Adventist Pastor Condones Marital Rape, Put on Leave

Remarks made by an Adventist pastor condoning marital rape have led to widespread condemnation and outrage. In a sermon titled “Unholy Deadlock or Holy Wedlock,” Dr. Burnett L. Robinson, pastor of the Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist Church in The Bronx, New York, gave commentary on what he sees as acceptable for men to do within marriage.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11515

“Bad theology.”!?!?

My submission as “The Greatest Oxymoron of All Time” given that St.Paul’s god probably doesn’t exist.

Alternatively, if his god is real, Paul and Pastor Robinson’s theology is as great and monstrous as their god supposedly is.

So-called Christians who insist Paul spoke for Jesus-and by extension Adventists whose prophetess EGW often relied on Paul’s opinions-cannot have it both ways.

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As an extension to the our discussion about cultural Adventism on another thread, is this the mentality that keeps us from dealing with WO? I would guess.

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He’s just taking biblical literalism to its logical conclusion. Paul wrote that the husband is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church. Paul did not advocate an equal partnership. Paul taught headship and submission in marital relations. Yes, Paul imposes Christ-like obligations on the husband, but he provides no remedy for the wife whose husband fails to live up to the ideal, other than exhort her to submit.

The church needs not only to denounce this “pastor”, but also to denounce some of the writings of St Paul.

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It is obvious that a literal reading of scripture leads to an authoritarian view of God. Jesus portrayed the submissive God, antithetical to natural mans inclinations. Those who chose to not read the bible with a critical perspective fail to bring the message forward in a meaningful way for current society. This is why religiosity is generally declining. Many individuals just want to be told what to do, just like the ancient Israelites, “give us a king”, and by extension the characteristics of the god they chose is the OT one. Love, Freedom, Equality, Justice are all absent from the authoritarians mindset.

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(Satire) The ultimate “Love your neighbor as yourself” approach to marriage. The ultimate pre-marital counselor. A great mentor for young Adventist pastoral interns. An amazing, raping husband role model for the youth. Does his church ordain women elders? Is he a graduate of the Doug B. School of Ethical Treatment of Women? Does he have daughters? Where did he graduate from theological seminary?

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NOOO ! 1, Corinthians 7 : 3 - “due benevolence - - -” (thn opheilomenhn eunoian) !!!

if Robinson’s family are recent immigrants from Africa or the Carribean, his comments take on cultural significance…they are representative of the mindset that gave us the no-vote in San Antonio:

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He is gone. Resigned, no longer employed. As of today!!Pastor Burnett Robinson Resigns | Adventist Today

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Do I understand correctly that he was put on PAID administrative leave? If any administrator thinks for even a moment that the tithe given to the church should be used to continue this guy’s paycheck, then it is an strong indicator of the pervasive problem we have with the male superior headship of our organization.
There should be no waffling on this issue. There should be no discomfort with an immediate removal of this guy from the employment of the SDA church. There should be no head-scratching or hand-wringing about how to handle this issue.
And for all of us who have been sexually abused by someone within the church, and have suffered the church’s silence and protection of its male leadership, there is no consolation in that “canned “ response by the conference about the pastor’s apology.
But we all know that the closed door meetings have already begun on how to brush this under the rug and issue enough official statements to satisfy their egos while neutralizing the anger of the female constituents.

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When considering and reflecting on the proper actions to take for the grievous comment this pastor made regarding the use of ‘rape’ for spouses, it is vital to clearly distinguish between forgiveness and accountability. Of course, we can forgive, and if he is remorseful, we must forgive. However, accountability is a distinct action, that has nothing to do with forgiveness. We all know that the Church (across denominations) does not hold an admirable record of accountability. Our concerns for outside judgments too often cloud our use of reason and logic, and we have too often turned a blind eye when dealing with dilemmas such as this one. We toss the ‘forgiveness card’ around with too much levity and very little reflection on repercussions. As I reflect on this matter, I am reminded of Moses. When God told him to SPEAK to the rock the second time towards the end of their wilderness wanderings, Moses STRUCK the rock…TWICE! In my sight, this was not as grievous as what this pastor said, and I struggled for many years to understand God’s “harsh” judgment. Nevertheless, after much study and reflection, I think I understood why God could not allow him to enter the Promised Land. As I see it, God spent 40 years trying to teach the Israelites of His compassion and mercy in total contrast to the ‘gods’ they were familiar with. Moses’ actions went in direct opposition to the image God spent 40 years attempting to put forth of Himself. It seems to me that God could not allow that image to stay engraved in the minds of the Hebrews (emphasis on ‘image’). God forgave Moses, and what a forgiveness it was….Moses was resurrected. Can there be greater evidence of forgiveness!! Yet, God also held him accountable because of the possible repercussions on the vulnerable souls Moses was entrusted with leading to the feet of a benevolent God.

