Domestic Violence, Christmas, John Piper, SGM and TGC

We should not ask, "What is wrong with the world?" for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather, we should ask, "What has happened to the salt and light? John Stott

41yiNrQRjVL._SL500_AA300_
Amazon link

A couple of days before Christmas, early in the morning, Fox News reported on a survey that claimed that 50% of people dread the holidays. I pondered the potential reasons for this. Loneliness, the reminder of loved ones who have died, financial hardships, expectations of a "Martha Stewart" Christmas, etc. all seemed to be some of the potential causes of distress. However, one concern jumped out at me as I looked for research in this area.

The BBC reported that police claim link 

Incidents of domestic abuse rise over the Christmas period, the police have said as they relaunch their domestic abuse campaign.

In light of this, I want to focus, once again, on domestic violence. A number of readers called attention to a recent "clarification" by John Piper on his views on domestic violence. I believe it is in response to the outcries by many, including TWW, caused by this video. 

If you Google John Piper and domestic violence, you will find that two posts by TWW are listed at "1" and "2" while Piper's video and Desiring God come in under those. Piper felt it important to clarify his response as outlined in the above video in his Desiring God post, called  Clarifying Words on Wife Abuse link .

My first critique is immediately obvious. Wives, although the predominate recipient of domestic violence, are not the only ones who get abused. Men do as well. I believe that the current culture of swaggering males, along with their fearless, tattooed and sword bearing leader, Jesus (as discussed by Mark Driscoll) has made the problems of male spousal abuse move underground. When TWW discuss the issue of domestic abuse, it is not limited by gender.

Before I get to Piper, I found this thought-provoking information from a post at Christian Domestic Abuse Link.

William Bradford Wilcox conducted a study on the types of Protestants who engage in domestic violence.He examined the relationship between religious affiliation, church attendance, and domestic violence, using data on wife reports of spousal violence from three American surveys.The study found that the lowest reported rates of domestic violence occurred among church active conservative Protestants (2.8% of husbands committed domestic violence), followed by those who were religiously unaffiliated (3.2%), periodic church attending mainline Protestants (3.9%),church active mainline Protestants (5.4%), and periodic church attending conservative Protestants (7.2%).If we average these deeply disturbing numbers for church attending Christians,we come up with an average 4.8% abuser rate which means that a typical minister with a congregation of 500 people can expect to have twenty-two (22) families that are being tormented by this hidden social cancer.

There are about 7,000+ attendees in Piper's church. Link. This means that, if the above stats are correct, there are potentially 308 families at his church affected by domestic violence. 

Now, onto his post.

Piper rightly states that Christians must submit to civil authorities.

He also outlines various other submissive relationships-children to parents, wives to husbands, etc. Then he makes this curious statement.

Discerning the path of love and obedience when two or more of these submissive relationships collide is a call to humble, Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom.

I know this may seem a bit in your face but it does not take a "gospel" Christian, a rocket scientist or a theologian at the most correct Reformed-based seminary to know that the police should be involved when someone is getting whacked around. Ditto for the humble part. Humble or not, the police need to be called. Frankly, there are some in the NeoCalvinist world who wouldn't know humble if they fell over it including the one who wrote the oft recommended Calvinista book on humility link.

Piper once again gets it right when he says that an abusive man is breaking God's law.

He also said the man must be disciplined by the church. Then, he makes another statement that is bizarre, perhaps revealing that he is living inside a bubble.

  The wife is not insubordinate to ask the church for help.

Insubordinate! This sounds to me like a school teacher wagging her finger at an unruly child. It seems to me that today's NeoCalvinist churches spend a lot of time worrying about authority and subordination to such an extreme that they do not see how their choice of words is off-putting. I guess we were "insubordinate" to beg a Reformed leader to look at the problems in SGM. (Or was that character assassination?)

Piper then says that appealing to civil authorities may by the right thing to do.

He continues to use the "may" word throughout this section, showing some equivocation and this has me concerned.

A wife’s submission to the authority of civil law, for Christ’s sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries.

By this statement he "may" be implying that is not a necessity for a woman who has received "injuries" to go to the police. In other words, Piper is giving the church advisors an out. That is very, very dangerous. For example, are the "gospel" advisors of an abused woman willing to take the risk that they might overlook a leaking spleen (due to trauma) being undiagnosed and having her end up in a trauma unit, almost dead, from internal bleeding? People who are abused MUST be examined by a medical professional.

This one statement is enough to negate his entire "clarification." Was this intended? 

In fact I become more concerned when he appears to place a huge emotional burden on the abused spouse.

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

A person who has been whacked around is in no condition to spiritualize the matter. Can you imagine an abused woman  being advised to wait before going to the authorities until she "longs for, with a heavy and humble heart,  the reestablishment of the abuser's "nurturing" relationship?" Why does he even assume that there has ever been a nurturing relationship? I can see it now. The woman sitting in Piper's office, with two black eyes, shaking, and Piper saying "You are not humble enough, woman. Repent." Good night! 

Piper is correct when he says "The church should not harbor an abusive man or woman whom the civil authorities would punish if they knew what the church knows."

I am going to be cryptic here but our readers will get what I mean. John Piper and the TGC men can say this over and over again but it rings hollow since there are incidents with which they are aware in which this very thing has occurred. I suggest that they consider adopting the Prime Directive of TWW. First, reach out to the victims of abuse before "showing mercy" to the abusers. 

Oh yeah, and when these matters are pointed out to you and you are begged for intervention in systemic problems, it might be nice to tell your friends not to call the conveyers of concern "character assassins."

Thankfully, Piper does slip in the possibility of an abused man in this statement. However, he seems inconsistent in his approach.

Piper says the right thing when he stresses that "no Christian woman (or man) should have to face abuse alone."

However, once again he strikes an odd note.

What I want to stress is that long before they reach a point of desperation — or harm — the women of the church should know that there are spiritual men and women in the church that they can turn to for help. By way of caution and lament, I cannot promise that every church has such spiritual, gifted, and compassionate men and women available for help. But many do. The intervention of these mature brothers and sisters may bring the husband to repentance and reconciliation. Or they may determine that laws have been broken and the civil authorities should or must be notified. 

A "mature" Christian is NOT the same thing as a professionally trained Christian. Unfortunately, with the rise of Nouthetic Counseling in today's churches, many churches assume that a weekend of "training" makes an expert. Abuse is serious and a simplistic approach of "Repent of your sins and become godly," is dangerously naive. Most abusers are at high risk of re-offending and often need years of professional counseling.

There are two well-known churches in the Triangle area who will NOT inform church members of local domestic abuse centers. They probably will only approve "Christian" centers. Yet, such "Christian" centers are few and far between.  Does theology trump safety? If a church relies on non-professional church members to counsel abuse victims, the answer is a resounding "yes" and that is shameful.

Piper has the solution for abuse…..complementarianism.

 Herald a beautiful vision of complementarian marriage that calls men to bear the responsibility not only for their own courage and gentleness but also for the gentleness of the other men as well. Make it part of the culture of manhood in the church that the men will not tolerate the abuse of any of its women.

Finally, I heartily recommend that all Christians, including John Piper and the entire leadership of Sovereign Grace Ministries, read Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood's excellent book A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church. Link I plan to do a review of this book in the near future. 

I pray that today's leaders would spend more time caring for the victims of domestic abuse than writing about the theological implications of such abuse. The "me too"posts on caring about this issue ring hollow when victims are consistently ignored. Oh yeah, has it really been 61 days of silence??

Lydia's Corner: Numbers 11:24-13:33 Mark 14:22-52 Psalm 52:1-9 Proverbs 11:1-3

Comments

Domestic Violence, Christmas, John Piper, SGM and TGC — 370 Comments

  1. I am sorry, but I just do not get the impression that folks like Piper really care about the victims. I know that mind sound harsh, but his language and the language of other ministers sounds more theoretical than practical when it comes to many types of abuse.

    Church should be a place of safety, but too many leaders seem to be concerned about themselves.

    What a shame!

  2. RE the statistics above. Are Piper and his ilk considered the conservative protestants? I will save my comments till after I know which churches are considered conservative.

  3. Piper and his ilk post articles on what every church ‘should’ do against domestic violence…but fail to heed to their own standards. Classic case of hypocritical pharisees.

    Talking the talk isn’t enough to fool critics, they need to walk the walk too. Except that doing so would violate all the patriarchal material in their bodies (I mean, can you imagine asking a wife to STAND UP FOR HERSELF against her husband? Oh the HORROR! How “UNBIBLICAL”!).

  4. Another subject that the church has failed miserably on. Well…the liberal churches have gotten it right and have gotten it right for quite sometime.

    These are the things I have been writing on for several years. I am glad to see they are still being written about. And I would make one correction, it’s not abuse or theology as this is not theology. I don’t know what to call it but the Bible does not condone women staying even when being abused. I have searched long and hard to come up empty. Notice they do not give any scripture to back up their horribly wrong dialog. There is none to give. They have to back up their complementarian idealology rather than admit they are wrong, no matter what the cost to women. That alone is a huge warning bell. I could write so much more, but do not want to take up more space.

    Bottom line: If you hear this being practiced in a church you are attending don’t listen to it. Don’t follow it. Ignore it. Read scripture and follow your heart which is much more logical than these guys. If it feels wrong it probably is.

  5. Wisdomchaser

    Conservative? Well, I am sure that Piper and his friends would consider themselves to be the “gold standard” when it comes to church theology. So, it depends on what one means by conservative. I think of my self as conservative but am routinely disparaged as liberal.

    Those who are IFB would consider themselves the true conservatives and Piper as being liberal. Given the penchant in the US for labeling people as “conservative” Christians if they vote for certain candidates, I might think that many of the NeoCalvinists would be considered “conservative.”

    Now, Piper does not allow women to read the Bible out loud in church. Therefore, he is definitely not liberal. So, yeah, in general he would be considered conservative.

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

  6. “I pray that today’s leaders would spend more time caring for the victims of domestic abuse than writing about the theological implications of such abuse”

    I pray for the day that more folks are wise enough not to view them as “leaders” at all.

    Read this Piperspeak again:

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

    Piper makes no sense except if you view it through his hierarchical paradigm. He sets it up so that the abused person has to question or be questioned on whether they are sufficiently humble and have the rightheart.

    All I want is for the person to be safe and free. But like the Pharisees, Piper lays on a heavy burden for the abused to even think about getting the proper help or reporting a CRIME.

  7. Eagle

    We have received the first one and plan to publish it as soon as we hit 2013, next week. Our guess is that 2013 will see the revelations hitting the media in a big way so we hope to make it easy for our readers to follow the stories by clustering them in the early weeks of the year. So, any good ideas for name for the series? The Chronicles of  False Humility? The Sin Sniffers of Baskerville? The Assassins of the Character Assassins?

  8. Anon 1: It sounds like Piper is saying that even in self-defensive action, the wife should STILL be submissive and serving to her husband. How does one get the authorities in on hubby while still protecting his (all-hallowed) male ego? He has to learn he’s done wrong, however long that takes. ‘Staying sweet’ will not help him in the slightest.

    I don’t like the ‘heavy and humble heart’ bit, Piper sounds like the abused woman must a) be upset that hubby is getting justice for his crimes and b) be open to the idea that she’s not got everything right either. (Which can be a typical outcry from an abuser facing retribution “Punish ME? But what about HER?”). By the time an abused person speaks out they have been beaten down beyond humility. What they need is to be built up, not subtly shamed for speaking out. And by the way, Piper, she can long for her husband’s repentance and nurturing as much as she wants but past evidence dictates that it takes a loooong time for an abuser to TRULY repent and turn around. Better to use the D word and free her from her nightmare.

  9. Anne, The problem is that Piper teaches divorce is ALWAYS wrong. The male is ALWAYS to be considered as the “head”, no matter what he does.

    When you have that dynamic at work, the victim means very little to the problem except to manipulate to fit the above paradigm.

    The real problem we have is that anyone actually listens to Piper and thinks he teaches truth.

  10. “‘Staying sweet’ will not help him in the slightest. ”

    Have you read bios of women who have escaped MOrmonism, too? This was a constant refrain from men in Mormonism to their wives (sometimes plural wives).

    I have long maintained that much I read over at CBMW (before they rebranded) sounded just like Mormonism. Down to women will submit to men in heaven. Yep, they even speculated on that in one article. They teach a phallic symbol Christianity that is immersed in sex and dominance. It is actually very pagan.

  11. “the women of the church should know that there are spiritual men and women in the church that they can turn to for help

    Piper has been teaching his theory of submission, including to abuse, for years. All the “spiritual men and women” in the churches of those to whom he is speaking have been lapping up his teaching and passing it on.

    Now Piper recommends abused women should turn to these “spiritual men and women” for help. Maybe the abused woman reading his article today actually knows more than these illusive “spiritual” people she is supposed to consult!

    Seems like the Church needs a recall system.

    http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/default.htm

    I went looking for this link and instead of going back to this blog I accidentally went to my email. And right in front of my eyes a recall notice from Sams Club appeared. Someone sold some bad salmon. And while it is not Sams Club fault, they care enough about their customers, or are required to by law… to let me know! Reputation be damned. Not the first time that I have learned a spiritual lesson from that unlikely source!

    Will I see the day when these “big dogs” actually recall their products instead of pruning them?

    I am away to find a spiritual man to cut off the bad bits from my salmon…

  12. When I read Piper’s comments a few days ago I couldn’t help but wonder how you were going to parse his every word looking for any hint of anything possibly “confusing” or “misleading” about what he said. You guys are predictable, I’ll give you that. The statistics are interesting, considering Calvanistas are most certainly conservative protestants, and active conservative protestants have the lowest (albeit still horrifying) percentage.

  13. @ Anne:
    Anne, I couldn’t agree with you more…it is horribly clear from these excerpts from Piper that the wife (even the beaten, terrifed, injured wife)is having huge behavioural expectations dumped on her ,even at her point of greatest vulnerability & need. It seems that the maintenance of a ‘proper submissive attitude’ is of far more importance than almost anything else, & that to fail to do this is a much bigger sin than that of the one meting out the violence. When they start to talk about the horrific attitude of dominance & how incredibly sinful it is, they might get my ear about ‘submission’. For now, it’s still on the victim to resolve the situation by being spiritual enough, & so magically bring about repentance.
    Well you know what – screw that attitude! Let’s get the beaten & broken out of danger, safe & loved, & then we’ll start thinking about our attitudes, or indeed, anyone else’s. And don’t even get me started on the kids caught up in this…maybe if we got them all fasting & praying we could sort this out….

  14. Anon 1: But doesn’t the Bible say that a man who doesn’t provide for his family (and an abuser provides jack-squat) has denied the faith? How can an abusive husband be a ‘spiritual head’ when the ‘spiritual’ part is no longer part of the Body? It’s like crowning the Chinese President as England’s next king – he’s not in the royal bloodline, therefore he’s disqualified from the running. Likewise, an abusive husband is the head of nothing (and if there’s strife, no believer should be ‘yoked’ to an unbeliever anyway).

  15. @ Joey:
    Yup, here at TWW people are hideously, consistently, yawningly predictable about the victim coming first, that the smouldering wick is not snuffed out, or the bent reed snapped in two. How absolutely awful, huh?

    And Piper should have very word parsed to death because people hang on his every word, & treat their wives & kids(actual human beings) based on his word.

    Predictably yours!

  16. “When I read Piper’s comments a few days ago I couldn’t help but wonder how you were going to parse his every word looking for any hint of anything possibly “confusing” or “misleading” about what he said.”

    Joey, Piper uses flowery language. If you strip away all the flowery language he uses, he is more obvious. He seems to resonate with those who like that sort of flowery passion. Piper has to be parsed because he never answers anything directly,

    Perhaps you could interpret for Piper”

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

    How does one who is being abused do this? Perhaps Piper can be more exacting about contradicting the “spirit of love and submission” to her husband? Perhaps Piper or an elder would decide for her if she is in the right “spirit”?

    Words mean things so tell us what Piper’s words mean. It is hard to tell since he is so flowery and never really gives an application. And who gets to decide if the person being banged about is in the right spirit? He does not tell us.

    And what if the abuser is a professing believer? What then?

  17. Anon 1: But doesn’t the Bible say that a man who doesn’t provide for his family (and an abuser provides jack-squat) has denied the faith? How can an abusive husband be a ‘spiritual head’ when the ‘spiritual’ part is no longer part of the Body? It’s like crowning the Chinese President as England’s next king – he’s not in the royal bloodline, therefore he’s disqualified from the running. Likewise, an abusive husband is the head of nothing (and if there’s strife, no believer should be ‘yoked’ to an unbeliever anyway).”

    Bingo Anne! Instone Brewer goes through this sort of thing in his book. Talk about the bible being twisted to try and convince a battered spouse they are more holy for taking beatings. Just pray more and well….if God does not stop it then it must be YOU.

  18. How accurate do you consider the above statistics? I would think that churches that regularly denigrate women would have the highest rates of domestic abuse not the the lowest. I guess who is being asked and how often are they lying would be the next questions.

  19. “And Piper should have very word parsed to death because people hang on his every word, & treat their wives & kids(actual human beings) based on his word.”

    It is scary how many young men hang on his every word and how many young pastors try to emulate him. I am surrounded by them at ground zero.

  20. Beakerj,

    Nothing Piper said could legitimately be construed as not putting the victim first.

    The desire to put the victims first here at TWW is admirable.

    And I am not sure how you would know whether I hang on Piper’s every word or not, or how I treat my wife. In fact, you have no idea.

    For the record, I have read 1 Piper book (on imputation), which I loved, and I have heard him preach 4 or 5 times total (once or twice online I think as well). I also frequent the Desiring God blog once a week. Considering the amount of material he has put out, I would hardly call it hanging on his every word.

    Whether you generally disagree with someone on most things or not, parsing their words to death is not beneficial, as it usually leads to making them mean something they didn’t intend.

  21. @ Anon 1:
    Guys like Piper do not know the character of God. At all. One of the reasons I disagree with the whole male/female ‘roles’ in all their detailed man-made glory, is that it is entirely unlike God to put his daughters under such oppression. It’s not the Lord I know. Which makes me think that the patriarchs worship a different one.

  22. “Whether you generally disagree with someone on most things or not, parsing their words to death is not beneficial, as it usually leads to making them mean something they didn’t intend.”

    Joey, Piper makes his living as a mass communicator in ministry. In fact, he is a clever communicator because many guys like you do not see the problem with what he said or has said in the past. Perhaps the flowery adjectives and adverbs blinded you. :o)

    If you cannot see the problems for the abused in his statement, no amount of cut and paste and explanations will help.

  23. @ Joey:
    The ‘humble and heavy heart’ bit is most definitely not putting the victim first. Piper is putting the husband’s ego first, implying that the victim should not injure it in the process of civil protection. Stay submissive and humble, wifey. Don’t diminish his manhood like those other Jezebel women who give him directions when he’s lost.

  24. “Guys like Piper do not know the character of God.”

    I agree. Their focus has been solely on His Sovereignty as they define it.

  25. We have a false definition of conservative in this country. I was using the standard American (and wrong) definition when I was asking my question. As I said anyone who regularly makes women second class citizens is very likely to have the highest rates of abuse not the lowest and “of course” they will lie through their teeth about it. I really need to back and look at the original link before I say too much more.

  26. Anne,

    That is actually opposite of what he was saying. He was specifically dispelling the idea that the complentarian framework doesn’t leave room for a wife to turn her husband over to authorities. He was stating it in such a way as to show it was not an act of usurpation, but can be the loving (though sad) thing to do.

    It has nothing to do with the abusers ego.

  27. Speaking as someone who knows more than I want to about DV, Piper’s words sicken me, because they still put the emotional burden for getting the relationship ‘right’ on the victim. these guys just do not get that there is nothing the victim does, or no attitude they may have in their heart, that ever EVER justifies a physical attack. No, she can only have recourse to help if she first gets her own heart ‘right’. Personally, I think ‘I want him to stop hitting me’ is a pretty good motive. I have often likened this Piperesque approach to abuse to someone slapping your face and then blaming the nerve endings for feeling the pain.

    The complicated, round-about way that he addresses the issue also tells me that he still doesn’t get it. Simple justice doesn’t demand complicated theologising. If your theology leaves you in a place where it’s the victim who has to take responsibility for the problem, rather than the abuser, then that looks to me like a glaring red light that says that something’s wrong with your theology. Seriously, would Jesus address an abused spouse like that?

  28. Joey

    I am well aware about what he thinks. But he is naive and does not understand the potential implications of his words. He lives in a bubble and the people that surround him allow him to remain in that bubble. It is good that he is stepping down. Perhaps his sucessor will be more adept at communicating to a broader audience.

  29. Wisdomchaser

    I do not trust the statistics because I believe that they are on the low side. Domestic abusers, and their victims, might choose to cover it up.

  30. @ Joey:
    Okay, so perhaps he was presenting the idea that complementarianism allows for civil intervention. Fair enough. I still think he is naive to suggest that a wife should do it with the expectation of her husband restoring a ‘nurturing’ headship. Yes, he believes divorce is unacceptable. The facts however, show that it is the best course of action.

  31. I also suspect those stats. Conservative women are far more likely to under-report DV because they’ve been taught they have to submit, and in that culture the implication is often that a man was provoked by his ‘unsubmissive’ wife.

    Also, a lot of complementarians have set up a system that makes emotional abuse, rape in marriage, economic abuse, social isolation etc (all forms of abuse which are named and recognised in the real world) as virtually unidentifiable, because they fall under the umbrella of the husband’s ‘rights’. Since physical violence is often only the tip of the iceberg, this distorts the picture.

  32. Re. the statistics, it looks like the key word is reported abuse.

    Of course the people in the most “conservative” churches are going to be in the lowest percentile, because speaking out is considered evil, unsubmissive, disloyal and all of that.

    As for Piper’s language, “Bible-saturated”?!!! Oh c’mon, dude, it’s not maple syrup, and we’re not intended to be all-absorbing pancakes! Sheesh!!!

  33. The other thing that isn’t mentioned in this post (but I do believe Dee is implying it) are the stats for child abuse.

    Given some of the things we know about sexual abuse in both families and by church “authorities,” my hunch is that those rates are sickeningly high as well (in “conservative” churches).

    When will people like Piper & Co. EVER focus on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” (Feels like a lone cry in the wilderness, when in fact it’s a central tenet of faith!)

  34. Well Happy Christmas to TWW. After a day of peace and quiet, the bugles are blowing again – Calvinista says something sensible, but let’s criticise him anyway. And while we’re at let’s dispute the stats, conjure up reasons for thinking the big Cs are worse than they are.
    I’ve said before that I don’t share your experience. I can’t empathize but could sympathise, but you give no reason why I should ever want to. You are stuck in your little silos firing off your rockets at your imagined targets. And all the while Eagle talks dirty.

    And please bear in mind that while you parse poor Mr Piper to death, there is one watching who said that not a jot or a tittle will pass (from the law) until all is fulfilled. You may just find yourselves being given the once over by the Chief Grammarian and you might be found a comma short of a full stop.

    Saturnalian Greetings
    Gavin

  35. Gavin

    I am fully expecting a once over by my Lord. That is why I am grateful for the grace given to me by His blessed sacrifice. 

    Secondly, unlike many, I willingly put my thoughts out there for critique and review. I am more than willing to open myself up to all forms of critique and I sure receive it. Unlike some of the “real men” Calvinista set, TWW accepts, and rarely deletes, comments, even ones that some would find offensive. How many people do you know that have the guts to do that? 

    As for Eagle, TWW cuts those who do not inhabit our sanitized Christian world a bit of slack. I am also known to quietly delete a few words here and there from some comments. However, when I do so, I do not blow the trumpets and do a blogosphere form of discipline and shunning. Eagle has become a dear friend and both Deb and I are glad he is here.

    In the meantime, we have a particular calling to the issue of abuse. We have witnessed, the church screwing up in this area. We intend to continue to focus on all sorts of abuse. Our “Prime Directive”  is to put victims first. You can be darn sure that we are not the only ones who did not find Piper’s clarification “edifying.” You are welcome to explain why you found his comments “sensible.”We welcome dissent.

  36. Gavin, Seems you own one of the Piper decoder rings. So, what did he mean to communicate?

    Was it:

    That you can report abuse to the authorities if your spirit is humble and heart right and you do it only with thoughts of reconcilation and restoring the abuser to his rightful headship?

    (hmmm. Sounds like putting the burden on the abused to me but then what do I know? It seems to me the abused is in an impossible situation according to the religious authorities like Piper. Who will tell her/him their heart is humble and in the right place?)

    I personally agree with Jeff Crippen who wrote

    “Divorce is the watershed issue for me in this subject of abuse. As long as anyone (such as Piper) still insists that an abuse victim cannot divorce the abuser, then I part company with them. We removed all John Piper books and resources from our church library two years ago. His penchant for walking on the edge theologically finally became enough for us.

    You can read between the lines in what Piper says here, and do so quite accurately when you realize that he teaches that divorce for any reason is NEVER permitted by God. For all of his talk of calling the police and of all of these godly people in the church stepping up to protect the victim, the bottom line is that Piper will tell a victim that they cannot divorce the abuser, and therefore you can count on the fact that practically, Piper will prefer that the police not be called, that the victim not testify against the abuser, and that the thing would be handled “in house” in the church. Did you notice his emphasis, by the way, on PHYSICAL abuse. You can bet that for Piper, verbal and emotional and spiritual abuse really are not that big of a deal.

    Preachers/authors/theologians like Piper really disgust me. Their arrogance is overwhelming. If that sounds too harsh of a charge against J.P., then just consider this: Piper knows full well that Christians, including Christian leaders, are not in agreement on this matter of the reasons for divorce. Piper’s own church board is in disagreement as to his position! Knowing this, Piper STILL pushes ahead with all of this preaching and book-writing and shoves this no-divorce-for-any-reason down the throats of all of us. ”
    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/john-pipers-clarifying-words-on-wife-abuse-are-they-helpful/#comment-10593

    There is another side to this. When you call police for DV and go to court, the judge can decide there has to be a physical separation for a period of time depending on the situation. that gives the pharisees no opporunity to manage and manipulate the situation without going against court orders. If one is not permitted to divorce what would be the point of calling the authorities. I can already see the futility for an abused person who lives in Piper’s bubble. And then one gets into a situation where one calls the police but does not go ahead with charges because of this faulty teaching and then when it gets really dangerous, they have little credibility even with the authorities. then the woman looks like a bad parent for allowing her children if there are any to live in such an environment.

    I used to volunteer in an abuse/rape center and saw this all the time. the pastors came to tell the women their husband is sorry and to come home where she belongs. If she did not, then she was the unforgiving, callous one. All he had to say was “sorry”.

  37. Guess what, Gavin, the law HAS been fulfilled in Christ. I am personally thankful for that.

  38. Joey: where did I say that you hang on Piper’s words? I said ‘people’…a general statement, whether you incude yourself in that is up to you. But many, many people do, that is just a fact. Many appear obsessed with him & his opinion, in terms of it being the last word in what God wants – that’s why it MUST be tested.

    Gavin: whether you choose to accept it or not, the stuff that gets pointed out as problematic on this blog actually is problematic, & is affecting people’s lives…I’m glad a lot of these calvinista concepts seem to mean something else to you, but obviously, to many here, particularly American women, what they are fleshed out as in their everyday lives are not positive or loving things.

