Friday, June 27, 2008

Pastor Bruce Ware Claims Christian Wives Are Bringing Abuse on Themselves by Not Submitting to Their Husbands? Are They Really?

I have already addressed many aspects of Bruce Ware’s Sermon in my book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, one of the chapters of which is entitled, Church Sanctioned Oppression. I go into the issue of gender roles and some of the reasons for abuse in the chapter entitled, The Eve Syndrome (and no, I do not blame unsubmissive wives).

I have also consistently addressed the main point of his sermon from my earliest interviews after the book was released.

Excerpt from interview:
Why do you think men beat their wives? Do you believe the doctrine of wifely submission, as taught within many evangelical churches contributes to domestic violence among Christians?

Yes I do. The way this doctrine is taught and interpreted within many evangelical churches often leads men to believe it is their God-given right to exert authority over their wives, and this logically leads to problems with abuse when they attempt to assert this authority—especially with men who deal with unresolved anger issues.

I might also add that the way the doctrine of submission is commonly dealt with (within these same circles) effectively shifts the blame for the husband’s behavior from the husband and places responsibility for it squarely onto the shoulders of his wife. This happens when she is told that if she reacts submissively to his abuse, his behavior might change.

The message that women bring abuse on themselves by not submitting is not a new one, and I have maintained for quite some time that this view is quite common among evangelical leaders and has been transmitted to the evangelical church from its
highest levels.

I believe Bruce Ware's comments underscore the fact that Christian Men and Women who desire to see a change in attitudes (which must precede change in actions) within the evangelical community regarding how to handle the issue of violence in the home still have a long row to hoe. That's why I invite both men and women to join
the Dorcas Network. A network committed to equipping the Christian community in responding compassionately, effectively, and biblically to those experiencing domestic violence within their spheres of influence.


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