- The women Joyce interviews -- all of whom were abused -- reject the idea that it is their wifely duty to stay with an abusive husband, but still believe it is their role to submit to "male authority" in the wider role of the church. And while Saddleback, for example, proffers a sort of "helplessness before Biblical mandates," claiming to be unable to pinpoint an exact quote where God says it's OK to leave the guy who beats you, these women have dug into the Bible and come back with what they claim are divine blessings to DTMFA.
"A Bible-believing Christian woman needs a biblical argument for leaving a dangerous marriage because she loves God and wants to obey the Bible," says Barbara Roberts, author of "Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion." "Her scriptural dilemma can only be solved by applying and properly interpreting more scripture to counterbalance and correct her unbalanced emphases and misunderstandings."
What’s more, this new scholarship may give women an argument when confronted with the condescension of pastors who wish to forgive them for the "sin" of divorcing their abusive husband. There's undoubtedly a perverse kind of rebellion to a woman writer creating new liberation theology within a framework of female submission, an activity that sounds very much like the kind of thing church leaders and intellectuals do. Let's hope that Rick Warren takes some time out to give it a read.