    Do you really find John Piper’s pronouncements on domestic violence adequate? Would you let your own daughter deal with such a thing in this environment? And, risking being shouted down, I wonder sometimes if many (not all) men can actually hear the subtext to these kinds of statements, i.e. a woman’s attitude has a huge amount to do with whether she gets abused or not, & how well it gets resolved…I think pretty much the same answer would be wheeled out if a man is the one suffering DV..it’s the women’s attitude that’s the problem…funny how it always seems to be. Curiously, when I run anger management classes with young people who assault teachers, their peer group, police etc, we emphasise that their reaction (even to provocation) is their responsibility, & that reacting with violence, apart from self-defence is wrong. SO much calvinista work seems to major on a woman’s responsibility for her attitude, her clothes…whatever, & not nearly so much on men keeping their fists & eyes to themselves. Have I ever read a ‘how dare you raise a hand to your wife no matter what her attitude’ article for christian husbands? I have read ‘how dare you not submit no matter what his attitude’ ones for wives….
    I know I’ve gone off the point here, but I really think those who don’t hear the problems with the kind of thing Piper, & then Joey have to say, are missing out how anti-women these statements are, & how potentially dangerous to them. I also suspect an under-reporting of violence here, because many women (& certainly men) feel that their welfare, rather than their spiritual conduct, is important here.
    As for Eagle swearing…I honestly think a bit of maturity is needed here, christian ‘niceness’ stops a lot of well-meaning people being able to interact with the real world at all, backing away into their very polite ghettos…he is really hardly scraping the surface of swearing here.

  39. I mean that last bit the other way round – victims feel their welfare comes a very distant second to their welfare, if at all. The underlying idea is that going to the Police is not the ideal spiritual solution to being assaulted,it’s much more reluctant than that, & that victims don’t really deserve the protection of law because they’re also sinners.

  40. Arrgh, Dee can you correct that? It’s late here – I mean their welfare comes second to their spiritual conduct…

    And Gavin, you also need to notice that you’re welcome at TWW, & free to criticise, not so elsewhere, particularly if you identify yourself as a woman.

    And with that, time for bed!

  41. Dee – Great article. As we have done a number of times, I have piggy-backed on this topic today, too.

    My slant is the timing and the power of bloggers and voices of readers. You can be sure the SGM lawsuit case, the recent barrage of articles by Gospel Coalition members coinciding with the UN-sponsored International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, these pastors have no choice but to address the issue. They refuse to discuss CJ or SGM by name, but they are dancing around in an attempt to clean up their act. I just hope that in addition to cleaning up their image, they actually take care of women who are violated.

    Oh, and did you notice, he failed to apologize? How many women suffered one more night of violence because “John Piper told me to.” Blech.

  42. Julie Anne, there is definitely a concerted effort going on. A sort of rebranding in all things comp world. I am seeing it in many quarters.

    Perhaps they might feel the need to point to their very public writings just in case the old ones are pointed to first? well, I mean the ones that are not deleted. Piper was not able to get the original Q/A video completely erased. So, this one was needed and I think he was being very careful not to alienate his very patriarchal base.

  43. I don’t know if what I am going to say makes sense but I’ll give it a try. I can’t remember why I started looking at concubinage in the Bible but I have tried to find everything I could on it. A concubine wasn’t a mistress but a wife of lesser status. She didn’t have a dowery, in fact might have been “sold” by her family. She didn’t have a ketubbah (marriage contract) which would spell out her rights and obligations. She likely didn’t have a betrothal ceremony or marriage ceremony. She might have been a servant, slave or prisoner of war. If another man had sex with her he was committing adultery and causing her to commit adultery. Yet, if a man did sleep with a concubine he might or might not be punished. If she left her husband her family would have to come up with the redemption price. This is probably why the Levite’s father-in-law was being so nice and trying to keep the son-in-law there while he convinced his daughter to go home with him (Judges 19-20).

    Because the concubine didn’t have a marriage contract spelling out her rights her husband didn’t need to divorce her. He could just send her away as Abraham did with Hagar. Also, if the husband was not fulfilling the rights of wife then she could divorce him but a concubine had no such right. While The Law spells out that the husband must provide her with food, clothing, housing and sex, she didn’t have any say in how the household was run and her children inherited at the father’s whim. If her child was to provide the wife with an heir because she was barren then the boy would inherit as the wife’s child. A wife had joint say in how the household was run and her children had automatic inheritance rights.

    That brings me to the whole issue of complementarianism. I believe that it lowers the wife to the status of concubine. Calvinistas generally want to make use of the law when it is to their advantage but ignore what is inconvenient. The laws concerning a wife’s rights are one of the inconvenient things they choose to ignore. Then they go on and on about submission, headship, order of creation, etc.

    The things that Piper and others say about abuse is because they choose to ignore what the Bible says about the rights of a wife. This puts a wife on the same level as a concubine with few rights and many obligations.

  44. Piper: “Several years ago, I was asked in an online Q&A, “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”

    One of the criticisms of my answer has been that I did not mention the recourse that a wife has to law enforcement for protection.”

    I find it interesting this is the only criticism Piper chose to make the focus of his clarification. Equally troubling to me is Piper saying, “If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night…” I think it very telling that Piper does not recant that statement but only “clarifies” a wife *may* have recourse to civil authorities. In light of his advice, even more troubling is the qualifiers in his “clarification”:

    “A wife’s submission to the authority of civil law, for Christ’s sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries. This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.”

    Specifically what conditions of abuse may NOT overrule a wife’s submission to her husband’s demand that she endure his injuries? Specifically, what are the conditions of abuse that may overrule a wife’s submission to her husband’s demand that she endure his injuries? Specifically, what conditions absolutely overrule a wife’s submission to her husband’s demand that she endure his injuries, if this category exists in this mind? It sounds as if he is saying the same thing he said in the first video i.e. if it it’s just verbal unkindness…she endures verbal abuse for a season…she endures being smacked for a night…

    Must the legitimate recourse always be with a spirit of submission and love towards husband and with a heavy and humble heart? If so and the wife does not believe she necessarily possesses these qualities, does this disqualify her from legitimate civil recourse? What if her heart is not submissive but broken? What if rather than humble, she musters enough courage to be defiant against enduring another night of abuse and boldly seeks civil recourse? What if, instead of a spirit of love for her husband, she seeks help out of love for herself and her dignity as an image-bearer of God? Or, out of a desire for the well-being of her children? What if, instead of a heavy heart, she senses hope for a bright future because of the help in seeking civil recourse? Are these not legitimate reasons to seek legitimate civil recourse?

    These are questions I would Piper to answer.

  45. @ Joey:

    “He was stating it in such a way as to show it was not an act of usurpation, but can be the loving (though sad) thing to do.”

    By stating it this way in the first place, Piper implies that there is a possibility that a wife, being abused, could usurp her husbands authority by seeking help and safety. This is absurd! The fact is that the abuser is the one who has broken their marriage covenant with God and their spouse. The abused person is not at fault for what the abuser chooses to do. The abused should seek help and it isn’t “sad” that they do this. It is wise, healthy, and loving for a Christian to flee evil — is it not? What’s sad” is the abuse itself, not someone respecting themselves enough to stop being abused.

  46. Piper says the same thing he said before but with a lot more words. It’s still chain of command, church first, she can only call the authorities if the church says she should. The church is expected to know what’s going on before the civil authorities do (when he says the church shouldn’t tolerate what the civil authorities wouldn’t tolerate if they knew about it).

    In the mean time, she is to stay and endure abuse “for a season.”

  47. I’ve heard numerous people say they have great respect for John Piper. I can’t for the life of me understand this.

    This man colors the tone of the gospel by his attitude toward women. He changes the way Jesus views women by his interpretations. He misunderstands Paul’s focus on liberty and equality and worst of all, he negatively influences the way men and women perceive themselves.

    For someone who allegedly is a “scholar” of the Bible, these erroneous teachings and attitudes are inexcusable.

  48. Victorious

    At least Pipe tries to change what Jesus and Paul were saying. He really can’t and yes, it’s inexcusable.

  49. ” What if, instead of a heavy heart, she senses hope for a bright future because of the help in seeking civil recourse? Are these not legitimate reasons to seek legitimate civil recourse?

    SM, the things you mention are not in Piper’s doctrinal perview. His theology is such that the victim is also a sinner by virtue of existing. There are no degrees of sin in the Reformed tradition. She is just as big a totally depraved sinner as the abuser. All sins are equal. That is why it is so easy for them to make her response a matter of sin sniffing.The abuser is just being his natural sinning self and since she is also a sinner they are equal when it comes to sin but not equal when it comes to sin status. God has ordained the male abuser as her superior. She has to find a way to submit no matter what. There are different rules for women in both the Reformed and non Reformed tradition. it is just that the REformed tradition makes her an equal sinner to the abuser.

  50. Dee,
    It might be instructive to delineate why Piper is so adamant that divorce is not permissible under any circumstances. Does his belief system parallel Roman Catholic doctrine? And if so, where does it differ, and where does parallelism break down?

    Protestant mores on marriage and divorce will vary like Darwin’s Galapagos finches. It would be interesting to see how Protestant views on marriage have evolved into what we have at present day.

  51. Muff – I seriously doubt that Piper has anything like the RC sacramental view of marriage.

    and you know… I have to wonder if, in his mind, it doesn’t come down to being a matter of contract law? You know, the woman agrees to submit, so she’s stuck no matter what, and the man gets to lord it over his wife and kids (however he pleases).

    I will keel over if Piper *ever* preaches a sermon on “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” in the context of Marriage – without twisting the text 6 ways from Sunday, that is!

  52. “Discerning the path of love and obedience when two or more of these submissive relationships collide is a call to humble, Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom.”
    **********************

    Bible-saturated…

    I already can name several commenters here who I would expect to be as alarmed at this this notion as I am.

    I am wondering if any commenters think that being “bible-saturated” is a good thing. Dee — what do you think?

    I’ll put forth my thinking as to why it’s not:

    *first, I don’t think it’s good to be saturated in anything. I can’t think of anything that is so healthful or life-giving that you can’t have too much of it, to the exclusion of other things. To be saturated in something logically means to the exclusion of other things. Saturation doesn’t leave much room for anything else. Even spinach-saturation would be bad for you.

    *is it possible to read too much bible? what would “too much” look like?

    —-When the activity itself becomes a higher prioity than all other activities, thus amounting to neglect of relationships and other responsibilities.

    *I’ve observed people who spend many. many hours during the week poring over the bible — they tend to fall into the category of “too spiritually-minded to be any earthly good”. Their answers to questions tend to be odd, non-intuitive, illogical, and hard to decipher.

    *I’ve also observed that while their bases for decision-making are true to principle (the principle/s they are in the habit of focussing on), they are also odd, non-intuitive, illogical. But more importantly, their bases for decision-making are just not practical, and open the door to all kinds of harm and demise. Kind of like suffering on principle. Or things that make it hard for other people, on principle.

    *It’s my feeling that one can read anything, including the bible, so much that it begins to become distorted in one’s mind. One begins to lose the ability to perceive and understand what has been communicated from the reasoned mind of the writer to the mind of the reader. One begins to get fanciful.

    I think the bible and how many people approach it (infallible, inerrant and what that implies) is especially problematic — because the writings are ancient, they originated in ancient minds of peculiar circumstances and customs that lack parallel to our culture. Since it seems one must go to a variety of extra-biblical sources to find substantive answers to the questions of how, why, when, where, who, I think that when someone reads the bible to the point of being “bible-saturatd” they can get into a twisted mess of principles and ideas, all of which is attributed to God.

    I’d sincerely appreciate hearing anyone’s take on all this.

  53. elastigirl, I agree, because i think that sort of obsessive approach to the Bible demonstrates a particular mindset and a particular hermeneutic as well. To approach the Bible that way is fear-based, not grace-based, because if you overlook a sentence somewhere you might get it wrong. At heart it’s Pharisaical, remember what Jesus had to say about people who worried about tithing their herbs but forgot about the big picture stuff like justice and mercy.

    In fact, I think that’s part of Piper’s problem. He’s held it so close to his eyes for so long that he’s lost sight of the big stuff like justice and protection for the abused, and made this little detail of marital submission into the main game. He can’t see the wood, just the details of the bark on one particular tree, and not the healthiest one either.

    The only thing I ever want to be saturated in is Jesus’ love (definitely not spinach, I don’t want to look like Popeye)

  54. Victorious said:

    “I’ve heard numerous people say they have great respect for John Piper. I can’t for the life of me understand this.”

    Ditto!

    I have NEVER understood why people worship John Piper.

  55. nor me! I have facebook friends who call him “My Hero” WHY????
    (and in this case I’m talking about middle-aged Australian women)

    Anyways, I’m off to the city to have a boat ride on Sydney Harbour. I don’t intend to get saturated there, either!

  56. numo and others,
    Be it known that I meant in no way to disparage the Roman Catholic faith tradition. As a matter of fact, I have been influenced by Jesuit thinkers more so than Protestant ones. But on the other hand, influenced by, does not imply being in lockstep with everything.

  57. elastigirl, I must disagree that one can be too saturated with the Bible, especially those who identify as pastors and/or teachers. It’s their chosen ministry and that entails a keen, thorough knowledge and understanding of scripture. Just as physicians, engineers, and other careers require continual education to effectively perform their skills, pastors need to study in ernest to rightly handle the Word of God. It provides direction, strength, edification, and maturity as well as protection from wolves in sheeps clothing when interpreted correctly and presented to the sheep for whom they are to care for.

    The problem comes when they study with an agenda thereby doing a disservice to their intended ministry and those they serve.

  58. First, a link to my article on domestic violence: http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/

    Second: a wife doesn’t need anyone to second guess her on abuse. Requiring her to ask her pastors for their OK on this is ludicrous. She may or may not choose to go to them first. That is entirely her call. Hopefully she can count on them to stand firmly for her and not put up a pious sounding roadblock to her safety and well-being.

    Third: Joey, do I know you? I suspect I do.

  59. The man doesn’t need to clarify he needs to repent!

    Sadly, all he does is confuse things even more. First, he tells her to take a smack one night – or verbal unkindness for a season. Now he states she needs to come early before anything happens. Okay then.

    Notice he leaves that damning out there with NO clarification. As if NOT calling the police was the only HUGE note of error he mentioned. The man is a coward. I

    f you read between the lines – he still wants them to come to the church first.

  60. Oops! Missed the full link! http://watchtheshepherd.blogspot.com/2012/10/we-cant-ignore-domestic-violence.html

    My husband took me to see the movie Lincoln tonight. I don’t know how historically accurate it was but it sure had a lot of parallels to the protection of women in it’s focus on the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. Interestingly, one major objection to it was that it would pave the way for women’s suffrage, a horrid idea to so many of them. I cannot even imagine.

  61. Elastagirl and Lynn T

    One can be obsessive for different reasons. I may have asperger’s. I have obsessive interests as well as social skill issues. I tend to spend a lot of time reading and studying the Bible. Never the less, I believe that love, mercy, compassion and justice for those used and abused by certain churches, pastors or relationships is more important than a fear-based, inerrant, pharisaical approach to the Bible. I try to put into action my beliefs in my personal life. My hope is that others at TWW are also doing what they can for those who need help and protection. We can spend all day talking or writing but if we are not putting our beliefs into action we are just noise makers.

  62. @ Joey:
    Note: The study that Piper references discusses the REPORTED rates of domestic abuse. This is an important distinction, as it could reveal that women from liberal denominations are more likely to speak out about domestic abuse (not outside the realm of possibility given the rhetoric about women submitting to abuse “for a season” within certain Calvinista circles). The data merely shows that victims of domestic abuse in more liberal congregations are speaking out more, not that members of liberal congregations are more likely to engage in abuse.

  63. Of Lincoln, I would say we need more real men like him who will stand and fight for justice for the oppressed rather than for political popularity and expediency and oraerving their own power. For Lincoln, there was an absolute urgency to get this bill passed, not for his generation alone but for the millions of potential slaves yet to be born. And considering that domestic violence IS generational, it is all the more urgent for us now to stem the tide and empower the weak to at least rise on their own behalfs (and their children’s) with our support.

  64. Piper has the solution for abuse…

    AKA Increase Political Consciousness, Comrades. Ees Party Line.

    ..complementarianism.

    AKA “ME MAN! ME WANT FILL-IN-THE-BLANK! YOU WOMAN! YOU! (smack!) SHUT! (smack!) UP! (smack!) GOD SAITH!”

  65. Anon 1 wrote:

    It is scary how many young men hang on his every word and how many young pastors try to emulate him. I am surrounded by them at ground zero.

    Piperjugend? (As opposed to Driscolljugend or Calvinjugend?)

    Joey, Piper uses flowery language. If you strip away all the flowery language he uses, he is more obvious. He seems to resonate with those who like that sort of flowery passion. Piper has to be parsed because he never answers anything directly.

    Kind of like a lawyer? Or someone from a culture where Blood Feud and Avenging Any Slight Real or Imagined is the definition of Honor?

  66. You know Christianity is making it hard for seekers and skeptics. Now in trying to figure out what you believe you also have to worry about what you could get sucked into. And you have to avoid the cults.

    Amend that to evangelical/charismatic Christianity and you’ve got it. Not that other segments of the church don’t have problems – they do! – but Eagle, I think what you’re talking about is especially applicable to these kinds of churches; not so much in some other circles.

  67. Muff – Hey, no worries!

    What I was trying to say – maybe I didn’t word it clearly – was that I cannot imagine Piper ever viewing marriage as a sacrament and/or from a sacramental perspective.

    My best guess is that he views it as a legal contract, albeit one fancied up by the word “covenant” and having submission and lording it over a woman and children as key components of that “covenant.”

    but at this point, I do not think that the god Piper believes in is the God that I believe in. I no longer consider him truly Christian, as his theology has spun off into some weird orbits, and also because he seems to love publicizing himself via those awful posts regarding the tornadoes in Joplin, MO and elsewhere. Anyone who uses the terms “God killed…” and “Jesus killed…” (as he did in his post about the Joplin, MO disaster) doesn’t – imo – come under the heading of Christianity – though God knows, he certainly thinks he does. (Which is – again, imo – fairly delusional.)

  68. “Will I see the day when these “big dogs” actually recall their products instead of pruning them?” – Heather

    No – never! They have invented a doctrine of subordination that ensures that their egos are inviolable. Recalling their “products” would be wounding to their egos and would compromise their power-base and that would be sacrilege. Denying ourselves, picking up our crosses and following Jesus is for the rest of us plebs – not for these men.

    “And all the while Eagle talks dirty.” – Gavin White

    I personally think there is integrity in Eagle’s words that is lacking in John Piper’s waffling.

  69. Bridget wrote:

    …The abused person is not at fault for what the abuser chooses to do. The abused should seek help and it isn’t “sad” that they do this. It is wise, healthy, and loving for a Christian to flee evil — is it not? What’s sad” is the abuse itself, not someone respecting themselves enough to stop being abused.

    Exactly, Bridget. The abuser created the sadness, not the brave victim who seeks freedom, help and/or justice.

  70. A clarification on something from “several years ago” ???
    Piper gives that as a justification to just re-say everything again. There’s nothing new here from the first time around.

  71. Victorious

    I think that “bible saturated” is another code word like “gospel.” The obvious implication is those who see it his way are biblical and the rest are not. he has a real problem with his friend Mahaney who sees it his way and is facing some embarrassing legal remifications. Therefore Piper’s Biblical saturation does not equal Biblical standards. They may know their Bible but they don’t act like it.

  72. Hannah

    He qualifies everything with the word “may.” I do not like it. That leaves everyone with a huge out. As for reporting abuse, well his good buddies over at SGM worship Piper. How did that work out for the families who are now involved in the law suit.

  73. Virginia

    Did you know that is some of these complementarian patriarchal circles they do not believe a woman should vote? Instead, she should go with her husband and give him her ballot to fill out.

  74. Wisdomchasers

    Thank you for being willing to tell us about asperbergers and some of the ways it exhibits itself. 

    You are so right. Caring for others is putting you faith on the line. As many on this blog can attest, you can be ostracized, called names, have lies spread about you etc., when you step out to defend the hurting. It was a defining moment in my life and it is the reason that I feel so passionately about victims. I lost a church but gained a far more intereseting and fulfilling new life.

  75. Eagle

    I am so sorry. I have a tendency to flippantly use local lingo. The Triangle is the area surrounding RDU airport and Research Triangle Park. It includes Durham, Chaple Hill and Raleigh as points on the triangle but it can include towns like Cary and Apex although some purists might disagree.

  76. Eagle

    Thank you for the link. Wish I had it when I posted but will use it on the next time we deal with Domestic Violence.

  77. Eagle

    Piper thinks he is treating women well. That is the problem. I am sure that if you spoke with him, he would be horrified with the idea of violence in marriage. He does not see how his words can be misunderstood.

    His words about the MN brideg collapse and the tornado shows that is theology can take a whacky turn.

    Within his own paradigm, everything works out. He is trapped ina theology that is harsh and unforgiving.  There are times I wonder how his own life is going. There are some indications that it has not been smooth sailing-excommunication of son (who has returned) and a leave of absence to deal with spousal problems which are now supposely hunky dory.

  78. Eagle

    The covenants are typical . The church assets must be protected at all costs. Although, it is my opinion that, if a church screws up, they should gladly hand over their assets, knowing that God will provide. But “God will provide” is not popular today unless it means stadium seating.

    Now, the “above 10%” thing is fascinating. Do they give any reasons?

  79. Numo

    We went to a mainline church for their Christmas eve service so that my duaghter, who got off work late, could come with us- she enjoys doing the candlelight thing on Christmas. I enjoyed the entire service although the short sermon was a bit flowery for our tastes. Mr. Dee commented that, although the pastor was a bit touchy feely, he did not think the guy would abuse his parishoners with the sin sniffing, go to hell, theology of some of the Calvinistas. He thought that might be a good tradeoff. :)

  80. MM

    Thank you for saying this about Eagle.

    “I personally think there is integrity in Eagle’s words that is lacking in John Piper’s waffling.”

  81. “Love that is coerced is not real, and neither is submission that is coerced. Personal dominance, dictatorships in marriage and other forms of mind control that are camouflaged by religion are all unbiblical. No religion or denomination has permission from Scripture to control a woman. Some try hard, but they have to violate Scripture in the process. The biblical truth is that no human being is justified coming between you and God. In the end of time, when it is your turn to stand before God, you will face Him alone.” Elisabeth Julin in Submission Is Not Silence

    (This quote is in my article.)

  82. Tere

    Welcome to TWW. I surmise that there is a reason. Suddenly all of The Gospel Coalition is on a “me too” bandwagon on the issue of domestic violence. However, they continue to support some ministries with a dubious track record in this area. If one googles to see what John Piper thinks about it, the first three (google just added our new post) are the first three that show up. Piper comes in at number 4. I bet he is getting some flack over that. 

  83. Since I have hone schooled 10 kids over a 20 year period, a large chunk of my emagazine and blog readers are in the home schooling, full quiver and even patriarchal mindset, if they haven’t already unsubbed over all the issues I’ve been bringing up in the past few years. :-) Also many SGM members. I figure maybe they will listen to me since I’ve run in their circles so long.

  84. I’m delurking for a moment to encourage any homeschoolers out there to sign up for Virginia’s “Hope Chest” newsletter. I wish I’d had resources like hers and “That Mom’s” blog when I was still a homeschooling mom. Back then, at least in my circles, we rarely discussed topics like domestic violence and spiritual abuse. I guess we lived in a safe little bubble, or at least we thought we did. The internet has really changed things.

  85. “Amend that to evangelical/charismatic Christianity and you’ve got it. Not that other segments of the church don’t have problems – they do! – but Eagle, I think what you’re talking about is especially applicable to these kinds of churches; not so much in some other circles.”

    Sheesh. Are you forgetting the Catholic priest pedophile problem were they just moved them around instead of dealing with it for decades? Where even Bishops of cities had to leave becasue they knew and ignored it for YEARS?

    You might want to talk to my friend from SNAP. How did such evil become so institutionalized for so long? She will tell you.

  86. The problem I have with term Bible saturated is that it can have nothing to do with being Holy Spirit saturated. The Holy Spirit would never guide someone to take a one flesh union and turn it into a phallic symbol hierarchy. We forget that Piper was raised in Bob Jones world.

  87. Dear Numo and Dee

    The ‘point’ is to emphasize the fact that once rescue and recovery have been accomplished, it becomes detrimental to a person’s well-being if they continually relive their experience every time someone posts an entry about the abuse they are/were suffering. You get stuck in your own traumatic experience and you may even regress. Getting on with your life is a better antidote than fighting the bogeyman every minute of the day.

    Secondly, who or what is Christmas glog? I hope you weren’t trying to insinuate that alcohol was involved somewhere in what I wrote? The truth is I have been following an Eastern orthodox series of contemplations on how Christ sets you free, after celebrating a Roman Catholic carol service and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

    Thirdly, if you don’t like Piper, don’t read him. Find something more edifying.
    In other words look away now.

    Finally, rather than trying to second guess what the man means or putting words into his mouth, the following is his definitive view on divorce and remarriage, written over 25 years ago, long before you invented the term Calvinista! ( And for the record I read my first and only Piper book earlier this year and I am not a fan).

    Note (added May 5, 1989): Readers of this paper should be sure to consult the official position paper of the Council of Deacons of Bethlehem Baptist Church entitled, A Statement on Divorce and Remarriage in the Life of Bethlehem Baptist Church . That document, dated May 2, 1989, represents the position on divorce and remarriage that will guide the church in matters of membership and discipline. The paper you hold in your hands is NOT the official church position on divorce and remarriage. It is my own understanding of the Scriptures and therefore the guidelines for my own life and teaching and ministerial involvement in weddings. But I intend to respect the official statement (having written the first draft myself) as our guide in matters of membership and discipline. I make this paper available so that the basis for certain statements in the official paper can be readily obtained.

    Background and Introduction

    All of my adult life, until I was faced with the necessity of dealing with divorce and remarriage in the pastoral context, I held the prevailing Protestant view that remarriage after divorce was Biblically sanctioned in cases where divorce had resulted from desertion or persistent adultery. Only when I was compelled, some years ago, in teaching through the gospel of Luke, to deal with Jesus’ absolute statement in Luke 16:18 did I begin to question that inherited position.

    I felt an immense burden in having to teach our congregation what the revealed will of God is in this matter of divorce and remarriage. I was not unaware that among my people there were those who had been divorced and remarried, and those who had been divorced and remained unmarried, and those who were in the process of divorce or contemplating it as a possibility. I knew that this was not an academic exercise, but would immediately affect many people very deeply.

    I was also aware of the horrendous statistics in our own country, as well as other Western countries, concerning the number of marriages that were ending in divorce, and the numbers of people who were forming second marriages and third marriages. In my study of Ephesians 5 I had become increasingly persuaded that there is a deep and profound significance to the union of husband and wife in “one flesh” as a parable of the relationship between Christ and his church.

    All of these things conspired to create a sense of solemnity and seriousness as I weighed the meaning and the implication of the Biblical texts on divorce and remarriage. The upshot of that crucial experience was the discovery of what I believe is a New Testament prohibition of all remarriage except in the case where a spouse has died. I do not claim to have seen or said the last word on this issue, nor am I above correction, should I prove to be wrong. I am aware that men more godly than I have taken different views. Nevertheless, every person and church must teach and live according to the dictates of its own conscience informed by a serious study of Scripture.

    Therefore this paper is an attempt to state my own understanding of the issues and their foundation in Scripture. It serves, then, as a Biblical rationale for why I feel constrained to make the decisions I do with regard to whose marriages I will perform and what sort of church discipline seems appropriate in regard to divorce and remarriage.

    If I were to give exhaustive expositions of each relevant text the paper would become a very large book. Therefore, what I plan to do is to give brief explanations of each of the crucial texts with some key exegetical arguments. There will be, no doubt, many questions that can be raised and I hope to be able to learn from those questions, and do my best to answer them in the discussion that will surround this paper.

