Domestic Violence: Captain Jean Luc Picard Has More Sense Than Many in the Church

"Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged." -Capt. Jean Luc Picard link

800px-Enterprise-D_crew_quarters_with_captain_Jean-Luc_PicardDerek Springer-Wikicommons

TWW is continuing to provide an overview of Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood's book, A Cry For Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church linkBecause we will be dealing with this subject, off and on, over the next couple of weeks, we would like our readers to keep in mind the following two caveats. 

  1. We are discussing actual domestic abuse. We know that a few people might pretend to be abused in order to harm a spouse, etc. in such things as custody disputes, etc. The vast majority of domestic abuse claims are real and that is our focus for this series.
  2. Men, as well as women, can be victims of domestic violence. It does appear that far more women are abused by males than vice versa. But there is concern that men underreport that they are abused so the actual numbers appear to vary from study to study. For the sake of brevity, we will use the pronoun "he" to refer to the abuser. 

Jeff Crippen: Pastor and Police Officer

 We believe that Jeff's biography is of particular interest due to his unique combination of experiences.

(He has been)  the pastor of Christ Reformation Church since 1993. A  graduate of Multnomah Biblical Seminary (MABS & MDiv), Jeff was a police officer for 12 years before entering the pastoral ministry.

Jeff has "boots on the ground" experience that I believe many pastors and lay leaders lack. Here is why this is important. According to the National Institute of Justice link:

Domestic violence-related police calls have been found to constitute the single largest category of calls received by police, accounting for 15 to more than 50 percent of all calls.

A Cry For Justice website

Jeff, along with a team which includes Barbara Roberts and Jeff S, also run a website called A Cry For Justice | Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence link. We highly recommend that you visit this site for thoughtful discussion and a wealth of resources. Folks who are experiencing abuse, or friends and family of those being abused, will find supportive advice along with contact information.

What is abuse?

Here is how the website defines abuse on its home page.

Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.

While this mentality of power and control often expresses itself in various forms of physical abuse, it just as frequently employs tactics of verbal, emotional, financial, social, sexual and spiritual abuse. Thus, an abuser may never actually lay a hand on his wife and yet be very actively terrorizing her in incredibly damaging ways.

Abuse in any of its forms destroys the victim's person. Abuse, in the end, is murder.

The abuser uses our ignorance to his advantage.

Jeff says that one of the primary reasons for writing the book (and website) is:

I have seen, firsthand, how abuse is minimized in our churches and our culture. It is minimized largely because the abuser enjoys secrecy in his abuse. Because we are "in the dark" and are ignorant of the abuser's tactics, we are prone to take the word of the abuser…The wolf, in other words, tells us how saintly he is and explains that it was the sheep's fault that it was eaten.(P.24)

A true story from Dee and Deb that illustrates this important quote.

The two of us were involved in a para-church ministry. A woman in our group was being abused by her husband who was a leader in their conservative church. She had reported her abuse to the leadership which did not take her seriously and she was reaching the end of her rope. The husband decided to "prove" that she was the problem.

He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying. He then brought the recording to the church leadership to "prove" how his wife was "out of control." She was put under church discipline and the husband was not. She was blamed for the divorce which followed and he got a pass.

Crippen looks at John MacArthur's views on domestic violence, sexual abuse and divorce.

Crippen raises concerns that some well-known pastors teach that women can leave their husbands only if they are in physical danger. They downplay the damage that can occur with non-physical abuse. He makes the point that many abusers stop short of physical abuse so they can claim that they "never laid a hand on her." Such women are told they must stay with their husbands because it is God's will for their lives. They are told if they persevere, they will win over their husbands. They might even be told that the abuse is necessary for their own sanctification! (P.34-35).

However, there are some pastors who teach that a woman cannot divorce, even for physical abuse. Some of these pastors also downplay emotional abuse. Crippen refers the reader to the following information found on John MacArthur's site Grace to You link.

The question:

 What do you recommend in your counseling where there is child molestation or wife beating or extreme alcoholism or some of those situations that become not just marginal but really intolerable for a wife we'll say?

MacArthur uses a biblical proof text for the basis of his advice:

1 Corinthians 7:10: "If she divorces"–and it doesn't give you any reason here, it just says if she divorces–"let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband but don't let the husband divorce his wife."

He then applies the verse in his answer. He implies that it is "unbiblical" to divorce due to domestic violence. One may separate, however.

You know, I can't counsel a mother who says, "What am I going to do? This man has committed incest with my child and he beats me up and etc. or beats up the children and so forth and so on. Do I just sit there and take it? And the chairs on my head, and the stuff he throws at me, and the cigarette burns on my arm, and battered wives and all this stuff? What do I do?"

Well, certainly there is nothing in the Bible that says you just stand around until you are just beaten to a pulp. You know, God has built into the human being a certain sense of self-preservation. Right? And it's normal to separate yourself in that kind of situation. And maybe that's what Paul is thinking about. There may come circumstances where divorce occurs, but if it isn't on biblical grounds, that's it. I mean, you can remain unmarried or be reunited.

Crippen also draws attention to MacArthur's answer to this question. How should a wife respond to a physically abusive husband linkThere are two curious points that he makes. One is that God gives us the grace to endure a lot more severe things than we think. He also appears to imply that adultery is worse than "just" abuse (see the highlighted points).

 I really feel that if we are obedient to the word of God in that kind of a situation, God would give us the grace to endure a lot more severe things than we think. So, what we do is this; we counsel people this way:if you're in an abusive situation, there's not adultery involved, it's just abusive, cruelty, or something like that–I don't think alcoholism is necessarily in the same category. But where there's beatings, where it affects you or the children, there's nothing to say that you shouldn't step away, get away to preserve your own health, and your own safety, and your own security. You don't need to stay there and just be beaten to a pulp. God's given us a self-defense mechanism. But I don't think that's grounds for divorce biblically. I think you have to hang in there and that's what makes great prayer warriors. People who can turn that kind of a thing into a draw nigh unto God kind of relationship. You know, when all your family has forsaken you the Lord will be your family.

In his book, Crippen addresses, in depth, why he believes that abuse is grounds for biblical divorce. We will highlight his thoughts in a coming post.

As you know, Dee is a fan of Star Trek in all of its permutations. It should come as no surprsie that her favorite captain was Jean Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart. Stewart is an activist in fighting domestic violence. He is involved in a safe home program in England called Refuge. He has addressed both the United Nations and Amnesty International on his concerns. (Who could turn down Picard?)

Below, in the first embedded video, a woman who was abused asks Stewart a question. He openly discusses his mother who was a victim of such violence. He also gives some insight into his father who was seriously affected with PTSD after fighting in the war. Listen carefully at the 7 minute mark. He becomes very emotional as he discusses his anger with violence against women, especially as perpetrated by men. He also movingly expresses concern for the woman who asks the question. I think that many pastors could benefit by listening to Stewart address this issue.

And, just because he was the face of Jean Luc Picard, I am including his incredible address to Amnesty International as the second video. Both of these videos have been making the rounds on the internet. May all of this raise awareness of the pain of domestic abuse. As Captain Picard would say:

Make it so!


 

Lydia's Corner: 1 Kings 18:1-46 Acts 11:1-30 Psalm 135:1-21 Proverbs 17:12-13

Comments

Domestic Violence: Captain Jean Luc Picard Has More Sense Than Many in the Church — 191 Comments

  1. Because we are “in the dark” and are ignorant of the abuser’s tactics, we are prone to take the word of the abuser…The wolf, in other words, tells us how saintly he is and explains that it was the sheep’s fault that it was eaten.(P.24)

    “For Satan himself can transform himself into an Angel of Light.”

    I cannot repeat often enough that successful sociopaths (and pedophiles, and abusers) are masters of camouflage. If they weren’t, they would have been exposed and caught long ago. We only hear about the ones who slipped up.

  2. Having read way too many similar stories/comments since becoming and editor for ACFJ, I wish that MacArthur were an anomaly, but you hear the same kind of thing over and over again.

    From personal experience, I can say this. The statement “God would give us the grace to endure a lot more severe things than we think,” is really damning to the person who is unable to endure. When a person comes to that point, when he or she cannot endure, what does that say? For me it said that God must not love me and that my faith was not real.

    Of course, those “encouraging me” would say the problem was I was “trying” in my own strength. I needed to “let go” and trust God. Really, what does that mean? Apparently I stunk not only at enduring, but letting go. In the end, I just gave up. God wasn’t making me endure any better, and if he wasn’t, according to their theology I was damned. If he didn’t do as they said he would, was he unfaithful or was I just not a true Christian?

    I decided neither. It was a tough call, but ultimately I decided if God didn’t honor what they said he would do, then the problem wasn’t me or God, but their understanding of God. But that was a hard point to come to. Talk about feeling worthless and unlovable.

    The ministry of ACFJ is close to my heart, and I hope we are able to bring encouragement to those who have been where I was (and worse). When the visible church has abandoned the weak and vulnerable, it’s time for the invisible church to step in and do the work of justice. I’m thankful God has allowed me to be a part of that- it is one of my greatest joys (and I hope that my new CD, out very soon, will extend this ministry even further in a unique way).

  3. I don’t understand why so many pastors don’t get it when it comes to domestic violence. I remember a number of years ago when I encountered more conservative/fundamentalist types because of various family interactions, just a few years after finishing seminary, one of them asked me if I thought physical abuse was grounds for divorce. I said yes immediately, and I would again, for one simple reason: A person who abuses their spouse has already broken the marriage vow and shattered the covenantal relationship at the most fundamental level. It’s an utter betrayal, and for a believer I think it’s blasphemous to at once claim to have a good standing in the faith and continue to abuse one’s spouse.

  4. Jeff S wrote:

    Of course, those “encouraging me” would say the problem was I was “trying” in my own strength. I needed to “let go” and trust God. Really, what does that mean?

    Simple. “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

    Unlike the Spiritual Giants who were “encouraging(TM)” you, of course.

  5. John wrote:

    It’s an utter betrayal, and for a believer I think it’s blasphemous to at once claim to have a good standing in the faith and continue to abuse one’s spouse.

    But when “good standing in the faith” becomes a matter of Acceptable Public Moral Behavior and/or Correct Doctrine/Perfectly-Parsed Theology…

  6. The husband decided to “prove” that she was the problem.

    He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying. He then brought the recording to the church leadership to “prove” how his wife was “out of control.”

    Ah, yes. The old covert-aggressive trick of goading the victim into losing it through covert abusive acts. The victim loses it and lashes out before third-party witnesses, and the abuser has PROOF that he’s really the Poor Poor Innocent Victim (polish halo, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth). I am VERY familiar with this.

  7. Thank you for continuing to raise the awareness about this abuse issue and showing how much the church needs to be informed in order to take appropriate action!

    We watched Jackson Katz, on a terrific TED Talk, who declared that domestic violence is not a women’s issue but is very much a man’s issue.

    This is a ‘must listen’ and share with others talk. Follow the link.

    Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape, and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men?!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

  8. @ Dee: That is absolutely superb, Dee! (Though I must confess: my heart belongs to Avery Brooks in DS9; Picard was 1st in my affections until Avery came along…)

    Those quotes from MacArthur et. al. make me feel sick. How would *he* react if he were in the shoes of someone who actually experiences domestic violence?! I think these guys suffer from a severe lack of empathy (sympathy, too).

  9. I think this comes from churches teaching and believing separation from the world to the extreme. They are not going to condone anything the secular does. They will always do the opposite and say it is Biblical without really taking the time to research it like they claim to do with their pet doctrines. It’s easy to sit in a nice, air conditioned, free from evil, office and go home to a safe, nice, air conditioned home with all the comforts, doing this for the next 30 plus years and having no contact with anyone outside your theology or church. Distorted views occur. Common sense is evidently considered bad.

    Common sense alone says, leave, go, we will help you financially until you get on your feet. We will find a good, safe, place for you to live and we will stand with you on your divorce. We will not let you be physically or emotionally abused again.It’s too easy to hide behind religion and the Bible. Folks don’t want God to zap them further, so they will follow the pastor’s counsel to stay to the letter. The battered woman is brainwashed, tired, post traumatic stress syndrome, and then told to stay in that situation. It’s like counseling a POW to not leave the prison camp because he can win his captor to Christ. Crazy right?

  10. I have gone with a dear friend of mine who was abused emotionally as well as her child, to her house while she gathered things in a moving truck to leave her husband. I stood and dared him to hit her or me while we moved her. Funny, no response from him at all. He got in his car and left, we finished moving her.

  11. @Barb Orlowski

    Jackson Katz was right on! That video should be required viewing in all churches!

    Thanks for the link!

  12. I don’t believe adultery is the only “biblical” grounds for divorce myself, but even though a lot of Christians apparently still do…

    Where in the Bible does Christ or Paul ever say that divorce is the greatest sin ever, and it is the unpardonable sin? I don’t recall it being in there. Even if one thinks it a sin, God still forgives sin.

    Considering that the same people preaching to a battered woman that leaving her husband is a sin are probably also viewing naughty photos on the internet themselves, or are gluttons over indulging on fried pork rinds and potato chips, or who knows what sins they are doing, it seems hypocritical and more than a little cruel for them to dole out advice for a situation they are not living in.

    They’re not the ones who have to come back home, afraid all the time, walking on egg shells around a person they share a home with who is likely more physically bigger/stronger than they, and be knocked around or emotionally abused.

    Emotional abuse can be very damaging, even to the point after months, the person suffering it may commit suicide.

    There are some kids in junior highs and high schools who kill themselves after months of verbal abuse and taunting by their peers. If it has that affect on kids, you know it can on adults.

  13. Jeff S wrote:

    Of course, those “encouraging me” would say the problem was I was “trying” in my own strength. I needed to “let go” and trust God. Really, what does that mean?

    Me too.

    I’ve never understood that rhetoric from other Christians, and it comes up not just in context of domestic abuse, but other subjects, such as grieving, depression, anxiety, or about any problem.

    They’re rather vague, religious- sounding platitudes that don’t actually help anyone but I suppose make the speaker feel like he or she is meaningfully contributing something.

  14. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    I think this comes from churches teaching and believing separation from the world to the extreme. They are not going to condone anything the secular does. They will always do the opposite and say it is Biblical….

