Scripture teaches them to even be willing to die for their wives and do everything they can for their nurture and well-being. The logical inconsistencies are numerous with such men.
Later the same day in 2016 my husband admitted to the above along with other abuses & porn, he is recorded saying, “But aside from the rape I treated you well on the honeymoon.” I was in such a bad state I did not even recognize those words as bizarrely inappropriate until I reviewed the recording 2 yrs later. I can’t begin to describe the crazy making I lived in for 31 yrs. (Note to readers: Next time a woman tells her husband she is recording all their conversations, he should believe her.)
@KAS, you would really distress me with your words and attitude but I’ve heard it all before from men who are your spiritual, emotional, and mental twins. Evil shrouded in weaponized Scripture and horrifically twisted biblical concepts like grace, forgiveness, submission. You paint such a grotesquely false caricature of the Lord I can only describe it as blasphemy. There are multitudes of women who also believe there is no justification for divorce or the possibility of marital rape. If I were a godly woman, I would have shown it by forgiving my husband which would mean not divorcing him. To divorce showed I was an “angry, bitter woman who refused to forgive.”
What saddens me most is knowing how common your beliefs are regarding divorce and abuse and how many others in the evangelical world agree with your wicked perspective, KAS. If it were not for Jesus showing his love and character over and over again in the dismantling of my life as I knew it, my faith would not have survived men such as yourself. I will spend the rest of my life calling heartbroken, abused women to freedom and peace and exposing the teachings and attitudes that make church world one of the most dangerous places for women and children with little recourse or escape.
Sandy Beach – I really am under a lot of strain at the moment, and would like to get back to you and clear things up. Just for now, you (and Mark) really couldn’t be more wrong – I absolutely don’t have the time of day for what you former husband did, nor for the attitude of you former pastor. Completely contemtible way of carrying on. I’m not American; I’ve known many pastors of the years, of varying quality, but not one of them would ever act like the one you experienced.
That’s the first comment I have made on your testimony – above I was solely concerned with Grudem’s new take on divorce – which is indeed a doctrinal matter. I think this has led to some misunderstanding that for some reason I think you ought to have stayed home and carried on being mistreated. I don’t.
KAS, I understand if you don’t have time to address this matter. We have had this same conversation before regarding other issues: You aren’t from America, you haven’t heard of people responding as I describe, etc. That does nothing to address my deeper concerns about the impact you have on others by your comments on this blog.
It is odd to me that you can share the same doctrinal stances on abuse & divorce yet you have never encountered the attitudes or responses I explained from my own experience. I know MANY women who have encountered the same reaction when they have gone to church leaders for protection or help. I speak up not because my story is rare but because it is not. Also, the issue of marital rape and the beliefs that enable and excuse it are not getting the exposure it needs.
In case there is anyone who isn’t clear about it, rape is about power and control. Sexual violence is simply the weapon used to damage and destroy.
@ SANDY BEACH
Sandy, you are not the first victim of horrific sexual abuse that KAS has been a creep towards. KAS has made his disdain for rape victims and women clear.
These are some things KAS said to a man who was sexually abused by his own mother when he was a baby.
Quote by a male survivor of the Bill Gothard cult.
“My mother sexually molested me when I was two. The mere idea of sex makes me physically sick.”
Quote by KAS to the man who was sexually abused by his own mother when he was a baby.
“What had gone through my mind was that I have met and heard on two occasions men who have suffered very much more that you have – by a long way.”
KAS is comp and does not have the decency, maturity, or lack of narcissism to go off somewhere and think critically about things he was told or read. No! KAS has decided how he wants things to be and he does not give a tiny damn who those things hurt or how bad they hurt someone.
I was sexually abused as a child and I have not a drip of respect for KAS and his hateful heartless anti-Christ opinions about women and sexual abuse. I do not believe KAS worships Jesus Christ any more than I believe Bill Gothard, Mark Driscoll, Doug Wilson, or any of the comp group does.
So just know when you are talking to KAS you are talking to a man who minimized incest sexual abuse of a baby to the victim’s own face. You should have no respect for his repugnant assertions either.
Much much LOVE Sandy. I am so sorry.
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KAS, “Just for now, you (and Mark) really couldn’t be more wrong”
I guess the problem is that it’s hard to separate the logical conclusion of your arguments from the fact that some of your statements don’t line up.
You can (and have) said that “the husband’s prayers are hindered” when he abuses his wife, but IMO, that’s akin to saying, “be warm and be filled” to the wife while refusing to help. And, from everything I’ve read you say about abuse in marriage, that is the furthest you’ve been willing to go.
Even advocating for physical separation is setting scripture against itself. You say that abuse is not grounds for divorce, but permanent physical separation may be necessary, but then you run afoul of “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor 7:5)
If you consider scripture systematically, it is much less of a stretch to say that “abuse is grounds for divorce” than to invent “permanent physical separation without divorce” as a solution to the problem of abuse.
Ah, but Mark. The problem is none of these men really think that separation should be permanent truly, and they don’t have a solution for what to do when it is permanent. Just, be alone and sad and possibly financially abused for the rest of your life?
That’s why i say it’s hair splitting nonsense, and in many cases magical thinking.