Tag Archives: #metoo

Southern Baptist – Affirm Women

“(W)e acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church.”

The affirmation of “the dignity and worth of women” came as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination marked the 100th anniversary of women serving as messengers, even as it held fast to the view that women are equal before God but hold different roles in the church and the home. “

I’m thankful the SBC is taking on these issues. Affirmation of the above comments is a good step, but it’s also disappointing that such simple, Biblically clear messages had to be voted upon for resolution status.

The same goes for the ‘curse of ham’ and recognizing the full dignity of every human being. These are simple teachings that directly line up with the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. We should already understand these as truths; not have to vote in 2018 that they will be recognized as truth.

Nonetheless, I’m pleased that these issues are being discussed and brought into the light for healing. And I’m beyond grateful that #MeToo and the #ForSuchATimeAsThisRally played a part in bringing about the resolutions.

Click below to read full article: SBCmen

1) Southern Baptists, in #MeToo age, affirm women, ask for ‘purity’ of leaders

 

2) Increasing Women’s Rolls 

3) “We deplore, apologize and ask forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination,” said the final form of the resolution as amended from the floor.

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 4

Part 4 is a continuation of a series on what scripture has to say about a woman’s worth and role.

Read Part 1  herePart 2 herePart 3 here

 

Let’s consider Abigail from I Samuel 25. We’ll study her a bit more because we are talking about angry, controlling, abusive men and Abagail was married to one.  Nabal was utterly selfish, ungrateful, mean, sarcastic, arrogant, and lacked any amount of empathy. His refusal to feed David’s men; as was the custom; especially since David’s men protected him, prompted David to set out to kill Nabal and the males who belonged to him. On his way, David met Abigail riding her donkey on the road. She was a wise woman on her way to intercede with food and drinks, and to ask for forgiveness. I imagine she was thinking of her innocent family members; not Nabal. Abigail “got off her donkey” and pleaded, “Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent.” After David listened to Abigail’s appeal, he was impressed by her and thanked her for keeping him from bloodshed that day. If Abigail would have done what any good, culturally correct woman should have and asked her husband’s permission, think of what could have unfolded.  Abigail showed immense courage; plus she was sensible, capable and persuasive.  Being an abused woman DOES NOT mean you are weak, incapable, stupid, unattractive, boring in the bedroom, or insensible. Most likely you are strong. How else could you survive the abuse?  Nabal could have severely punished Abigail for her independent actions that went against the rules of marriage in those days. David and his men could have taken her life and continued on to massacre Nabal’s household. Yes, Abigail, was strong and courageous. David was wise. He listened. He took extra time and effort to understand Abigail’s predicament. He did not hold Abigail responsible for her husband’s actions or tell her she held a portion of responsibility for his actions.  Neither did the Lord; in fact, when Abigail told Nabal what she had done, “He became like a stone.” Possibly he became so worked up that, “His heart failed him.” Ten days later the Lord took Nabal.

The 5 Daughters of Zelophead:  Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah stood fearless and firm and as a result reformed the culture of their day. Because they spoke up they reversed precedent and claimed possession of their father’s inheritance. Numbers 27 & 36, Josh 17.

Rahab made a business deal with spies and saved her family. She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. Joshua 2 & 6.

Ruth the Moabite boldly presented herself to Boas for protection and marriage. She was used mightily of the Lord as the great grandmother of King David and is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. Ruth 3.

Jehosheba, daughter of King Joram, whose motherly instinct took over fled danger to protect her son from death. She helped preserve the future of Israel.  2 Kings 11.

Esther was a world changer. She could have stayed quiet and lived a cushy life as queen but instead risked her life. She went before her husband, the King, uninvited and unannounced which in her culture meant it was probable she would be put to death. She was strong, courageous, humble, wise, and respectful. She was a leader and she was a history maker who helped save all Jews from being destroyed, killed and annihilated.