    “WHATEVER IT IS, I’M AGAINST IT!”
    — Prof Wagstaff, Horsefeathers

  15. J Miller wrote:

    How appropriate, considering that fundamentalist churches are a lot like the Borg.

    Which is a real kicker when you consider on the macro level these same “fellowships(TM)” are completely-independent, with no denomination or connection to any other church. (“Us Four, No More, Amen.”) Total anarchy on the macro level, Borg-level conformity on the one-to-one human level.

  16. Daisy wrote:

    They’re rather vague, religious- sounding platitudes that don’t actually help anyone but I suppose make the speaker feel like he or she is meaningfully contributing something.

    It means “Talk is Cheap.”

    Especially when you can mix in Spiritual One-Upmanship for the doublepluswarmfeelies.

  17. Barb Orlowski wrote:

    Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape, and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men?!
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

    Also a good illustration of active vs passive voice in English. In Active voice, the subject (in his illustration, the abuser) comes first in the sentence; in Passive voice, the object (the abused) comes first. And since Subject-Verb-Object (Active voice) is the default in English sentence structure, the emphasis and importance is on the first-mentioned.

    Incidentally, business, law, and politics is FULL of Passive Voice. “Mistakes were made…”

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The husband decided to “prove” that she was the problem.
    He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying. He then brought the recording to the church leadership to “prove” how his wife was “out of control.”
    Ah, yes. The old covert-aggressive trick of goading the victim into losing it through covert abusive acts. The victim loses it and lashes out before third-party witnesses, and the abuser has PROOF that he’s really the Poor Poor Innocent Victim (polish halo, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth). I am VERY familiar with this.

    This was my husband’s entire childhood. His Mum also hit/bit his brother, who then hit him. We strongly suspect his Dad was a battered husband who could never break free. They were not a church family so none of the damage was hidden in religious ways – it’s a real object lesson in how DV grinds people down.

  19. I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with Voddie Baucham over the past few days (topic started out on spanking due to my blog post, but has since ventured into Homeschool Movement and now abuse in marriage). I asked for his position on abuse in marriage and instead of responding directly, he referred me to a link in which he says there is no allowance for divorce, period. I haven’t responded yet, but I’m about to ask him what happened to those pages in his Bible that refer to divorce.

  20. “Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.”

    This sounds about 50% similar to the spanking philosophy of a dissenter at Julie Anne’s blog…esp. the sentence about being the center of the world. He said children’s worlds should revolve around their parents.

    Also, random question that has zero to do with the topic at hand, for the artists here: did anyone ever think that Michelangelo’s David was “homoerotic”? This is research for a blog post.

  21. @ Dee: Why, thank you!

    As for the most recent crop of actors who’ve played the title role in Doctor Who, I’ll go with Matt smith, then David Tennant. (As both attractive and also as actors in Nu-Who.) Tom Baker is my fave from the original series, though I never carried a torch for him, and I think Matt Smith has taken his place in my overall rankings.

  22. @ Beakerj: You know, I lived – for a few months – in a group house with two married couples and one other single person. The couple who owned the house, well… she had been abused, and she *was* abusive to her husband’s daughter from his 1st marriage. as in, wanted to throw heavy stoneware plates at her (she was 9 or 10 at the time) and things of that nature.

    I was SOOOO glad to get out of there, but I still wonder what happened to those kids. (Now adults in their late 30s.) Being there and knowing that that woman might hurt those kids was like a season spent in hell. (this couple talked about going into therapy, and i suggested that the daughter be able to speak with the therapist alone – her dad then expressed bafflement as to what his child would actually have to say to an adult. You get the picture, I’m sure.)

    btw, these people were supposedly xtian.

  23. Julie Anne wrote:

    I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with Voddie Baucham over the past few days (topic started out on spanking due to my blog post, but has since ventured into Homeschool Movement and now abuse in marriage). I asked for his position on abuse in marriage and instead of responding directly, he referred me to a link in which he says there is no allowance for divorce, period. I haven’t responded yet, but I’m about to ask him what happened to those pages in his Bible that refer to divorce.

    Julie Anne — if you need more biblical firepower, download this excellent free PDF that goes into a biblical defense of divorce in cases of brutality. Look at pages 6-12. Excellent material.

    web001.rbc.org/pdf/discovery-series/gods-protection-of-women.pdf

  24. Debbie Kaufman wrote:

    I think this comes from churches teaching and believing separation from the world to the extreme. They are not going to condone anything the secular does. They will always do the opposite and say it is Biblical without really taking the time to research it like they claim to do with their pet doctrines.

    MacArthur is very much a part of Independent Baptist fundamentalism, and always has been. Many are not aware of this. MacArthur and his followers (the Pyro team, Fred Butler, et al) still self-identify as “fundamentalist.”

  25. @ Hester: Michelangelo’s David: yes, but you have to balance that out with an understanding of the revival of classical Greek and Roman artistic subjects (including nudes, especially male nudes) in Renaissance italy.

    However, I’d say there’s a *much* stronger case for Donatello’s “David” being intentionally and overtly homoerotic, which has much to do with Donatello himself. (Michelangelo would probably qualify as “gay” by today’s standards, but his personality was very different from Donatello’s!)

    If you feel like doing some further reading, you can try Giorgio Vasari’s “Lives of the Artists” (which should be available as a free e-book at manybooks.net and other sites) along with Rudolf and Margot Wittkower’s Born Under Saturn, which is THE classic study of “temperament,” personality (etc.) and more regarding artists of the Renaissance. I think it’s fun reading, but then, I am an art/art history geek of sorts.

  26. @ Hester: I do NOT think that Michelangelo meant his male nudes to be overtly homoerotic in the way that many people seem to view them – and get offended, if you follow. (am guessing you’re probably reading something by a VF type who thinks M’s David is the epitome of homoeroticism.)

    but any more than this and I’ll be writing an essay – you might find a good, basic text on art history (the kinds used in college survey course; there are several that are standard) to be your best bet on this topic, since they give *context* – something most of the people who get all upset about these things tend to blithely ignore.

  27. @ Numo:

    “am guessing you’re probably reading something by a VF type who thinks M’s David is the epitome of homoeroticism”

    Yes. Doug said it was homoerotic, claimed that Michelangelo was a “moral pervert,” and blasted him for embracing Greek thought. Thing is, Doug goes on and on about how great math is…so I’m not sure how Michelangelo is a sinner for embracing Greek thought, but Doug loving a discipline founded on the writings of Euclid is okay. Not to mention most of Western music is founded on Greek thought too.

    Thanks for the tips. I doubt I’ll have to get into that much detail, I just wanted to check to see if Doug was hearing voices again… 🙂

  28. He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to ignore your own internal moral compass, engage in this kind of cruelty, and still think you’ll not reap what you’ve sown.

  29. Addendum @ Numo:

    Also, I’m not clear why it’s okay for Doug to put 19th century paintings all over his CDs, when those paintings were ultimately derived from (Greek-derived) artistic principles laid down in the Renaissance…

  30. @ Hester:

    Like all cult leaders, Doug gets to decide what’s okay and what’s not, and he doesn’t even have to be consistent with his own “reasoning.”

  31. Hester wrote:

    Thing is, Doug goes on and on about how great math is…

    If Mr. Wilson thinks he’s going to conscript math in a proxy war against Godless liberals such as myself, he’s barking up the wrong tree:

    …Mathematics is the queen of the sciences. She answers to no one but herself and toes no line but her own…

  32. Julie Anne wrote:

    I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with Voddie Baucham over the past few days (topic started out on spanking due to my blog post, but has since ventured into Homeschool Movement and now abuse in marriage). I asked for his position on abuse in marriage and instead of responding directly, he referred me to a link in which he says there is no allowance for divorce, period. I haven’t responded yet, but I’m about to ask him what happened to those pages in his Bible that refer to divorce.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t bother. He’s firmly entrenched in the Permanence Camp (along with John Piper). Even if you are abandoned by a spouse you have to remain single until he or she dies. And they do not see Jesus as making a provision for Adultery, but rather allowing for divorce for infidelity during the betrothal period. This was the same view of my former church who pointed me to John Piper’s work, and my former best friend who pointed me to Baucham’s. If they aren’t going to listen to David Instone-Brewer (and John Piper called his view “tragic”), they aren’t going to listen to us. Neither Piper nor Baucham’s work comes anywhere close to the scholarship and thoroughness of Dabvid IB, but that doesn’t stop them. Oh, and John Piper’s church doesn’t even agree with him.

    Jeff did a critique of Bacham’s message on Permanence (the same message my former best friend cited to me). Note- we are still friends and he accepts my divorce- says it is not a point worth dividing over. But I’ll never be able to be as close as I was to someone whose theology includes in being pleasing to God to see me destroyed.

    Anyway- here’s Jeff’s critique if you are interested:

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/my-notes-on-voddie-bauchams-permanence-view-no-divorce-sermon-by-jeff-crippen/

  33. Muff Potter wrote:

    He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to ignore your own internal moral compass, engage in this kind of cruelty, and still think you’ll not reap what you’ve sown.

    Abusers do not think like other people do. They do not have an “internal moral compass” the way most human beings do. There is no “figuring out how they think”. I’m sure you already know this, but I have to say it to remind myself.

    Secular folks who have studied abuse have already figured this out and know we have to treat abusers differently. And guess what, there’s evidence that the NT Apostles knew this too. How else can Paul speak of winning your opponents with gentleness and then turn around and harshly come against Alexander the Coppersmith? Or John calling out Diotrophese? Either Paul was “do as I say, not as I do”, or he understood that there are some folks whose attitudes did not allow for the winning over with gentleness and required stiff judgment in order to protect the church.

    All of that is taken from Jeff’s book- but it’s a hard lesson for me. I always want to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard for me to believe that abusers won’t just “get it” someday when they finally understand the real harm they’ve done. But that is not the reality. The reality is that an abuser thinks and reacts with a different set of rules- they are not to be empathized with or understood. They are to be protected against.

  34. Jeff S wrote:

    The reality is that an abuser thinks and reacts with a different set of rules- they are not to be empathized with or understood. They are to be protected against.

    Jeff S — Well said. I tell people that abusers are not normal. A normal person wants a win-win relationship. An abuser wants a win-lose…and you are the loser.

  35. Hester wrote:

    Also, random question that has zero to do with the topic at hand, for the artists here: did anyone ever think that Michelangelo’s David was “homoerotic”? This is research for a blog post.

    I never did.

  36. Muff Potter wrote:

    I don’t see how it’s possible to ignore your own internal moral compass, engage in this kind of cruelty, and still think you’ll not reap what you’ve sown.

    If you ever figure that out, please share. My mind still balks at believing the things my mother, the religious guru, has done, even when I was an eyewitnes,,,ir target. Their mind is broken….the moral compass part is skewed or gone…

  37. Jeff S wrote:

    All of that is taken from Jeff’s book- but it’s a hard lesson for me. I always want to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard for me to believe that abusers won’t just “get it” someday when they finally understand the real harm they’ve done. But that is not the reality. The reality is that an abuser thinks and reacts with a different set of rules- they are not to be empathized with or understood. They are to be protected against.

    This is so true. I am working toward fully accepting that neither of my parents will ever ‘get it’ and letting go of that hope. It’s sad. It requires some grieving. But it is reality and frees me to move forward. But it still hurts like hell.

  38. @ Jeff S:

    Thank you very much for that link, Jeff. That is in fact the same sermon he referred to me and so it was great to read Jeff C.’s lengthy review. I was curious – did you ever show your friend Jeff C’s review of Baucham’s sermon?

    It was pretty astounding to read that so much of his sermon did not even come from scripture, but instead from a book on marriage permanence – as Jeff C was following along with his copy of the book while listening to Baucham. I have a hunch there may be some unhappy and hopeless wives in his church.

  39. Sorry to be coming late to this thread. Thanks Dee and Deb for this post.

    Recently a pastor in Texas, David Dykstra, gave five sermons on divorce which we believe are top notch. You can find links to them at the Sermons page on A Cry For Justice:
    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/sermons-and-talks/

    And thanks for the links to Patrick Stewart and Jackson Katz. They are really worth watching. So inspiring.

    I’d love to see the leaders of the so called complementarian movement start being real men like Stewart and Katz are being. Then I would maybe believe that they are starting to demonstrate mature and godly masculinity, instead of just spouting rhetoric about it.

  40. @ Julie Anne:

    No- when I’ve attempted to explain things in the past he’s always fallen back to “I respect you as a strong Christian and know that I can be wrong on this- we can agree to disagree, it’s a secondary issue”, so he’s not really that interested in getting to the bottom of it. And I DO appreciate that he doesn’t make divorce an unforgivable sin like many other relationships I’ve had. But what for him is a “different perspective” is my life.

    And the thing is, he has two very close relationships with men who were in really, really bad marriages that both were able to miraculously save their relationships. Like in one case where both the husband and wife had both cheated on one another, repented, and managed not only to stay together, but thrive. After seeing examples like that, I think he expects God to do that in every case, instead of realizing just how miraculous that kind of thing is (and what an amazing testimony it is to God’s power and mercy). But in that case there were two repentant hearts- a very different situation from mine.

    I’ve also seen this friend get more and more into VF type of teaching. He and his wife now have 5 children in a very small home and she homeschools. His salary is not great. I do think I’ve seen her discuss FV materials on FB. Now I know without a doubt that he is not an abuser and they are certainly not into the more extreme doctrines, but I fear they’ve been led astray by VF and Baucham type teaching, and it hurts my heart.

  41. @ numo:

    I’m confused- isn’t “Classical Education” ENTIRELY “Greek” to the core?

    What is so wrong with being “Greek” that gets him upset? Clearly Augustine (who certainly influences his theology) was influenced heavily by Greek thought. Greek’s had some decent thinking in places (and really bad thinking in others, no doubt)- that’s what common grace is all about . . .

  42. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    I am working toward fully accepting that neither of my parents will ever ‘get it’ and letting go of that hope. It’s sad. It requires some grieving. But it is reality and frees me to move forward. But it still hurts like hell.

