Spousal Abuse and Tending the Flock

(Elaine Nelson) #64

Any spouse who has abused his partner, either verbally or physically has broken the marital vows he took to “honor, love, and cherish.” Abuse is breaking those vows made before God or civil authorities.

(k_Lutz) #65

I heartily concur. Archaic societies in which only the penis wields authority always succomb to the wiles of Lysistra.

Trust the Process.

(Carolyn Parsons) #66

The church needs to get our of the business of deciding who gets to re-marry. A person should be given the dignity of deciding if their spouse is or was unfaithful and leave it to that. If the person seeks to be re-married, the church needs to take it on faith that they have the right to re-marry.

I have seen too many times, an ex-spouse looking for proof that their spouse is/was unfaithful so they can get re-married in the church. It makes a mockery of relationships that they are pawns in the re-marriage game.

(Kevin Paulson) #67

Kenn, it was /Jesus who said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication (sexual immorality), causeth her to commit adultery” (Matt. 5:32). This is the linchpin of the classic Adventist view of divorce and remarriage. All the “Jesus” talk we hear from certain folks in the church just now seems to pay precious little attention to what Jesus actually said.

(Kim Green) #68

Kevin, the church manual has other special circumstances other than spousal infidelity that makes divorce possible which the bible does not specifically mention.

(Kim Green) #69

I agree, Carolyn…my biggest beef is that each church may deal with the same issue differently. I have seen it happen over and over again. There was one instance in which two people at my church had an unfortunate affair which led to the destruction of their respective marriages. Both couples got a divorce and then the philanderers married each other. The were “chastised” in church but eventually worked their way up over the years into the positions of Elders!

(k_Lutz) #70

This argument falls flat, Kevin, in many ways.

Jesus specifically refers to husbands: Whosoever shall put away his wife. At the time it was not conceivable that a wife could put away her husband, if she even dared.
There is no respectable livelihood for a woman. It is attested in the many stories of single women throughout the scriptures: she is compelled to beggary without an husband to tend to her needs. Thus the injunction for brothers to betroth their deceased brother’s wife(s!).

Such a flippant reading of scripture cannot absolve one of responsibility to/for women, subjecting them to the greatest evils which men devise.

Trust God.

(Brad(Luna)) #71

People love to ignore the cultural elements of Scripture so that they can use it as a battering ram on others. Jesus was speaking to a great cultural injustice of his day when men were constantly divorcing their wives and leaving them destitute. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He did not condemn her.


Yes, it all the male’s fault. The Samaritan woman was a total victim and faultless. This is why Jesus chose her to be the town’s chief evangelist.
When she was verbally abused by her 5 husbands, she always kept quiet or said…“Yes master”


Notice the SS lesson picture for last Sabbath’s lesson where the 2 of opposite gender are yelling at each other. That is such an unfair representation.
It should show the man yelling like some Neanderthal barbarian abusive monster and the women should be overcome with crying. Why did Clifford Goldstein allow the artist to depict this falsehood?

(Elmer Cupino) #74


“Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted/spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception and sanity” - Wikipedia

(Rheticus) #75

Which is why it should have been reported to the relevant authorities, and not just hidden by a pastor who feels his responsibility ends with not advising an individual to continue living with an abusive spouse.

That in particular if the abuse is physical in nature worries me to - because it implies that you would consider advising an individual to continue living with a psychologically abusive spouse.

(Rheticus) #76

[quote=“gideonjrn, post:73, topic:7779”]
It should show the man yelling like some Neanderthal barbarian abusive monster and the women should be overcome with crying. [/quote]

Sometimes ignorance is not bliss, it is just ignorance. Abuser and abused can be either gender - ask anyone who works in the area, from EMS to counseling office.

I have seen M-abusing-F, F-abusing-M, M-abusing-M, and F-abusing-F in my time on 911 ambulances

(Elaine Nelson) #77

From the suspense movie: “Gaslight” where the heroine (Ingrid Bergman) was nearly driven out of her mind by her husband. In the days before electricity gaslights were used and the gaslights in her house would suddenly dim. and then brighten which was directed by her husband to drive her mad.

Many women have almost been driven made by a controlling, abusive husband who she is financially tied to when there is no other means of support for her and her children. How many times have police interrupted such abuse and the woman refuses to press charges.

(Elmer Cupino) #78

You got that right and it has turned into a term frequently used in MH to describe setting the environment to drive someone crazy.

All the games we play. @GeorgeTichy has got it right, it’s all about control.

