Tag Archives: #ForSuchATimeAsThisRally

Abuse of Faith: The SBC

1.      Please don’t look away in disgust that I wrote this article pointing out some failings of the SBC.

2.      I have lost friends and had others mad at me for writing about the SBC. Please  don’t allow the article to make you uncomfortable.

3.      If you think perhaps the Houston Chronicle overstated its case and made up facts; I assure you that what they reported isn’t even close to accounting for all the cases of abuse within the SBC, or other churches for that matter.

4.      I want to be clear; it is not just the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that has problems with predators. Child predators, teen predators, and adult predators plague every denomination, non-denominational, non-profit, and para-church organization.

5.      This article mentions 220 abusers with more than 700 victims. These are the 700 known victims. Statistically, if you add in abuse by pedophilic offenders who held places of authority over children you will find a victim rate of over 100 children per abuser. Most victims never report their abuse. (Stat: according to Osage County, Oklahoma, sex crimes investigator, Montgomery County Sheriff, Kansas, and the Kansas State Attorney Generals’ Office when they interviewed me for the investigations against my former husband).

6.      Lest you think that the below mentioned abusers worked at one church, were caught, and then subsequently removed from ministry; that is not the case. More often than not, they leave one church and move around the country. Some of these men are still in positions of leadership within the SBC while some have switched affiliation to stay under the radar. Also, this is no small problem in mainly rural locations by pastors from small churches. This issue spans all ages, geographical locations and sizes of churches.

7.      Educating the church about such predators is a passion of mine because my first husband was one of these people. He was affiliated with the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and is now in prison for the rest of his life.

8.      Ask your church if they have policies in place to prepare for abuse allegations, to discourage abusers preying upon church members, and to train staff , leadership and volunteers. The best place for help in this area is GRACE – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

  DISCLAIMER: I’ve been having significant formatting problems with my writing platform; as you will see (nothing I do fixes it). It has a mind of its own. For this reason, I haven’t been publishing and I’m in the process of setting up a new website under a different platform. It will have a new name, new look, and better formatting capabilities. As soon as it’s finished I’ll publish the link on this website so you can follow at my new address. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE. I’ve been waiting for this article in the Houston Chronicle by Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco with multimedia by Jon Shapley to publish. These writers did an excellent job researching, investigating and interviewing for this piece. Here are a few quotes from the Houston Chronicle’s article: “It’s a perfect profession for a con artist, because all he has to do is talk a good talk and convince people that he’s been called by God, and bingo, he gets to be a Southern Baptist minister,” said Brown, who lives in Colorado. “Then he can infiltrate the entirety of the SBC, move from church to church, from state to state, go to bigger churches and more prominent churches where he has more influence and power, and it all starts in some small church.” Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma’s Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC’s annual meeting.   Offenders return to preach:   The SBC Executive Committee also wrote in 2008 that it “would certainly be justified” to end affiliations with churches that “intentionally employed a known sexual offender or knowingly placed one in a position of leadership over children or other vulnerable participants in its ministries.” Current SBC President J.D. Greear reaffirmed that stance in an email to the Chronicle, writing that any church that “proves a pattern of sinful neglect — regarding abuse or any other matter — should absolutely be removed from fellowship from the broader denomination.” But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy. “Change has to begin at the ground level with churches and organizations,” he wrote. “Our churches must start standing together with a commitment to take this issue much more seriously than ever before.” “The election last year of Greear, the 45-year-old pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., was seen as a signal that the SBC was moving away from more rigid conservative leaders such as Patterson. Greear has launched a group that is studying sexual abuse at the request of Burleson and others.” As far as I know, and someone feel free to correct me if you know differently; a limited study is as far as this project has gone at this time. I hope the Houston Chronicle’s article will push the study into implementation of a registry. Here is a troubling line from the article: Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.   Some offenders are twisted, are psychopaths, and others suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Please understand, any of these aforementioned personalities would get a kick out of naming their nonprofit “Touching the Future Today” and laugh themselves silly over the fact that they are telling everyone, upfront, exactly what they hope to do to future victims while believing no one will ever catch on to the sick truth in the title pointing to their sexual sins.  There are churches that claim no responsibility for abuse in their buildings on the grounds that they have no written procedure for how to handle sexual abuse allegations. Seriously. The sad and frustrating part of this truth is that some of their reasoning falls under scriptural precedence: Forgive. Don’t take a brother to court…but using such scriptures is taking God’s words out of context. Christa Brown, several years ago said, “For the safety of kids and the sanctity of congregations, Southern Baptist leaders should take action now, without waiting until they are finally pressured into it by investigative journalists, brave victims and outraged congregants.” Unlike in 2008, Burleson last year directed his request for a sex offender registry to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which does moral advocacy on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the first time, the study of his proposal has been funded. I wish all churches would set up a centralized reporting system to track these abusers. If we do not it will continue to worsen because abusers know there is easy prey within the church community and that Christians have a difficult time believing such duplicitous individuals exist within their ranks. For SBC members who are disappointed or angry at me for ‘jumping on the band wagon’ and claim I’m harming the name of Christ by airing the church’s dirty laundry; I disagree. I believe Jesus can protect his own name and reputation and that he wants us to fight for the oppressed. Reporters and victims who speak the truth are not the problem. The abuse is the problem. This is why I spoke at the For Such A Time As This Rally about the need for a database for tracking abusers. I hope the SBC doesn’t complain about Robert Downen and the Houston Chronicle’s story. The SBC and other churches, should hold sexual predators in their midst accountable. When we don’t…someone else will do it for us.  As a side note, to add insult to injury, a large publishing company has asked a Baptist pastor, Ed Stetzer, to write a book about abused victims of the church. Why is this an insult? Because abuse advocates allege they have attempted to be heard by Mr. Stetzer in past years but did not gain an audience with him.

