Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Standing Up Against Domestic Violence

I was unaware that Sunday, November 25 was the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  It became the occasion for a strong and illuminating response by many Gospel-centered bloggers.  The Church, the Gospel, and Violence Against Women by Justin Taylor is a blog post worth reading carefully.  Justin is a favorite Gospel-centered blogger of mine.  His post includes excerpts and links to 12 others on the topic.  I would encourage people to read his blog, and then read his links.  This matter is too important for us to get wrong.  Click Here for his blog.

What is particularly encouraging for me is that most of these writers are men who hold a different basic view of the Bible’s teaching about the relationship of husband and wife.  They are “complementarian” and hold a gracious view of “male headship” in the marriage.  On this issue, I am what is called “egalitarian,” meaning that because in Christ men and women are equal before God, a marriage is the coming together of equals.  For whatever differences, all of us stand strongly against domestic violence.

Let me add as well that domestic violence is not just about the violence that produces physical bruises and spills blood.  In many ways, the more damaging violence is the psychological and relational manipulation that undermines a safe relationship and emotional connection.  Men are perfectly capable of bringing home a paycheck, and then using it as an emotional club or a justification for being distant relationally.  Prisoners of war carry wounds in their psyche long after their physical captivity is over.  Likewise, many women and children carry wounds deep within them long after a relationship is ended and physical safety is secured.

Here are five excerpts and links from Taylor’s blog to give you a bit of what is there for further investigation.

The Church & Violence Against Women by Russell Moore

We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.”  Click Here for the full post.

Don’t Mess With Her, Man by Matt Smethurst

“[The LORD's] soul hates . . . the one who loves violence” (Ps. 11:5).
 That last verse is particularly scary, isn’t it? You’d think it would simply say God hates violence. Instead, it says God hates the violent. He hates wife-beaters.
 No matter how it’s spun, abusing women is unacceptable. Always. No asterisks.  Click Here for the full post.

Violence Against Women and Church Discipline by

How should a church respond to the case of a husband abusing his wife, or man his daughter? Decisively and quickly.  Click Here for the full post.

Abuse and the (Complementarian) Christian Response by Mike Cowper

First—your membership in this church offers you no shelter or comfort. I might come visit you—whether in jail or at your home—but it won’t be to reassure you of anything but a call to repentance. I am encouraging your wife to distance herself from you until you demonstrate repentance. Apart from that, I see no reason to encourage her to get anywhere near you. It may be true that some wife-beaters have sought the shelter of pastors and churches, calling abuse a private matter, and avoiding legal consequences. I have no intentions of allowing such shelter. The authorities will be involved.   Click Here for the full post.

“Why Abusive Men Repudiate True Manhood: Letter to an Abusive Husband.” By Owen Strachan

Your present pattern, Bob, looks like Satanic headship.  You are attacking and tearing down.  The biblical pattern is Christic headship, sacrificial, others-centered, offered in order that others might flourish and thrive.  If you do not cease your ways, the elders of your church will “deliver [you] to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (1 Cor. 5:6).  If you are bent on destroying your loved ones, you will face the prospect of a life outside the church, which places the soul in danger of eternal destruction if gospel repentance does not happen. . . .
Repent of your sin.  It is a stench in God’s nostrils.  Were it not for your worth as an image-bearer, I would find it difficult not to threaten harm to you myself, and to bring many men with me.  Click Here for the full post.

 Strong stuff indeed.  But domestic violence - physical, emotional or otherwise - demands a strong response, expecially from other men.

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