Monday, July 26, 2010

Spousal abuse: CBMW blames the wife

Bruce Ware is the author of "Summaries of the Egalitarian and Complementarian Positions on the Role of Women in the Home and in Christian Ministry"
Most complementarians hold, then, that sin produced a disruption in God's order of male headship and female submission, in which a) the woman would be inclined now to usurp the man's rightful place of authority over her, and man may be required, in response, to reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman, and b) the man would be inclined to misuse his rights of rulership, either by sinful abdication of his God-given authority, acquiescing to the woman's desire to rule over him (and so fail to lead as he should), or by abusing his rights to rule through harsh, cruel and exploitative domination of the woman.
Please read this more than once. A man may be required to establish rulership over his wife, and he may abuse this right. But why does he do this? According to this passage, it is in response to his wife's inclination "to usurp the man's rightful place of authority over her. This is what "most" complementarians hold, according to CBMW. The CBMW places the blame for spousal abuse on the wife. This directly impedes a woman's ability to escape and receive appropriate help for the danger she is in.

This has been up on the CBMW website for several years. Read about the Demand for an Apology from CBMW on the Associated Baptist Press.

28 comments:

Rod said...

hey Sue,

I could not open the link to the Ware article.

Thanks for all you do.

J. K. Gayle said...

Frank Schaeffer has referenced a number of sexist, women-demeaning groups in the guise of Christianity and Judaism:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/god-vs-women_b_658576.html

Here's the CBMW link:

https://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Articles/Summaries-of-the-Egalitarian-and-Complementarian-Positions

atimetorend said...

I read that paragraph somewhat differently than you describe. The man's harsh and cruel exploitation of women is not in response to his wife's inclination to "usurp the man's rightful place of authority..." Rather both the wife's inclination to "usurp the man's rightful place of authority" and the husband's inclination to "rule through harsh, cruel...domination..." are results that sin caused. In section "a)" the response of the man to the woman's sin is to "reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman, and in section "b)" the woman's response to the man's sin is, well, it doesn't say.

I am not trying to defend these doctrines in any way. That's just how I see the logic of what is written there.

Don said...

"rights of rulership"? This is so far from the Christian concept of serving one another.

Paula said...

I've posted my opinion of this article from CMBW Here.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, I see the "establishing rulership" as the response. How do you establish rulership in a marriage? This is terrible. Do you have any idea how it feels to have someone establish their rulership over you!!!

Kristen said...

The really scary thing is that they assume that all women have this innate desire to dominate men. So when a woman asks for equality, comps believe she really wants domination-- that if you give her an inch, she'll take a mile. Any desire for equality on the part of women is therefore suspect. She is made to be subordinate, and if she were being really womanly, she'd embrace her true nature and not desire equality. If she desires equality, she's denying her true nature and secretly wants to dominate.

It's insidious.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, that is a terrible misogyny on the part of many Christian women about themselves. They see themselves as controlling, they have internalized men's myth about women.

The truth is that everyone has some desire to control, even if just to set boundaries to keep oneself safe.

But what is truly weird is that some complementarian articles argue that women are by nature submissive and want to be dominated.

Creepy. This stuff mirrors the dom-sub culture very closely and I can't help but feel dirtied by it.

Kristen said...

Yes-- I think the idea is that a woman's God-given nature is to be submissive, but her "sin nature" wants to dominate. So it is for a woman's own good if a man puts her in her place.

Sickening.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Kristen,

You have put it well. They think that man is God's gift to women but women are not appreciative enough.

Kristen said...

Heh, heh. Actually, the Genesis 2 account says the woman was God's gift to the man because he needed help. She wasn't the one who needed help.

And the passage also says it's the man who will have an innate desire to rule the woman. It never says this is a good thing; quite the opposite, in fact.

When men want to dominate women, it is THEIR "sin nature" they are showing. Grudem's is sticking out all over the place.

Don said...

It actually says the human needed help. Adam was just called a human until the Adam was split.

Kristen said...

I agree, Don. But that's not the way Grudem would look at it. He believes God made MAN and then gave him woman as his assistant. But if that is so, it is the man who needed the help. Let Grudem's own rope hang him. *grin*

Anonymous said...

"Yes, that is a terrible misogyny on the part of many Christian women about themselves. They see themselves as controlling, they have internalized men's myth about women. "

And they have been taught they are easily deceived, too. So, that would mean I should not listen to comp women's apologetics..they could be easily deceived by a male's teachings. :o)

Anonymous said...