The best experts on the subject are those who have lived through abuse and those who specialize in counseling the abuse survivors.  There are numerous well-known and strong voices in this field; some of whom are published. Why were they not asked? With the world at the tip of their fingers why didn’t the publisher check out the internet for those already in the trenches who know the subject, are passionate about the survivors, and could sit town and turn out such a book within weeks?

Click here to read the full article: Houston Chronicle “Abuse of Faith” (includes several short video clips).

Here is a link to the database of known abusers that the Houston Chronicle uncovered.

Sign petition to encourage abuse disclosure protocol, training & a database for the SBC

Mary DeMuth

Please sign this petition to encourage the SBC to take action against abuse now. The story of is one of too many.

Click here to sign: Establish SBC Abuse Database, Abuse Disclosure Protocol and Ministry Leader Training Now

Anne Marie Miller was sexually abused by a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) youth pastor when she 16-years old.

More than 11 years after this information was disclosed to officials within the SBC, her alleged abuser, Mark Aderholt, was arrested on July 3 charges of sexual assault against a child under 17 and two counts of indecency with a child — sexual contact. 

In 2007, upon identifying the reality of the abuse later as an adult, Anne courageously contacted the International Mission Board (IMB), the Southern Baptist missionary organization where Aderholt had worked for seven years as an overseas missionary. The IMB conducted an investigation into the abuse. They found that Aderholt not been truthful with IMB officials and had  “more likely than not” engaged in what the IMB termed an “inappropriate sexual relationship” or what the state and most people educated on abuse would term “sexual abuse.”  No one from the IMB reported the sexual assault to the authorities.

The IMB knew of Anne Marie Miller’s abuse for 11 years before Mark Aderholt’s arrest. Her abuser was able to continue working as a missionary, pastor and convention leader in the SBC with access to other children and vulnerable populations in his ministry roles.  They never investigated his overseas ministry to see if there were further victims. They still will not take responsibility. 

SIGN NOW to tell the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the International Mission Board (IMB) and SBC President J.D. Greear that the SBC must:

  • Establish a clergy abuse database
  • Establish abuse disclosure protocol
  • Establish new and improved training procedures for pastors, seminary students and all SBC ministry leaders. 

Despite the apparent confirmation of Anne’s abuse via the 2007 investigation,  the IMB allowed Aderholt to quietly resign. Within two months, he was again employed by a church in the SBC before enjoying a successful ministry career culminating in his position as Chief Strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Having been led to believe that Aderholt was terminated by the IMB for her abuse, Anne was perplexed by his continued, successful career.

Sarah Smith at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, TX reported on the follow-up action Anne took :

“On Feb. 13, 2011, she sent another email to Gaubatz [IMB attorney who participated in the investigation].

How can Mark still pastor inside SBC churches like he is?” she wrote. “Isn’t there some checks and balances with something as serious as what he was terminated for?”

The For Such A Time As This Rally met on July 11 with the office of J.D. Greear, President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Rally spokesperson, Ashley Easter shared the need for action  with Todd Unzicker, Associate Pastor at The Summit who was representing J.D. Greear, SBC President. She asked that the SBC take steps to protect others from abuse like what Anne Marie Miller experienced and offered a partnership with the president’s office. 

The For Such A Time As This Rally initially had held an event outside the June 2018 Southern  Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Dallas, and is continuing to work to meet its three goals:

  • Goal #1 – Women to be respected and honored within the churches of the SBC. 
  • Goal #2 – Establishment of a clergy abuse offender database for the SBC. 
  • Goal #3 – Best practices training of all pastors, ministry leaders and seminary students on the issues of handling domestic abuse or sexual assault disclosure or incidents.

Even in the last few weeks following Mark Aderholt’s arrest, the IMB has not reached out to Anne to apologize for their mishandling of the investigation.  Anne has asked the IMB to answer questions about how Aderholt was allowed to continue a meteoric career rise within the SBC after the IMB’s investigation.

One of the most significant questions is how the IMB could still have been referring to criminal sexual ABUSE as merely an “inappropriate sexual relationship.” Education is imperative, as is the establishment of human resources protocol for addressing employees involved in abuse.

A secondary but equally significant question is why the IMB did not further investigate Mark Aderholt’s ministry overseas while he was employed by them. There is no way of knowing if he engaged in any other sexual misconduct or abuse while being supported by SBC funds. We need to know if there are more victims.

SIGN NOW to tell the SBC, J.D. Greear and the International Mission Board to:

  • Let them know that you stand with Anne Marie Miller and want to see the SBC take action NOW.
  • Let them know that you want an SBC that will not tolerate the abuse of our children.
  • Let them know that  it is not acceptable for the SBC to move abusers along to the next church and allow an abuser’s career to be uninterrupted while the abused suffers lifelong consequences.
  • Let them know that you stand with the For Such A Time As This Rally and its three goals.
  • Let them know that you need to see the SBC establish a clergy abuse database, abuse disclosure protocols, and new training and education protocols for all ministry leaders.