    It seems that the most efficient way to approach the issue is to simply give a list of reasons, based on Biblical texts, why I believe that the New Testament prohibits all remarriage except where a spouse has died. So what follows is a list of such arguments.

    Eleven Reasons Why I Believe All Remarriage After Divorce Is Prohibited While Both Spouses Are Alive

    1. Luke 16:18 calls all remarriage after divorce adultery.

    Luke 16:18: Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

    1.1 This verse shows that Jesus does not recognize divorce as terminating a marriage in God’s sight. The reason a second marriage is called adultery is because the first one is considered to still be valid. So Jesus is taking a stand against the Jewish culture in which all divorce was considered to carry with it the right of remarriage.

    1.2 The second half of the verse shows that not merely the divorcing man is guilty of adultery when he remarries, but also any man who marries a divorced woman.

    1.3 Since there are no exceptions mentioned in the verse, and since Jesus is clearly rejecting the common cultural conception of divorce as including the right of remarriage, the first readers of this gospel would have been hard-put to argue for any exceptions on the basis that Jesus shared the cultural assumption that divorce for unfaithfulness or desertion freed a spouse for remarriage.

    2. Mark 10:11-12 call all remarriage after divorce adultery whether it is the husband or the wife who does the divorcing.

    Mark 10:11-12: And he said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’

    2.1 This text repeats the first half of Luke 16:18 but goes farther and says that not only the man who divorces, but also a woman who divorces, and then remarries is committing adultery.

    2.2 As in Luke 16:18, there are no exceptions mentioned to this rule.

    3. Mark 10:2-9 and Matthew 19:3-8 teach that Jesus rejected the Pharisees’ justification of divorce from Deuteronomy 24:1 and reasserted the purpose of God in creation that no human being separate what God has joined together.

    Mark 10:2-9: And some Pharisees came up to Him, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ 4 And they said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’ 5 But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, 8 and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’

    Matthew 19:3-9: And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 Consequently they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate and divorce her?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”

    3.1 In both Matthew and Mark the Pharisees come to Jesus and test him by asking him whether it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. They evidently have in mind the passage in Deuteronomy 24:1 which simply describes divorce as a fact rather than giving any legislation in favor of it. They wonder how Jesus will take a position with regard to this passage.

    3.2 Jesus’ answer is, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives” (Mt. 19:8).

    3.3 But then Jesus criticizes the Pharisees’ failure to recognize in the books of Moses God’s deepest and original intention for marriage. So he quotes two passages from Genesis. “God made them male and female. …For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24).

    3.4 From these passages in Genesis Jesus concludes, “So they are no longer two, but one.” And then he makes his climaxing statement, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

    3.5 The implication is that Jesus rejects the Pharisees’ use of Deuteronomy 24:1 and raises the standard of marriage for his disciples to God’s original intention in creation. He says that none of us should try to undo the “one-flesh” relationship which God has united.

    3.6 Before we jump to the conclusion that this absolute statement should be qualified in view of the exception clause (“except for unchastity”) mentioned in Matthew 19:9, we should seriously entertain the possibility that the exception clause in Matthew 19:9 should be understood in the light of the absolute statement of Matthew 19:6, (“let no man put asunder”) especially since the verses that follow this conversation with the Pharisees in Mark 10 do not contain any exception when they condemn remarriage. More on this below.

    4. Matthew 5:32 does not teach that remarriage is lawful in some cases. Rather it reaffirms that marriage after divorce is adultery, even for those who have been divorced innocently, and that a man who divorces his wife is guilty of the adultery of her second marriage unless she had already become an adulteress before the divorce.

    Matthew 5:32: But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    4.1 Jesus assumes that in most situations in that culture a wife who has been put away by a husband will be drawn into a second marriage. Nevertheless, in spite of these pressures, he calls this second marriage adultery.

    4.2 The remarkable thing about the first half of this verse is that it plainly says that the remarriage of a wife who has been innocently put away is nevertheless adultery: “Everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her (the innocent wife who has not been unchaste) an adulteress.” This is a clear statement, it seems to me, that remarriage is wrong not merely when a person is guilty in the process of divorce, but also when a person is innocent. In other words, Jesus’ opposition to remarriage seems to be based on the unbreakableness of the marriage bond by anything but death.

    4.3 I will save my explanation of the exception clause (“Except on the ground of unchastity”) for later in the paper, but for now, it may suffice to say that on the traditional interpretation of the clause, it may simply mean that a man makes his wife an adulteress except in the case where she has made herself one.

    4.4 I would assume that since an innocent wife who is divorced commits adultery when she remarries, therefore a guilty wife who remarries after divorce is all the more guilty. If one argues that this guilty woman is free to remarry, while the innocent woman who has been put away is not, just because the guilty woman’s adultery has broken the “one flesh” relationship, then one is put in the awkward position of saying to an innocent divorced woman, “If you now commit adultery it will be lawful for you to remarry.” This seems wrong for at least two reasons.

    4.41 It seems to elevate the physical act of sexual intercourse to be the decisive element in marital union and disunion.

    4.42 If sexual union with another breaks the marriage bond and legitimizes remarriage, then to say that an innocently divorced wife can’t remarry (as Jesus does say) assumes that her divorcing husband is not divorcing to have sexual relations with another. This is a very unlikely assumption. More likely is that Jesus does assume some of these divorcing husbands will have sexual relations with another woman, but still the wives they have divorced may not remarry. Therefore, adultery does not nullify the “one-flesh” relationship of marriage and both the innocent and guilty spouses are prohibited from remarriage in Matthew 5:32.

    5. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 teaches that divorce is wrong but that if it is inevitable the person who divorces should not remarry.

    1 Corinthians 7:10-11: To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)—and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

    5.1 When Paul says that this charge is not his but the Lord’s, I think he means that he is aware of a specific saying from the historical Jesus which addressed this issue. As a matter of fact, these verses look very much like Mark 10:11-12, because both the wife and the husband are addressed. Also, remarriage seems to be excluded by verse ll the same way it is excluded in Mark 10:11-12.

    5.2 Paul seems to be aware that separation will be inevitable in certain cases. Perhaps he has in mind a situation of unrepentant adultery, or desertion, or brutality. But in such a case he says that the person who feels constrained to separate should not seek remarriage but remain single. And he reinforces the authority of this statement by saying he has a word from the Lord. Thus Paul’s interpretation of Jesus’ sayings is that remarriage should not be pursued.

    5.3 As in Luke 16:18 and Mark 10:11-12 and Matthew 5:32, this text does not explicitly entertain the possibility of any exceptions to the prohibition of remarriage.

    6. 1 Corinthians 7:39 and Romans 7:1-3 teach that remarriage is legitimate only after the death of a spouse.

    1 Corinthians 7:39: A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

    Romans 7:1-3, Do you not know, brethren—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only during his life? 2 Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning her husband. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies she is free from that law, if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

    6.1 Both of these passages (1 Corinthians 7:39; Romans 7:2) say explicitly that a woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. No exceptions are explicitly mentioned that would suggest she could be free from her husband to remarry on any other basis.

    7. Matthew 19:10-12 teaches that special Christian grace is given by God to Christ’s disciples to sustain them in singleness when they renounce remarriage according to the law of Christ.

    Matthew 19:10-12: The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.’ 11 But he said to them, ‘Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.

    7.1 Just preceding this passage in Matthew 19:9 Jesus prohibited all remarriage after divorce. (I will deal with the meaning of “except for immorality” below.) This seemed like an intolerable prohibition to Jesus’ disciples: If you close off every possibility of remarriage, then you make marriage so risky that it would be better not to marry, since you might be “trapped” to live as a single person to the rest of your life or you may be “trapped” in a bad marriage.

    7.2 Jesus does not deny the tremendous difficulty of his command. Instead, he says in verse ll, that the enablement to fulfill the command not to remarry is a divine gift to his disciples. Verse 12 is an argument that such a life is indeed possible because there are people who for the sake of the kingdom, as well as lower reasons, have dedicated themselves to live a life of singleness.

    7.3 Jesus is not saying that some of his disciples have the ability to obey his command not to remarry and some don’t. He is saying that the mark of a disciple is that they receive a gift of continence while non-disciples don’t. The evidence for this is l) the parallel between Matthew 19:11 and 13:11, 12) the parallel between Matthew 19:12 and 13:9,43; 11:15, and 3) the parallel between Matthew 19:11 and 19:26.

    8. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 does not legislate grounds for divorce but teaches that the “one-flesh” relationship established by marriage is not obliterated by divorce or even by remarriage.

    Deuteronomy 24:1-4: When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

    8.1 The remarkable thing about these four verses is that, while divorce is taken for granted, nevertheless the woman who is divorced becomes “defiled” by her remarriage (verse 4). It may well be that when the Pharisees asked Jesus if divorce was legitimate he based his negative answer not only on God’s intention expressed in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, but also on the implication of Deuteronomy 24:4 that remarriage after divorce defiles a person. In other words, there were ample clues in the Mosaic law that the divorce concession was on the basis of the hardness of man’s heart and really did not make divorce and remarriage legitimate.

    8.2 The prohibition of a wife returning to her first husband even after her second husband dies (because it is an abomination) suggests very strongly that today no second marriage should be broken up in order to restore a first one (for Heth and Wenham’s explanation of this see Jesus and Divorce, page 110).

    9. 1 Corinthians 7:15 does not mean that when a Christian is deserted by an unbelieving spouse he or she is free to remarry. It means that the Christian is not bound to fight in order to preserve togetherness. Separation is permissible if the unbelieving partner insists on it.

    1 Corinthians 7:15: If the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.

    9.1 There are several reasons why the phrase “is not bound” should not be construed to mean “is free to remarry.”

    9.11 Marriage is an ordinance of creation binding on all of God’s human creatures, irrespective of their faith or lack of faith.

    9.12 The word used for “bound” (douloo) in verse 15 is not the same word used in verse 39 where Paul says, “A wife is bound (deo) to her husband as long as he lives.” Paul consistently uses deo when speaking of the legal aspect of being bound to one marriage partner (Romans 7:2; l Corinthians 7:39), or to one’s betrothed (l Corinthians 7:27). But when he refers to a deserted spouse not being bound in l Corinthians 7:15, he chooses a different word (douloo) which we would expect him to do if he were not giving a deserted spouse the same freedom to remarry that he gives to a spouse whose partner has died (verse 39).

    9.13 The last phrase of verse 15 (“God has called us to peace”) supports verse 15 best if Paul is saying that a deserted partner is not “bound to make war” on the deserting unbeliever to get him or her to stay. It seems to me that the peace God has called us to is the peace of marital harmony. Therefore, if the unbelieving partner insists on departing, then the believing partner is not bound to live in perpetual conflict with the unbelieving spouse, but is free and innocent in letting him or her go.

    9.14 This interpretation also preserves a closer harmony to the intention of verses 10-11, where an inevitable separation does not result in the right of remarriage.

    9.15 Verse 16 (“For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?) is an argument that you can’t know, and so should not make the hope of saving them a ground for fighting to make them stay. This supports the understanding of verse 15 as a focus on not being enslaved to stay together, rather than not being enslaved to say single.

    9.16 Paul did not see the single life as a life of slavery and so would not have called the necessity of staying single a state of being enslaved.

    10. 1 Corinthians 7:27-28 does not teach the right of divorced persons to remarry. It teaches that betrothed virgins should seriously consider the life of singleness, but do not sin if they marry.

    1 Corinthians 7:27-28: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin.

    10.1 Recently some people have argued that this passage deals with divorced people because in verse 27 Paul asks, “Are you free (literally: loosed) from a wife?” Some have assumed that he means, “Are you divorced?” Thus he would be saying in verse 28 that it is not sin when divorced people remarry. There are several reasons why this interpretation is most unlikely.

    10.11 Verse 25 signals that Paul is beginning a new section and dealing with a new issue. He says, “Now concerning the virgins (ton parthenon) I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.” He has already dealt with the problem of divorced people in verses 10-16. Now he takes up a new issue about those who are not yet married, and he signals this by saying, “Now concerning the virgins.” Therefore, it is very unlikely that the people referred to in verses 27 and 28 are divorced.

    10.12 A flat statement that it is not sin for divorced people to be remarried (verse 28) would contradict verse ll, where he said that a woman who has separated from her husband should remain single.

    10.13 Verse 36 is surely describing the same situation in view in verses 27 and 28, but clearly refers to a couple that is not yet married. “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his virgin, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.” This is the same as verse 28 where Paul says, “But if you marry, you do not sin.”

    10.14 The reference in verse 27 to being bound to a “wife” may be misleading because it may suggest that the man is already married. But in Greek the word for wife is simply “woman” and may refer to a man’s betrothed as well as his spouse. The context dictates that the reference is to a man’s betrothed virgin, not to his spouse. So “being bound” and “being loosed” have reference to whether a person is betrothed or not.

    10.15 It is significant that the verb Paul uses for “loosed” (luo) or “free” is not a word that he uses for divorce. Paul’s words for divorce are chorizo (verses 10,11,15; cf. Matthew 19:6) and aphienai (verses 11,12,13).

    11. The exception clause of Matthew 19:9 need not imply that divorce on account of adultery frees a person to be remarried. All the weight of the New Testament evidence given in the preceding ten points is against this view, and there are several ways to make good sense out of this verse so that it does not conflict with the broad teaching of the New Testament that remarriage after divorce is prohibited.

    Matthew 19:9: And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

    11.1 Several years ago I taught our congregation in two evening services concerning my understanding of this verse and argued that “except for immorality” did not refer to adultery but to premarital sexual fornication which a man or a woman discovers in the betrothed partner. Since that time I have discovered other people who hold this view and who have given it a much more scholarly exposition than I did. I have also discovered numerous other ways of understanding this verse which also exclude the legitimacy of remarriage. Several of these are summed up in William Heth and Gordon J. Wenham, Jesus and Divorce (Nelson: 1984).

    11.2 Here I will simply give a brief summary of my own view of Matthew 19:9 and how I came to it.

    I began, first of all, by being troubled that the absolute form of Jesus’ denunciation of divorce and remarriage in Mark 10:11,12 and Luke 16:18 is not preserved by Matthew, if in fact his exception clause is a loophole for divorce and remarriage. I was bothered by the simple assumption that so many writers make that Matthew is simply making explicit something that would have been implicitly understood by the hearers of Jesus or the readers of Mark 10 and Luke 16.

    Would they really have assumed that the absolute statements included exceptions? I have very strong doubts, and therefore my inclination is to inquire whether or not in fact Matthew’s exception clause conforms to the absoluteness of Mark and Luke.

    The second thing that began to disturb me was the question, Why does Matthew use the word porneia (“except for immorality”) instead of the word moicheia which means adultery? Almost all commentators seem to make the simple assumption again that porneia means adultery in this context. The question nags at me why Matthew would not use the word for adultery, if that is in fact what he meant.

    Then I noticed something very interesting. The only other place besides Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 where Matthew uses the word porneiais in 15:19 where it is used alongside of moicheia. Therefore, the primary contextual evidence for Matthew’s usage is that he conceives of porneia as something different than adultery. Could this mean, then, that Matthew conceives of porneia in its normal sense of fornication or incest (l Corinthians 5:1) rather than adultery?

    A. Isaksson agrees with this view of porneia and sums up his research much like this on pages 134-5 of Marriage and Ministry:

    Thus we cannot get away from the fact that the distinction between what was to be regarded as porneia and what was to be regarded as moicheia was very strictly maintained in pre-Christian Jewish literature and in the N.T. Porneia may, of course, denote different forms of forbidden sexual relations, but we can find no unequivocal examples of the use of this word to denote a wife’s adultery. Under these circumstances we can hardly assume that this word means adultery in the clauses in Matthew. The logia on divorce are worded as a paragraph of the law, intended to be obeyed by the members of the Church. Under these circumstances it is inconceivable that in a text of this nature the writer would not have maintained a clear distinction between what was unchastity and what was adultery: moicheia and not porneia was used to describe the wife’s adultery. From the philological point of view there are accordingly very strong arguments against this interpretation of the clauses as permitting divorce in the case in which the wife was guilty of adultery.

    The next clue in my search for an explanation came when I stumbled upon the use of porneia in John 8:41 where Jewish leaders indirectly accuse Jesus of being born of porneia. In other words, since they don’t accept the virgin birth, they assume that Mary had committed fornication and Jesus was the result of this act. On the basis of that clue I went back to study Matthew’s record of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1:18-20. This was extremely enlightening.

    In these verses Joseph and Mary are referred to as husband (aner) and wife (gunaika). Yet they are described as only being betrothed to each other. This is probably owing to the fact that the words for husband and wife are simply man and woman and to the fact that betrothal was a much more significant commitment then than engagement is today. In verse 19 Joseph resolves “to divorce” Mary. The word for divorce is the same as the word in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. But most important of all, Matthew says that Joseph was “just” in making the decision to divorce Mary, presumably on account of her porneia, fornication.

    Therefore, as Matthew proceeded to construct the narrative of his gospel, he finds himself in chapter 5 and then later in chapter 19 needing to prohibit all remarriage after divorce (as taught by Jesus) and yet to allow for “divorces” like the one Joseph contemplated toward his betrothed whom he thought guilty of fornication (porneia). Therefore, Matthew includes the exception clause in particular to exonerate Joseph, but also in general to show that the kind of “divorce” that one might pursue during a betrothal on account of fornication is not included in Jesus’ absolute prohibition.

    A common objection to this interpretation is that both in Matthew 19:3-8 and in Matthew 5:31-32 the issue Jesus is responding to is marriage not betrothal. The point is pressed that “except for fornication” is irrelevant to the context of marriage.

    My answer is that this irrelevancy is just the point Matthew wants to make. We may take it for granted that the breakup of an engaged couple over fornication is not an evil “divorce” and does not prohibit remarriage. But we cannot assume that Matthew’s readers would take this for granted.

    Even in Matthew 5:32, where it seems pointless for us to exclude “the case of fornication” (since we can’t see how a betrothed virgin could be “made an adulteress” in any case), it may not be pointless for Matthew’s readers. For that matter, it may not be pointless for any readers: if Jesus had said, “Every man who divorces his woman makes her an adulteress,” a reader could legitimately ask: “Then was Joseph about to make Mary an adulteress?” We may say this question is not reasonable since we think you can’t make unmarried women adulteresses. But it certainly is not meaningless or, perhaps for some readers, pointless, for Matthew to make explicit the obvious exclusion of the case of fornication during betrothal.

    This interpretation of the exception clause has several advantages:

    It does not force Matthew to contradict the plain, absolute meaning of Mark and Luke and the whole range of New Testament teaching set forth above in sections 1-10, including Matthew’s own absolute teaching in 19:3-8
    It provides an explanation for why the word porneia is used in Matthew’s exception clause instead of moicheia
    It squares with Matthew’s own use of porneia for fornication in Matthew 15:19
    It fits the demands of Matthew’s wider context concerning Joseph’s contemplated divorce.
    Since I first wrote this exposition of Matthew 19:9 I have discovered a chapter on this view in Heth and Wenham, Jesus and Divorce and a scholarly defense of it by A. Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry in the New Temple (1965).

    Conclusions and Applications

    In the New Testament the question about remarriage after divorce is not determined by:

    The guilt or innocence of either spouse,
    Nor by whether either spouse is a believer or not,
    Nor by whether the divorce happened before or after either spouse’s conversion,
    Nor by the ease or difficulty of living as a single parent for the rest of life on earth,
    Nor by whether there is adultery or desertion involved,
    Nor by the on-going reality of the hardness of the human heart,
    Nor by the cultural permissiveness of the surrounding society.
    Rather it is determined by the fact that:

    Marriage is a “one-flesh” relationship of divine establishment and extraordinary significance in the eyes of God (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8),
    Only God, not man, can end this one-flesh relationship (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9—this is why remarriage is called adultery by Jesus: he assumes that the first marriage is still binding, Matthew 5:32; Luke 16:18; Mark 10:11),
    God ends the one-flesh relationship of marriage only through the death of one of the spouses (Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39),
    The grace and power of God are promised and sufficient to enable a trusting, divorced Christian to be single all this earthly life if necessary (Matthew 19:10-12,26; 1 Corinthians 10:13),
    Temporal frustrations and disadvantages are much to be preferred over the disobedience of remarriage, and will yield deep and lasting joy both in this life and the life to come (Matthew 5:29-30).
    Those who are already remarried:

    Should acknowledge that the choice to remarry and the act of entering a second marriage was sin, and confess it as such and seek forgiveness
    Should not attempt to return to the first partner after entering a second union (see 8.2 above)
    Should not separate and live as single people thinking that this would result in less sin because all their sexual relations are acts of adultery. The Bible does not give prescriptions for this particular case, but it does treat second marriages as having significant standing in God’s eyes. That is, there were promises made and there has been a union formed. It should not have been formed, but it was. It is not to be taken lightly. Promises are to be kept, and the union is to be sanctified to God. While not the ideal state, staying in a second marriage is God’s will for a couple and their ongoing relations should not be looked on as adulterous.
    ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

    Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

    Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

    Gavin

  88. “There are times I wonder how his own life is going. There are some indications that it has not been smooth sailing-excommunication of son (who has returned) and a leave of absence to deal with spousal problems which are now supposely hunky dory.”

    The problem with this is he was gone around telling everyone else how to have a biblical marriage. Had his wife been his true partner perhaps taking so much time off to fix his marriage would not have been needed. Not everyone can take 6 mos off to work on their marriage, either. That is reserved for big name preachers who can afford it. He is a charlatan.

  89. Gavin, Instone Brewer is a scholar who has refuted much of what Piper teaches. Piper responded to him much like he did with NT Wright because both were getting too much attention. Piper is not nice and does not even debate fairly.

    What bothers you is that we talk about this stuff at all and point out problems with the charlatans. Spiritual abuse tactic is to tell people to “move on”. People who are uncomfortable with what is coming out or being debated are always telling people to move on. They would rather not know. Fine.

    What is funny is you don’t even take your own advice. Stop reading here if bothers you. At least you can comment here and your comment is posted which is a lot more than you can say for the charlatans.

  90. By the way, Gavin, If one seeks to become a celebrity Christian minister then their words and actions are game in the public square they seek to influence. The days of them owning one way communication are over and they don’t like it.

  91. Anon1:

    You said the following to Gavin:”What is funny is you don’t even take your own advice. Stop reading here if bothers you. At least you can comment here and your comment is posted which is a lot more than you can say for the charlatans.”

    Gavin, he’s got you there and BTW the last time I checked you are not the author of this blog so you do not get to choose the topics.

    Take your own advice and move on. I bet you do not like it when you read –Take your own advice and move on.

  92. Gavin

    1. Instead of saying that you sounded like a “grouchy old coot,” I decided to be “winsomely” humorous.

    2. By the below statement, I assume that you must be a trained professional in the area of violence, PTSD, etc. If so, could you please state the medical journals and the articles so that I could read them and compare them with other relevant materials.

    ” it becomes detrimental to a person’s well-being if they continually relive their experience every time someone posts an entry about the abuse they are/were suffering. You get stuck in your own traumatic experience and you may even regress. Getting on with your life is a better antidote than fighting the bogeyman every minute of the day”.

    3. If you are not a professional, “getting on with your life” might demonstrate (wrongly or rightly)that you are callous to the affects of long term abuse or pain and suffering. “Buck up, stiff upper lip  and carry on.” I have gotten on with my life after my little girl suffered for years with a brain tumor. However, because of the physical effects of stress, I have IBS which plagues me, and will do so, until I go home. Now, my stressful situation had a good outcome. Imagine if it did not. Stress does have ramifications but, by your definition, I guess I have not “gotten on with my life.”

    4. You said initially, “rather than trying to second guess what the man means or putting words into his mouth.”

    Just to be clear, I quoted Piper from his “clarification”  on domestic abuse.I did not put words in his mouth. I was addressing violence, not divorce and remarriage.

    As for your cut and paste from his site, everyone who reads Piper for more than one short post knows he does not approve of divorce and remarriage. He is a hardliner and most everyone who has listened to him knows it. I, along with many others, disagree with him. However, his stand (which I have read, along with many others here) was not the issue that I addressed. Please reread my post.

    5. However, since you brought it up, perhaps I should now do an analysis of this statement. 

    6. It is your first 4 paragraphs of this comment that give me the wind beneath my wings. Until the day I die, I will stand up for the victims of abuse and the churches and Christians who sideline, disparage, or condemn them while coddling the abuser. Perhaps I shall call it The Gavin Incentive.

    Best wishes for Bacon day, celebrated on Sunday, 12/30.(Check it out) I like mine crisp.

     

  93. Me

    Did you know that a certain pastor wrote a blog post about being depressed that Piper was retiring? 

  94. Gavin –

    It would be kind of you, in the future, to post links to excessively long articles that you wish to reference. Posting entire articles in a comment section of a blog seems rude, unless it is your own blog. Then, again, maybe this is just my personal annoyance.

  95. Eagle –

    I have been reading an on-line book written by a man who was a Calvinist for six years before finding that he didn’t agree with many of the theological arguments put forth by Reformed theologians. I find this book very helpful and think you would as well. Here is the link. It is long, so take your time. I highly recommend that you start with the “About the Book, About Me, and Preface” to get an idea of where the author is going.

    http://www.xcalvinist.com/category/prelims-preface/

  96. Full Disclosure: I have been helped much in my Christian walk by the ministry of John Piper. That being said, I am curious, for those who say they are “not fans” of his, which of his core teachings are objectionable to you?

    As for his sermons on tornadoes and bridge collapses…there is a Q and A panel from a few years back from a conference on the sovereignty of God, where he talks about the death of his mother in a bus accident in Israel. I am paraphrasing, but, he basically said that a God who could not control debris flying around a bus and fatally injuring his mother, was not a God that he could worship.

    Why is it ok if God uses cancer or heart failure to take the life of a 95 year old, but it is not ok if He uses a bridge collapse, a tornado, or a bus accident to take the life of a younger person? Did He not create that life, and is it not His to decide when, where, and how it will end?

  97. Sad:

    You said:”Why is it ok if God uses cancer or heart failure to take the life of a 95 year old, but it is not ok if He uses a bridge collapse, a tornado, or a bus accident to take the life of a younger person? Did He not create that life, and is it not His to decide when, where, and how it will end?”

    That is just cold on so many levels!

  98. Mot,

    Why do you find it cold? I find it immensely comforting. The God who has the hairs on my head numbered brought me into this world, and He will bring me out safely into His presence when it is time.

    Did Paul not say “To live is Christ, to die is gain”?

  99. Sad –

    Just as many people find it difficult to worship a god that appears to cause evil as a means to bring about his purposes. What kind of god would that be? Piper appears to attribute evil to God. By the way, it doesn’t appear that it was God’s purpose that man should die (or decay) at all according to Genesis.

  100. Sad:

    I’m glad you find it comforting. But as I said before I find it cold. I’m not going to debate this with you. Good day.

  101. ….Only God, not man, can end this one-flesh relationship…

    Does anyone know how this might happen? How might God end a marriage? Outside of God putting an end to Nabal’s life, I know of nowhere else in scripture He ends a relationship. Not with David’s many marriages, Solomon’s, or the woman at the well’s marriages.

  102. Bridget,

    Please show me where Piper says that God does evil? It is not in His character, in fact it is the very antithesis of His character. God abhors evil and paid a great personal price to atone for the evil that men do. That is the “kind of God” He is.

    And as to your last statement, I would respectfully point you to Hebrews 9:27.

  103. “. . . fighting the boogeyman every minute of the day.” That is a bit of hyperbole, Gavin. But it does lead to the question of “Is taking a stand against abuse and extra-biblical edicts that can result in harm to others reduced to ‘fighting the boogeyman’ in your estimation?” After all, boogeymen ARE imaginary spirits . . . What a dismissive statement that is.

