The president gently inquires whether Ruth had ever experienced Joe to be untrustworthy. Ruth lies. She tells the president that she has no idea what he is referring to, and that she regards her husband as completely trustworthy. Joe is demoted and then terminated. But he somehow manages to get an editorial position at Zondervan publishers, the company for whom Ruth is co-authoring a book, Daughters of the Church. She refused to make changes according to his dictates.
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For his interference in the publishing process, and perhaps for other reasons too, Joe is terminated from his job. After one particularly ugly fight, in which Joe grabbed her and threw her to the floor, uttering threats, Ruth phones his parents. In , after 19 years of marriage, Ruth seeks help from the courts and from her church to legally separate from her husband.
Counselling is ineffective. Three years later Joe sues for divorce.
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Ruth wants to apologize, beg forgiveness, and maybe take Deana to Sears to buy her a new washer and dryer. She died. There would be no reconciliation and no new appliances. In Ruth marries fellow Calvin Seminary professor, John Worst, with whom she experiences a happy egalitarian marriage. The fact that Ruth egregiously covered up the sexual abuse of a minor, as well as the fact that abuse tends to escalate when it is covered up, are topics that likely warrant some discussion. His hitting and punching and slamming me against doors and furniture, however, were anything but figurative. Nor were his terror-loaded threats.
Or was something else to blame?
Jim Jones used the doctrine of social justice to force his followers to drink the Kool-Aid. So do we toss these doctrines out the window because some people use them in a twisted and destructive manner? Or do we recognize that sinners will use whatever justification they can to excuse their sinful behavior. But my experience with abuse leads me to believe that women in egalitarian relationships are at a far higher risk than those with husbands who sense a responsibility to provide loving, protective headship.
Which is why experience and emotions are an unreliable source for debating the veracity of a premise. The wording is somewhat leading.
Yes, I have. Abusive men use whatever cover they can to justify their violent sinful behavior. I suspect they only wanted to blame CBMW for it. Our differences on Scripture interpretation and application regarding the roles of men and women may differ, but surely we can agree to disagree on this, and stand together against that which we both deplore. You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Filter Results. Topic: Book Reviews. Does Male Headship Promote Abuse?
CBMW Statement Against Abuse We understand abuse to mean the cruel use of power or authority to harm another person emotionally, physically, or sexually. We believe that the biblical teaching on relationships between men and women does not support, but condemns abuse Prov. We believe that abuse is sin. It is destructive and evil.
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No husband is expected to die on a cross for his wife. Still, the benchmark is very high. The great eighteenth-century Methodist theologian John Fletcher clearly understood that. Late in life, he married Mary Bosanquet, a noted preacher in her own right. His words are instructive. Gathered with friends after the ceremony, he read from Ephesians 5: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. Help me, my friends, by your prayers to fulfil it.
As Christ loved the church! He laid aside his glory for her! When I think of a husband laying aside his glory for his wife, Robertson McQuilkin immediately comes to mind. Although the back cover of his book A Promise Kept identifies him first as a homemaker, most people know him as having served for more than two decades as the president of Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Much to the chagrin of the university's board of trustees, he quit at the height of his career to become a full-time homemaker.
His wife, Muriel, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in By , her condition had deteriorated to the point that she was becoming agitated and fearful unless he was with her. He had not promised "till death do us part" to the university. To Muriel, however, he had. So he laid aside his glory as a university president to become a caregiver for Muriel.
Five years into his "retirement," he reflected on the course their lives had taken: "Seventeen summers ago, Muriel and I began our journey into the twilight. It's midnight now Yet, in her silent world, Muriel is so content, so lovable. If Jesus took her home, how I would miss her gentle, sweet presence. That gentle presence, however, was at times interrupted by utter frustration. On one occasion before Muriel began wearing diapers, she had an accident in the bathroom and Robertson was trying to clean her up.
She was pushing him away, clumsily trying to take care of herself. He told her to stop. She ignored him. In exasperation, he slapped the calf of her leg. Never in our 44 years of marriage had I ever so much as touched her in anger But now, when she needed me most What an incredible illustration of Christ's love for the church — a husband's unconditional love for a wife. Of course, Paul goes on to speak directly to the wife as we will later discuss. How sad it is when a Christian man cannot say, "Never in our years of marriage had I ever so much as touched her in anger.