Anne’s abuse is not an isolated incident, but it is a recent example of what is so broken within the SBC.

Abuse survivor, Christa Brown has established a website, Stop Baptist Predators to document other abuse incidents.

SNAP (the interdenominational Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and the Associated Baptist Press reported on the sad case of convicted sex abuser Shawn Davies who was allowed to abuse boys at four different SBC churches before being arrested while employed by First Baptist Church, Greenwood, Missouri.

The For Such A Time As This Rally has suggested to the SBC that they reach out to Boz Tchivijdian and Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.). It could assist with an independent investigation and review into the deeply flawed 2007 IMB investigation of Anne Marie Miller’s abuse, and provide assistance in establishing a much-needed new training protocol for all SBC ministry leaders.

Many states have passed laws in the last decade that require schools to disclose credible child abuse from teachers or other employees so that they cannot continue to move around school districts.

As representatives of the Gospel, churches should be leading the way in creating and passing legislation that protects the most vulnerable among us.

Sign Now to stand with Anne Marie Miller, the For Such A Time As This Rally, and all those who have experienced abuse to call for immediate action by the Southern Baptist Convention!

My Video & transcript: For Such A Time As This Rally

I was invited and had the privilege of speaking at the For Such a Time as This Rally in Dallas, Texas. Our team had three goals to express to attendess of the Southern Baptist Convention:

#1 Treat women as equals like Jesus did.
#2 Establish a predator database.
#3 Mandatory training of pastors and seminarians regarding the handling of domestic abuse. SBCmen

Although this was specifically for encouraging the Southern Baptist Convention held in Dallas, Texas, this week; my plea is to the universal church.

Below is the video of my talk. The generator went out moments before my turn to speak so we lost our mics, speakers, and live feed. Fortunately there was an iPad recording the event so we didn’t lose footage of the event.  To listen to the rally you’ll have to turn up the volume. We were in sweltering heat, sun-baked and frying to a crisp, in the middle of downtown Dallas with city noise in the background; plus, a large open space absorbing my voice. I had to talk as loudly as possible to be heard by attendees and the media. I felt like I was screaming in an attempt to be heard which had me literally gasping for breath. Thanks to the Baptist disaster relief worker walking by who knew how to fix the problem and got the generator running again.

There are article links and the complete transcript included below.

 

Go to this link to find more photos and videos from the For Such a Time as This Rally

Dallas Morning News

The Oklahoman – There are several ads and links to scroll thru to completely read this article. There are also additional pictures of yesterday’s event to scroll through.

For Such a Time as This Facebook page

For Such a Time as This Twitter

For Such a Time as This websiteMary DeMuth

TRANSCRIPT:

I’m Carolyn Deevers from St. Louis, MO.  I minister to women living in, or leaving, destructive marriages, and I write at Spiritual Battles.org about toxic relationships, abusive marriages and how God has used my prayers to navigate me through these life issues.

I’m here today speaking from experience as a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse by my former husband who was a pastor and a pedophilic offender. He’s now in prison for the rest of his life.

I’ve often heard people respond doubtfully, or roll their eyes, at the term emotional abuse. Let me clear up this misconception. I’ve endured all forms of abuse, but the one that was the most damaging, caused multiple health issues and repeatedly, most deeply wounded my heart, soul, mind and strength was emotional abuse.

I’m talking today because the church needs training on how to recognize and respond to allegations of domestic abuse, and because the evangelical church is long overdue on creating a database for tracking offenders.

Why are we so adamant about this you may ask? Allow me to ask you a question. When you hear the clopping of horse hooves what do you think of? Horses, right? But no, they aren’t horses; they’re zebras. These toxic men are the ‘zebras’ in this analogy. They are grand actors and magnificent manipulators. They may be sitting next to us in worship, Sunday school, or small group. They can be pastors, Sunday school teachers, our best friend, charming, smart, and biblically brilliant. They can be high functioning in their job, helpful in our time of need, and financially generous if hardship strikes us; all while destroying the wife and children at home.

It’s not just in the home though.

I hear from Christian women, pastor’s wives, and missionary’s wives around the globe who tell of angry, controlling men in places of leadership. These men would be fired in corporate America if they condescendingly talked down to, objectified, or told women their opinion didn’t matter since they aren’t a man. Yet, these things happen in some churches and we don’t bat an eye or grimace.

Some of these abusive personality types have gained places of high status within our churches, and their unbiblical view of women has trickled down through the ranks.

I recently read that Bible teacher and well-known author, Beth Moore, came to the same conclusion. She wrote there have been “attitudes among some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women and it spread like wildfire.”

This is often the attitude abused women receive when they go to church leadership for help.

Dear Church, Jesus spent time on earth breaking cultural rules and traditions to love, heal, and bring women to the life God intended for them. Women were never an afterthought, or a second class citizen to Jesus. He didn’t deny, cover-up, enable, justify, or excuse anyone’s sin. Jesus would have been the one bringing this oppression to light; leaving no need for the #MeToo movement. Like Jesus, we need to come from a place of love; not a place of inconvenience or disbelief.