  104. Dear Dee
    ‘Grouchy old coot’will do just fine.I’m just trying to add a bit of balance to the discussion. Your analogy of IBS etc and how you are now dedicating your life to the service of others shows that you are getting on with your life.

    I do worry that others might not be. Some of the names here have been around for years and they are still saying the same things. In my opinion and experience, that is not good.

    As I said, I am not a Piper fan and I thought that was quite a long Piper post.

    Anon 1

    It’s not that I don’t like what I read here it’s just that I think you are giving a one-sided view and I am seeking to balance things out.

    Mot

    No-one has got me, Mot. Not Even The Charlatans (is this the Word of the Week?) And, no, my few posts on their websites have always been received graciously. So much so that it reminds me of the warmth with which I’ve been received here. Therefore, I would like to respectfully decline your request to move on as I don’t think it’s your blog either. I will do so (reluctantly) however, if a higher power asks me to.

    Bridget

    I posted the whole thing so that you could all read all of it.

    And for the definitive meaning of winsome please see this link

    http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/12/winsome-evangelism.html

    Regards
    Gavin

  105. Sad –

    If God is sovereign in the way Piper claims him to be, then He is sovereign over the good and the evil that affects our lives. I believe that God can know the time of our death without being the initiator of it. Read Piper’s public statements. View the Vimeo statement he made about abuse. You asked why people feel the way they do about Piper. I gave you an answer. You don’t seem to like the answer. Now you want to “prove” something about Piper. It is difficult to communicate with someone who wants to debate that a person’s “solicited reasons” are wrong.

    On the other hand, I agree with you that God is not the author of evil :) I will check into the Hebrews passage.

  106. Bridget

    If you read the blogs you’ll find that it isn’t hyperbole. However I was using analogy to make a point, not a dismissive statement.

    Gavin

  107. Bridget,

    I asked what people found objectionable about Piper’s core teachings, I did not ask why people do not like him. One is objective, the other subjective. I’m not trying to “prove” anything about Piper, I’m trying to get at some theological differences that people have with him. And if I am asking for chapter and verse…well…are not Christians people of the Book?

  108. Good analysis. I don’t think Piper is fully aware of the impact of what he says, but that certainly doesn’t excuse it. From the quotes you cite, he seems to focus a lot on what the victim should do and how they should act. I wonder if he gives equal (or hopefully greater) time and weight to condemning and correcting the sinfulness and evil that the abuser is perpetrating. If he doesn’t (and I suspect he doesn’t), it’s more than odd given his and his fellow Calvinistas’ focus on sin and judgement in other areas.

  109. ” it becomes detrimental to a person’s well-being if they continually relive their experience every time someone posts an entry about the abuse they are/were suffering. You get stuck in your own traumatic experience and you may even regress. Getting on with your life is a better antidote than fighting the bogeyman every minute of the day”.

    I disagree. PTSD is a delayed response to emotional trauma. Thinking of the war vets, they did not have time to process what they had experienced and it got put on the back burner. What helps PTSD vets IS rehashing what the experienced, emotionally responding, and then they can move on.

  110. Julie Anne,

    I’m sure you are familiar with the term “Big Pharma”. I am a “victim” of Big Pharma. I was greatly harmed by it. However, first and foremost I am a child of Almighty God. I can tell you with the utmost sincerity that if I did not believe that what happened to me was filtered through the loving hand of my heavenly Father, that I would be helpless, paralyzed emotionally and spiritually, and dwelling in a very dark place.

    There is a time for mourning and a time to move on. In my opinion, you are encouraging people to stay stuck rather than to be thankful for what God has done by opening their eyes to the false and bad teaching they were once under.

  111. Gavin:

    You said to me:”Mot

    No-one has got me, Mot. Not Even The Charlatans (is this the Word of the Week?) And, no, my few posts on their websites have always been received graciously. So much so that it reminds me of the warmth with which I’ve been received here. Therefore, I would like to respectfully decline your request to move on as I don’t think it’s your blog either. I will do so (reluctantly) however, if a higher power asks me to.”

    I really was not asking you to move on, because I recognize this is not my blog, something I do not think you realize.

    Your tone today is way over the line and would get you banned from most blogs.

    You might want to meditate on that word RESPECTFUL!

  112. I quoted what you said Mot nothing more nothing less.

    And Respect is a two way street.
    Can we return to the topic please?

    Regards
    Gavin

  113. @ Sad:

    Heb. 9:27 referenced Gen. 3:19 which is the consequence of Adam disobeying God. That is the first reference to death in Scripture. Like I said, “it doesn’t appear that it was God’s purpose that man should die (or decay) at all according to Genesis.” Maybe I needed to say before Adam

  114. This Kipling poem came to mind while I was reading this post and the comments…

    “If”

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Rudyard Kipling

  115. Gavin:

    You said to me:”And Respect is a two way street.
    Can we return to the topic please?”

    You are not being respectful to all of us here today–you can deny that but it will not change a thing.

    I see why you want to return to the topic.

  116. “There is a time for mourning and a time to move on. In my opinion, you are encouraging people to stay stuck rather than to be thankful for what God has done by opening their eyes to the false and bad teaching they were once under.”

    A time to move on? What version of Scripture are those words found in?

    “Moving on” is a human invention, not God’s. God’s desire is for healing, and that can take place in many ways, in a few weeks or perhaps years. Who are you to dictate how slowly or quickly people should heal after being wounded? You have “moved on” from your hurts, good for you! I’m genuinely happy for you. However, you should not use your healing as a weapon against others, “Why are you still STUCK?”

    Some people may never ‘get over’ the hurts that have been inflicted on them in this life. That is why we need our Saviour, who came to heal our hurts and bind up our wounds. Some scars will never heal on Earth. I have scars that can’t be healed while I live… I look forward with hope to the time when I will have no more tears. Until then, I am limping along.

    Julie Anne has helped many people in their path to healing with her blog, speaking out against abuse and evil. What have you done to help others, besides tsk tsking them for not being “over it” yet?

  117. Sad:

    Where am I encouraging people to “stay stuck”? I believe that PTSD is a God-given response to trauma. PTSD is a gift. It saved my life. If I had to come face to face with the amount of abuse I endured, I likely would have killed myself.

    However, it is important acknowledge truth and not ignore it. I eventually had to face what happened to me so that I could move along (not stay stuck). God walked me through that process in His timing.

  118. Searching: I think many people think that rehashing is staying stuck. I disagree. We all rehash important emotional events. Why is it that 70-year old great-grandmas can recount in great detail the births of each of their children as if it happened yesterday? Do you know of a woman who cannot recount her birth story in great detail? Even if she had general anesthesia and had a c-section and wasn’t physically “present” for the birth? It’s because it was a heightened emotional experience.

    The same thing happens with negative experiences. We can recall them, but there is a difference between recalling them and wallowing in them. I use my experiences to share with others who can identify with them and that helps them to see they are not alone. I’m not stuck. I use my stories and post the stories of others for a purpose – – to help them in their process.

  119. @ Sad:

    I don’t know where “people of the Book” came from or what it means to you. We are to be doers and not hearers only. The commandments are to be written on our hearts. Knowing the Book is not an end in itself, for me. It is just a means to help me be and do what God intends me to be and do as a Christ follower.

  120. Sad

    It is a matter of theology. God is still sovereign even if he is not deterministic. Just becasue He allows something to occur, does not mean He determined that it would occur.I believe that there is human agency in this world. For example, today I could choose to take the day off and take a long winter’s nap. I could also choose to go get a sandwich and be involved in a car accident which will cause another to become paralyzed. Within each of these choices, God is at work in the lives of those affected by my choices. 

    We have cancer and all sorts of illnesses because of the Fall. God did not wish for this to occur but allowed it to occur. We are subject to the pain and suffering of this world. we are the ones who chose a world that does not work in the way that it was intended. Also, it is not good that cancer takes the lives of people. That is why we research to find cures. Just a century ago, diabetes resulted in death. Today, my husband takes medication that prevents that death from occurring. Did we take away God’s right to choose diabetes as a means to kill people.

    Just because God does not use his power to stop flyng debris, does not mean that He is incapable of doing so.

    As for creating life, we can work ourselves into a dither in that regard.God has create the potential for life via a man and a woman. But, does He will the acts that create that life? For example, how do you deal with a stepfather raping his 12 year old stepdaughter which then causes a preganancy? Did God specifically create those circumstances in order for that life to occur? We know that God is not the author of evil.

    I find Piper fatalistic and deterministic. I also believe he is treading on the ground of the Almighty when he makes pronouncements such as a tornado being caused to punish the ELCA for allowing practicing homosexuals in the clergy. How in the world does he know that? 

  121. Julie Anne,

    you’re doing important work and I admire it. Not many people are willing to be as vulnerable as you and share personal stories in order to help others.

    I think it’s important for people to work through their experiences; processing what happened to them on an intellectual and emotional level is necessary for their psychological health.

    I have been accused of “wallowing” by others who sounded uncomfortably similar to the commenter ‘Sad’. I was not wallowing, I was working through what happened to me. I may have been a little edgy in my comment to ‘Sad’, however I have come up against that kind of thinking before, and to a person who is suffering after being abused, to be told that you’re wrong for “not moving on” or for still feeling pain after being kicked, it’s just more hurt upon hurts.

  122. Gavin

    Be careful when you proclaim the amount of time it takes for a person to heal. I know of many people who”got on with things” and years later decompensate and have a crisis that indicates they have never really “got on with it.”  

    Take a wound on the foot. For you, it might take 5 days to heal. For others, with diabetes, it could take 6 weeks. For another, an infection sets in, leading to a flesh eating bacteria and it takes their foot. We all heal differently in the physical realm and the same goes in the psychological and spiritual realm. Just as you would not blame a person for getting a flesh eating bacteria, I might suggest that you, unless you know the ins and outs of a person’s life, not do so  within the abuse realm as well.

  123. Sad

    You said “And if I am asking for chapter and verse…well…are not Christians people of the Book?”

    I used to love these debates. However, what I have found is that there are Christians on all sides of the Reformed/Calvinistic/ free will/ you name it arguments. Deb will tell you that, about 10 years ago, I decided to determine, once and for all, what I believe in this area.  I read Piper, Sproul, Grudem, White and then read an equal amount on the other side. I came to the conclusion that both sides had legitimate reasons for their beliefs.

    Now, these people are far smarter than I am. If they disagree with one another, how in the world do you think we are going to prove Piper. et al is correct? For every verses you throw out, I can throw out others. Oh, I also learned to argue both sides of this matter even if I do not agree with the arguments.

    So, as Deb will tell you, I have a notebook filled with the best arguments on both sides and I agree with all of them. Which means I now choose a third way.Maybe it isn’t as clear as we wish it would be in our little 3 dimensional world. Hugh Ross explained that we have at least 11 dimensions (I think i have the number right) with time being the 12th dimension and God possibly inhabiting a 13th dimension. I am no physicist but I know that there is a boatload that I do not understand. Just as a 2 dimensional entity could not fully understand our 3 dimensional world, I can tell you that I cannot even begin to understand a God who exists in multidimensions.

    Bottom line: We “people of the Book” (Don’t Muslims call us that?) can “prove” just about anything we darn well please. So, a verse by verse war is not going to solve your Piper challenge with me or anyone else. I leave the verse war up to others smarter than I.

  124. Sad

    You can look at your situation differently. You were harmed by an invention of man. However, i nte hmidst of pain and suffering is a God who comes alongside you to uphold you through the pain. I know that because I had a child with a brain tumor. I do not believe as you.I found that God was active in the circumstance and I never once believed that He caused it. Humanity caused it. God is in the business of redeeming it. 

    Also, could you please tell me how you know that “you are encouraging people to stay stuck rather than to be thankful for what God has done by opening their eyes to the false and bad teaching they were once under?” Perhaps you have have had specific training in the area of psychiatry? How well do you know the people to which you are referring? Do you know the intimate details of their lives or are you judging them solely on your paradigm?

  125. Mot

    And you presume to speak for everyone, just as you presumed it was your blog. Irenic is not a word in your vocabulary,it would seem.

    Julie Ann

    I’m glad you are putting your experience to good use.

    Dee

    The difference is that people with such problems are dealt with and cared for by ‘experts’ in their field, not by someone in the next bed. (And that is in no way intended to be a slight on the work you do here).

    Regards
    Gavin

  126. The comment “a time to mourn and a time to move on” struck a nerve, so I had to look up the actual ‘a time for everything’ verses in the Bible.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    A Time for Everything

    There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under heaven:

    a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

    a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

    Notice that there are no specific guidelines given for how much time is allotted to mourning.

  127. John

    Piper is a theoretical sort of guy. When he must deal with people, it just gets “icky.” I would suggest that he spend some time intervening in the lives of the men of whom he says ” I love their theology.” Like Mark Driscoll. 

  128. Gavin:

    You said to me:”Mot

    And you presume to speak for everyone, just as you presumed it was your blog. Irenic is not a word in your vocabulary,it would seem.”

    Dude, chill out. I know it is not my blog, it is you who seems to not know it is not your blog.

    Irenic, that sounds like something bad and no I do not make it a habit of using that word when I speak.

    If you were not so serious with all the BS you are throwing at everybody today you might pass as a comedian.

    But you seem to want to be the (devil’s advocate) here and yes yes and yes I am using hyperbole.

  129. Anon 1 – No, I was not “forgetting” what has been going on in the RC church. Sexual predation is horrific; child sexual abuse even more so.

    but it’s a very big world out here, beyond the gated community (or is it more like a fortress that’s meant to keep people in? there certainly is a siege mentality) of the evangelical/charismatic world.

  130. Edit: should have said “much of the evangelical/charismatic world” rather than implying that *all* of it is stuck behind walls of its own making, as that’s untrue.

    Nevertheless…

  131. Thank you, Searching. People are uncomfortable with pain and suffering. I get that. It’s not fun. People don’t know what to do with a grieving parent. Think of the Connecticut killings. There will be people who want to move along the grieving process and think the parents are wallowing. The most practical and loving thing that can be done with those parents is to be available and listen.

    When someone sat with me and listened to my story, I began to heal. That is why people are so important in the process. If that person had walked away from me, I would have still been alone in my suffering. That is when someone gets stuck – when people are alone in their suffering.

    On my blog, we listen. We stay with them. People showed love to me in a very real way when I was at my worst. And now I do the same. It’s biblical. God intended for us to respond to others like this. God doesn’t tell us to hurry people along in their recovery. God created our emotions. Even Jesus wept.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

  132. dee wrote:

    Virginia

    Did you know that is some of these complementarian patriarchal circles they do not believe a woman should vote? Instead, she should go with her husband and give him her ballot to fill out.

    Now I’ve heard everything!

  133. I’ve grown up in church, 4 denominations, never heard “people of the book” before.

    Sounds like the slogan for the biblianity religion. All of life’s questions are answered in the book. Ideologies built at least in part on arguments from silence.

    I now confess to being tangential & apologize.

  134. “People of the book” comes from Islam – Christians and Jews are often referred to as “People of the Book” in the Muslim world.

  135. Numo –

    Thanks for the info on “People of the Book.”

    As far as the positivity of the phrase . . . it might depend on how the phrase is being used.

  136. The phrase “the people of the book” refers to the fact that all three religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — have roots in the Scriptures of the God of Abraham.

  137. ”’The ‘point’ is to emphasize the fact that once rescue and recovery have been accomplished, it becomes detrimental to a person’s well-being if they continually relive their experience every time someone posts an entry about the abuse they are/were suffering. You get stuck in your own traumatic experience and you may even regress. Getting on with your life is a better antidote than fighting the bogeyman every minute of the day.”’

    Actually I have to disagree here. It takes a long while to recover, and talking about it can help you heal. It’s very validating to hear things that ring true to you that others tend to minimize or attempt to invalidate. Minimizing and invalidation of experiences is very common sadly. You seem to feel that a magically day comes when you are finally done with it. It doesn’t happen that way. Facing that bogeyman of the past helps more than you seem to be aware of. Victims are trying mend themselves on a mindset that allowed them to survive within an abusive relationship, and now are working on a new one without the abusive dynamic. It’s easier said than done, and at times can take a lifetime to achieve. Never limit these times due to a personal discomfort, and opinion. It didn’t just take weeks or months to break your sense of self down while within an abusive relationship, and its will take a long time to undo the damage.

    Some victims maybe triggered by certain things due to circumstances they have not totally dealt with in the past. That is not regression. It’s an opportunity for another way to heal. Recently, I was in a restaurant having breakfast with a friend. There was a man at another table that triggered me very badly. His words and body language very familiar to me. I was shaking like a leaf, and I waited until the wife and child went into the bathroom. I followed, and left a business card with help contact information for domestic violence on the counter. She knew it was there due to my body languange – not words. The rest is up to her. Everyone around that table KNEW what was going on, and I decided I would be brave enough to vocalize it as it happened. He would stare at me, and I refused to look away. I wouldn’t allow him to intimate me that way. Yes, it is a tool they use. When it came time to leave? I had to walk past their table, and I noticed that men within the restaurant decided to follow me. They knew he wouldn’t start anything with them there. I can’t tell you how much that validated me, and finally people started to complain about his treatment of others at the table. That experience made me grow – not regress. I had to learn to walk past my fear in too many ways to count. I prayed for him and his family in the car before we left. Its strange how things can happen in life that make memories flood back to you, and you MUST face them!

    By the way – the ‘every minute of the day’ part? lol seriously? That’s not even possible, and the exgarration doesn’t help you points here. I realize our culture tends to have us explain things in all or nothing terms, but still….

    Abuse doesn’t always consume people’s entire life. There maybe a period when dealing with the healing of the more ugly parts that it seems like this. Its not a lifestyle after that. Strong opinions on the matter? Yep, and they have every right to them.

    There are plenty of people that have survived abuse, and are able to speak of this without bitterness in their hearts. There are also too many people that feel even speaking of it brings up things that need to stay buried. That’s not healthy, and its not right. To me it means people are uncomfortable with victim’s backgrounds and experiences – and just want them to hush due to it. Their discomfort is the true detriment. They have a opportunity to learn, and possibly encourage. Their own discomfort needs to dealt with as well, but not at the expense of the victim. People speak of experiences, and others get validated or new victims realize what has been happening in their life is indeed abuse. I have to wonder if that isn’t the one of the hardest times in life. Its a very hard thing to acknowledge. I remember years ago me waffling back and forth telling myself it is abuse – then I was making to much of it. Back and forth I went. Finally, I had to join the club that no one wants to be a member of.

    One of the biggest issues I have with Piper’s viewpoint is that he seems to feel any man that calls themselves a Christian is readily equipped with leadership, and all that jazz. The abusive male he speaks of does NOT love his own body, and is not able to love and nourish others due to this debit. Its sad when you think about it. His ‘nurturing leadership’ was never present, and yet Piper speaks as if it was when he claims it needs to be restored. He states that God commands men to be (insert many of his theories), and assumes it is a given. God wouldn’t need to ‘command’ it if it was a given, and yet that is how he approaches things. Piper starts at a point that some people are not capable of being, and he just assumes they are..and Piper moves on. What is happening to this family is more than a bad day here! This family has major issues, and Piper isn’t even able to acknowledge the surface common sense stuff yet. In other words, he is on a shaking foundation. His arrogance wont’ allow him to admit his error, and he feels he only needs to clarify. He listed 7 biblical justications on his view to pander to his followers. He can speak softly, and with a flowery flow. The fact of the matter is the poor man wouldn’t know humility for himself if it up and bit him on the nose.

  138. Recovery from abuse, or from the loss of someone you loved, or *anything* – is not a linear process.

    And it takes TIME.

    The thing is, hurt and pain can diminish over time, but they never fully go away. One learns to live with them, and if real recovery is occurring, they start to diminish at some point – but that “point” is different for every person, and there’s no single point in time where a person suddenly (as Hannah said above, “magically”) begins to feel like the pain is behind them.

    Trauma leaves scars. Repressing emotions related to trauma and grief is the exact opposite of recovery – everything that’s being shoved under the carpet *will* surface, and in destructive ways.

    Better to go through the storm than try to go around it; really, there is no other way.

  139. BTW, Hannah, I hadn’t realized until I clicked your name that you were the author of the post on Emotional Abuse and Your Faith, which I had just read on Google Reader. I subscribe to it, but hadn’t known who wrote it. Excellent job! I enjoy all of your posts!

  140. Numo

    I knew it was meant in a positive fashion. When my son played soccer, I had an amazing discussion group when we went on weekend soccer trips. The coach was from Scotland and was also a Muslim, one dad was a devout and exrememly well read Catholic, another man was a well versed Hindu and then there was me. We would sit in restaurants and discuss religion in a fun yet thoughtful fashion. I loved every last minute of it. We exchanged books and cds about our beliefs

    It was during that time that my Mulim friend said that Muslims refer to Christians as “people of the book.”

    Now, for a funny moment in all of this. My Catholic friend, Dave, would often challenge me theologically. He would joke that I would make it to heaven after spending a lot of time in purgatory. He would often kid with me and call me his favorite “heretic.” Well, his son went to the local Catholic high school and mine went to the local Protestant school. They played school soccer against each other.  We sat across the field from each other, cheering our respective sons. My son went in for the goal, got it and won the game. My friend Dave ran across the field, screaming “Die, heretic scum.” The parents had no idea what was going on. I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

    About a year later, a teacher in my son’s school came up to me and said he had a message for me. With a straight face, he said “You are going straight to hell.” Without missing a beat I responded, “I don’t know how you know him but say ‘So are you’ to my friend Dave.” He laughed and asked how I knew and I said there was only one person in the world who could say that and make me laugh.

    One of the nicest moments occurred when, towards the end of soccer, he said to me that I would get out of purgatory a lot quicker then he would. I knew it was his backhanded way of being kind.

  141. Hannah, thank you for leaving that information in the ladies’ room for the women. Years ago, before cell phones were popular, I left a quarter (for a phone call) and a note in the ladies’ restroom at a truck stop for a young woman who was being harassed by her male companion. It was all I knew to do on such short notice. I hope she went in there and saw it.

  142. Dee – LOLZ!!! Great stories!

    I emphasized the positive meaning because there are so many misconceptions about other faiths, very much including Islam…

  143. Mot
    A dim lightbulb appears to have come on. Glad you noticed the humour.

    You may have the last word.

    Hannah

    I acknowledge the work you do and accept as fact that some things may never heal. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of us who find it easier to feel sorry for ourselves.

    Regards
    Gavin

  144. “It’s not that I don’t like what I read here it’s just that I think you are giving a one-sided view and I am seeking to balance things out.”

    Gavin, I am trying to understand this concept of “balance” as it relates to the blog post and this blog. From my understanding, Piper has a pulpit, written tons of books, speaks to thousands at all sorts of conferences even in other countries, has his sermons online including tons of articles and so on. In none of these places is there a “balance” to his teachings. Does this concern you, too?

    But you are concerned that there be balance on this blog post? Am I understanding you correctly?

  145. Anon1

    Standing ovation with trumpets sounding!

    “From my understanding, Piper has a pulpit, written tons of books, speaks to thousands at all sorts of conferences even in other countries, has his sermons online including tons of articles and so on. In none of these places is there a “balance” to his teachings. Does this concern you, too? But you are concerned that there be balance on this blog post? Am I understanding you correctly?”

     

  146. Forgive me if this has already been said – I haven’t had the internet/landline for the last four days (compliments of AT&T) and I haven’t read any of the comments.

    “I know this may seem a bit in your face but it does not take a ‘gospel’ Christian, a rocket scientist or a theologian at the most correct Reformed-based seminary to know that the police should be involved when someone is getting whacked around.”

    And yet many Christians and theologians will insist on keeping the authorities as far away as possible from sticky/criminal situations. Case in point, SGM.

    “He also said the man must be disciplined by the church.”

    This is true, of course, but he also MUST be disciplined by the authorities. He has committed a CRIME (need me to say that again more slowly? C-R-I-M-E) known under the law as “battery” which carries penalties. USE THEM. They’re there for a reason.

    (Know what else is a C-R-I-M-E? Sexual contact with people under 16. But here I go climbing on the statutory rape/age of consent hobby horse again.)

    If you respond to this comment, know that I may not see it so you might not get a reply in a timely manner.

  147. Dee,I have some similar stories with Catholic colleagues and we have had great fun with it. I asked one of them to explain the whole sainthood thing to me. In his best corporate speak he went through this whole litany of it being like “God’s frontline management team” and even giving each saint their own “department” in charge of that area. I have never laughed so hard. He outlined this for me on a cross country flight from Charlotte to Seattle. He even let me hold his pocket St Chris who was in charge of our travel. :o)

  148. I look forward to your review of the book about abuse.

    I have been an elder in my church for 20 years. We, and our pastoral staff, take a firm line on stuff like this – call the police, period!

    We also don’t do any counseling other than praying with people who want us to pray for them. Our pastoral staff does counseling on a very minor level. Any situation that involves anything close to needing professional advice – long term depression, addiction issues, etc. gets referred out to pychologists and psychiatrists. We are blessed in our community to have some really godly PhD/MDs in psychiatry, and we refer people out quickly so that they can get the best treatment possible.

    But I don’t know what happens among the membership where some damage could occur. It may be more likely that a woman who is abused may confide in a friend first, and if that person has bought into the “don’t tell the police, don’t go to outsiders” theory, that would be a problem spot. Still, I would think that person would refer them to the pastoral staff or the elders, in which case, the lid would be blown off, the police would be called and they would be referred out.

    But the main point here is that there may be people suffering in the pews who are afraid to come out. That’s why I want to read the book, or at least your review.

    The culture of the church needs to be such that people would feel safe if they come out and not shunned.

    I look forward to your review of the book.

  149. ” have been an elder in my church for 20 years. We, and our pastoral staff, take a firm line on stuff like this – call the police, period!

    That is wonderful. the only problem I can see is if your church promotes the teachings of Piper, Mahaney, Driscoll or any of the others who promote them like Mohler,etc. This sends the message to those being abused what you really believe about women or you would not promote or support such people. Yes, there is guilt by association in these circles when it comes to doctrine and practices. So sometimes saying one calls the police is sort of a misnomer.

    I am not accusing you of these things but I have seenothers who say such things all the while promoting Mahaney, Driscoll, as teachers of the Word. It is cognitive dissonance.

  150. Sad wrote:

    Mot,
    Why do you find it cold? I find it immensely comforting. The God who has the hairs on my head numbered brought me into this world, and He will bring me out safely into His presence when it is time.
    Did Paul not say “To live is Christ, to die is gain”?

    I actually don’t think the Bible teaches that each death is caused by God. Murder is a sin, the victims are it’s consequence, that is not God, rather it is Satan. There is little comfort in the evils of this world, however we were given dominion over this earth, and using out abilities, we as humans can lessen the impact of death, or play fatalistic games and act like there is nothing we can do.

    One of my biggest peeves about Calvinism is its fatalistic view. I lived in S. Asia for a year, and what kept the accident rates in the mountain passes at record high levels? The fatalistic worldview, the “oh well, nothing we could do, that was just their fate” vs. the western world’s strong stance against drunk driving, making roads and vehicles safer, etc.

    No, people don’t get killed by God, many times they get killed by human stupidity.

    Jesus didn’t not call us to become excuse makers, or fake “I find great comfort that God is in charge” as millions die around the world from preventable causes. God gave us a commission, spread his love, and gave us brains to figure out how to go and do loving things. When something goes wrong, we should mourn, and allow that failure to drive us to a better solution. Not wallow in a gnostic/pagan-like fatalism.

  151. Anonymous

    Give me about 2 weeks. In the meantime, look at this post we did when we first started this blog. This is what Paige Patterson thinks about domestic abuse. In my opinion, it is despicable.And he is the leader of a major SBC seminary. But, at least he admits it. Better than speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth. (I am not referring to you.  I enjoy reading your thoughts even when we disagree on some matters.)