Mary was a young woman of tremendous strength. She placed her joy in the Lord over submission to her betrothed husband. Jesus could’ve come a thousand different ways but God chose to send Him through a young woman. Mary surrendered her life and her reputation to the purposes of God. At a wedding feast Jesus submitted to His mother, Mary; although not immediately, and his obedience to her led to His first public miracle and ministry on earth.

Jesus sought out the Samaritan woman at the well whom men shouldn’t have been speaking to because of cultural racism and sexism. Jesus had no political or cultural leanings; He simply came to do the will of His Father.  Jesus cared about the woman’s deep hurt and told her of her past sins; not to shame her but to heal her. Her testimony of Jesus led many to become believers. John 4.

Priscilla, Lydia, and Nympha were all women who had churches in their homes.

Priscilla helped explain the way of God more adequately to Apollos. Acts 18:26. She was an effective mentor. Paul highly esteemed women he co-labored with for Christ. Paul sometimes wrote Priscilla’s name first; a rarity for his culture. Some theologians believe she may have been the better, or more frequent, teacher rather than Aquilla.

Mary and Martha: in a culture where women were expected to be busy running the house and serving meals; Jesus told Martha, in a round-about way, that He didn’t hold them to the same expectation. Luke 10:40-41

When the woman “caught in the act of adultery” was thrown at Jesus’ feet by men calling for justice (stoning for her but not the man she was caught with), Jesus doodled in the sand, calling the men out on their double standard. They all promptly left. Jesus advocated for an injustice against a woman. Jesus dealt with sexism- double standards for men and women, as well as violence towards women. John 8. Nope, Jesus doesn’t turn a blind eye to any of it!

A sinful woman rushes in at a private dinner and falls at Jesus’ feet weeping. She wets his dirty feet with her tears and pours expensive perfume (her life’s savings) on His feet and dries His feet with her hair. Talk about some angry and controlling religious leaders! How dare she! That money could have been better used; likely in their pockets. Jesus defended her in front of all the leaders while rebuking them…in front of the woman. Luke 7:36-50

The four single, young daughters of Philip the Evangelist had the gift of prophecy and their ministry is mentioned in the Book of Acts. They represent boldness, courage and a willingness to step out for the Lord no matter age, gender, or cultural traditions.

 

Next time we will look at the Proverbs 31 woman.

Read Part 1  here

Part 2 here

Part 3 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

WORLD magazine addresses destructive/abusive marriages

Hidden violence

Spousal abuse is a widespread sin that many churches ignore at their—and their members’—peril

 

Hidden violence and trauma comes in many forms within an abusive marriage. This is what most of my website has been dedicated to addressing for almost the last five years. I want to bring to light that which has remained concealed in darkness through most of history. I’m grateful beyond words that the topic is being addressed by authors and news outlets with high international viewership, and professional expertise.

My goal isn’t simply to pull back the blinds on abusive spouses and find safety, sanity, and healing for the victims. My prayer is that God will miraculously, through the church, bring these abusers to a place of healing. Statistics tell is this is nearly if not completely impossible. It can happen, but the abuser must begin with admitting their sin/abusive character (many have a personality disorder – all are angry and controlling)), they must want the help, and they must seek long-term, professional help from a counselor who works with abusers. Marital counseling is not an option during this time. A victim cannot be expected to sit in the same room with the abuser. The abuser must first seek help and healing.

Here is an excerpt from WORLD magazine…

“As these three cases suggest, refereeing domestic abuse situations is not easy. They often do not provide obvious evidences of broken bones or bruises. Most of the damage from domestic abuse is invisible: It involves repetitive behaviors that terrorize, dehumanize, objectify, degrade, and control spouses. Such abuse is a hammer to the soul, pounding over and over at the personhood, dignity, and freedom of a spouse.

