Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church

Abuse and Submission: We Have Gone Very, Very Wrong — Twisted Scripture #4

1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

If anyone thought that this post was going to be about how those “horrid radical feminists” have attacked and maligned the Bible, well, you are going to be surprised.  When I say that we have gone wrong in our teaching of the biblical doctrine of husband as head of his wife, I mean conservative, Bible-believing Christians have gone wrong.

I have been thinking about this matter quite a lot over the last few months, and things just are not settling well with me.  To add to my discomfort, I re-read the wonderful article by Steven Tracy last night, 1 Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective to Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship.  To find it online, go to this link  and scroll to page 17 to read Tracy’s article.

Tracy does a great job and in fact calls us to hear at least some of the fundamental charges being made even by radical feminists who flatly hate the Bible.  Primarily however he deals with the Scripture itself and calls us to consider that the Bible teaches an intimate relationship of two equal-in-essence beings in the husband/wife relationship in marriage.

THIS IS THE STUFF THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO SAY FROM OUR PULPITS!  And as a result, the biblical truths of the husband as head of the wife as the Father is head of the Son, have been all messed up and misapplied by sinful people like us.  It has been made to be a power and control issue when it is not.  Power and control in the hands of sinful beings always, always, always carries the likely danger for abuse of that power.

In reading what Tracy had to say, I was also impressed with the fact that it really is true that down through the ages, men have abused their power over women.  The thing is undeniable unless a person wants to be willfully blind. When those who hate Christianity shout this charge, we need to stop writing them off and listen.  They have a point and they have documented it.  Those with power inevitably abuse that power and oppress the weak.  Guilty.

Think about it.  In conservative, Bible-believing churches like ours, men are pastors and elders and deacons and male leadership is endorsed in the home. Do we appreciate the potential for abuse of those positions?  I don’t think so.  We think too highly of ourselves.  The result?  Well, all you have to do is read the stories of abuse victims to find out what the results have been.  Abused people, generally women, abused by men – and then further abused by the male leadership of their churches and by the women in those churches who have been taught to go along with the unbiblical traditions and applications of “Scripture.”

And you know what?  THIS, I believe, is a fundamental reason for all of this cover up and denial we meet with in churches when we try to expose this injustice toward victims.  We are assaulting the very power structure of the thing. We are like whistle-blowers.  Pastors and church leaders (generally men) panic when an abuse victim comes to them asking for justice.  They may not realize that this is the psychological dynamic going on in their heads at the time, but it is there.  They are afraid.  Afraid of what?  Afraid that the system is going to be shown to be broken.  Afraid of the consequences of siding with a woman against her husband.  Afraid that we all just might have to admit that a bunch of what we have been teaching our churches and our wives and our kids has been a bunch of bunk!

Esther 1:15-17 “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” (16) Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. (17) For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’

So the fear reigns and the victim is given one of those long shepherd hook staff thingies around the neck and dragged off the stage.



  1. anonymous

    Radical feminists are not to be blanket-characterized as Bible-hating. Radical feminism is not the (or ‘a’) problem.

    Radical feminists hate misogyny and the Christian church reeks of it in so many ways.

    ‘Head of the household’, ‘woman, submit!’, and regarding women as relatively worthless, as children, as inferior, as evil ‘Eves’ and ‘Jezebels’, who supposedly exist solely to trip up poor, victim-men……that’s the kind of stuff that renders contempt.

    I believe in God, love God’s Holy Word, was baptized, confirmed, and I’m a radical feminist.

    Radical feminism opposes misogyny and male supremacy. It opposes trans-ideology where women’s rights, safety, privacy are trampled underfoot in service to men in dresses (with those men’s so-called ‘ladybrains’ and ‘ladydicks’).

    Radical feminists oppose the systemic, institutionalized misogyny, and male supremacy. Radical feminists see women as human beings, worthy of respect, dignity, and human rights just like men are instantly accorded.

    Scapegoating radical feminism does nothing good. Radical feminists are against pornography and the constant objectification and sexualization of women and girls. Radical feminists are against wifebeating, woman abuse, sexual harassment, and all sorts of violence against women and girls that women and girls must face in their lives here on earth.

    Radical feminism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. I don’t understand how or why any pastor or Christian would be upset with radical feminism, let alone to demonize it, if it weren’t for the embedded male supremacy and misogyny in such circles.

    Radical feminists have been very active in securing women’s rights, creating battered women’s shelters, helping women see that they are abused, that it’s not the woman’s fault, that the abused woman is not alone, and that men who beat, rape, and abuse women are found everywhere, and it’s men’s fault for what they do to women and children and such violence and abuse needs to stop. I cannot see how Christ Jesus would be opposed in the least to any of those truths being spoken or those actions being taken. Why would Christ be against battered women’s shelters? Why would Christ be against tallying statistical realities of men’s violence against women and children (which can then be used to push for legislation and funding to stop such or otherwise provide for DV shelters and DV agencies to exist to help the abused to escape)?

    Liberal feminism is plagued with pro-porn, pro-‘sex work’ (which is pro-prostitution, as though forcing women to ‘service’ men under enslaved, forced, coerced circumstances is somehow ‘work’ and a ‘job’ instead of criminal and slavery and rape), pro-gender bending (where self-identification matters and men with penises can claim to be women and access women’s locker rooms, shelters, etc.) and so much more.

    I think you are confusing liberal feminism with radical feminism. I really hope you post my comment as it’s really important that radical feminism is not demonized any more. You can be a radical feminist and a God-fearing Christian. I am.

  2. GypsyAngel

    I think I’ve had a small revelation. We know that satan takes the things of God and twists them for his own purposes. I see this particular miss-application of this scripture as a way to further drive a wedge between men and women. Not just destroy families in the long run, but widening the gap between men and women that was created so many centuries ago. We [women] were not created by God to be under a mans heal, but this is indeed what the misinterpretation of this scripture seems to imply should in fact occur. I have personally experienced the misapplication of this scripture by clergy as well as my ex, following the lead of clergy.

    No wonder seemingly radical feminist have a hatred for the Bible and Christianity. The Scriptures have been used to abuse women for centuries. I also concur with your insight as to the fear of being seen to go against the established power base and articles of the church. What horrid injustice has been carried out in the name of scripture, Christ and God by the established hierarchies though out the many ages of Christianity. Well serving the darknesses plan of turning mankind from the path of a close relationship with God. Oh my…Destroy that relationship, by destroying all relationships.

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