Christian Marriage, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, marital counseling, extramarital affairs
My friend, Valerie Jacobsen posted this statement on her Facebook page and I asked permission to share it. I found it powerful, and yet, so contrary to the way marriage is handled in the church – especially when abuse is involved. I’m sick and tired of women being forced by their pastors/elders to bear the brunt of evil in their marriages by staying in their evil and harmful marriages.
I do not believe for a second that it is godly advice for pastors tell abused wives to remain married to their chronically evil and reviling spouses. If marriage is supposed to be representative of Christ and the church, an abusive marriage is a mockery to Christ. It seems that pastors would want to help rid the church of the blot of evil when there is an abuser clinging to his marriage and refusing to change his evil ways.
Women who leave their chronically cheating and/or abusive husbands are saying NO to evil. It is their husbands who abandoned the marriage long ago when they started their evil ways.
We need to stand beside these women and tell them they are free to go when pastors tell them otherwise. Pastors who give this bad advice are not living with this evil. And I’ll bet that they would not say this kind of thing if it were their daughter living with an abuser. Let’s stop this crazy business!
h/t Hannah Smith for image (taken in Hawaii)
Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse
Almost 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.
You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership
The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:
Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.
I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.
One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied. Continue reading
Saeed Abedini, Naghmeh, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Arrest for Violating Restraining Order, Seeks Money for New Ministry
Yesterday, Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini, reported on Facebook that her husband had filed for divorce.
It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.
Today, Saeed Abedini released a statement about the divorce on his Facebook page:
“My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing. She has been my wife of 12 years and she will always be the wonderful mother to our amazing children. While we have experienced struggles, she, along with my children will forever be my heroes, both for what they had to deal with during my imprisonment in Iran and for how they never gave up fighting for my freedom.
There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people. It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together. Sometimes as Christians, we experience pain for which there is no explanation in this life, yet we must continue, even in the hardest of times, to look to Christ for strength, grace and comfort. I am trying to do that now, and I know Nagmeh is doing the same. Even in our disappointments, when we don’t have all the answers, Christ is still Lord. He is good now and forever.” (Source)
It was also reported in the Idaho Statesman that earlier this year, Saeed Abedini was arrested for violation of restraining order:
Earlier this year, Saeed Abedina [sic] was arrested on three misdemeanor counts of violation of a restraining order. Those Ada County cases are still going through the court system.
Meanwhile, Saeed Abedini has moved away from Idaho, away from his children and is starting up a new ministry (Facebook note):
As you all know I was in prison for more than 3/5 years because Jesus met me 16 years ago and told me ; ” Iam coming back soon Go to preach my Gospel ” and until today I didn’t disobey him and I will never disobey Him.
I want to start a preaching Ministry to hundred thousand people and for this new start, I don’t have any financial support yet.
I need to have 200 people in 2 months who can support my ministry monthly with donating just 20 $ each month to start. You can be one of them, specially if you prayed for me for years.
I need your help to make Jesus known and I can’t do it without your help.
Please send me a massage [sic] and your email in my inbox which I can know when our team is completed to start and send you a news letter.
Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse
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Having been spoon-fed by my former pastor a form of extremism, or rigid, legalistic, black/white rules and practices, I have pressed myself to re-evaluate those rules and ideas and measure them with scripture using my own eyes and discernment. What freedom!
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I read this excerpt by Dr. Russell Moore recently. He was asked what to do if someone is in a miserable marriage:
Does God want you to be miserable? Long-term, no. And that’s why God has designed marriage as a life-long covenant signaling the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the long-term, God wants you to be deliriously happy. But by long-term, I mean the next trillion years, and beyond. In the short-term, one often must bear difficulty and, yes, even misery. Remaining faithful to a wife you wish you hadn’t married might seem miserable to you, but taking up a cross and following Jesus is “miserable,” in the short-run. That’s why the Book of Hebrews presents the life of faith in terms of not receiving what was promised (Heb. 11:39), but seeing it and embracing it from afar. Dr. Russell Moore, Source Continue reading