Unfortunately, I rarely hear of the church being a safe place for abused or assaulted women. The abuse is often minimized while they are told to continue submitting to their husband and/or forgiving their perpetrator.

My message to the church is:

  1. Please don’t criticize women or question their timing when they come forward. We have no idea how long it took them to come to the realization that they weren’t the unstable party in the relationship after years of hearing everything was their fault.
  2. Don’t tell them what to do. They’ve been controlled for years and they need to learn to make their own decisions and be able to live with them.
  3. Often women are retraumatized by their pastor or someone in the church and are met with unbelief, church discipline, or expulsion. What they need is validation, a listening ear, prayer, and gifts of practical service and/or financial help.

It seems the church is the least safe place to deal with domestic abuse. I’m not asking you to learn how to counsel these women; I’m asking you to recognize domestic abuse and abusers, respond correctly to assault victims and refer these hurting souls to professionals who know how to meet their needs. And…when someone comes to us with allegations of a crime; our only choice is to call the authorities and allow them to investigate; no matter our personal opinion. Remember: Abusers are word spinners who tell half-truths and justify their behavior. When the woman is divulging the abuse and the man explains, justifies, minimizes, spiritualizes, and denies the severity of what she is describing; you are looking at the number one sign of  dealing with an abuser; denial.

Let me clarify that not all professionals; in fact few, know how to help abusers which often makes them ineffective or harmful to the wife/survivor. (See today’s free resource sheet for help).

Please hear this:

  1. God does not expect us to place the institution of marriage above the safety, sanity and health of women and children.
  2. Couples counseling does not work for domestic abuse. They don’t need marital counseling. The abuser needs help for their abusive personality.
  3. When teaching about marriage say something like this: Today we’re talking about a normal, marriage. If you’re in a destructive, abusive marriage where there is physical, sexual, verbal, financial, spiritual (I accidently left spiritual out at the rally), withholding, or emotional abuse by an angry and controlling spouse; please know we want to help you.

Statistics tell us that domestic abuse escalates with time and that abusers have little to no success rate for recovery (because they don’t desire to change); much like pedophilic offenders according to Don Hennessy, former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency.

Because of this we need to put away the one size fits all, “God hates divorce” mantra. God hates the ongoing, active trauma that violates the wife.

Without intense training you can’t help the victim because of the academy award-winning performance the abuser is giving you. This is one reason you need a database.

Sex crimes investigators and prosecutors across our nation agree that some predators (and people with narcissistic personality disorder) go to Christian college and seminary to gain lifetime access to an endless supply of victims. These professionals also say that with the rise of internet pornography they are seeing women becoming predators.

Please consider this list of concerns when designing a database for the recording of patterns/behavior if they should continue for years:

  1. Ministry allegations
  2. Church discipline
  3. Evidence that led to divorce
  4. Sex offender registry

This is essential to safe-guarding the people entrusted to your care.

Here are examples of why a database would have been helpful based on my experience with my former husband.

  1. Lost ministries multiple times for being angry, controlling and deceitful to leadership.
  2. Lost a ministry for grooming and molesting of young children without charges ever being filed.
  3. Allegations of unfaithfulness.
  4. Again being investigated for grooming and crimes against children. In the middle of this investigation he found a new senior pastor position at another church.

He had a 30 year history. He attended summer church camps where he slept next to young boys in the dorms and he travelled internationally as an evangelist working in orphanages.

In the middle of the last investigation he obtained a senior pastor position at another church.  No one ever called to ask me why I left him or why I had his parental rights revoked. I kept psychological and psychiatric test results, doctors’ notes on their official letterhead, and prescription receipts; for serious and some dark psychiatric disorders; database worthy documents. Most people live a normal life with their mental illnesses; with pedophilia thrown in the mix; he did not. He continued landing ministries because there was no ministry database.

Here is my challenge: Please, go back to your churches or institutions and schedule mandatory domestic abuse training for your staff and anyone who holds a place of leadership so you’ll be ready next time. And please, develop and begin using a database.

Thank you.

 

 

Rally Outside SBC Annual Meeting Brings Abuse to Light

SBC rally

DALLAS, TX – June 5, 2018 – Discussing and responding to the epidemic of abuse within Protestant Christianity’s largest denomination has long been overdue. A rally to outline the prevalence of abuse and its enablement within the Southern Baptist Convention will be held at the SBC Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday, June 12th. Called the For Such a Time as This Rally, the organizers will gather outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and invite any who are concerned about abuse in the Church to attend.

Organizers are gathering for these reasons:

1. The time has come for women to be respected and honored within the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention—as Scripture teaches. 2. The time has come for a clergy sex offender database for the Southern Baptist Convention. 3. The time has come for mandatory training of all pastors and SBC seminaries on the issues of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Many rally organizers and attendees are involved in Southern Baptist Churches or have deep roots in the SBC. “The event is not anti-Southern Baptist or anti-Christian,” said Cheryl Summers, one of the rally organizers. “We are advocating for a reform of culture, and for training of pastors and church leaders. We follow Christ’s example who treated women with dignity and honor as equal, valuable members of His Church when the culture of His day did not.”