Many church leaders don’t understand the dynamics and effects of domestic abuse, or don’t even believe that such evil exists in their pews. Instead of addressing the deeper heart issue behind abuse, church leaders typically address the behaviors by recommending anger management counseling, couples therapy, confession, and forgiveness.”

Read the article here…

Hidden violence

Spousal abuse is a widespread sin that many churches ignore at their—and their members’—peril

 

 

 

 

Beth Moore on misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women

 

Beth Moore.jpg
Photo Credit: Facebook Public Profile Picture Beth Moore Nederland

In case you’re not active on Twitter, I’ll tell you that tweets have been flying for a few months regarding a woman’s place and value in the gospel, and in our current society. Some of the most abashing comments come from mature, well-known leaders in the Christian community.

 

I’ve addressed this on Twitter and in past blog posts. Beth Moore has addressed this on Twitter several times, but today she took the time to post an open letter on the Living Proof Ministries blog.

Beth noticed a year and a half ago what many other men and women in Christian ministry were reading: “Then early October 2016 surfaced attitudes among some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women and it spread like wildfire. It was just the beginning. I came face to face with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.”

Beth opens her letter siting the reasons for speaking on the subject; a subject she planned not to speak about until she was on her death-bed. Be sure to click the link below to read her full article.

“This is where I cry foul and not for my own sake. Most of my life is behind me. I do so for sake of my gender, for the sake of our sisters in Christ and for the sake of other female leaders who will be faced with similar challenges. I do so for the sake of my brothers because Christlikeness is at stake and many of you are in positions to foster Christlikeness in your sons and in the men under your influence. The dignity with which Christ treated women in the Gospels is fiercely beautiful and it was not conditional upon their understanding their place.”

Beth continues on, telling about an encounter with a giant in the faith. This is a scenario sisters-in-Christ face day in and day out from some Christian brothers; married ones none-the-less. I’ve lost track of the times brothers didn’t keep eye contact with me because their eyes were busy looking my every curve up and down. Enough! We aren’t blind or naive; we know what you’re doing.

“About a year ago I had an opportunity to meet a theologian I’d long respected. I’d read virtually every book he’d written. I’d looked so forward to getting to share a meal with him and talk theology. The instant I met him, he looked me up and down, smiled approvingly and said, “You are better looking than _________________________________.” He didn’t leave it blank. He filled it in with the name of another woman Bible teacher.

We are not out to destroy men, take their place, or treat them like objects. They are not second class citizens, but neither are we. No one is! Beth agrees:

“I think I can speak for many of us when I say we are neither interested in reducing or seducing our brothers.”

Back to Twitter: It isn’t full of anti-woman rhetoric only. There are many men interjecting support, hope, words of affirmation and healing, and statements and questions of accountability to those who do not show the heart of Jesus to God’s daughters. Thank you!

Beth has also noticed: “The irony is that many of the men who will give consideration to my concerns do not possess a whit of the misogyny coming under the spotlight. For all the times you’ve spoken up on our behalf and for the compassion you’ve shown in response to “Me too,” please know you have won our love and gratitude and respect.”

Finally Beth ends with asking for, “forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers. My acquiescence and silence made me complicit in perpetuating an atmosphere in which a damaging relational dynamic has flourished. I want to be a good sister to both genders. Every paragraph in this letter is toward that goal.”

Please take the time to read Beth’s complete letter: A Letter to My Brothers

Headline: Abused women need to stay and pray

 An abuse victim needs to stay and pray for their abuser until the abuser changes.

Sadly, this is what many churches and counselors teach. I think they believe they are scriptural, but they are incorrectly applying scriptures from 1 Peter 3:1-6, while completely leaving out verse 7, and then tack on Malachi 2:16 as a one-size fits all verse.

Any abuse that a husband perpetrates against his wife is sin, not only against her, but against a holy God.

Any pastor who sends a wife home knowingly to an abusive husband sins against a holy God. 