I am very familiar with the neighborhood this pastor works in. I grew up just 10 minutes walking distance from this church. This is my territory. I visit these neighborhoods year after year because my parents still live there. It is a neighborhood with high crime, drugs, and violence. It is filled with broken homes, domestic abuse, high levels of unemployment, drive-by shootings, to name a few. A comment like his can have serious implications for the church members and the residents at large. They may be informed that he has been forgiven, but the instruction of ‘raping’ your spouse will stay lodged in the minds of many for whom an understanding of relationships is synonymous with control and violence. A statement of forgiveness alone is not enough to undo the damage that this has already caused, and will continue to cause….much like in the minds of the Israelites. The Church-at-large (@GNYC, @NAD and @GC) can make a public statement of forgiveness, but in the same spirit as God’s in dealing with Moses’ gross distortion of God’s character, accountability MUST take place if only to show the ‘eyewitnesses’ that we don’t take lightly this gross image of God’s character. Only then will Church leadership enlarge God’s benevolent Spirit, and ,… maybe … halt the continued repercussions of his comment.

I don’t presume to judge this man’s heart, but I struggle with dismissing that his remorse has more to do with having been exposed to the world, than remorse for having used the word ‘rape’. In my mind, that word has absolutely no place in any spiritual discussions unless it is to condemn it in its entirety, so I fail to comprehend how it could have been a ‘slip of the tongue’. I will never understand how or why a spiritual leader would express him/herself with such violent analogies. Nevertheless, I will not engage in judgment as this is God’s domain and ONLY God’s domain. But let’s not confuse forgiveness with accountability, and in the case of a spiritual leader, accountability MUST be pursued. In conclusion, our actions should not be focused exclusively on how to deal with HIM, but on the greater impact his comments will continue to have in this community long after he has been forgiven….and moved on.

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It is puzzling that church folk have a need to seek biblical confirmation or condemnation for behaviors and beliefs that are obviously wrong.

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You raise an interesting point! I sometimes think that ‘church folk’ become removed from the reality of life. A fear of making the wrong choice, looking for confirmation from the Bible before living a real life in this world. Possibly never having developed a personal moral code of belief system.

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Indeed, the apostle Paul teaches sexual mutuality in 1 Corinthians 7:3,4. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”

I’m horrified at this pastor’s view of marriage, and I’m sure that Doug Batchelor would be as well. I disagree with Doug about women’s ordination, but he would never promote felonious treatment of one’s wife.

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And in other passages Paul teaches submission of the wife to the husband. Paul did not express a single consistent view, and trying to reconcile his contradictory writings is a fool’s errand.

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This former pastor’s headship views are shared by DB. Forced domination is the direct fruit of Male Headship. Don’t be fooled: this is male authorianism and it has no place in Adventistism.

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Adventism is a fringe subset of a religion who’s first principles are rooted, for the larger part, in a random collection of heavily edited and/or forged letters written by a man obsessed with his own contradictory and often misogynist interpretations of the teachings of a purported savior whom he’d never met personally.

So while the denomination has taken another punch on this nose in the media over this supposedly debased and undoubtedly soon to be defrocked preacher, it is an irrefutable fact that he was preaching from what Christians believe to be Jesus’ “good news” and that Adventism-indeed the whole of Christianity-should rally around in support of his attempts to pay absolute obeisance to one of Paul’s many confused dictums given that next weekend he could get up and espouse exactly the opposite and absolutist view, again as propounded by this deified letter writer.

For my part, I am amused but not surprised by any of these conflagrations as I see no reason for anyone-and particularly any woman or member of the LGBQT community-to take Paul’s inherently incoherent attempts at philosophy and theism seriously.

The man was an evangelist/salesperson, after all, another subset of humanity to whom absolutely no one turns when trying to find “truth”!!! :crazy_face:

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It is amazing how this sermon had to hit YouTube before any single Adventist expressed outrage at it. Blaming Paul’s teachings is not adequate and those teachings can hardly be conflated to be seen as the seed or support of this toxic sermon.

And how do you confirm this statement to be a fact? How do you know that members that attended the sermon did not expressed outrage? I think it is more amazing that “SDA” members or commenters such as you will always grasp at whatever they can grasp to throw criticism on the church, even if it can’t confirmed as factual. Perhaps you watch too much mass media and for the wrong reasons.