    I wish you a blessed New Year.  http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/06/16/a-call-for-paige-pattersons-resignation-from-the-ministry/

  152. Sorry to digress in subject matter here but I couldn’t get this answer out of my head after Joey said this yesterday: “And I am not sure how you would know whether I hang on Piper’s every word or not, or how I treat my wife. In fact, you have no idea.”

    Joey, if you agree with the so called complementarian doctrine for marriage then the at the very best idea anyone can have of how you treat your wife is that you treat her as a suboordinate to yourself. Since I believe that the Bible actually teaches equality over hierarchy in marriage, any over/under treatment is abuse in my ideas.

  153. Val

    Ditto on yoru comment at 3:56PM. I have read and read the au courant Calvinistas as they deny that they are fatalistic and deterministic. I must be dumb (and I know there are Calvinistas who are applauding that statement). But, I view it this way. If I, who has made an avocation of following trends in the faith and reading books on theology until my eyes are crossed, cannot get their explanations, then the explanations are wanting.

    When I find that Christians cannot agree on matters such as election, method of baptism, etc., then it is confusing. If it was absolutely essential to our salvation, then God would have been made saliently clear-such as the Cross and Resurrection-the nonnegotiables.

    When we take a confusing subject, such as gender roles, and begin to extend rules into such as Piper has done “No women reading Scripture in the pulpit” then we are causing needless conflict over ill-defined theology. 

    I believe that these matters are interesting to discuss but should never divide us. I am not sure we will ever fully understand it, even in heaven. Even there, we are the created ones, He is the Creator.We will see more clearly but will we fully comprehend or will we fall at the feet of One who loves us more than we can imagine, understanding our limitations?
    ?

    So, when Piper says it is a sin to not like the doctrine of election, he is saying that it is sin not to like Piper’s definiton of election.I think God knows that we cannot fully understand and loves us anyway.

    But, I am not a theological “hero” or “genius” like Piper. 

     

  154. Joey

    I ask this question of any red blooded comp that crosses my path. Could you please define how your marriage as a comp is different than a marraige of an egal? I mean, practically. Also, if you were to stand side by side with an egal, would anyone know the difference? I believe this is important since, as I understand the comp argument, our marriages are to reflect the subordination of Jesus (wife) to the Father (husband). If this image is imperative in our witness to the world, it would seem to me that there would be some differences that all would see.

    Mary Kassian says that it has nothing to do with homemaking, child raising, temperment, intellect, division of daily duties, or even input into decisions. The only thing i seem to see is no female pastors and the husband gets the tie breaking vote (although on the second point there are some disagreements). So, what the heck is the difference?

    If I may be bold, in my examination of the marriages around me, I see no differences in the die hard comps and the die hard egals. In fact, two elders, who were upheld as the role models of comp marriages in one church, are in the process of getting divorces.And this was a conservative, TGC sort of church.

  155. Regarding fatalism, I can only share my view.

    I believe humans, not God, brought about the fall with death and harm and illness and evil.

    But I also believe in a sovereign God as well as an immanent one.

    I do believe my days were numbered before I was born. That is to say, God knows when I will die and how. He knows the intricate ways it will come about, and He will be with me and my loved ones through it.

    If it is my appointed time to die (and scripture does suggest an appointed time) He is in control and will use whatever means He chooses…..including the free will of others.

    So, let’s say, my time will be up July 10th 2020. Suppose I get hit by a tornado while visiting my great auntie up in OK. I believe the free will of those who built the house that gets hit, my free will in deciding to be in that house in that location that day, and the free will of countless others will serve His purpose. I don’t believe it will be because He decreed it…..just that He allowed it.

    But I believe He will be with me through it, and with those that might mourn me.

    Both His total sovereignty and our free agency seem to be taught in the Bible.

    To paraphrase Martin Luther, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  156. Hester

    The SGM fiasco will begin to be revealed in 2013. It has been a long time in coming. Get ready for the nastiness from the supposed loving servant leaders. TWW, Julie Anne Smith and others will stand with the oppressed. We expect it to get a bit ugly but we are are tough old birds. Silence continues from the supporters of the patriarchs.

  157. fwiw, I have known – and, in the past, roomed with – Catholics whose views on the saints, Mary, etc. were (how to put this?) very “Protestant” in many respects.

    There’s a *huge* spectrum of belief and practice among Catholics in the US, which is one of the reasons that the Vatican has been monitoring US religious a little *too* closely over the past couple of years. They even sent teams of people to check into the beliefs of nuns in the US. (Those who don’t toe the party line on everything, in other words.)

    But… my friends and former roommates were all caught up in the many changes brought about by Vatican II – very much including ecumenical worship.

    I hope and pray that there’s a Vatican III (or at least, a resurgence of Vatican II) before too long. We all need the refreshment and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

  158. Now, these people are far smarter than I am…
    ~ Dee ~

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that Dee. Their thinking is point-to-point linear box thinking in the classical Aristotelian tradition. Curvature thinking is not permissible because only discrete points [the ones they determine of course] connected with straight lines are valid in their world.

    Advanced degrees and impressive titles are no guarantor of intellectual moxie. Some years back, I saw an episode of NOVA on PBS in which a stone mason from New Hampshire made the chair of the engineering department at a world class university look silly with his simple and elegant solution to raising a 70 ton granite obelisk into position.

  159. Dee, your story made me howl with laughter…I come from a catholic family & they all have an awesome sense of humour. I love Dave already.

    I’ve thought about this post a lot today & I’m so pleased that people have pointed out that the reporting of domestic violence should be predicated on the crime of the perpetrator, & the safety of the victim, not the attitude of the victim. I think some of those who make pronouncements about the victims’ attitude are a) premature, that’s not the first thing to focus on here, if ever & b) shallow, entirely misunderstanding the potential psychological devastation of a DV victim who may be bsrely

  160. barely able to function on a survival level, let alone managing to ponder the ‘christian’ thing to do…especially if there are children involved. But the Piper etc are not mental health professionals, no matter if others think they are omniscient.
    I’d also love to see a re-write of some of those patriarchal platitudes from a perspective that blames all potential problems, especially a woman’s ‘failure’ to submit on their husbands not loving them like Christ loves the church…woman a bit uppity? Sacrificially love her more! Feel like hitting her? That’s your failure to

  161. sacrificially love her…& so on…I think to lampoon some of those would help others see their subtext…

    Please excuse weird posting, my phone is being non-submissive & making its own decisions!

  162. Anon 1

    Well there’s the siren sound of TWW to denigrate anything Mr Piper might say. Here’s another quote from the Puritans’ by Arlo Bates ( not Carlo as spell checker originally said)

    “There were more women than men present, and Ashe was amazed at their cleverness and their shallow reasoning; at the ease and naturalness at which they played this game of intellectual gymnastics, and at the apparent failure to pierce to anything like depth.”

    Look at the whole counsel of God. Don’t just pick what suits you.

    Regards
    Gavin

  163. @ gavin white:
    Gavin, are you implying that our Illustrious Blog Queens are shallow and unable to pierce anything of spiritual depth because they are women and not men? If so, that is a rather egregious and chauvinistic shame! Or are we jesting?

  164. Dear All

    I hope this brings you some perspective and comfort.

    “He did not make the heavens in His image, nor the moon, nor the sun, nor the beauty of the stars, nor anything else which surpasses all understanding. You alone are an icon of Eternal beauty, and if you look at Him, you will become what He is, imitating Him who shines within you, whose glory is reflected in your purity. Nothing in all creation can equal your grandeur. All the heavens can fit in the palm of God’s hand…and though He is so great..you can wholly embrace Him. He dwells within you…He pervades your entire being. (Philokalia: The Bible of Orthodox Spirituality).

    It is time to grow up into Christ. You don’t need to stay in the shadows.

    Gavin

  165. Gavin, that was a truly lovely quote. Really inspiring, and I mean that.

    But please answer my question above.

    And tell me how your quote will prevent men from abusing their wives and churches from letting this pass? Until the church really awakens to the scourge of domestic violence, and until suffering women are empowered to escape abuse, we will not look away or move on.

    Yes, let’s come out of the shadows – by shining Christ’s light right into the heart of darkness.

  166. @ dee:
    Thanks Dee,

    I agree, there are many great Christians from all sorts of denominations and confessions. Corrie Ten Boom would have been Dutch Calvinist, no? And she was filled with the Holy Spirit. We all have a part to offer the Kingdom, no one has the complete picture. God has made it this way, yet the fab 20 of TGC haven’t noticed this. I also think making huge issues about election, atonement theory and complementarianism miss the point of Jesus call to joining the Kingdom and be part of the body, where each person has a part to play, not just those with a certain theological take.

  167. @ Eagle:

    I am in an E-Free too, it is so sad to see this once broad and non-divisive church rewrite their statement of faith to be more divisive, more Calvinist leaning. Each E-Free church is free to choose what they want to sign on to, in my area all are complementarian to the point of not letting a seminary student preach because she was female. Most are so Calvinist-leaning some think they should leave the denomination. If anything, the Calvinistas did a better job infiltrating the non-baptist denominations and turning them Calvinista. Our pastor did it slowly, over about 5 years.

  168. Corrie Ten Boom combined the DO with the BELIEVE, the ACTION of protecting the vulnerable along with her FAITH in a divine Protector. And she was a woman, a spinster past her prime. I’d pit her courage and insight against any of the RBD’s.

  169. “HOW THE (doo-diddly) DID SOVEREIGN GRACE MATERIAL GET PUSHED IN AN EVANGELCIAL FREE CHRUCH?!?

    Eagle, in my prior 25-year association with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) I found that it is a lot like a sponge. (As in yellow thing you clean stuff with, not cake).

    EFCA churches can be dry and traditional, or dripping wet, saturated by grace. They can smell a bit bad as they have been sitting in some muck for a while, or they can be effective at the job Jesus gave them to do. Some of them soak in all manner of bits of crud from the corners of Christianity, and some of them are real good at smearing that muck over the huddled sheep.

    While the basic tenants of the EFCA association are good, a lot is left to the individual church to figure out. So any one church can be filled to the brim with Calvinistas drinking at the well of the Truly Reformed. Or just have a few of them working up to domination.

    EFCA churches are entirely capable of all kinds of malarkey when it comes to spiritual abuse.

    But they are also capable of being wonderful, caring (the good kind) churches.

    I know both.

  170. Gavin

    Darn-just clever and shallow? Don’t I even rate glamorous? 

    So, the whole counsel of God-do I pick what you believe it is or Piper or Wesley or Luther or….? Note, I just chose men to show you that even the chosen gender have disagreements. Wanna bet that everyone, including you, think you take the “whole” counsel of God and that no one really does.We are all a bit biased, are we not? 

    I assume this is another one of those lovely stabs at humor, isn’t it?

  171. @ linda:

    I get where your coming from, and I am not really disagreeing – a God who knows all, will know of when people will die, however, to believe that cart blanche means ignoring the scripture like:

    Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “IF you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, BECAUSE you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

    (sorry, I don’t know how to bold, so I Capp-Locked)

    And the story of King Hezekiah, and so on. If you… it is a theme that God repeats over and over in the OT, if you would follow me… Not, I made it so you would/wouldn’t follow me, rather, here is the options and the outcomes of each option.

    The Bible is very dualistic about these views, and if I am honest, it is a little frustrating. But I will not drop one part of the Bible for another in these instances, and I would rather live in the tension than use select verses to support one side against the other.

  172. “Look at the whole counsel of God. Don’t just pick what suits you.

    That is exactly what many of us have been trying to explain to Piper followers concerning his salvic gender roles, scream of the damned and christian hedonism teaching, God sending tornados to punish the Episcopalians, etc.

  173. And here’s a catholic priest in Italy blaming women for bringing domestic violence ‘on themselves': http://www.smh.com.au/world/women-bring-violence-on-themselves-priest-20121228-2bybu.html

    “”How often do we see girls and mature women going around scantily dressed and in provocative clothes?” Piero Corsi said in a Christmas message posted on the door of his church in the small town of San Terenzio in northwest Italy.
    “They provoke the worst instincts, which end in violence or sexual abuse. They should search their consciences and ask: did we bring this on ourselves?” it read.”

  174. “I have been reading an on-line book written by a man who was a Calvinist for six years before finding that he didn’t agree with many of the theological arguments put forth by Reformed theologians. I find this book very helpful and think you would as well. Here is the link. It is long, so take your time. I highly recommend that you start with the “About the Book, About Me, and Preface” to get an idea of where the author is going.

    http://www.xcalvinist.com/category/prelims-preface/

    Bridget, I stayed up way too late last night reading up to chapter 6. So far, I agree with you and highly recommend this to folks who are interested in such things. Eagle, I think you would really appreciate this book, too. I could totally relate to his journey.

  175. “Ashe was amazed at their cleverness and their shallow reasoning; at the ease and naturalness at which they played this game of intellectual gymnastics, and at the apparent failure to pierce to anything like depth.”

    Not like old Wayne ’83 church functions graded according to their level of importance, authority, influence and monetary value’ Grudem, or John ‘There are feminine feels and masculine feels and women need men’s feels to fly around the church above them, and it’s almost impossible to clearly explain what I mean by that without using 10,000 gospel-sodden adjectives but I swear it’s so obviously, clearly in the Bible’ Piper.

    All of it’s mental masturbation. Excuse those who respond in kind. :)

  176. Eagle wrote:

    I may publish a book. “I Kissed the Evangelical Free Church Goodbye…”

    Eagle if you need any input I could help you fill up some space.

  177. “Simply” hurting her. “Simply”… Does that line bother anyone else? The abuser is simply hurting her. Notice the most important issue to Piper at that point is not caring for the victim, and not the abuser’s sins i.e. the actual sins. The real concern is whether or not the wife’s Lord and Master Husband, who gets a free pass for at least one more night, is “requiring” her to sin.

  178. The Bible is very dualistic about these views, and if I am honest, it is a little frustrating. But I will not drop one part of the Bible for another in these instances, and I would rather live in the tension than use select verses to support one side against the other.
    ~ Val ~

    Sounds like you’re another escapee from the box.

  179. Hmmm…regarding Piper’s video….what stood out the most for me amid the usual religious bs, was what form of abuse he chose to use to illustrate when a wife could (winsomely and politely and demurely, of course) tell her husband ‘no.’ And he chose for this ‘group sex?’ Really? Because THAT is what so many abusers demand?

    First, I think that most abusive husbands are not into group sex. They don’t want to risk the exposure (pardon the pun) of the wife to someone else who might actually tell her what’s really going on.

    But, for the sake of argument, if a husband is demanding that his wife participate in group sex, then the marriage covenant (even by their standards) has already been broken. And there are much bigger problems in that house than whether the wife submissively declines to submit.

    And honestly, in the whole spectrum of DV, he chooses that as an illustration? His bubble must be pretty warped.

  180. Jeanette, Yeah, we dined out on the “she does not have to submit to group sex” advice from Piper for quite a while. That video is a few years old. It really does show how warped his doctrine really is. The thing that surprises me the most is he still had a job and a following after that “advice”. It just goes to show people will follow just about anyone.

    But it does beg the question: Just what else does he think she should submit to? And I think we have the answer. After being allowed to say no to group sex, what is the big deal with a bit of slapping around?

    Does not say a lot for the men who agree with Piper’s teachings does it?

  181. @ Sad:
    Q: “which of his (Piper’s) core teachings are objectionable to you?”
    A: “Christian Hedonism” Precisely in the same choking, thorny category as “Christian Anxiety” or “Christian Riches” Luke 8:14 and Piper’s number 1 distinctive core teaching.

  182. Now, to Sad and Gavin.

    I have had the “get over it and move on” card smacked against me face many times in my life. It is one of many reasons that I no longer go to church. And I am going to make some people uncomfortable now. But I am going to say what I wish I could have said to them. Before you throw a platitude at me telling me to just get over it and move on, you had better have the common decency to do me the courtesy of knowing and understanding exactly what it is that you are telling me to just get over.

    I was physically abused by my mother – whipping with a belt was a part of my potty training. She actually recorded this in my baby book – no awareness on her part that there was anything wrong with it. Her frequent adjectives for me even when I was only 5 months old, were “lazy, stubborn and spoiled”.

    At 2 1/2 I was molested by one of her friends, a neighbor and in-law and I was then religiously manipulated and terrorized into not talking about it. By her. Then, when I was 7, an older cousin began molesting me and this went on until I turned 12. And my time at church taught me that it was my fault, that I was a horrible person. I had nightmares of going to hell. But I loved Jesus (and in spite of what the church has tried to teach me about Him, I still do).

    All through this, the emotional and physical abuse continued. The last time my dad tried to whip me with a belt, I was 14 and fought back. He never tried again.

    I walked away from church when I was 16 in disgust at the back-biting and viciousness I saw when the church split over helping some people who didn’t ‘look’ right (they had long hair). I proceeded to spend the next 8 years or so having the traumas of my childhood come out in sideways destructive ways because I had tried so hard to just bury it and forget. It’s a wonder I survived.

    After 20 years outside the church and still under the emotional control of my narcissistic mother (including a suicide attempt in which God intervened and prevented a bottle of Darvon from killing me – just slept for 24 hours), I finally got pulled back into a church again. I was desperately looking for some place where I would be accepted and even helped. Instead, I was manipulated and used – had been well groomed to fall right into that dynamic. And spent the next 7 years of my life being pulled deeper and deeper into a cult. At the end, as a volunteer, I was on the church property 60+ hours a week. The pastor turned out to be a serial sexual predator…and as I walked away from that church with a dear friend who was one of his victim’s, all the childhood shit that I had buried came flooding up. And it seems that sexually abusive pastors seem to be common in my life.

    And let me tell you, that almost annihilated me. There were times I wished it would. I have been out of that church for almost 6 years now. And I have not seen or spoken to my mother in over 4 years. And I have been in therapy for 5 years. And one of the things that was the most helpful to me in recognizing and understanding what I was dealing with was reading other people’s stories online.

    And I have to tell you that after 5 years of therapy, what I have been through is not something you “get over”. It is something you learn to live with and find peace within yourself. But the damage done was pretty permanent. I don’t know if I will ever be able to really trust people. And even now, when I look at a small child, my heart breaks and I wonder if they are okay. And I envy the innocence that I see. I lost my ability to look at the world with wide eyed wonder and innocence at the age of 2 1/2. Think about that. Please. Then tell me again to “move one”.

  183. As I see it, except for not understanding the dynamics of abuse, he is also not answering the real question.
    What should a woman do in cases of abuse? (Real question: What could she do to end the abuse, under the complementarian mindset of Piper?
    His “answer:”
    1) Listen to Jesus first and from that to others.
    (My comment: That will not end abuse.)
    2) Do not feel your only recourse is the police, as that would be a failure of the church.
    (My comment: She is told to go to the church. Now the question becomes: How should the church end the abuse? If the earth stands on the back of a giant turtle, what does the turtle stand on?
    And some churches do fail in being a recourse. Telling her she should not regard the police as the only source of help is sometimes telling her to believe falsehood, as they are that in many cases.)
    3) Going to the police may be right, but make sure of the attitude you have when doing it.
    (My comment: You did not say when it is right to go to them, only imply that it is wrong when the victim’s attitude is not right.)
    4) The church should not harbor an abuser.
    (My comment: This is only what the church should not do, not what they should do.)
    5) They should go to the church first, and the Christians should decide how to deal with it.
    (My comment: This contains no answer as to what the church should do to end the abuse.)
    6) Fleeing and staying could both be done in a right attitude.
    (My comment: This still does not say how to end the abuse.)
    7) It is the job of the church to help.
    (My comment: And what should they do to help?)

  184. “A: “Christian Hedonism” Precisely in the same choking, thorny category as “Christian Anxiety” or “Christian Riches” Luke 8:14 and Piper’s number 1 distinctive core teaching.”

    Yeah, that one I chocked up to being a shock jock to get speaking gigs. The one that blew my mind was his and Mahaney’s sermons at Resolve in 2009(?) on the “Scream of the Damned”.

    I was stunned. It was blasphemous. The ONLY Reformed blogger who took them on was Steve Camp. I hve never seen so much parsing in all my life with the Piper defenders. It amazes me how they can redefine words. it seems that damned to piper and Mahaney does not really mean “damned”.

    It was after that I started really watching their language and figuring out how they use the same words but with different definitions. That means you gotta listen a lot and real close before you figure out that grace, sovereignty, etc mean different things to them.

  185. Jeanette, As to your horrid story, something you said resonated with me and my experience with other victims. The one thing I have noticed is the isolation. You see it in abusive fmailies and churches when it finally comes out.telling folks to move on is just another isolation tactic.

    The internet has been a huge help to many. One of the reasons sites like this are so important is for people to discuss what got them involved with certain groups, etc.

    Why should we not analyze all teaching and behavior of the celebrities or controlling leaders? Why shouldn’t we encourage people to test all things? Discuss what to look for? Yes, even parse their very public teaching line by line if need be? After all, they are marketing their words.

    I think one reason why people despise victims is it makes them uncomfortable. They like their movements and groups and take it personal when others have had very bad experiences. They don’t want to admit they might have made a bad choice or were easily influenced. Telling people to move on is their way of protecting themselves.

  186. Jeanette, I am so sorry. Your story breaks my heart – I am amazed you haven’t given up on Jesus, but very encouraged too.

  187. Anon 1…yes. This is a fairly standard abusers tactic – isolation. And you’re right, the ‘move on’ mantra does have that effect.

    Something I think very few people who have not dealt with abuse – either in their own life or in helping others – understand is the fact that it requires strength for the victim to go against the training they received that says “oh, it’s not that big of a deal” or “that’s not really abuse”. Plus, especially with children, the mind will automatically minimize things just for the sake of survival. When a child (or an adult) is in a situation from which there is no perceived escape or avenue of assistance, if they do not mentally minimize what they are experiencing, they will go mad.

    After years of both this defense mechanism and being taught this by the abusers – and the church – it takes a lot of mental effort to say out loud, “I was abused.” It took me a long time to be able to articulate the word ‘molested’ and ‘incest’ is still very difficult. And I gave a very brief synopsis in my previous comment and still, I have trouble seeing it objectively enough to acknowledge that it was really that bad. But it was. Really that bad…a babysitter with a movie camera….an 18 year old neighbor with a Polaroid.

    And I know why it is still hard to objectively see it as that bad. When I catch glimpses of the reality of how bad it was….I start to break inside. This is something that will just take time – in little pieces, and may take the rest of my life.

    And the phrases “move on” and “Just get over it” and “wallowing” really do still trigger the anger because they were used so much to keep me silent for so long…..

  188. Eagle – I am confused and frustrated by it, too. I’ve come to the conclusion that many professed Christians really don;t have a clue what that is….and you are right – I have found more compassion and ‘righteous’ anger outside the church than I ever did in it. But I have also met some followers of Jesus outside the walls who really do get it.

    Val – thanks. The only reason I didn’t give up on Jesus is because He was always there, contradicting what they taught me. Even when, as a child, I did feel like there was no bridging that gap (because of the teaching I heard in church about how sexual sin was the worst), He didn’t ever leave.

    It’s interesting. Every time I post part of my story, I worry about offending someone and have to fight the urge to apologize for making people uncomfortable. But I also know that the only way to get some people to look at this is to put it right in front of their face, so….and I would also like to point out that the fact I can even post the comments I have here is evidence of healing. When I first reached the point where I knew I needed professional help 5 1/2 years ago, I was scrunched up in the corner of my bed, with the phone barely able to whisper to the person on the other end that I needed counseling because I had been sexually abused. When I went in and had to fill out the paperwork, as I wrote why I was there, I shook.

    Speaking about it IS part of the healing process and is, in fact, evidence that healing is in progress.

  189. Eagle, thanks! If I ever do make it back east, I would love to have coffee with you. It has taken a little time for me to realize that anger is the appropriate and normal response to abuse – or at least my story. It still surprises me, though….in a good way.

  190. Have you all seen the @fakejohnpiper Twitter account?

    Pretty funny stuff. Here’s an example:

    “People don’t want to be tolerated. They want to be loved. But they need to be Calvinized.”

  191. Eagle – thanks again. You made me laugh with “If they are a reformed clown who hang onto every word of Driscoll or Piper…I’ll actually enjoy it! :-P It can be my version of “Agnostic Hedonism” :-P

  192. Jeanette – I am so sorry. Really, I don’t know what to say (wish I could make it all stop hurting), though this is for sure:

    You have NO need to apologize for speaking out.

  193. Janette, I am more and more concerned for what I see as the hard heartedness of Christendom. There is almost this idea that God decreed it so shut up and move on. Just to give you a totally unrelated example that happened recently. An horrible thing happened to someone we know. At a Christmas gathering, one person gave a speech about how blessed his family was by God that nothing like this thing had ever happened to them. How blessed they have been in every area of their life, etc.

    I was appalled. This person is not a Calvinist but there it was…the decreetal God. “He must like me more”sort of God. There but for grace of God, go I, sort of attitude. So, God has special grace for them for some reason.

    Why is it that Christianscannot just grieve, mourn and listen? Why can’t they just reach out and say, this is horrible and unjust. At least why not ever mention that such things are the work of satan… or when the horrible thing is done by humans that they are actually doing the will of satan?

    I just do not get it.

  194. I think the whole bunch of these pastors need to be made to sit in an auditorium and listen to those who have been abused, men and women, tell their stories. Then these stories need to be put on a blog.

    I was slapped, knocked over and kicked frequently, while my ex yelled at me that the minister said I had to obey, the bible said I had to obey and I had vowed to obey.

  195. Jeannette, typed words on a screen are little and ephemeral, but consider these measly typed words what I can do to reach out, offer comfort, offer anger, offer sorrow, offer silence, offer screams, offer any little thing I can to acknowledge how awful what happened to you was, and how much more worthy, more special, more valuable you are than all of those who hurt you over so many years considered you to be.

  196. Sue – I am sorry for your pain also. It amazes me that Calvinists can be so certain of our total depravity, yet see nothing wrong with insisting that women need to be lead by depraved individuals and not divorce them.

    There view on humans makes it more important for egalitarian marriages to be the church’s ideal.

  197. Anon 1 wrote:

    Janette, I am more and more concerned for what I see as the hard heartedness of Christendom. There is almost this idea that God decreed it so shut up and move on. Just to give you a totally unrelated example that happened recently. An horrible thing happened to someone we know. At a Christmas gathering, one person gave a speech about how blessed his family was by God that nothing like this thing had ever happened to them. How blessed they have been in every area of their life, etc.
    I was appalled. This person is not a Calvinist but there it was…the decreetal God. “He must like me more”sort of God. There but for grace of God, go I, sort of attitude. So, God has special grace for them for some reason.
    Why is it that Christianscannot just grieve, mourn and listen? Why can’t they just reach out and say, this is horrible and unjust…
    I just do not get it.

    *Great* comment, Anon 1… though I think that the “Move along, nothing here to see” attitude is – has historically been – prevalent in US society, so it’s no surprise that we see it in churches.

    I think it is very hard for most of us to be able to express grief, or perhaps more important, to be allowed (by others) to express grief and pain. Our pull yourself up by your bootstraps thinking is (imo) a big part of the problem, because a huge part of that is not allowing others to see one’s emotions – which also comes out as not allowing others to express their emotions to you [plural “you” there]. Our culture seems to equate emotions with weakness – so it’s become socially unacceptable in much US Anglo culture to express grief and pain.