Cheryl noted the recent scandals that made this rally necessary, saying, “In recent weeks as the Paige Patterson scandal has erupted, the faulty ideas within the SBC about women, abuse and sexual assault have proven to be tragically systemic. We are praying for reform, but also are moved to respond, insisting that respect for women is rooted in Scriptural teachings and the culture within the Church needs to change.”

Speaking at the event will be abuse survivors and victim advocates including Ashley Easter, founder of The Courage Conference, an annual gathering of survivors and advocates; author, speaker, and advocate Mary DeMuth; the pastor of Emmanuel Enid Church, Wade Burleson; author and speaker Dr. Christy Sim, Carolyn Deevers, abuse survivor, writer and advocate and Gricel Medina, a pastor, writer, and advocate.

“The same systemic failures that silenced the victims of Paige Patterson also enabled him to remain in power for years,” said Ashley Easter, noting Paige Patterson’s abusive teachings and behaviors were known for decades. “We believe the time is long overdue for Christian women—and men—to work together and insist systemic changes in the treatment of women in the SBC.”
Carolyn Deevers, an abuse victim advocate and survivor of an abusive marriage to a pastor added, “When an abused spouse comes to the church or an institution with abuse allegations they are often told to be silent, submit, and stay in the abusive relationship. This faulty advice leads to more abuse as well as death,” Deevers indicated, citing how similar advice from recently-terminated SWBTS President, Paige Patterson, was used to keep women in dangerous situations. “The Church’s track record on these cases has made it one of the least safe places for victims to find help,” Deevers concluded.

Reference guides by victim advocates and professionals on how to respond to abuse disclosures will be distributed at the rally. Included will be a recommended reading list for pastors to build knowledge and understanding on how abuse works and ways to minister to the wounded and vulnerable. Rally organizers aim to share these best practices with the hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and Southern Baptist Convention leadership who attend the annual conference. Rally organizers chose the name “For Such a Time as This” in reference to Queen Esther, a woman who was a victim of sex trafficking and refused to be silent to her authoritarian husband, the king of Persia. Esther’s story shows the courage that is required to speak necessary, hard-to-hear truths (cf. Esther 4:14).

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________________________________ About For Such a Time as This Rally: For Such A Time As This Rally can be found on Twitter as @SBCForSuchATime, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/forsuchatimeasthisrally and the web at http://www.forsuchatimeasthisrally.com.

 

 

 

 

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 5

 

Read Part 1  here  Part 2 here  Part 3 here…  Part 4 here

 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror. Psalm 10:17-18 (NIV)

Paul’s words to husbands, “love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” Col. 3:19 (NIV)

Here is the final installment of this series. Let’s tie it all together to consider the lens through which God sees this in the Bible; not just a select few verses. We’ve read numerous texts throughout scripture to see what a woman’s role is in marriage, the church, and our culture. Now let’s consider our responsibility to abuse victims and survivors.

Take a fresh look at the Proverbs 31:10-31. It shows absolutely no glimpse of a woman under the thumb of an angry and controlling husband, or living in a subordinate role of an authoritarian man.

Her husband trusts her completely and knows he will lack nothing in his relationship with her, and lack nothing as she runs their household. He knows she will always do him good. She is wise, creative, a business woman, energetic, and provides for her household and her servants. She is free to make purchases and decides how to farm the land. She is strong physically and in character. She makes good, informed decisions and keeps her house fully prepared for its needs. She keeps her family clothed and is a social advocate for the poor. She is confident! She lends to her husband being well-known at the gates. She is a positive, grateful, wise thinker. Her husband loves that she’s a strong, independent, capable woman and he praises her for it.

 Back to the New Testament…

Jesus didn’t sit quietly or close His eyes when He saw sexism or prejudice. He didn’t stay silent to keep from offending someone. He didn’t turn away as women were being abused or belittled. He didn’t tell anyone it was their lot in life to go pray and wait on God to change the other person’s angry, abusive heart toward them. He didn’t cover His ears as women called out to Him. Jesus wasn’t sensitive to cultural or political leanings when He saw injustice and sin. He didn’t try to run a smoke screen to blind society from the ugliness of what was happening. He didn’t tell condescending, distasteful jokes about women or girls. He didn’t defend men who perpetrated sin or made accusations against women so as to not bring ruin upon the man’s job or place of leadership. He kept one thing on His ever-loving mind; His Father’s business.

Paul, whose writings are most used against women in the church, was a man who worked alongside many women while travelling, ministering and preaching. He mentioned at least 10 such women by name.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

God has used women to speak, lead, prophecy, and change the world. God has always empowered women to think for themselves, held women accountable for their own sins, and used women in miraculous, history changing ways.

Does the Bible say we should confront the injustice of sexual assault, misogyny, and abusive marriages; call it out and do something? Yes, it does, when we apply these scriptures:

Prov. 31:8-9 “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Is. 1:17 “seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”.

Jer. 22: 3 “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong to the resident alien, the fatherless and widow.”

1 John 3:17-18 “But if anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in you?

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

When we have a heart for injustice that means we’re reflecting the compassion, mercy, and empathy of God. We are being a voice for those who have no voice, and are advocating for those who are oppressed or abused.