    One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is to not making my own healing dependent on my ex wife “getting it”. For the longest time I didn’t even realize I was doing it, and it caused me a lot of problems. I wrote a post about it that you might like:

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/the-fallacy-of-making-our-healing-dependent-on-those-who-hurt-us-by-jeffs/

    It’s worth noting that the therapist I talk about in that post who told a bunch of emotionally hurting people not to wait for their abusers to take responsibility later became my own, personal therapist. I found out after the fact that he used to work with court ordered domestic violence perpetrators (men). So this was a therapist who really, REALLLY “gets it”.

    I once asked him how many of those men he worked with ever changed, and his sad answer was that you could count it on one hand, that the religious ones were the worst, the “repentant” ones were the mildest of the bunch, and he couldn’t even really say if even those men truly turned from their abusive ways in the end.

    Having a therapist who understood abuse was key for me and such a blessing. And he also helped me see that my ex WAS emotionally abusive. And yet, he also clearly showed me that the type of abuse that was perpetrated by the men he used to work with was one a whole different level that my ex didn’t approach. I think many men who clamor about getting equal treatment when it comes to DV maybe miss this. I know that there are women who can be as threatening to their husbands as some men, but my guess is that there are fewer cases. I think there may be a lot of cases like mine that go underreported because the cards are stacked against men admitting to not being able to emotionally handle things (but on forums I frequented dealing with living as a spouse of a depressed person, there were as many abused men as there were women), but at the end of the day, I can say that my experience as a male was different from a lot of our female commenters on ACFJ.

    In the extreme cases where you have heads being crushed into bathroom sinks or babies lost due to their husbands beating them, this is certainly far worse than what I experienced. But even the milder cases where the abuse was more like “neglect” and emotional/financial, even then my experience was a lot different. For one I had a good job and financial resources- a lot of women leaving abuse situations have to do it without a net. It wasn’t easy on me financially and I still had to get help, so I shudder to think how it would have been if I didn’t have a job. Another thing is that I think I was believed by my church- I don’t know if it would have been different if I was a female. Now, because of their permanence views their belief didn’t help much: they told me it was my job to suffer for the glory of God. But at the least I didn’t have to spend time trying to prove that my ex was the problem. I can’t say for certain how their attitude would have been toward me if I was female, but I can’t discount that my experience was different from many female commenters we get on the blog.

    However, there are surprising similarities. While women are told to “submit” in order to change their husbands, I was told to “love sacrificially” in order to change my wife. Really this amounted to the same thing with different language. I was told that “love never fails” and that if I’d loved my wife with “agape love” then she would have changed. I was not loving her correctly, so it was my fault. This is very similar to the teaching many women get that they are the problem for not being submissive enough. It all comes down to blaming the victim.

    Anyway, I’m rambling a bit, so probably a good time to stop and go back to sleep!

  43. He purposely dumped the contents of her large craft basket all over the floor. He waited until she came into the room and turned on a recorder. She became upset, and raised her voice to him while crying.

    So: woman turns up to May’s church with a black eye. The elders have no difficulty in accepting that she did something to provoke it. OK… well, it’s possible; abusers can be women, abusers certainly use manipulative provocation; and if said elders actually have objectively verifiable evidence that has not been filtered by the husband…

    (Though May subsequently indicated that they did not.)

    But in the example on this post, a husband turns up with a tape-recording he just happened to make of his wife crying over something he had done, and none of the elders appears to think it possible that provocation was a factor? Or that it was staged?

  44. Jeff S wrote:

    I’m confused- isn’t “Classical Education” ENTIRELY “Greek” to the core?

    Jeff – sorry to quote you out of context there; I know you’re not actually confused!

    But you make an important point. Many ultra calvinismists (deliberate spelling) and others who believe the Bible is a discrete set of propositionally true statements about god, rather than a many-dimensional picture of a Person that must be engaged with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, have no idea just how deeply their religion is rooted in ancient Greek secular culture.

    Not that I have anything against Greek culture as against anybody else’s culture. (For the record, I was supporting Leonidas in the film “300”.)

  45. @ Jeff S:

    In my experience (both personal and with a friend) the financial aspect is huge. For me, I had mostly lived with my parents (one or the other) most of my adult life (as well as my childhood). The abuse of childhood (in all its forms) left me ill-equipped to handle being independent – and although the sexual abuse and physical abuse stoped as I got older, the emotional abuse just intensified.

    It is embarrassing to say that I am 50 years old and only broke away from family and got a job and my own place 5 years ago. And it was one of the scariest, hardest things I’ve ever done. I took a leap with no net and I knew that if I missed and fell, there would be no one to catch me. And I knew if I fell, I could not emotionally handle moving back in with family. In some ways, I’m still there. I’ve beem supporting myself for 5 years now, but it is paycheck to paycheck – one paycheck away from disaster all the time. I am learning to deal with the stress of that.

    Thank you from pointing out the difference, I hadn’t thought of it.

    As to male vivtims, I grew up up watching my mother treat my father like s***. All the time. He grew up abused by his step-mother. And walked right into falling in love with and marrying a narcissist. He never received any respect or affection from her. As was mentioned upthread, its hard to understand how someone can treat another person that way.

    Unfortunately, the s*** rolled downhill (in addition to the mind games of my mother). At least when he wasn’t just totally checked out. He would yell at me for small things and use me to goad her – get me in trouble with her just to see her angry, and not intervene when the things he told me to do got me whipped by her. It’s amazing the disconnect that can happen. I never thought of my father as physically abusive – emotionally, yes, but physically? And then I told my therapist at one point that when I was 14, he tried to whip me with a belt and I fought back….last time he tried, but that statement caused me to acknowledge that he was physically abusive, too.

    Anyway, I’m the one rambling now. So I will follow your lead and go to sleep…..

  46. I really feel that if we are obedient to the word of God in that kind of a situation, God would give us the grace to endure a lot more severe things than we think.

    One more question.

    “We”?

  47. @ Jeff S. & Numo:

    Actually, it’s Doug Wilson who’s into classical education. Doug Phillips rejects it in favor of what he calls the “Hebrew model” of education in Deuteronomy 6:7. He also refers to this as the “walk-alongside” model. Personally, I want to know if any Jews have ever heard of this “Hebrew” model. Doug’s dad was raised Jewish, but he’s the only Jew who seems to know about it. The rest of them did things like start Hebrew day schools, which Doug specifically rejected as “Greek” a few lectures ago.

    Jeff, good catch about Augustine. I’m sure Doug wouldn’t believe you, though. Or he’d say that we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (which would still be contradicting himself).

  48. @ Nicholas:

    Just read the Turretin posts. That guy really has it in for the Sistine Chapel. 🙂 Of course what he’s not saying is that the traditional Reformed view of “images of God” also forbids Christian from making an image of God in their minds – i.e., actually picturing Jesus while reading the Bible:

    “The sins forbidden in the second commandment are…the making of any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly or in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever…” LC 109

    In other words, the Larger Catechism condemns the God-designed human way of processing language as “idolatrous.” It could also be read as prohibiting symbolism. Thus why old Calvinist churches are so stark and bare.

  49. Let’s not forget…that Captain Picard was most likely an atheist.

    based on a quote from Who Watches the Watchers where he says:
    “Horrifying… Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!”

  50. @ Hester: IMO, since Michelangelo is a celebration of the male form:

    1. if one had “gay” eyes, one might or might not be influenced that way, in the same way that a hetero might or might not be influenced that way with paintings of female nudes (of which there are thousands, an interesting phenomenon, yes? lol).

    2. If one saw sex everywhere, then it is there, too.

    3. If one were deeply into the idea that the body is a corruption, one would find corruption in David. (I think these Christian-types are a combo of 2 and 3.)

    4. If one saw the human form as a marvelous creatioin, one would see David as a meditation of such.

    5. I am of #3 #4 but also see Michelangelo’s David as an idealization and that puts me off a bit, since I’m more inclined to viva la difference!

    [[MOD: Edit per request]]

  51. Jeff S wrote:

    It’s hard for me to believe that abusers won’t just “get it” someday when they finally understand the real harm they’ve done. But that is not the reality. The reality is that an abuser thinks and reacts with a different set of rules- they are not to be empathized with or understood. They are to be protected against.

    Yeah, it’s a nasty lesson we all want to avoid. Who are these people, so destructive and completely lost? We want to think that God’s love can reach everywhere and that nothing was made that cannot be restored. But these people, for various reasons, fly in the face of it.

    We need to be very cautious about labeling people, yet when we don’t move forward when people chronically act as if their morals/ethics are missing, our communities and constituents suffer and suffer. When we ignore them altogether, destruction is let lose. And when we continue to welcome them, we lose our faith and our witness.

    PS I’ve a comment in mod and I made an editing mistake—I wrote #3 but meant #4.(For when it appears hah)

  52. Jeff S wrote:

    I was told that “love never fails” and that if I’d loved my wife with “agape love” then she would have changed. I was not loving her correctly, so it was my fault.

    Such a weird perspective, isn’t it? It is God’s perfect love that they are pointing to, yet He doesn’t blame Himself when we don’t change. He allows us tremendous space to mess up and uses the normal consequences of loneliness/estrangement to coax us back to Him/Herself.

    And even God, when we finally repent, doesn’t just welcome us back as if our destructiveness never happened. How could He? Barring the rare miracle, the destructiveness has affected everything inside of us. We then slowly process all the issues with Him, “working out our salvation in awe and trembling” and it can take the rest of our lives.

    And for those of us who are the abused spouses, it is best for us to go out and find life and love elsewhere. We hand the work of relationship with abuser over to God because it is beyond us and is no longer our affair.

    Thanks for your “rambling”. Helpful to see the abused male perspective.

  53. Nicholas wrote:

    MacArthur is very much a part of Independent Baptist fundamentalism, and always has been. Many are not aware of this. MacArthur and his followers (the Pyro team, Fred Butler, et al) still self-identify as “fundamentalist.”

    MacArthur is a member of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (though that decision was fought by some members who were against it because MacArthur did not agree with their doctrinal statement on several points), but he isn’t so hot on the Baptist part. When he took over the GARB seminary Los Angeles Baptist College and Seminary, he renamed it Master’s College and Seminary and removed the congregational polity teaching, replacing it with Elder rule teaching.

  54. Janey wrote:

    Jeff S wrote:
    The reality is that an abuser thinks and reacts with a different set of rules- they are not to be empathized with or understood. They are to be protected against.
    Jeff S — Well said. I tell people that abusers are not normal. A normal person wants a win-win relationship. An abuser wants a win-lose…and you are the loser.

    Yes yes!! This exactly!! They want a win-lose and define winning by their victim losing.

  55. As someone struggling to recover from serious mental illness (BPD), I am sure that some of my behaviors were seen as abusive, and I’ve been called a bully. I always felt bad because I never intentionally set out to hurt anyone, but the biology/neuroscience is now showing that BPD sufferers have overactive emotional centers and impaired imulse control. Once the I’m emotions are triggered, my brakes are faulty to stop the train.

    I spent years in SGM trying to memeorize all the right verses and putting anger to death, but all that happened was replacing angry outbursts with addiction. I never found real help unti I left SGM and started in therapy.

    The first three years post SGM have been hard, and I was very angry when I put to death the addiction. My husband was advised to leave me early in the process because I had frequent rages, but I thank God he listened to what the Spirit was telling him — to stay and help me. I want to get well, and the outbursts are only an occaissional occurence now.

    I think if someone like me recognizes my brokeness and I want to get well, the church should welocome me and come along side to help, but that’s not been my experience.

    Sometimes I feel like anyone that appears to be narcicist is condemned here. Can we differentiate between those that recognize their struggle and those that deny their brokeness. Those that recognize their brokeness should be welcomed and helped. Let compassion be our default response.

  56. @ Jeff S

    You really have such a great way of speaking about your situation in the tone you use, etc. I have a lot of respect for you. I hope one day to be able to do the same.

  57. Quote:

    “Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.”

    Interesting. Make “victim” plural and replace “her” with “their” (referring to the people in the church) and this paragraph describes a former “pastor” (in title only, not definition) who recently graduated from The Master’s Seminary (TMS).

    As for divorce…

    Maybe others at Grace and TMS differ with Dr. MacArthur. I’m confused on the TMS position on divorce. The TMS guy referenced above was recommended to and then hired by our former church and both the guys from Grace and this “pastor” hid information that he had recently married a divorced woman. If it was a divorce with biblical justification, why hide the information?

    There is also another TMS guy in the area who was divorced, but prior to salvation. Additionally, one of his elders was divorced (back story is unknown).

    So what really is the TMS/Grace Community/Dr. MacArthur position on divorce?

  58. Mrs Stretch wrote:

    I always felt bad because I never intentionally set out to hurt anyone,

    I think if someone like me recognizes my brokeness and I want to get well, the church should welocome me and come along side to help, but that’s not been my experience.
    Can we differentiate between those that recognize their struggle and those that deny their brokeness. Those that recognize their brokeness should be welcomed and helped.

    Mrs. Stretch,

    You have hit on the key right here. This is the essential difference between those who are abusers and those who are not. It is the absence or presence of conscience and the absence or presence of a sense of wrongdoing they want to amend that make the defining difference between an abuser and someone who needs help. Unlike the person who wants help to change, the abuser does not recognize he/she is wrong but rather feels justified in being abusive. The abuser wants affirmation and support to stay the same and feels they are entitled to such.

  59. @ Mrs Stretch:
    BPD is not the same thing as narcissism or anti-social personality. The latter two rarely admit they even have problems, beyond a superficial Oops! There are also those with BPD who never face themselves, but some do, as you beautifully show.

    I have a friend with BPD who has courageously kept at it, and now, in her later 60s, is mostly calm and centered in herself and has learned methods to moderate emotional outbursts. She hasn’t been able to stay married but has people around her who continue to support her because she keeps coming back to try again. The path is hard! She is a hero.

    I wish you the best.

  60. @ Patrice:
    PS: The therapy my friend found most useful was Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with an accompanying exploration of childhood abuse (from which her unhealthy patterns originated).

  61. Former Macstudent wrote:

    Quote: “So what really is the TMS/Grace Community/Dr. MacArthur position on divorce?