During the debate with John Piper, I addressed the matter of a wife submitting to her husband even if he physically abuses her. I told how Elisabeth Elliot had spoken to a large audience of women primarily seminary wives at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. After her talk, one of the wives asked, "Should a woman remain in a home where she is being physically abused by her husband? She then made reference to the next chapter: " In the same way, you women must accept the authority of your husbands.
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But on the other hand, it might. After this illustration, my allotted time was up. In my closing remarks, I said, "Scripture and good judgment tell us that a pattern of mutual submission and equal partnership is the best way we can effectively serve the Lord in a marriage relationship. I did not tell my listeners about the years of abuse I had endured and my own terrifying dread of being literally beaten to death. I was married to a Bible church minister.
There were dozens of incidents I could have referred to. One in particular, however, might have caught their attention more than others as it related to my work as a professor. Since , I had been flying from our home in Grand Rapids to Chicago's O'Hare Airport to teach at Trinity for two or three days each week for fall and spring quarters. The routine worked well. Our son was in middle school, active in sports, and managing to keep on top of his paper route. There had been many violent instances throughout the nineteen years of our marriage.
On numerous occasions, my ex-husband beat me or threw me against a desk or onto the floor — always behind closed doors and most often when our son was out of the house. I was convinced I was becoming better at managing these outbursts by strictly avoiding certain subjects and being alert to his ominous moods, brewing and portentous as they were.
It was a cold West Michigan evening in March. Spring quarter at Trinity had begun a week earlier. I recognized my husband's mood before we had even sat down for the evening meal. When we finished eating, I tidied up the kitchen, took my books and notes, and went upstairs while he watched his usual TV programs and Carlton did homework nearby, listening in as he typically did. After an hour or so, I heard my husband's footsteps on the stairs. I stiffened, dreading the worst. He entered our bedroom where I was hunkered down and then, seemingly out of the blue, with not so much as a segue into the topic, demanded to know my interpretation of a particular biblical passage that related to women.
I explained that I was very busy in course preparation and did not wish to discuss the matter, particularly because I knew it would create problems. He proceeded to give me his interpretation of the passage. When I remained silent and refused to agree with him, he became irate and began very loudly to threaten me and exclaim that he would not let me fly to O'Hare in the morning.
He yanked me from where I was sitting, my papers flying in every direction. Hearing his father shouting, Carlton was up the stairs two steps at a time. It was not the first time he sought to defend me. Normally, his crying out at his father put an end to violence. But not this time. My husband demanded he leave the room while at the same time squeezing my arms with all his might and viciously shaking me.
Carlton did leave. He raced back to his own room and grabbed two knives, one no more than a hard plastic toy, the other a Swiss Army knife he had managed to open before returning to confront his father. At twelve, Carlton was tall and lanky, but no match for his six-foot-two father, who could do a hundred push-ups without breaking a sweat. When I saw the knives, I screamed for Carlton to get out, but within seconds my husband had thrown him to the floor, taken the knives, and was coming at me again.
In a second, Carlton got back up and tackled his father, crying out at the top of his lungs. And then somehow amid the mayhem, it ended. My husband left the room still raging, ordering Carlton to come downstairs with him.
The next afternoon I was in Deerfield, greeting students in my classroom and wearing a turtleneck and blazer that conveniently covered the bruises — black-and-blue finger marks on my upper arms. I had taught the course before, and once I was into my rhythm and a lively discussion was under way, I was in another world. After the class ended in the late afternoon and all the students had checked in with me on term projects, I gathered my books and notes and began making my way over to the little apartment on campus where I stayed.
My real life flooded over me, covering me like a shroud — like a shroud of pitch-black, oily fright. A quick call home to Carlton relieved the tension.
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But the situation seemed hopeless. Our little family was a complete mess. Where would it all end? There are many underlying factors to consider in attempting to understand why a husband would beat and terrorize his wife. I'm certain a psychiatrist could write an entire volume on my ex-husband.
But from my vantage point, his perspective on male supremacy and female submission was front and center. He repeatedly quoted Scripture to defend his headship and to enforce my unconditional obligation to submit — from "the kitchen to the bedroom.