In case you’ve missed the hoopla surrounding what some high-ranking Christian leaders believe and teach about marital abuse; I’ve attached 2 links at the end of this article so you can read for yourself the original wording.

Almost every day I read of yet another Christian leader who believes divorce is sin…period. I could blog full-time on this one issue; however,  my calling is to minister to abused women. But today, since this headline involves a leader high up in a denominational setting, who has leadership over hundreds of thousands of Christians (one report I read listed the membership at 15 million), I want to address this as a courtesy and protection to abused women. 

I want to validate what survivors are living through and affirm that they are strong; not emotionally unstable, loving; not going against scripture, setting healthy boundaries, not being hard-hearted,  caring for themselves and their children, not turning their back on the abuser out of vengeance, and correctly applying scripture; not sinning against God. 

This current headline refers to a leader who has for a decade received backlash from survivors of domestic abuse over his legalistic, uncaring counsel that has further kept victims in abusive relationships. He refused to believe 25 cases of sexual abuse against one man. He sided with and protected a serial abuser by mandating that any woman who wanted to bring charges against the man must have witnesses to verify the abuser’s behavior of her. The audacity of that is undefinable! He and others who have been known to teach that abused women need to stay and pray for their abuser until God changes his heart, or until the abuser changes, don’t understand the nature of abusers.

Fact 1: The Holy Spirit won’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do.

Fact 2: According to specialists in the field of domestic violence there is little to no proof that abusers will ever change. In fact, these abusers have been referred to as  Psychephiles and are ranked in the unhealable category as are pedophilic offenders.

That’s a hard dose of reality to add to a sick and lazy approach many church leaders take when ministering to abused spouses; an approach which cost some victims their lives. It’s easy to give lip service and do nothing. It’s difficult to helplessly listen to descriptions of abuse and even more difficult to offer intervention, a safe place to live, practical gifts of service and financial help to the oppressed.

The stay and pray slant is a popular instruction in many churches and institutions. If the subject were a normal marriage with two healthy people; going through a difficult time, disagreement, or fight then ‘stay and pray’ would be sound advice. In this case it’s dangerous instruction. The women I minister to testify how difficult this is for them and their children. Church leaders put them in an unbearable position and when the women sit down to talk to me they all relay similar thoughts of feeling crazy…depressed…confused. Remember, they have already been beaten down at home for years; if not decades by the time they muster up the courage to tell their story to their pastor or church leader. They are often expending their last ounce of strength so when they are told to ‘stay and pray’ they have no strength left to challenge their pastor. They are traumatized at home and retraumatized by the church.

 The above mentioned pastor sent a women back to kneel beside the bed and pray for her husband. His counsel resulted in the woman receiving two black eyes from her husband.

She came to church one morning with both eyes black.  And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter.  And she said, “I hope you’re happy.”  And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.”  And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.”

This was abuse of authority. When the woman walked into church with two black eyes the pastor should have called the police and had the man arrested.

The woman later said that her husband was sorry for what he did and their marriage became better. This is perhaps the only time I’ve heard a success story. In most cases of domestic violence the abuse escalates with time; not diminishes

This Wade Burleson article, along with yesterday’s Spiritual Sounding Board article, provides a great summary of the issues at stake with Dr. Paige Patterson and the Southern Baptist Convention. Our distaste for divorce or love of the institution of marriage cannot – must not – surpass the safety of the abused. This is not just a Patterson issue, although Patterson cannot be ignored. It’s time to get this right. No one hates divorce more than someone who has experienced it, but it always has a moral context and it is not always wrong or to be avoided.” Cheryl Bowles Summers

 

“To these brothers who may have ears open enough to hear from a sister who has come to love you and see glimpses of hope in you that maybe you’ll be willing to grapple with the tension glaringly present in the New Testament regarding women, I say to you with respect: Fix this, in Jesus’ Name.” Beth Moore

 

Physical abuse is not the only type of domestic violence. Emotional, spiritual, financial, sexual, and verbal abuse are also real types of domestic violence. If you are in an unsafe situation, please know that more than God hates divorce, He hates that you are being abused. God approves of you leaving and finding safety. In the margin of this website you will find links to help you decide if you are or are not safe; as well as, links to help you leave safely, or stay safely in the relationship while keeping a sound mind and a healthy heart.