    I saw a real difference re. this with the parents of some of the Jewish kids in my ‘hood when growing up, as the parents were 2nd generation and had been raised in homes where expression of emotions (both positive and negative) was more the norm than in my own Anglo-German family. I’ve also seen this among Arab, Puerto Rican and Brazilian immigrant culture here (and, back when, in many Italian families in my home town) – it seems as if most of us aren’t raised with the social skills to deal with expressions of emotional pain and grief, whereas in many other counties/cultures, there’s much more of an acceptance of the expression of emotion.

    We get uncomfortable, avert our eyes and hastily change the subject… if only we could see that so much support isn’t a matter of “saying the right thing” so much as it is simply being there – listening, saying “I care,” letting someone cry and being willing to just sit with them while they do – giving a hug, taking someone’s hand and giving it a squeeze; all the small and subtle things that show thatwe really do care.

    I’m thinking of my mom’s grief… how she feels that she has to apologize for crying about what hurts (my adult brother’s death). There’s just no need for self-recrimination, and the best I can do (it seems) is to tell her that it’s good to cry and that I love her.

    It’s awfully late and I’m rambling – at any rate, I hope these thoughts are helpful to someone besides me.

  198. Oh Gavin,
    I am absolutely loving your attempts at humour in this thread, your timing is a bit off, but apart from that, good work! Do keep trying.

    Sincerely
    Beakerj

  199. “A wife’s submission to the authority of civil law, for Christ’s sake, may, therefore, overrule her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries.”

    How can anybody look at this and take seriously a husband’s demand that a wife endure his injuries at all? If he demands such a thing, stop right there. All bets are off.

    If you put this sentence into a circle, and Christianity as revealed in the NT into another circle, to make a Venn diagram, the circles would not even touch.

  200. A Christian I know that went to a conference on Crimes against Children was suprised how mnay Christian leaders were not involved. I get the feeling that in hearing this video by Piper and reading other material that there is a poor understanding on how Paul uses submission when dealing with civil authorities. The Bible’s respect for authority in Romans 13 meant most generally to deal with returning with violence on the authorities of Rome. Roman LAWS could NOT have been ordered by Paul to be submissive to AT ALL when understanding the context. The Laws commanded to particpate at times in idol worship ceremonies.

  201. Eagle- I have a long history with my local efree church. The things you are stumbling onto are exactly what happened at my former church. Fire the the long term Arminian pastor and bring in a semi- retired Calvinist pastor while sending a relative of one of the elders to TEDS on the churches dime. Guess what? He magically returns young, restless and reformed.

    Before that our church hired a creepy guy who looked like Ed Rooney from Ferris Bullers day off for the childrens ministry pastor. Shock of all shocks he has a problem groping all of the female volunteers. Several angry husbands approach the leadership and they support the pastor and dont believe the women’s complaints. They finally fire the schmuck when he admitted to having feeling for a woman other than his wife in front of his ministry team. Conveniently my wife never told me about any of this until he was long gone so I wouldn’t have confronted him myself since she was a volunteer that endured his crap. He just moved on to another church and did the same thing again.

    Needless to say that church is fertile ground for agnosticism among those of us who think for ourselves. They can have their garbage theology and their poor attempt in making The Gospel Coalition their Vatican.

  202. Dear Virginia and everyone else

    Of course I don’t think that anyone connected with TWW is shallow. I said in another thread that until I came across TWW I had no idea that this kind of abuse was going on and that it was so prevalent. I fully support the aims of TWW and what I write is to provoke comment and discussion with a view to helping others ” to come out of the shadows”.

    The Lord Jesus is bigger than our biggest fears and He dwells in us by the Holy Spirit so there is no longer any need to be afraid.

    Having said that, I openly acknowledge that I have never had that type of experience of abuse, nor have I seen it so I’m not really qualified to be an empathetic listener.

    I can however be a considerate supporter of those who want to move forward and that is what I’ll do. BUT, at the same time I do think that there are dangers in staying as you are or where you are and that is why I say things the way I do. Dee is beginning to understand that a lot of what I say is meant to be humorous. It is also meant to be provocative because just as as some of you are good at smelling BS, I’m quite good at smelling humbug and hypocrisy. It’s my view that if you’re going to win this fight – for that’s what it is – then you have to be whiter than snow. The dirty stuff will come later – and I’m also good at that, if called to be. In the meantime you need to give no cause for offence. By that I mean you stick to the provable facts or reasonably deduced opinions. You don’t put words into their mouths and you certainly don’t refuse to acknowledge any good things they might say or do. Nor do you divine their motives because that is not in your gift. (Who made you a judge?). Anon 1 likes to guess intentions but in fact it is just a way of deriding the opposition. So you don’t need to do it.

    Speak the truth in love. Easy to say but hard to do. But the power within you is greater than the power outside you. And f you think that is platitudinous then you probably haven’t tried to do it.

    But do try it, you’ll be surprised at who you will find standing beside you.

    Regards

    Gavin

  203. Dave,

    Can you explain to me your understanding of what Piper means by Christian hedonism and why it is objectionable to you?

  204. @ Jeannette Altes:

    I’m so sad that you had to go through this, Jeannette. Wish I could give you a big hug! I pray that God will continue to help you through the healing process and somehow bring good from ashes.

  205. @ Anon 1:I got something a little different from this paragraph, This legitimate recourse to civil protection may be done in a spirit that does not contradict the spirit of love and submission to her husband, for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.

    My feeling on that was that he was speaking to the people in the church who would pass judgement on the woman who turns her husband in. I did not get the feeling he was saying wait until you can do it with the right spirit.

  206. Pingback: Domestic Violence, Christmas, John Piper, SGM and TGC | The … | Palace Resorts

  207. I lost my ability to look at the world with wide eyed wonder and innocence at the age of 2 1/2. Think about that. Please. Then tell me again to “move one”.

    Jeannette,

    I want to be clear that when I say that people should “move on” I am talking about people who were in a church with bad teaching, believed it, let it affect their Christian walk, and now seem to want to spend the rest of their lives wallowing in self-pity while at the same time refusing to take any personal responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scripture about being careful to whom you listen.

    I am NOT talking about a defenseless baby on whom unspeakable horrors are perpetrated. I would never presume to tell such a person how long their healing process should take.

    Please let us not confuse criminal child abuse with spiritual abuse. I understand that you have suffered both and that the lines crossed a bit because of the churches you were forced into as a child….but they are two very different issues.

    So sorry that you had to endure this, and so thankful for you that you still pursue a relationship with Christ.

  208. “I want to be clear that when I say that people should “move on” I am talking about people who were in a church with bad teaching, believed it, let it affect their Christian walk, and now seem to want to spend the rest of their lives wallowing in self-pity while at the same time refusing to take any personal responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scripture about being careful to whom you listen.”

    Sad –

    How does one know they are in a “bad” church if the first church they are in after being saved is the only church they have ever known?

    They could be in this church, learning badness that compels them to believe they should never leave this church, for 15-20 years.

    How would this person know that “they” let it affect their Christian walk if they are steeped in the badness?

    “Now this person seems to be wallowing in self-pity.” How do you know this?

    “And they are refusing to take any responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scriptures about being careful to whom you listen.”

    You are making many assumptions about the person who might have experienced spiritual abuse — they let it affect them, they are in self pity, they are refusing to take responsibility. You don’t even know if this person is doing any of these things, and so what if they are for a time doing these things? They may have spent 15, 20, 30 years of their life believing what “trusted” leaders told them. They may be people who are trusting and kind and never thought not to trust. I can think of many people who fit this profile (my own grandparents with doctors-they never questioned doctors). Should we scold people like this, or help them heal? Everyone may not be as strong as the next person in recovery from abuse. I don’t want to assume what peoples’ experiences were like and possibly heap more guilt on them because they aren’t able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get on with it. And I’m quite capable of doing just that if I’m not careful.

  209. ” Anon 1 likes to guess intentions but in fact it is just a way of deriding the opposition. So you don’t need to do it.

    Hee Hee. I don’t know why I bother but perhaps it will help others to see a bigger picture of what is happening.

    I never have to guess intentions. They are right in front of you both in word and action. This post with Piper’s words are a perfect example.

    I come from the other side of the fence so I have a different view. I used to be one of them and I know the playbook. And they are all more alike than different when you strip away certain accroutements. The foundational thinking is the same: We are doing great things for God therefore whatever we have to do grow and maintain this ministry we wil do…for God.

    The people ONLY matter as far as they support the ministry and are good followers.

    It is hard for folks to understand this. They really do believe the stage personas projected. They believe all the flowery words and agree it would be a sin to request to view a budget of what they are supporting and promoting.

    What folks have yet to really grasp and they will disagree with me vehemetly is that success in ministry is a huge sin trap. EVeryone thinks they know someone who has been able to handle it.

    One problem is our definition of ministry success. It looks nothing like what we see modeled in the NT. We only have a few historical writings of what happened to the Apostles. The celebs I have known would last 5 seconds in the type of trials the Apostles faced. Not to mention it would not be very appealing without the adoring fans and followers.

    They rarely start out doing this for money. That is not the motivator for most. The motivation for most is influence over others thinking their “influence” is godly. From there the problems really start.

    We are all guilty of helping to perpetuate this problem of the celebrity Christian leader. It is time to stop wringing our hands hoping they will see the light and care for actual people in the pews and start warning folks away. Without followers, they cannot operate.

  210. “I want to be clear that when I say that people should “move on” I am talking about people who were in a church with bad teaching, believed it, let it affect their Christian walk, and now seem to want to spend the rest of their lives wallowing in self-pity while at the same time refusing to take any personal responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scripture about being careful to whom you listen.”

    Sad, they have a duty to warn others. But first that usually takes some time to process what happened and understand certain tactics that are quite frankly, part of the playbook for charlatans in all sizes.

    What happsn when they speak out are folks like you call it self pity, wallowing, and “not moving on”.

    Moving on is the worst thing they can do. They have a duty to warn others. It is not of Christ and our duty is to say so out loud.

    Get used to it. the internet has changed the game. The charalatans no longer own one way communication. There were more than many realized in all shapes and sizes.

  211. Anon1:

    When the so called Conservative Resurgence or what I and others refer to as the TAKEOVER was taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention a favorite phrase of the “victors” to the ones they were destroying or destroyed was –move on.” A most UN-Christian attitude. But since they were not on the receiving in they could care less.

  212. I am not saying “move on” as in pretend it never happened. I believe when we’ve been wronged we have to take it first to the Lord, then to the offending party, and then leave it in the Lord’s hands. To continue to mull the offense over and over and over seems to me to be pretty fruitless. I want to dwell on what God is teaching me today…not on how someone hurt me yesterday.

  213. Anon 1

    You’ve just done it again. Sanctimonious nonsense.

    Mot

    If you don’t know the difference between “moving on” in the current context and what you described in the SBC, you should become Anon 1’s pen pal.

  214. Gavin:

    You are not being Irenic today. I believe Anon1 and I both know what we speak of and I would gladly become Anon1’s pen pal.

  215. Sad said: I am not saying “move on” as in pretend it never happened. I believe when we’ve been wronged we have to take it first to the Lord, then to the offending party, and then leave it in the Lord’s hands. To continue to mull the offense over and over and over seems to me to be pretty fruitless. I want to dwell on what God is teaching me today…not on how someone hurt me yesterday.

    Sad: Based on the words you have said in this thread, I do not believe you have an accurate understanding of spiritual abuse at all. Spiritual abuse can affect someone to the core of their belief system in how they perceive God, how they perceive themselves in relationship to God and others. I read literally hundreds and hundreds of comments on news stories about my case from people who now claim they are atheist due to spiritual abuse. That’s how those people “moved along”. No one helped them. I don’t see that you really want to understand. It seems you have your mind made up. I find that truly “Sad”.

  216. Mot

    No need to capitalise but, as usual you are wrong. I am trying to ensure that there remains a peaceful, fair, non-partisan assessment of your foes.(And I said sanctimonious nonsense lovingly)

    Gavin

  217. @ dee:

    Dee, continuing on the theme of wound healing for a moment, I have celiac disease. Every time I ingest gluten (it takes less than 1/8 teaspoon), my intestines are damaged and it takes about 9 months for them to heal. That is assuming I do not ingest any amount of gluten in that 9 months. If I keep ingesting minute amounts of gluten, my intestines never heal and my symptoms never go away. My body is destroyed by something that looks so healthy. Healing on a physical and emotional level takes so much time and the symptoms do not disappear overnight. You learn to create barriers that keep you from enduring any more pain, whether that is only eating at specific restaurants or avoiding the original source of the pain in the form of a church or abuser. But the symptoms are still there and nobody can tell you how long healing will take. I do not dwell on my suffering prior to diagnosis but when I share my story with the world, people recognize similarities and start seeking help for their problems. If I kept my story to myself all in the name of “moving on”, there are quite a few people in my life who would not know that what they were going through was not normal. It is imperative that we keep sharing our stories so that no person in this world suffers alone.

  218. “You’ve just done it again. Sanctimonious nonsense.”

    Gavin, Your good opinion is everything. How shall I endure?

  219. @ Julie Anne:

    Julie Anne,

    I think I do understand that there are false teachers, and that they hurt people. What I do not understand, and you’ve never been able to explain it thoroughly to me, is why someone would stay at a church for months or even years when there is extra-biblical nonsense coming from the pulpit. I cite your former pastor saying that men cannot wear pink and that women should not wear dark colors. Were I in a church service and heard this, there would be a twister and a dust cloud that would be me heading to the car as fast as my feet would move, never to look back.

    One of the major problems I have with spiritual abuse blogs is that I see little mention of the fact that Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It is His purpose to refine us, and if that means being humbled because we blindly followed a false teacher for a season, then it seems to me to be missing the point to continue to vilify the false teacher when we should be spending our time and energy begging God to not let it happen to us again.

  220. Julie Anne, A big part of healing for many is simply for believers around them to admit: What was done to you was wrong. It was unjust and not of Christ.

    Amazing how few will actually say something like that.

    They have been trained to follow. Not live in truth. They have no spiritual wisdom or discernment.

  221. Anon 1 wrote:

    Julie Anne, A big part of healing for many is simply for believers around them to admit: What was done to you was wrong. It was unjust and not of Christ.

    If I had heard more people say something like that, instead of telling me to “move on” after suffering abuse, I may not be a borderline agnostic right now.

    Most of the “christians” in my life spent more time justifying the abusers than actually saying that what they did to me was wrong. Everyone was so eager to dole out forgiveness and mercy to the ones who wronged me, no one seemed to care that I was wounded, scared, and living in fear every day. After all, the abusers said those magic words “I’m sorry” that are supposed to make everything better, right? Right?

  222. Hello, Sad,

    “…people who were in a church with bad teaching, believed it, let it affect their Christian walk, and now seem to want to spend the rest of their lives wallowing in self-pity while at the same time refusing to take any personal responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scripture about being careful to whom you listen.”
    ***********

    Good grief, i doubt you have any idea what you’re talking about.

    How about being so controlled and manipulated it takes 3 years to be able to think one’s own thoughts, and to be rid of a panic / anxiety reflex?

    This would be me. And you put the blame for it on me. Hah, just like my former pastor and his wife.

    “Why didn’t you just leave the church?”, you might be thinking. It is so subtle. Guilt and shame tactics, information twisting… For someone who simply wants to do their best for God, give him their all because He deserves it, it is not that hard to get lost in all this.

  223. What I took away from all Piper has said is that his number one priority is to maintain male superiority (i.e. “complementarianism”), caring about and for the wife and getting the law involved are strictly secondary issues.

  224. Sad: The Bible refers to spiritual abusers as those who creep in unnoticed. If the Bible acknowledges this, why can’t you? It is a process that happens over time. It’s only after leaving that environment – sometimes for many years, that the blinders come off the eyes. My former pastor asks why I waited for 3 years before blogging. The reason is because it took that long for God to show me the truth. The same thing happens with victims of other abuse: rape, incest, physical abuse, emotional abuse. There is a psychological battlefield of the mind going on. It’s not just a matter of hearing a few simple words, deciding they are not of the Lord and then leaving.

    Please educate yourself, Sad. You words are hurtful to those who have experienced this kind of pain. Go to my resource page on my blog and read some of the recommended books. See if you can try to understand rather than argue with me and others.

  225. ” In the meantime you need to give no cause for offence. By that I mean you stick to the provable facts or reasonably deduced opinions. You don’t put words into their mouths and you certainly don’t refuse to acknowledge any good things they might say or do. Nor do you divine their motives because that is not in your gift. (Who made you a judge?)”

    Thanks for the advice Gavin, and you just may be right about a “win” (if that’s what anyone here is trying to do) but only ‘a’ winning or 2 over any of the non narcissistic abusers, but it is impossible to be perfect enough to win over a narcissist which IMO is the common denominator among the RBDs and others following their protocols for organized religion. If we can achieve perfection in our confrontation of a narcissist, they will only resort to the use of slander and blackmail. So, the wins are the number of victims being freed from the narcisist’s tyranny, not winning over the narcissists. I would call those ‘wins’ signs and wonders.

  226. @ Julie Anne:

    Sorry Julie Anne, I believe you are wrong when you liken spiritual abuse and its aftermath to other forms of abuse. Scripture is replete with warnings and admonitions likening the Christian life to warfare….we cannot let down our guard for a minute.

    There does really and truly exist an enemy of our souls and I imagine there are few things he likes more than pastors who pass off their own agenda as the Word of God effectively lulling people into complacency thinking that they are safe and sound because they obey an ever-changing list of rules.

  227. Sad said: Sorry Julie Anne, I believe you are wrong when you liken spiritual abuse and its aftermath to other forms of abuse.

    You tell that to a mother whose child was sexually molested and her pastor abandoned her while protecting the offender and covering up the abuse to protect the church’s reputation. I’ve talked to that mother for hours. I know that because of the way the pastor treated her and her family (abandoned, shunned, prevented other church members from talking to them), she has difficulty trusting God now. She can’t step one foot in church because she believes God is the enemy and consequently her large brood of children do not go to church anymore. Yea, the sexual abuse was bad. The ramifications are horrific on this earth, but what about the eternal consequences for those who can’t trust God anymore – and for the children of this family?? They are so confused they can’t get beyond the old tapes of their spiritually abusing pastor. It’s not about pink shirts for boys, Sad. It goes much deeper than that. Please, get a reality check.

    You have failed to even have an understanding of what the Bible speaks on this topic. Please, educate yourself. Here are some helps: http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com/p/spiritual-abuse-help.html

  228. “Please let us not confuse criminal child abuse with spiritual abuse.”

    Sad, sometimes the lines are not so clear, and sometimes it takes a long time to sort it out.
    Two examples:
    1. I clearly remember the day that my father, a word faith believer, would not allow my mother to take my 3 year old baby brother to the doctor for an ear infection because we couldn’t afford it so God was going to heal him if we all had enough faith while we prayed for him. I was 12, I had faith so I thought, but while my screaming baby brother’s ear drum broke, my dad just blamed the rest of us for not having faith as he supposedly did.

    2. I knew a young lady who could not hear any scripture because her father quoted scripture to her while molesting her. He was a pastor. Spiritual abuse and physical abuse will forever be intertwined for her.

  229. Wow, ‘Sad’ really embodies the phrase “kicking them while they’re down”.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen a commenter with so little empathy for victims of Spiritual Abuse… Jimmy? Is that you?

  230. Sad,

    No doubt there is an enemy of our souls.

    Why do you discount spiritual abuse? My only guess is you have never experienced it. And are in the habit of overspiritualizing things, from a covenient & impersonal distance.

    You obviously have no idea how offensive, hard-hearted, and cold-blooded you come across.

  231. @ Julie Anne:

    Is it not clear to you that a “pastor” who would do that may very likely not even be a Christian? This is precisely my point….just because there is a cross on the roof and a man in the pulpit…does not mean that any given body is truly a part of the Body of Christ.

  232. Sad wrote:

    @ Is it not clear to you that a “pastor” who would do that may very likely not even be a Christian? This is precisely my point….just because there is a cross on the roof and a man in the pulpit…does not mean that any given body is truly a part of the Body of Christ.

    Now I’m curious… if you have such a gift for discernment, and can spot a false teacher from a mile away, why aren’t you doing something practical to battle the wolves (like starting a blog) instead of berating those who have been deceived and manipulated by those false teachers?

    You are rubbing salt into wounds, not doing anything helpful for anyone.

  233. @ elastigirl:

    It is offensive to point people to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, rather than to applaud a collective effort to obfuscate the fact that we are responsible for who it is that we allow to teach us God’s word?

  234. Sad wrote:

    @ Searching:
    Where did I berate them? I believe I encouraged them to beg God to not let it happen again.

    That’s your solution to Spiritual abuse? “Oh God please don’t let it happen again!” And then what? What are people supposed to do after begging God not to let them fall into Spiritual abuse again? One would think that learning more about Spiritual abuse, and the forms it manifests itself in, would be extremely helpful to those prone to falling into bad teaching. You don’t battle ignorance with wilful ignorance.

    Sad wrote:

    One of the major problems I have with spiritual abuse blogs is that I see little mention of the fact that Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It is His purpose to refine us, and if that means being humbled because we blindly followed a false teacher for a season, then it seems to me to be missing the point to continue to vilify the false teacher when we should be spending our time and energy begging God to not let it happen to us again.

    be·rate
    /biˈrāt/
    Verb
    Scold or criticize (someone) angrily: “my son berated me for not giving him a Jewish upbringing”.
    Synonyms
    scold – chide – upbraid – rebuke – rate – rail

    You are scolding, rebuking, upbraiding, chiding, berating… take your pick of any of those words, you’ve been making use of them all in this thread. I love how you’ve “arrived” and have all the answers for those who have suffered Spiritual abuse. If they’re still suffering from it, obviously they haven’t begged God for mercy hard enough! If they fell prey to false teachers, obviously it’s their own fault for not spotting the deception sooner! So on and so forth, ad nauseum…

  235. Sad, it’s not clear to the victim, that’s the whole issue.

    Maybe you are in denial yourself, before I received counseling I sounded like you, albeit before the internet so only those closest to me got my unloving just move on judgements, all the while as I was self medicating while not realizing it. Of course I can’t judge your soul but I know where I was with God at the time, and someone could have surmised that due to my lack of empathy that “isn’t it clear that I might not be Christian at all????”

  236. @ Eagle:

    Eagle- Google air capital of America and you find my locale. I am sure your superior sleuthing skills will lead you to pay dirt.

  237. @ Patti:

    I was directing that to Julie Anne, not to the victim. Based on Matthew 7:21-23.

    God in His infinite wisdom has chosen to use human beings as His agents, along with the Holy Spirit, to spread the Gospel, the good news of creation, fall, and redemption. Knowing that the “bad guys” don’t always look the part, He infused His word with wisdom on identifying fellow believers. The inner workings of the Holy Spirit..(in response to our flinging ourselves at Christ’s feet and grasping the hem of his garment) will guide us as we try to discern good fruit from rotten fruit.

  238. nobody

    “for a wife may take this recourse with a heavy and humble heart that longs for her husband’s repentance and the restoration of his nurturing leadership.” This is talking about the wife who takes this course-not the church. 

  239. Just to let you all know: your personal stories are helpful to me in many ways. It shows me that evil lurks in the best of people, it shows me what to guard against, it shows me how to watch my own behavior so I don’t do these things, and it helps to know that God walks with me through my trials. Thanks for being here.

  240. Sad

    Could you explain the time factor involved in your definition of “wallow.” How long should it take to no longer wallow? Also, could you explain how you define “spiritual abuse? How does that differ than emotional abuse that could happen in a domestic violence situation?  

  241. @ Beakerj:

    John Piper thought so as well! Here is what Jared Wilson(the person behind FJP) wrote:

    “The highlight for me in tweeting FJP was finding out John Piper himself had read the feed and found it funny. This was, for me, like if I’d found out Tom Brady thought I had a good throwing arm or nice hair. I once tweeted as FJP “The chief end of Fake John Piper is to hear the real John Piper say ‘Good one!’ and enjoy that forever.” Well, that aim came true when, as John Piper announced his year-long sabbatical last year he sent FJP — not me, mind you, but the fake him that I tweet — a Direct Message that simply said, “You have been a joy to me. Thanks for the ride.”

  242. Eagle

    I just retruned from a funeral for a young man who was killed while drinking and driving. It was held at a Methodist church.The pastor made a big deal that God did not put His hand on that steering wheel and cause him to die. In faact, God’s heart broke when this happened. I wonder what Piper would have aid?

  243. @ dee:

    Dee,

    I don’t have a time value for “wallow”. I meant it more in terms of the intensity of devoting oneself to ruminating on the wrongs done to oneself. My understanding is that a Christian cannot take forgiveness from God with one hand while pointing an accusatory finger towards those who have wronged them with the other hand. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”.

    Good idea, Dee to compare our definitions of spiritual abuse! I understand it to be the improper and sinful use of the authority that comes with being an elder/pastor.

  244. I’m with numo. Has Jimmy gotten under the wire so to speak, and back inside the compound?

  245. Julie Anne

    Great comment to Sad. I have watched people walk away from the faith due to truly horrendous psychological abuse that takes place,

    True story: So, I go to a now  former pastor to see why the church was alllowing YEC kooks to invade a classroom and act all ugly like. Trying to be sensitive (a foolhardy approach with Calvinista zealots), i read a paragraph out of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology on how this should not be an issue that divides us. He had told me to use that book. So, I was sitting ther,. holding a ridiculously massive cup of tea that was offered to me, reading out of the book that was on the coffee table, opened to the page.

    Suddenly, he got in my face, pointing his finger and said that I was being arrogant! I thought my husband was going to punch him. I said, in shock, “How?” He said my “body language” (yep he really did )  conveyed it. I was sitting in a wing chair with two feet planted on the ground, two hands holding a tea cup of the giants, quietly reading from a book. That was a lie which he used it as an intimdation tactic which did not work on me.

    Then he said that No One had ever come to him with that issue before. That was a big time lie. Now, most people would be intimidated. I started to giggle inside and a smile came to my face and he got even madder and asked why I was smiling. I said he was doing exactly what his “go to” theologian said he should not do-divide over this issue.

    Needless to say, I quickly became a persona non grata, especially when a pedophile situation became know to me. As you know, I do not do well with pedophiles.

    Thankfully, I had some great pastors leading up to this moment (with the exception of Ed Young Jr. but I though he was just a weird anomaly’kind of like the Borg) so I could maintain my sanity. Unfortunately, some people have been in situations for a prolonged period of time and develop Stockholm Syndrome so it becomes very difficult to break from the “blessed leader” because you have been taught that you are unregenerate and going straigh to hell if you do.

    Now, people like Al Mohler and others are saying that one is not allowed to leave a church unless the church is teaching deviant theology (read-nonCalvinista). To that I say all should say  “Watch my dust.”

  246. Mandy

    Celiac disease is very painful. I am so sorry that you suffer with it. Paul talked about his thorn in his side. I am so glad that he did so. Sometimes God does not heal our illnesses, like celiac disease, diabetes, cancer , etc. I have IBS that was precipitaed by a stressful situation.It is a physical condition now, even though the strssor is no longer present. So, shouldn’t I be cured if it was psych in origin? 

    Many people, outside of the medical profession, do not understand the complexity of medically based problems. For example, there was a preteen boy in a school in Texas, who had serious asthma. Asthma, a physically based condition, can be affected by emotional stress as well. I intervened in a hurry when I heard a gym teacher complain that this boy would not participate in running the track in Texas when it was hot. She said that his astma had a psych origin and that she saw him “gin up an attack” when she got on his case.

    I immediately went to the principal and told him that gym was a dangerous place for that boy. He called the teacher in and I gave her a crash course on asthma (I used to work with asthma drugs for a pharmaceutical company). She started complaing about the “psych’ based asthma attacks. I asked her what she would do if he had one of those “psych” based attacks and died. I informed her that it did not matter if an asthma attach was of a psych origin or an allergen origin-both could lead to death.