    Welcome to TWW!  Here's what I have discovered so far…

    Students applying to The Masters Seminary are asked about their marital status on the application, and this wording is underneath the various boxes they can check: link

    "If you or your spouse/fiancee has been divorced, please attach a separate sheet entitled “Statement Regarding Divorce” outlining the circumstances involved, your view on the related biblical teaching, and your perception of the impact upon your future ministry. Please ask your pastor to mail a letter stating his evaluation of these circumstances and your marriage to The Master’s Seminary Admissions Office."

    It would be interesting to know which divorced applicants are granted admission and which are not.

  62. Jeff S wrote:

    While women are told to “submit” in order to change their husbands, I was told to “love sacrificially” in order to change my wife. Really this amounted to the same thing with different language. I was told that “love never fails” and that if I’d loved my wife with “agape love” then she would have changed.

    I find that Christians often mis-apply biblical concepts or passages across the board, and IMO, it’s not practical, it does not work in every single last situation.

    I think Christians need to use discernment. There is a time and place to be lovey and make nicey nice with rude or mean people, but a lot of mean, rude, abusive people do not respond to love alone (or to reasoning), in which case, it’s time to switch and use negative consequences on them (something God did a lot in the Bible, so it is a biblical concept).

    I was raised to believe that nice Christians girls are always passive, loving, and nice, and even when being treated rudely or abusively.

    It hasn’t been until the last few years, and after reading a lot of books on codependency and related topics, that I realize God does not expect a Christian to be a loving, forgiving, little sweet doormat with every single person, in every situation, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

    Also, I used to live that way (very passive, would not defend myself, put other people first at all times), and it plain does not work.

    The few times I stood up for myself -prior to being delivered of that “being a Christian means being lovey all the time, no matter what” thinking- was when the aggressor backed down and left me alone!

    If you stand up for yourself (as opposed to “loving on” the bully), the bully usually backs down. “Loving on” the bully only guarantees more mistreatment.

    There are examples in the Bible of Jesus and Paul assertively confronting their abusers and oppressors, but most Christians chose to gloss over those examples, and focus only on the passages where Jesus/Paul talked or showed lovey dovey sentiments or talked about forgiveness.

    This used to confuse me as a kid, when I read the whole Bible.

    My Mom was modeling passive behavior to me and coaching me to always be sweet to people even if they were nasty to me, but when I read the Bible, I saw Jesus and Paul screaming at people at times.

    Jesus and Paul were not always forgiving, loving, and saccharine sweet with those everyone who gave them grief.

    I’ve learned that you have to take each person and situation on a case- by- case basis, that it is wrong (and not even biblical) to be lovey lovey, ‘turn the other cheek,’ all the time with everyone.

    Putting the “lovey lovey, Christians should always make peace and be forgiving” principles in to play really depends on the person and the particular situation – and for some, it may not be wise. There are some people who will only respond to negative consequences.

  63. Bridget wrote:

    @ Deb: Goodness! I’m sure there is no discrimination going on at that reputable organization

    You made my day with that eyeroll! I look foward to using it in the future. 🙄 🙄 🙄

  64. Jeff S wrote:

    And I DO appreciate that he doesn’t make divorce an unforgivable sin like many other relationships I’ve had

    I find it so interesting that Christians who are dead-set against some particular action or behavior as being a heinous sin (say, divorce in this example), turn out to be very, very understanding and delicate when it happens to them personally. 😆

    Preacher Charles Stanley of a Baptist church in Atlanta said from the pulpit years ago that he thinks divorce disqualifies a preacher, and if he ever divorced, he would step down as preacher.

    Then his wife divorced him, but he refused to step down as preacher. He has now changed his tune on divorce and is a heck of a lot more sensitive about it.

    As I was saying on the mental health blog post the other day, I had depression for many years, and a lot of Christians are very insensitive and condemning of depression in and of itself, or of using medication or therapy to treat it, until they themselves come down with depression.

    TV Preacher John Hagee of San Antonio sometimes rails loudly against divorce in his sermons, but he himself has been divorced.

    According to online news stories, Hagee dumped his first wife for the mistress in his church (who is now his current wife), but he never mentions any of these details when he is screaming (literally screaming) against divorce in his sermons.

  65. Deb wrote:

    It would be interesting to know which divorced applicants are granted admission and which are not.

    It really would be interesting! Maybe someone in the know will post.

    …and the marriage for the recent TMS grad took place after he was admitted to TMS, so I wonder how that works. This guy recently signed a letter “Elder” but I’ve noticed he hasn’t announced that title on his website. I think he might have appointed himself Elder at least long enough to sign the letter.

    The other TMS guy was told by the seminary people (and I paraphrase from memory) that “prior to salvation” was a key consideration when they accepted him. They also said (paraphrased) in reality, it might be difficult for him to find a church to pastor and to be appointed elder. I don’t think he had a church for a number of years and in one of the churches nearby, he was not allowed to be an elder, though they allowed him to serve as part-time staff. He eventually left and started his own church where another TMS grad installed him and his other two elders.

  66. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    well, it’s possible; abusers can be women, abusers certainly use manipulative provocation; and if said elders actually have objectively verifiable evidence that has not been filtered by the husband…

    At least in the USA, based on reports I’ve read over the years, men make up the majority of the abusers.

    I’m hesitant to go over-board with the “let’s be really, really fair and equitable, and not be hasty to arrive at a definitive conclusion” type position regarding some subjects.

    I don’t think most children lie about being sexually abused. I’ve seen a lot of these SGM supporters say ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and ‘let’s wait to see what happens’ before any of them are willing to support the victims, and so on.

    I understand not wanting to condemn someone without having all the facts or on the small chance they are truly innocent, but….

    I think more often than not, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I don’t think most kids or women are going to lie about being abused, so I’m not as apt to say, “now hold your horses, maybe she is making this stuff up, or maybe she is the guilty party since women can abuse too.”

    One of the books I was reading about codependency says this sort of “I gotta be super fair to everyone, all the time” thinking is a trait a lot of American women have (I know I was that way for a long time), and being overly-fair blinds people to when others are taking advantage of them, or are lying.

    People who are liars and abusers will take a woman’s tendency to “want to be really fair” and use that to manipulate them and get their way.

  67. MacArthur embraces a literal hermeneutic, meaning the Bible literally says whatever he wants it to say.

  68. Patrice wrote:

    Michelangelo

    I think I read somewhere that Michelangelo intentionally made the hands on the David sculpturetoo- large on purpose because done at an accurate scale, they would’ve looked too small.

    I don’t find the “David” statue homo-erotic. I think if a guy finds it homo-erotic, that might say more about him than the sculpture itself / intent of the artist/ whatever the artist’s sexual orientation was.

    Straight up depiction of the nude human body don’t bother me. If that guy you are talking about who is freaking out over “David” wants to really get upset, there are true homo-erotic works by Robert Mapplethorpe and other contemporary artists.

    As someone who is very opposed to cruelty against animals, that guy should also be aware of “artists” who torture and kill cats, dogs, other animals on film, or kill them and then snap photos of the bodies, and they call this “art.”

    There is a European women artist who is currently doing this (I forget her name – and I’m pretty sure she is European), one was a Canadian teen (tho I think he is just a sicko, and was using the “art” thing to try to dodge the law), and a European guy who did a sex act on himself on film while butchering a live cat.

    There are artist who dip crucifixes in urine, or smear elephant dung on paintings of Mary, etc, and so on.

    I’m upset by all that sort of “art” (which I don’t even consider true art), than I am a simple statue of a nude guy (David) just standing there, or a painting from the 1400s of a topless lady just laying on a bed, reclining there with a bowl of fruit on a table. That is tepid stuff.

  69. Patrice wrote:

    since Michelangelo is a celebration of the male form:

    I just left you a post about this, right above this one, that is sitting in moderation queue, but I also wanted to say your comment there reminds me of a joke photo that went around a few years ago, about how Michelangelo’s David would have looked today, if they were living in American culture, which loves McDonald’s and potato chips.

    Here is the photo:
    photo: If Michelangelo’s David was eating a contemporary American diet all the time

  70. @ anonymous:

    MacArthur is also terrible at understanding or showing compassion in regards to Christians who have psychological problems, such as depression.

    I’ve copied material about that issue on a much older thread, from a book where the author (who is a Christian psychiatrist) quotes a guy who has depression (who is taking medications for it) who went to MacArthur’s church.

  71. anonymous wrote:

    Yes yes!! This exactly!! They want a win-lose and define winning by their victim losing.

    That is also similar to workplace bullies.

    In one book I read about workplace bulllying, the author said that a lot of workplace bullies have that mindset of “win / lose,” where-as most of the types of people they target for harassment and bullying tend to be genuinely nice people who seek a “win / win” scenario for both parties, where compromise is desirable and nobody has to lose.

    The author said bullies don’t want to make peace. They don’t want to compromise. They don’t want a 50-50, fair outcome. It’s an “all or nothing” mindset with them. They want to totally control, dominate and/or annihilate their targets.

    Further (according to the book), some of this variety of bully put on a nice face around others – they are skilled at “kissing up” and acting pleasant to people higher up the ladder at the job, so when the victim finally complains about being mistreated, nobody believes him/her.

  72. @ Mrs Stretch:

    I’m sorry for your ordeal and that you feel unsupported by a church community.

    However, I’m one of these people who doesn’t always completely care what someone’s motivation or reason is for acting rudely or hateful to me, whether it’s due to a medical condition, or they’re having a bad day, their boss yelled at them, or because their mom just died.

    My sister has self-diagnosed as bi-polar (she has not been formally diagnosed by a doctor). Her temper is awful. She will scream and yell profanity at me, and I don’t do anything to provoke her.

    Because Mom taught me that nice Christian girls are doormats and showing anger is wrong, I bottled up my anger at my sister for this, for a long, long time. I never stood up to my sister for the longest time.

    I don’t know if my sister’s temper outbursts (and they are very nasty and intense) are due to medical reasons or stress in life, and I don’t much care what the reason is at this point.

    I the past couple years, I have put boundaries in place where I tell her I will not tolerate her verbal abuse. If she begins yelling at me over the phone, screaming vulgarities at me, etc, I hang up on her.

    Her behavior towards me has changed a little bit. She’s not as liable to fly off the handle and scream at me over the phone, or not as long.

    With my long history of low self esteem, anxiety attacks, and depression, I cannot afford to be around someone who goes into unprovoked, unpredictable rages at me. For self protection, I have to limit contact and maintain boundaries.

  73. @ anonymous:

    I used to work for a boss like that, too, which is what lead me to reading all the books about workplace bullying and abuse. I was also bullied a lot as a kid by other kids at school. There are many parallels among bullying and abuse.

    Also another parallel I picked up on after having read many books/blogs about all this is that, whether in marriages, schools, or jobs, the victim is usually blamed and the abuser gets a free pass.

  74. Daisy wrote:

    There are many parallels among bullying and abuse.

    I meant among marriage/ school/ adult workplace settings/scenarios

  75. @ Daisy:
    Ok, so I love my BPD friend and am delighted to hear that she continues to make progress. But I can’t be around her anymore because of the way her problems trigger my PTSD-constellation.

    About 5 yrs ago,I talked with my friend about needing to withdraw. It was followed by months of sturm und drang (and input from healthy friends) for her to understand that I was NOT rejecting her but was simply putting up necessary boundaries for myself and that I wished her well. Because at bottom, underneath all the desperate manipulations and pain-filled explosions, my friend is terrified that she is nothing and that she has no value. I would never want to prove that lie to her. Never. Ever. But I needed to protect myself.

    This is why we are a community. Those who are sturdy are meant to be her supportive friends. And they can follow through to the other side with her: through calming, perspective-gathering, remorse, restoration. My job is to love her from afar, to pray for her, and to tell her story to others who may find benefit in it.

    In a book named, “Awful Rowing Towards God”, Anne Sexton wrote:
    “…I grew, I grew,
    and God was there like an island I had not rowed to,
    …I am rowing, I am rowing
    though the oarlocks stick and are rusty
    and the sea blinks and rolls
    like a worried eyeball,
    but I am rowing, I am rowing,
    though the wind pushes me back
    and I know that that island will not be perfect.
    It will have the flaws of life,
    the absurdities of the dinner table,
    but there will be a door
    and I will open it
    and I will get rid of the rat inside of me,
    the gnawing pestilential rat.
    God will take it with his two hands
    And embrace it.”

  76. @ Patrice:
    I guess I am saying that those who are genuinely suffering from mental illnesses such as (some) BPD and Bi-polar people are different from those who are narcissistic/anti-social PD. The psychology field hasn’t grasped this yet, because they’ve not come to terms with the idea of ethical-absence and the concept of evil. Unfortunately the church is out in the left field of deliberate ignorance.

    Borderline has been a dumping ground for the apparently intractably manipulative. IMO, some of them are narcissists/anti-socials with explosive temperaments. But others are as my friend, just plain mentally ill.

    It is important to understand this, particularly with domestic abuse because sometimes a spouse is ill and sometimes he/she has an abyss where the moral compass should be. The difference doesn’t matter for the abused, but for those abusers who are genuinely ill, treatment will be different than for the narciss/anti-soc.

    And Christians should know this and set up treatment for abusers with this in mind.

  77. Here is an (egalitarian)Christian organization who takes seriously the subject of abuse in home and church.

    Christians for Biblical Equality
    http://www.cbeinternational.org/

    CBE has available written resources and research on the subject.
    From CBE’s home page at top, select “Resources” to get to CBE’s bookstore (called “equality depot”). Then, select the subject “Abuse.”

  78. Former Macstudent wrote:

    what really is the TMS/Grace Community/Dr. MacArthur position on divorce?

    I would guess it is ‘we allow remarriage after divorce in some circumstances, but we don’t let it be publicly known what our criteria are. That way, we avoid coming under attack for our doctrine/policy, and we can make the rules a bit elastic when we want to… of course, we do not show partiality. . .

  79. Daisy wrote:

    The author said bullies don’t want to make peace. They don’t want to compromise. They don’t want a 50-50, fair outcome. It’s an “all or nothing” mindset with them. They want to totally control, dominate and/or annihilate their targets.

    The Zero Sum Game. Where the only way to Win is to make the other LOSE. Your boot stamping on their face or their boot stamping on yours. And dead men can’t come back for revenge.