Next time I will continue with, For Your Consideration: A Woman’s Role…Biblically. Jesus had some radical teachings in response to the patriarchal system that had deeply rooted throughout history and continues to lend itself to marital, societal, and spiritual abuse. 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 a personal hell; He would help her find freedom. He even helps the sinful woman find freedom. Doubt this? Read how He was counter-cultural in John 8:1-11.

Wade Burleson article

Spiritual Sounding Board

 

 

A Case Against Abused Women: Part 1

I’ve wanted to address teachings sometimes heard in the church regarding marital abuse because it is this type of teaching that kept me and countless other Christian sisters in abusive marriages. I didn’t know if I would make it out alive, but did. Some women and children haven’t made it out alive.Be a conqueror

This week John Piper once again made the news for his views on women, and why some men abuse women; doctrinal differences. He addresses reasons for cases of widespread abuse being reported in the news.

Cases that have recently been in the headlines include, but unfortunately are not limited to:

  • Bill Cosby sexual assault and rape law suits include 58 alleged victims, 19 of which will be testifying against him in court. Jury selection for the Cosby trial is set to begin March 29 at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. The trial is scheduled for April 2.
  • Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and executive who is currently under investigation for multiple sexual assaults of at least 80 women which spanned 30 years. This scandal triggered similar allegations against powerful men around the world. It spurred the #MeToo movement.
  • Sovereign Grace Ministries had multiple recorded cover-ups of sexual assault and rapes committed against children in their care.
  • Saeed Abidni whose wife, Naghmeh Panahi, left him for proven allegations of domestic abuse, and unfaithfulness was recently arrested for violating a no-contact order.
  • Andy Savage who is the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN sexually assaulted a girl in his youth group when he was a youth pastor 20 years ago. The staff at Highpoint supports and is attempting to save Savage’s ministry.
  • Cases against Bill Gothard (and his board), founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. This was a ministry where teens left their homes to live at headquarters to help with ministry opportunities. With my background, I still find it disturbing that an unmarried single man ran a ministry where he had constant unsupervised time alone with individual students. This is child safety and ministry safety 101 at any Christian based institution and has been for decades: For the students’ protection they are to NEVER be left alone with one person. There is safety in numbers. (Unfortunately many pastors, staff, and teachers don’t adhere to this safety measure).
  • The Catholic Church has been plagued with child sexual abuse cases for decades.
  • Josh Duggar: Ashley Madison scandal and reports of child sexual molestation.
  • The wife of Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee left him and is living in a shelter for safety and provisions. Although Greg Locke denies any wrong doing on his part I’ve read the hateful, scathing text messages he sent his wife about her weight, her looks, his disdain for her, and in which he used profane language against her. He was having a reported, emotional if not physical, relationship with his wife’s best friend who is also his secretary.
  • Ravi Zacharias sexual grooming relationship with a woman not his wife. This case was settled out of court and neither side can legally speak about it. This is convenient for Ravi because I was sent some of the text messages/emails and there is no way he can conveniently talk his way out of his wrong doing. I won’t ever be able to listen to him teach again knowing what he wrote. Some of it was sinful and some of it was weird, but all of it was an abuse of his ministry position.
  • Doug Wilson: I could write a book on the wrong theology of Doug Wilson and his wrongly placed allegiance to pedophiles who have attended his church. A 13 year old girl congregant was groomed, assaulted, and raped by a man from the church. Doug placed blame on the child because she was tall for her age, well developed for her age, and mature for her age. Doug Wilson preformed a wedding ceremony so a known pedophile at the church could marry a young woman from the church. It didn’t end well.
  • I receive correspondence from pastor’s wives and missionary’s wives around the world who tell of abuse they suffer from their husbands.
  • I minister to around 25 women in my area, the Christian homeschool community, who are living through or leaving severe abuse from their husbands.
  • Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar (associated with Michigan State University) of sexually abusing her as a teenager, a case that led to more than 250 other victims coming forward for their day in court.