I read that paragraph somewhat differently than you describe. The man's harsh and cruel exploitation of women is not in response to his wife's inclination to "usurp the man's rightful place of authority..." Rather both the wife's inclination to "usurp the man's rightful place of authority" and the husband's inclination to "rule through harsh, cruel...domination..." are results that sin caused. In section "a)" the response of the man to the woman's sin is to "reestablish his God-given rulership over the woman, and in section "b)" the woman's response to the man's sin is, well, it doesn't say.
"

It might help to know more of Ware's teaching. At the Denton Bible church a few years ago, he taught that "unsubmissive wives trigger abuse". And of course, his defenders said that is not what he meant at all...

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Some complementarians say that it is not the role of the husband to make the wife submissive, but Ware clearly says that he is to "establish rulership over his wife." This, in itself, is abuse. This is disgusting. Very disgusting.

Kristen said...

I hear you, Suzanne, and feel for you-- having to read that, after what such doctrines put you through.

Anonymous said...

I was on another blog a few days ago where another young protege of Ware's from SBTS said the exact same thing about his wife. It was his responsibility to see that she submitted to him.

They really cannot hear how egocentric they sound. But then they are around this all the time. It has become normal. And that is the scary part.

Lydia

Mara Reid said...

Yeah, I remember a time when my husband was trying to force me into doing something he wanted me to do and pulled the 'wives submit' routine. But by then he had pushed me far enough.
I yelled at him, "The Bible says 'wives submit'. It DOES NOT SAY, 'husbands, see to it that your wives submit.'"

It worked for him when I put it that way. He saw the logic in my words. My husband has unreasonable moments. But he's not completely unreasonable.

Being around this crap constantly messes with a person's reasoning capabilities. And men, like the Ware protege you mentioned, Lydia, become warped and unreasoning boors

Kristen said...

Mara,

Good for you! It seems to me you could have also yelled, "husbands, give yourselves for your wives and put their needs first!" Which is really just another way of wording "husbands submit to your wives."

Light M. said...

A few years back on the blog of a female subordinationist, I posed several scenarios without identifying which was the husband and which was the wife, and asked people if they could tell who was submitting and who was loving sacrificially. It drove them up a tree because without knowing which was the husband and which was they wife, they couldn't tell by the actions. I was banned from that blog.

I have also asked female subordinationists point blank how they enforce their husbandly authority. I've never gotten a straight answer to that one, either.

Paula said...

Light, that sounds a lot like my observation that you can't tell male from female online unless people identify themselves. Once I was told I was shirking my duty as a husband and father!

Which only goes to prove that when it comes to personality and intelligence-- and spirit--, there is no universal difference. The only things that we can say are in the realm of always/never are biological functions.

Anonymous said...

Light,

I love it!

Don said...

I was once accused by some masculinists of really being "Dawn" instead of "Don". Considering the source, I took it as a HIGH compliment.

Hannah Thomas said...

If you notice they have volumes on the women's roles, and sicky sweet speeches she is to use towards him. The reason for this is clear - maybe they won't have to 'enforce' leadership. Bleck!

They acknowledge somewhat the sin of man, and his lust for power - but no real volumes to 'enforce' the stop for lust.

If their women were allowed to teach maybe they could hear about that more often!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am amazed at your ability to twist the meaning of this paragraph to mis-characterize your enemy's position. You are clever indeed.

You know, no matter how many you are able to join hands with and mislead down your dark path, we will each stand alone on the Day.

You present yourself as being so against abuse of women but you use our main vulnerability against us, to align more with your narrow, distorted view of men and God.

I would much rather be outright abused than insidiously deceived, at least I know where I stand. And I have been both, I just don’t use it as an excuse to twist the Scriptures and demonize those who trust in them.

Retha said...

Anonymous 9:54 AM, You seem to say a few things that are not spelled out, so they cannot be tested.

"Our main vulnerability" - what is, according to you, our main vulnerability, and why do you think so?
"distorted view of men and God" - what is distorted about it?
"Demonize those who trust in scripture?" - Where and how does she demonize those who trust in scripture? It seems to me she speaks against misunderstanding scripture, and want people to trust and understand it?

You see, Anon, Suzanne publish her views with her name, she knows Greek and can explain her reasons. You excuse without name or reason. Why should we believe you, an insulter who cannot discuss the topic?

PS: Do you teach your children in that condescending tone too?

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I agree with atimetorend's take on the paragraph by Ware. And I also agree with Suzanne's point that a man's establishing his perceived rightful rulership over his wife is abusive.

It is not that the CBMW intentionally condones abuse or blames it on the wife. It is that Suzanne (and I, for that matter) disagrees with the CBMW about what constitutes abuse, and Suzanne is calling what Ware DOES condone and blame on the wife (husband re-establishing rulership) abuse.

I believe Suzanne is right in her assessment. (Suzanne, please correct me if I have gotten it wrong somehow). One may disagree with her assessment without charging her with clever mis-characterization.

"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; EACH ONE looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." (Galatians 6:1, NASB; all caps mine in lieu of italics)

diamondnell