Kathryn Joyce has a typically insightful article at Double X, on attitudes to domestic violence at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. She quotes some audio clips of Teaching Pastor Tom Holladay (who is married to Warren’s sister), who explains that domestic abuse means regular beatings, not a one-off attack, and that a woman is never justified in seeking a divorce on grounds of violence:
“There’s something in me that wishes there was a Bible verse that says if they abuse you in this and such kind of way then you can leave them,” said Holladay, but sadly, he concluded, there wasn’t.
The author that the above post refers to the story of a woman who because she separated from her husband because of divorce, and filed a police report, she was frozen out by Saddleback – especially when her husband, a former Pentecostal minister, joined the ‘Baptist’ Saddleback.
Read the whole thing here; Kathryn deftly guides us through the wider context of marriage teaching and wifely submission within conservative evangelicalism.
I have to agree with Dr. West in saying that this goes beyond the pale and should be denounced. I denounce the teaching that says a woman must submit to beatings by her husband – it is Scriptural unsupported, Traditionally unsound, and simply out, of grave error. It treats women as second class citizens, bound to her husband regardless of abuse, perhaps even to the point of murder.
We know assuredly that the Lord did not condone spousal beatings, for we are commanded by the Apostle Paul, we as husbands, to treat our wives as the Lord treats the Church. She is His Bride and I cannot think that the Lord Himself would beat the Church.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33 NKJV)
We debate so much the great things, the Godhead, the sacraments, the nature of the regeneration, but too often we leave the health of families waning, separating them in Sunday School, and at events, never seeking to draw them closer.
My grandfather told me once, of an event in the small town of Kentwood, Louisiana, at the opening of the last century, in which the town found out that a certain individual beat his wife, among other things. One night, the men of the community showed up at his doorstep and ‘discussed’ a few things with this man about his husbandly duties. After the ‘discussion’, the man never laid another finger on his wife, nor stepped out, no, as far as anyone could tell, said a cross word to her and his children. Now, these were baptists, of the Southern Variety.
A few things bring my blood to a boil – racism, sexism, and stupidity. It seems that Rick has scored two out of three. Why is he still allowed a respected voice?