Rachael is a Christian who received her law degree from the Christian Oak Brook College of Law. This makes her the best credentialed child sexual abuse survivor to lead the charge in ridding our churches and institutions of predators, and teaching the public to always: believe the children first, contact the authorities second, and allow the law to sort it out.

 

Let me begin by stating my disagreement with Piper’s recent teaching in his article: Sex abuse allegations and the egalitarian myth. Piper’s argument is that the egalitarian doctrine, which teaches all people are equal in fundamental worth and social status and deserve equal rights and opportunities, has led to men becoming abusers since he doesn’t believe this is the way God intended men and women to function.

I highly disagree with his reasoning. Abuse is not a theological/doctrinal or marriage problem. It is an abuse problem. I find absolutely no scripture to back Piper’s claim. Jesus calls sin; sin.

Dear beloved church,

We must do better.

Marriage is

 

To be continued…

Afer all if we buy into, “Boys will be boys” we are reinforceing “Girls have no humanity; they’re just objects.”

Change statute of limitations for sex crimes against children/use prior assault evidence

TOXIC POLICY

This is in response to the Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted in court last month for molesting patients for years. 

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

Thank you to the victims of these terrible crimes for using your trauma and pain for a great purpose that will serve future abuse victims.

Thank you, Rachael Denhollander, for using your talent to pursue justice. Sometimes it takes a wronged female attorney to change public policy and maintain a voice with which to be reckoned. I applaud you, thank you, and pray for you. By the way: your husband totally rocks for the powerful way he has publicly supported you and cheered you on through all of this. (I follow him on Twitter).

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos orders investigation of MSU’s handling of Nassar sex-abuse cases

 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is dispatching a team of civil rights investigators to Michigan State University to examine how the school handled allegations against former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of molesting patients for years.

“This new Title IX investigation will look at systemic issues in the University’s handling of sex-based incidents involving Dr. Larry Nassar,” DeVos said in a statement Monday.

Image: Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos, United States Secretary of Education, speak at CPAC on Feb. 22, 2018. Michael Brochstein / LightRocket via Getty Images

The federal probe is only the latest for MSU, which is under investigation by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and a congressional committee. It also faces dozens of lawsuits that allege it ignored reports and warning signs about Nassar’s predation going back to 1997.

DeVos’ announcement came hours before some of Nassar’s victims gathered in Lansing, Michigan, for a news conference on new state legislation prompted by the case. The bills would change the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children, expand the class of people who must report claims of sexual abuse to law enforcement, and allow prosecutors to use evidence of prior assaults at trial.

“We are learning activism creates action,” said Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, who revealed last month that Nassar preyed upon her.

 

Continue reading the entire article here:  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos orders investigation of MSU’s handling of Nassar sex-abuse cases

 

Rachael Denhollander top of page: photo credit; Twitter public profile picture

 

 

 

 

 

14 points the church needs to hear in the wake of the Andy Savage sexual assault case

In case you haven’t seen the headline I’ll fill you in on yet another spiritual battle takingAnn Voskamp quote place in the church.

I‘m referring to the applause of a crowd that was unfortunately heard around the globe, and no one was listening more intently than abuse survivors and non-Christians.  It was sad, it was wrong, and as an abuse survivor I can tell you; in a way it revictimized many souls.