God does not care for men more than women. Women are equally as important, valued, and worthy in the eyes of God. Jesus spent time on earth breaking cultural rules and regulations to love, heal, and bring women to the life God intended for them. Women were never an afterthought, or a second class citizen to Jesus. And that is why I stand for women and speak out for women. It doesn’t mean I think men don’t face injustice or abuse (because they do) it just means that for me, personally, I am called to share my story and lessons learned, and be one who advocates for women – just like Jesus did.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t have an unbending view of marriage any more than He had a narrow view of the Sabbath. Jesus is about relationship and putting people first. Jesus wouldn’t leave a woman living in an abusive situation; He would lead her to freedom.

Men have repeatedly been taught that they are to be the authority in the home. Angry and controlling men take this to an extreme, even when told they are to love like Christ. In their minds they believe the decisions they make are the wisest and best; and therefore that makes them loving…like Christ.

Male headship doesn’t cause abuse. No, that’s not what I’m saying, but it certainly intensifies it when practiced by an abusive spouse. Using words like leader, authority, patriarchy, and headship in church fans the flames of abuse in an angry and controlling man.

Patriarchy was a symptom of the curse in the garden; it was never part of God’s plan.

Jesus’ death and resurrection broke the curse of patriarchy. Jesus’ finished work on the cross confirms the dignity of all human life.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Here are unifying scriptures no matter our background, church affiliation, doctrinal beliefs, social agenda, or political leanings:

·         All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18.

·         A command that carries through the old and new testaments is this: Love one another as Jesus has loved us. John 13:34

·         Those of us living under the new covenant have all been gifted by the Holy Spirit and our sons and daughters shall prophesy. Acts 2:17.

·          We have clothed ourselves with Christ…there is neither male nor female. Galatians 3:27-28

·         It’s about serving; not leading. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.

·         “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10.

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Biblical womanhood in marriage is this: be who God has created us to be. The Bible is filled with women who defied cultural and traditional norms, held positions of authority, took huge risks, and changed history. So, serve Jesus in whatever way He has created you to, calls you to, and gifts you to through loving service. There is freedom in Christ! You are not under bondage and do not have to submit to any form of abuse.

I encourage women to trust their judgment and speak up; if safety allows. If you are in an unsafe situation; leave immediately and seek help. In the margin of this website you will find help and safety precautions.  

Men, I encourage you to value the women around you like the Proverbs 31 husband esteemed his wife. 

Thank you for considering a woman’s role…biblically.

 

Read Part 1  here

Part 2 here

Part 3 here…

Part 4 here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 3

This is the third part in a series on what scripture has to say about a woman’s worth and role. Read Part 1  here…Part 2 here…

We have the potential to defeat one of Satan’s longest standing lies. Nothing has brought more harm to women across the earth than men who think women have less value and abilities; other than Christian men who think the same about their sisters-in-Christ and wrongly apply a few scriptures toward us instead of looking at the entirety of God’s Holy Word. Satan has meant to destroy, kill, and annihilate a woman’s worth. Let’s turn it around on him and destroy, kill, and annihilate his hold on us; in Jesus’ name!

At this time in history the secular world is working on this more than the church.

Women who are married to angry, controlling, abusive men need people who will believe them, advocate for them, and hold their abuser accountable; not tell them to stop complaining, submit, stay, pray, and wait on God to change their husband’s heart. This advice leads to more abuse; or death. This advice stems from misapplied scripture; often from I Peter 3.

Let’s pull several scriptures together and look at the big picture.

 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28.)

Jesus’ time on earth included Him being purposeful toward women. He came to set the captives free; including women! He protected, honored, listened to, empowered, confided in, was funded by, respected, celebrated, saved, gave them their voice back, made them the first witnesses to His resurrection in a society where women’s testimonies were not respected, told them to go and tell about His resurrection, allowed women to be taught alongside men, and spoke of women as examples to follow. Hmm, no patriarchal or authoritarian suppression from Jesus!

Scripture supports this over and over, so to the woman living in the middle of a destructive, abusive marriage, allow me to show you more scripture that teaches of a woman’s worth in the eyes of God:

 The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
 “Kings and armies flee in haste;
the women at home divide the plunder. Psalm 68:11-12

God leaves us a written record of woman after woman who spoke out and up, taught, interacted, made decisions and negotiated on their own accord.

Let’s look at some examples:

Moses’ sister Miriam displayed remarkable intelligence and confidence. She not only helped to save her brother’s life but also helped set Israel’s deliverance in motion. Exodus 2.

The fifth of the ten commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12. Notice it doesn’t say, “wife and children honor the man of the house” but rather the parents are listed as a team. This shows no reference to a patriarchal led family.

Here is an interesting tidbit out of Exodus 21:7-11: “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.  If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her.  If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter.  If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.  If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.” God provided female servants a way out of abusive marriages…in the Old Testament…because He doesn’t want a woman to be trapped in a relationship with an angry, controlling, and withholding man…even if she was bought as a servant. Read that again, sweet friend, who has been told over and over that God’s hates and forbids divorce.


Achsah, daughter of Caleb, acted in faith by boldly asking her father for, and claiming, additional blessing for her family. Joshua 15, Judges 1.

Deborah was a judge and leader of the Israelite army – see Judges 4-5. The account in Judges 4 says that, “the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided”. She did this while also being a wife.