    She was skeptical but I did scare her. That young man had a severe attack shortly thereafter on the track and 911 was called. He survived, barely. That gym teacher was removed from her position.

    God gives each of us different temperments as well. So, while I had one friend who would literally faint at the sight of blood, there was me-the nurse, who had no problems in that area. However, I would rather amputate my leg than go under the house to inspect the crawl space because there are all sorts of crawly things under there and they scare me. But, the guy who sprays my house quarterly (quite necessary in the South) loves to discuss the cool critters he finds crawling.

    To make a sweeping judgment that we should “move on” after x abuse shows a lack of compassion for the complexity of the human spirit.

    I just got back from a sad funeral of a young man who was killed in an auto accident-most likely due to alcohol. I am in a sad and introspective mood right now so forgive my ramble.

     

  247. Sad

    I am spending my time warning people how to avoid these idiots.So, how much time and energy should be spent in “begging God not to let it happen again?” How much time should be spent in warning others? Numbers-I need numbers….

  248. @ dee:

    Dee,

    Sorry that you are sad from the death and funeral of the young man that you knew. For some reason it reminds me of the Simon and Garfunkel lyrics “A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December”. How awful for his friends and loved ones.

    Being that you are internet savvy, I’m sure you’ve heard of these websites, but just in case….are you familiar with the SCD diet for IBS?

    http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info

    Also, these young engineers, both afflicted with Celiac and IBS, have taken the SCD and put their impressive intelligence to refining and personalizing it.

    http://scdlifestyle.com

    It’s a very restrictive diet, but it seems to help a lot of people.

    You have my sympathy ….post-infectious IBS has been my constant companion for 4 years now and it is both painful and debilitating. However, as you said, Paul’s reference to his thorn in the side is very comforting. I’ve begged God to take it away more than 3 times though, unlike Paul! :) Until then, I trust Him to give me the strength to endure and even thrive spiritually.

  249. Searching

    You are right when you say ” Everyone was so eager to dole out forgiveness and mercy to the ones who wronged me, no one seemed to care that I was wounded, scared, and living in fear every day.”

    That is why we are here-our efforts are focused on the victims. I am so sorry that you were around such people. In a former church, the pastor went to court ot plead for mercy for a guy who collected and paid for horrible child pornography for over a decade. The pastor spoke to his “conversion” and asked for mercy. Not one word was ever expressed for the little boys and girls who were raped on camera, screaming for their mommies. 

    It was at that moment that I developed our “prime directive” which puts the victims first. So, when some pastor waxes eloquent on how Jesus loves the pedophile, I blow him off if he does not mention the victims. 

    Please know that you are in prayers and that I am grateful that you would share you painful story with us. We do not take it for granted.

  250. Yes Sad, I knew what and to whom you were referring. Matthew 7:21-23 is a good example of what I was referring when comparing you and me.
    Just as I too believe many of these spiritually abusive pastors do not know Jesus, I think they are just as unaware of it as those that Jesus described who actually thought they were in the kingdom because they said and did all the ‘proofs’ of being in the club. Today I know where I was with God back then but I was deceived into thinking that just saying the sinners prayer and believing that God exists meant that I knew Jesus. I can see now that it was probably clear to those who actually did know Christ that I did not know Christ since I lacked His compassion.

  251. elastigirl

    You said “How about being so controlled and manipulated it takes 3 years to be able to think one’s own thoughts, and to be rid of a panic / anxiety reflex?

    This would be me. And you put the blame for it on me. Hah, just like my former pastor and his wife.”

    Thank you for being willing to share this with us. It is only because of people like you and others that the pain of church abuse is beginning to be discussed. I am so glad you comment here. You help many.

  252. @ dee:

    Dee,

    I have no numbers for you. The only formula I know is the ancient tried and true one : Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. The only antidote to the poison of false teachers is fanatical (yes I went there!) obedience to God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.

  253. Sad

    The day after my 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I ran home from the hospital to get some clothes. I looked in her room and noticed her bed was not made. I had been trying to get my children to get into the habit of trying to make their beds every day without much success. Suddenly it dawned on me how precious that unmade bed was. It meant she had slept in it. I wondered if she would ever sleep in it and mess it up again. To this day, whenever I see an unmade bed, I stop and praise God for those who sleep in it. 

    So, today when I have a bout with my IBS, I take a moment to thank God that my daughter survived that horrible tumor. The IBS reminds me of God’s grace to me.

    Thanks for the references, BTW.

     

  254. Sad,
    Your compassion for Dee’s illness is exactly what I am talking about. You know it so you can pass on some help.
    If you haven’t had your own spiritual abuse dealt with, your helpful advice is just irritating noise.
    1 Corinthians 13

  255. “God in His infinite wisdom has chosen to use human beings as His agents, along with the Holy Spirit, to spread the Gospel, the good news of creation, fall, and redemption. Knowing that the “bad guys” don’t always look the part, He infused His word with wisdom on identifying fellow believers. The inner workings of the Holy Spirit..(in response to our flinging ourselves at Christ’s feet and grasping the hem of his garment) will guide us as we try to discern good fruit from rotten fruit.”

    Sad, I resonate with a lot of what you are saying concerning the endgame here. Here is where I think you miss a big part of it: We are to live like Christ here and now. It is not just about spreading the Good News. It is about a life that communicates Christ. That is a huge witness for our time. I realize many will try to define what that lifve looks like but we have it described for us and it is not glamorous. It is not about buildings, programs, conferences, etc. In fact, it can look quite mundane. I think the church has made a mistake with evangelism because what are we evangelizing if we do not love our own?

    But you are also leaving out crucial steps. For example, in your quote above how does that relate to children raised in Christian but abusive homes? What is their “Christian” normal? Only when they are of an age to understand and some wise adult tells them this is not of Christ. It is evil. And even then, it can take years to process that. Problem is, there are few adults who will say that at all.

    For those of us raised in excellent loving homes we, like many young, got caught up in movements. Had I not been raised in ahome that focused on the priesthood, soul competency and being a Berean, I would probably still be promoting the charlatans. But it was not my “normal” and after looking the other way for a while I gave up a lot to walk away from it. I don’t deserve any medals for that at all. The fact that I was part of the problem still grieves me today.

    You have never seen evil until you go to a celebrity Christian ( in a big or small pond) and ask how in the world they can do something that is so obviously not of Christ. Prepare to have your sanity questioned and all stops pulled out to ruin you. That is how seriously they take their position. And I happen to know of this sort of thing happening in several well known venues because I was in a position to know. Trust me, there is never proof.

    That is why when I read SGM wikileaks I had flashbacks. I saw this sort of thing all the time. It is fake and cheesy and the norm in many Christian venues of leadership. Some of the celebs people literally idolize are some of the most shallow inexperienced in life people you have ever met.

    What is missing from your endgame? The steps. The process of figuring out what happened (because none of us come out looking good when the stories are told. Victims can look really stupid after the fact) The best piece I have read on this is here:
    http://spiritualtyranny.com/the-event-of-an-sgm-life

    That isone reason so few will tell their stories for so long. Another piece is processing what it was about ourselves that was taken in along with so many others. And I happen to agree with your view and will say the absolute #1 reason we are taken in is b ecause we really do not know Jesus Christ. We think we do. But if we read the Gospels over and over for years and focus on Christ…What he did,what he did not do, etc, we can spot a charlatan a lot quicker. In fact, most of them start looking like charlatans. But keep in mind, the guy on the stage works hard at the image and manages it like a Hollywood star does. People believe what they see on the stage. The persona he works hard to project. And many of the pew sitters are kept are arms length. Everything is managed.

    I wish I had a dollar for every person who told me “Oh ____is so humble”. Really? They had never been in the inner sanctum with _____ when he was turning purple from rage because someone dared to diss him.

    Most spiritual abuse is kept under wraps. Satan does not show up carrying a cup of poison and a pitchfork. He is charming and handsome or cool and hip. Remember what he told Eve: Surely God did not say that?

    It is all done with clever deception. People may not even figure out what happened to them for years. And because of he deception few believe them if they do talk but most don’t because it is negative and gossip. And of course, rarely can they prove anything.

    It really is a great gig for the evil ones. You get this position, build a following and make the rules of the game for everyone in the Name of Jesus.

    What you are seeing on this blog are people who are healing. They get it. They are where they should be. Around those who are brave enough to say”: That is wrong. It is not of Christ, I don’t care who it is.

    Right and wrong, good and evil are pretty simple when we do not allow others to define it for us who have a vested interest in the outcome for themselves. The NT warns us, you are right. Now, this is the place to make that case.

    There is a reason the book is called the SUBTLE power of spiritual abuse. Sorry so long guys.

  256. Per the “intentions” thing w/Piper:

    I have no idea what’s going on in the man’s head and don’t pretend to have that ability. I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s abusive, controlling, etc. or only in it for the money. In that department I think we should worry much more about folks like Driscoll and Joel Osteen. From what I have read, Piper shows no evidence of being anything but decent in his personal conduct.

    That being said – he has said some things I disagree with (and no, Calvinism itself is not one of them), and since his writing style is in IMO vexatiously long-winded, vague and over-emotional, many of his statements do leave room for interpretation (not always positive/flattering interpretation). So yes, I do think he needs to be more careful, though I don’t think he speaks from bad intentions. And I do think he needs to come down much harder and more bluntly on abuse and emphasize the husband’s duty to love much more than the wife’s submission (which frankly, as a female, I can tell you we have had drilled into our heads for several millennia now and don’t need to hear again) – though this is a criticism I would lay at the feet of most conservative Christians and is not exclusive to Piper.

    Honestly, I’m more concerned with the behavior of Piper’s followers than with Piper. He is held up as if he is the mouthpiece of God Himself in many circles. (For instance, when my family tried to read Don’t Waste Your Life and didn’t get anything out of it at all, we were given blank looks of shock that such an OBVIOUSLY life-changing book could fail to affect us.) He may mean the words for good, but often they are interpreted for evil – which often seems to surprise him.

  257. dee wrote:

    That is why we are here-our efforts are focused on the victims. I am so sorry that you were around such people.

    That is why I’m here… it’s obvious that you and many of the commenters here, actually care! This place is an oasis.

  258. Goodbye Mot
    But we will meet again!

    Anon 1
    As Cromwell is supposed to have said “Have faith in God and keep your powder dry.” At least that way you’ll have a fighting chance.

    Gavin

  259. Dee
    In what sense do you mean non-partisan?

    I try to be fair and honest in my assessment of my own and others’ views.

    Gavin

  260. “As Cromwell is supposed to have said “Have faith in God and keep your powder dry.” At least that way you’ll have a fighting chance”

    Ironically, Cromwell started to love for himself what he had previously hated in others power. It goes back to what I said earlier— what we might think of as success can be a horrible unspiritual trap. As it was for Cromwell.

    I don’t need a fighting chance. We just have to tell the truth and point people to the truth: Jesus Christ. Especially how he lived as a Human on earth so they can recognize fakes.

  261. Jesus is that in me which holds me steady and calm in the midst of confusion. Jesus is that in me which undergirds my efforts and strengthens my will. Jesus is that in me which says ‘Keep on. Take one step more’. Jesus is that in me which speaks through me in words that convey feelings of peace, trust and understanding. Jesus is that in me which banishes fear. Jesus is that in me which rises triumphant out of every trial. Jesus is that in me which never accepts defeat. I can do all things though Christ which strengthens me.(Philokalia).

    Who is your Jesus and what does He do for you?

    God bless
    Gavin

  262. Sad said: Is it not clear to you that a “pastor” who would do that may very likely not even be a Christian? This is precisely my point….just because there is a cross on the roof and a man in the pulpit…does not mean that any given body is truly a part of the Body of Christ.

    Sure, it’s clear now, but why do you think there is the expression about pulling the wool over someone’s eyes? What is the character of a wolf? They are sly – they are conniving, they are slick. They trick you. They are masterful. They creep in unnoticed. It takes a while to get that Kool-Aid out of your system.

    I’ve run into people like you on my blog. I go back and forth for a while with them if I see they show a genuine interest in trying to understand. If I don’t sense a genuine interest in trying to understand after several interactions, I tell them that they are probably at the wrong blog. I think that’s where you and I are.

    The reality is that there are readers on this blog who are spiritual abuse survivors. The responses you have made may be triggering them and I don’t want to be part of that. It’s just not a good use of our time to continue this discussion if you are not interested in learning. I’ve linked to the resource page on my blog. Please use it.

    Patti – your comment was superb = “If you haven’t had your own spiritual abuse dealt with, your helpful advice is just irritating noise.” So true!

    Elastigirl, Anon 1, Searching – – I have really appreciated your thoughtful comments. I don’t know that they have helped Sad with understanding, but you have articulated spiritual abuse well and surely someone has benefited. Thank you for speaking up for spiritual abuse survivors.

  263. Hester, I have some family members who went to work with and study under Piper about 10 years ago. They were young and it was after college. Tney came back totally different people. It was chilling. Totally brainwashed and their long time believing family did not know the ‘true Gospel” according to them. They came back disdainful of their now ignorant family. Including their parents who spent a ton on their excellent education and paid their room and board while being indoctrinated in Minn.

    Doctrine over people.

    That was my first real experience with Piperism. We did visit up there and I came away thinking it was very cultish. He is revered to a degree I find unhealthy.

  264. @ Sad:

    “One of the major problems I have with spiritual abuse blogs is that I see little mention of the fact that Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It is His purpose to refine us, and if that means being humbled because we blindly followed a false teacher for a season, then it seems to me to be missing the point to continue to vilify the false teacher when we should be spending our time and energy begging God to not let it happen to us again.”

    And this is one of the major problems I (even as an outsider) have with your attitude, Sad. It sounds a lot like, “Shoot the wounded, blame the victim”.

    [Or do you think there are no such things as “victims”? Quite a few of the Neo-Calvinists seem to think that way. (“We are all sinners, no one is truly innocent, therefore there are no ‘victims'”.) I’d hate to imagine you truly think this way, but I’m starting to suspect that from your words.]

    When you say that Julie Anne (or anyone else) “blindly followed a false teacher”, it sounds as though you’re blaming her for her suffering. Why? Because she’s an adult? Or a Christian? Or an adult Christian? Or because she trusted someone she ought to have been able to trust? Is that why she must “take responsibility” for her pain? Is that why she mustn’t speak out about her experience, or call out Chuck O’Neal (who shows no sign of changing), or seek to warn others against him and leaders like him? What you say is exactly what abusive people of all stripes love to hear — that part of the blame lies with their victims. That way the abusers don’t have to swallow all the blame — and don’t have to change.

    If, as you say, you’ve never suffered spiritual abuse, I don’t see how you see feel qualified to lecture those who have. (I know I’m not qualified.) If you want to comment on this subject, and not sound hopelessly arrogant, follow Julie Anne’s advice. Read about this subject. Read about it from those who’ve suffered it, and from those who’ve researched it. Reading the Bible is not enough for us — unless we only want to be piously ignorant.

  265. @ Eagle:
    I have found a home at a Lutheran church.It scratches the Iitch I have for high church liturgy and the people there are awesome too. I quit trying to engage evangelical pastors in debate they cant hang with doubters. My current pastorthe real deal and can answer any questions I have without being evasive or chickening out.

    Check out Journey the Way for a little locla Calvinista flair. The big trend in the are ar sbc churches that name themselves deceptively to lure the uunsuspecting through the door. You have Epic, Aviator, City Life and New Spring for example.

    Anytime youre in flyover country beers are on me.

  266. Sad said: “I want to be clear that when I say that people should “move on” I am talking about people who were in a church with bad teaching, believed it, let it affect their Christian walk, and now seem to want to spend the rest of their lives wallowing in self-pity while at the same time refusing to take any personal responsibility in regards to the many admonitions in Scripture about being careful to whom you listen.”
    and
    “It is offensive to point people to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, rather than to applaud a collective effort to obfuscate the fact that we are responsible for who it is that we allow to teach us God’s word?”
    and
    “Knowing that the “bad guys” don’t always look the part, He infused His word with wisdom on identifying fellow believers. The inner workings of the Holy Spirit..(in response to our flinging ourselves at Christ’s feet and grasping the hem of his garment) will guide us as we try to discern good fruit from rotten fruit.”

    Okay. Are you suggesting that if you get pulled into a spiritually abusive church/situation, especially as an adult, it is because you did not read the Bible and seek God diligently enough to avoid being deceived? Here’s the thing. By that logic, it means that if you do it well enough, you will never be deceived and hurt. If someone is in the place where they believe that they can never be deceived because of their diligence in seeking the Lord, that person is in a VERY dangerous place. The easiest person to deceive is the one who believes they cannot be deceived.

    There is another side to these statements that I don’t think you recognize. They suggest that all those who have been spiritually abused did NOT seek God before or during the abuse. This is another way of saying, “If you are abused, it is your own fault for not seeing it coming.” It’s is also an extremely arrogant assumption. How do you know what the level of communication with God and reading of the Bible the abused have engaged in? During the time that I was involved in the cult, I read the Bible daily, had read it through from cover to cover in that 7 year period at least 6 times in various translations. I also studied it and was (to my now embarrassment) writing my own commentaries. My ‘heart’ was to find God – know Him more deeply and get lost in Him. I sought Him. That’s where I was when I started going to that church and where I was the whole time I was there.

    And to suggest that because I talk about it and warn people means I am ungrateful to God for walking me through and out of there is again, presumptuous. I am very grateful. I personally don’t understand why, while I was in the middle of it, he didn’t tell me it was bad. I could look for reasons and try to justify it, but the truth is, I don’t know. But I do know that if He had not been there with me, I would not have survived. I very nearly didn’t even with Him.

    Your words seem to indicate that maybe you haven’t considered that some of these places start out okay….and shift, gradually, over time, as the pastor falls deeper and deeper into his own issues. And let me tell you, they can twist Scripture to the point that you are afraid to leave for fear of losing your salvation. And I know that goes against what Paul taught. But I also know this. You can pray and plead and beg God till you’re blue in the face, but until he shows you something, you WILL NOT see it. That is one of the things that gives me compassion for the people still under this man’s spell. They cannot see what God does not reveal to them. None of us can.

    And we could get into another whole can of worms asking why God doesn’t reveal things to us. But I don’t know the answer to that – I’m still wrestling with it.

    Oh, and just for the mix, my definition of Spiritual Abuse is this: Spiritual abuse occurs when someone (anyone) who has some, even small, amount of sway with someone else twists the Bible to manipulate that person for any reason or when one person (any person) claims to speak for God and uses that to manipulate and control people to do things their way. It is when someone uses spiritual things to manipulate others. It does not have to be a pastor. It can be a parent, a Sunday School teacher, an elder, a fellow congregant, a ‘friend’, a spouse, anyone.

    I still have bouts of fighting the teaching that portrays God as an angry vengeful Father in the Sky who will punish you if you get out of line. And I really still fight the concept that when things are not going well it is because I somehow screwed up and God in turning His back on me. This is something I have asked His help on – I have told Him I only want Truth and He has made it clear that healing from this is a process that will take T-I-M-E. And in the meantime, it still hurts. And fortunately, I have also learned that no one else gets to tell me how I ‘should’ feel. He certainly doesn’t do that.

  267. Eagle-

    I grew up pretty low church so an invitation to a wedding mass snapped me out of my agnosticism a year ago. I felt a loyalty to the Catholic church so much so I actually visited with a priest recently to kick the tires on converting. After a 45 min discussion, I realized I had found a home in the Lutheran church I was already at and Catholicism sounded better on paper than in actual practice.

    I guess in the evangelical tradition I felt that the services were there for entertainment purposes. Kinda like a rock concert with a college lecture at the end. I think in a “high” church service we are there to be submissive to and worship God.

    I applaud you for rejecting heresy and hope you can see how nuanced Christianity actually is. The new atheist bloggers attack the low hanging fruit of Christianity, which is fun for us since it is like a comedy show bashing what wounded us. If you follow these bloggers for a while you will see they get burned out since the community they so long for is lacking in that movement. What helped me was to realize that postmodern thought and American Evangelicalism are mirror opposites and they will fight amongst themselves like cats and dogs. If you dig into pre reformation church history there is thought that is so much deeper than what is offered by our shared tradition. However, identifying with a pre-reformation church is a problem so is true Christianity kind of pick and choose?

  268. Yikes, I can’t believe I missed this thread. We had our own over at ACFJ (the blog for the book pictured above):

    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/john-pipers-clarifying-words-on-wife-abuse-are-they-helpful/

    I do not have time to read this whole thread, but I really want to address Gavin:

    Gavin- there is no nitpicking here: I did not have to look closely at all to see how grievous this statement is. In fact, I didn’t really see all of the flowery language other people comment about.

    Piper does not offer the abused woman (or man) anything positive here and he places a lot more burden on a victim by telling them what the “may” do, when going to the authorities is obvious to anyone who has any idea of what they are talking about on this subject. An abused spouse who reads this and respects Piper will be less likely to escape her abusive marriage after reading this article.

    As for the “if you don’t like it, don’t read it”- guess what? I’m fine with that if OTHER people weren’t reading Piper, but they do and they put a lot of stock in what he says. Because of Piper’s teaching on divorce I pretty much lost my entire social base when I had to leave my church for divorcing my wife. I’m sorry, but I’m not the only causality in this war, and I’m not going to stand by while Piper launches another salvo at a bunch of innocent and oppressed people.

    And finally, this thing about telling abuse survivors to move on and stop dwelling on it- abuse is a hush-hush subject that we are not allowed to talk about in the church and it’s near impossible for victims to process it because of that. Please do not be another voice trying to quiet them. Instead I invite you to read some of the comments at our blog (https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com) and see how healing some of these women (and men) find telling their stories. If you read the comments long enough, you see people go from frayed at the edges panicky to calm and rational over time. Most of our first time commenters are just so thankful that there is anywhere at all that they can talk about their experiences in a community of Bible believing Christians that they can’t help but gushing a torrent of emotions. This is not the way it should be.

    To everyone: I highly recommend the  book “A Cry For Justice” pictured above. Please, please read it. Jeff pulls no punches and takes a very serious look at how the church is failing hard and what can be done about it.

  269. Hi all, been reading TWW for several weeks now and this is my first post. Dee and Deb, I’m so grateful for this site, your faithful (and hard!) work in maintaining it, and the interesting community of commentators here.

    Forgive me for bringing up another current news item that falls under the tag of gender-based violence, but the sad news is out today that the victim of a horrific rape in New Delhi, India (a 23 year old medical student) has sadly passed away.

    (FYI I have lived and worked overseas since 2006, so I am unsure if this story is being followed at all in the U.S. press).

    May she rest in peace. May her family be comforted at this dreadful time. May the citizens who have taken to the streets of New Delhi over the last 7 days to protest her rape, the high incidence of rapes in the city, and the pathetic response of the authorities continue to demand change.

    And, though India is not a majority Christian nation of course, may the Lord’s hand and grace be revealed during this incredible time of challenging the cultural status quo regarding women’s status in India – as an aside, I seem to recall a certain Jewish carpenter once (and for all!) challenged the cultural status quo in Israel during the time of the Roman Empire.

    One thing I’d like to comment on regarding Piper’s latest bout of bible-saturated parsing on domestic abuse:

    Notice that even the title of the statement is “Clarifying Statement on Wife Abuse.” Now to my ears, calling it “Wife Abuse” is the first red flag for me.

    It’s as if the only concern one should have around this issue is if occurs within a marriage, and let’s all just ignore those unwed single mothers who are being beaten up by their live-in boyfriends and whose children have a very high chance of being abused (and sadly, murdered) by those same men.

    Not that any of those unwed single moms would ever feel comfy in the evangelical church anyway. It’s almost as if the comp camp can’t even wrap their heads around being concerned for suffering people who live outside their comp evangelical bubble of marriage. There’s only “wife abuse” and because we are so concerned about male headship/female submission within the bounds of marriage, we’ll not even deign to call it “domestic abuse.”

    Anyway, maybe I’m well off base here and also engaging in the parsing of words but … well I just wanted to put the thought out there.

    Nice meeting you all.

  270. Eagle: “watching the sun rise over the Kansas plains. There’s nothing else like it.”

    I’m from Nebraska originally and my grandfather was a custom harvester who traveled from Texas to Canada following the wheat harvest.

    Let me tell you something else that nothing else is like.

    Standing out in the middle of 1000s of acres of wheat, bleached platinum blond by the hot sun and watching the wind ripple through it. It is a golden ocean of tranquility bordering on lonlines. And the sound of the wind rustling through it is as beautiful as the sound of wind whistling through pine trees. In my opinion, it is more beautiful.

    Rich Mullins was one song writer who “got it” when it came to the wild, desolate beauty of The Great Plains:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaNwTYJrYtA

  271. @ Joey:

    Joey – There is only one thing you need to know about John Piper when it comes to understanding his attitude toward abuse victims — he forbids divorce for ANY reason. And that tells us everything. It means that he believes man is made for marriage and not marriage for man. It means that he believes he and church leaders have the right to dictate to people in matters of conscience that the Lord gives us freedom in. It means that even though he knows full well that many other Christian teachers, pastors, and theologians disagree with him (not enough unfortunately) HE has the true word from God on this and HE will press it upon all of us. Others of the “permanence view” go so far as to enforce the no divorce for any reason position with church discipline, right on up to ex-communication. I would very much like to hear from Piper what he thinks about that. In my opinion, the kinds of guys that teach these things and make them binding upon us may as well start wearing mitre hats.

  272. Rafiki

    Welcome to TWW and thank you for taking time to comment. I had not heard about the event in India and will try to find more info on it today. I am so sad.

    This is suchan insightful comment. May God forgive our exclusivity.

    “Not that any of those unwed single moms would ever feel comfy in the evangelical church anyway. It’s almost as if the comp camp can’t even wrap their heads around being concerned for suffering people who live outside their comp evangelical bubble of marriage. There’s only “wife abuse” and because we are so concerned about male headship/female submission within the bounds of marriage, we’ll not even deign to call it “domestic abuse.”

  273. Rafiki,

    Welcome to TWW. I have been following the story of the New Dehli rape victim who died on Saturday (India’s time). The articles I’ve read stated that she and a male friend were lured onto a bus and beaten; she was gang-raped for an hour, and that an iron bar was inserted inside her resulting in severe organ damage. They were both stripped and thrown out of the moving bus. She suffered brain injury, lung and abdomen infections, and cardiac arrest. She died from organ failure.

    “May she rest in peace. May her family be comforted at this dreadful time. May the citizens who have taken to the streets of New Delhi over the last 7 days to protest her rape, the high incidence of rapes in the city, and the pathetic response of the authorities continue to demand change. And, though India is not a majority Christian nation of course, may the Lord’s hand and grace be revealed during this incredible time of challenging the cultural status quo regarding women’s status…”

    I very much agree with you on all of this.

  274. Rafiki, Thank you for drawing attention to that heinous crime. I had not heard about it. My heart is broken over the suffering and violence she endured before she died from these evil animals.

  275. “In my opinion, the kinds of guys that teach these things and make them binding upon us may as well start wearing mitre hats.”

    Exactly. His view means the outcome is already decided for her. She can never ever be free from her tormentor.

  276. dee wrote:

    May God forgive our exclusivity.

    Amen, sister.

    Nice to “meet” all of you, thank you for the gracious welcome!

  277. I can’t help but wonder what would make someone like Piper, or any other Calvinista, tiptoe so cautiously around the issue of domestic abuse? His “clarifying” article contains so much fluff and so many conditional statements that it’s hard to figure our what he’s really trying to say.

