When people share their stories of harmful church teachings about gender roles, we’re accustomed to real horror stories of abuse. We also know that the problem is far more widespread, and it’s not always so overt.
Domestic abuse is prevalent among Christians and often perpetuated by the way churches respond to women who report, which is reinforced by common unbiblical teachings on divorce. Churches must do better.
While the world was preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, an invisible pandemic was quietly yet viciously invading homes. Marriages were at new high levels of distress, punctuated by increased levels of gender-based violence.
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.