Miriam is referred to as one of the leaders of Israel in Micah 6:4. She was considered an equal with Moses and Aaron as you read their interactions in Exodus and Numbers.

God used the prophetess Huldah during the time of the prophet Jeremiah, proving that God did not lack willing men to preach His messages. When the book of the Law was rediscovered in the reign of King Josiah, five officials, including the High Priest (considered the highest spiritual leader at the time), went to seek out the counsel of Prophetess Huldah. She authenticated the scrolls and then proceeded to preach a message from them bringing Israel into a great revival. She was educated, articulate, and well-known for her ability. Isaiah’s wife was also a prophetess.

In part 4 we will continue with more examples of God esteeming and using women for His purpose in marriage, in the culture, and in the body of Christ.

 

 

Part 1 For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically

 

Part 2 For you consideration: A woman’s role…biblically

 

All scripture is taken from the NIV

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 2

Here is the continuation of Part one where we looked at several scriptures written by Paul to see if they were literal or cultural, and saw that marital love is not controlling; it’s mutually submitting and looking out for the best interest of the other; it’s about serving.

Here is what the Bible teaches a healthy wife/marriage/woman looks like:

First let’s look at headship. This excerpt was printed in the Well Planned Gal (Fellow homeschool mom, author, and speaker.)

The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church…”

If we want to understand “husband headship,” then we must understand Christ’s headship of the Church. So, how is Christ the head of the Church?

Christ’s “headship” in relation to the Church is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament:

Colossians 1:18 – Christ is metaphorical head of the Church, source of life after death
Colossians 2:18-19 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, to help her flourish
Ephesians 5:23 & 25 – Christ as metaphorical head of the Church, saving her, loving her, giving himself up for her
Ephesians 1:20-23 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ provides for Church’s growth
Ephesians 4:15-16 – Church is metaphorical body of Christ, Christ equips the Church for growth through love

 

These are beautiful and sacrificial examples.

I don’t see anger, a need to control, condescension, withholding, gas lighting/crazy making, authoritarian, usurped leadership, final decision maker, or supreme ruler anywhere in this verses. SB wordart

Is Christ a leader? Yes. Is Christ a ruler who sits on a throne? Yes. Does Christ know the answer to everything? Yes. Is there anywhere in scripture that calls husbands to be this type of head/leader over their wives? No.

I came to this point in my thinking after often seeing that the results/fruits of male headship were abuse, control, codependence, inequality, pride, and the suppression of the Holy Spirit. I decided it was time for me to study the word and seek to find if scripture had been misapplied.

The analogy about Christ and the Church and marriage in Ephesians 5 is a metaphor that speaks of unity in marriage. It speaks to the oneness of a husband and wife.

In Ephesians 5:23, the verse says, “…the husband is the head of the wife.” It makes sense to interpret this as he is in authority over her; however, there are better ways that more accurately line up with the whole of scripture when understanding what Paul as saying. In its entirety it’s about unity. You may read a more detailed study of this here…Don’t lose your head over doctrine  by Tim Fall. 

The rest of the passage describes Jesus as a husband, but not in terms of authority, but rather as one who sacrificially loves her. This is a better way to interpret this passage and matches the heart of God.

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”
– Jesus
(Matthew 20:26)

“For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 2:11

As for creation… “So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31. If men believe and teach otherwise they are contradicting God.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:8

Of course God knew all this before He created man and woman. Perhaps God wanted Adam to understand how alone and unsatisfied he was until Eve was made. Adam needed her and wanted her.

 

We will not find anywhere in scripture where the Lord mandates or suggests that that the husband holds the right to make decisions for his wife. I Corinthians 7:1-6 sets the precedence that decisions are to be made together. There’s no better way to make those decisions together than through prayer.

The more I study this topic the more I realize I’ve believed some lies about not only me and marriage, but about God, for many years. I’ve been guilty of believing what people have taught me instead of studying for myself.  I don’t understand why male headship/authority/dominance has been taught in the New Testament church. This doesn’t fit the example, mind, or heart of Christ.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross! Philippians 2:6-8

 

Scripture teaches love, service, humility, sacrifice.  It doesn’t teach patriarchy but rather equality, mutual decision making, mutual submission; beautiful, purposeful relationship.

The wrong thoughts I’ve believed, or lived under, women have lived under for centuries to silence, intimidate, invalidate, objectify, and hold them down. The ideas are straight from the enemy; Satan – the father of lies, and I believe it’s one of the most crippling and damaging lies the church has believed.

 

But Jesus…

He gives women their true freedom and equality.

Next time we will look at an abundance of scriptures that verifies these truths.

 

READ: For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 1

Photo credit at top of page: afumc.org

For your consideration: A woman’s role…biblically; Part 1

This series focuses on a woman’s worth, and a woman’s role in marriage. The Bible is proof positive that God has an active role for women in society, the church, and in marriage.

Abusers join many Christians in the belief that a woman is scripturally mandated to obey and submit to her husband, and church leadership, in all things. They teach he is the head; as in the leader and final decision maker. Abusers take this belief and magnify it.

I advocate for abused women because they are people made in the image of God. I am a voice speaking against abuse and suffering because God asks us to stand for the weak and defenseless.

