On average, one woman a week in Australia is killed by a man who says he loves her. The prevalence of domestic violence is staggering. The figures are breathtaking and hard to believe. An unimaginable number of women’s lives are blighted by this scourge. In the US, Europe, and Australia, one in four women will experience physical abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
None of the articles or sermons regarding forgiveness or the dangers of retaining anger I read had discussion of relationship abuse. To escape the abuser who is part of the fabric of your life, you must garner fury and the wisdom to say it is evil and deplorable.
Welcomed with handclapping and glee, the demeaning of women and people of color was celebrated on the platform and by attendees at the recent Truth Matters Conference. Leading the way was John MacArthur, a mega-church pastor, radio personality, and seminary teacher. His diatribe against women began as MacArthur offered two words that came to mind when he thought of Beth Moore. With impunity he said, "Go home!”
Looking back, I see even more clearly the spiritual abuse I suffered over and over. People often ask me how in the world I still believe in God with everything I have been through. It’s easy, I say. It was the people, not God, who abused me and twisted Scripture.
1 Peter 3 is a tricky passage. It’s often been twisted to pressure abused women to stay with their husbands as a sign of submission. But this passage is not meant to subject women to fear or violence. Rather, the passage is supposed to encourage primary loyalty to Christ, not to husbands.
The #MeToo movement has revealed the wide-spread atrocities of sexual abuse within the larger culture. However, the #ChurchToo movement has exposed the church's culpability in this matter. More precisely, the theological malpractice of patriarchal authority without question has created an environment for sexual abuse to flourish behind a protective veil of personal and congregational misplaced conviction. Dr. R. Mitch Randall argues the church must accept responsibility for their part in creating the environment where sexual abuse thrived because the church's teaching of female subservience established male dominance in the culture. Therefore, if the church honestly seeks repentance of the culpability, then they must also turn to an egalitarian theological praxis.