It involves Andy Savage, the teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN. According to the church website “Andy’s personal mission statement is, ‘Making God make sense, starting at home then everywhere else.’ Whether Andy is teaching, writing, or relationship coaching, Andy strives to live out his life’s passion of creatively communicating God’s truth in a way that connects with people where they are. Andy teaches every Sunday at one of three Highpoint campuses and is the lead visionary for marriage, parenting, and family life ministry. He is also a national speaker, the author of multiple books, and host of the Andy Savage Radio Show and podcast.”

I understand mistakes and the folly of youth. Seriously, I regretfully took many field trips dedicated to the foolishness of youth. This sexual assault case goes beyond a youthful mistake. Even if it were consensual, which it wasn’t according to the victim and the church in Texas, Texas law considered the age difference and the act a felony, and the Bible considers it sin.

What concerns me about the Andy Savage situation is that over the years he has so easily disassociated from his deception. These types of people are the ones who can be the most spiritually, physically, and sexually dangerous.

I can’t imagine how difficult this is for Mr. Savage’s wife. From past experience I can make an educated guess and deduct that if she had heard anything about it; it didn’t begin to resemble the truth.

Here are 14 points the church needs to understand:

 

1)       Most churches error on this: The church body tends to value the institution (church) above the safety and health of the one who is/was being abused. Most of all, the church is valuing the institution over Jesus.

2)       “She said that a pastor of the church, The Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, urged her to stay quiet when she told him what had happened. Instead of telling her to inform the authorities, he told her that the church would address the episode internally.”  This is typical. The church believes they need to protect the reputation of the church and of Jesus. They often use the scripture from 1 Corinthians 6 about not taking a believer to court. This amounts to incorrectly applying scripture. The church’s responsibility was to call law enforcement and allow them to investigate. It was also the church’s job to remove Andy Savage from ministry and follow-up on any new ministry Andy Savage attempted to gain.

3)       There is a huge difference between forgiveness and restoration of relationship; personally or professionally.

4)       Any church leader or staff, regardless of age, who sexually victimizes another person, should never again be in a position of leadership. (I Timothy 3 & Ephesians 5:3)

5)       If you are informed about a past sexual ‘incident’ or abuse by a church leader it is NOT appropriate to give the said church leader a standing ovation. For any reason…ever!

6)      If you are informed about a past sexual ‘incident’ or abuse by a church leader it is ALSO NOT appropriate to justify or make minimizing statements about the victim.

7)      Andy Savage went against scripture and went against church policy yet the church partially blamed her. No! He was her youth leader. He committed a crime.

8)       “When a person tells factually true things to cast an impression that they know to be false, they’re lying even though everything they’ve said is true. And they KNOW they are lying.” Dr. George Simon Jr., PhD. clinical psychologist with decades of experience working w/ abusers.

9)      After Andy finished addressing the congregation, church members stood and applauded him for about 20 seconds. The lead pastor at Highpoint, Chris Conlee, told the congregation that he supported Mr. Savage, who he said was one of the people “hurt by the ripple effect of the consequences of that sin.” I wonder if Pastor Conlee understands the depth of the problem? He should be supporting Andy Savage in resigning from the ministry and directing him and his wife to excellent counseling. For Mrs. Savage, I highly recommend Christ centered counselor Leslie Vernick who is accessible on the internet, and/or Patrick Doyle who can be found on YouTube.

10)   Church, I understand that you may have been replying, “We love you too” when you gave the standing ovation. Andy closed with, “I love you all very much,”  at which point, you, the congregation rose to applaud. I imagine you didn’t mean to applaud a sexual crime. But it still gave painful implications. When is the church going to stop with harsh judgments and quick grace at the wrong time and places? This deeply wounds victims of sexual abuse, marital unfaithfulness, and domestic violence.

11)   If Andy Savage were truly repentant he would stop defending himself. His goal would be to cause no further harm to the victim.

12)  I often see defendants in abuse cases use spiritual language as a powerful weapon of deception.

