"If it's not requiring her (a wife) to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked for one night and then she seeks help from the church."
Thanks to Hillary Adams, whose video has now gone viral, physical abuse is in the spotlight worldwide. Just as the ultrasound opened blind eyes to reveal that it's not a blob of tissue — it's a baby — so video cameras are shining the light into some very dark places. We suspect that with the widespread use of video cameras on cell phones, computers, etc., more evidence of physical abuse will be forthcoming via the internet for the entire world to see. Hillary's video will likely inspire a trend to document abuse, and we applaud that.
For far too long our society has turned a blind eye toward domestic violence as well as child abuse. Since we are a faith watch blog, we will keep the focus of this discussion geared toward the Christianity community. Tragically, in a community of believers that should be a "light on a hill", we have a high profile pastor like John Piper telling abused wives that they should endure "verbal abuse for a season" and tolerate "being smacked for one night". Take a look.
What if the wife doesn't survive one night of physical abuse? We saw just how tormented Hillary Adams was in just a handful of minutes by her father as he cracked that leather whip upon her writhing body. Not only did it hurt her physically, but she suffered tremendous emotional damage. Obviously, common sense has gone out the window with Piper and his ilk.
To make matters worse, we have Paige Patterson, two-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention and president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, giving wives the following IDIOTIC advice at what we understand was a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood conference (wonder how many women were in the audience to hear his ridiculous story). (link)
“I had a woman who was in a church that I served, and she was being subject to some abuse, and I told her, I said, “All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,” but I said, “You just pray there.” And I said, “Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.” And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.” And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy."
"And what she didn’t know when we sat down in church that morning was that her husband had come in and was standing at the back, first time he ever came. And when I gave the invitation that morning, he was the first one down to the front. And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis. And remember, when nobody else can help, God can.
And in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him. Obviously, if he’s doing that kind of thing he’s got some very deep spiritual problems in his life and you have to pray that God brings into the intersection of his life those people and those events that need to come into his life to arrest him and bring him to his knees.”
What is wrong with these so-called Christian leaders? Why is there not an outcry from the pulpit denouncing physical, sexual, and emotional abuse? It’s a very sad day when the secular world seems to care more about the victimization of wives and children than the Christian community. Not only that, why do Christians put up with this nonsense from their leaders? Is it because these hyper-authoritarian pastors have done such a good job of controlling the flock?
We have been extremely encouraged by John Shore who blogs over at Crosswalk.com. In his post entitled Why Pastors Struggle With Confronting Domestic Violence, he boldly addresses the problem of myopic pastors who either can’t see or intentionally ignore domestic violence.
Here are his excellent observations:
“In response to An Abused Wife Twice Betrayed, a truly disheartening number of women wrote in to relate their own stories of pastors who, in one way or another, advised them to stick with their abusive husbands: to be more submissive, a better sex partner, to pray more, etc.
So I started thinking about the weirdness of so many women having such similar stories, when I personally have never known a single pastor whose moral compass was so thoroughly tweaked that he actually thought it was in any way acceptable for a husband to abuse his wife.
I've known a lot of pastors. And I have real difficulty believing that any one of them, tacitly or otherwise, would ever condone domestic violence.
And yet here were all these women telling me that's pretty exactly what happened with their pastor. And I know those women were not lying, or somehow mistaken about what had happened to them. When a person is writing the real raw truth of their lives, their words take on a simple, clarion integrity that even the most accomplished fiction writers struggle to convincingly fake. There could be no doubting the veracity of these women's stories. Their pastors really had pooh-poohed their fears and concerns, and, Bible in hand, had essentially pushed them back into the swinging arms of their abusive husbands.
Which could only mean that the pastors whom I couldn't imagine doing such a terrible thing—or at least pastors very much like them—had, in fact, done that terrible thing.
But how? How could these good, loving, well-intentioned men give advice that's so manifestly, egregiously, cruelly wrong?”
Bravo!!! A man who gets it!
Shore and his wife came up with the following reasons for this disconnect.
1. Domestic violence is fundamentally unbelievable.
2. Wife abusers are master manipulators.
3. Pastors think spousal abuse only happens in certain kinds of families.
4. Pastors haven’t thought enough about the gray areas between “submit” and abuse.
5. Pastors believe what they preach.
6. Pastors simply aren’t trained about domestic violence.
Shore provides a thorough explanation for each of these points, and we encourage you to read his entire post.
Silence is NOT the answer to the horrific problems of domestic violence and child abuse, and we are grateful to those who are beginning to speak out. We want to encourage victims of abuse to record secretly what is happening to them so others will believe them. We also believe Christians should be proactive in recording the words of pastors who tell them to put up with abuse. Why? Because these so-called men of God are causing much harm to the cause of Christ when they treat victims so callously. What a poor Christian witness! We condemn ANY pastor who sends a woman back into a home where she is being abused. Shame on them!
Finally, we want to applaud one of our commenters who listened to his wife and discovered that violence is NOT the answer. Warwick wrote the following in response to yesterday's post:
"I now have three kids, with number five on the way (not a typo).
The eldest is 14 1/2. When he was much younger, he did something incredibly naughty. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember that I felt it justified the belt. My wife got between me and him, and refused to let me use the belt on him. I eventually relented, but my dad used the belt on me (and a fiberglass CB radio aerial for a while), and it didn’t do any lasting damage to me… Did it?
Older now, and a hell of a lot wiser, I’m glad she stepped in. I’m glad she stood up to my statement that the kids had to fear me to respect me. They don’t fear me. They do seem to respect me, even without me ever using the belt on them.
I saw that video tonight. Suddenly I remember the unadulterated fear, as my father took the belt to me. The terror… And oh how I hated him afterwards. He was never that brutal (only once did it exceed 6 hits), and never after I hit my teens, but I suspect he’d already broken my spirit by that stage.
And now… Tonight I am so very thankful that my wife stepped in all those years ago."
Now there’s a “manly” man! Warwick demonstrates love and respect toward his wife and children, and harmony abounds in their family.
Tune in next week when we cover how John Piper says a woman should lead. By the way, we’re doing just what Piper recommends by addressing the very serious problems of domestic violence and child abuse.
Lydia's Corner: 2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21 Romans 15:1-22 Psalm 25:1-15 Proverbs 20:13-15