    Further (according to the book), some of this variety of bully put on a nice face around others – they are skilled at “kissing up” and acting pleasant to people higher up the ladder at the job, so when the victim finally complains about being mistreated, nobody believes him/her.

    “Go ahead. Squeal to Mom. Nobody will EVER believe you. Because you’re just the Crazy Kid and I’m the Sweet Little Angel.”

  80. Daisy wrote:

    Putting the “lovey lovey, Christians should always make peace and be forgiving” principles in to play really depends on the person and the particular situation – and for some, it may not be wise. There are some people who will only respond to negative consequences.

    Some are predators, and “lovey lovey make peace and be forgiving” is seen as PREY behavior. Like those who counsel running away from an assailant and/or being nicey-nicey-nice.

    Whenever I hear that oh-so-sweet advice (always from some sheeple who’ve never ever encountered a predator), I think of a Jurassic Park velociraptor, screaming: “PREY IS RUNNING! CHASE AND KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!”

  81. @ Patrice:

    Yes, that is the situation I am.

    I hope my post to the BPD person did not come across as mean or insensitive. I think it’s great she knows she has a problem and is taking responsibility for it and is working on it.

    I was just saying that over a lifetime, I’ve been on the opposite side of it and have taken on a lot of damage as a result.

    As someone whose natural personality was to be quiet, shy, and afraid of people, and then my Mom made those traits intensify by teaching me as I grew older that girls are always supposed to be doormats no matter what, left me wide open to being treated poorly by other people, including my sister.

    (I also learned from reading books the past couple years that people who are shy, quiet, passive and really, really nice are magnets for bullies and abusers. Which is something I had wondered about growing up – I seemed to attract jerks or people with anger problems, which I couldn’t figure out, since I was so darn nice.)

    I love my sister, and I wish her the best.

    However, after a lifetime of being bullied and treated rudely and harassed by peers, friends, bosses, siblings (and I have no idea what their motives/reasons were, if all or some had medical or psyhcologial problems), I’ve had it with sitting back and just allowing people to walk all over me.

    (Being told one has to be a doormat in life, I now realize, is one big reason my clinical depression started when I was a kid, and in the face of lots of school bullying, too. My mom started conditioning me to be a doormat sometime when I was around 8, 9, or 10 years of age.)

    Reading in books I do not have to subject myself to that treatment in the name of being a “good person” or a “loving Christian,” and that it is healthy to have boundaries, I defend myself now, and it makes no difference to me why a person is mistreating me.

    If I’m being mistreated now, I either confront the person (politely at first), or I cut down contact with them if they won’t change.

    I have to do it as a form of self-protection, and I am just tired of having spent decades being a verbal punching bag for other people’s angry out bursts and put downs.

    So I don’t mean to paint it as I’m out and out against people who have BPD or something like that.

  82. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    One thing my mean boss used to do to me is blame me for her behavior. Almost daily, and then it got to weekly, she would create a stressful, hostile work environment.

    I rarely stood up to her. (I was raised that nice Christian ladies should be submissive, sweet, doormats to everyone, so I usually did not confront people.)

    But on a small number of occasions when this mean boss was being a real —, and I spoke up in defense of myself and pushed back against her misrepresentation of myself, she would then frame it as though I was the problem.

    There was a snotty secretary who worked there too who was also problematic, and I didn’t always take her gruff lying down. She complained about me to the mean boss, who then told me later in reference to this, “You have a problem with authority.”

    No, I really do not “have a problem with authority,” but I do take issue with people who abuse their positions of authority, as she did. (The secretary was not even in authority over me, we were equals.)

    I was being depicted as the problem child, even though it was she and the secretary who were misbehaving.

    (Nobody else at this job liked the secretary or the mean boss. I had people from other departments come up to me to complain about the boss or express sympathy that I had to work for her. Two male co- workers, in separate occasions, complained openly about the rude secretary in our staff meetings.)

  83. I have listened to several of the audio sermon series/ lectures on divorce and remarriage at the ‘Crying Out for Justice’ blog, and while they are quite good, I may disagree a tad with one view in one program.

    In the “Divorce & Remarriage” audio by David Dykstra, he gets into this thing about how unless someone is “called to singleness” or “has the gifts or means necessary for living single [read: refraining from having sex forever until they die],” that it is mean-spirited for churches to bar anyone from ever getting re-married, because living alone and single forever and ever ’til you die means loneliness, no sex, and no companionship for that person.

    I don’t think it is wrong for a divorced person to get re-married.

    But… well… I didn’t ask to be single as long as I am. I am in my early 40s and have never married but really believed since childhood God would send me a spouse by the time I was mid 30s, but it did not happen.

    I abstained from sex this whole time. I used to seriously believe sex was for marriage only.

    God did not “call me” to be single, nor did God “gift me” with celibacy or singleness, but this is the view Dykstra depicts in his lecture.

    Dykstra, in his audio, keeps using phrases like that (“gifted” “called to” etc), where he says (paraphrase), unless God has “called someone to singleness,” they can’t, or won’t, be able to stay chaste, etc. (Yes, they can.)

    If you get divorced and are unable to find a new marital partner afterwards, you’re still called to be chaste – just like never-married people like me are called to remain sexually pure.

    There just seems to be this odd understanding of singlehood and celibacy in Dykstra’s views.

    God does not bestow chastity/celibacy and singleness on people like signing out eye color, height, or musical talent.

    I’m still single at my age, and not by my choice- and God has not wiped away all sexual desire from me. I get lonely. I’d like companionship.

    God did not give me some kind of “Celibate and Singleness Superpowers,” where I wear a Blue body suit with a Red cape and fly around with a big “S” for “Single” on my chest. -But this is often how adult celibacy is depicted by Christians.

    A lot of Christians, including this Dykstra guy, seem to feel that God grants “special grace” (super powers) or “gifts” to people like me. God does not.

    Being a virgin into my 40s, despite having opportunity (I was engaged once), and having a normal sex drive, has been a choice of mine to this point; I was trying to be faithful to what the Bible said about sex/marriage.

    It is a matter of self control, self discipline, and personal decision.

    God does not grant the unmarried person an imperviousness to being sexually tempted. God doesn’t remove your libido or desire for marriage if you are single into your 30s and older.

    You’re not devoid of sexuality, a sexual nature, or sexual desire just because you are single or divorced at whatever age.

  84. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Some are predators, and “lovey lovey make peace and be forgiving” is seen as PREY behavior. Like those who counsel running away from an assailant and/or being nicey-nicey-nice.

    Yep. It touches on something I said in a post the other day about the same topic.

    Books I’ve read by therapists who talk to aggressors and victims have said that the aggressors will admit they view niceness as permission to keep on abusing the nice person, and that passive, nice people with no boundaries are attractive targets.

    Also, they admit, if you don’t stand up to them or leave them, many of them say they have no respect for you and consider your reluctance to leave as your willingness to be a victim. You must want to be abused because you stay and put up with it (that is their attitude).

    I think that’s a warped way of thinking, and it’s reprehensible, but that’s how some of the abusers say they view the situation.

  85. I’m listening to another audio of that Dykstra guy who is quoting favorably from “It’s important who you Marry,” which is a page by a Christian lady who tells Christian women not to marry a Non-Christian.

    I know there is a “be not yoked to an unbeliever” Bible passage, but there is an absolute dearth of older, single Christian men to marry.

    If the “don’t marry a Non Christian” is the view one is going with, my choice as a 40ish woman, never married, who is minimally Christian now, who’d like to be married, is to either
    (1) stay single forever or
    (2) marry a Non Christian.

    As I’d like to get married, (1) is not an option anymore. I waited and waited for Christian Prince Charming to enter my life, and that did not happen.

    That lady on her page also tells Christians to marry a guy who is not just a Christian, but one who is spiritually mature (‘will he lead you in Bible reading’ etc)

    It is funny she would insist on that as a criteria for a Christian spouse because a male Christian writer I saw last week just said Christians need to drop that as a criteria.

    He said it’s a fact that single Christian females vastly outnumber the males, and if you further erode down their pool of marital candidates by insisting that a mature Christian gal can only marry a spiritually mature guy of her equal, Christian gals will never, ever, ever marry because a lot of them are ten years ahead of guys the same age in the religious maturity department.

    I agree with him. Christians have erected too many of these qualifications, and it’s limiting to singles who want to marry.

  86. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t believe adultery is the only “biblical” grounds for divorce myself, but even though a lot of Christians apparently still do…
    Where in the Bible does Christ or Paul ever say that divorce is the greatest sin ever, and it is the unpardo

    I think the ‘unforgivable sin” would be allowing your child to be abused or to continue you being abused.

  87. @ Daisy:

    I take your point about not wanting to be so “fair” that we don’t do anything constructive – I’m not sure I support “fairness” either because (as I’d use the words) it is subtly different from justice. The number of false allegations is almost certainly lower than the number of unreported cases, after all. IMHO, one miscarriage of justice is one too many, whereas one case of abuse is also one too many. The only way you can guarantee no miscarriages of justice is never to prosecute anybody. And the only way you can guarantee no woman or child will be abused by a man is to shoot every boy in the head once he reaches 16.

    What is truly disgusting – and this does, of course, often happen – is to tell a person reporting abuse that they shouldn’t report it because “it’ll ruin his [or the church’s] reputation” without ever actually giving a monkey’s whether “he” is guilty or innocent. That has nothing to do with fairness or justice, of course; it is inexcusable.

    It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of the community, though, to have measures in place that protect someone who is at risk of abuse without the putative abuser(s) being (in any sense) lynched without trial, and whose wheels don’t grind so slowly that abusers continue to harm their victims (or worse, escalate) as they wait for protection.

  88. “What Church World R U Living In That Apparently Gives The Abuser A Free Pass?”

    What?

    I find it very odd that victims of domestic violence, are being asked  today by pastors to endure criminal behavior in the home. 

    Kirrrrrrrrrrrk!

    Q: Is this the same attitude these pastors are exhibiting within the church as well?  

    (How else can we explain the free pass apparently given to an abuser, in a religious setting, by pastoral leadership?)

    (sadface)

    The Church, It Can Not Change?

    huh?

    Does that make us proverbial free birds?

    Crunch!

    I thought Christ came to set us free, …and the church authorities would lead us in chains, to who knows where?!?

    rattle, rattle…

    hmmm…

    NO MORE EXCUSES?

    >-((S“㋡”py((º>™  
    ___
    Refuge ❤ relief: Renata Triani : ” “My Secret Place””  

  89. @ numo:
    Yeah, it’s awful when you see that going on. It can affect people for the rest of their lives, badly. It is hard to be married to someone so emotionally battered, & you live with no confidence that your relationship will make it.

  90. Patrice wrote:

    @ Mrs Stretch:
    BPD is not the same thing as narcissism or anti-social personality. The latter two rarely admit they even have problems, beyond a superficial Oops! There are also those with BPD who never face themselves, but some do, as you beautifully show.

    I have a friend with BPD who has courageously kept at it, and now, in her later 60s, is mostly calm and centered in herself and has learned methods to moderate emotional outbursts. She hasn’t been able to stay married but has people around her who continue to support her because she keeps coming back to try again. The path is hard! She is a hero.

    I wish you the best.

    I think this distinction is vital, true & wise. A good friend of mine, a Vicar’s wife has BPD & is really making progress with a great therapist & DBT. She & Mrs Stretch are a world away from NPD, evidenced by their obvious insight into their condition & desire to change. Those abilities are non-existent in the narcissist, who believe the problems lie in others & that they should change.

  91. @ Amy: Amy, those are probably just people with B & D fetishes who need a “Christian” gloss on it.

  92. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    If you ever figure that out, please share. My mind still balks at believing the things my mother, the religious guru, has done, even when I was an eyewitnes,,,ir target. Their mind is broken….the moral compass part is skewed or gone…

    I don’t think there is any figuring out to do. It is what it is, as Jeff S has pointed out. The human landscape is littered with just plain evil people, past and present, and the best that we can do is to protect ourselves and our children from them.

  93. Many thanks again to TWW folks for highlighting this subject. I wanted to share something that I have learned in the last few months since our book was published (A Cry for Justice). Namely, that abusers hate it. I can document numerous cases of abuse victims who have contacted me and told me that their abuser saw the book in the house, read some of it, then railed against me and what we are saying by way of exposing evil. And I have noticed that sometimes these guys show up on websites where the book is sold or featured and they put in “one-star” negative reviews, ranting about how we deny fundamental doctrines of Scripture and so on. These types, you see, have chosen to do their wicked work of abuse behind the facade of a claim to be a Christian. Oh, how they can quote this verse and that verse, debate and discuss theology and act like they are championing Christ’s gospel – and yet all the while they are in fact sociopaths who are horribly abusing their wife and/or children behind the scenes.

  94. A pastor that councils a wife to remain in an abusive marriage is complicent in the violence.

  95. Several people I know from my church are on the board of the local women’s shelter. THAT is a Christian response to domestic violence.

  96.  “A Cry for Justice : A Study In Criminal  Behavior, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

         Jeff,

    Hey, 

    Your book,  “A Cry for Justice”, is it actually a study in criminal behavior, in a domestic setting? Is this right? (Amazon only says so much in its description, and didn’t find anything on your site) Also, your book, I believe, talks of domestic abuse awareness, and identification; does it also provide a possible “solution”, and a remedy for the hopelessness victims feel as well? 

    Thanks for being here.

    If you could come here to TWW and talk about your book (in a formal Post) , and talk about the favorable feedback you have received, the kind of folks you have helped, …well that would be somethin’ 🙂

    I am sure your book and online material must be having some impact….

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/recommended-resources/

    hmmm…

    …for the first time maybe, because of your group’s efforts, abusers are having ta get collision insurance…  

    (grin)

    Now we’re cookin’ wit gas!

    ATB

    Sopy

  97. @ elastigirl: Honestly, I didn’t care for him in the role – and it’s not because I dislike him. There was something unsettling to me about that season, and – apparently – part of that was because he and Russell T. Davies were at loggerheads and Eccleston had quit before the season was over. He has since talked about what he believes to be an unhealthy “culture of the show” (on-set) and will not be appearing in the 50th anniversary show.

  98. @ BeakerJ: In the case I mentioned, it didn’t, but I don’t know what happened or who got the kids after they split.