13)   After watching the church service and comparing it to his radio interview, I don’t think he fully acknowledges his actions, plus he admitted to lying. It sounds like he is grasping to hold on to his position at this mega church and the prestige that comes with the position.

14)   Church, we need to avoid cliché sayings like, ‘it was a long time ago.’ We need to support the victim and hold the defendant responsible. We must be better at handling abuse allegations and admissions.

 

The below video shows the conversation I’m referring to in minutes 12:00 – 22:45

 

12:00 – 22:45

The pastor tearfully informs his congregation that what they “witness today will give you incredible confidence in what love is all about. I pray that what you witness today will give you hope that healing is available for every single person.” The pastor then goes on to implore people to listen to everything before they evaluate what they hear because it will touch emotions, feelings, and the heart strongly.

I disagree.

This isn’t about processing emotions or working through phases of the issue. It was wrong. It was unlawful. Andy Savage should not be in the ministry. I highly question the leadership of anyone who handles sexual misconduct by saying we can find ways to agree and work this out. There is room to disagree? Why does anyone need to respect Andy Savage and welcome him on the church staff? I know I’ve walked this road longer than most people, but I’m exhausted from the church not recognizing the sin while making excuses for it. Church, we must do better! I don’t believe in a pastor using their power to encourage the congregation to ignore scripture and gloss over felony law breaking, sin, and abuse of leadership power. Yes, the church wants to facilitate the  healing of brokenness in people’s lives. But…healing and restoration do not equal restored relationship with a person or with their place of employment/ministry. Yes, Pastor Conlee, love does cover a multitude of sins but it is wrongly applied to illegal sexual conduct by church staff against a student. Love does not equal acceptance of the abuser in a continued ministry position, or the acceptance of the abuse!

I could go on for pages about the gross misapplication of scriptures in this case. I could commentate for hours on the discrepancies found by comparing the recorded church service to the interview of Andy Savage conducted by Ben Ferguson. Why? For starters Mr. Savage originally lied to his church staff and lied to the girl’s parents. His story changed as the progression of facts were revealed. His interviews from Sunday and The Ben Ferguson Radio Show don’t add up to truth. We go back to a foundational fact: When we tell the truth we can remember what we said. When we lie…well…we can’t remember what we said and therefore get caught up in deceit, explanations, word spinning, justifying, spiritualizing, and denial.

I love the church. God can truly use the church to encourage us, grow us, and shape us—but I hate it when God’s children are abused by church people. I will never defend a man who has abused his leadership position of power to harm a girl or woman’s heart, soul, mind, or strength.

Our loyalty to church leadership is good and noble and true. But when loyalty to an institution’s structure allows evil to continue, or hide, it is loyalty wrongly placed—a false loyalty.  netgrace

“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.”

Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman Photo credit to Sarah Faith Hodges

 

Skin is the outer layer of the soul — and touching someone’s skin is touching someone’s soul.”

  “When someone gropes your body, they grab a bit of your soul, the part of you that speaks, and it can take years, decades, for you to gather up the pieces of your voice and slice the silence with truth.”

From: Dear Predators Who Don’t Know (Or Maybe Do) That They are Predators: (And How to Not Raise Another Generation of Predators), by Ann Voskamp

Lastly, if you want to be better trained in how to handle situations like these I highly recommend Christ centered counselor Leslie Vernick who trains church leaders and counselors to recognize and respond to abusive behaviors. She also helps you minister to those who have been traumatized by abusers. An organization that will come in to churches and train staff and lay leaders is G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.

 

Click here for the full account as told by the victim: Jules Woodson

 

Click here: Leslie Vernick- Christ-Centered Counseling

Leslie Vernick: Facebook Enriching Relationships that Matter Most

 

Memphis Pastor Admits ‘Sexual Incident’ With High School Student 20 Years Ago 

Andy Savage Twitter public profile picture
Andy Savage Twitter public profile picture

Memphis pastor Andy Savage sees publisher cancel book, petition calling for resignation over sex assault