    What’s stopping him from just making a definitive, concrete statement like “No one should ever required to submit to abuse of any kind.” Seems like he fears that a definitive statement would have negative repercussions of some sort, although I have no idea what they might be. Does he think that thousands of Calvinista women would suddenly rebel and become bra-burning liberals who leave their husbands and start going to “heretical” churches (Methodist, mainline, etc.)?

    (No offense to bra-burning liberal ladies or gentlemen. I used that term because I imagine that is a concise summation of a Calvinista’s worst nightmare).

  278. “What’s stopping him from just making a definitive, concrete statement like “No one should ever required to submit to abuse of any kind.””

    Because he doesn’t believe that.

    He absolutely believes that a woman should submit to verbal abuse (he said it in the video and nothing he said here recants that), and even this article makes it clear that submitting to abuse is “one way to love”.

  279. gavin white wrote:

    Anon 1
    Well there’s the siren sound of TWW to denigrate anything Mr Piper might say. Here’s another quote from the Puritans’ by Arlo Bates ( not Carlo as spell checker originally said)
    “There were more women than men present, and Ashe was amazed at their cleverness and their shallow reasoning; at the ease and naturalness at which they played this game of intellectual gymnastics, and at the apparent failure to pierce to anything like depth.”
    Look at the whole counsel of God. Don’t just pick what suits you.

    I know you’ve mentioned that you don’t think the commenters at TWW are shallow in their reasoning, but I have yet to hear you apologize for presenting this work of fiction — a link to which was posted several posts after yours — as something authoritative. Perhaps you didn’t equate it to the “whole counsel of God”, but you certainly didn’t mention its origins as fictional. If someone hadn’t gone looking for the author and book, it might have been understood as either theological or historical or both. While it’s true that fiction can often present theological ideas in an interesting fashion (I think here of C.S. Lewis), to quote one as a backhanded slam against posters here without identifying its origin is misleading at best.

  280. Piper worships marriage and especially his position as a man in marriage.
    He worships male headship and female submission.

    He worships God’s sovereignty and the hierarchy structure that he believes that goes hand in hand with that sovereignty.

    He worships the roles that he believes men and women should conform to.
    He truly believes that breaking from the delicate balance that he imagines to exist between the masculine and feminine will cause the entire structure to fall and that God cannot truly be found when people don’t play their parts.

    His gospel is a perversion from what Jesus taught. His gospel is a gender gospel bordering far too close to gender and hierarchy worship more in kinship with Baal and Asherah worship than with anything Jesus taught.

    His devotion to male headship and female submission makes him see it as something so beautiful that it brings him to tears when he expounds on it.
    The idea of it and what it represents to him must be vigorously guarded. It is the hill on which he is willing to die because he believes it IS the Gospel.

  281. Tikatu wrote:

    gavin white wrote:

    Anon 1
    Well there’s the siren sound of TWW to denigrate anything Mr Piper might say. Here’s another quote from the Puritans’ by Arlo Bates ( not Carlo as spell checker originally said)
    “There were more women than men present, and Ashe was amazed at their cleverness and their shallow reasoning; at the ease and naturalness at which they played this game of intellectual gymnastics, and at the apparent failure to pierce to anything like depth.”
    Look at the whole counsel of God. Don’t just pick what suits you.

    I know you’ve mentioned that you don’t think the commenters at TWW are shallow in their reasoning, but I have yet to hear you apologize for presenting this work of fiction — a link to which was posted several posts after yours — as something authoritative. Perhaps you didn’t equate it to the “whole counsel of God”, but you certainly didn’t mention its origins as fictional. If someone hadn’t gone looking for the author and book, it might have been understood as either theological or historical or both. While it’s true that fiction can often present theological ideas in an interesting fashion (I think here of C.S. Lewis), to quote one as a backhanded slam against posters here without identifying its origin is misleading at best.

    Tikatu – Many thanks for this!

  282. I still have bouts of fighting the teaching that portrays God as an angry vengeful Father in the Sky who will punish you if you get out of line. And I really still fight the concept that when things are not going well it is because I somehow screwed up and God in turning His back on me. This is something I have asked His help on – I have told Him I only want Truth and He has made it clear that healing from this is a process that will take T-I-M-E. And in the meantime, it still hurts. And fortunately, I have also learned that no one else gets to tell me how I ‘should’ feel. He certainly doesn’t do that.
    ~ Jeannette Altes ~

    Sounds like you’re well on your way to freeing yourself from the petty little tin-pot tyrant of a god (small ‘g’ intentional) worshiped by Piper and multitudes of others. Their god is more like chemosh & molech rather than the God (Jesus) who turned water into wine, and who raised a guy from the dead even after rigor mortis & putrefaction had set in.

  283. Muff – thanks. Yes, even though it seems sometimes that I have a long way to go, I am in a much better place than I used to be.

    This is something that came to mind a while ago that you might appreciate: If you want to know what God isn’t, look to the gods men have created – from Anu, Ra, Zues and Juno to Almighty Gawd of the Calvinistas…if it is a man-made god, it is probably not how God is.

    The is a verse – Isaiah 46:5 – in the Message that has stuck with me and reminds me to relax and breathe and quit trying to figure it all out….

    “To whom would yo compare me, the incomparable? In trying to picture me, you reduce me.”

    So much of Christendom spends a lot of time and energy trying to sell their claim that they have a lock on God and who he is and what he would and would not do….neatly defined and boxed up with a bow. I am so thankful that God simply will not stay inside any box we try to place him in. He is so much more than we can comprehend and in the effort to try and picture him, define him, we make him less than what he is because we simply have no frame of reference to comprehend all of him.

    I remember the first time I said, out loud, that I no longer worshiped the god of my mother, it was liberating and frightening both. But it is an easy thing to say, now. The god she imagines and describes is not the same God I know.

    And, from experience, if you really want to set a Calvinista off, tell them that if God is really the way the portray him, he does not deserve to be worshiped. ;)

  284. Mr.H wrote:

    I can’t help but wonder what would make someone like Piper, or any other Calvinista, tiptoe so cautiously around the issue of domestic abuse? His “clarifying” article contains so much fluff and so many conditional statements that it’s hard to figure our what he’s really trying to say.
    What’s stopping him from just making a definitive, concrete statement like “No one should ever required to submit to abuse of any kind.” Seems like he fears that a definitive statement would have negative repercussions of some sort, although I have no idea what they might be. Does he think that thousands of Calvinista women would suddenly rebel and become bra-burning liberals who leave their husbands and start going to “heretical” churches (Methodist, mainline, etc.)?
    (No offense to bra-burning liberal ladies or gentlemen. I used that term because I imagine that is a concise summation of a Calvinista’s worst nightmare).

    I suspect he tiptoes around domestic abuse in order to avoid the logical conclusion that if DV were dealt with according to its actual level of egregiousness it would provide for divorce on those grounds. This he cannot have because he doesn’t believe in divorce at all and also for fear that allowing divorce for abuse would open the flood gates for divorce, as a sort of slippery slope. Those are the negative repercussions he wants to avoid.

  285. Jeannette,
    Thanks for the Isaiah passages! Years ago in my own journey out of Calvary Chapel’s brand of fundamentalism, Katharine Bushnell’s God’s Word to Women was like a compass; especially where she writes:

    “…If we find even in the Bible anything which confuses our sense of right and wrong, that seems to us less exalted and pure than the character of God should be: if after the most patient thought and prayerful pondering it still retains that aspect, then we must not bow down to it as God’s revelation to us, since it does not meet the need of the earlier and more sacred revelation He has given us in our spirit and conscience which testify of Him…”

  286. Muff – thanks for the quote. That book is one that helped me a lot as I was surfacing from the Kool-aid. I have not finished it – I will….but it is downloaded on my computer and I am so grateful to those who made it available online.

  287. @ Sad:
    Sad asked: “Can you explain to me your understanding of what Piper means by Christian hedonism and why it is objectionable to you?”
    Sorry it was so long before I caught up and repiied.
    1: The term itself, which Piper admits in the Desiring God appendix he invented mostly for shock value. The NT mentions hedonism (pleasures) a half dozen or so times and it’s ALWAYS evil and NEVER equated with joy. But Piper equates the two and applies all the “joy” verses to his theory. It seems to me that for Piper affixing “Christian” to something evil makes it good, which is why we’re accusing him of twisting language.
    2 Even if he called it Christian Joyfullness I have trouble with the main point: that the chief end of man is to glorify God *BY* enjoying him forever. Or that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied (living in enjoyment) with him. He takes one at least 9 elements of Spiritual Fruit– Joy– (or one of 8 aspects of the fruit of love, if you read it that way) and makes it THE primary Christian goal. Abundant life in the Spirit, or salvation itself, becomes a one-trick pony– how well am I enjoying God today? He says we can only always act according to our highest selfish desires, and therefore we should make God our highest desire in order to get the highest joy from him. I think this is of questionable orthodoxy — and much historic Christian charity, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, sel-control, sacrifice, altruism, and martyrdom is thrown out the window. Loving God for himself, as he is, because he is fully worthy, becomes loving him of the joy he gives. My personal example: I came to Christ and was born again for several reasons which converged in God’s providence, but getting enjoyment from him was not on that list. Then Piper tells me, in an *improved* John 3 quote, that “unless one is born again AS A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST (ie in order to glorify God BY enjoying him) he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Conclusion: I wasn’t really born again. Amazingly, after *I wasn’t really born again* I was surprised by an abundance of joy– people actually asked why I was beaming. I took it this as a happy fruit of Christ’s Spirit which now lived in me– joy which I had not previously been desiring. If I’d made this joy a primary aim, I’d have been pretty disappointed when the joy matured and toned down after about a year, and looked for ways to conjure it back up!

  288. For Sad on Fri Dec. 28 at 1:55 PM,

    You suggest that spiritual abuse happens when “extra biblical nonsense” is evident from the pulpit. I was in the same church as Jim Packer, who sets the gold standard for evangelical theology. The ministers likewise are considered the best.

    It would be pretty hard for me to rebuke myself for blindly following a “false leader” for a season.

    Part of the problem with recovering from abuse in a situation like mine is that the church is held up as the best of the best. Tim Keller’s teaching would also be considered that way. But no matter, it really does not matter how great the minister is, how much he is held in awe by others, if he preached that the wife is to be in submission, he commits a certain number of women to unimaginable torture. He offers the lives of those women up to God as a burnt sacrifice, and those women endure torture for the teaching of the submission of women. But Tim Keller and Jim Packer do not personally suffer for the sacrifice of women’s lives that they offer up to God on the altar of their own self-centred teaching.

    For the women involved, once they are out, divorced and trying to survive on their own, it is not simply a matter of moving on. It is a matter of dealing with serious auto immune diseases, and cancer, greatly aggravated by a life of physical violence. It is about relearning how to live physically, emotionally, psychologically. It is about finding appropriate employment and living circumstances, about putting children through college. It is about debt and poverty, isolation and under employment. It is about facing the fact that while other women are preparing to retire, I am not.

    So, physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, life is a total mess. Sure, I do have a job, I work at one and a half jobs, but my life is immeasurably worse, from start to finish, screwed up, because of the absolute filth of the teaching of the submission of women.

    And Jim Packer is very confident that he has the answer to how a woman should live spiritually. This, in spite of the known and published fact that his wife does not agree with his views on women.

    So, other women, get to have their lives destroyed, and his name, the name of this theologian, still has honour. Nobody calls him a false prophet, and simply moves on.

    The teaching of the submission of women is rotten to the core, and there are too few people ready to call out the famous theologians on this. They should not be allowed to offer up the lives of women as their living sacrifice. That is sheer evil.

    But, originally, I thought that attending a church with people like Packer, would be a good thing. I was brainwashed by popular opinion. but truthfully, I could not move on without permission from my husband. I could hardly breathe without permission.

    One thing I do want to add, it this. In my daily life, in my work life, those who have known me for years, see me as a completely new person and as a very happy person now. They often remark to those who first meet me, that they have never in their life seen such a difference in anyone’s appearance and personality (for the better, they mean.)

    Since I have left evangelical Christianity, I am becoming more confident, happier, more integrated, more peaceful. It is not about an immediate joy that tones down, but about an enduring peace that grows deeper all the time. For the first time in my life, I feel truly alive. But I want others to know that the teaching of people that are respected, can nonetheless lead some people into misery.

  289. @ Dave A A:

    Dave,

    Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I get a sense the word “hedonism” is what is objectionable to you. It was to me at first as well. For the sake of argument, let’s remove the sinister nuance of the definition, for now. Let’s just think of hedonism as pleasure, not wickedness. IF God created us in His image, then our affections should fall in line with His affections. What pleases Him, should please us. With the Fall, our affections no longer mirrored God’s affections. With Redemption, with new hearts, our desires begin to reflect Christ’s desires. Indeed, there should be no gritting of the teeth while enduring obedience, because if God has truly given us a new heart….that new heart desires the things of God more than anything else in this world. In a sense, and I believe this is the core of “Christian Hedonism”…there is no more self-serving thing that I can do than to obey God…because it is the only thing that will bring me true pleasure.

    Jonathan Edwards was a tremendous influence on Piper…and this is what Edwards says in “Religious Affections”…

    “That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference: God, in his word, greatly insists upon it, that we be good in earnest, “fervent in spirit,” and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion: Rom. 12:11, “Be ye fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Deut. 10:12, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord the God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?” and chap. 6:4, 6, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy might.” It is such a fervent vigorous engagedness of the heart in religion, that is the fruit of a real circumcision of the heart, or true regeneration, and that has the promises of life; Deut. 30:6, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

    If we be not in good earnest in religion, and our wills and inclinations be not strongly exercised, we are nothing. The things of religion are so great, that there can be no suitableness in the exercises of our hearts, to their nature and importance, unless they be lively and powerful. In nothing is vigor in the actings of our inclinations so requisite, as in religion; and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious. True religion is evermore a powerful thing; and the power of it appears, in the first place in the inward exercises of it in the heart, where is the principal and original seat of it. Hence true religion is called the power of godliness, in distinction from the external appearances of it, that are the form of it, 2 Tim. 3:5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it.” The Spirit of God, in those that have sound and solid religion, is a spirit of powerful holy affection; and therefore, God is said “to have given the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Tim. 1:7. And such, when they receive the Spirit of God, in his sanctifying and saving influences, are said to be “baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;” by reason of the power and fervor of those exercises the Spirit of God excites in their hearts, whereby their hearts, when grace is in exercise, may be said to “burn within them;” as is said of the disciples, Luke 24:32.”

  290. @ Sue:

    Sue,

    I cannot speak for Packer or Keller. I can, however, say that I am sorry for what you endured. I will also go out on a limb and say that I personally believe that a man who physically or emotionally abuses his wife repeatedly is probably not a Christian. There is no way that one can have a vibrant relationship with God, which includes quickening of the conscience that should lead to repentance, while at the same time continuing to treat their wife and/or children in a violent and malicious fashion. He may trot himself off to church each Sunday and Wednesday, and portray the outward trappings of Christianity…but he is certainly not fooling God.

  291. @ Dave:

    “The NT mentions hedonism (pleasures) a half dozen or so times and it’s ALWAYS evil and NEVER equated with joy. But Piper equates the two and applies all the ‘joy’ verses to his theory.”

    This is my problem with Christian Hedonism also. Pleasure and joy aren’t necessarily the same thing. They sometimes go together, but as you pointed out, there are many pleasurable things that are sinful. Gluttony, for instance, is quite pleasurable because you’re stuffing your face with macaroni and cheese. Fornication, by all accounts, is quite pleasurable also. And yet, both of these things are sin and if someone tried to equate them with joy, Piper would throw a hissy fit.

  292. Addendum @ Dave:

    Also, when I read Piper’s defense of Ayn Rand (yes, he did write one and it’s quite long) and his description of her philosophy, I realized that huge chunks (if not the whole) of Christian Hedonism appears to have been lifted straight out of Rand and given a Christian label and a name change. Make of that what you will.

  293. “I will also go out on a limb and say that I personally believe that a man who physically or emotionally abuses his wife repeatedly is probably not a Christian.”

    I have to completely disagree with this. A man who has abuses his wife is often someone who is addicted to controlling his environment. He is not unlike someone who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography or gambling. He is also not unlike those who are addicted to promoting their own beliefs above those of others.

    For example, Jim Packer signed a statement that the TNIV was not a trustworthy Bible translation. But in conversation with me he denied believing this, and pointed out to me that he had not chosen the wording of the statement that he signed. He signed something that has gone high wide and handsome in public, something that he claims not to believe. He contributed to a great deal of unpleasantness among Christians. I do not regard Jim Packer having a spiritual state that is in any way at all elevated above that of any other human being that I know. People still call him a Christian and I do not deny that he is a Christian. I simply believe that what he has done goes against the definition of a Christian in the Bible.

  294. Sad,

    What I am trying to say is that if we exclude abusers from those who are accounted as Christians, let us also exclude those who have committed other grievous sins.

  295. FYI – The Twitter feeds were reporting that today was John Piper’s last sermon at Bethlehem Baptist before retiring. But evidently he still plans on writing and speaking, so he’s not done yet.

  296. Tikatu
    If you had read previous threads you would have send that I had referenced it ad a work of fiction. Get a sense of humour. And Numo you should know better.

    Gavin

  297. gavin white wrote:

    Tikatu
    If you had read previous threads you would have send that I had referenced it ad a work of fiction. Get a sense of humour. And Numo you should know better.
    Gavin

    When more than one person (including one of our glamorous blog queens) asks to you clarify your statement, double-checking that it is indeed meant as “humor”, and you backpedal (without, you know, saying it was supposed to be humorous), then maybe it wasn’t really funny.

    Also, when a very regular commenter thinks it’s necessary to clarify your quote’s provenance as fictional, then perhaps I’m not the only one to have missed your previous explanations.

  298. Tikatu

    I agree with this statement. “when a very regular commenter thinks it’s necessary to clarify your quote’s provenance as fictional, then perhaps I’m not the only one to have missed your previous explanations.”

    This has been a hard lesson for me to learn in the blogging world. What I might think is a joke, can be taken quite seriously by a reader. It is not the reader’s fault. It is mine-pure and simple. If I have something to say, then I must go overboard in making sure my comment is understood. I remember once when one of us used the word “lie.” We did not mean it in the sense of a deliberate falsehoo but more of a prevarication. We had the darndest time convincing ne commenter that we did not mean deliberate. It was a good lesson.

  299. @ dee:

    Could also easily happen in speaking to people face to face, though there, I think, words are often less important than body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

    Text-only is a “cold” medium (per Marshall McLuhan) and it can bey *very* hard to work with when discussing difficult or controversial subjects. But sometimes there’s a certain amount of game-playing going on in comments, and it’s not always obvious.

  300. @ Dee:

    “I remember once when one of us used the word ‘lie.’ We did not mean it in the sense of a deliberate falsehood but more of a prevarication.”

    That’s why I try to not use the word “lie” (esp. online) unless I mean a deliberate falsehood w/prior knowledge of the truth on the part of the speaker. When it’s used to mean anything else, tempers flare pretty fast. There’s lots of fun semi-synonyms like evade, equivocate, mislead, etc., as I’m sure you know. : )

  301. A lot of what Piper said here sounds good. But I, too, questioned the wisdom of saying, essentially, “A wife who reports her husband can still feel submissive in her heart.” I think when the relationship has escalated to abuse, the matter of who feels what kind of submission is way past being relevant. I doubt Piper would actually counsel a woman to POSTPONE reporting abuse until she felt properly submissive, I think he’s just throwing it in there to make hard comp women feel better about the decision, but still…he’s essentially glorifying the same attitude that leads so many marriages into abuse in the first place: that of female submission and male leadership (which is easily confused with dominance by many men). And really, when you are being physically endangered, does it seriously MATTER how you feel about your husband on the night you walk into the police station? And, as Dee pointed out, why are we assuming that the relationship ever had some kind of healthy set-point that it could be “restored” to?

    His final statement, that of Christian men creating a culture of Christian manhood that won’t tolerate abuse, etc. etc., sounds good but is woefully 50% of the solution. Women also have to have the courage and conviction to stand up against abuse. When the culture of Christian womanhood includes courage and bravery, rather than simply focusing on quiet spirits, then we will be on our way.

    This is why I find compelementarianism impractical in the real world (and I’m not harping specifically on Piper here, but on the system as a whole). It offers solutions in which men are responsible to do XY and Z, when in reality, God created two genders for a reason and gave them BOTH the same set of instructions in Eden regarding how to live. But somehow we’ve gotten from that beautiful union to a scenario in which everyone has a separate part to play, and therefore can’t truly collaborate. Is it any wonder, in such circumstances, that we can’t make headway against serious issues like abuse? We’re supposed to be working together, but comp-ism convinces us to work separately in our own “roles” or spheres.

    And finally, I thank John Piper for clarifying some positive things about his stance on abuse. However, I still don’t understand what his comment about enduring abuse for a night even means, if the above statements on abuse are truly his beliefs on the subject? Why would a wife “endure” abuse for a little while if, in actuality, it should be confronted by the church and the authorities? I’m not trying to be difficult. I really don’t understand.

  302. No, Julie Anne……comments under “Sad” are from me, I have only posted under that name.
    Thank you for pointing out the potential for confusion.

  303. @ Sad:
    Since this thread is pretty much wrapped up, I’ll be brief. The reasons I picked on xian hedonism as a point of disagreement with Piper were 1: It’s the subject of his first and biggest best seller. the only book of his I actually bought and studied with a group. 2: Unlike his complementarianism and Calvinism, it’s uniquely his, and has been seriously questioned by some otherwise generally in agreement with him (reformed, Baptist, or both). Peter Masters. CW Booth, and Paul Helm are just a few I’ve seen online.
    Not so easy to find any questioning of it by his Gospel Coalition associates.

  304. Pingback: John Piper and the Church on Domestic Violence | Spiritual Sounding Board UNITED STATES

  305. Tikatu

    As I said, the quote was referenced previously by me. Hence the reference to the author’s correct name. I tend not to say in advance whether my remarks are meant to be humorous or not. I let the readers decide for themselves. If they think it isn’t I explain that it was meant to be….or not, as the case may be.
    What I have learned is that what I find funny, others don’t. But that’s life. Some people just don’t have a sense of humour. Try and get one for 2013.
    (Sarcasm posing as humour. :-) )
    Gavin

  306. Hester wrote:

    Also, when I read Piper’s defense of Ayn Rand (yes, he did write one and it’s quite long) and his description of her philosophy, I realized that huge chunks (if not the whole) of Christian Hedonism appears to have been lifted straight out of Rand and given a Christian label and a name change. Make of that what you will.

    Well, in the jockeying for the 2012 elections, Ayn Rand is now the de facto Fourth Person of the Trinity. Just ask eminent theologians Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

    (I wonder now that Obama defeated Romney, will the Mormons go back to being a Cult Cult Cult?)

  307. Seanr wrote:

    What helped me was to realize that postmodern thought and American Evangelicalism are mirror opposites and they will fight amongst themselves like cats and dogs.

    Or like Communists and Objectivists.

    Anyone remember that third-season “Old Testament” Star Trek episode with the two half-white, half-black-faced guys?

  308. Anon 1 wrote:

    Hester, I have some family members who went to work with and study under Piper about 10 years ago. They were young and it was after college. Tney came back totally different people

    They came back as Piperjugend.

  309. Dee,

    Spot on post. One problem with teaching like Piper’s is that it’s dispersed with right statements so one must be careful to discern what’s wrong about what he says, e.g. his use of “may” and how the wording bends over backwards to accomodate the literalistic and narrow biblical interpretations on authority and subordination. Piper is more concerned with being “biblical” than being loving.

    This, I believe is a root of the problem. Why else would he say things like [this] “overrules her submission to a husband’s demand that she endure his injuries.” Why the hell would she need to overrule submission to her husband’s demand she endure his injuries? A demand to endure injuries is evil. You don’t need to overrule such a demand.

    Piper and company can’t just simply look at the plight of a woman and say “that’s wrong, protect yourself and resist. Flee your husband’s evil and hold him accountable.” Everything must be done in a way that shows she’s jumped through the right hoops of submission. And, that she has the right attitude. Like you said, what decent person would tell a victim, “don’t complain or try to protect yourself or go to the police until you ensure you have a humble, submissive spirit?” This advice is asinine. If everything had to be done in such a way that “doesn’t contradict a spirit of love and submission to her husband,” then the poor woman would never resist.

    I think this is why claims of spiritual abuse by pastors from members often fall on deaf ears. If the person seems at all angry, bitter, or unforgiving (no spirit of love and submission to church authority), the claim is ignored or discounted. That’s why critics of abuser blogs just call it all gossip and slander and can’t bring themselves to empathize with the abused. They aren’t being “biblical” or “godly” with the way they expose the abuse, they think, so it must not be legitimate.

    This hyper-paranoia that everything follow “Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom” makes one into a Pharisee, straining out a gnat (maintain a spirit of submission, now), while swallowing a camel (telling a woman to endure a beating at least once).

    Keep up the good work.

  310. Michael
    I loved your comment at 3:49 PM! Piper has a knack for making a reasoned response to abuse (get out) get mixed up with sin (you weren’t loving when you left). He employs a damned if you do and damned if you don’t approach. This leave the abused person to deal with even more guilt.

    A woman who leaves an abusive husband already bears a great burden, filled with doubts and “what ifs.” Piper adds to this burden. To be frank, who is going to be sweet when leaving if they are getting beat up? In Piper’s world, its all sin-no matter what you do.

    He lives in a world in which he actually believes he must answer a question “Do I need to ask my husband’s permission to go to the bathroom?” This is a sad world, indeed.

  311. Dee, so right. Also, in spiritual abuse, not just physical abuse, who is going to be sweet when leaving if they get beat up emotionally? Strict biblicists are so paranoid about submitting to scripture, every jot and tittle, they leave no room for compassion. Piper, SGM teaching, and a host of other Calvinista-strict-Bible teachers and churches that follow this line become Pharisaical camel swallowers and don’t see it because they have their eyes on the law and obedience instead of love. That’s one reason I left the movement.

  312. Gavin – you’re the eldest child – yes? I’ll give up my Mt Franklin sparkling mineral water for a week if I’m wrong.

  313. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Seanr wrote:
    What helped me was to realize that postmodern thought and American Evangelicalism are mirror opposites and they will fight amongst themselves like cats and dogs.
    Or like Communists and Objectivists.
    Anyone remember that third-season “Old Testament” Star Trek episode with the two half-white, half-black-faced guys?

    Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

  314. Michael said: “This hyper-paranoia that everything follow “Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom” makes one into a Pharisee, straining out a gnat (maintain a spirit of submission, now), while swallowing a camel (telling a woman to endure a beating at least once).”

    and this:

    “Piper is more concerned with being “biblical” than being loving.”

    This really sums up so many of the abuse we see by spiritual abusers. Their god is the Christian formulas they have created for their people (keep in mind they don’t use their own formulas for themselves – they are exempt, of course, because Hebrews 13:17 says they are the ones who care for our souls). It’s not about a loving and gracious God who would want to protect us – it’s about – “do you have the right heart attitude when you bring this problem up?” and “Have you dealt with the sin in your own life?”, etc.

    Bravo, Mike!!

  315. Thanks, Julie Anne. I’ve really tried to get to the root of this phenomenon and I think it’s a paranoia about “submitting to scripture” and as you say idolizing the Christian formulas that they claim “clearly the Bible says.” We need a revolution of making LOVE truly the paramount command that Jesus requires so finally, after all the years of abuse and manipulation, LOVE trumps all this Pharisaical gnat swallowing and the law-performance-oriented religion evangelicals and fundies push. Tall order.

  316. Pingback: India, Ohio, John Piper, Religion and the Triumph Of Rape Culture |

  317. Pingback: Rules for Christian sex and rules about rules