    I really feel for both you and your husband, and what he’s gone through.

  99. Daisy wrote:

    I have to do it as a form of self-protection, and I am just tired of having spent decades being a verbal punching bag for other people’s angry out bursts and put downs.

    Yep, totally legitimate. Good boundaries are fundamental and they look different for different people. For those of us who had to take the long hard road to learn we needn’t take sh*t from everyone, those boundaries are extra-solid.

    I am glad that you don’t feel responsible for your sis even while you love her. That’s what I was hoping for you. I wish you well in your journey towards the real God, not that cold cruel false god you were told to worship for so long.

  100. BeakerJ wrote:

    It is hard to be married to someone so emotionally battered, & you live with no confidence that your relationship will make it.

    BeakerJ, I pray for you this morn, that genuine love will be discovered to be nourishing and healing.

  101. Randall Slack wrote:

    A pastor that councils a wife to remain in an abusive marriage is complicent in the violence.

    Randall — So true. These pastors — who would counsel well in others ways — have a complete blind spot when it comes to marriage. That same pastor would advise a man with an abusive boss to resign, or a family with a violent neighbor to get a restraining order. But that good sense flies out the window when it is a husband-wife. It’s sad when poor biblical understanding is held higher than the example that Jesus gave. Jesus criticized the Pharisees’ bad theology all the time.

  102. Pearcing  The Darkness:  “Is Eternal Vigilance The Price We Must Pay For Our Religious Liberty?”

    hmmm…

    Q:  What is the price that we must pay to ensure our own religious liberty?

    Q: Do we just blindly trust members of the local religious establishment just because they possess a bonafide academia sheepskin and a $9, 8×11 parchment ordination certificate?

    Huh?

    Dee (@ TWW) quoted a Star Trek episode in the post above, let’s continue, shall we?  :

    Partial script: (* Star Trek : The Next Generation, Episode 95 : “The Drumhead”) : 

    JEAN-LUC PICARD : We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, is all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again.

     WORF :I believed her. I… helped her. I did not see her for what she was.

    JEAN-LUC PICARD : Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.

     WORF : I think… after yesterday people will not be so ready to trust her.

    JEAN-LUC PICARD : Maybe. But she, or someone like her, will always be with us. Waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. […] Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continually pay. * [1]

    hmmm…

    [1] ‘Vigilance’ quote – earliest known source:

    “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude
     is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” – John Philpot Curran,

    ….in a speech upon the Right of Election in 1790 ; (published in a book titled “Speeches on the late very interesting State trials” in 1808). 
    ___
    * Star Trek : The Next Generation, Episode 95 : “The Drumhead”
    http://www.trektoday.com/reviews/tng/the_drumhead.shtml

    *
    I posted this comment (found below) in an earlier Post: (thought it of suitable note again here) :

    The Rest Of The Story: “The Power Of Pastors Are Circumscribed By Calvin, Within Certain Limits?”

    John Calvin is speaking: 

    “It is not ours, Sadolet to rob the Church of any right which the goodness of God not only has conceded to her, but strictly guarded for her by numerous prohibition. 

    For, as pastors are not sent forth by Him to rule the Church with a licentious and lawless authority, but are astricted to a certain rule of duty which they must not exceed, so the Church is ordered (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1) to see that those who are appointed over her on these terms faithfully accord with their vocation. 

    But we must either hold the testimony of Christ of little moment, or must hold it impious to infringe in the least degree on the authority of those whom he has invested with such splendid titles! 

    Nay, it is you who are mistaken in supposing that the Lord set tyrants over his people to rule them at pleasure, when he bestowed so much authority on those whom he sent to promulgate the gospel. 

    Your error lies here, viz., in not reflecting that their power, before they were furnished with it, was circumscribed within certain limits. 

    We admit therefore, that ecclesiastical pastors are to be heard just like Christ himself, but they MUST BE pastors who execute the office entrusted to them.

    And this office, we maintain, is not presumptuously to introduce whatever their own pleasure has rashly devised, but religiously and in good faith to deliver the oracles which they have received at the mouth of the Lord. 

    For within these boundaries Christ confined the reverence which he required to be paid to the Apostles; nor does Peter (1 Peter 4:11) either claim for himself or allow to others anything more than that, as often as they speak among the faithful, they speak as from the mouth of the Lord. 

    Paul, indeed, justly extols (2 Corinthians 12:10) the spiritual power with which he was invested, but with this proviso, that it was to avail only for edification, was to wear no semblance of domination, was not to be employed in subjugating faith.”

    -John Calvin

    [extraction from a letter – To James Sadolet, A Cardinal of the RCC; written from Basle, September 1, 
    1539. ( a reply to his (Sadolet’s) letter, to the Genovese; Carpentras, XV. Cal Apr. ; 18th March, 1539.] 

    *

    Hope this helps.

    …Those who’s delight is the word of God, do meditate upon it from daybreak, to the setting of the sun; the results are quite evidenced : a  tree they shall be, planted by the rivers of living water, who should bring forth their fruit in their season; their leaf also does not wither; and what they do finds prosperity.

    huh?

    The righteous plant, and none make them afraid, the Lord doth fill their cup.

    Yahoooooooo!

    ATB

    Sopy

  103. Janey wrote:

    have a complete blind spot when it comes to marriage. That same pastor would advise a man with an abusive boss to resign, or a family with a violent neighbor to get a restraining order. But that good sense flies out the window when it is a husband-wife. It’s sad when poor biblical understanding is held higher than the example that Jesus gave.

    It is because, somehow, the work to build good strong marriages that started in the 60s or 70s have morphed into making marriage into a ‘gospel’ issue or a necessity in the salvation plan which has morphed marriage into “marriage now saves you” and must be protected and upheld at all costs. Marriage has become and idol that is worshiped in some circles.

  104. Mara wrote:

    It is because, somehow, the work to build good strong marriages that started in the 60s or 70s have morphed into making marriage into a ‘gospel’ issue or a necessity in the salvation plan which has morphed marriage into “marriage now saves you” and must be protected and upheld at all costs.

    It’s called “Salvation by Marriage Alone.”

    And it has a natural corollary of Damnation for all Singles.

  105. Sopwith wrote:

    “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude
    is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” – John Philpot Curran,

    Compounding the problem is that the “active” are often drooling fanboys to their Activist Cause; one local radio type calls them “No-Lifes”. With no life to get in the way, they can devote ALL their time and energy to The Cause 24/7/365 while all the rest of us have jobs and lives which take time and energy away from our “eternal vigilance” against the “active”.

    And a Righteous enough Cause justifies any evil to bring it about. The Omelet of Perfection always justifies breaking more and more eggs. Ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields.

  106. Jeff Crippen wrote:

    Many thanks again to TWW folks for highlighting this subject. I wanted to share something that I have learned in the last few months since our book was published (A Cry for Justice). Namely, that abusers hate it. I can document numerous cases of abuse victims who have contacted me and told me that their abuser saw the book in the house, read some of it, then railed against me and what we are saying by way of exposing evil.

    Jeff, I find it interesting (and a commentary on Christianese culture) that all your official author profiles re A Cry for Justice stress your “thirty years as a pastor” while never mentioning your twelve years in-country as a cop.

    When it was those twelve years in the secular(TM) world that gave you the experience and insight to recognize and speak out re the abusers. Not the thirty years in the pulpit — we’ve seen in TWW and other spiritual-abuse blogs how “thirty years as a pastor” types can royally screw up in this department, to the point of becoming accessories and enablers to abuse. (But their theology is perfectly-parsed…)

  107. Nicholas wrote:

    MacArthur is a flaming Baptist! He rants against the Baptism of infants, and even holds to some form of Baptist successionism: http://justandsinner.blogspot.com/2013/06/response-to-john-macarthur-on-infant.html

    Is “Baptist Successionism” anything like the “Landmark Baptists” tracing succession of the One True Church (themselves and only themselves) through all sorts of flake cults of the past just to avoid any connection with Apostate Romish Popery?

  108. Daisy wrote:

    Books I’ve read by therapists who talk to aggressors and victims have said that the aggressors will admit they view niceness as permission to keep on abusing the nice person, and that passive, nice people with no boundaries are attractive targets.

    Remember that pack predators have a social hierarchy determined by aggressiveness and hashed out in dominance fights between them. Alphas at the top, Betas next trying to become Alphas, and Omegas as the passive, nice punching bags at the bottom. I was the Omega of my high school; even other Omegas will attack THE Omega to prove to themselves they are REALLY Betas and the Omega is always the easiest and less risky target. To quote the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park once more:

    “PREY! KILL AND EAT! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!!!”

  109. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The only way you can guarantee no miscarriages of justice is never to prosecute anybody. And the only way you can guarantee no woman or child will be abused by a man is to shoot every boy in the head once he reaches 16.

    I am sure there is some Concerned and Compassionate(TM) Feminist Anti-Abuse Activist out there who has seriously proposed that. (Paging Kyle’s Mom…) As crazy as you can speculate, there WILL be some True Believer out there twice as crazy and Dead Serious.

  110. Daisy wrote:

    Dykstra, in his audio, keeps using phrases like that (“gifted” “called to” etc), where he says (paraphrase), unless God has “called someone to singleness,” they can’t, or won’t, be able to stay chaste, etc. (Yes, they can.)

    Let me guess — this Dykstra guy married at 18?

  111. Daisy wrote:

    God did not “call me” to be single, nor did God “gift me” with celibacy or singleness, but this is the view Dykstra depicts in his lecture.

    Dear Daisy
    I think you have expressed your point well. I know David Dykstra a little bit (email contact only) and my guess is that he would listen to your feedback and take it on board. I can see that the way this ‘gift of chastity’ phraseology is often used can feel hurtful and dismissive to people who wish to be married but have been unable to find a marriage partner. So I suggest you contact David at his church email and convey your feedback to him; I think he will hear you kindly and compassionately.

    I myself was single for over a decade, between my two marriages. I never was fully content to be single: I longed for a husband, I had sexual desires that I wanted to express in the commitment of marriage, and I yearned for companionship and intimacy. I disciplined my emotions and taught myself to make the best of my lot, but it always felt like rowing upstream against the current. That is not a self-pitying statement, it’s just a statement of fact.

    Now, single again after my second marriage ended due to that husband turning out to also be an abuser (YEAH, i know, go figure!), I find myself not really desiring to be married. Sure, the sexual feelings are still there, but I am so engrossed and happily busy doing this work that I do, I would scarcely have time for a husband, and I really don’t want to be distracted from my work.

    Please don’t hear me as crowing or being superior when I say that: it is a great amazement to me that I now feel this way. I count it as a blessing from God. A gift, if you like. So that is my personal experience of this thing called ‘the gift of singleness’ and in my experience it has been something that I have not always had for my entire adult life, but only at this season. Maybe that is partly related to the fact that I am now in my late 50s, and hormones are a little different as one ages, but I don’t think it’s entirely that.

    I really appreciate you sharing your perspective, Daisy. Thank you for being so honest and transparent.

  112. Sopy –

    Some honest questions {in () } and concerns about this quote because I am a Berean as Paul admonished 🙂

    John Calvin is speaking:

    “It is not ours, Sadolet to rob the Church of any right which the goodness of God not only has conceded to her, but strictly guarded for her by numerous prohibition. (No problem here.)

    For, as pastors are not sent forth by Him to rule the Church with a licentious and lawless authority, but are astricted to a certain rule of duty which they must not exceed, so the Church is ordered (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1) to see that those who are appointed over her on these terms faithfully accord with their vocation. (Who does the appointing – the Church or other pastors?)

    But we must either hold the testimony of Christ of little moment, or must hold it impious to infringe in the least degree on the authority of those whom he has invested with such splendid titles! (Who are those with splendid titles? I don’t know to whom Calvin refers.)

    Nay, it is you who are mistaken in supposing that the Lord set tyrants over his people to rule them at pleasure, when he bestowed so much authority on those whom he sent to promulgate the gospel. (Who has this “so much authority?” pastors or the Church?)

    Your error lies here, viz., in not reflecting that their power, before they were furnished with it, was circumscribed within certain limits. (Yes, for pastors.)

    We admit therefore, that ecclesiastical pastors are to be heard just like Christ himself, but they MUST BE pastors who execute the office entrusted to them. (Where does Scripture say that “pastors are to be heard just like Christ himself?” Paul even said to be like the Bereans and weigh what be himself delivers to you.)

    And this office, we maintain, is not presumptuously to introduce whatever their own pleasure has rashly devised, but religiously and in good faith to deliver the oracles which they have received at the mouth of the Lord. (True, and weigh it, especially the interpretation of the “oracles” which should not be different than what we find in scripture.)

    For within these boundaries Christ confined the reverence which he required to be paid to the Apostles; nor does Peter (1 Peter 4:11) either claim for himself or allow to others anything more than that, as often as they speak among the faithful, they speak as from the mouth of the Lord. (But weigh it. They are more than capable of error — look around us now!)

    Paul, indeed, justly extols (2 Corinthians 12:10) the spiritual power with which he was invested, but with this proviso, that it was to avail only for edification, was to wear no semblance of domination, was not to be employed in subjugating faith.” (Yet, history shows that Calvin, himself, overstepped these boundaries in Geneva??)
    – John Calvin

  113. @ HUG:

    “Is ‘Baptist Successionism’ anything like the ‘Landmark Baptists’ tracing succession of the One True Church (themselves and only themselves) through all sorts of flake cults of the past just to avoid any connection with Apostate Romish Popery?”

    Yes. Same thing. The Baptists went so far round the bend in running away from the Catholics, that they turned all the way around and met them again. “The church that Jesus founded” in either case.

    Or, the shorthand middle school joke version: “You know why John the Baptist is called John the Baptist, right? ‘Cause he was BAPTIST!”

  114. Tap Dance: “Follow The Yellow Brick Calvinesta  Road,  Perhaps ?”

    What?!?

         Bridget,  

    – Referencing your comment…Bridget 

    Hey,

    I follow your words with continued interest.  🙂

    You know JohnnyC, in his sovereign zeal, tends to stretch things. (sad) Should he not have rather said, follow a pastor, as he follows Christ?

    Sure.