(George Tichy) #79

Having treated literally thousands of domestic violence perpetrators, there was never, ever, one single case in which “power and control” were not at the center of their personalities.

And guess what is at the center of the anti-WO personalities…

(Peta Hay) #81

The following excerpts from a newspaper article by Julia Baird sum up my feelings about domestic abuse:
A group called Progressive Christians Australia has published a statement backed by a significant group of theologians who argue headship has been powerfully destructive in convincing men they have power and control over women, and women that they must suffer in silence. It is not just an abstract debate.
Reverend Peter Catt, the Dean of Brisbane, says: "I have heard pastors and others tell people in domestic violence situations that they have to stay in situations of abuse because they are under the headship of the male. And that if they leave they are committing a sin."
Horrific, right? It is extremely disturbing given a 2005 ABS survey found that 81 per cent of women who had experienced sexual assault did not report it to the police. But Catt says it is a “startlingly common occurrence”.
In counselling sessions, he said: “I have sat with males, whose spouses left because their husbands tried to choke them, argue that they married for better or worse, and that this is just worse. ‘She is mine,’ they say, ‘I own her’.” It is an extension, argues Catt, of a culture where even at secular weddings, the question is asked: "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?“
Reverend Margaret Mayman from Pitt Street Uniting Church tells a similar tale. In her 30 years of pastoral ministry, she says she has seen a “significant number” of women who have been counselled by ministers to stay in violent relationships. Mayman, who has a PhD in Christian ethics from New York’s Union Theological Seminary, argues:
Page 1 of 2Print Article: Submission is a fraught mixed message for the church
"If submission is the theory, then battering is the practice.” She tries to show those women parts of the Bible where it shows God wants relationships that are “respectful, empowering and life giving rather than dominating”.
After all, those who misinterpret those texts are misinterpreting Christianity. A director of the Public Centre for Christianity, Simon Smart, says: in the Bible, headship “is less about deciding who is boss and more about exhibiting a kind of love that reflects the character of Christ. That love therefore is supposed to be about sacrifice and service such that the other person is lifted up and enabled to flourish.” But what if it is open to abuse, and wielded and understood wrongly? Why so much focus on male power?
Reverend Glenn Davies, the Archbishop of Sydney Anglican diocese, which is known for its emphasis on headship, argues it must be understood in context. The role of the man, he says, is not to control, but to be a “servant leader”.
He explained: "A knife is a very useful tool – if used properly. In the wrong hands it is a weapon. But headship is not domination, it is God’s plan for our lives. Headship is a medal of honour, a medal of service and for a wife with a good husband it’s a privilege to serve him."
The statistics on domestic violence are “horrific”, he says, and if a woman’s life is in danger she should leave, even though that would mean “disobeying her husband”. But what if that also means disobeying your minister?
To most modern thinkers, the emphasis on obedience or headship is bizarre, retrograde and entirely unnecessary when the core message of the Bible is love, selflessness and service, not a drive for power. But when it is abused it also becomes dangerous. It really is astonishing, and appalling, to think in some places the church could not be fighting, but condoning violence.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/submission-is-a-fraught-mixed-message-for-the-church-2015021213d9nw.html

(Cynthia ) #83

Domestic Violence/abuse also includes the kinds of abuses that aren’t noticeable through bruises and broken bones, etc : gaslighting (crazymaking), financial deprivation, spiritual abuse (mockery of one’s spiritual beliefs, making it difficult to attend spiritual practices, etc.), pornography, serial adultery, and a whole bag of nasty narcissistic ploys that would take up pages to list but that do not necessarily involve outright physical abuse Ask women who have experienced both physical and emotional/mental abuse which is often easier to overcome and they frequently state that at least with most cases of (not extreme) physical abuse there is a period of remorse, a “honeymoon”, sometimes appreciated sympathy for those who attend the wounded, and sometimes a needed response from the police/courts, even the Church. Mental/emotional abuse can go on and on without remorse periods or recognition from others in a position to support someone in need of help, let alone love and understanding. Isolation, common to most spousal abuse, has the same sad results whether the abuse is physical or emotional. Extended periods of violence always result in death, including accidents as a result of reckless driving, cancer and other stress-impelled diseases, and murder-suicides.


This story won’t surprise you.

Pulitzer winners tie domestic abuse to Christianity

The Post and Courier series’ first article, which noted that a woman in South Carolina dies every 12 days from injuries sustained through domestic violence, suggested a link between domestic abuse in the state and the complementarian view of gender.


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