Speaking of weak; women who are living in, or are survivors of, domestic abuse are not weak as some would call weakness. They are the strongest people I know. They are tired. They are lonely…yes, married women can be lonely. There isn’t much worse than being an unloved woman living with the man who promised to love, cherish, and honor her. It’s painful to remember what the future was meant to be. And, many women are ‘weak’ because disease brought on by marital stress and trauma racks their body.

Many of the women I minister to, whose husbands are angry and controlling men; of which many have character/personality disorders; all have one thing in common ̶ their husbands like to wield scripture over them as a means to control them. For most women, this began at a young age when they married around college age. domestic violence 2-hpFor others it happened after carefully and prayerfully screening the relationship; only to find out after saying ‘I do’ that they were conned by a master deceiver.  These women have heard the same statements for years and many believe what they’ve repetitively been told; the marital problems are entirely their fault and if they would stop complaining everything would be fine. Many have been told they have little to no rights: the house is his, the money is his, the vehicles are his, the kids are his, and possessions are his. They often have to ask permission for what they want and need; as well as, where they want to go, who they want to see, or with whom they want to talk. These men typically elevate men over women in the family, in marriage, in the work environment and in the church. But…you’ll never know it because he’s so charming with others.

I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23 and I Peter 3:1-6 are frequently used as ammunition to keep a wife quiet and restrained. So is the fall in Genesis.

The curse and the resulting power struggle between Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 doesn’t describe the way it should be, but the way it will be. Adam would now desire to control his wife and Eve would find it easy to enable him out of guilt for what had happened, or possibly wanting him to make the decisions out of fear she would mess up…again. Why? Because sin damaged the relationship that God created.

In this series I want to weave our way through God’s words where women can find hope and healing, and the church perhaps can read scripture anew. I know theologians disagree on this topic, but I’m trying to take into account individual verses, stories found in scripture, and pair them with Jesus’ ministry on earth and His heart for healthy relationships. I think it paints a different picture than what the church often teaches regarding a woman’s role in marriage. We may disagree but hopefully we can agree that when we all get to heaven and stand before God, there likely will be no one person, church, or organization to which God says, “Well done, you understood and applied every verse of scripture perfectly.”

To me, if verses are going to be cherry picked (singled out and applied according to how one wants to view them) then the same standard/precedence should be applied to all verses:

Let’s compare what Paul said with what these same husbands would ascribe scripture as meaning according to their opinion: (I use a bit of hyperbole in some of the explanations). I’m using Paul’s writings since he highly esteemed women who worked alongside him in ministry.

  • “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Romans 16:16 is usually interpreted as cultural…but a handshake works better and is used instead of a kiss.
  • “…the head of the woman is man…” I Corinthians 11:3 is quite clear…period! This means the man does the thinking and speaking in the marriage.
  • “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” I Timothy 2:8 is also taught as…yes, you guessed it; cultural and that it means: worship God. Don’t fist fight in church.
  • “I also want the women to dress modestly… not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” I Timothy 2:9 is most obviously cultural and means women shouldn’t flaunt their wealth and shouldn’t attempt to be beautiful only on the outside since God looks at the heart.
  • I Timothy 6:1 – “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect.” Once more; cultural. God was not and is not sanctioning slavery or human trafficking. This verse was specific to that time period.
  • I Timothy 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” The Bible says it plainly. Stop using ‘culture’ to push a feminist agenda.
  • Ephesian 5:23 says, “The husband is the head of the wife.” God means what He says and says what He means.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through child-bearing – if they continue in faith, love, and holiness with propriety.” Well…that can’t be accurate or literal. It sets conditions on receiving free grace. Women do not receive salvation when they give birth to their first child. We need to take a look at the situation/setting and not take one verse out of context.

And a popular verse on the subject written by Peter:

  • “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands.” I Peter 3:1. The Bible says it. That settles it. (Don’t blame us. It wasn’t our idea!) Of course, angry and controlling men completely ignore verse 7 of the same chapter. Submission is a two-way street.

 

Angry and controlling husbands usually believe the thoughts and opinions of women are not important, are unqualified, silly, or wrong and that the man’s responsibilities are to be leaders and decision makers. Some even believe and practice disciplining their wives (verbally and/or physically).

God’s word is not for controlling His children, suppressing us, or making us miserable. It’s for achieving freedom, abounding blessings, correction, wisdom and protection.

We will not find anywhere in scripture where marital love is controlling; it’s mutually submitting and looking out for the best interest of the other; it’s about serving. Man is never to take the place of the Holy Spirit in anyone’s life; and by requiring a woman to obey and submit to a man/husband in all things removes room for the relational work of the Holy Spirit in her life.

 

Next time we will look at part 2: What the Bible teaches a healthy wife/marriage/woman looks like.

 

 

Photo Credit at top of page: billygraham.org

Advocate for abused women #ForSuchATimeAsThisRally

 

SBC rally

 

Take a look at the website to read what it’s all about and pray about what you can do:

  • Educate yourself on the issue so you’re ready to respond if the need arises
  • Follow on social media
  • Spread the word on social media
  • Pray for the event and for the SBC to usher in a new season of respect for women and for the training of SBC leadership and pastors. For the SBC to bring a renewed commitment to standing with abused women.
  • Attend the rally in Dallas, Texas, June 12, 2018

Read what it’s about and a list of concerns…here…

Enough is Enough