    Granted, he would have been on safer ground.

    Yet he would have the reader understand (in the context of his words) conveying that pastors, i.e. shepherds of the flock, although to be esteemed highly, don’t get a free pass. That is the main point I wished to convey here. (Calvin’s words taken in their context.)

    I am no Calvin fanboy, per say… You know that. But to blatantly disregard the totality of his words, is shear nonsense.

    However, 

    For me to live is Christ, to proverbially bash a few nefarious faux sheep-clad wolves, well…

    “Be happy in your work…?”

    (grin)

    Our Lord said: My house is to be a house of prayer, yet you have made it a den of thieves?

    (sadface)

    The zeal of the Lord’s house has eaten me up?

    could b.

    Sopy
    ___
    P.S. As you are well aware, we have a individual who has apparently come to Wartburg recently pressing a type of religion church system contra to Luther’s words, and more so,  apparently his (this commenter) cause not about the Christ who came to save. My initial address (in posts past) was in reference to his earnestness to apparently gardner supporters to his cause.  His argument (noted by the blog owners) slightly out of place, this present medium. [Hope this helps clarify my comment above .@ Sopwith]

    FYI: For further understandng, although quite lengthy, please read the full letters: The complete (letters) Sadolet/Calvin correspondence, again, can be found archived here: 

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/calvin_sadolet.html

  115. Jeff Crippen wrote:

    And I have noticed that sometimes these guys show up on websites where the book is sold or featured and they put in “one-star” negative reviews, ranting about how we deny fundamental doctrines of Scripture and so on.

    I noticed what you described when skimming over pages about books dealing with emotional abuse or domestic abuse. Men were leaving very negative (one star) reviews under those books.

    Most women would challenge those guys under their reviews, at least.

    Jeff Crippen said,

    Oh, how they can quote this verse and that verse, debate and discuss theology and act like they are championing Christ’s gospel – and yet all the while they are in fact sociopaths who are horribly abusing their wife and/or children behind the scenes.

    That is familiar. In one book I have by Christian authors about codependency for female readers, they spend a chapter or two discussing domestic abuse.

    (I was interested in codependency only, but I notice there is a lot of overlap between topics – a lot of women who remain stuck in abusive marriages are very codependent which is why they stay with abusers often times, and which is what these books point out.)

    The female author of this one book, who has been a psychiatrist for about 15 – 20 years now, said out of all the married couples she’s counseled, the only males who ever bring up Ephesians 5:22-33, and ask her to tell their wife to submit more, are the abusive ones.

    The author says she has yet to have a non-abusive husband who is having difficulties with his marriage to trot out Ephesians 5:22-33 or submission requests. She finds that very telling, as do I.

    This psychiatrist said it’s been her observation over years of counseling couples that a non-abusive husband don’t seek to redress their grievances by appealing to that Scripture (Ephesians 5:22-33), or to the submission/headship stuff.

    Funny how these sorts of guys who do love Ephesians 5:22-33 ignore the verse a bit before that says all are to submit to one another, also, Christ said, “do not lord authority over one another,” and “whoever wants to be first must be last and must serve all.” Nope, they don’t find those verses so appealing. 🙂

  116. @ Patrice:

    Thank you 🙂

    I’m still not totally out of the woods with my sister, but I have made progress.

    I used to think being a supportive, loving sister meant having to listen to the verbal abuse directed at me from her (she’s the type of person who, if she gets angry at someone else, she will phone you and scream insults about you to you – not the person she’s angry at, but at you – my brother is the same way).

    But even when she wasn’t yelling at me about me, and just complaining intensely on how much she hated her life or boyfriend, or whatever, the unrelenting negativity took a toll. (A phone call from her where she complains in a very angry fashion, can last from two to six hours in a row.)

    My sister was wanting to use me as her sounding board to gripe even in the two, three years after our mother died, and I was not mentally equipped to handle my grief in addition to the negative calls.

    When I began getting more firm with her and telling her to limit complaining to only ten minutes, or slamming the phone down on her if she began insulting me (and I gave her warning I’d do this), her phone calls got a little easier to take – she started to tone down the rants and angry outbursts.

    See, submitting to my sister and putting up with the behavior would have only enabled it to continue, like these ignorant preachers telling abused women to submit to their husbands even more. Some people cannot be “loved” out of their anger or misbehavior, they have to be pushed back.

  117. Janey wrote:

    That same pastor would advise a man with an abusive boss to resign, or a family with a violent neighbor to get a restraining order. But that good sense flies out the window when it is a husband-wife.

    I agree, and there’s also other forms of hypocrisy going on here, it’s sadly rather common among Christians.

    Christian speaker and author P. Couglin writes a lot about bullying, adult bullying, and kid- on- kid bullying, and in one blog, he described how he had one job where he was being bullied by a coworker.

    He asked a guy at his church what to do about it, should he stand up to the bully?

    The Church Guy said, no, you should turn the cheek and be loving to the bully. So Coughlin, IIRC, said he tried that, but it did not work.

    Later, the Church Guy had to work at Couglin’s company for a couple of weeks (their companies were working jointly). Couglin said this Church Guy preached a good line but didn’t live what he preached (to be loving to bullies).

    Coughlin said he noticed that when Church Guy visited Coughlin’s office to work on both company’s joint venture, that Church Guy would stand up to bullies, that he would not take crud off anyone.

    Church Guy would not allow himself to be pushed around, he did not submit, or turn the other cheek… yet he was telling Coughlin to submit, play nice, be loving, turn the other cheek.

    That is similar to what I’ve seen happen to other Christians, and I’ve had that happen to me.

    A lot of Christians love to give spiritual sounding advice, but it’s advice they themselves do not follow if they are in the same (or a similar) circumstance!

    It’s do as I say, not as I do. 😡

    Coughlin noted that, too, that apparently, some Christians think victimhood, living under bullying and abuse, is just fine for other Christians to endure (insert the usual bon mots about ‘being made like Christ,’ ‘suffering produces Christ-likeness’ etc) but it’s not fine for them.

  118. Mara wrote:

    Marriage has become and idol that is worshiped in some circles.

    Oh yeah, definitely. If you’ve still not married by your mid 30s, it becomes even more apparent that the church has really elevated marriage beyond what God intended.

  119. @ Nicholas:
    Oh. If you are comparing his view against infant baptism, then yes, I guess he would be closer to a Baptist. However, he has made the effort to remove Baptist from his college and seminary and it does not appear in his church name either.

    I suppose someone could ask him if he identifies as Baptist. I’m not sure how many words it would take for him to answer a yes or no question like that or which direction it would end up going, more or less, but….

  120. @ Jeff Crippen:

    Keep up the good work. If you’re making the abusers mad, you’re probably doing something right.

    Personally I wonder how people can be so clueless about this stuff. I was once talking about Mark Driscoll and assorted patriarchy topics with my (male) 20-something friend, and his only response was that he couldn’t understand why I care so much about “this stuff” because it’s “not as important as gay marriage.” What makes this super ironic is that this friend’s mom divorced his (NPD) dad because he was addicted to porn and carrying on an erotic letter relationship with a 13yo girl in their apartment complex. I’m convinced his mom chose not to tell my friend about this (he was only 12 or so at the time). If he knows and he still made the above comment, then I’d be doubly disturbed.

    Because ya know, scoring political points against gay Democrats in Washington, is more important than helping women and children who are being beaten and molested in your own church.

  121. anonymous wrote:

    @ Jeff S: 
    You really have such a great way of speaking about your situation in the tone you use, etc. I have a lot of respect for you. I hope one day to be able to do the same.

    Thank you, this really means a lot to me to hear.

  122. @ Mrs Stretch:

    I appreciate this aspect and the content of your comment. I actually saw this aspect first hand with my ex because the church, while disallowing my divorce, also pushed against the efforts we made toward getting my her help. Her diagnoses was depression/anxiety, but they mostly rejected any secular way of dealing with this and wanted her to be in Nouthetic counseling. In a sense, I was fighting a battle on two fronts: one was her and her behavior toward me and our son, and the other was against the church who didn’t approve of the measures I was supporting to help her heal.

    I really tried very hard to attribute her behavior to her sickness (as she demanded) and thus “overlook” it, but in the end I found the relationship was not a safe or healthy one for either me or our son. This was not a light decision- I agonized over it for a long time. In the end, though, I saw that some people with her same diagnosis took responsibility for their healing and making their behavior as safe as possible around their loved ones. They might not have been perfect, but they took intentional steps toward addressing what was unsafe. In my wife’s case, I did not see that. She continually did not go to meetings or admit responsibility for her behavior. She had not concrete plan except for getting me to “understand” so I wouldn’t be hurt by her behavior.

    It still pains me- but I ultimately had to take the view that the relationship was not safe and I had to protect myself and my son. I still do not know how much was the sickness and how much was her underlying nature, but I did the best I could. Really, the only thing I could. I wish I could have saved her- but in the end I did not have that power (and no one except Jesus does).

    But I do believe there are genuine people who suffer from conditions that can hurt others, but this is not their underlying nature but rather an affliction from which they suffer. The underlying attitude is the key: is there an attitude of entitlement, or a genuine desire to love and respect others? The church NEEDS to be able to recognize the latter while still protecting those who have been hurt. But one mark of a person who genuinely lovers and respects others is the understanding that sometimes measures might have to be taken to protect them.

  123. @Jeannette: Been reading this conversation from the dark shadows of Lurkdom, and I really want you to know that something you said has given me a small spark of hope, in what seems to me to be a seemingly hopeless situation. Now I also feel less alone. Thank you for your openness.

  124. Daisy wrote:

    The female author of this one book, who has been a psychiatrist for about 15 – 20 years now, said out of all the married couples she’s counseled, the only males who ever bring up Ephesians 5:22-33, and ask her to tell their wife to submit more, are the abusive ones.

    How interesting… and unsurprising. Only self-righteousness can be obtained by Law.

  125. @ Headless Unicorn Guy: I remember hearing a senior prison officer here say in an interview, some years ago (in a slightly different context, but the principle’s the same): “The only way you can be certain a man won’t kill again, is to take him out and hang ‘im”. Incidentally, the officer in question was not personally in favour of the death penalty.

    You obviously spotted that I wasn’t, of course, suggesting we never prosecute anyone nor impose Carousel (cf Logan’s Run) on boys at age 16. I’ve never heard anyone in a mainstream public debate come up with anything that monstrous, mind.

  126. @ Oasis:

    Oasis, you are noy alone and I am glad my story brings hope.
    If you ever want to email, ask Dee or Deb and they can give it to you, or you can click on my name and that will take to my blog (haven’t posted anything for a long time, but its still up).bClick on ‘my profile’ and the ’email’….if you want. No pressure if you don’t. 😉

  127. @ Barbara Roberts:

    Thank you for the reply 🙂 I hope I didn’t come across as snipey or snarky against Mr (or Rev?) Dykstra. I did enjoy several of his sermons/lectures.

    I will consider contacting him to share my experience in this area with him. Is his contact information on one of those sermon pages?

    I just find it a common misconception among many Christians that if someone is still celibate/ not married by their 40s, that it is assumed such as person must have been destined by God to remain single forever and “gifted with singleness,” which entails (in their thinking) God removing any and all desire for sex and/or a spouse, which is not the case for a lot of singles.

    It can be a hurtful view, but it’s also frustrating because it is inaccurate.

    I feel I’ve gotten this far on sheer will power and personal conviction. I still have desire for marriage/sex – God did not remove that, and I don’t feel any special, supernatural strength that keeps me from having sex outside of marriage.

    I can see how if you’ve been through an abusive marriage or two you’d feel relief and joy at being single once more, and I do respect that, and that you have arrived at a place where you feel okay being single, or prefer it.

    What makes it even more acceptable to me is that you are respectful to a single who isn’t thrilled all the time with singleness herself.

    Often, other singles (and married Christians), will lecture someone like me to totally accept the singleness, sermonize to me that “Jesus is all you need,” or make you feel bad that you’re not okay with it.

    I find it a roller coaster experience. Sometimes I am okay and content with being single, but at other times, it bothers me.

  128. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Let me guess — this Dykstra guy married at 18?

    Oh, I have no idea. 🙂

    To his credit, he didn’t come across as obnoxious about the subject, as some preachers do. Barbara encouraged me to contact him… he does seem like the kind of person who would be open to hearing what an older single has been through, and learning from that person’s experience.

  129. “Maybe you have the gift of singleness” is one of the most unhelpful suggestions that you can ever give someone, especially when given by a happily married person.

    Seriously, it’s like you are setup to fail because who EVER responds to that suggestion with great joy and happiness?

  130. Jeff S wrote:

    Seriously, it’s like you are setup to fail because who EVER responds to that suggestion with great joy and happiness?

    True.

    Another you’re ‘danged if you do danged if you do not’ (at least with some Christians):

    Married Christian on marriage:
    a.) “Marriage is great, and it’s the foundation of society. It’s so awful people aren’t marrying any more. Isn’t the downfall of traditional marriage terrible? If only more single Christians would marry!”

    (so you, the single reply):
    “I’m not opposed to marriage at all. I’m not putting off marriage intentionally. I’d love to get married, but I can’t find any Christian guys my age!”

    They reply:
    b.) “You’re making too much of marriage, you’re making it an idol. Jesus is all you need. Be content in your singleness!”

    Your (single person’s) response to that:
    😕 ❓ ❗ 🙁 😡 😯 🙄
    (but mostly):
    😕 Huh?

  131. I thought Deb and Dee might find this interesting, since it seems to reflect people are shifting away from churches/religion (kind of like the people who identify as nones on religion surveys):

    Americans Are Giving More Money to Almost All Charities — Except Churches

    Religious organizations may have received the largest proportion (as usual) of the more than $316 billion donated by Americans last year. But they’re also one of the only giving sector not bouncing back post-recession, according to an annual assessment of American philanthropy.

  132. @ Sopwith:

    Thanks for the response, Sopy. I will attempt to read the article you linked to. I have to admit, though, Calvin never keeps things simple. His response to the Bishop is 3-4 times longer than the letter from said Bishop. I think his lawyerness is showing at times 😉

  133. “To Reform, Or Not To Reform:  A Return To Proverbial Oz, Perhaps?”

    Bridget,

    Referencing  your comment –  Bridget

    Hey,

    Sure thing.

        As you know, Cardinal Sadolet desired to see his Genevan brethren return to the See of Rome. Calvin however, gives several reasons for that very impossibility. Today, these two letters simply present a classic look into the reformation, and some of the reasons for it. 

    Did Calvin overstate his case, possibly. But remember, Cardinal Sadolet did not loose his country, his home, his friends, his books, and possibly receiving a price upon his head as well, etc.

    Although somewhat lengthy (these letters),  yet for those who are favorably inclined, interested in pursuing a detailed study of the Reformation, well, giving some consideration to these two important preserved historic letters, is anticipated.

    hmmm…

    Bring along a pizza and a couple of adult beverages, perhaps. Let me know how it goes. (grin)

    If you stray off of the yellow brick road a tad, ya might want ta stay away from the poppies.

    -snicker-

    Yet, fellow Berean, at the end of a very long day, I find that the following still brings much relief and a manor of comfort: 

    That the holy scriptures, are able to make one wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus; and that by the reading of them a complete understanding can be maintained, a satisfying course plotted, and good destination achieved. [with room to spare… 🙂 ]

    It is a comforting thought to know that Jesus  leaves the ‘light’ on for us…

    Blessings,

    Sopy
    ___
    Note: From the years 1530 to 1545, it was not certain wether the German princes with their generous lip-service would capitulate, considering a re-union with Rome.  In 1539, Cardinal Sadolet, and his associates simply couldn’t resist attempting the Genevan ‘return’ to the See of Rome by ovation. Cardinal Sadoleto wrote to the people of Geneva, urging them to return to the Catholic faith.   John Calvin, who was living in Strasbourg, at the time, was asked by the Genevans to write a response to Sadoleto. As history would display, neither Germany, nor Geneva returned to the See of Rome.

  134. Jeff S wrote:

    “Maybe you have the gift of singleness” is one of the most unhelpful suggestions that you can ever give someone, especially when given by a happily married person.

    And it’s ALWAYS given by someone who married at 18 and has been regaling you with how GREAT their marriage has been…

    Just like porn culture: “If you’re not doing somebody, YOU’RE A NOBODY!”

  135. @ Sopwith:

    Or possibly “Not Reformed Enough” or maybe “Still Reforming.”

    IMHO – The Reformers fruit didn’t fall far from its tree and it continued to be rooted in the same dirt. Some of the seeds didn’t scatter far enough. Thankfully, this doesn’t stop God from saving those who call upon His name 😉 He saves despite men and their traditions. Those would be the same traditions that we were about in Scripture. Seems we are always wanting our traditions . . . be it of Judaism, Catholicism, or the Reformation.

  136. SoulMan: Slip, Slop, Slide, A Return To The Proverbial Oz, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    An onboard check-list:

    The removal of the 5 Solas is thus required.

    What?

    Remove the following:

    1.  Scripture alone. (sola Scriptura)
    2. Christ alone. (solus Christus)
    3. Grace alone.  (sola gratia)
    4. Faith alone. (sola fide)
    5. Glory to God alone.  (soli Deo gloria)

    Huh? (ya gotz ta b kidding?)

     Flip Flop And Fly, don’t care if they abide…

    Slip, Slop, n’ Slide, 

    …Solas,

    Go ahead and leave me, go ahead and say good bye?

    hmmm…

    “What a World, What a World?”

    Suwaaaap, bonk!

    Tilt.

    (sadface)

    S“㋡”py
    ___
    Revival relief: MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT :  “”Lonesome Valley””

    *

    Notes:

    * The Five Solas of the Reformation as described by James Montgomery Boice: 

    1. Scripture alone. When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bible’s authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority, ”not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.

    2. Christ alone. The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christ’s work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any gospel that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one.

    3. Grace alone. The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God. That is, God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very willful sins. Therefore, if he does save sinners, which he does in the case of some but not all, it is only because it pleases him to do it. Indeed, apart from this grace and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that flows from it, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God’s grace. By insisting on grace alone the Reformers were denying that human methods, techniques, or strategies in themselves could ever bring anyone to faith. It is grace alone expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from death to spiritual life.

    4. Faith alone. The Reformers never tired of saying that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. When put into theological shorthand the doctrine was expressed as justification by faith alone, the article by which the church stands or falls, according to Martin Luther. The Reformers called justification by faith Christianity material principle, because it involves the very matter or substance of what a person must understand and believe to be saved. Justification is a declaration of God based on the work of Christ. It flows from God’s grace and it comes to the individual not by anything he or she might do but by faith alone (sola fide). We may state the full doctrine as: Justification is the act of God by which he declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.

    5. Glory to God alone. Each of the great solas is summed up in the fifth Reformation motto: soli Deo gloria, meaning to God alone be the glory. It is what the apostle Paul expressed in Romans 11:36 when he wrote, to Him be the glory forever! Amen. These words follow naturally from the preceding words,  For from him and through him and to him are all things. (v.36), since it is because all things really are from God, and to God, that we say,  to God alone be the glory.

    ___
    * Ref:  “James Montgomery Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2001), pp. 65-149.

  137. Sorry…off topic.

    Bridget, wanted to say that your comment on my blog was awesome. I posted it and my response as a new post. Thanks!

  138. Equally sorry… equally off topic.

    Steve Darcis of Belgium, the world number 110, has just beaten Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the first round at Wimbledon.

    In other news: Mars Hill Church publicly recants its “Call for Reconciliation” and instead requests the full assembly of churches in Seattle to oversee its internal disciplinary processes from now on.

    Wel… one of those is true.

  139. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Poor Rafa and his bum knees.

    In still other news (and apologies for the additional off topic) but doctors in SA are now reporting that they are doing everything possible to make Nelson Mandela “comfortable.”

    Heading to bed at this late hour but am terribly sad to think that Madiba may be gone very very soon. 🙁

  140. @ Daisy:
    I used to work for such a boss. Someone I know described him to my wife as follows:
    He is the kind of person who as a child used to pull the wings off of flies. And if you worked for him you looked like a fly.

  141. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nicholas wrote:

    Is “Baptist Successionism” anything like the “Landmark Baptists” tracing succession of the One True Church (themselves and only themselves) through all sorts of flake cults of the past just to avoid any connection with Apostate Romish Popery?

    Exactly, though the doctrine was formulated due to the claims of the Stone-Campbell restoration movement (ex. Church of Christ) that they were the restored New Testament church.
    Some Baptists, led by two men named Graves and Pendleton, said “Nay, nay, the New Testament Church never needed restoration, and the Baptists are it,” and cobbled together an amazing piece of historical revisionism to prove their point. Thus, Baptist Successionism was born.

  142. Mike wrote:

    Exactly, though the doctrine was formulated due to the claims of the Stone-Campbell restoration movement (ex. Church of Christ) that they were the restored New Testament church.

    Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses also teach that THEY are the Restored New Testament Church. So do a lot of “splinter churches.”

  143. @ Headless Unicorn Guy: how true. And as a committed None, i.e. one that has specific theological and practical reasons for pursuing fellowship in the particular manner I do, I am only too aware of this. The challenge is, as always, to be hallmarked by love, and not some head-up-my-a*** [which has 4 letters in the UK] doctrinal “superiority”.

    Meanwhile, back at the tennis, wee Laura Robson has pulled off another win over top-10 opposition. I say “wee”, though I think she’s actually taller than me.

  144. @ Sopwith:

    No need for sad faces Sopy 🙂 Any truth that was brought to the forefront during the Reformation was not new truth. It was simply uncovered from being buried. I didn’t say that the Reformation brought nothing good to the table. I just don’t believe that they reformed enough. They still clung to some traditions and replaced some belonging to the RCC with their own Protestant versions. I consider myself a Christian because of the saving grace of Christ. I don’t see the need to be a Protestant, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, etc., etc., etc. I’d rather call myself after Christ 😉

  145. Rafiki wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Poor Rafa and his bum knees.
    In still other news (and apologies for the additional off topic) but doctors in SA are now reporting that they are doing everything possible to make Nelson Mandela “comfortable.”
    Heading to bed at this late hour but am terribly sad to think that Madiba may be gone very very soon.

    Do you live in SA? I have been following some of the reports on Mandela’s condition also, and if it IS his time, I hope he goes in peace.

  146. “Bridget,”

    On da solid rock Iza stand’in, all else is sinkin’ sand.

    4Sure.

    Glad your here.

    Quack, Quack!

    S“㋡”py
    ___

    P.S. The Reformation? Go far enough? John Knox saved all of Scotland, Wesley, his dear England from a revolution which France experienced…

    Is America next?

    hmmm…

    Q: Where are the Lord’s today’s champions?  Lõõk, the fields ever white with harvest!?!

  147. “Spiritus Misérable?”

    Oh, America, America, Jesus would gather you as a hen does her wee chicks, but He doth find you unwilling?

    (sadface)

    S“㋡”py

  148. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    When it was those twelve years in the secular(TM) world that gave you the experience and insight to recognize and speak out re the abusers.

    Actually, it was not in police work that the lights really came on for me. Those 12 years were valuable so that later on when I did start to see, I could look back and learn from my past experiences. But in fact what really awoke me to the nature and mentality and tactics of abuse was indeed my 30 years as a pastor, culminating in the realization about 5 years ago that for all of those years I had also been the victim of these sociopaths parading as Christians. I started to read Scott Allen Johnsons’ book Physical Abusers and Sexual Offenders in order to try to learn more about the signs I could look for to protect our church against these pervs/psychos/sociopaths. And Johnson’s description of how abusers of all kinds think and operate just started leaping off the pages at me because I KNEW these things. I had been living in the middle of them for 25 years before. And yes, IN THE CHURCH! Amazing, huh?

  149. Sopwith wrote:

    Hey, 
    Your book,  ”A Cry for Justice”, is it actually a study in criminal behavior, in a domestic setting? Is this right?

    In some ways it is a study in criminal behavior. But specifically it is a study of how people who are possessed of a mentality of entitlement to power and control over others operate in the church behind a facade of Christianity. AND how we in the church get duped by them. While most of the subject addressed in the book concerns domestic violence abuse, there is a full chapter devoted to how the abuser operates in the local church covertly undermining and attacking anyone he or she sees as a threat to their power. Many of the very same tactics used on a domestic violence victim are also quite commonly employed by these “eminent saints” who love to be seen as pillars in their churches. Many, many genuine, godly pastors have had their ministries destroyed by these very kinds of people and suffer many of the same effects and symptoms that domestic violence victims and trauma victims suffer.

  150. Jeff S wrote:

    Of course, those “encouraging me” would say the problem was I was “trying” in my own strength. I needed to “let go” and trust God.

    That line of thinking is horribly frustrating to someone who struggles with any type of addiction.

  151. Thomas wrote:

    That line of thinking is horribly frustrating to someone who struggles with any type of addiction.

    Having worked for the summer in an alcoholic treatment hospital, I understand. I think the 12 Steps Model of AA reveals the complexities of dealing with addictions. Yes, we need God. We also need others to support our journey. That includes counseling, friends, sponsors (who have been down the road), etc. Even medication is sometimes indicated.

    I often think about how hard it is to lose 10 pounds. On the surface, it is very easy-just stop eating so much and exercise. But, 2/3+ of our nation is now overweight or obese. Yet we all nod sagely about how hard it is to lose weight (me, included).

    Now, take a truly addicting substance like alcohol, etc and it multiplies the difficulty. Also, issues like porn addiction, etc also involves some physiological changes in the response patterns of the brain.

    What I am trying to say by all of this is I know it is difficult, painfully hard. My heart goes out to those who embark on a journey to overcome an addiction. Even wanting to overcome the addiction is wonderful. So many have given up.

    Thanks for the comment.

  152. Muff Potter wrote:

    I don’t see how it’s possible to ignore your own internal moral compass, engage in this kind of cruelty, and still think you’ll not reap what you’ve sown.

    Predestined Elect? Amazing what a Perfect Get-Out-of-Hell-Free Card can do in the arrogance department.

  153. Jeff S wrote:

    I’m confused- isn’t “Classical Education” ENTIRELY “Greek” to the core?
    What is so wrong with being “Greek” that gets him upset?

    Maybe he got blackballed when he tried to join a frat?

  154. Hester wrote:

    Also, random question that has zero to do with the topic at hand, for the artists here: did anyone ever think that Michelangelo’s David was “homoerotic”? This is research for a blog post.

    I actually had a woman I was babysitting for when I was in college become unhinged because I had a book on Michelangelo out, and her sons might have seen David. I have to admit, it blew me away. Sheer goofiness.

  155. Daisy wrote:

    I find it so interesting that Christians who are dead-set against some particular action or behavior as being a heinous sin (say, divorce in this example), turn out to be very, very understanding and delicate when it happens to them personally

    I notice this with homosexuality, too, There’s nothing like having a kid come out to make someone revise their views on how to treat gay people.

  156. gimpi1 wrote:

    I actually had a woman I was babysitting for when I was in college become unhinged because I had a book on Michelangelo out, and her sons might have seen David.

    BECOME unhinged? Sounds like she was unhinged from way back.

  157. gimpi1 wrote:

    I notice this with homosexuality, too, There’s nothing like having a kid come out to make someone revise their views on how to treat gay people.

    Back in the Eighties, there was this one local ministry that specialized in counseling Chrisian parents whose kid had just come out to them. The founder named it “Spatula Ministries” because “most often the first step is to take a spatula and scrape the Christian parents off the ceiling.”

  158. John wrote:

    I don’t understand why so many pastors don’t get it when it comes to domestic violence. I remember a number of years ago when I encountered more conservative/fundamentalist types because of various family interactions, just a few years after finishing seminary, one of them asked me if I thought physical abuse was grounds for divorce. I said yes immediately, and I would again, for one simple reason: A person who abuses their spouse has already broken the marriage vow and shattered the covenantal relationship at the most fundamental level. It’s an utter betrayal, and for a believer I think it’s blasphemous to at once claim to have a good standing in the faith and continue to abuse one’s spouse.

  159. If I had to guess its either because they were brainwashed themselves about abuse or they are abusers themselves. If its neither of the above then they just have a reckless lack of regard for the lives of women

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